Im a starter photographer and I was on not too long ago asking what lens I should get next.?

Question by Lele: Im a starter photographer and I was on not too long ago asking what lens I should get next.?
After many suggestions and some research I decided on the canon lens 50mm f 1.4. Wow I love it!!! super fast, beautiful bokhen and so clear. Blows my kit lens out of the water. I know the kit lens is nothing but for a starter like me I was shocked how great it was.I went out and used it the next day taking pictures of my friends baby. Like I said they look WONDERFUL! Now here is my silly question don’t laugh. I have a canon rebel xs. My first SLR. How do I really use this great lens to it’s fullest. I know practice practice. When I bought the lens the guy said shoot with it wide open on single subjects but be careful when shooting more than one because if you shoot wide open with more than one subject. One will be out of focus. Ok that makes sense but what the heck is wide open and how do I change it on my lens. I played with it last night and every time I moved the ring to see a difference in pictures. It always goes back to the same number. What do those number mean and can I chill out the bohken. For example I WANT to see the flowers. Should I Just change the lens or work that lens. I know it’s great portrait lens. BUt like I said what if I do what to see the tree, or flowers. I plan on taking some classes. Just haven’t be able to in the small town of mine. Please any tips would help. Oh I always shoot in [ P] mode. I like that the flash doesnt
ALWAYS pop up. Always shoot in Autofocus and.And I like to keep my ISO at AUTO. Like I said Im a newbie!!

Best answer:

Answer by fhotoace
Until you get to the point where you do not have to depend upon the program and auto ISO mode, you are really just using an expensive P&S camera. I hope you are not using the “auto-white balance”

To take more control over your shots, use the aperture priority mode so you can control the depth of field and decide for yourself what ISO you need under different lightings …. this will prevent unwanted and unpredictable noise in your images.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments! Stop learning photography the hard way. Learning photography has never been easier when you follow …

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6 thoughts on “Im a starter photographer and I was on not too long ago asking what lens I should get next.?”

  1. You need to learn to expose manually. To get good Bokeh or shallow depth of field you shoot wide open. This means you use a very large aperture like F1.4. This is the widest that the lens opens.

    To get the background in focus as well you need to use a smaller aperture like F16 for example.

    The simplest way to experiment with what different apertures do is to use the AV mode. This will allow you to set the aperture while the camera will set the shutter speed.

    Either read some books or take a class. It will be much less frustrating.

  2. Understanding depth-of-field really rocks. Fortunately, my first Pentax MX was fully manual, and had a depth-of-field preview, and a terrific 50mm lens I still use on more modern camera bodies.

    If you can go fully manual with your camera, you’ll be able to master the secrets of aperture/speed/and depth-of-field. You cannot control depth-of-field in automatic mode. I highly suggest any textbook written by Charles Swedlund. His explanation of the principles of photography are good for everything from pin-hole cameras to the newest digitals.

    Have loads of fun. You’ve got a world of creativity you can express with that little box you hold in your hands.

  3. Until you take your camera off (P) or Program mode, you will not have control of anything. Program does all the work for you so you CANNOT change anything… the camera becomes essentially a point and shoot for you.

    Put it in Aperture Priority (AP or A depending on manufacturer) and you will see that you now have control of your depth of field through your controlling the aperture (the lower the number, the wider the opening and the narrower your depth of field). With a wide aperture you will get faster shutter speeds irregardless of anything else… a give and take pendulum of effects.

    Having your camera in Aperture Priority will give you some control and help you to see the effects of different apertures on the same subject. You are shooting a digital… experiment on one thing and see what happens.

    Remember, you CANNOT hand-hold a camera if the shutter speed is less than your heart-rate or the focal length of the lens. (1/60th should be your slowest shutter speed hand-held).

  4. Just so you understand what the people are telling you about depth of field, that is what you are confusing with bokeh or boke (not bokhen). Any time you see depth of field or out of focus area referred to as bokeh in general, direct your learning to another source.

  5. Congratulations on your new 50mm f1.4 lens. You made a wise purchase.

    First, get out of “P” mode. Learn to shoot in Aperture Priority so you can take control of the aperture and Depth of Field (DOF). Three factors affect DOF:

    1) The f-stop chosen
    2) The focal length of the lens
    3) Subject distance

    To learn more about DOF go here:

    You’ll also find a DOF Calculator which allows you to compute DOF for any combination of f-stop, focal length and subject distance imaginable. Here are some examples using your XSi and 50mm lens:

    50mm, focused to 10′ at f1.4, DOF is from 9′-8” to 10′-4”. This means that anything from 0′-4” in front of your subject to 0′-4” behind it will be in focus. This is considered a shallow DOF.

    50mm, focused to 10′ at f16, DOF is from 7′-4” to 15′-9”. This means that anything from 2′-8” in front of your subject to 5′-9” behind it will be in focus.

    50mm, focused to 100′ at f1.4, DOF is from 75′-5” to 148′-8”

    50mm, focused to 100′ at f16, DOF is from 21′-4” to infinity

    Now this may shock you but if you want as much of a scene as possible in focus then you need to use the 18-55mm lens that came with your camera at 18mm.

    18mm focused to 10′ at f16, DOF is from 2′-8” to infinity. So anything from 7′-4” in front of your subject to as far as you can see (infinity) will be in focus. Want a little more DOF?

    18mm focused to 5′ at f16, DOF is from 2′-1” to infinity. Another 7”!

    As I said earlier, you made a wise choice with the 50mm f1.4 lens. It just isn’t as well-suited for landscapes as it is for portraits.

    I also suggest considering the purchase of David Busch’s Guide for your XSi. The Owner’s Manual can be confusing and Busch simplifies things so they are easier to understand.

    So learn how to turn the flash OFF, shoot in Aperture Priority, read and study the Owner’s Manual, buy Busch’s Guide and you’ll be on your way to mastering your camera.

    My tips for good landscape photography:

    1) Use your camera’s highest resolution.
    2) Use ISO 100.
    3) Have your camera on a tripod and level. The horizon should be horizontal, not tilted. Make sure to turn the IS on your 18-55mm lens to OFF when using a tripod.
    4) 18mm at f16 focused to 5′ for maximum DOF.
    5) Use the Rule of Thirds and keep the horizon in the lower 1/3 or upper 1/3 depending on whether the foreground or sky is more interesting.
    6) Ignore the Rule of Thirds and center the horizon if foreground and sky are of equal importance. This works especially well when you have a tree line mirrored in a perfectly still lake.
    7) Use the camera’s self-timer to release the shutter.

    NOTE: When using your camera in Aperture Priority you’ll have to check the shutter speed the camera selects when you’re just walking around shooting. On a sunny day even at ISO 100 your shutter speed shouldn’t be a problem even at f16.

    Here are some books that will also help you learn more about photography. They make great birthday presents if you have one coming up.

    “Understanding Exposure” and “Understanding Shutter Speed”, both by Bryan Peterson.

    “The Art of Digital Photography” by Joseph Meehan.

    “Digital SLR Handbook” by John Freeman.

    Read and study and practice and then read and study some more and practice.

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