T. Payne Photography | What to buy? A new camera or a good lens?

What to buy? A new camera or a good lens?

September 14, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

What to buy? I want to upgrade my camera!

 

This is a dilemma that I see quite often from newer photographers. Camera envy is a serious condition. It is one that can not be overcome easily. Often, you see that person that got their first DSLR kit. It is an entry level camera with a lens or sometimes 2 for a terrific (so you think) price. Now, entry level DSLR cameras are GREAT. They are leaps and bounds ahead of where 'Pro' level cameras were just a few years ago. Oftentimes, the manufacturer adds in some great new feature that they haven't added to their higher end cameras yet. The lenses, on the other hand, are not so great. I suppose you could say that they are good for snapping photos in the middle of the day or at the park, while watching your children play. The differences are seen when you are taking photos that are in not so ideal situations. The biggest thing that separates kit lenses from pro lenses is the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the lens, also known as aperture. The lower the number of the aperture, the larger the opening is that allows light to pass from the lens to the sensor of the camera. This allows the exposure to be captured at a higher rate of speed, thus allowing the shutter speed to be higher, resulting in more clear, sharp images. This is what gives us the term "fast glass", or "fast lens".  Most kit lenses are made with less expensive glass and lack the coatings applied to the glass in the pro level lenses that reduce chromatic aberration as well. Pro lenses tend to have less distortion, less vignetting and give your images better contrast. Again, this is because of the quality level of the glass used to make them. A good lens will usually have a wider aperture and in zooms, it will have a wider constant aperture. Meaning, that no matter the focal length it is zoomed to, it will still allow light to travel through the lens at a higher rate. Most kit zoom lenses have variable apertures, meaning that at different focal lengths, the aperture size will vary. 

Camera bodies are introduced quite often, new or upgraded bodies every year or two. Thus resulting in the older bodies losing their value rather quickly. Lenses are not introduced nearly as often. When they are introduced, the differences are not that great and the older lenses still hold their value very well.

Here is a great video by Digital Rev to show some real life comparisons. If this doesn't help and you would like more in depth explanation of things, feel free to comment or send me a message..  Enjoy and thank you for reading... 


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