Confused about lenses.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by crazy_dragonlady, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. crazy_dragonlady

    crazy_dragonlady TPF Noob!

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    To start I guess I should give y'all some info.

    Currently I have a Canon EOS 3000 body with the kit lens that came with it(I barely ever use this one) Plus I bought another lens at the same time. The EF 75-300mm 4.0-5.6 II lens. I bought all this stuff almost 12 years ago now for just over $1000.00CDN. Not worth much now but they all still work great.

    I have been using the Kodak EasyShare C633 that we have and I like the fact that I can snap a shot and get the "immediate gratification" with the digital. The obvious thing I don't like is the limiting factor of the P&S camera. I mean you can change a few of the settings but not to do the range of photography that I like to do.

    The photos that I have been taking a lot of and find myself liking a whole lot are the landscape, sunrise and sunsets, animals and birds (zoom) and some, what I guess would be called "macro" shots. I have been wanting to get more into portraits although not the posed type but the "natural" captures of life.

    Anyways, my question is after searching all over the 'net as well as looking through some of the posts on here about lenses I find my head swimming with the choices in lenses out there. I am looking at purchasing the Canon EOS 400 (Rebel XTi) and I know that I can use the lenses that I already have with that particular body but I'd like to get some better quality lenses without going over a couple hundred dollars. I am definitely going to get the Canon 50mm f/1.8 EFII lens for some better macro shots (I know that it's not a very durable lens but for what I need it's perfect plus I'm not rough on my lenses). However, I don't know if I want or need to buy any other type of lenses for telephoto shots. Whether it's a zoom or not is another question as I've heard that the "prime" lenses give better quality than the zoom lenses but I like the freedom of the zoom lenses.

    I have probably confused everyone here with exactly what I'm looking for now and I apologize for my scattered thoughts (codeine induced mind wanderings) but what I'd like to know is based on what type of photography that I'm interested in what other lenses do y'all think I should be looking at? Once again I don't want to spend much more than 3-400 on any one lens, and can I get away with sticking with the lenses that I have and just getting the macro lens?

    On another note I'd also like to see a direct comparison between the 50mm f/1.8 and the more expensive f/1.4. I know the build is much better but is it worth the extra 200 bucks? I don't think it is.

    TIA for any replies. :mrgreen:

    ttfn
    CDL.
     
  2. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would say save your money, If the 3000 works fine, Use it. Don't waste your money on newer body unless you need to because it sounds like you are going to be streaching the finances a little thin with a new body. Invest that money into some glass and a deicent photo/film enabled scanner. I was looking at this thread a little wile ago. That is not a fault of the camera and probably not you but the processors who did the print and the scanner just as Alex said. With a semi deisent scanner you should find that that 3000 is more than enough camera for you at this current moment, especially if you have been restricted to that C-series Kodak up untill now. I've been down that road, I was stuck with my C-743 for some time before digging up my EF. Now that I have that with a fair scanner I see no reason to get a new body.

    As for your glass I have no input for you as I do not use the EF series of lens (I use Canon FD) But I am sure someone around here does.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    While I don't totally disagree with Battou...I don't fully agree either. If you want a digital SLR type camera, I'd say go for it.

    I used to use a film SLR quite a bit and it was great...but it's a different world with a DSLR. By the time you factor in a decent scanner, film & processing, and all the time spend mucking around with that...an XTi isn't looking that expensive.

    You really don't have a lot of good options for quality lenses under $400. You are probably better off saving a bit and getting something better (that you won't want to upgrade right away).

    For starters, I'd suggest the 'kit' lens...EF-S 18-55mm. It's a cheap lens and not great, but it's dirt cheap (with the camera) and it will give you a nice wide view on that body. Keep in mind that you won't be able to use any EF-S lenses on your old film body...but chances are that the film body won't get much use after you get a DSLR.

    I would certainly suggest the 50mm F1.8, it's cheaply built but the glass is good for the price. That being said, if I were going to buy one, I'd get the F1.4...it's built better, it's faster, it's got better autofocus etc...and it's still not that expensive. If you want expensive, check out the 50mm F1.2 L.
     
  4. crazy_dragonlady

    crazy_dragonlady TPF Noob!

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    I've always liked my current camera body as it has always done an excellent job with the photos I have used it for. That photo in the thread you referenced was taken with old film. I had the film for probably 4 years before I used it. I know, not good. I currently keep all my film in a small freezer as I've been told this slows down the deterioration of the chemicals.

    The way I look at the cost of the DSLR is this, and I have seen other's post pretty much the same comments, what I will save on the cost of film and then processing the film regardless of if I get prints made or not will eventually pay for the DSLR body. As I can get it pretty cheap (ie: just over $350 for body alone) I believe that it's well worth the money. I know that, just like Big Mike stated in his post, I will probably not use the film body all that much once I get the DSLR. You see, I think the Rebel XTi will give me the features that I like about both the P&S digital and the film SLR cameras I have now.

    My original question was about lenses and so I will expand on that. I have noticed that there are quite a few people on here that have the Canon cameras but are using third party lenses. Is there any reason why I can't do the exact same thing? I know for the Canon "purists" they'd probably never use anything but Canon... but I know there's lenses out there made by other manufacturers for the Canon body that are just as good quality wise as the OEM but are a bit cheaper to purchase.

    I'd like to "pick all your brains" as it's a smart thing to learn from other's mistakes so to those of you that do have the third party lenses for your canon body which ones would you suggest I get? (based on what I like to shoot?) and one's that you suggest I don't?

    I noticed that Mike sort of agreed with my choice of the 50mm f/1.8 but, Mike you also stated that you'd rather buy the 1.4 instead. Other than the obvious difference in stops and build quality, why would you choose this way? I'm just curious because for what I would shoot the slight differences that I can see just don't warrant the difference in price. Unless I'm not seeing the value that you are... could you explain your choice a little better please? I also noticed that you didn't really answer the part about the zoom or other prime lenses. I realize that there are so many choices out there... that's why I'm asking. Someone like me is easily overwhelmed by so many choices... that's the problem, and why I asked for help! :er:

    TIA again for any responses... and sorry that this post was so long.

    ttfn
    CDL.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    There is nothing wrong with '3rd party' lenses. Keep in mind that Canon has a whole range of lenses. Some of them are cheap and crappy...some of them are absolutely fantastic. The same goes with most other manufacturers...they have some dogs and some gems in the line up. It should be noted, that for the most part, a top quality Sigma or Tamron lens (for example) will probably be quite a bit less expensive than a top of the line Canon lens....even though the specs are close or the same. Most people will still tell you that the Canon top of the line lens is better...but it can be hard to know just how much better. The cost, however, might be double that of a similar off-brand lens. So you have to ask yourself if the extra quality is worth double the price...for some it is...for some it isn't.

    I have several Canon lenses and several off brand lenses. If money wasn't an issue, I would have all Canon 'L' (top of the line) lenses. Of course, money is an issue and I have made some compromises.

    As for the 50mm debate. I would personally choose the 50mm F1.4 because of the reasons I mentioned. It's a little faster, it's got a better build quality and it's autofocus is better. I would expect to have the lens for many, many years....and I would expect that the better quality lens will last longer over that time. I also try to baby my gear, but I can't always do that, especially if I'm using it in a professional capacity.

    As for zooms verses primes (fixed focal length)...that is also a personal choice. For the most part, primes do give you better image quality and often a larger maximum aperture. However, zooms can be more convenient. A good compromise is to use top quality zoom lenses. The best ones have very, very good image quality and fairly large maximum apertures. The 70-200 F2.8 L IS, for example is an exceptionally good zoom lens.

    It is easy to be overwhelmed by the choices. I don't think you have to make too many of them right away. Start slowly and use what you have or what comes with the camera. Over time & use, you will come to realize what you really want or need, that will help you narrow down your choices.

    If you can lay out your needs/wants and a budget, we can probably offer up some good recommendations.
     
  6. crazy_dragonlady

    crazy_dragonlady TPF Noob!

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    First off, thank you very much Mike for the detailed and quick reply. :D

    I guess I should state that for the time being I'm NOT a professional photographer... although I hope to use this hobby as a source of income in the near future. Right now though, helping to keep my husband's HVAC business running is my main priority.

    Even though I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember(20+ years), I personally don't think I'm good enough to make a living off of it. Although with the experience I have gained over the last 5 years with our HVAC company I am a much better business person than I was! :lol:

    I have developed a "wish list" based on what I hope to do with photography, both as a business and as a hobby. The only thing missing from it are the lenses that I decide to get on top of what I already have. I'm thinking that the lens that I use most now (the EF 75-300mm 4.0-5.6 II) is good enough even though at times I find it doesn't have quite enough "zoom". I like to take photos of birds (especially the red-tailed hawk that I haven't quite got a good close up of yet) and other wild animals. I attempted to take a photo of a coyote that had killed and eventually ate our neighbor's cat but he was so far away that he was quite small even at full zoom.

    I'm thinking that the "best quality" lenses would probably have to be the ones that I will eventually make money off of so that would have to be the portrait shots. I'm hoping to be taking portraits outside, of adults, children and animals. As I stated before I don't want the posed shots but mostly the natural life type shots.. you know what I mean? I guess that will be up to what the customers want though.

    So, I guess eventually I will be wanting a good quality higher zoom lens but right now I'm looking at some sort of a mid-range zoom lens for the portraiture shots. I will use the lenses that I currently own for my film SLR on the DSLR that I buy. Plus, I have to practice A LOT to fine tune my abilities into something that I can make money off of :D

    ttfn
    CDL.
     

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