XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses. All photos were taken with Nikon D750.

I was very surprised when I found out the subject of Lesson 11. I am a one-lens person. It used to be 24-120 mm (F4), but about 6 months ago, I started using 28-300 mm (F3.5 – F5.6), because I like to be able to zoom-in more. I admit that once in a long while I did wish to have a macro or wilder lens in hand so I could catch what I wanted to catch, but even at those moments, I was okay not having them, because I really didn’t want to carry an extra lens.

So, my first thought was to take a couple of photos using my dependable 28-300 for this lesson and posted them. But the more I thought about this, the more I like the idea of trying something new. Finally, I humbly asked my husband how many lenses we have. (Remember I didn’t even realize we had a macro lens? 😉

It turns out that other than the two I have mentioned above, and the macro, we have 4. (I was shock!) It would take me a month to try them all! I quickly narrowed down to two: 50 mm (F1.4) and 16-24 mm (F4.0). But it turned out that I didn’t even have time to try two. So, 50 mm it is.

I started shooting indoor. First photo was taken with 28-300 mm lens, and the second with 50 mm.


(F7.1, 1/50 sec., ISO-1250, 135mm – 28-300 mm lens)


(F7.1, 1/30 sec., ISO-1250, 50 mm – 50 mm lens)

I was surprised at how different they looked. The light in 50 mm seems softer. Am I right?

I took several shots of this photos (with 50 mm) — because of hand shake, ha. And I saw ISO 1270 for a couple of photos. Why? I set ISO to 1250 and auto-ISO is off. Where did 1270 come from?

Next, a small tree in my front yard…


(F/9, 1/250 Sec., ISO-400, 50 mm)

From now on, this one-lens person only had 50 mm lens in hand 😉

How about landscape?


(F/14, 1/25 Sec., ISO-800, 50 mm)

It was on my way back from the trail, I suddenly remembered that this lens is capable of shooting at F1.4.


(F/1.8, 1/4000 sec., ISO-400, 50 mm)

To be honest, I had tried 50 mm once before (for about 2 minutes) and I hated it. Strange it may sound, I think I like it now. The only time that I was a little unhappy was when I saw many ducks in the pond. Without thinking, I started zooming in, and of course I couldn’t with this lens.

Thanks Raj for a wonderful lesson. If it’s not for this lesson, I probably wouldn’t touch 50 mm forever. I can’t wait to try 16-24 mm…

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    I don’t want to step on Raj’s toes or comments, but the 50mm lens is actually one of the hardest lenses to use, because we a humans see in about the 50mm range. So to make the photo look different than how we normally see things, it can be a tough assignment. These are great examples. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Cee. For someone who is so use to using a zoom lens, 50 mm is definitely hard. I am much better this time, but I remember the time I tried before, I kept turning the lens, wanting to zoom in. At that time, I took a close-up photo of a family and I thought it would be nice to take a full body photo. I asked my husband how to do that. He told me to step back a few feet, and at the end I was almost out of the door. I hadn’t use that lens since then 😉
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Like

    • Raj says:

      Thanks Cee for stepping in, really appreciate it. 🙂 Need people like you in the discussions. It’s about learning no? 🙂
      Yes, 50 mm is the way we see the world and that’s why these are used as portrait lenses. I feel it reproduces the images exactly how they are without any distortions. Since I have a crop sensor that makes my 30 mm f1.4 a 45 mm equivalent and 50 mm is not a big change in my opinion. The biggest advantage is f1.4 that gives an advantage of several stops in low light. I rarely use flash. But yes, it all depends on the shooting style I guess.In Helen’s case though it looks like she has to carry multiple lenses if she goes the 50 mm way! 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • Helen C says:

        😉 Good thing that 50 mm is small and light weight. I had carried it a couple of times (only twice), but ended up not using it, so I stop carrying it. After this experience, I am serious considering using 50 mm and carry the zoom lens for extra. Since I like the zoom lens so much, maybe, I wouldn’t mind carrying it. Who knows? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Raj says:

          I would advise you to take then lens for night time strolls, it can produce great pictures and the spectacular bokeh. Believe me when you have sharp picture without noise, you will be able to even crop more and still salvage an acceptable picture than those high ISO grainy pictures.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Mother Hen says:

    Wow.. Helen! I am impressed.. You are a straight A student..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. carol1945 says:

    I keep saying this I know, but once more, I am going to try to do some internet photo lessons!!! You are inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Carol. I particularly like the free lessons 😉 It’s not too late. I believe Raj said anyone can participate at any time. He is a good teacher.
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carol1945 says:

        I am a complete beginner. I don’t even understand what you guys are talking about here!!! What I want is kindergarten lessons. ha ha

        Liked by 2 people

      • carol1945 says:

        I am going to subscribe to Raj’s blog right now. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Good morning, Carol. I’ll be honest with you, the first year I decided that I liked photographing, I had probably watched 100 free tutoring videos on YouTube, and I only understood 20% of what they said. Now I know more about photographing, sometimes, what I learned from those videos (and didn’t understand then) became clear to me. 😉
          This lesson is a little different… don’t worry if you don’t understand what we were talking about. Please check his previous lessons and see if you are interested. And you can join whenever you like, you can skip, too 😉
          Then I keep telling myself that writing and photographing is not everything in life. Each of us has to decide how to use our time wisely. You are taking care of your grandchildren, right? That is fun and important 😉
          Have a wonderful day, Carol.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Raj says:

    Thanks Helen for the participation. Always great to see your post!

    The 50 mm 1.4f is sweet lens no doubt about it. Just check in the pro-circles. 50 mm is the second lens people buy or suggest. But having said that I totally agree with your perception.

    I was always a one lens person, My canon days I had 18~135 mm always mounted on my camera and with my Sony a6000, it was always 18~200 mm. Nothing like having one lens and keep shooting. But then comes the challenges. It’s about managing the exposure. I always restrict myself to ISO 800, beyond which I feel my picture quality is not acceptable in most conditions. Also whenever I do these close-ups of flowers or portrait kind of shots I wanted to have better background blurs. If you look closely the sharpness and the colours produced by the typical zooms were sub-par. Another issue with the zoom lens was the weight. So prime lens stepped in for me.
    Yes, the primes are restrictive as you have only one focal length to work with. You have to move up or down to frame your subject. But the quality of the capture is beyond comparison. Yes, definitely you will not be able to shoot a sudden bird on the tree or an interesting scene from the train. Yes, the 50 mm is kind of restrictive, because on a crop sensor body its about 70mm equivalent. I was using my 40 mm canon lens on my sony I felt that focal length also was restrictive, so bought 30 mm and I find 30 mm suites my purpose perfectly. Its become my main lens. Two weeks back I did a trip (Posted on my blog) and I used this lens 99% of the time. It was quick and accommodated all kinds of scenarios of travel. Yes, I carried my zoom lens too, just in case but never needed it.
    In your case, you need to get used to 50 mm and understand where all it could be used. I feel 50 mm for you will be a portrait lens and probably for some close-ups of butterflies etc. It has about half meter minimum focus distance this restricts the close-up distance. (evident on your second pic). That landscape it simply superb! I am sure you would have found out the difference if you tried the same shot with your zoom.

    The other lens 16~24 will be a strictly a landscape lens. But this can also be a good walk around lens on a travel situation. Ideal for street photography. But being f4 does not give you any advantage on low light. I wish it was atleast 1.8f.

    Thanks Helen for a valuable post, hope my reply makes sense. Please do a post based on 16~24 lens and give your thoughts. I would love to read it. This comment (not a critical review) part of XDrives Photography Learning session.

    Thank you,
    Raj

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Raj. I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. It helps a lot. I like your advice! All of them! D750 is a full frame camera, so 50 mm is 50 mm. I think one photographer said it might create some distortion when taking portrait, but I have to try it to know for sure. Since it does well with landscape too, it may be the one that should be mounted on the camera… yes? I am going to give it a try anyway.

      I was actually anxious to try 16-24. I watch a video on this kind of lens and would like to try what I heard from the video. One thing it said was that if you like the distortion, you would love the lens. I do like distortion (to a certain extend) 😉 and that’s why I am very curious with this lens. F4 doesn’t give me any advantage on low light, but at this point, all I want is to know is what kind of photo it takes so maybe it doesn’t matter too much.( It rains quite often in fall. I mean I am not sure when I will get it done. )

      By the way, is it ok to have the yellow flower right at the center in photo #1? In my mind, I tried to move that yellow flower to the side, but it didn’t look good. It seems that if I want the yellow flower (daylily) not to be in the center, I probably would have to take it in portrait mode. I am not sure. Maybe in the center is ok?

      Thanks a lot, Raj. More will come, I am sure 😉 Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raj says:

        Yes Helen, the first pic yellow flower in the centre looks fine to me. Its a kind of symmetrical image.Basically, if you are taking your 50 mm, then you also should carry 16-24 mm, otherwise you will miss the wide-angle opportunities. However skipping the zoom lens is ok in my opinion as you can manage most of the situations with the above pair.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mabel Kwong says:

    Agreed the 50mm lens looks softer. You seemed to have experimented quite a bit, and this shots are nothing short of very, very pretty. So far, I know I’ve always been a one lens person as I do not like the haddle of changing my lenses and carrying another around 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Mabel. Carrying one extra lens is only a part of it. Usually we don’t have a lot of time to change lens while traveling with a group (and no good place to change). Not to mention that I always worry if dust would get on the censor. Maybe use a different lens on each day? Still thinking…
      Have a great day.

      Like

  6. Pingback: Photography Learning – 11- Lenses – XDrive

  7. I have 50mm/f1.4 lens as well, it can take great photos, but sometime it is hard to focus on the objects. I have to take several shots in order to select the best of them. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Another lesson that produced much for your future captures.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As you learned when shooting (or trying to shoot) the ducks, is that no one lens can cover the whole range of subjects. The 50 mm is a classic lens, and masters such Henri Cartier-Bresson relied entirely on it. You asked if the 50 mm created a softer light than the zoom in the first two images. No, changing a lens won’t change the light (but it can create a softer image if it is less sharp). What it does is change the perspective. 🙂 It’s fun te read about and see your experimentation with the 50 mm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you so much, Otto. I thought the softness (light) was because the way each lens was built 😉 Thank you so much for answering my question. The more I think about it, it makes a lot of sense… when I use 50 mm, I was closer to the subject, so the DOF is shallower, which means a larger part of the photo was not in focus.
      I love experimenting. When I took your class, I didn’t know enough so I didn’t know how to experiment ;-(
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. prior.. says:

    what a cool lesson for sure – and even without the tutorial – each photo is so artistic – love the flowers especially….

    Like

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