My Lenses

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

As I promised before in the post about my cameras, here I am with a couple of words about my lenses.

First of all, I love my lenses.

Very much.

Second of all, I just love them.

 

These are the names of the babies (from left to right): Canon 50mm F 1.8, Tamron Macro 60 mm F 2, Canon 18-55mm (which came as a kit lens with my Canon Rebel T2i camera).

I use the first one (Canon 50mm) to shoot food.

The Tamron 60 mm is great for food too, but since it is a macro lens I use it quite often outside to shoot flowers, bugs or other cute tiny things.

To capture wider angles, I use the Canon 18-55 (the kit lens).

 

Now let me show you and compare a few interesting features that these lenses possess.

 

1. Comparison with the Same Settings

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

Each of these shots was taken with a different lens. To make the comparison most accurate I kept the same settings for each shot. All pictures were taken at 5.6 aperture and they are not edited at all.

Though that last thing was a bit hard to digest.

I find these images pretty similar in their appearance. Maybe just the last one is a little colder in colors (has more blue tones in it) than the other two.

But there’s more to compare…

2. Lowering the Aperture (Blurry Background)

Well, who doesn’t like a nice blurry background.

That really injects the magic into the pictures, doesn’t it?

The part of the lens which provides for the blurriness of the picture is called the aperture (if you are not that familiar with this term you can find a little more about it here).

I love to use low aperture settings, especially for the food shots.

The kit lens that came with the camera (Canon 18-55mm) has the lowest aperture number of 5.6 (the second picture of this post shows you the result).

But I knew that there was a whole new world of possibilities when you go lower than 5.6.

So there came a moment in my life when I felt that I couldn’t go a day longer without a proper low aperture lens. That was when I got these two:

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

This picture was taken with the Canon 50mm at its lowest aperture – F 1.8.

See the blurry background? And how little portion of the picture is actually in focus? So that is caused by the low 1.8 aperture setting.

Again, this picture could really benefit from some vigorous Photoshop treatment, but this post is not about that.

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

This is a shot taken with the Tamron 60mm at 2.0 aperture (which is its lowest aperture number).

I like the blurriness of the background a lot.

In this aspect, these two lenses produce very similar results.

 

Also, these two lenses are prime, which means that you cannot zoom in or zoom out. In other words, they have fixed focal length. But that thing is perfectly all right – it makes you move a little more and stretch your body quite often which, I guess, is a nice health supporting benefit.

 

If the low aperture setting had been the only feature that I wanted for my pictures I would only have acquired the Canon 50mm lens. That one was much cheaper than the Tamron 60mm.

But I also needed Tamron. Have a look why…

3. Getting Closer to the Subject

This is closest that the Canon 50mm allows you to get to the subject.

If you go closer, the lens cannot focus anymore.

This is how close the Tamron 60mm allows you to get.

Amazing detail!

I often use this feature when taking pictures in my kitchen – spices, sugar or cake structure, that all looks perfectly detailed.

I love it!

 

So these are my beloved lenses.

I hope this information helped you.

At least a little.

… and psst, don’t tell this to my boyfriend

There’s also this cutie!

It’s the Canon 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

I frequently steal this one from my boyfriend to capture…

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

… squirrels …

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

… or baby orangutans, or basically anything that happens to be far away from me.

I think I love this lens much more than my boyfriend does and I also use it way more often.

So who really has the moral right to own it, I ask?

I think it’s me, I answer.

Definitely, it’s me!

how to choose camera lenses, canon kit lens, canon prime 50mm lens, tamron 2.O macroc lens

It fills the last free space in my camera bag perfectly, anyway.

Fall at Zoo

canon 550 D sample picture

Camera Model: Canon EOS 550D (…yes, I have a new camera. I’ll be talking about this a little later. Now I really need to spend some time crying …out of happiness. I hope you understand.)

Lens: Canon Telephoto 75-300mm (…yes, I’ve used telephoto to shoot almost macro. When I had a first look through the lens I could barely see one quarter of the leaf. I was standing that close to it. It’s actually not that smart to stand close to the photographed subject when you use a telephoto lens. To maneuver out of this peculiar situation I had to take a few steps back to achieve the dimensions of the photo above. This clearly describes how terribly lazy I can get – I decide to take a few steps back instead of reaching into the bag that’s hanging on my shoulder for a more appropriate lens because it just seems less energy consuming. Sometimes it’s hard to be me.)

Focal Length: 190 mm
(…the distance from the lens to its focus. This sounds rather technical. I have a distant and misty idea what this means but I am not sure I ever want to see into this fully.)


Aperture: F5.0 (…this is a quite small aperture value. The lower the aperture the blurrier the background. Petra loves blurry backgrounds. Sometimes she thinks she loves blurry backgrounds more than sweets. Sometimes she loves sweets more than anything.)


Shutter Speed: 1/100 [s] (…this is the fraction of time I have captured. It always amazes me. My brain isn’t even able to imagine a fraction that small.)

ISO: 3200 (…this is a very high ISO setting. ISO setting this high allows you to take pictures in rather low light conditions. And this number – I mean the number 3200 – is one of the reasons why I am crying with happiness when I think about my new camera. I can’t stop it! I was dreaming about this number for such a long time.)

White Balance: Auto (…the auto white balance of this camera must have been programmed by aliens. It is that good. Another tear of joy is rolling down my face.)
Post Processing: Photoshop Elements 8 (…I mostly played with the Pioneer Woman Action called ‘Soft Faded’.)

The moral of this story: ‘Even not so optimal equipment or settings can create quite an acceptable picture.’
…oh, and here’s the original picture:


Gosh, What’s Aperture?

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

I am going to try to keep this easy, all right?

There’s no need for you to close this site, pack your things and flee to a secluded island.

Don’t let the aperture scare you!

Actually, the aperture is a good friend, it can serve your needs quite magically.

If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, you don’t even have to worry about anything – the camera does it all for you. But if you’re a ‘big’ DSLR camera user, then you might want to have a look into the magical world of the aperture.

So, what is that aperture?

Basically, it is the hole in you lens, or the eye of your camera – opening and closing as you wish.

See? I told you it’s not difficult.

And what does that hole/aperture do?

Well, primarily, there are two types of situations when the aperture can serve you well.

First, when the light conditions in the place where you’re taking photographs are not so good (low-light situations) you can open the aperture wide thus letting more light into your camera allowing it to work more effectively.

And the other kind of situation, the one that I am actually demonstrating here with the pictures, is using the aperture opening to influence the depth of your photographs.

Come, have a look at what I mean, there are plenty of examples here…

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

This is where I demonstrate the depth of the photograph (people usually call that the ‘depth-of-field’).

The picture on the left-hand side has the front subject in sharp focus while the subjects in the background are out of focus. This is called the ‘shallow depth-of-field’. It is so aptly named – you see shallow, you don’t see deep.

On the other hand, the picture on the right-hand side can be described as one with the ‘great depth-of-field’. See? It really is deep – the subject in the foreground is almost of the same sharpness as the ones in the background.

And you know what?

It’s under your control to decide what kind of picture you want to take – whether it’s the shallow one or the deep one.

Isn’t that awesome?

And yes, it has something to do with the numbers I’ve pasted into the pictures.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

The ‘f/number’ that I’ve pasted into the pictures for you is meant to describe the aperture setting I had used while taking the particular picture. In photography, the ‘f’, or ‘f-stop’ or ‘f-number’ is used when the aperture is being discussed.

To practice the control over your camera’s aperture, all you need to do is to search you camera manual and find the little article on the aperture.

Once you find it and learn where that little button is, just do this: go for the lowest numbers (like 2 in my picture) if you want the shallow depth-of-field and go for the highest numbers (like 22 in my picture) if you want the ‘deep’, all-focused pics.

Your lowest and highest numbers might be different than mine since lenses differ in this aspect.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

So what’s this again?

Petra?

Deep or shallow?

Yes, it’s deep, because I had my camera set at a high number – 22 in this case – making everything from the foreground to the background being in focus.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

This is another example.

Three happy apples posing just for you.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

The front apple is enjoying the focal attention while his friends are standing in the background being out of focus.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

Here, all three apples enjoy being in focus.

I’d call this picture ‘One for all, all for one’.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

Here, some peas also want you to see what the aperture is all about.

That’s so kind of them.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

Low number – shallow depth-of-field.

There are times when you want to isolate your subject…when you want it to be in sharp focus while having the background out of focus. Portraits or food photos are good examples of these situations.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

High number – great depth-of-field.

There are different situations when you’ll definitely want to have as many details in focus as possible. Just imagine taking a picture of a landscape, for instance, with all its trees, animals, hills, river, clouds…everything crisp and clear.

Note: I really need to let you know of this fact – the smaller the f-number the wider is the aperture opening. A little technical detail that you can remember or forget right now. I give you the permission.

I hope this all made at least a little sense and was of some help.

I wish you a lot of fun while playing with your aperture.

Go and have fun!

See you soon.

Love,

Petra