There are very few decisions in photography more personal than picking a set of lenses to use. With the incredible number of options available – no matter which brand of camera you use – it can seem impossible to find the right lenses for your needs. Personally, I have switched out my entire lens kit at least four times in the past four years, and many photographers have done so even more often than that! There are no perfect answers for someone looking for what lenses to buy, but I hope that the tips in this article can shed some light on some of the variables that you need to consider for a set of lenses, whether you use Nikon, Canon, Sony, or any other lens manufacturer.
For the past couple years, I have thought of myself primarily as a “telephoto” landscape photographer. A majority of scenes that catch my attention look best with a telephoto lens, and I tend to keep a 105mm or 70-200mm on my camera most of the time. However, a recent trip to Zion and Death Valley National Parks changed my mind.
When photographers talk about diffraction, they are referring to the fact that a photograph grows progressively less sharp at small aperture values – f/16, f/22, and so on. As you stop down your lens to such small apertures, the finest detail in your photographs will begin to blur. With good reason, this effect can worry beginning photographers. However, if you understand how diffraction impacts your photographs, you can make educated decisions and take the sharpest possible photographs in the field.
This week I have been heavily working on keeping our lens database up to date. With so many lens announcements coming out from different manufacturers, keeping the database current has been a challenge, since it takes quite a bit of time to add all the relevant information. Big thanks to everyone who has been sending feedback, requests and recommendations to improve our lens database. We want to make it the best and the most complete database in the world and everything we build today will be hugely beneficial for current and future readers of the site. This is why we need your help today! By letting us know about the missing lenses, errors and inconsistencies, you will be joining our efforts in compiling a great source of public information. But before that, let me first shed some light on some of the changes that we have made to the database.
Along with the A6300 mirrorless camera, Sony today also announced three professional-grade lenses for the full-frame FE mount, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and two 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. Because of the premium nature of these lenses, Sony gave these lenses a new “G Master” (GM) label; which is basically one step above the current “G Series” lenses. All these lenses are fully designed by Sony engineers, have advanced optical formulas, coating technologies and other advancements that are designed specifically for Sony’s A7-series full-frame cameras, and as a result, also have rather steep price tags. Since many DSLR shooters have been staying away from the Sony full-frame mirrorless line due to the absence of truly professional f/1.4 and f/2.8 lenses, Sony decided to address that gap with the GM-series lenses. Looks like this is the first step and more GM lenses will follow in the future. Let’s take a look at these lenses in more detail and see what they have to offer.
It is time for yet another awesome giveaway / contest for our dear readers and this time we are partnering up with the folks at KeepSnap to give away some amazing prices! All you have to do is submit your best outdoor / event portrait photograph and you will have 3 different chances to win prizes! If you have never heard of KeepSnap, check out our overview post, where we’ve introduced the company and the service they provide to photographers. The beauty of what we are doing with keepsnap, is that this is a combination of a giveaway and a contest. If the portrait image you submit is so good that it is picked as the winner by the judges, you win an 85mm f/1.8 lens of choice, along with Spyder5 Express. If you don’t win the grand prize, you still have a chance to win the second prize – a 35mm f/1.8 lens. All the participants will be included in this random giveaway. And if your photo is strong enough for PL readers to vote for it, you have another chance to win the third prize, which is a 50mm f/1.8 lens, along with yearly access to KeepSnap directory. If you are not interested in any of the prizes, you will have a choice to select the cash prize, which is basically the dollar equivalent of the value of the prize. Cool huh? Well, what are you waiting for – time to enter this awesome giveaway / contest!
I never intended for it to be this long between the two articles, but life got in the way. I have been busy with trying to sell our photography at various fairs and craft shows, when you have a day job as well it ends up taking up all your spare time. I don’t like disclaimers or fine print, but here is mine: “What I do, works for me, the information here is designed to be honest from my perspective and maybe useful to some readers. Take from it what you can and find your own path along the way…”
With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday super-sale days approaching, manufacturers and retailers have been making advanced preparations to make it more than just a single day or two-day sale event. Today, both Nikon and Canon are offering something truly appealing for those who are just starting out. The Nikon D3200 combo with two kit lenses is discounted by a whopping $480 to bring the deal down to $396.95, which is a steal! If you have family members who are interested in photography (I am thinking of buying this kit for my son), this would make a very nice holiday gift. And price-wise, the 55-200mm VR II alone retails for $350 and if you add the price of the 18-55mm VR II, you are already at $600, so in this case, Nikon is not only giving away the D3200, but you are also getting a $200 reward for buying this entry-level kit!
It is November now, so it is right about time to jump start that holiday spirit with some shopping! Although the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday events are a few weeks away, Nikon is already aggressively pushing its cameras and lenses. Usually, Nikon only engages in “buy together and save” rebate programs, where you have to buy a camera in order to qualify for lens rebates. Every once in a while (and it happens very rarely), we get lens-only rebates, which is what most Nikon shooters want anyway, since we already own Nikon DSLRs. So I am happy to share that Nikon once again is making lens-only rebates available and not only that – both “buy together and save” and lens-only rebates are available at the same time!
I have been trying to clean up my shelf space for a while now, getting rid of things that I no longer need or use. I recently moved and realized that I have way too much stuff, so I decided to put it up for sale. Some things I have not touched in a while, others I have practically never used – don’t ask me why I got those in the first place! Although the bulk of what is listed below is Nikon gear, it is by no means an indication that I am switching or anything like that. I shoot with a lot of different gear nowadays (mostly for review purposes), but I still shoot Nikon as my primary system for commercial and personal work. Below is what I am planning to get rid of, so if you have any interest, please post a comment below or contact me through this form and let me know what you want. Will ship internationally, as long as the carrier is either UPS or FedEx, fully insured.
UPDATE: Forgot that Nikon does not keep as much value anymore, so everything is reduced by quite a bit!