Tag Archives: Nikon

Lenses and designations? Confused? An easy guide

• Lenses •

• Lenses •
Buying lenses optimised for your sensor is confusing.

Lenses are a big investment…

It is difficult to know which lens is optimised for your digital image sensor. There seems to be so many different designations. Here is a guide to which lens designation you want.

Explaining the differences

Brands like Canon and Nikon have their own lenses range. Third party manufacturers, like Sigma, Tokina and Tamron etc. manufacture lenses for brands like Nikon, Canon and others. if buying lenses the third party manufacturers have lenses which are equivalent to the Camera brand manufacturer or possibly better. Look around at online reviews to see what standard of lenses and prices are available.

Make sure you buy lenses fitted with the correct lens mount for your camera. Older models of cameras may have the correct mount but some of the more recent lenses might not be suitable to work with the camera. So check the mount and camera are compatible before buying.

Why are lens mounts specific to brands? It’s mainly historical – the development paths of the manufacturers differ. However, they also want their customers to stay loyal to the brand. This unfortunate situation means you have to reinvest in a new range of lenses if you change your camera body. Hmmm! Expensive.

There are two types of camera sensor. There are cropped sensors – which is a small size. These are more often referred to as APS-C format.

The other sensor format is full frame sensor. These are the size equivalent of the old film SLR frames on a roll of film.

Full frame digital sensors are less common than cropped sensors. The cropped sensors are easier and cheaper to manufacture. However, in recent years we are seeing an increase in full frame releases of new cameras. The higher resolution (more pixels) and potentially bigger print sizes are attractive to consumers. As full frame format gets cheaper they are likely to become more common.

The full frame sensor size is the same size as a 35 mm (36mm ×24mm) film frame in old SLR cameras. Because of the historical significance of the 35mm format modern DSLRs are based on the same standard. Lenses are normally designed to fit either the full frame format or the cropped format.

Lenses designed for the full frame sensor have an image circle that covers the whole 35mm sensor. These lenses tend to be more expensive because they need a wide circle of light thorough them to cover the sensor. They have bigger glass elements as a result.

Full-frame sized lenses are able to fit a camera with the same mount and a cropped sensor. The image circle from the lens remains constant. The smaller sensor size (APS-C) is therefore only able to process the light from the centre of the circle – the rest of the light spills over the side of the sensor. The resultant photograph is like a zoomed-in crop of the image that would have otherwise been taken with a full frame sensor.

This image-cropping effect of smaller sensors is known as the “crop factor”. It represents the ratio of the size of the full-frame 35 mm sensor to the size of the smaller format. The apparent zooming effect also gives rise to an alternative name – the “focal-length multiplier”.

The ratio of full-frame to crop tends to lie in the range 1.3–2.0 for most cropped sensor DSLRs. You might say that a 100 mm lens on a camera with a 1.5 crop factor creates an apparent zoom multiplying the focal length by 1.5. A 100mm lens would then appear to produce the same picture as a 150mm lens. This is not a true magnification since the focal length of the lens is the same on both cameras. Instead the cropped sensor is likely to produce a lower quality result than than the full frame sensor while revealing a closer result.

You can use lenses designed for full frame sensors on cropped sensors. It does not work the other way. A lens designed for a cropped sensor creates an image circle smaller than the full-frame sensor. It would create a circular image with very strong vignetting around the sides. Manufacturers recommend not using lenses designed for cropped sensors on full frame cameras.


To ensure that buyers purchase the correct lenses for full frame or cropped sensor manufacturers designate them with specific marques. Here is the breakdown of the most common designations…

 Manufacturer  Full frame
(and APS-C)
    Canon           EF pEF-S
    Nikon          FX DX
    Sigma          DG DC
    Tokina          FX DX
    Sony     Various‑incl.
3rd party mounts
    Tamron          Di Di-II
    Samsung   Not available‑2013 NX
    Pentax Check manufacturer
  Konica‑Minolta Check manufacturer
Other related sources…

Lens manufacturers (Wikipedia) External link - opens new tab/page
Photography equipment manufacturers (cameras, lenses etc) (Wikipedia)  External link - opens new tab/page

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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Camera markets to change shape – bargins available

Changes coming in the global camera market

The intense competition in the general photographic market has lead to casualties. High profile losers like Kodak show us a harsh market. The camera market is about to change again.

Global decline

The camera market has showed extraordinary growth over most of the last decade. Now it seems to be crashing. Japan’s ‘Camera and Imaging Products Association’ is quoting a fall in shipments of digital cameras of 42% over the year Sept. 2011/2012 according to Phys.org. Significantly, compact cameras were a huge 48% of that fall. It appears that Smartphones are crushing the point-and-shoot camera market. Smartphones have long been breaking ground on the compact camera markets.

DSLRs have become relatively differentiated with technological improvements in recent years. The cameras remain expensive and the market is limited and the focus of camera manufacturers has been broad. While not buoyant the upper-range market appears to have fallen only around 7%. That itself may be indistinguishable from the global economic conditions. More interesting is the the report on “Canon Rumors” that Canon are considering cutting their wide ASP-C range of cropped sensor cameras… “It was also noted that the 1100D and 60D would quietly be discontinued in the first part of 2013 with no replacements being imminent”. Nevertheless Canon are obviously firming up their commitment to the range with other projected releases on the way.

I guess that the loss of the Canon 1100D would be no surprise. It would be weak link in the market as the lower end DSLR market has turned out to be an opportunity that never realised its potential. It seems logical for Canon to fight the advance of the smartphone at the lower end by the consolidation of the mid-range of DSLRs where they really hold a great strength.

Consumers are more savvy than sometimes recognised. People who invest in “half-way-house” technologies are seen as off-trend. Expensive point-and-shoot cameras, bridge cameras and the lower end of the DSLR market are in a weak position. They exhibit insufficient differentiation. Consumers will go for the smarter or more flexible options. Under attack by Smartphones, these camera groups do not fit into either the convenience market or the technologists group. The global economic situation, and perhaps market saturation, is putting a pressure on the camera market toward consolidation. The weakest link is the one where there is insufficient differentiation between convenience and technology a recurrent theme in the history of technology. So it is no surprise that low end DSLRs and bridge cameras are on their way out. In addition manufacturers will want to focus their efforts where there are greater margins. The mid-high end of the DSLR market would be a good place to start.

This all bodes well for some great bargains next year. The point-and-shoots and bridge cameras markets will be in opens season as camera manufacturers recognise their short-sightedness. It also suggests that structural changes in the manufacturing ranks may be coming as camera manufacturers need to look to their margins when the belts tighten.

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training courses ing digital photography.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas… Find Out What Your Kit Can Do.

Google can help you find ideas for trying out with your camera

Google can help you find ideas for trying out with your camera. Some results from the Google Images page for "Canon+5d+mkII+sample+images"
Click to see the same search on Google.

Most of the time it’s ideas we need

Sometimes getting new kit is a crusade. Must have this, must have that… buy, buy, buy! When I ask my students and friends why they feel like this the answer is simple. Often photographers feel that the kit they already have is somehow inadequate. Actually, even among my professional photographer friends, I find that most photographers have not fully explored their existing kit. After a little probing it turns out there are a lot of things they have never tried out. It is not kit that is the problem, it is a shortage of ideas. They really need to look for new challenges and to explore ideas.

Here is a quick and simple way to get ideas. Use Google. The search engine has a great ‘image search’ facility. You can put in details of your camera or your lens and see what sort of images other people have taken. I put this search term into the Google images search box… Canon+5d+mkII+sample+images. The + symbol tells Google you want all the words used. What I got back was “About 708,000 results” of images taken by that model. Wow! Now I have some new ideas!

Spend some time looking through those images. I am sure you will have lots of ideas. All of that is possible with your camera or lens or whatever you Googled.

Spend the next year trying to produce images like those on your Google page. If you can improve the quality and extend the ideas you will be developing your skills well. And, you will have a lot of fun.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

Buying a Best Selling Digital SLR for the First time

Looking for an affordable top quality DSLR? Modern DSLRs meet the highest standards.

Looking for an affordable top quality DSLR? Look no further...

Affordable DSLRs today offer unprecedented quality of images and wide flexibility in functions and control.

Affordable DSLRs today offer unprecedented quality of images and wide flexibility in functions and control.

The Digital SLR market is a competitive place. Without getting too specialist the main-stream manufacturers that generate the most sales for first time DSLRs are Canon and Nikon. They have managed to edge ahead of other manufacturers because they recognise that the key to a good photographic system is actually the lenses – not the camera. Both these companies have a broad range of excellent lenses. Good quality lenses will last you a lifetime. They are also interchangeable with other cameras in the same brand range. More important, quality lenses will determine the quality of your pictures much more than the camera bodies. So if you think you will want to move on in photography, invest in a mid-range camera and quality lenses. The lenses will stay with you. The camera bodies can be upgraded when you are ready.

There is little to choose between Canon and Nikon. They have both mastered the major features that modern camera users demand. They also cater in full for the more exacting demands of the discerning professional and advanced hobbyist. Both these manufacturers can provide you with lens ranges and camera bodies that will provide for you from starter to advanced career professional – and for life! So any investment in either company is likely to be a long and secure one with plenty of variation and development.

Nikon and Canon both provide the camera features and functions every beginner needs and many more than they will probably use. The camera and lenses will probably perform well beyond the demands of the starter or even the experienced amateur. The picture quality is excellent too. The difference between any of the equivalent cameras in their ranges lies in personal choice only. Your guide is therefore what you feel you need. Buying your first SLR is about fulfilment of your photographic dream. All the SLRs will be more than sufficient to meet your needs.

So, which camera? Here are some ideas to help you make up your mind and two recommendations.


The first guide is how much you can afford. The first DSLR is a big decision. It a lot of money and you are probably not very confident in your knowledge. Secondly, your first purchase will commit you to a brand. Spending a lot of money on one brand, then investing in other accessories adds up to a lot of expense. It costs a lot to drop that investment and start again with another brand. So your decision is a commitment.

Set a budget. Most first time buyers have a budget in mind. However, do not just set a budget for a camera. You will actually need to buy more than just a camera. Consider some of the first-time package deals. They usually include a camera body, a battery, small memory card and a kit lens. Sometimes packages include some ancillary equipment too which might be persuasive – a camera bag or an extra lens for example. However, before you buy these consider what you will need over and above these. Do you need extra lenses? Are you going to need an off camera flash? Tripods are one of the three most essential pieces of equipment. So don’t leave them out.

If you are going to buy lenses spend as much money as you can to buy good quality lenses. A cheap, poor quality lens ruins your experience. A great lens will live with you for years, through several camera bodies if you treat it right. Buy a duff one and you will always regret it. So budget accordingly.


Almost every camera in a range has similar features as the equivalent in another brand – with minor variations. First time DSLR buyers often don’t appreciate this simple fact. They spend hours pouring over the slightest variations in ‘essential’ elements of the competing cameras. Actually when they buy their first DSLR, they are not able to use it to its full extent – after all they are not experts. So the camera is pretty likely to be able to perform well beyond their competence and comfort zone. The minor variations in performance for specific functions are rarely important to the new DSLR user. So you should be doing two things. Buying a camera that enables you to grow into it, but which stretches your ability.

Buy your camera to be excited and challenged by it. Searching for just the right type of functionality and features is probably misguided. Your first DSLR should enable you to try out some of the things you want to do – but be flexible enough to extend you in areas you have not explored yet. Mid-range DSLRs are pretty amazing in what they can do. They are more capable in a wide range of uses and conditions than any cameras of the past. So buy something that will provide for the future, give you scope to buy quality glass (lenses) and enable you to meet your aspirations. The features and functions of a modern camera are likely to be less important than practice and practical experience. So here is a list of things you should think of which have a real impact on your shots…

  • Weight… Buy a camera you can hold up for long periods
  • weight… go lighter for family and general recreational photography
  • Size… Smaller people are more comfortable with smaller cameras
  • Size… Some activities suit small cameras (street photogs go smaller, landscapers > bigger)
  • Speed… High speed sports shots? Look for high shot repeats
  • Shape… Be sure you can hold it comfortably
  • Shape… be sure the buttons are suitably placed
  • Family… make sure the flash is easily controlled for portraits
  • Serious? Make sure you have full manual control available
  • Recreational? Consider fully implemented modes (portrait, macro etc)
  • Lens mounts… make sure you can use professional quality lenses
  • Lens mounts… ensure the manufacturer produces professional quality lenses
  • File format… discerning photogs use RAW. Ensure it is available.

Note… RAW, is the file format that keeps all the data the camera captures. Only RAW allows you to exploit the full potential of your shots. If you are serious about your photography, you will eventually want to use the RAW format. Secondly, if a camera manufacturer does not produce professional quality lenses it is questionable whether they have aspirations for top quality images. That may not be important for you now, but it will be if you take your photography beyond your first DSLR to more challenging photography.

OK… so what should you buy?

Here are two hot selling, mid-range cameras. They both meet the needs of first-time DSLR buyers. They are feature rich and capable of providing a challenge for at least the first few years of the enthusiasts photography. The prices are pretty keen. If you have scope in your budget, go for quality lenses too.

I have chosen the Canon 650D and the Nikon D5100. Both are reasonably priced. They have much the same specifications with equivalent kit lenses included in the package. The features and functions will handle a wide range of uses and the image quality on both these cameras is excellent. They are not too big, and will be usable by most people. They support mounts that have superb quality lenses available. They will both perform reliably in difficult photographic conditions and far beyond the starting ability of most first-time DSLR owners. They are both fun cameras to use!

Updated to most recent models 18/Oct/2012

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm IS II Lens


Nikon D3200 Black Digital SLR with 18-55mm VR Lens


By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.