Help me educate myself on lens selection

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by brentavius, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. brentavius

    brentavius TPF Noob!

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    I'm still a greenhorn shooting a CanonEOS 400D as a starter body with the 18-55mm Canon EFS lens that came with it. I am interested in a telephoto to allow better candid shots of the kids at play and to try my hand at some wildlife photography. I want a solid starter lens for these tasks - something durable with good quality that balances my need for ease-of-use as a beginner with my need for room to grow as I learn. If I ever get to a point of competency I'll probably know better what I want, so I don't need to try to get the Porsche this first time around - nor am I confident enough in my decision to spend that sort of money right now, anyway!

    I'm thinking something in the 70-300mm range is probably right. But I don't know how to choose the right brand and model for my needs. Does anyone know of a good guide someone like myself can get to help educate myself for a decision like this? What are the most important things to consider for this first lens purchase? What do you wish you had known before you bought your first lens?
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    70-300 is a good basic tele range. As far as brand goes, Canon will probably offer the best quality but also the highest price point. Depending on the budget, consider Sigma, Tamron and Tokina (all third-party lens makers who produce decent lenses). As well, check out your local used-gear store and Craig's List. People often sell off their gear as they upgrade.

    Maxium aperture will be a key factor in the price of this lens. Most of the consumer quality lenses of this range are f4 - 5.6, meaning that at the wide end of the focal length they have a maximum aperture of f4, but at the long end, it narrows to f5.6; in other words, the farther out you zoom, the less light you admit.

    I'm a Nikon shooter, so I can't recommend specifics, but Google some reviews of "canon 70-300" or similar, you'll likely find that there are one or two stand-out models whether from Sigma, Tamron, or Canon, and those will be the ones to go after.

    Good luck!
     
  3. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The 55-250 IS is a pretty good lens, The image quality is higher than the 70-300, it also has Image stabilization, the build quality is pretty light, similar to most "kit" lenses. It goes for about $200ish, so its a nice Value for the the price. If you want to step up to an exceptional lens, you could look for a used 70-200 f/4, Its a little shorter and there is no IS, But the Image and build Quality are unbeatable. You might be able to fine a used one for $400.
     
  4. den9

    den9 TPF Noob!

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    ill second on the 70-200 f/4, its very durable and a sharp lens. you cant beat it for the price and should be enough optical zoom on a crop sensor for candids. it is a big heavy lens though. this lens you will keep forever, unless you decide to shell out the money and get the f/2.8 or IS
     
  5. JustAnEngineer

    JustAnEngineer TPF Noob!

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