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Lens Buying Guide Pt.2

June 23, 2008 - Dave Hecei
Your Next Lens There are many things that you need to look at when buying a lens. Cost may be a big part of it, but also look at the speed of the lens, the size and the weight is also important. Faster lenses, ones that have bigger apertures like f/2.8, are usually much more expensive and are very large and heavy. Some lenses will have special glass elements like low dispersion glass (usually marked ED, SD, or LD – better color correction and contrast in telephoto lenses) or aspherical elements (lowers spherical aberrations in wide-angle lenses). You need to weigh the pros and cons on each lens.

Lenses from third party manufacturers, like Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina, have come a long way. It used to be that third party lenses where not the same caliber as the manufacturer’s lenses. This is far from true today. Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina have lenses that are close to, or even surpass, some of the manufacturer’s own lenses.

Going Wide The next lens that you purchase depends on the type of photos you like to take. If your interests are more into landscapes and sunsets, then you will want to get an ultra-wide lens. This can be a zoom or a single focal length lens. For DSLRs, ones without full frame sensors, an ultra-wide lens is anything under 17mm. While 17mm was considered to be ultra-wide for 35mm SLRs, on a DSLR it’s equivalent to a 28mm. Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and the other camera makers now offer zooms in the 10-24mm range.

On a 35mm SLR, a 10mm is considered a super ultra-wide, also sometimes referred to as a fish-eye lens. To make these lenses work properly on DSLR cameras they have to be designed to with less distortion, which add cost. Models from Canon and Nikon can reach $1000, while the third party lens makers have models in the 400-$700 range.



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Sigma 10mm f/2.8 lens.