lens help

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bloads, May 7, 2006.

  1. bloads

    bloads TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, I am in the process of getting myself back into photography coming from an old Canon AT-1 with 50mm and 28mm primes and well i would like to enter the world of Digital.
    Anyway i have decided to get the Canon 350D, but i am getting very frustrated with what lens to get with it!
    i have been searching for weeks reading reviews, forums etc, and there are just too many varied opions that for each lens that i just cannot decide.
    If any of you can help it would be great!
    I'll give you run down of what i plan to do with the Lens/lenes and and what i would like from it.
    The lens will be used for general shots like family, friends, partys etc. Also for travel, (i travel light so i don't want allot of gear). And artistic photography.
    What i expect from the lens is moslty reliability, such as acurate AF and durability. As for image quality, seems i don't want to spend allot it does not have to perfect, i am happy to do post procesing in photoshop.
    I want wide angle ranging to medium telephoto.
    i don't want to spend allot of money but i want something that has reasonable performance, and i would like to have just one versatile lens.
    The lenes that have grabbed my attention are the:
    Sigma 18-200mm
    Canon 17-85mm IS
    Sigma 17-70mm
    Sigma 18-125mm
    And maybe a 70-300mm to add the tele range on the last three lenes.
    I may consider a 50mm prime in addition to my main lens, cause of their size and performance.
    the sigma 18-200 really appeals to me for its range, but i hear now and then that super zooms come with high sacrifices in genral performance for their long range. Are those sacrafices really that bad, that carrying around 2 lens such as a 17-70 and a 70-300 can be justified??, considering my needs!
    Sorry about the long post, i just want to make the right and choice, but most of all i want to stop racking my brain all these lens reviews and get out there and take pictures!!!
    Your help would be much appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    From what I have seen. If you are not picky about your pictures. And you keep your print sizes down. The super compact zooms would probably fit your needs. I have seen some very good pictures made with them. They do have their downsides just due to packing so much into the small things. Distortion in the wide end, softness at the long end. But if you are not going to try and make very large prints. That may not be so noticeable or at all. Most of them have high marks on lens tests lower than say 8x10's print size. (Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina).

    In reality it all deppends on what your happy with. Some people always say get the best now or you will want it later. I was in the mind set for years. I have a bag full of Nikons best lenses. When the 20D came out I decided to give Canon a try. I bought a store made 2 lens kit with it and a flash. 20d, 18-55 kit lens, 70-300 (the cheap one), and 420 flash. I am very happy with it. I know the lenses are not the best. But the results I do get are just fine for what I am taking pictures with. I have since added a Sigam 24-70 f/2.8 just becasue I needed a faster lens. Wasn't really a quality issue from the glass. I still use the kit lens for general pictures. Even though the Sigma covers most of its range.

    No matter what others say. Its what you want out of it that counts. It seems that you really don't have a need for the high end glass. And rememer. If after a while you find you are taking better pictures and the lens does start to bother you. Sell it used and buy something better. Unless you relly bash it up. You will get a good price for it. Not full new price but more than half at least!


    Oh, and Welcome. :)
     
  3. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    Yes, Welcome to TPF :)

    I'd recommend looking at some good reviews for each lens before deciding on one. Check out www.fredmiranda.com/reviews, they have some terrific user reviews there. You can't always look at all reviews, because alot of places will have user reviews where users rave about how terrific the kit lens is because they came from a 4 year old P&S. FredMiranda is almost only composed of users that know what they are talking about when it comes to judging lens quality. For actual lens tests, www.photozone.de has some of the best I've seen around, but they might not have all the lenses you're wondering about.

    Something you may want to think about is that a good range (say the 17-300mm total range of the lenses you mentioned) isn't necessarily the best thing to have. IMO having a few primes or 'shorter' zooms can actually improve your photographic composition tremendously over time. Your images will also (hopefully) be of a higher technical quality because primes are quite a bit sharper than the aformentioned zooms.

    For family, friends, and parties long long lenses arent really that necessary, so I think the 70-300 is a bit overkill (especially since their quality is less than admirable and they get terribly soft after 250mm or so anyway). Travel photography might require a longer lens if you like those candid type portraits, but I think 200mm is plenty for that. 'Aristic' photography is pretty relative, and usually a 50mm is fine for that anyway. If you want accurate, fast AF and durable build quality, I wouldn't recommend the lenses you mentioned. They might have some nice qualities, but I wouldn't recommend them over others. You might want a wide zoom, and probably a 'normal' and longish lens.

    For the wide zoom, I'd recommend tamron's 17-35mm 2.4-4.0 Di, which is quite nice and fairly priced at around $320 for a used one. The newish sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 that you mentioned is also quite good (except at wide open where it tends to dissapoint), so you may want to stick with that one instead. A good normal lens for a cheap price is canon's 50mm 1.8, which you can find for under $100. The build quality isn't terrific, but pretty much everything else (AF, image quality) is surprisingly good, and it's large maximum aperture of 1.8 gives you some good opportunities for low light situations. For a long lens I'd recommend Canon's 70-200 f4L zoom or 200mm 2.8L prime. Both are top of the line and can be bought used in good quality for around $500. You might spend a little more for all those, but the quality is quite high.
     
  4. Wally

    Wally TPF Noob!

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    FWIW, I have the 18-125mm version of the Sigma Zoom and for what it is I quite like it. It gives decently sharp pictures from f8 on up and very usable pictures below that. It is by far not the sharpest or fastest lens I own but the range is very nice.

    I also have a Sigma 50mm f2.8, a Sigma 30mm f1.4, a Sigma 10-20mm, and very soon a Sigma 80-400mm zoom.

    I also own a canon 70-300mm is zoom, and have shot with many rented/borrowed Canon lenses including "L" glass. I can tell you that you will get far better value from the Sigma Lenses with no real loss of quality, infact I find that my 30mm f.4 is far sharper than the 35mm L that Canon sells for 3X the price.
     
  5. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    sigma has some great lenses, yes. but very few of them compare to Ls in optical, AF, build, and color/contrast quality. There are some fantastic ones (most notably the 100-300 f4 EX), but I think you may have given them a tad too much credit. the 30mm 1.4 is not as sharp as the 35 1.4L, nor will it ever be (at both lenses' average performance). but that is going by just the average 35 1.4 and 30 1.4. I'm thinking the 35mm 1.4L you compared your 30mm to was a terrible copy, as even the MTF data on the 35mm 1.4L is much higher and more consistent (much sharper borders on the 35L, which is surprising considering that the 30mm 1.4 is a digital lens anyway) than sigma's 30mm 1.4...

    I think it's always good to save money and go for the best value out there, but it's a little misleading to give such optimistic claims about one brand's equipment.
     
  6. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    The Sigma 17-70 is also a macro lens, which is useful to have if you think you're going to go anywhere near that field
     
  7. Wally

    Wally TPF Noob!

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    Like this one

    Sorry I just dissagree with you, and if you read the reviews around the net on the Sigma 30mm a lot of other people do also. However Lenses are a personal choice as you know.
     
  8. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    well the only reason I said that was because it is backed up by numbers, not just people's opinions. the center of the 30 1.4 is barely sharper in the center at 5.6, but at all other apertures it's the same or softer than the 35, and the edges and corners are soft compared to the 35 at all apertures. but there are more things involved of course, sharpness is not the only issue.
     
  9. Wally

    Wally TPF Noob!

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    Of course the corners are softer on a 30mm lens when compared to a 35mm lens, since the 30mm is 1/6th wider. So if you are shooting at a wall or a lens chart at the same aperture the corners in the image are farther away from center and thus get effected by DOF. In real world shooting this would not really apply.

    Don't get me wrong I am not knocking L Glass, I just feel that for the most part it is WAY overpriced.
     

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