Lens Buying Guide
Everything you need to know about focal lengths, maximum apertures, new technologies and more!
A trip to the camera store these days will show you an astonishingly vast array of lenses, from tiny zooms on compact digital cameras to big telephotos for digital SLRs. Many of these lenses are based on designs that were unheard of just a few years ago. They offer you new opportunities to expand your photographic capabilities—knowing what the lenses can do for you will help you make a better decision in your camera and lens purchasing, whether that means checking the zoom range of an advanced compact, buying a new lens for a digital SLR or comparing lens speed among any group of lenses.
EZ DV Camcorders
Capture digital video with these palm-sized, reasonably priced camcorders that boast high-end features
Video cameras have come a long way since the days of grainy, choppy home movies. Digital camcorders are now the dominant format on the market and offer remarkable image quality, ease of use and affordability. The new crop of compact digital camcorders has replaced VHS and other analog camcorders as the popular choice and has sparked a renewed interest in video recording.
Short Report: Canon EOS 20D
A lightweight digital SLR offers top-level sensor performance
Yes, the Canon EOS 20D has 8.2 megapixels, and everyone keys in on that impressive number, but megapixels aren't everything. The quality of an image coming off of a sensor is strongly affected by the sensor design itself as it, in turn, affects noise, color and tonal range. The Canon EOS 20D features superb results for all of these points.
- January/February 2005
Lighting The Way
Understand the fundamentals of flash to make the best purchasing decision
When it comes to flash, it's easy to consign its use for night when there isn't enough light. The real power of flash lies in its ability to improve the quality of almost any photograph, however, whether shot at twilight or midday. More than just a source of illumination when light is lacking, it's a phenomenal tool for affecting exposure, contrast and color.
Short Report: Sigma Zoom Combo
Two low-priced lenses from Sigma are ideal for photographers on a budget
If you're looking for a low-priced, compact set of lenses that offer a great range for small-format digital SLRs, check out Sigma's new pair, the 18-50mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 DC and the 55-200mm ƒ/4-5.6 DC. These are ideal all-around focal lengths offering wide-angle and moderate telephoto ranges. Designed specifically for digital cameras (indicated by the DC), this combo typically offers an equivalent focal length range of 27-300mm on a small-format digital SLR for a 35mm camera. The image circle of these lenses won't cover a standard 35mm film frame.
January/February 2005 HelpLine
* Bringing Order To Your Images
* Red-Eye Myth
* Choose The Right Disc
* CF Card Differences
* Resolving Resolution
Trade Tricks: Layer Masks
Gain more control over your photos with this key image-processing tool
While they're not particularly intuitive and may discourage photographers who could benefit from using them, Layer Masks are an essential tool when working in an image-processing program. As you'll see, they're worth the effort required to learn them.
Short Report: Noise Ninja 2.0
Effortlessly remove noise from your digital camera
Since the beginning of digital imaging, noise has been a serious problem for photographers. We've longed for a way to reduce noise while not affecting image quality and camera performance.