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  1. #11
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    Lightbulb Getting by on one lens

    There are those who simply cannot accept the fact that having a good variety of optical capability is one way to go, if you can. So for argument’s sake (of course, what other reason could there possibly be?), let’s adopt the one camera, one lens (light-sniper approach).

    Let’s start off with something everyone can identify with, the lowly 50mm lens.

    Doing the math, the α850/α900 Full Frame sensor has i dimensions of 36mm horizontal by 24mm vertical and 43.3mm diagonal. Thus, the horizontal field of view using a 50mm lens would be d i / f = d 36 / 50 = d 0.72 and the vertical field of view using a 50mm lens would be d i / f = d 24 / 50 = d 0.48.

    At a working distance of 10 meters, the horizontal field of view is therefore 7.2 metres and vertical field of view is therefore 4.8 metres; at a distance of 100 feet, the horizontal field of view is 72 feet and the vertical field of view is 48 feet, etc. (The horizontal AOV is about 39.6 at any distance).

    Architectural shot

    The subject house is 60-feet across the front, 40-feet from front to back. 20-feet tall to the top of the roof.

    At the very least, how far back do we have to stand to get the entire front of the home in one shot with the 50mm lens?


    60-ft/0.72 = 83.3-ft

    Okay, how about a Full-body pose, using a vertical shot?

    The person is 6-feet tall.

    How far back do we have to stand to get the entire height with a 50mm lens?

    6-ft/0.72 = 8.33-ft

    Obviously, you don’t frame that tight, so you need to move back about another foot or so, to have some top and bottom room in the shot, but you get the idea.

    Okay, the 50mm (normal lens) was fun ... but what about a wide-angle lens?

    The advantage of a 28mm lens:

    Thus, the horizontal field of view using a 28mm lens would be d i / f = d 36 / 28 = d 1.3 and the vertical field of view using a 28mm lens would be d i / f = d 24 / 28 = d 0.86.
    At a working distance of 10 meters, the horizontal field of view is therefore 13 metres and vertical field of view is therefore 8.6 metres; at a distance of 100 feet, the horizontal field of view is 130-feet and the vertical field of view is 86-feet, etc.

    Architectural recalc


    At the very least, how far back do we have to stand to get the entire front of the home in one shot with the 28mm lens?


    60-ft/1.3 = 46.2-ft

    Full-body pose recalc?

    The person is still 6-feet tall.

    How far back do we have to stand to get the entire height with a 28mm lens?

    6-ft/1.3 = 4.62-ft

    Okay, doing it with a telephoto lens ... what about that SONY CZ 135mm f/1.8? How well would that work out as a single lens for this?

    Thus, the horizontal field of view using a 135mm lens would be d i / f = d 36 / 135 = d 0.27 and the vertical field of view using a 135mm lens would be d i / f = d 24 / 135 = d 0.18.
    At a working distance of 10 meters, the horizontal field of view is therefore 2.7 metres and vertical field of view is therefore 1.8 metres; at a distance of 100 feet, the horizontal field of view is 27 feet and the vertical field of view is 18 feet, etc.

    Architectural recalc

    At the very least, how far back do we have to stand to get the entire front of the home in one shot with the 135mm lens?

    60-ft/0.27 = 222.2-ft (could be a couple of houses away.)

    Full-body pose recalc?

    The person is still 6-feet tall.

    How far back do we have to stand to get the entire height with a 135mm lens?

    6-ft/0.27 = 22.2-ft … or somewhere across the house, in another room. Remember, another foot or two, to allow for some proper framing.

    EDIT: The bottom line to this exercise, which I initially failed to point out, is that you can get your shot ... but you have to deal with the distance between you and your subject, depending on your lens choice. Having just ONE fixed focal length lens is foolhardy, unless you live on the Bonneville Salt Flats, with nothing between you and you subject. Even there, the rising heat will distort the air as you move further away.

    Obviously, the development of the nimble 'zoom' lens allows the photographer to reduce or mitigate the impact of this distance problem. As a beginning photographer, the 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 is a tremendous idea, although it is kind of dark indoors. You can often mitigate that lighting issue, w/o a flash, with using a 28mm f/2.8 or 50mm f/1.8 lens (or BOTH, as they can be had (new) for under $200 each) and reclaim your available light.

    But, experience has shown that the 18-250 lens is, probably ...



    the MOST versatile "one lens solution" available.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-15-2009 at 06:56 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    God's Country - Australia
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    mumbo jumbo.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  3. #13
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    What does all that have to do with saying "buy really good glass" and then owning a bag and a half full of mediocre glass with one or two gems in it?

    Apples and Oranges. The Focal length variety can be achieved buying really good high quality zoom lenses carefully picked to pick up where the other lens left off. Such as a 17-40, 24-105, 100-400. 17-400 covered in 4 lenses. Compare that to 20 lenses in someone's signature, and that's not including the 3 or 4 copies covering the 28-200something range that are not even mentioned anymore.
    Having 4 or 5 lenses in the 100mm range does nothing for the above argument, except for making your bag heavier. Just admit it: you like collecting mediocre lenses. You like an impressive looking collection. But don't try to justify it by claiming that it somehow helps to have 28mm covered in 6 lenses.
    Last edited by TenD; 11-15-2009 at 12:32 AM.
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  4. #14
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    Lightbulb What to do if you cannot afford everything ...

    The simple fact is ... NOTHING IS SIMPLE.

    Plain and simple.

    (I'll just use a simplistic approach for an answer.)


    Building a lens collection from the past can be a real test. Mixing the old with the new often creates a lot of intersections. As Jim points out ... and continues to, ad nauseum, my collection is tightly focused in the 28mm, because it is a "crossroad" focal length for film and digital Full Frame/APS-C sensors.

    Admittedly, my collection is as such that the "film lenses" are now idle and left at home with film bodies ... in the photographic morgue. The sad fact is ... film shooting is effectively dead, because of costs and time to turn things around. Yes, there are those who still hold fast to its value ... and if all the electric goes away, it still works. Having the pieces of gear is not costing anything and as it is worth less and less, to the point of becoming unsellable, it is just not worth the trouble to try.

    So, Jim ... just ignore those film lenses. I know you see them as some kind of eye-irritant, but simply wave it away! Focus on more important things. I'm more of a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of guy. I have gone through the learning curve ... and would like to help others cut through the bulk of it and not have to do likewise. My pains do not have to be yours. But, I guess I do not understand YOUR NEED to rub salt into those ancient wounds. It was a growth process ... and I did not have the luxury of having all this fine gear available 15 years ago! Did you?

    I propose, instead of revisiting my past, you try and promote building on it. One day, I'll remove the film bodies and associated hardware from "My Gear List" ... but until that day comes, you are stuck looking at it, time and again. HINT: Just hold your hand over the offending parts. Unlike the progressives, I am not rewriting history, just to have it fit into someone else's idea of "Heaven on Earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    mumbo jumbo.
    I can see you are a deeply calculating person, 'Rooz' ... party on! If it does not fit ... you will not admit, right?

    I have made an EDIT to the posting in order to conclude the exercise, properly (see "dark orchid" text). 'Rooz', I apologize that I was in the middle of drafting it, when you posted your previous assertion and I went ahead and posted it, as a quick response, alas, uncompleted.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-15-2009 at 07:35 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #15
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    Mar 2009
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    Lightbulb Completely missing the point!!!

    For those of you who love bagging on Don for his lens collection, you completely missed the point of his post.

    Life is full of choices. I absolutely agree that if you can afford the best quality lens (camera or other tool) you will be better served in the long run of taking the hit in the wallet and getting it. (That's why I went from a fixed lens DSLR strait to the A900 - no sense buying one of the APS-C models when I ultimately would want FF.) But more often than not most of us have to work long and hard to marshal disposable income to afford the $1K plus for good quality glass.

    I suspect that the vast majority of the "lurkers" that view this site (and other DSLR forums) will probably only buy 1-3 lenses for their DSLR. I am constantly amazed at how many people I meet that have only one lens for their DSLR and it's usually the kit lens that came with the camera. In my book, those people are completely missing out on the beauty of DSLRs and interchangeable glass.

    It really comes down to what you want out of your DSLR and what can you afford (over what time span). As I read Don's original post, if you got the money to spend and you want high quality you can cover a good range with the Sony/Zeiss quality glass in a combination of 3 lenses for just under $6K. However, for those to whom photography is a hobby competing with the cost of life or other hobby's, they can try to cover a wide range with the dreaded kit lenses or cover the same range with reasonable quality glass from Tamron or Sigma for about 1/3 the cost. Or, there are those like myself who want to take their photography to a higher level but rarely have a large cash reserve to immediately invest in the high quality Sony/Zeiss lenses.

    So what do you do? What choices do you make when you're building a lens collection? If you only have about $1.5K to invest in glass and it will be a year or two before you can plunk down another $1.5K on glass, what do you do? Do you buy a single Sony/Zeiss lens and miss out on other ranges or macro capability for the time it's going to take you to afford the next choice? Do you spend that $1.5K on the lower cost glass to get you a decent range so you have photographic choices while you save up for the high priced glass?

    Here's an idea!!!! Rather than bagging on Don's lens collection, how about explaining why you think the average person who might be viewing this site and trying to decide which lenses to buy is better served splurging on the high quality/high priced glass. Are there situations you've experienced where a Zeiss lens has helped produce such a superior quality image that you're glad you didn't have to shoot it with a Tamron, Sigma or, god for bid, a kit lens?
    Darin Wessel
    α 900
    Zooms: Tamron SP AF70-200mm f2.8 Di LD Macro; Sigma 28-90mm D macro, Konica-Minolta 18-70 f3.5-5.6
    Primes: Minolta 28mm f2.8; Sony 50mm f1.4
    Minolta RC-1000 remote commander

    Film:
    Calumet Cambo CC400 4x5 View Camera
    YashikaMat 6x6 TLR (other accessories)
    Minolta Maxxum 7000 w/ Minolta 35-80mm f/4-5.6 & Minolta 2800 flash
    Minolta Maxxum 5000i & Vivitar 728 AFM flash
    What's next???

  6. #16
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    Unhappy Even I mis-keyed on this "Off Topic" assault

    Quote Originally Posted by DWessel View Post
    For those of you who love bagging on Don for his lens collection, you completely missed the point of his post.
    Doggone, Darin,

    Thanks for putting this back on track. These non-SONY members keep trying to make it a personal dig

    Name:  off topic.gif
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    ... and I fall for it.

    Okay ... thanks for getting this old train down the road. Name:  train2.gif
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    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-15-2009 at 07:52 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL USA
    Posts
    935
    I find it funny that people rag on others for using third party glass, as though it is inferior, but when you compare it to some of the first party offerings you might find exactly why someone may choose it.

    Whether it is price point, optical quality, size/weight, etc... I think we can all say that some of the first party offerings are just not worth it. Lets take the Nikkor 17-55/2.8 for example. A nice lens with great build quality, but optically does it justify the $1500 price tag? Also, have you seen the size/weight of it? Its a behemoth for its focal length/aperture/DX format. 1.6 pounds and 86x111mm in size. Compare this to the Tamron 17-50/2.8 at .95 lbs. and 82x74mm in size. At less than 1/3 the price of the Nikkor, similar optically, and certainly much more walk around friendly due to its compact size and weight, it is a very good alternative to the "real deal" Nikkor glass. Many will say its build quality is crap, and I do agree there. I prefer the build quality of Sigma over Tamron, and Nikkors are always going to be better than either of those two, but c'mon does the build quality justify paying 3 times the price? Some may say yes, while I think a lot of others will prefer spending that extra $1000 on some other glass.

    What about the 50mm prime class? Sigma came out with a great 50/1.4 that gives the new Nikkor and definitely the current Canon 50/1.4 a run for their money. Its priced pretty high for a third party offering, but there are a number of people who prefer the Sigma to the Nikkor. I think everyone in the Canon camp are asking Canon for a revised 50/1.4 now that this Sigma is out there.

    What about the Sigma 30/1.4? Yeah its made for a crop body, but until Nikon came out with the 35/1.8 it was the only choice for a fast 30mm prime (in the Nikon camp). Even then, Canon had the 35L which was big bucks, and justifiably so, but far too rich for many peoples wallet. That lens fills a big niche in the market for both Canon and Nikon. Does it still make an impact in the Nikon camp now that the 35/1.8 came out? Ehh, its tough to say. Some may want the extra 2/3 stop of the Sigma. Its center performance is very good and I could see many people still opting for this lens over the 35/1.8. In the Canon world, it is the only alternative to the 35L, especially for the crop cams.

    I think 3rd party glass has its place, and those that say first party is the only way to go are either fan boys or completely aloof of what other glass is out there. I say, do your research, find out what is important to you in a lens, and buy the one that is best for you.
    Nikon D300 | MB-D10 | Nikkor 12-24/4 | Nikkor 50/1.8 | Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRI | Sigma 18-50/2.8 | SB-800 | SB-80DX (x4) | Radiopopper JrX Studio |

  8. #18
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    Question Build Quality? When does this come into play?

    One of the aspects of third party glass, which no one that I have noted has taken to task is "destructibility." Yes, taking your lens into a toxic environment and knowing it may not come out ... "alive."

    Personally, build quality be damned, we're going in "third-party" on this one.

    I look at build quality as kind of "temporary" stop along the way, i.e., "Yeah, I kind of am wondering what focal length I want to invest in ... but, I am still not quite sure." So, you buy a $350 KM or older TAMRON 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens ... feeling it out in your shoots. Yes, it is a plastic marvel and suddenly, it hits you, "Yeah, this is it." You finally reach deep for the powerfully-built CZ 16-35mm f/2.8 "knowing:" it has all the bells and whistles a lens like this can offer ... for $1900, as a permanent addition to your selection and you wind up selling the cheap one to "Cousin Joey" for $300.

    OR ...

    "Nah, I'm not needing this." hits you and you still wind up selling it to "Cousin Joey" for $300. Who cares? You are not using it!

    The fact is that better-built lenses are designed with the heavy-handed user in mind. They take a better beating, keep working and one has only to look at a vintage 1998 Minolta white lens to be able to tell that.

    If you "baby" your lenses (padded bags and cases), the better build means a bit less, overall. You can nurse they puppies through at least 5 to 10 years, until the plastics give it up. (News flash: Plastic dries out. Don't believe it? I have 1997 motorhome that is living proof metal will still be there, when the sun goes down. The plastics will shatter like glass.)

    If there is nothing to wake up to on Christmas morning, in 2012 ... this may just be long-winded

    How does the old saying go ... "He who has the best glass at the end of his life ... WINS!" or something like that.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-15-2009 at 01:14 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  9. #19
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    Nov 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWessel View Post

    So what do you do? What choices do you make when you're building a lens collection? If you only have about $1.5K to invest in glass and it will be a year or two before you can plunk down another $1.5K on glass, what do you do? Do you buy a single Sony/Zeiss lens and miss out on other ranges or macro capability for the time it's going to take you to afford the next choice? Do you spend that $1.5K on the lower cost glass to get you a decent range so you have photographic choices while you save up for the high priced glass?

    Here's an idea!!!! Rather than bagging on Don's lens collection, how about explaining why you think the average person who might be viewing this site and trying to decide which lenses to buy is better served splurging on the high quality/high priced glass. Are there situations you've experienced where a Zeiss lens has helped produce such a superior quality image that you're glad you didn't have to shoot it with a Tamron, Sigma or, god for bid, a kit lens?
    I have been shooting DSLRs for probably as long as Don has. I preach the same thing he does, good glass, buy the best you can afford, but I also practice what I preach and own top quality glass in my kit. Is it the best, no, but I have built a pretty impressive f/4 kit that cost a little less.

    If I were in an absolute $1.5K lens budget, here's what I would get: Canon 17-40 f/4L, Canon 70-200 f/4L and that would be my kit for the first year. Great range and pro level.

    Then the next 1.5K would buy a 50 f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.8 macro, if I felt I needed wider I'd get a Tokina 12-24 f/4 or if I felt like I needed longer I'd shoot for a used 300 f/4 non IS. That would pretty much fill out my kit with pro level glass that worked in a lot of situations, that didn't cost an arm and a leg but delivered on quality.
    Last edited by TenD; 11-15-2009 at 05:46 PM.
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    The light you need for f/4 lensing is supplied by God ... it's a great deal.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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