Before "what lens to get"

Started Dec 17, 2005 | Discussions
balloonchasers Veteran Member • Posts: 3,189
Before "what lens to get"
3

One of the most common questions found on this forum is “what lens to get?”. Often this question is asked by someone who describes themselves as new to dslr or awaiting the arrival of their newly purchased camera. I would like to make the following suggestions before someone considers purchasing a new lens to replace the kit lens:

1. Experiment with the kit lens. Find out what it is capable of. This lens will amaze you with what it can do if only given the opportunity.
2. Take pictures at all zoom levels, f-stops, and shutter speeds.

3. Discover the relationships between the variables listed in #2. Learn how to expose an image differently by altering one variable and then another.

4. Try taking the same picture with different ISO settings. See how f-stop and shutter speeds are affected by different ISO settings.
5. Use each of the different program modes found on your camera.

6. Intentionally underexpose or overexpose an image to create a feeling that you want to convey to the viewer of your picture.

7. Experiment with bokeh and use it in a creative manner. Yes, the kit lens is capable of bokeh!

8. Set your lens to a zoom level and leave it there all day long. Practice zooming with your legs.

9. Spend an entire day with the lens set on manual focus. Learn how to focus without relying upon the automatic focus feature.

10. Take some pictures at slow shutter speeds (handheld and on a tripod). Learn at what shutter speed you can no longer hold the camera steady enough to take a shake free image. Create a feeling of motion in an image that you would like to hang on your wall. Slow a waterfall down until the water looks like slow moving fog. YES, the kit lens is capable of all this.
11. Take some pictures at fast shutter speeds. Stop action in mid air.

12. Take pictures in the bulb mode. Star trails, automobile taillights, ghost images, and fireworks are all great opportunities to create an image you would be proud to share with others. Yes, the kit lens can do all this too.
13. Capture an image of a lightening bolt.

14. Take a picture of the moon. Not a close up of the moon, but a landscape picture which includes the moon.

15. Try panning. Fast moving vehicles or an athlete at a sporting event are great subjects to practice the technique of panning.
16. Take some pictures of water drops until you get one that you want to print.
17. Take some portraits of your friends.
18. Take some candids of your friends.
19. Ask 10 strangers if you can take their picture.

20. Take some self-portraits of yourself. Find one that you would like to share with others.

21. Try taking some pictures of items close up. You may not be taking true macros, but you will be amazed at what the kit lens can do.

22. Go downtown at night and take some exposures without the flash. Learn to use the available light.

23. Be thankful that Canon gave you an onboard flash. Learn how to use it. Try using a coffee filter/tissue to soften the flash’s effect or an index card to create a bounce effect.

24. Take pictures in the middle of the day. Learn how shadows can create a mood.

25. Catch yourself knelling on one knee to capture an image. The best angle is not always found standing up.
26. Make someone laugh with a picture you took.
27. Make someone pause and reflect with a picture you took.

28. Practice using your software program that you process your images with. This is your darkroom, learn how to make most of it.

29. Visit someone else’s online photo gallery. Find an image you like and see how close you can imitate it.

30. Look through a magazine. Find a picture you like and see if you can imitate it as well.

31. Print these suggestions out and highlight those that you have not done with the kit lens. Do those that you highlighted.

Once you have followed these suggestions and others you will discover along the way, ask yourself what you enjoyed the most, what you would like to do more of, what would you like to do easier, differently, or in another way. Then you can begin to answer the question, “what lens should I get”.

hbx2004 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,162
Very good (nt)

Bogdan
--
My pictures are my memories
http://freeweb.siol.net/hrastni3/

antidote Veteran Member • Posts: 7,268
second that....should be a sticky for the forum (nt)
gsbrooks Regular Member • Posts: 178
Re: Before "what lens to get"

and find out if your local council runs a course (The London of Bromley does and if they do, as the council that prides itself on spending the least in London...) on basic photography and using light. If its like Bromley's course it will be run by a mildly eccentric mature individual who has the patience of a saint and structures your way through all of these area, the majority of which can be very easy to get wrong. They will probably be anti-digital but you cant have everything!

OP balloonchasers Veteran Member • Posts: 3,189
Re: second that....should be a sticky for the forum (nt)

antidote - you should get the credit (blame) for giving me the courage to make this post. I have been a look time viewer but began thinking about this subject a few days ago. Read one of your posts yesterday and decided it was time. Not a bad day at work but maybe the head cold I have!

What other suggestions would anyone like to add?

John

Griffon_Tr Contributing Member • Posts: 569
Re: second that....should be a sticky for the forum (nt)

This is truly a great post! I am about to buy my first dSLR (moving up from a Powershot S1 IS) and this post got me excited about how much I can do with the 350D and kit lens. Most of these things, I haven't done with my digicam yet (which I've had since February.)

Thanks!
--
'Open the Gates, and Bid Them Enter.'

maxboost83 Forum Member • Posts: 76
bravo

this should be sticky'ed for all the newbs

hd44104410 Junior Member • Posts: 36
Great

Thanx a lot!

Mark Whigham Regular Member • Posts: 417
Superb advice, before everyone gets "L" fever.
-- hide signature --

'I am not young enough to know everything.'
Oscar Wilde

jpsbuk Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Before "what lens to get"

I had to bump this as it's such a brilliant post

Jon
--
Newbee DSLR user .. go easy on me
http://www.pbase.com/jpsbuk/

CJ in CA Senior Member • Posts: 2,362
Thanks - I need this!(nt)
-- hide signature --

CJ

'But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat. 'We’re all mad here'
Lewis Carroll - Author, Mathematician, Photographer

Moseswu Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: Before "what lens to get"

Thankyou for your recommendation on chosen a len.

M. Anthony Regular Member • Posts: 284
Good post. (n/t)

M. Anthony

 M. Anthony's gear list:M. Anthony's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 5DS
rbhun Regular Member • Posts: 285
Re: Before "what lens to get"

I have this camera for 16 months.

1 done
2 done
3 done (can this be done?)
4 done
5 done
6 done a few but not enough
7 done a few but not enough
8 NOT done, a very good idea!
9 done a few but not enough
10 done
11 just one or two. not really my style
12 done a few but not enough
13 not done, cant wait!
14 not done, cant wait!
15 done a few but not enough
16 NOT done
17 done
18 done
19 done
20 NOT done, but planning to do
21 done a few
22 done a few
23 done
24 done
25 done
26 NOT done
27 done
28 done
29 done
30 done

this is my summary after this lot of time. I know what I want from a lens, and I haven't asked anybody when bought my last one (Sigma 28-70 f/2,8, perfectly happy with it!). i also bought an expensive flash, lightmeter, etc. So this means that if you have done only the half of this, you will know what to buy next...

thank you very much for this list! there is a lot more (I will add 'dragging the shutter', 'using reflectors' or 'cheap off-camera flash', 'make some pics where only a body part fills the screen, like an eye, ear or stomach', 'experience with DOF', 'play with your WB setting', 'use a polarizer', etc.).

cheers
rb

1. Experiment with the kit lens. Find out what it is capable of.
This lens will amaze you with what it can do if only given the
opportunity.
2. Take pictures at all zoom levels, f-stops, and shutter speeds.
3. Discover the relationships between the variables listed in #2.
Learn how to expose an image differently by altering one variable
and then another.
4. Try taking the same picture with different ISO settings. See
how f-stop and shutter speeds are affected by different ISO
settings.
5. Use each of the different program modes found on your camera.
6. Intentionally underexpose or overexpose an image to create a
feeling that you want to convey to the viewer of your picture.
7. Experiment with bokeh and use it in a creative manner. Yes, the
kit lens is capable of bokeh!
8. Set your lens to a zoom level and leave it there all day long.
Practice zooming with your legs.
9. Spend an entire day with the lens set on manual focus. Learn
how to focus without relying upon the automatic focus feature.
10. Take some pictures at slow shutter speeds (handheld and on a
tripod). Learn at what shutter speed you can no longer hold the
camera steady enough to take a shake free image. Create a feeling
of motion in an image that you would like to hang on your wall.
Slow a waterfall down until the water looks like slow moving fog.
YES, the kit lens is capable of all this.
11. Take some pictures at fast shutter speeds. Stop action in mid
air.
12. Take pictures in the bulb mode. Star trails, automobile
taillights, ghost images, and fireworks are all great opportunities
to create an image you would be proud to share with others. Yes,
the kit lens can do all this too.
13. Capture an image of a lightening bolt.
14. Take a picture of the moon. Not a close up of the moon, but a
landscape picture which includes the moon.
15. Try panning. Fast moving vehicles or an athlete at a sporting
event are great subjects to practice the technique of panning.
16. Take some pictures of water drops until you get one that you
want to print.
17. Take some portraits of your friends.
18. Take some candids of your friends.
19. Ask 10 strangers if you can take their picture.
20. Take some self-portraits of yourself. Find one that you would
like to share with others.
21. Try taking some pictures of items close up. You may not be
taking true macros, but you will be amazed at what the kit lens can
do.
22. Go downtown at night and take some exposures without the flash.
Learn to use the available light.
23. Be thankful that Canon gave you an onboard flash. Learn how to
use it. Try using a coffee filter/tissue to soften the flash’s
effect or an index card to create a bounce effect.
24. Take pictures in the middle of the day. Learn how shadows can
create a mood.
25. Catch yourself knelling on one knee to capture an image. The
best angle is not always found standing up.
26. Make someone laugh with a picture you took.
27. Make someone pause and reflect with a picture you took.
28. Practice using your software program that you process your
images with. This is your darkroom, learn how to make most of it.
29. Visit someone else’s online photo gallery. Find an image you
like and see how close you can imitate it.
30. Look through a magazine. Find a picture you like and see if you
can imitate it as well.
31. Print these suggestions out and highlight those that you have
not done with the kit lens. Do those that you highlighted.

Once you have followed these suggestions and others you will
discover along the way, ask yourself what you enjoyed the most,
what you would like to do more of, what would you like to do
easier, differently, or in another way. Then you can begin to
answer the question, “what lens should I get”.

Numfar Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Before "what lens to get"

Brilliant post. I second the call for a sticky.
--
A picture's worth a thousand dollars (if you're shooting with L glass).

Ace Regular Member • Posts: 159
Re: Before "what lens to get"

Ssssuper post.

One should address ones needs before ones wants.

-- hide signature --

=Ace=
=Canon 350D=
=Canon 50 f1.4=
=c21oo=
http://www.pbase.com/ace

Eric Senior Member • Posts: 1,781
Very, very good.

Don't buy a new lens until you find photos you can see in your mind, but the lens is physically incapable of capturing. The kit lens is a cheap way to figure out where your lens path should start and what direction it should take.

  • Eric

TsunamiFury Senior Member • Posts: 1,109
Second, third, and forth that
-- hide signature --

Cliche statements don't strike my fancy.

macshark Senior Member • Posts: 2,848
Re: Before "what lens to get"

Excellent

Burlof Contributing Member • Posts: 626
Re: Before "what lens to get"

That's a great post. Thanks for all that!

I still haven't built up the courage to ask a stranger to take their photo. Really want to do that but want to capture them going about their business without being aware of the camera because that's what normally attracts my attention to someone. But once you ask they become aware. If you dont ask they may become hysterical lol.

-- hide signature --

Michelle
---------------------------------
Through my Lens
http://canon350.blogspot.com/

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