Zoom distances explanation

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Don Manning, May 7, 2006.

  1. Don Manning

    Don Manning Guest

    I was wondering if anyone could give me a breakdown on what distances are
    good for what lenses.

    Currently I have:


    I am wanting to purchase the 100-400 next, and have even looked at lenses
    with a range of 800mm. The smaller lenses would be used by my wife for
    photography, but I need the larger lenses for use in private investigation
    and such. I think my next purchase is going to be an image stabilization

    Thank you,
    Don Manning, May 7, 2006
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  2. Don Manning

    cat Guest

    Are you using film or digital, because the focal length is different on
    the same lens depending on that, If you shoot digital (not full frame
    sensor), your 50mm lens is actually an 80mm focal length lens (size of
    sensor vs. film you see).

    The 'standard' kit I see proposed in photo magazines and so on say a
    decent wide-angle lens, a standard zoom (your 18-55mm), a decent
    telephoto zoom (the 75-300mm) and a macro (is your 50mm a macro? - I
    read a decent length is 100mm as it can also be used for great
    portraits - I recently got the Nikkor 60mm micro that on my digital is
    equivalent to 90mm). Of course, that is for your average 'art'
    photographer, not a PI!

    I would say if you are considering such a long zoom for private
    investigation where you haven't got the time, space or privacy to set
    up a tripod image stabilization is essential.

    cat, May 7, 2006
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  3. Don Manning

    Pat Guest

    All lenses are good at almost all distances. It isn't the distance
    that determines the use of a lens, it's then magnification that does.

    For example, a 50mm lens could be used to shoot pictures inside a house
    or used to shoot the broad expanse of the Grand Canyon.

    In general, lens in the 50mm range are considered "normal" and are a
    good, general lens. 18-55 would be a wide angle zoom on a film camera
    but a pretty normal zoom on most digital cameras.

    75-300 mm is a common range of a telephoto zoom. It's pretty handy to
    have around. Larger lenses get bulky.

    Once you get beyond that, size gets bigger is a hurry, especially if
    you need a fast lens (low f-stop). You don't want to carry a 300 mm
    f.2 lens around just for the heck of it.

    With a 300 mm on a digitial, it is effectively around a 450mm on most
    cameras. That's a pretty big telephoto.

    Remember, that your minimum shutter speed for holding it by hand is the
    inverse of the lense size. So a 450mm lens needs at 1/500 shutter
    speed. If you are shooting digital and bet a 800 mm lens that is
    effectively a 1200 mm lens, you need to shoot at a minimum of 1/1250th
    of a second. So you need good light. So you pretty much need a
    monopod or a tripod because you want to shoot slower. Stabilization
    will help some.

    Also, you might not be able to shoot a lens that big out of a car, if
    it is idling. It will vibrate too much. The good news is that they
    make mounts where you roll your window down and put the mount on the
    door, to use as a tripod.
    Pat, May 7, 2006
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