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Mar 18

Photography Tip: The Right Lens Makes a Big Difference

For most of my life the nicest camera I owned was a Canon super zoom camera and basically shot on some preset mode depending on the situation.  Loved the camera it got me lots of decent shots and I was happy with it.  Then along comes child number one and my wife and I decided that if we were ever going to get a nice DSLR camera it was the right time to do it.  Neither one of us knew much about cameras but my wife reads a lot of blogs and those that she reads use a DSLR and the pictures just seem to have more of a pop than what we were taking.  So we made the big purchase and after about 22 months of using it we sort of maybe have it down.DragonfishIt was a long learning curve for us, but one of the biggest lessons we learned was that the right lens makes a big difference.  We have lots of ideas and can articulate our vision but putting it into practice was where we hit a roadblock.  One of my big ah ha moments came when we were going to an aquarium and we had been too a few other aquariums before that using the old camera and I could just not get a really decent photograph.  You can see what I am talking about in some of our aquarium review posts.  Not bad pictures just not great ones.  Then we got the DSLR camera Canon EF 24-105mm F/4 L lens which is a great lens for many things just not all that sharp for low light situations.  Not going to get in to explaining exactly what F/4 means on this post but just know that the lower the number the more light is let in.  So the night before the family outing to the aquarium I look up how to take good aquarium pictures because I think I am ready and the advice I get is to lower the F-Stop (F number on the camera) to a 2 and the ISO to 1000 and should be good to go.  Well with the lens I had I could not lower the F-Stop that low so after experimenting for a while I got to where the pictures were pretty good.

StarfishOld Camera

We were having a similar problem with taking indoor pictures of our daughter especially when she started to move around.  If the lighting was not good we had to use a flash and that in itself was a another learning curve so we went out and bout a 50 mm F/1.4 prime lens.  Which worked out great now we can take pictures just about anywhere without a flash the only problem is now she is much faster then she used to be so keeping her a distance to take the picture is becoming more of a problem up next might be a 35 mm prime but having photography as a hobby can get expensive.  Just know that if you are like me and are learning how to take pictures as you go do not get too frustrated with it, because sometimes when it comes down to it the shot you might be wanting to get or the one you see on your favorite internet site might not be the one you can take with the lens you have.

Tips on Learning from Our Mistakes

  • Learn as much about photography as you can before you make your purchase
  • Have an idea of what types of pictures you are going take
  • Know that lenses have a great range in price and quality
  • The lower the F stop the greater the background will be blurred
  • The lower the F stop the easier it is to shoot in low light situations

To read our other beginner photography tips click here

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