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Lens For Dslr - How To Get The Best Deals
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Lens for Dslr - How To Get the Best Deals

If you recently bought a Digital SLR camera, chances are it came with a "kit" lens (a general-purpose zoom lens, generally in the range of 18-55mm or 18-70mm), and since you're reading this, chances are you've already discovered its limitations: maybe the wide-angle end is not quite wide enough, or maybe the telephoto end is not "tele" enough. Maybe a little bit of both. So you're looking to expand your options, and naturally, you want to get the best deals on lenses. How do you do that?

One way to do it (and this is my personal favorite) is to look for older, possibly discontinued, lenses that were made for your camera manufacturer's older film-based SLRs: something that most manufacturers don't make obvious (for obvious reasons) is that their older lenses that were made for their film-based camera bodies will work perfectly well on their newer digital camera bodies. The key is the lens mount: chances are, if the older lens and the newer body have the same lens mount, they'll work together.

One small "gotcha" to be aware of is what's known as the "crop factor": without going into a lot of technical detail, the crop factor is the result of digital sensors (generally) being smaller than 35mm film frames (I say generally, because there are plenty of modern digital SLRs that use what are known as "full frame" sensors, meaning the digital sensor is the same size as a 35mm film frame, or 36mm x 24mm). The crop factor is the ratio of the size of the digital sensor to the size of a full frame, and is generally around 1.5, give or take a few tenths.

What this means is that a lens made for a film camera will have a larger effective field of view when attached to a digital camera body with a sensor smaller than a full-frame. For instance, the sensor on my Nikon D2X measures 23.7mm x 15.7mm: for the sake of simplifying the math, let's just say that the crop factor is 1.5 (it's actually closer to 1.52). In this case, my 18-70mm zoom is effectively the same as a 27-105mm zoom on a 35mm film camera body, so if I wanted to get a wider angle without overlapping the range I already have covered, I'd want to look for lenses in the 12mm or less range (since a 12mm film lens would give the approximate field of view of an 18mm lens when you factor in the crop factor).

Knowing this, you can get some great deals on lenses for DSLR cameras: do a little research to find the best film lenses from your camera maker's old catalog, then do a little looking around eBay or popular photography sites where they have classifieds; you never know when you'll find an older film lens that will make a great lens for DSLR.


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