Lens Comparison Nikkon 17-55mm f/2.8

I just received my new lens in the mail. It’s a Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8. I saved all my nickels and dimes for this beast and absolutely love it! Oh how I love camera equipment shopping online–side-by-side comparisons without the pushy salesman:-)Right out of the box, I tested it out on my two favorite (and rather goofy) people… and the unsuspecting bystander, Dottiegirl–the beagle (don’t worry, she always looks forlorn). Call me a weirdo, but I like the distortion of a wide angle lens. There are a ton of forums and how-to’s on how to get rid of lens distortion (there’s probably even a photoshop action to get rid of it too), but to me, it’s quirky and I’m a fan of (on purpose) quirky:-)

Oooooh! This lends nicely to a posing guide! Are you ready? Here we go! Notice in the first photo of the kiddos (upper left) Kyler is only slightly closer to me than his sister, yet his head looks twice as large (lens distortion).  {Side Note: His sister’s head is actually smaller, but not this much smaller.} When you’re dealing with folks with differing head sizes, placement is critical! If Uncle Bob has a gargantuan melon atop his tiny shoulders, don’t put him in on the edge of the frame (when using a wide-angle lens) where distortion becomes apparent. Move Uncle Bob to the middle where there is the least amount of distortion. Warning: Whatever you do: don’t shoot at a downward angle at him–his head will look like a hot air balloon ready for flight!

If distortion is not your desired affect, simply move back from your subjects (the closer you are, the more distorted your image will become) and (if possible) position a “smaller headed” person in front. In the lower right photo of the kiddos, I changed their positions and shot at a slight downward angle (to draw more attention to their faces). Notice the top of Kylie Anne’s head is a bit more pronounced (again, I like a little lens distortion), but if you’re not going for this look, simply adjust your shooting angle to a more “straight-on” shot.

Of course, the full extent of lens dynamics is not displayed here, but these were fun:-)Read on to see the real lens test…

Every time I shop for a new lens, people post beautiful photos of landscapes or a tight shot of an animal. Most of the time, you could probably get the same shot with a point-and-click–it tells me little about the lens itself. As I stated earlier, I love side-by-side comparisons, so this is what I did…

The best (and most obvious) way I could demonstrate the awesomeness of this new lens is with a moving object, shot with indoor, ambient light. Below is visual side-by-side comparison of what a difference aperture can make. Shot on the same camera body, same ISO and approximately the same focal length, the image on the left is the Nikon 17-55m f/2.8 and on the right is the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6. With the widest aperture setting at respective focal length, the shutter speed is compromised to absorb the most light: 1/20 of a second to 1/5 of a second. This doesn’t sound like much, but when your career is based upon capturing the image, this could make you or break you!

Watch out dimly lit reception halls–You are no match for me now!

Mandy - October 11, 2011 - 12:38 pm

Hahaha! Oh, Dottiegirl… always famished.

Suzie - October 4, 2011 - 1:42 pm

Thanks for the tips, boss :) I learn something from you everytime we talk pictures!
By the way…Dottiegirl looks like she might pass out from lack of food…we know how she gets…

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