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NWR: Learning about photography lenses...who can help?

I know there are some ladies on here who know quite a bit about photography.  I'm researching SLR cameras because I'd like to (in the next few months) buy one and take some photography classes.  Anyway I'm having some difficulty understanding how the zoom lenses differ from "optical zoom" on other digital cameras.  For example, the Canon Rebel is 18-55 mm range, which I'm learning relates to a 3x optical zoom.  My camera is a 12x optical zoom.  However, my guess is that I'm missing something else, because why in the world would an $800 camera have less zooming ability than my $300 one??  Or is this true and I would need to purchase additional lenses?  I've had cameras before with a 3x optical zoom and it really wasn't that great for getting shots of people across the room.Sorry this is so long, but if anyone can help I would really appreciate it!Feel free to e-mail if it's easier - stephanie.lineberry@gmail.comThanks!!  :)

Re: NWR: Learning about photography lenses...who can help?

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    JemmessicaJemmessica member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
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    edited December 2011
    What you're paying for is more than the zoom. You're paying for the lens size. Think about what you can do with hundreds of times more light entering the lens. That's part of what goes into the price. I actually have some great examples of pictures DH & I took this past Saturday. Me w/ our dinky point & shoot & him w/ one of his Nikon DSLRs. I'll try to post them on shutterfly tonight & show you the differences; same picture, same settings, but different CCD & lens sizes. Definate differences.
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    smlinebesmlinebe member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    OK I see, so larger lens = more light = better quality, not just ability to zoom in farther on an item...perhaps even the ability to take shots with low light and not have them come out distorted??
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    JemmessicaJemmessica member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    exactly! the bigger lens, the bigger the aperture, which is what opens and closes to let light in! once you get it, and play with it you will learn how shutter speed and f stops can effect the outcome of a picture :-)
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    alliegator8alliegator8 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    It's actually the quality of the glass you are paying for.  I shoot sports, and the lenses I use start at $1200 for a good piece of glass.  Now the stuff I use to shoot landscape and fun stuff is not as expensive because the lens is not made to do the same thing as my sports lenses.  Does that make sense?Really what is comes down to is what you are shooting and how much you want to invest.  It started as a hobby for me, and I loved messing around with the camera and lenses so much that I started doing freelance work for different magazine to offset the cost of the equipment.I shoot with Canon and LOVE IT!  Nikon is also good.  I wouldn't go with any other company.  If you are looking for just taking nice fun pictures, get a canon rebel.  Most come with the 18-55 mm lens.  But also look into getting the 70-300mm lens at f/4.5-5 I think it is.  It runs around $200-$300, but is worth it for trips and vacations.  I let my parents borrow my back up camera to take to Alaska.  It was a canon rebel with those two lenses.  They loved it so much that they won't give it back to me.  They were able to get nice shots of eagles and bears in the mountains while they were hiking without getting close.  Now whenever they go on vacation, I get phone calls about how they want to try and do this or that with the camera or get this type of shot.Feel free to e-mail me and ask me any questions.  I love talking about cameras and photography! Aboyer8@gmail.com
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    edited December 2011
    Talking about photography, what is a good place in Raleigh to take classes at? I've been doing some research myself but other than wake tech I have not found much
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    birdcagebridebirdcagebride member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    if you buy your camera at wolf camera, they offer the classes for free but I think you can pay to take them as well??
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