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DSLR Guide part 4: Why a Decent Lens is Better than a Decent Camera

by Jo Ferguson (follow)
Read my Weekend Notes articles at http:/ www.weekendnotes.com/profile/313240/ See and buy my photography at http:/ www.redbubble.com/people/photojojo
image quality (2)      lens quality (1)      quality optics (1)      super zoom (1)      interchangeable lenses (1)      lenses (1)      focal length (1)     
The last question in our series concerned why you should spend money on interchangeable lenses as opposed to buying a camera with a built in extra long zoom.



Exhibition Building Melbourne in Autumn
Exhibition Building in Autumn


Firstly there is the convenience of being able to use whatever focal length suits your shooting conditions at the time. You can collect a variety of lens focal lengths to suit different needs and if you only need, say a wide angle lens for landscape when you head out then you can keep the rest stored safely at home.

It may appear convenient to have a range of focal lengths always available without changing over lenses, as is the case with a super zoom camera where the lens is permanently fixed. However there are two reasons why this is not recommended for more professional photography and both reasons relate to image quality.

The lenses that are used on such cameras are very inferior in quality. The advertisers may claim they are a known high quality brand but they are mostly made up of plastic elements rather than glass.

The other problem with extra long zooms, and this also applies to interchangeable lenses that cover a wide focal range, is that the images will suffer from more distortions, fringing, lack of sharpness and chromatic aberrations.



Exhibition Building Melbourne in Autumn
Weathering the Storm


Without going into the complicated physics behind optical technology, all you need to know is that the more separate elements, glass or plastic, that go into the one lens, the poorer quality of the resulting images.

The best quality lenses are also the most expensive because they are made with top grade, professional quality glass. They have fewer separate elements and are created to high standards of optic technology. This will provide the most stunning image quality in all shooting conditions.

So even if you choose a DSLR, the quality of the lenses you pair with it is just as important. You can buy cheaper lenses, and most DSLRs come with the option of including ‘kit’ lenses for a reduced price.



Exhibition Building Melbourne in Autumn
Cowes Beach Sunset

The old adage that ‘you get what you pay for’ applies here though.
The cheapest lenses are nearly always made of a combination of glass and plastic parts, and are of inferior quality optical design.

In fact the quality of the lens is so important to the final image quality that it is better to buy a less expensive camera body, one without all the fancy features you will probably never use, and spend the extra on a decent quality lens.

Now that you know more about buying a digital SLR my final word of advice is to do your research. Look at all the current cameras and read lots of reviews.

Work out what sort of features you are going to want and what things are most important to you in a camera. It is an expensive investment so it is important to get the one that suits you.



Exhibition Building Melbourne in Autumn
Moreton Bay at Dusk


All brands make quality cameras so don’t be talked into buying a brand, if it doesn’t suit your personal needs as well.


#lens quality
#image quality
#quality optics
#super zoom
#interchangeable lenses
#lenses
#focal length
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I will never forget one of the best pieces of advice I got early on and that was to invest in good glass. I was thinking of upgrading my camera body at the time and was told to buy good quality glass first, which I did. And I have upgraded my body twice since then, but still using those same lenses.
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