Monday, September 14, 2009

Beyond The Kit Lens

Buying a digital SLR as part of a kit that includes a lens is a popular option, especially for those moving up from a compact camera or switching brands.
By Jon Canfield Published in Lenses
Beyond The Kit Lens

Samsung. Samsung offers a selection of eight lenses for its digital SLR line. Of particular interest to someone expanding beyond the kit lens is the D-Xenon 50-200mm ƒ/4-5.6 ED zoom. Giving you the equivalent of a 75-300mm range, this $330 lens is very compact and lightweight. You also can use any lens compatible with the Pentax digital SLR line, as Samsung bodies are built with Pentax mounts.

Sigma. Sigma offers a wide range of lenses for many camera systems. If you’re considering adding a second lens to your kit, the 70-300mm ƒ/4-5.6 APO DG Macro at $160 is a good value, especially if you’re interested in doing close-up work with the macro setting that allows you to get up to 1:2 magnification at 300mm. The lens also uses Sigma’s SLD lens coatings to reduce chromatic aberration in your images.

Sony. The SAL 75-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 zoom is a great option for extending your reach with the Sony Alpha cameras. At about $250, the lens is compact and lightweight, giving you the equivalent range of 112-450mm on a full-frame camera. You can focus as close as five feet for close-up telephoto shooting, too.

Tamron. If the high price of the manufacturer’s wide-angle zooms is holding you back, consider the SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF). At less than $500, this lens gives you improved performance over the previous model, thanks in part to an optimized optical design for digital cameras. For macro photography, check out the SP AF60mm F/2 Di II 1:1 Macro. With the ability to reproduce full size (1:1), this lens is extremely sharp and compact. With a street price of $569, it’s an excellent option for getting into this type of photography.

Tokina. Along with Sigma and Tamron, Tokina is well known for producing a wide range of lenses for different camera manufacturers. If you’re looking for extreme telephoto range, check out the AT-X 80-400mm AF D ƒ/4.5-5.6. At $550, this lens will give you a 5x zoom range with the equivalent of 120-600mm when used with the APS-C-sized sensors found on most digital SLRs.
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