Need a high aperture lens.

Started Feb 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,595
Re: Need a high aperture lens.

Why are you considering a 35mm or a 50mm prime when you have 18-55 on your kit zoom? Your kit zoom covers 18-55 taking in 35mm and 50mm. All lenses are designated as 35mm to save any confusion whether your camera is DX or full-frame. Even DX lenses are designated as 35mm focal lengths. You're chopping and changing your terminology and getting yourself confused. Your "missing" focal lengths are 55-70mm. You have 35mm and 50mm covered. Classic portrait lenses are 85mm. There are 60mm macro lenses but there's not much else between 55-70mm in a prime. Yes, you could get the 24-70mm but that's a very expensive lens. I think you need to get your head straight before you part with that kind of cash. When you learn a little more you might find that you would have preferred to spend that money on something quite different.

You don't have to have every focal length covered. If you do get a 35mm or 50mm prime, you are going to have to move your feet. Everybody should probably have one prime so they start to move their feet. And get some understanding of the difference between zooming and moving your feet. For example, I don't switch from one prime or another to get me closer to the subject, I do it more often to change the perspective of the shot.

In terms of out of focus effects you can play with focal length... like back up and use more telephoto and you'll get shallower depth of field. Technically focal length doesn't affect depth of field but for our practical purposes it does have a noticeable effect.

As for a faster lens... a lens with a wider maximum aperture, and when used at wider apertures, it will let more light in and will give shallower depth of field. The thing with fast lenses is sometimes you might have to use it at f/5.6 or smaller to get adequate depth of field for some shots. Some lenses do nicer things to the out-of-focus areas. Some lenses are "nervous" and some are "creamy". The Nikkor 85mm 1.4 has a reputation for its beautiful rendering of out-of-focus areas. It's good at smaller apertures too. There's a difference between shallow depth of field and the pleasant rendering of out of focus areas we call "bokeh".  But you can get some nice bokeh out of any lens if you're careful with the choice of background.

I'd suggest sticking with what you have until you understand things a little better. A 50mm prime can be a good supplement to what you have in that they can be fast lenses that can be had for relatively little cash. And, as I said, it's good to work with primes so you start to move your feet. On the hand, many people find 50mm on DX a rather useless focal length (75mm equivalent) and prefer the 35mm which, on DX is more a "normal" lens.

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