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Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. In Foundations of Photography: Lenses, Ben Long shows how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. The course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. The course also examines various filters and contains tips on cleaning and maintaining lenses.
Eventually after comparing and contrasting, weighing this against that, reading gobs of online reviews and figuring out what you can sell off on eBay, you might finally be ready to buy a lens. So where should you buy? Of course looking online is probably your first instinct and there are a lot of good reputable sources for lenses and cameras online. So your first task will simply be to compare prices. Amazon usually stocks everything we covered here and they're almost always competitive on price. Right now most of Amazon's camera sales are handled by Adorama in New York.
B&H Photo also in New York has a comprehensive selection and is also very competitive on price, and if you happen to be in Manhattan, stop by. B&H is always fun and it's a great chance to see stuff in person. Calumet Photo is also a very good source for camera gear. In addition to their online presence they had stores in many major cities around the country. buydig.com is another good option, or you may already have an online vendor that you like. If you see a price online that just seems too good to be true, have no doubt that it most certainly is.
In a lot of cases disreputable online retailers will advertise a really hot product at a low price but when you call to order it they might try to push you on a camera accessory. Get a bag or something for the low-low price of $500 or something. When you say you're not interested they'll your order anyway, but they never charge you or ship the camera. Worse they won't tell you that that they're not shipping the camera. At other times the camera with a very low price might be a gray market camera, which means it won't be covered by an actual warranty. So while shopping online is very compelling for the price savings, if you have a local camera dealer it's really worth checking them out.
Sure, they may night be able to compete with online retailer for price, but though sell you a lot more than just a lens. Having a dealer that you can develop a relationship with will not only help you with your immediate purchase but it'll provide a lot of additional support and aid in the future, and for sure don't go to a local store to look at piece of gear in person and then go order it online. That's just tacky. Another great option is rental. There might be a local rental house in your area but renting online is also a great option. borrowlenses.com has a great selection, fantastic prices, great service, lens rental is great for those less frequent lens applications.
So, say, I don't know, maybe you need to go shoot your kid's soccer game or something, but you don't want to invest in a long lens that you're not going to use after soccer season is over. Or maybe you can't afford to a really fast lens, but you're going to wedding that will take place at night. A weekend rental of a nice 1.2 85mm will help you get shot that you might otherwise miss. Lens rental is also a great way to audition lenses before you purchase. So, if you're not absolutely certain about a particular lens or you'd like to maybe compare some lenses, rent them and see what you like.
It's a great way to check out a lens before you actually spend any money.
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