Digital Photography Courses. FAQ -Which Digital SLR Camera should I buy - email

Course Location & Timings


Dates: February to November 2012

Timings: 09.45am - 5.00pm

Address: 25 Westerby Lane, Smeeton Westerby, Leics, LE8 0RA

Telephone. 0116 2796906

Price: £135

Lunch: Included


Nature = Nature & Bird Photography Course at Rutland Water. Oakham


Photography Course Timings


9.30 -10am Arrival, coffee & biscuits 10.00am camera settings & theory

12.30 -1.00pm light lunch (included)

1pm-3pm Practical photography

3pm-4pm Review photographs

4pm-5pm Photo-editing Demonstration

5pm Questions & course feedback


DSLR Course Requirements


Digital SLR Camera

Extra lenses - optional

External flashgun - optional

Fully charged battery and / or a spare

Empty memory card

Any other kit you need explaining

change of shoes if wet.


Please ensure you have a fully charged battery as we will be using your camera a lot and batteries do to tend to run out.For batteries and cards at huge discounts visit


Please note the Tamron 18-270mm lens is not suitable for Full Frame FX cameras like the Canon 5D, 6D or Nikon D600 or D800. If you have one of these cameras and would like a similar superzoom then choose one of these.




Nikon 28-300mm

FAQ- Which is the Best Length Portrait Lens to Buy?

Note: these are my personal views and other photographers may disagree. I've also included some suggested lenses below.

Which Is The Best Length Portrait Lens To Buy?
For the purpose of this answer I will be referring to full frame cameras so DX cameras users need to increase these figures by 1.5x to the crop factor.You will be able to use these lenses on a DX camera but be aware that a 90mm lens on full frame = a 135mm on DX.

History of the Portrait Lens
Traditionally portrait lenses were considered to be between 85mm and 105mm on a full frame 35mm camera.  This gave the subject breathing space, compared to a 50 or 60mm lens , so the subject felt more relaxed, but was still short enough to fit into the confines of a small studio.  

Pleasing Perspective and Smaller Noses
The longer 85-105mm length also gave a more pleasing perspective due to the slight compression effect of a telephoto lens. This tended to flatten the features and make the nose look smaller. Going in closer with a shorter lens (50mm) could have the opposite result and most people would prefer to have a portrait with a smaller looking nose.  

Wide Apertures
Back in the 60s and 70s, when most people used these prime lenses on their 35mm film cameras, most portraits where taken with studio light bulbs called Photofloods. Compared to modern day flashguns these lights were very dim and this meant portrait lenses generally need wide apertures so the 85mm F1.8 and F1.4 became very popular.  Added to this film speeds were mainly between 25 and 100 ISO (it was called ASA then but it’s the same) then the extra light gathering capabilities were useful.

Depth of Field
Another reason for using a wide aperture lenses was to throw the background out of focus (Big Hole=Blurry Background) but at F1.4 on the 85mm from about six feet away this results in the depth of field being about 1 inch. This means if you get the eyes sharp then the tip of the nose and ears will be out of focus. You are unlikely to use f1.4 so save your money and consider the F1.8 if you do opt for an 85mm.

Which Lens Would I Personally Buy?
Quick answer –
None of the above.  Personally I shoot most of my portraits on the 70-200mm f2.8 at 200mm wide open outdoors or at the longest length possible indoors.  The reason I like 200mm at f2.8 is because not only does it give you a really blurry background (and nice Bokeh) but the narrow angle of view also excludes junk on the left and right of the subject.  This means I only need a very small patch of good background rather than the big wide space I would need with a 50mm-85mm.

Prime Lenses. If you really want to shoot with a prime lens, for optimum quality, then I would choose a 90mm -105mm f2.8 Macro lens with a fast ultrasonic motor. At least that way you can use it for portraits and macro plus you should also get the ears and nose sharp at f2.8. Most newer model macro lenses also include image stabilisation so you should be able to work in low light with a large aperture at a slow shutter speed without camera shake.

One Final Note
If you do choose the 70-200mm f2.8 option and couple this with a dedicated 2x convertor then you will have a 140mm-400mm zoom for your wildlife photography at a lower cost and weight than you would by buying a 100-400mm dedicated zoom.

A Few Suggested Lenses From Wex Photographic - Nikon Fit

Nikon 85mm f1.8 G AF-S Lens

Nikon 85mm f1.4 G AF-S Lens

Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM - Nikon Fit

Tamron 90mm f2.8 SP Di USD VC Macro - Nikon Fit

Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM - Nikon Fit

Nikon 105mm f2.8 G AF-S VR IF ED Micro Nikkor Lens

Nikon 70-200mm AF-S Nikkor f2.8G ED VR II Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f4 G ED VR Lens

Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 SP Di VC USD Lens - Nikon Fit

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM - Nikon Fit

Sigma 2x EX DG APO Teleconverter Nikon Fit


A Few Suggested Lenses From Wex Photographic - Canon Fit

Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM Lens

Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM - Canon Fit

Tamron 90mm f2.8 SP Di USD VC Macro Lens - Canon Fit

Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM - Canon Fit

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L IS USM Lens

Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 Di LD SP AF (IF) Macro - Canon Fit

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM - Canon Fit

Sigma 2x EX DG APO Teleconverter Canon Fit

The Nifty Fifty – Is it worth buying a 50mm Lens?

I watch with great interest the discussion on the DPC Facebook Group about whether photographers should buy a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 prime lens.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. 

First the good news – the 50mm is an excellent quality, low cost lens with minimal distortion which is great for use in poor lighting. The wide aperture will allow at least 3 stops more light in than the standard f5.6 of the 18-55mm zoom at the 50mm setting. This is really helpful for portraits or photographs in very low lighting, where you cannot or don’t want to use the flash, such as concerts or churches.

And now for the bad news. This is my personal view and other photographers may disagree and find this lens very useful.

Ask your self - “What are you going to use it for.”  The 50mm is deemed as a “standard lens” on a 35mm, or full frame DSLR. This is because it gives a similar perspective and viewpoint as the human eye. The equivalent lens on a DX camera would be about 35mm because of the 1.5x crop factor.  A 50mm on a DX camera (most DSLRs) has the same crop factor as a 75mm lens on a full frame (FX) camera so becomes a short telephoto.

In the days of 35mm cameras an 85mm- 105mm lens was generally chosen as a portrait lens as it kept the photographer a sensible distance from the subject, offered a pleasing perspective and gave a blurry background.

To fill the frame with a 50mm you had to stand uncomfortably close which gave distortion and often proved intimidating for the model. A longer lens, like and 85mm, would allow a better distance, give a blurrier background and also a narrower angle of view therefore cutting out the rubbish in the background. So the 50mm is not much good for portraits then.

Let’s take a look at photographing interiors.

A 50mm = 75mm on a DX camera so basically you are not going to get enough of the room in the picture. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

How about landscapes?

One of the things people talk about on the 50mm is its lack of distortion. "Things look like they do in real life." Problem is “I don’t want them to look normal”. The reason I think so many photographers pictures look boring is because they look like real life. Let everyone else take the boring pictures. I want my students to take pictures that stand out from the crowd.

Take a look at the 52 week Flickr pictures and see how many were taken on a 50mm. I bet you won’t see many.

So should you buy one or not?

So in conclusion - should you buy one? Why not? They’re only a £100 and if you ever find yourself photographing black cats in coal cellars it will be invaluable. Add to this if you turn them around they make a great magnifying glass or a paper weight and if you don’t use it (I never use mine) you can always flog it on eBay.

Better still go for a 90mm f2.8 macro which will give you 2 stops extra light and you can use it for portraits plus macro photography. If you really do need f1.8 or f1.4 then I would go for the 85mm for portraits. If you are doing landscapes go for a 10-20mm zoom.

When I started my professional career I only had two lenses. A 24mm f2.8 wide angle and a 200mm f2.8 telephoto and I used those two lenses for pretty much everything. I did have a 50mm f1.4 which I used it as a magnifying class for looking at negatives.

Just one final point about lens edge quality.  If you are using any lens wide open to get a blurry background, and assuming your subject is not right on the edge, then why are you worrying about edge sharpness? If the outside of the picture is blurry anyway how will you know if it lacks sharpness?

Gift Vouchers

Gift Vouchers are available for any Digital Photography or Photoshop course. They can be booked for a certain date or be left open for the recipient to book a course themselves - subject to availability. All photography course Gift Vouchers are valid for a full 12 months.

Please Contact Us If You Have Any Questions

email - or call 0116 279 6906

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