Lens Help? Thanks!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by scantron, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. scantron

    scantron TPF Noob!

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    Hi!
    I just bought a Canon 20D body, and I'm looking for my first lens while learning about Canon's lineup of lenses. This is my first DSLR, I'm "graduating" from an S3IS and an old inherited Minolta film SLR. I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to seeking out lenses & gear. In the past I've just used what was given to me, and I'm not sure I was using it correctly. So I have some noob qestions...

    I love this 50mm f/1.7 MD lens that the Minolta has- it feels like I'm looking out of my own eyes, which I guess is what 50mm lenses are known for?
    I'm looking for an equivalent for the 20D. I often shoot in low light (with a tripod if necessary), so I'd like a fast lens. Is IS a huge deal, or can is still have some fun without it?

    I think that I just want to get one decent lens for now and really get to know it. I think I'd like to get some kind of smaller zoom, maybe a cheap kit one, just to have for messing around, too.

    Oh, and of course I don't have a ton of cash to spend at this point, so I'm looking at used stuff on the 'Bay. My eyes/skills aren't refined enough to know what a $1000 lens is doing! When I feel ready I'll take the plunge.

    I've been looking at an EF series 50mm, f/1.8.

    Like I said, I'm a beginner in these realms, so I'm sure I've inadvertently contradicted myself somehow in this post...
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    To get the same field of view your 50mm 1.7 gives you on the Minolta, you'll be looking at something like a 28 or 35mm for the 20D. 50mm is still a good lens to have in your bag, but it will be a little longer than you're used to.

    This is because the sensor on the 20D is smaller than a 35mm frame. Google "crop factor" to learn more about that... There are also a ton of threads about it here.


    People have been taking pictures for years without IS... Sure, it's nice to have - but don't feel like you need it.
     
  3. Wolverinepwnes

    Wolverinepwnes TPF Noob!

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    EF series 50mm, f/1.8 is a great lens!!!
     
  4. scantron

    scantron TPF Noob!

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    Ah yes, that's right- crop factor... I did read about that but haven't fully grasped what/how lens specs translate from film to digital.
    Thanks!
    I have IS on my Canon S3, but it was on from day one and I haven't turned it off for comparison. I haven't shot in low light with my film SLR.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, with a FILM 35mm SLR, a 50mm lens often is about the right focal length to allow the shooter to keep both eyes open and to have about the same apparent magnifcation from the left eye and from the camera-eye on the right.
    And, on 24x36mm capture size, a 50mm lens is considered roughly "normal" in some ways, like the above way. By a more strict definition, a lens with a focal length of around a 43mm, or roughly the diagonal of the 24x36mm frame, is considered "normal" for a 35mm film SLR.

    According to many very old-time Leica 35mm photographers, the 35mm focal length is "normal" focal length lens;and yet at the same time, to a huge preponderance of old-line Leica photographers, the lens rendition from a 28mm focal length lens is what they call "the TRUE normal".

    See the pattern here??? Different strokes for different folks; with my 20D, my current knock-around body, I find the 50mm f/1.4 EF lens TOO narrow in angle of view for many uses...it's just too-restrictive for me for most uses. For me, a lens of an actual,marked focal length of 24mm is the most natural equivalent to a normal lens on the 20D--for me. Siogma makes an affordable 24 and 28mm f/1.8 pair of prime lenses that look pretty good, image-wise from what I have seen. I had a web-based friend who shot a ton of nightclub stuff,and has graduated to become one of Chicago's better young wedding shooters, using the 24mm 1.8 Sigma for a lot of close-range work.

    The biggest distraction might be the 20D's relatively small viewfinder image, as compared with a 35mm SLR's huge,clear viewfinder image; the difference between the two is quite shocking. Using a 24mm prime lens on a small-findered camera like the 20D is not quite the same as using that length of lens on a camera with a larger, clearer,better viewfinder system. Anyway, the 3rd party 18-50mm f/2.8 lenses (or 17-50) are similar in price to the Sigma "speed" wide angle f/1.8 lenses,and have more focal lengths to allow you to get a feel for what's what with your style.
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Had the same lens on my XD-11 for a while ... I love Minolta Glass ...

    That said, the equivalent field of view will be, as mentioned, in the 30mm range . If you want a prime (single focal length rather than zoom), you might consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. You might also consider a zoom to cover the range you're interested in. It won't be as fast as a prime, but I love my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (and used it for some time on my 30D before I started using it on my 7D).
     
  7. scantron

    scantron TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys, this is great stuff. Derrel- I wonder how much of what was fascinating me about the Minolta w/the 55mm lens was due to the large viewfinder?

    Am I weird (or just very inexperienced)?- It seems like a zoom lens on an SLR at this point just starts to confuse me... I feel like I have more fun with a fixed focal length lens, messing around with aperture settings. Maybe I let my S3 do the thinking for too long, with all it's zoom and auto-everything?

    Looks like a Sigma 18-55mm f/2.8 lens could keep me busy (if not slightly confused!) for quite awhile. I think the top end of my lens budget is $400-600 until I have a better grasp of what I'm doing. It would be cool if I could find a decent prime and a modest zoom somehow in that price range, but maybe that's just unrealistic.

    Is it at all worth it at all to pick up one of those kit-grade (or call it cheap) Canon 18-55mm lenses to learn on?
     

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