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ilovepete
05-23-2011, 06:40 PM
Does anyone have any experience with this camera? I have only had P&S but am wanting a DSLR for two reasons. 1 is I want to be able to take multiple pictures per second (to capture lightning quick children!) and still have them come out as good quality pictures and 2 just because I want nice quality pictures. I am not even sure if these are solid reasons for wanting such an upgrade (so would appreciate info on that, too, if I'm mistaken... would just a P&S work for that? if so, which one?). :confused3

I am open to other cameras if anyone has any suggestions. I don't really want to spend a ton of time learning how to use it (simply because I don't think I would be good at it and I just want to take quick pictures not spend time getting it on the right setting). Honestly, I would probably just use the auto setting and rarely, if ever change lenses. I do know how to use graphics programs and probably would do some editing (I do now even on my canon P&S). I am not sure I want to carry around a big camera all the time (I might), but I want the DSLR speed/quality, so that is why I was considering the GF2 since it is small but has OK ratings and seems to work pretty OK for a beginner DSLR. My husband just wants me to go ahead and get the real deal, expensive, well rated Canon or Nikon with the lenses and the works. I'm afraid I may have buyer's remorse about spending so much money on one and not getting the full return out of it since I won't know how to use it. I basically want it for "soccer mom use" if that makes any sense. :rotfl: Or vacations, sometimes food, and some macro uses, that's it.

So, is the GF2 a good pick for the price or should I go with a full size model in another brand, or just stick with a P&S? I don't really have a price range, but I just want good value for my money whether it be $200 or $1200 I am spending.

I'm sorry if this is confusing. I am confused myself! :idea:

Thank you so much to anyone that can help!:flower3:

disneyboy2003
05-23-2011, 10:42 PM
Here's my disclaimer: I've never touched a Panasonic Lumix GF2. I own a Canon dSLR. So keep these in mind when you read my ramblings below. ;)

It sounds like the Lumix GF2 is a pretty good camera. It's considered a "micro 4/3" camera, meaning that the camera's sensor is larger than a typical point-and-shoot camera's tiny tiny sensor (a good thing), but it's slightly smaller than your typical entry-level dSLR's sensor.

In general, a larger sensor will give you better pictures and better low-light performance.

I also like how the Lumix GF2 is a nice, small, compact camera.

The drawback I'd be concerned about is whether you'd want to do more with your camera in the future (ie. whether you'd want to buy different lenses). I know that you say you'd just keep the kit lens on the camera for now. But what if, in the future, you want to take soccer-mom photos of your kids playing football at night? Or if they're in a low-light school play or dance recital?

I looked on Panasonic's Web site (link (http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/index.html)), and looks like they offer 9 different lenses for your camera. Compare that to Canon or Nikon, who offer literally dozens and dozens and dozens of lenses, in addition to 3rd party companies that create even more lenses that fit on Canon & Nikon. You can also consider Sony dSLRs which have dozens of lenses PLUS it fits all the older Minolta lenses, as well. Pentax has a long long LONG history, so any of its legacy lenses also fit on their dSLR cameras.

Believe it or not, plenty of soccer moms out there carry dSLR cameras, and I'll bet that many of them leave it on "Auto" mode without knowing anything else about camera settings, exposure, etc. Camera manufacturers these days KNOW that people want an easy-to-use dSLR camera, so many of the entry-level dSLR cameras are built & marketed this way to the general public.


In the end, I think you & your husband are both right. The Panasonic Lumix seems like a nice upgrade from a typical point-and-shoot camera, and I'm sure you'll do well & take crisp pictures with it. But if you're ever looking to do more with your camera in the future, I think your husband is right: you might consider looking into an entry-level dSLR.

Hope that helps.

ilovepete
05-23-2011, 11:01 PM
Here's my disclaimer: I've never touched a Panasonic Lumix GF2. I own a Canon dSLR. So keep these in mind when you read my ramblings below. ;)

It sounds like the Lumix GF2 is a pretty good camera. It's considered a "micro 4/3" camera, meaning that the camera's sensor is larger than a typical point-and-shoot camera's tiny tiny sensor (a good thing), but it's slightly smaller than your typical entry-level dSLR's sensor.

In general, a larger sensor will give you better pictures and better low-light performance.

I also like how the Lumix GF2 is a nice, small, compact camera.

The drawback I'd be concerned about is whether you'd want to do more with your camera in the future (ie. whether you'd want to buy different lenses). I know that you say you'd just keep the kit lens on the camera for now. But what if, in the future, you want to take soccer-mom photos of your kids playing football at night? Or if they're in a low-light school play or dance recital?

I looked on Panasonic's Web site (link (http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/index.html)), and looks like they offer 9 different lenses for your camera. Compare that to Canon or Nikon, who offer literally dozens and dozens and dozens of lenses, in addition to 3rd party companies that create even more lenses that fit on Canon & Nikon. You can also consider Sony dSLRs which have dozens of lenses PLUS it fits all the older Minolta lenses, as well. Pentax has a long long LONG history, so any of its legacy lenses also fit on their dSLR cameras.

Believe it or not, plenty of soccer moms out there carry dSLR cameras, and I'll bet that many of them leave it on "Auto" mode without knowing anything else about camera settings, exposure, etc. Camera manufacturers these days KNOW that people want an easy-to-use dSLR camera, so many of the entry-level dSLR cameras are built & marketed this way to the general public.


In the end, I think you & your husband are both right. The Panasonic Lumix seems like a nice upgrade from a typical point-and-shoot camera, and I'm sure you'll do well & take crisp pictures with it. But if you're ever looking to do more with your camera in the future, I think your husband is right: you might consider looking into an entry-level dSLR.

Hope that helps.

Thank you! That DOES help and gives me some things to think about. I have been reading more on things since I posted this and think I have a little more info than I did then, but I am still confused. I did read something about a mount adapter for lenses but I have no idea how that would even work or if it would work well if it did work.

I totally see your point with that, though, and it is definitely something to think about as far as drawbacks go. I guess I need to weigh that with the fact that I *know* I wouldn't use it as much with it's size as I would with a MFT camera. But if I chose the DSLR, when I did use it, I would have better pictures and more options.

Thank you again! :goodvibes

topdog
05-23-2011, 11:44 PM
I don't have a GF2 but I do have a GF1. It is basically the same camera with a minor upgrade on functionality. I've carrying my GF1 every day. It's slightly larger than a regular P&S but it does give you a very wide spectrum of camera control.

Low light is decent but you probably won't get the indoor low light result you would hope for. The camera do not have a viewfinder. It rely on the LCD screen. Shooting outdoor with bright light can be challenging at time unless you purchase the live view finder attachment. (An extra $130.)

In short, the GF camera is very close to a regular DSLR performance but not quite there yet. I personally like it very much when I don't want to carry my full size DSLR. It does take very good picture and the image quality is very superb as well.

Here are a couple of picture sample I took with my GF1 at the steam train tour in Magic Kingdom.

http://www.dewlama.com/Public/Photos/Disney/10/Day12/P1010305.jpg

http://www.dewlama.com/Public/Photos/Disney/10/Day12/P1010327.jpg

disneyboy2003
05-24-2011, 12:17 AM
I *know* I wouldn't use it as much with it's size as I would with a MFT camera. But if I chose the DSLR, when I did use it, I would have better pictures and more options.

Thank you again! :goodvibes

I think that's an excellent point you bring up. The best camera for you is the one you'll ACTUALLY use, not the one you spent $$$$$ for & is collecting dust in your closet.

Like I said, sounds like you can't go wrong with the Panasonic Lumix. I'm sure you'll be quite happy with the quality of the pictures is makes.

zackiedawg
05-24-2011, 12:40 AM
I have only had P&S but am wanting a DSLR for two reasons. 1 is I want to be able to take multiple pictures per second (to capture lightning quick children!) and still have them come out as good quality pictures and 2 just because I want nice quality pictures. I am not even sure if these are solid reasons for wanting such an upgrade (so would appreciate info on that, too, if I'm mistaken... would just a P&S work for that?

I am open to other cameras if anyone has any suggestions. I don't really want to spend a ton of time learning how to use it (simply because I don't think I would be good at it and I just want to take quick pictures not spend time getting it on the right setting). Honestly, I would probably just use the auto setting and rarely, if ever change lenses.

Just to clarify one thing to avoid future confusion - the Panasonic model you mention, and in fact all of the micro 4:3 cameras and mirrorless cameras, are not DSLRs. They have much larger sensors than P&S cameras, in some cases even actual DSLR sized sensors, but the way they operate and the internal structure of these cameras is not the same as a DSLR.

The mirrorless cameras - being the Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4:3 line, the Sony NEX APS-C line, and the Samsung NX APS-C line - all have no mirror or pentaprism inside, no optical through-the-lens viewfinders, no phase detect focus systems, among other differences. They can produce image quality up to DSLR level, but cannot match the focus speed, shutter lag speed, battery life, or continuous frame rate of DSLRs. SO while they are excellent camera choices for many people, or as second bodies for DSLR fans, they aren't made for shooting sports games, fast moving children, or fast burst rates. Of course, it doesn't mean you CAN'T shoot these things, just that these aren't the proper tool for the job and will present you with a considerable handicap to overcome.

The decision comes down to whether the additional speed and versatility are worth compromising on the additional weight and bulk of a DSLR, or whether the mirrorless system covers enough of your needs while being the more convenient and portable package.

I'd recommend you strongly take a look at the Panasonic in person if you can - and maybe get your hands on an Olympus model too. Also, try to get your hands on a Sony NEX3 or NEX5 - these have a larger APS-C sensor, with better low light performance at high ISOs, a few really trick features, a tilting hi-res LCD screen, and up to 7 frames per second shooting.

As for the lenses - if you become an enthusiast, and start to get deep into manual photography, the NEX/Micro 4:3 cameras are excellent second bodies for lightweight travel to replace the DSLR or ride alongside it. All of these mirrorless cameras have no mirror and almost no registration distance to the sensor - that means that they can accept any lens of any mount ever made, via very simple adapters (often nothing more than a spacer ring). So while the native lens selection is small, the actual number of lenses you can slap on these cameras numbers in the tens-of-thousands!

If you do decide you need to go the DSLR route to get the faster focus system, accurate AF, faster burst, etc...you might also consider along the other cameras you mentioned, the Sony A55. It's more compact than most DSLRs, has the same phase detect focus, good focus area grid, excellent features, good high ISO, a full APS-C sensor, in-body stabilization, a big electronic viewfinder, tilting/twisting LCD, accepts normal Alpha/Minolta lenses which gives you access to many more lenses, and it can shoot with full focus at a very fast 10 frames per second for those fast kids.

Otherwise, you might also look at Nikon's D5100 and D3100, Canon's T2 and T3, Sony's A550, 560, NEX, and 580, Pentax's KR and KX, Olympus' EP-L2, and the afformentioned Panasonic.

ilovepete
05-24-2011, 08:55 AM
Thank you! You all are SOOO helpful!

One of my main concerns and even the reason I'm considering a P&S upgrade is the shutter lag speed and continuous shooting. That is really something I am trying to improve. So, if the GF2 doesn't do that, it may not be what I need. This is where I just can't decide!

Is there somewhere that will tell me the exact comparisons for these, like a link? I found some... one says the GF2 shutter speed range is 60 - 1/4000 where as the D7000 for instance is 30 - 1/8000. I get that the D7000 is better, but I have no idea what that *really* means, you know? Or does that even have anything to do with LAG time, is that something else? Is there somewhere I can go to find out what that means (or does anyone know how to explain it to a newbie?). Or is there somewhere that compares it in seconds so I can mentally compare better? I've done some searches but I'm not really coming up with something that is super clear.

Thanks you all are great. And I REALLY appreciate the sample pictures, too, that helps! :)

ilovepete
05-24-2011, 09:33 AM
OK just did some more reading... I get the numbers I mentioned above have nothing to do with lag time. Whoops! But still can't find somewhere that is comparing lag times of what I want to see. I have found a few things for instance 238 ms vs 337 ms for the GF2 vs D7000, but I'm still not sure exactly what that means or what the difference would mean for me trying to snap a pic of a running kid. If anyone could help me out there I would really appreciate it. :)

For now I was just using these to try to compare (I'm still open to others, I just tried to pick a few from each range to get a variety)...

Canon EOS 1100D

Canon EOS 600D

Nikon D7000

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

photo_chick
05-24-2011, 09:51 AM
Thank you! You all are SOOO helpful!

One of my main concerns and even the reason I'm considering a P&S upgrade is the shutter lag speed and continuous shooting. That is really something I am trying to improve. So, if the GF2 doesn't do that, it may not be what I need. This is where I just can't decide!

Is there somewhere that will tell me the exact comparisons for these, like a link? I found some... one says the GF2 shutter speed range is 60 - 1/4000 where as the D7000 for instance is 30 - 1/8000. I get that the D7000 is better, but I have no idea what that *really* means, you know? Or does that even have anything to do with LAG time, is that something else? Is there somewhere I can go to find out what that means (or does anyone know how to explain it to a newbie?). Or is there somewhere that compares it in seconds so I can mentally compare better? I've done some searches but I'm not really coming up with something that is super clear.

Thanks you all are great. And I REALLY appreciate the sample pictures, too, that helps! :)

Those numbers, the 60-1/4000 type range, that's the actual shutter speed range. As you've found out already it doesn't have anything to do with lag at all. Both those ranges would be fine, I personally rarely find myself needing to go above 1/2000 myself.

Shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open for the exposure. It's one of the variables we adjust to get the exposure how we want in the camera. We use slower shutter speeds, where the shutter is open longer, to intentionally blur things. And faster shutter speeds, where the shutter is open for less time, are used to freeze action. When I explain it to my kids I tell them to look at a ceiling fan and blink really fast. See how when you do that the fan looks like it stops.. that's what a fast shutter speed does. And when you leave your eyes open you can see the movement of the fan. That's like a slow shutter speed. Only with photography we see the movement as motion blur in the image.

as far as the milliseconds of lag time.... every camera has lag. Film cameras had lag, it just was so little we really didn't notice it. The only way, IMO, to realistically know if it's more lag than you want is to go to the store and try out that camera.

zackiedawg
05-24-2011, 09:54 AM
Well the mirrorless cameras are all going to be better than most P&S cameras as far as shutter lag and focus speed, but typically fall just a bit behind DSLRs. The primary difference in speed is with the focus systems - the contrast-detect focus systems the mirrorless cameras use can be nearly as fast in good light, and very very accurate, but slows considerably as the light gets a little dimmer. The phase-detect focus systems in DSLRs is about as fast as you can get, and holds up better and longer as the light gets lower, though this is partially dependent on the lens you are using. Also, phase detect focus systems have a much superior ability to track a moving object, not only around the frame, but continuing to keep focus as an object gets closer or farther from you...this is something the mirrorless systems and P&S cameras still can't replicate.

I use both a mirrorless camera and a DSLR, so I'm very familiar with both. And I love them both. I do know there are things about the mirrorless that the DSLR can't do (portability and size!) while there are clearly types of photography where the DSLR remains king (moving action subjects, low light focus, tracking focus, long lenses).

For most average use, people could use either style of camera and never reallynotice any differences - to be honest and realistic, most people never push a camera's limits very far, and most people's cameras can do far more than the person is capable of. The one area I would say the DSLR may have the edge over the mirrorless for you is if you intend to do a lot of photography indoors of running children or low light indoor sports of the kids...the mirrorless systems could get a few good shots if you knew how to master them, or if you learned manual focus, but relying on mostly auto settings the DSLR would have an edge. For most average shooting and travel/fun shots, there won't be a big difference. I can get the same quality of shots from my Sony NEX as I can from my Sony A550...I just can't always get the same types of shots, or the DSLR can make it much easier to get certain types of shots.

disneyboy2003
05-24-2011, 09:54 AM
Thank you! You all are SOOO helpful!

One of my main concerns and even the reason I'm considering a P&S upgrade is the shutter lag speed and continuous shooting. That is really something I am trying to improve. So, if the GF2 doesn't do that, it may not be what I need. This is where I just can't decide!

Is there somewhere that will tell me the exact comparisons for these, like a link? I found some... one says the GF2 shutter speed range is 60 - 1/4000 where as the D7000 for instance is 30 - 1/8000. I get that the D7000 is better, but I have no idea what that *really* means, you know? Or does that even have anything to do with LAG time, is that something else? Is there somewhere I can go to find out what that means (or does anyone know how to explain it to a newbie?). Or is there somewhere that compares it in seconds so I can mentally compare better? I've done some searches but I'm not really coming up with something that is super clear.

Thanks you all are great. And I REALLY appreciate the sample pictures, too, that helps! :)

First of all, shutter speed is shutter speed. It doesn't matter what camera you're talking about, the speed of the shutter is the same. Shutter speed describes the time that the shutter opens, lets the light into the camera, then closes. For example, for a shutter speed of 1/100 sec, the shutter does all that stuff in 1/100 sec.

You typically use a fast shutter speed for fast-moving subjects, like in sports. Fast shutter speeds "freeze" your subject in the photo.

On the other hand, you use slow shutter speeds for a variety of reasons. But ultimately, slow shutter speeds allow more time for light to come into the camera. You might use slow shutter speeds for night / low-light photography. You might use slow shutter speeds when you're using a small aperture in landscape photography.

Shutter speed is an important concept in photography. As you may have already learned in an Intro to Photography class/book, it's one of the 3 components in creating a proper exposure of a photo: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.


Sounds like what you're actually concerned about is the shutter lag, or the time it takes from the press of the button until the photo is taken. dSLR cameras have pretty instantaneous shutter lag. On the Canon T3i, for example, the shutter lag time is 0.16 - 0.28 seconds. That's about the time it takes for a blink of an eye. On the other hand, the shutter lag time for the Panasonic Lumix GF2 is about 0.34 seconds.

The other thing you might be concerned about is the shot-to-shot cycle time. That's the time it takes for the camera to take 2 successive photos, one right after the other. For the Canon T3i, the cycle time is 0.4 seconds (about 2 1/2 photos per second, if you press the button fast enough). If you set it in continuous burst mode, you can get 3.6 frames per second.

On the Panasonic Lumix GF2, the cycle time is 0.72 seconds (or, 1 1/2 shots per second, if you press the button fast enough). If you set the camera to continuous burst mode, you can take 2.6 frames per second.

I got all these numbers from Imaging-Resource.com (link (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCGF2/DMCGF2A6.HTM)).

Even though I used the Canon T3i as an example, I believe that those times are typical of other entry-level dSLRs. It looks like the delay times for the Panasonic Lumix GF2 are faster than a typical point-and-shoot camera's, but a little slower than a typical dSLR's. (on a different thread, I gave sample numbers for a point-and-shoot camera, which showed how much much slower point-and-shoot cameras are compared to dSLRs)

For continuous burst rate, I personally like it when a camera can do 5 frames per second or faster, especially for sports. YMMV.

Hope that helps with your comparison.

disneyboy2003
05-24-2011, 09:59 AM
When I explain it to my kids I tell them to look at a ceiling fan and blink really fast. See how when you do that the fan looks like it stops.. that's what a fast shutter speed does. And when you leave your eyes open you can see the movement of the fan. That's like a slow shutter speed.

That's a really nice way of explaining shutter speed! :thumbsup2

Now, I've got to stop staring at my ceiling fan. :3dglasses

ilovepete
05-24-2011, 10:31 AM
Thank you thank you thank you! I can't thank you guys enough. I feel like I've learned more from you guys in a reading this thread than everything I've ever known about cameras my whole life (and in doing my own research the last few days). :goodvibes I really appreciate it.

Thanks to you guys, now I know the most important things to me (in order, I think) are shutter lag/cycle time, weight & size of camera, photo quality and additional add-ons that I would need. Photo Quality is a bit lower on the list than shuttle lag and weight and size for me because for me since for most of my uses even my P&S is OK (though sometimes I am longing for more, like when I end up needing to crop a photo and it gets really grainy looking), it's just I am missing pics because of shutter lag, mainly. And I know I won't have it with me if the camera is too big to carry around with me all the time so that is where the weight and size comes in. I don't expect to be taking many night time photos right now but I do like that option because I'm sure as my kids get older that will change. I guess low light indoors though I do need. We were at a concert the other night and I was so frustrated trying to get pictures.

Now one more thing about lenses. If I buy the GF2 - any idea what *additional* lenses I would need to buy, just for beginning? How about say the T3i (since that one was mentioned), which lenses would I need to get right off the bat? Or D7000? I am just trying to figure out what additional costs I'm going to have in addition to the body and the lenses that comes with the camera to figure out exactly what I'd like my budget to be (though honestly, budget isn't as big of a concern to me as all the other factors). I see the mm numbers on the lenses but don't really know which ones would work the best for just a pretty much auto focus use. For now I'd like to just have ONE to take around with me, with option to add in the future. If the one I need doesn't come with the camera, I definitely want to know that now as opposed to after I get it. :) So I guess I'm asking, does the number one lens I need come with these cameras? If not, which one would a need to buy first? And which one would you buy next, if it were you?

Again, thank you guys so much, I really cannot say thank you enough. You all are wonderful and your advice has been invaluable so far! Thank you all for taking the time out of your day to help me. :flower3:

Khokhonutt
05-24-2011, 11:31 AM
Just to bring one other idea to the table, in regards to the fast kids and stuff. Consider how much video would allow you to capture what you want of the kids.

I'm a recent convert from a full size DSLR to one of the Sony NEX-5s. While I loved what my DSLR could do, I just found lugging the large camera and extra lenses and such didn't work for me.

One of the features I've been very pleasantly surprised with is the video capability of my NEX. I'm not familiar with the other micro 4/3s, I suspect they may shoot video. My NEX shoots HD video and I love it, especially when dealing with our new puppy. I've gotten a few still shots of him, but the video has been really fun.

Consider how much a mixture of video and still might help.

boBQuincy
05-24-2011, 01:12 PM
First of all, shutter speed is shutter speed. It doesn't matter what camera you're talking about, the speed of the shutter is the same.

Yes... but not always. Almost all SLR cameras have focal plane shutters, many with a fastest speed of about 1/200 second. How the camera makers get faster speeds is to move a narrow slit across the opening at a speed of 1/200 so the overall exposure is less (say 10% of the sensor is exposed at one time for 1/200 so the equivalent exposure is 1/2000).

Other cameras may use a leaf shutter or an electronic shutter. You are correct in that no matter which shutter is used the exposure value is the same but the means of getting there is different. The resulting image can be different too.

To use the ceiling fan analogy if we use a focal plane shutter to take a photo of a ceiling fan that is moving fast enough across the frame (while the shutter travels vertically) the image of the blades may be slanted since the blades are not in the same position throughout the exposure. This can make for some interesting effects and could be used to accentuate motion.

Btw, the Lumix GF2 is shown as having a focal plane shutter.

Revan
05-24-2011, 06:49 PM
Here are a couple of picture sample I took with my GF1 at the steam train tour in Magic Kingdom.

http://www.dewlama.com/Public/Photos/Disney/10/Day12/P1010305.jpg

http://www.dewlama.com/Public/Photos/Disney/10/Day12/P1010327.jpg

Hi Topdog - your shots look great - but are they HDR's or did you do any post-processing. Interesting images if they came straight out of the camera.

disneyboy2003
05-24-2011, 10:42 PM
Now one more thing about lenses. If I buy the GF2 - any idea what *additional* lenses I would need to buy, just for beginning? How about say the T3i (since that one was mentioned), which lenses would I need to get right off the bat? Or D7000? I am just trying to figure out what additional costs I'm going to have in addition to the body and the lenses that comes with the camera to figure out exactly what I'd like my budget to be (though honestly, budget isn't as big of a concern to me as all the other factors). I see the mm numbers on the lenses but don't really know which ones would work the best for just a pretty much auto focus use. For now I'd like to just have ONE to take around with me, with option to add in the future. If the one I need doesn't come with the camera, I definitely want to know that now as opposed to after I get it. :) So I guess I'm asking, does the number one lens I need come with these cameras? If not, which one would a need to buy first? And which one would you buy next, if it were you?


The "mm numbers" that you see on the lenses is the focal length of the lens. The smaller the focal length (ie. smaller "mm" number), the wider the view. The larger the focal length (ie. larger "mm" number), the more telephoto the view.

In general, a focal length of about 35-70mm is considered "normal view." If the focal length is less than 35mm, it's considered "wide angle view." If the focal length is greater than 70mm, it's considered "telephoto view." These aren't absolute numbers, but just generalities. This is how cambridgeincolour.com classifies focal lengths (link (http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-lenses.htm)). Other Web sites or books may differ slightly in these definitions.

If you were to buy an entry-level dSLR (like the Canon T3i, for example), it usually comes with a "kit lens" already. The kit lens's focal length is typically 18-55mm. As you can see, it covers a range from wide angle to normal view. This would be your everyday, walkaround lens.

What if you need/want a telephoto lens? If you're starting out, you've got plenty of options for beginner telephoto lenses. You could try the 55-250mm lens. You could try the 75-300mm lens. If you try Costco, they're usually good at bundling a dSLR body + 2 lenses (a kit lens & a telephoto lens).


You could also buy a Canon T3i whose kit lens is the 18-135mm lens. With this lens, you'd cover the entire spectrum from wide angle to normal view to telephoto. Anything beyond 135mm, you'd need to buy a separate lens for.


Or, you could just purchase a dSLR camera body and purchase an all-in-one lens separately. For example, you'd buy just the Canon T3i body (without lens), and then buy an 18-200mm lens. This lens covers the entire range from wide angle to normal to telephoto! Third-party manufacturers, such as Sigma and Tamron, make 18-250mm and 18-270mm lenses, respectively!


There's more to evaluating lenses, however, than just looking at their focal lengths and their prices. I, personally, also look at the maximum aperture of a lens. The aperture is the f-number, which describes the size of the "hole" that lets light into the camera. It seems counterintuitive, but a large aperture is represented by a small f-number (like f/2 or f/2.8). A small aperture is represented by a large f-number (like f/16 or f/22).

For low-light and sports photography, I personally try to look for lenses with large maximum apertures. However, zoom lenses with large maximum apertures come at a price...often, a very expensive price. However, for everyday use like in the daytime outdoors, a large maximum aperture doesn't matter as much, and you can get by using a regular kit lens for your everyday use.


No matter what combination of lenses you end up buying, there is 1 other lens that you MUST get. It's the 50mm f/1.8 lens. Why? Because the large aperture of f/1.8 lets a LOT of light into the camera, making it excellent for low-light photography. The large f/1.8 aperture also blurs the background, giving you a nice introduction to portrait photography. You know how I said that large aperture lenses are usually very expensive? This is the ONE lens that breaks that rule. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens is $125. That's a relatively cheap price for all the "expensive" features it opens up for you. (back when I started dSLR photography 5 years ago, this lens was $80)


As you can see, there are plenty of entry-level lens options if you purchase a dSLR. I think a great majority of beginning photographers start off with the kit lens (the 18-55mm lens) and maybe a telephoto lens. From there, if you need additional lenses, your shooting style will tell you what additional lens(es) you'll need.

Hope that helps! :)

ilovepete
05-25-2011, 10:02 AM
The "mm numbers" that you see on the lenses is the focal length of the lens. The smaller the focal length (ie. smaller "mm" number), the wider the view. The larger the focal length (ie. larger "mm" number), the more telephoto the view.

In general, a focal length of about 35-70mm is considered "normal view." If the focal length is less than 35mm, it's considered "wide angle view." If the focal length is greater than 70mm, it's considered "telephoto view." These aren't absolute numbers, but just generalities. This is how cambridgeincolour.com classifies focal lengths (link (http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-lenses.htm)). Other Web sites or books may differ slightly in these definitions.

If you were to buy an entry-level dSLR (like the Canon T3i, for example), it usually comes with a "kit lens" already. The kit lens's focal length is typically 18-55mm. As you can see, it covers a range from wide angle to normal view. This would be your everyday, walkaround lens.

What if you need/want a telephoto lens? If you're starting out, you've got plenty of options for beginner telephoto lenses. You could try the 55-250mm lens. You could try the 75-300mm lens. If you try Costco, they're usually good at bundling a dSLR body + 2 lenses (a kit lens & a telephoto lens).


You could also buy a Canon T3i whose kit lens is the 18-135mm lens. With this lens, you'd cover the entire spectrum from wide angle to normal view to telephoto. Anything beyond 135mm, you'd need to buy a separate lens for.


Or, you could just purchase a dSLR camera body and purchase an all-in-one lens separately. For example, you'd buy just the Canon T3i body (without lens), and then buy an 18-200mm lens. This lens covers the entire range from wide angle to normal to telephoto! Third-party manufacturers, such as Sigma and Tamron, make 18-250mm and 18-270mm lenses, respectively!


There's more to evaluating lenses, however, than just looking at their focal lengths and their prices. I, personally, also look at the maximum aperture of a lens. The aperture is the f-number, which describes the size of the "hole" that lets light into the camera. It seems counterintuitive, but a large aperture is represented by a small f-number (like f/2 or f/2.8). A small aperture is represented by a large f-number (like f/16 or f/22).

For low-light and sports photography, I personally try to look for lenses with large maximum apertures. However, zoom lenses with large maximum apertures come at a price...often, a very expensive price. However, for everyday use like in the daytime outdoors, a large maximum aperture doesn't matter as much, and you can get by using a regular kit lens for your everyday use.


No matter what combination of lenses you end up buying, there is 1 other lens that you MUST get. It's the 50mm f/1.8 lens. Why? Because the large aperture of f/1.8 lets a LOT of light into the camera, making it excellent for low-light photography. The large f/1.8 aperture also blurs the background, giving you a nice introduction to portrait photography. You know how I said that large aperture lenses are usually very expensive? This is the ONE lens that breaks that rule. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens is $125. That's a relatively cheap price for all the "expensive" features it opens up for you. (back when I started dSLR photography 5 years ago, this lens was $80)


As you can see, there are plenty of entry-level lens options if you purchase a dSLR. I think a great majority of beginning photographers start off with the kit lens (the 18-55mm lens) and maybe a telephoto lens. From there, if you need additional lenses, your shooting style will tell you what additional lens(es) you'll need.

Hope that helps! :)
Thank you! That really does help a lot, probably more than you know. :goodvibes