Beyond SLR

Anyone, who is jumping onto DSLR bandwagon with the sudden influx of consumer SLRs like Canon Rebel/10D/20D/30D or similar in Nikon D40/D40x/D80, and is planning to use it only for taking snapshots of the family get together, should think about expenses needed in terms of lenses. Trust me, buying lenses is the hard part of owning a SLR. I can tell by my personal experience. I am not going to talk about Nikons lens lineup as I am not likely to get any experience on that front in near future. Canon on the other hand is another story. I got confused by choices and then some. Any one coming from P&S world would like to see what the camera do in terms on “Zoom”. When talking about SLR, Zoom is a type of lens. Trust me nothing bugs me more than someone saying “My little camera gets 5x optical zoom and your stupid clunk does not even has zoom”.  I generally respond (if i choose to) by taking a photo, without flash, in low light, handheld.

I got me a kit lens EF-S 18-55mm, which many have called useless, and a EF 50mm F1.8. I will take you through these two. First 18-55 mm. I knew it is going to be my sunny day lens. A cheep and very slow but decent  wide angle  lens.  In fact I have been able to use it even in  well lit restras etc sometimes. Of course it goes without flash. Flash photography is something I have not yet learned. While using the kit lens in the low light situations have led me to frustrations with auto focus and shutter speed, I have accepted it for its limitations and started using it with MF. To my wonder, it works. I will post some samples here but for those who want to be impressed by it can go to and be amazed. While am not sure if I will be using this lens to catch F1 races, I am sure it will perform with wide shots.

Now the other lens I picked up was 50mm F1.8 lens. It is a wonder-lens. This lens will give you world domination and all that one desires :D. It is reasonably sharp wide open and is sharper when stepped down. This is a 100% crop taken with 50mm at F1.8. Following is the reduced version:

1/13 seconds, F1.8, ISO 400, handheld.

This shows how awesome this lens is. I would say its $60 well spent. Though this lens’s construction is plastic, it is a great lens optically.You can decide to go for F1.4 L version, which seems like a better choice at 4 times the price. 1.4 will give you a better low light performance and a better background blur with a metal body, but I am quite happy with 1.8’s performance so far.

Going forward, I am researching a tele photo zoom and a fast standard zoom. For standard zoom, am leaning towards Sigma 24-70 F2.8 lens. It’s fast and there is generally good feedback about this lens. Am going to write more about them in a while.


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