Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Understanding the differences with third party lenses

From: The Practicing Photographer

Video: Understanding the differences with third party lenses

Choosing a new lens is always a complicated decision Swap the lens, get another one, maybe have the same problem.

Understanding the differences with third party lenses

Choosing a new lens is always a complicated decision because there's just so many different factors to weigh. Obviously most important there's price. But then you have to pick a focal length range you want. You've gotta worry about image quality. You've gotta think about other features that you might want like image stabilization. If all this sounds like gobbly goo to you, take a look at my Foundations of Photography Lenses course where in we talk about all of the specifics and give you kind of a workflow for how to choose a new lens. One question that comes up though, is third party lenses.

So I'm a Canon shooter, does that mean I should only by Canon lenses? I'm a Nikon shooter, does that mean I should stick with Nikon lenses? Certainly both Canon and Nikon make exceptional lenses, but there are third party lenses out there, Tamron, Sigma, Tokina. There are also just lenses made for other cameras. You might want to use a Nikon lens on your Cannon camera, or maybe you see a nice Olympus lens of some kind. But these third party brands, Sigma, and Tokina, and Tamron, should you really be considering those? They're much cheaper. Is it possible that they can be as good? Yes, it is.

And, for years, those have been viable alternatives to the branded lenses that match your camera brand. However, for years, you've also had to be careful when buying those lenses. For a long time, the image quality across the entire product range has not been consistent. Now, this is true with Canon and Nikon also, but with Sigma and, and Tamron and Tokina, you've had to be careful that they've had some great lenses and some real dogs. And so it's been worth doing some research to find out if the lens you want was one of the good ones. Also, for a long time, with the third party lenses, built quality was consistent.

You might buy a lens and it, it felt fine out of the box and you put it on and it worked and everything but focus was just a little bit off, or sharpness was a little soft. Swap the lens, get another one, maybe have the same problem. Swap it again, get another one, you'd have a perfectly fine lens. So, getting a specific unit that was good could often be trouble. Nowadays, things have improved a lot. The third party vendors are seeing the benefits of the digital photography explosion and the SLR proliferation and they've upped their game both in terms of build quality, consistency, reliability and in terms of the products they're designing.

Now in some cases, we're seeing third party lenses really take the lead in certain areas. For example, I have here. A Sigma 18 to 35 1.8 zoom. This is the first 1.8 zoom in existence. You can't get a zoom lens this fast from Canon or Nikon. And it's an extremely good lens. The build quality is exceptional. Image quality is fantastic and the functionality is amazing, especially if you're using a cropped frame camera. This is a great focal length for a cropped frame camera.

And having that extra speed buys you some of that shallow depth of field that you lose from having a smaller sensor. So this is a very, very smart niche for Sigma to be hitting. It's something that's not matched by one of the brands and they've managed to produce a really good lens. Another very nice lens, if you're looking for a wide angle, the Tokina 11 to 16. When you're considering any of these lenses, you want to go through the same process that you would go through when looking at a brand lens. Image quality. How's the sharpness? How's the sharpness across the frame? Is there distortion? Meaning do I look all fisheye, or do I look all pinched? Is there vignetting in the corners? Is there really bad flare? All those things you would address on a branded lens, are the same things you need to look at here.

You also want to consider build quality, you also want to look for those features you would look at in a branded lens, such as image stabilization. And, you don't just want to look to see if they have it, you want to check out some reviews on whether the stabilization is any good. There are a lot of different stabilizing technologies. Some companies have more effective stabilization than others. I mentioned before the option of using a lens from a different mount. So I have here a very nice Olympus 12 260. This is a two eight to have four. I can adapt to this to work on my Canon camera with the appropriate adapter.

And, in some cases, depending on the adaptor and the nature of the lens, not give up any functionality. In other cases, I might give up auto focus or some automatic metering. That's easy enough to research and find out. So, the short of it is yes, third party lenses are absolutely something you should be considering. You can get in many cases lenses that are an equivalent quality to branded lenses for less money, and in some cases get fantastic lenses that you cannot get from your camera vendor. Really the way to dig into this is you've got to look for specific lens reviews and really hit some good analysis of those critical features that you look at any time you're shopping for a lens.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for The Practicing Photographer
The Practicing Photographer

91 video lessons · 55497 viewers

Ben Long

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 0s
    1. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera NEW
      8m 0s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 8h 55m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 55s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed The Practicing Photographer.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.