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carlcmc

Opinion on lens?

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In a previous post i talked about buying a Nikon D80. I'm planning on doing so in the next few weeks. It comes with an 18-135 mm lens

Reading some on the net and some have recommend getting a fast lens such as the 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor lens for portraits and overall good shots.

I am all chomping at the bit getting ready to buy the camera and wonder what you think about getting a prime fixed lens such as that or whether you would wait and just use the 18-135 for awhile?

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Carl:

I don't know how fast the 18-135 is, but it's hard to go wrong by buying a faster lens. The zoom is by far the better lens to keep on when you're bombing around, because its flexibility will let you compose more varied shots in more varied situations. But the prime will be sharper, and when portraiture or another type of setup up comes along, one with plenty of time, and where you can move forward and back as much as needed to get the composition you want, the 50 will be great. Its speed also will help you if you're shooting indoor sports or indoor performances of some type.

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I appreciate your info and insight on both this topic and the other post (8gb of storage shocked.gif )

What do you use for portraits? I had read that using a zoom lens (i.e. at the 135 setting of that lens that comes with the kit) helps control Depth of field?

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Carl: Depth of field doesn't change from focal length to focal length, but through aperture. So zooming to 135 won't give you a shallower dof than 35 mm.

There is, however, an APPARENT difference that leads people to think dof changes based on focal length, which is that, when using a wide angle lens, the subjects in the frame tend to be a lot smaller, which makes the dof appear deeper.

I have made that same mistake in the past, believing that focal length changes dof. Then I was set straight by another photographer, who said it's a very common misconception.

Here's a way to prove the point. If you put on your 50mm and take a picture of, say, a car at an angle, and then put on the zoom and zoom to 135 and take the photo at the same angle with the same f-stop and MAKING SURE THE CAR IS THE SAME SIZE IN THE FRAME, you will see that the dof is the same. Regardless of focal length, if the subject is the same size within your frame and the f-stops are the same, the dof will remain the same.

Of course, the feel of the composition will vary from focal length to focal length because of the different properties of wide angle vs telephoto lenses, but the dof does not.

Go to the Luminous Landscape web site and do a search for "depth of field," and you will find this explained in more detail (perhaps more than you need.) I'd post the link here, but it's to a commercial site from a non FM sponsor, so we don't do that. I highly recommend their tutorial writing. It's clear, detailed enough so you know why a certain thing is the way it is but not technical enough to bore or turn away most people.

I shoot a lot of portraiture with my 100-400L image stabilizer, because I can fill the frame with the person's head/shoulders while standing back farther at a more comfortable social distance for the subject, and because I really like the compositional look of a tight portrait shot with a powerful telephoto.

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Steve is dead on about DOF. And while I would play around with what you are getting with the camera before I jump into another lens, nothing beats a FAST Nikon prime, for a WHOLE lot of things.

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