Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Two Lens Job

You can easily shoot all of your car photos with a point and shoot camera, or so I'm told. Most give decent good light results. When you move into more complex cameras, digital single lens reflex (DSLR)types, you really remove the capability for using a single lens easily, because you start looking for a wider range of results, in larger finished photographs, whether on-line or printed.

It certainly can be done with a single lens. Some parts are easier with one lens than another, though. My preference is for an ultra-wide lens for interior photography, and a short to moderate zoom for other photography, with my current zoom an almost ideal length at its top end of 125mm.

The Pentax *istD in the photo has what I found to be one of the best lenses for general car photography, though on an APS-C sized camera, the resulting 36mm (24 x 11.5)wasn't wide enough. The lens is a Sigma 24-135mm that I sold, along with the camera, some time ago. I regret selling both.

I'm currently using a Sigma 18-125mm, which gives me a wider view, but still not as wide as I'd like. That's where the second lens comes in, but we'll look at wide angles next time around. The K10D in the photo has the Sigma 18-125mm mounted.

It is the telephoto end, though, that proved most important. My original lens for digital automobile shots was a 16-45mm Pentax, a good lens in every respect, except that I kept being visible in all the shiny surfaces of the vehicles I was shooting. I had to either shoot at an extreme angle, or forget about photographing some of the more interesting parts of the cars. That's not helpful.

So I got the first Sigma and, trying to do it all with one, didn't like the 24mm end. I thus got the 18-125mm and sold the other lens. Sigh. It still wasn't wide enough for what I wanted, but it was nearly perfect in every other way.

I could now get back far enough that reflection wasn't too much of a problem, getting shots such as this 1955 Chevy Nomad's fender while standing only slightly to one side. With shorter lenses, I found it necessary to get truly extreme angles for such shots.

With a DSLR, you cannot really do a professional job with a single lens (in my opinion). Figure on at least two. Because you can't really do a pro job with a P&S camera, because the limitations on wide angle for interior shooting, things are different. You have to shoot in smaller segments and may have to use panoramas to get a full dashboard in a single photo. Good shots are possible with the P&S as well, just more difficult to achieve. I'll get to that in a later post.

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