OK, so lately photography's been overwhelming my blog. In fact, today Chris said, "Hey...you haven't been to Anthro in awhile!" And in fact, I didn't even go on the Anthro site today to check out the sale. But girls, I do miss my dresses and skirts and ruffles!!! Believe me, it's hard...but I feel like it's a great thing to give my wallet a break and focus on something else for awhile.
When I talk about cameras and lenses with friends, coworkers, acquaintances...I often tell them that I primarily shoot with prime lenses. And most don't know what I'm referring to. To keep the explanation simple, a prime lens is a fixed focal lens. Meaning that when you look into the view finder on your camera, you only see one distance...and you're unable to twist the lens itself to zoom in and out. My friends that own a DSLR, I find, oftentimes don't know what I'm referring to either. And I think this is because nowadays when you buy a DSLR at like a Costco, the camera comes in a kit form, and a kit lens accompanies that camera. These lenses are zoom lenses.
When we bought our Canon 7D, it came with a 18-135mm zoom lens. When I first got it, I wanted as much range as possible because I wanted to cover all my bases. However, I recently realized that I rarely grab my kit lens that came with the camera. Why? I've decided to give you all an example below.
I went ahead and took two pictures of our little bonzai tree:
Picture BPicture A was taken with a 50mm prime lens with a f stop of 1.8. When I say f stop, or when someone refers to something like f1.8, they are referring to the "aperture" setting (there's a whole other thing with f stops which I won't go into detail at all). And aperture is the lens opening which controls the amount of light let into the camera. Because my dining room has pretty dim lighting, I shot Picture A at an aperture of 1.8 (which allows in the most amount of light) with a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second.
I then switched to my kit lens, zoomed it to 50mm and shot it at also 1/30th of a second. And you can clearly see that Picture B is much darker than Picture A. This is because when the zoom is used on that lens, the aperture adjusts to f5, which decreases the amount of light let into the camera. For this lens that I own, because it came with my camera kit, the quality is not the highest which resulted in that poor quality of Picture B. There are higher end quality telephoto zoom lenses made by Canon and Nikon, for instance, that's able to fix at a specific aperture regardless of the zoom.
So...because Picture B was so dark and the widest aperture at 50mm is f5, I had to slow down the shutter speed to let in as much light as possible. Below I shot the bonzai tree at a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second to get it light enough to be ok.
Even in Picture C, the light and color of the bonzai is still not as good as Picture A. I could slow down my shutter speed even more, but then I'd risk blurry pictures since my hands aren't completely still. Also, if you notice the green vase in the background of Picture A vs. Picture C, the vase itself is way more blurry in Picture A than in Picture C. The blurrier the background (what is known as bokeh), the more crisp your focused subject will be (depth of field). Bokeh and depth of field, though, is another post all together. :)
So, as you can see...I truly do favor my prime lenses more than my kit zoom lenses simply because I believe it allows me to shoot crispier pictures. In the future, I'd love to invest in a couple of more prime lenses in different focal lengths, including a good telephoto lens, but for now, my 50mm f1.8 will do! BTW, this 50mm I used is only $99!!! A great little lens for beginners like me!
Thanks for reading! What do you think? Helpful? Boring? Haha...you won't hurt my feelings!