Anyone who’s new to photography and has spoken to someone with experience has probably fallen foul of the “is that 18 – 55 digital or analogue” question.
Yeah, me too.
I politely replied that the lens was black like the camera because I felt it was nicer and would they stop looking at me funny.
Well, I’ve asked a few people what this meant and got a few different explanations.
Basically the focal ranges quoted on the lens will either be for a digital camera or a film (35mm) camera. The lens will work with both (assuming it says so on the box. I accept no responsibility for the broad implications of this statement) but since the two cameras do things in different ways, the actual values may vary. The factor seems to be about 1.5
Here, hold on. Dermot explains it better in a post he sent me earlier.
For film cameras the standard lens is the 50mm lens, this is because it matches the behavior of the eye but if you take photos with your old compact film camera, you’ll have noticed that the photos don’t always match what you remember seeing, this is partly to do with the quality of the camera/film/photographer but also because those cameras didn’t have a 50mm lens. Instead to cater for all occasions they were given a 35mm lens to allow people to take loads of panoramic scenic shots. Mystery solved.
When the magic of digital arrived, there was a little problem. While with film cameras, the lens size determined what images fell on the negative/transparency, with digital it couldn’t behave in the same way, the camera could only see a part of what the lens saw. So if you put the same 50mm lens on both a film and digital camera, you wouldn’t get the same image, the digital would effectively have zoomed in by a factor.
This factor is multiplicative and it’s value is 1.5, so the 50mm lens is really a 75mm. This is why the standard lens for digital is 18-55mm or 18-200mm, with the factor factored in, you really have a 27-82mm or 27-300mm.
There are some expensive digital SLRs which have solved this problem but the cheaper ones still use the 1.5 rule.
Hope that makes some sense.
So, if I could offer you one piece of advice (and since that nice man already told you about the benefits of suncream), I would say “if you’re buying a new lens for your camera, make sure the focal range is what you actually want”