Canon Rebel XT inquiry on telephoto lens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nico, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. nico

    nico TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, first post and from what I can tell, everyone is pretty helpful around here so here goes.

    I've had my Rebel XT for about a year now. Taking 90% nature shots, including plenty of flowers and wildlife (the other 10% would come down to random get together's to show off the camera to friends).

    I'm thinking heavily on getting a telephoto lens but to be honest, have no idea what to look for. As much as I'd love to spend 1000 on one, this passion of mine has a budget. I wouldn't want to go higher than 350 (unless it was truly a bargain or something). So my questions would be..

    What should I look for if I wanted to get close up shots of wildlife (or even creepy crawlers)?
    Also, I haven't done a whole lot of night photography due to the XT's weak flash. Can anyone recommend a flash? Dumb question, but how helpful is a flash when you aren't taking Night Photography?

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    Cheers,
     
  2. gtkelly

    gtkelly TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to the Forums!

    I'm hardly an expert, but for night photography I've found a good sturdy tripod is much more useful than a flash. Especially the on-camera one - I think it's only good out to 15-20 feet. I've got the XTI which is very similar to your XT.

    For a good tele on a budget look at the sigma and tamron versions. I bought my wife a 18-200 Tamron (she does not like to change lenses) for around $400 from the local shop. I bet you can save at least 50 bucks online.
     
  3. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Welcome to the Forum.

    A Flash is pretty much indispensable. I use mine all the time because I mainly do indoor shots. But they're also great for when you're outdoors and the shadows are too harsh - or the back lighting is too strong.

    You'll quickly learn how to bounce light off walls and ceilings so that you don't get that really flat lighting that comes from front on flash. Or then you can do some really neat effects with flash lighting - like leaving your shutter open for a long time and then firing the flash, or multiple flashes per frame. It's so much fun! :mrgreen:

    I have 2 flashes. A 430EX for my Canon 350D and the older, analogue equivalent for my EOS 100 (I think it's called a 430EZ). But if you can afford it - get the next flash up - the 580 I think it's called... I can't remember. It's 5 hundred and something.

    Because what does any photographer with a flash want?? More flash power! :x
    I ended up buying some strobes after I got my flash because I was hooked to all this extra light! And plus I love the sound a strobe makes when it goes off.... It's like a compination between a *Booooof* and a *click*

    As for your lens question, I'm not sure as I mainly deal with 100mm and smaller. With most of my stuff being under 30mm. Read a lot of reviews on the net and write everything down and then compare them all and then start crossing off the ones you don't want for whatever reason. ie: too heavy, too soft wide open, too slow, too expensive etc.
     
  4. nico

    nico TPF Noob!

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    GT- The 18-200 Tamron, you say good things about it huh? Anything that stands out about it?

    Meysha, what kind of specs are you looking for in a flash?
     
  5. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Basically you want to get one that works with your camera. That's always a bonus. ;-)

    Here's a list of canon ones:
    http://www.canon.com.au/products/visual/cameras_lenses_accessories/speedlites.html

    Then you want to look for one with a good GN (or Guide Number). That explains how powerful the flash is at a standard setting they're all tested against.
    The bigger the number the stronger the flash is. So that means it will work further away, and provide more light on closer objects.

    You may also want the master and slave feature. So that if you have 2 flashes, the first one (the master) can trigger the second off camera flash (the slave) to fire as well.

    A Fast recycle time is good as well, if you're shooting people.

    Also a flash that can turn and swivel is handy, because it lets you bounce your flash off pretty much any wall in the room.
     
  6. gtkelly

    gtkelly TPF Noob!

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    The Tamron 18-200 seems to be a decent walk around lens for the XT\XTI. I haven't used it much as it never comes off the wife's camera. We'd buy it again. Shots seem very clear. Fast enough for most situations.

    Here's the link at Adorama. http://www.adorama.com/TM18200EOS.html

    One thing to think about - it's built for the APS-C sensor cameras. Won't work on a full frame (5D) or film camera.

    Sorry for misunderstanding the night photo thing. I assumed you were talking about outdoor picts at night. A good flash is a huge help for low-light situations.
     
  7. MikeR

    MikeR TPF Noob!

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    For close ups of wildlife I would say that you want a lens that goes to a minimum of 300mm. 400 would be even better. If you definition of "creepy crawlers" is bugs, then you would want a macro lens.
    There are other things to also consider. If you plan on shooting a lot in low light and hand held, then you should look for a fast lens,although they can get expensive.
    A tele-converter can be added to a lens but it Will cost you in image quality (Some are better than others, I have a Canon 1.4x which really does not show a loss in quality) It will also cost you in stops, for example, when I use my 1.4 TC on my 70-200 f/2.8 the widest aperture is f/4 instead of f/2.8

    I had a Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 macro which has excellent IQ and while not a true macro, it did a decent job with close ups. However at 300mm the widest aperture is f/5.6 which is kind of slow.

    The Canon 430EX and 580EX are great flashes. I have the 580EX but feel that the 430EX is very capable and more reasonable. Be aware that there is a learning curve to using a Canon flash. IF you decide to get one, PM me and I will send you links to the best material on them.
     
  8. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    I agree. The 430 is capable and value for money, but if I had the money I would have bought the 580. Just because .. well.. better is better in the end.
     
  9. nico

    nico TPF Noob!

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    So when you guys say fast lens you mean, a lens with a fast shutter speed?
    Also, I'm guessing the macro lens go for a lot ? Or is it within my budget range?

    Mike, you said "However at 300mm the widest aperture is f/5.6 which is kind of slow." Why is that? All I know about apertures is that the lower the number, the bigger the "eye" opens up. The bigger the number, the more condensed the becomes.

    Haven't gotten a chance to check out the links, at work right now, will try to during lunch. Thanks alot so far for all your help. Obviously I'm still very new to this.
     
  10. Mr_Bester

    Mr_Bester TPF Noob!

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    An f4 lens is 1 stop faster than an f5.6 lens. The "open eye" lets in more light. It lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed. To get the same exposure, an f5.6 lens at 1/30th = an f4 lens at 1/60th. Meaning you can shoot in lower light, easier, without having to up the ISO.
    Dug
     
  11. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to the forum!

    My recommendation is going to be the 430EX in the flash department. Only you can determine if its worth the extra money (roughly double the price I believe) for the 580EX. Also, http://strobist.blogspot.com is a great resource to learn about flash photography.

    As far as the lens recommendation I don't have one for you. :D I have a 75-300 and a 170-500 and the image quality of the former isn't anything to brag about in my opinion. However, it is quite affordable (I think around $150-$200).
     
  12. MikeR

    MikeR TPF Noob!

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    Great expanation, no need to add to it.
     

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