best fixed lenses?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Mel, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Mel

    Mel TPF Noob!

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    I'm buying a Canon EOS-30D Digital SLR 8.2mg and I'm looking to buy some lense that will work great for the camera and what I want to use them for. I have been told in the past to get a 50mm lense and an 85mm lense for portrait and studio photography. I also would like to get a macro lense for all those bugs that we see. And then just an everyday lense just out and about. Now my questions are which brand? what do you use? would I go with Canon or what kind? the other question I have is how much am I going to have to save up for these lenses, (American money please:D )and how many lenses do i really need?

    Thank you for all your help and all your input is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Mel
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There is a wide range of lenses...and the upper limit of what you can spend is very high. The 'best' lenses for this camera/system are probably the Canon lenses. Canon's top of the line lenses have an L designation and a red ring on the lens or a white color.
    HERE is Canon's line up of cameras and lenses. And HERE is the macro lens page.

    If you are already going to get a 50mm and or an 85mm lens....then you could make a pretty good macro set up by adding a set of extension tubes (check out Kenko).

    There are other brands like Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, who make some great lenses for the EOS system. Just like Canon lenses...some of them are great and some of them are not so great. The easiest way to tell is usually the price. Better lenses cost more, although there are some gems that perform well but don't cost as much.

    To check the prices of lenses...look at the B&H or Adorama sites. Both can be found on our links page HERE

    If you can narrow down your budget and what you want to do...we can give more specific suggestions.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    50mm and 85mm are good recommendations, the 50mm f/1.8 is excellent value for money, and Canon's 85mm f/1.8 is also very reasonably priced. B&H sell the 50mm f/1.8 for $69.95 and the 85mm for $339.95. Therefore I see no reason not to buy Canon for these fast primes. In other cases where the Canon may be more expensive I would definitely consider buying other brands. In particular Tamron make excellent macro lenses for a good price; others have equally good things to say about Sigma's offerings or Tokina's.

    For an 'everyday lens' it is very difficult to give a recommendation. For some a zoom is best for this, whereas I personally much prefer to keep a prime fitted most of the time. Even within these it depends very much on what sort of focal lengths you are more likely to use. If you were after something of similar focal length to an 18-55mm "kit" lens but wanted better optics I would consider the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 - I believe Big Mike and others can testify to the quality of this. Canon have a similar offering with IS which is of course a lot more expensive.

    Personally I would recommend first borrowing lenses where possible to get an idea of what kind of focal lengths you like best. For example some people will use longer focal lengths than 85mm for portrait work; it might be best to get a better idea of what you're looking for before buying.
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Simple answer: always more than you can afford .. no matter how much money you have :p

    I currently totally stick to Canon lenses, but I did also own some very good non-Canon in the past (and some very bad ones made by Canon ;)) .. so it is not about the brand-name all the time, but about the specific lens you look at.

    if you want to stick to prime lenses, as I assume from your post: I survived for a long time with a wide angle (28mm) and a 50 prime for landscape and outdoor architecture. A 300 mm prime + 1.4x teleconverter is a good compromise for wildlife, but nevertheless rather costly.

    and in most things i also follwow what mike and ZaphodB said ..
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    To echo the others, for a Canon 50mm, you can spend between $70 and $1600 dollars, so budget will have a bit impact on what's best for you.

    One thing to keep in mind is that with the 30D, the 50mm and 85mm will be like an 80mm and 135mm on a 35mm film camera. That's a common range for portraits.
     
  6. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Start with the 50mm. f/1.4 if you can afford it. ($200?) f/1.8 if you can't. ($85) This will be a great portrait lens.

    But no lens is as sharp as a proper macro lens. The sharpness is only half of it. True macro lenses are almost perfectly corrected for distortion.

    The sharpest lens I've ever had for 35mm was a Tokina 90mm f/2.5 ATX macro for my Nikon FM2n. It put the 50mm f/1.8 AI-S Nikkor to shame in every way except speed & weight.

    For portraits, the simpler lens will be better, as you can open it up further for better background focus control.
     
  7. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    You could look at the Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro lens and use this for portraiture too. Will save on the 50mm. I think the 50 is too long in a small studio (if tyhat's what you have) Look at the Sigma 30mm f1.4 too.
     

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