Jul 21, 2011

choosing your first "pro" glass!

First... let me say that I am NOT an expert on lenses, and I am certainly not claiming to be one here.  What I do know is that when you are starting out in photography, the expenses can sure add up.  You need a good, reliable, sharp, fast piece of glass that you can start out with.  Many people choose to use a fixed focal length or "prime" lens for this purpose, and a great choice for ANY photographer is the "nifty fifty"... the 50mm f1.8 lens of your chosen brand.  Whether you are Canon or Nikon, each manufacturer makes a nifty fifty that will serve you well.  They are small, light, inexpensive and very sharp.  Because they have an f1.8 aperture, they let in loads of light and are great for lower light conditions, or when you want to blur out the background when shooting a portrait.  They are a great starting point for your lens collection.

However... the 50mm lens can be limited and you will need to use your feet to "zoom".  This is actually a fantastic way to improve your composition skills, but we'll save that for another post.  :)

So... suppose you just want a good zoom lens?  There are lots of choices out there, but I'm going to talk here about what remains my all time favorite go-to lens.  The Tamron 28-75 f2.8.  There, I said it.  I use and adore several third-party lenses.  Bet you cant tell from my photos though, can you???  The Tamron is my favorite focal length for portraits, and I love it so much you'd have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.  LOL!  But seriously, there's no way I would ever give it up.  I loved it on my Nikon D300, with its smaller sensor, and I love it even MORE on my full frame D700.  Its simply an amazing lens.  This lens delivers seriously sharp images, even wide open at f2.8.  Many lenses need to be "stopped down" (using a higher # f-stop, i.e. f3.2)  but I shoot this one at 2.8 quite a bit and love the results I get.  Its a well-built, professional lens that feels nice and solid.  Some would argue that the Nikon version of this lens, which is a 24-70 focal length and costs three times the price is "better".   It may very well be, especially if you're  a "pixel peeper", but I dare you to really, honestly, see the difference in real world use.  The Nikon is also much heavier, which is a consideration for someone like me with hand and wrist issues.  So I guess the point I am trying to make is to choose your lenses wisely, but know that there are excellent alternatives out there to the super expensive "name brand" glass. 

To illustrate my point, here's an example from a recent session.  This is shot on my D700 with the Tamron lens, aperture f2.8, shutter speed 1/200, iso 400.  You be the judge!

and here's a 100% crop of the eye...

And a full body shot at f2.8. Just look at the beautiful background blur...

and stopped down to f3.5... look at those lashes!

If you've read this far... thank you!  I'm sure there are some who will say negative things about this and other third-party lenses.  I say give them a chance.  If you hate it you can return it, but you may be pleasantly surprised (and save a bundle of cash).  If you'd like more information, leave me a message in the comments and I'll do my best to answer you!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...