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Tech Talk: After the kit lens [choosing your next lens]

  • Apr 16, 2014 · 5:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Agenda for this meetup:

• I will ask attendees what qualities they’re looking for in a new lens, what they’re shooting with now and how happy they are with their photographs, budget, etc.

• Then we will take a look at online reviews and talk about some of the options available in the lens market to see which one seems to fulfill as many of their objectives as possible. If it is a lens that I’m familiar with, I’ll share my experience and opinions from what i’ve seen first-hand and also what I may have heard from others.

Sometime after I bought my first SLR I realized that my lens wasn’t able to capture everything I wanted to include in my camera frame. That said, I loved those kit lenses. I still have them after all these years (for my film camera, it was a Minolta “nifty 50,” and my first Nikon dSLR came with a kit lens that I still use today).

Initially, I looked to buy additional lenses because I wanted to zoom in and get closer to my subject *or* I wanted to have a wider angle lens to include more people, buildings, etc. in my frame.

For my film camera, I bought two zooms that seemed to cover the spectrum and were within my budget. But they were cheap lenses, my subjects appeared too soft… I regretted buying them.

With my Nikon dSLR, I was on a budget when I wanted to go beyond my kit lens, and I started asking my friends what lenses they used in the range I was looking at. They suggested I read reviews, which I did, and that, combined with their testimonials, led me to one Sigma wide angle zoom (10-20, DX format), followed by a midrange zoom aimed at portrait photographers (Tamron), as well as others. After a while I’d sell some that I didn’t like on eBay, while others I became comfortable shoot with and have kept.


Anyway, as my interests and shooting changes, my ideas on which new lens might be worth purchasing changes. Some things I consider if I am toying with buying a new lens:

• Cost, budget

• Weight and size: Will it fit in my camera bag with other lenses I want to use on a shoot? Is it something that I’d like to carry with me all day long even if I don’t use it?

• Sharpness: especially on the corners of the frame if I zoom in close or zoom way out. Should I go with a zoom or prime lens?

• Filter size: do I have a step-up ring so I can use my polarizing and neutral density filters?

• Will the focal length of the lens add something meaningful / helpful to my collection? If I already have a very sharp 45mm tilt-shift lens that I am very happy with, do I really need to buy a 50mm f1.4 that is also sharp? If I’m buying a lens that will be an upgrade and essentially replace another lens, am I ready to sell that other lens?

Buying with an eye to sell down the road: I store all of my new camera and lens boxes, manuals, documentation, and even camera straps in their original packing material; I keep them in a dry place. A pristine box, strap, and other materials will help it sell if you decide to part with the lens a couple of years down the road.

Please bring a dollar to pitch-in and help cover our meetup fees.

Thanks,

Frank


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  • Russ K

    Also sorry I didn't show up. I did not realize I was on the In list until just now :(

    April 16, 2014

    • Frank K.

      I figured I'd let you in a couple hours before we met. Sorry, next time I'll give more warning.

      April 16, 2014

  • Kara E.

    Frank, I was happy to see I was able to get off the waiting list but I'm actually stuck at work now. I'm sorry I'll miss it. I'd definitely be interested if you were to offer another day next month!

    1 · April 16, 2014

  • Jennifer W.

    Sorry to back out so late. I'm not feeling well and was hoping for a recovery that didn't happen. Sad to be missing this talk.

    April 16, 2014

    • Frank K.

      That's OK... and thanks for changing your RSVP status, Jennifer. Sounds like there's interest, so I'll see if I can schedule another one next month. Hope you feel better soon.

      April 16, 2014

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