A Pointless Exercise

I’ll do anything to avoid working out these days…


Our challenge: to compare and contrast my two lenses and my old camera

Our players:

Canon Rebel Xs with the 50mm 1.8 lens

Canon Rebel Xs with the 18-55mm lens

Panasonic DMC-TZ3

The targets:

Three wooden toys from the windowsill in my office

Our playing field:

The butcher block island in my kitchen, approximately 45 inches long

Our lighting source:

The overhead light with a 100W compact fluorescent light bulb.  It was after 5pm and it’s February so the sun had almost completely set and the room was sufficiently dim


Game on.

The toys were set up at measured intervals on the butcher block and the cameras were set zero-inch mark on the table.  Each camera was set on full auto with the flash off.  Because the 50mm does not zoom, the pictures were all shot with the zoom on the other lenses backed all the way off.

Let’s begin!


First challenge: Mr. Bunny.  He was set approximately 15 inches from the camera.

First up, the 50mm lens:

The 50mm needs to be at least 18″ from the subject to capture every detail, so you see that Mr. Bunny’s stand has been chopped off a bit. Nice, otherwise.

Next, the 18-55mm lens:

Not too bad. Maybe a little too close to focus properly.

Finally, the Panasonic:

Hmm… pretty dim.  And the color doesn’t seem as crisp.

Next challenge: Mr. Hippo.  He was set approximately 25-inches from the camera.

First up, the 50mm lens:

Not bad.  If I wasn’t in full auto mode, I might like to adjust the white balance to get the color to be a little less washed out.

Next, the 18-55mm lens:

Very similar to the 50mm only the background is less blurry.  Same comment about the white balance.

Finally, the Panasonic:

Hello? Is there a hippo out there?  Again, pretty dim.

Last challenge: Mr. Zebra.  He was set approximately 45-inches from the camera.

First up, the 50mm lens:

Not bad.

Next up, the 18-55mm:

Again, almost identical to the 50mm except that the background is a bit more in focus.

And finally the Panasonic:

Somewhere in the distance I hear a zebra crying in the dark.  Actually the focus isn’t bad for the lighting, but the picture is still too dark.



Side-by-side zoom comparisons of the lenses that zoom: the Canon 18-55 (left) and the Panasonic (right).

The 18-55 is maxed out at this point with a 2x zoom while the Panasonic has more room to go with a 10x zoom.


Game over.

OK, so what did we learn?

Hey… is anyone still reading this?  No?  Well I learned that eating chips and blogging is way more fun than doing jumping jacks with Jillian.  I also learned the interesting limits of my lenses and the benefits of using both of them for different situations.  Also, as amazing as my point-and-shoot is outside in natural light, I’m so glad that I have the Canon now for the indoors, low light shots.  Yay DSLR!



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