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A bit confused about lenses??

MikeWh 7 59 United Kingdom
14 Dec 2011 7:49AM
Hi...I wonder if anyone could explain the different lens sizes for me, espsecially where the numbers cross...? I mean what would the difference be between using a 18-55mm @ 50mm & a 30-80mm @ 50mm or a 50mm prime...
I want to use the widest angle lens that I can afford for land/seascapes & don't know what to get, any sugestions welcome???
P.s. for a cannon ef system dslr

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mlewis 13 1.5k United Kingdom
14 Dec 2011 8:07AM
There woudl be no difference in terms of field of view when using a 18-55mm @ 50mm & a 30-80mm @ 50mm or a 50mm prime. There would be a difference in maximum apertures available at 50mm which would be down to the lenses in question.
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
14 Dec 2011 8:08AM
the figure e.g. 18mm refers to the focal length of a lens; the 18-55mm and 30-80mm are zoom lenses where you can adjust the focal length to suit and the 50mm is a prime lens where the focal length is fixed.

If you are unfamilar with the term "focal length" just understand that the smaller the number in mm the wider the angle of view.

IMO your 18-55 is not a bad start as a landscape lens; I believe the Canon 18-55 is not a bad lens at all.

There will be plenty more answers to your question, almost as many answers as there are epz members GrinGrin

G'luck, Peter.
MikeWh 7 59 United Kingdom
14 Dec 2011 8:13AM
Thanks for your quick response...Off to work but I'll have a proper read through tonight.........Mike
Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
14 Dec 2011 8:14AM
The lower the number the wider the angle.
Say 18-50 is a zoom lens with focal lengths between 18 and 50.
A prime means a lens with only 1 focal length ( ie you can't zoom it)

For your camera and your requirements you could do a lot worse than the Sigma 10-20
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
14 Dec 2011 8:18AM
...and don't fall into the trap of assuming that a wide angle lens is best for landscapes.

The three that I use for landscapes, in the order of frequency of use, are:


Wide angles are useful if you want to dramatically distort the perspective to draw attention to the foreground. The downside is that you lose much of the effect of the middle and far distance content. Telephoto focal lengths are equally useful for dramatically foreshortening the perspective and bringing features (such as hills and mountains) closer together.

There are obviously exceptions to any "rule" but, generally, you won't need very fast lenses for landscape as, often, you will want to be down in the f/11-f/16 range for depth of field purposes.

If your Canon is a "crop" frame model (sorry - see other thread!), then, as a first lens, go for a good quality 17-55mm or similar and then, when you have some experience with that, decide whether your next lens is going to be shorter or longer. (If you do want to go shorter, a lot of users find the Sigma 10-20mm a good option).

However, with a 17-55mm or thereabouts, the next pieces of kit you might find useful for landscapes would be a really sturdy tripod (essential) and an inexpensive set of ND Grad filters (desirable).

Good luck.
MikeWh 7 59 United Kingdom
14 Dec 2011 9:09AM
Hi work canceled :o)...So I've had chance to read through your replies & I'm very greatful....I've only had the camera for a year & the type of things I shoot already involve a very sturdy tripod.... I mainly do long exposures at night or early morning with mixed results. i just love being out at that time with not a soul around...
I also use nd filters sometimes a stupid amount stacked up, but thanks leftforum for the advice as I know where your comming from...
When I bought this camera I had no idea what a full frame etc was, so I'm stuck with it for now....I have as mentioned the 18-55mm & also 55-250mm but the latter I hardly bother with..
I hope you can understand my confusion regarding the point at which these lens sizes cross over, & the fact that because I would like as wide an angle as possible is because I always seem to end up framing the shot at the lower end of the lens & always end up moving myself & tripod rather than zooming..Mike

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