lens help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ssocal, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. ssocal

    ssocal TPF Noob!

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    I’m new to the forum and new to photography. I recently bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR 8-MP. I’m not sure if I’m asking the right questions to demonstrate my goals so let me relate this to another hobby, Golf.

    Low handicappers in golf take the game rather seriously, they are very knowledgeable about the game, invest in good equipment, and commit time to practice. They have demonstrated some talent, play very well and end up consistently with very good results.

    High handicappers struggle with their game, they play mainly for enjoyment. Once in a while they’ll make a good shot, but the best equipment doesn’t make a difference, they don’t have skills or talent to utilize it.

    I have a mid range handicap, I may have the talent to be a low handicapper, I make several good shots in a round, but don’t have the time practice and I am not consistence enough to be a low handicapper.

    So back to photography, I’m hoping to be a “Mid Range” photographer, make a few good shots but they don’t have to be the best. My wife and I travel quite a bit in the desert southwest, so we’re looking to take a lot of landscapes along with macros of wildflowers and hopefully, some wildlife.

    Another hobby is boating on the Colorado River. We like to pull the kids on a tube or wakeboard. I’d like to be able to get some shots from the boat of them including close ups of faces.So with all that being said, I’m looking for the right lens. I don’t mind spending money for quality, but I don’t want to spend money for a feature I won’t or can’t use properly.

    The camera came with a 18 – 55 AF lens. I’m looking at a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM telephoto zoom. Hoping the IS would be adequate for the boating action shots.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    When looking for a lens...there are a few factors that you should consider. First is focal length...you are looking at a telephoto zoom and it sounds like that is they type of lens that you want.
    2nd is the maximum aperture...the smaller the lenses maximum aperture...the harder it will be to get fast shutter speeds. Fast shutter speeds will help to get sharper shots. Things that fight against sharper shots include camera shake and subject movement. Image Stabilization will help to reduce the affect of camera shake...but won't do anything to help freeze subject movement. Ideally, a bigger aperture (lower F number) is better than IS...but a bigger aperture means a bigger, heavier and more expensive lens.

    The lens you are looking at...EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM...looks to be a decent lens...and will be OK in good situations. In bright light, there shouldn't be too much trouble betting a fast shutter speed...although, at 300mm the maximum aperture is only F5.6...which means it will be rather tough to get a good shutter speed in less that really bright light. The IS will help you with camera shake...but it won't help to freeze the action or expressions of your kids....only a faster shutter speed will do that.

    What is your budget? There are some really good lenses, that will be better, all around, that that lens...but they will cost more money.

    There is the Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS, big aperture and IS...but very expensive. You can get this lens without IS...and it's a bit less expensive.

    There is the Canon 70-200 F4 L...again, with or without IS. These are still rather expensive...but not as much as the F2.8 versions. They are lighter than the F2.8 lenses as well...which is nice for travel etc.

    Sigma makes a 70-200 F2.8 as well...which has better price than the Canon models.

    Now, with those Canon L lenses...you would be paying for top of the line quality...both optical and build quality. As you said...that may be more than what you need.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    There are many, many other lens choices. One thing to consider is convenience and quality. Some people like the convenience of an all-in-one lens...like a 50-500mm or 18-200mm...however, lenses like that, simply do not offer the optical quality of a lens with a shorter range...or of a prime (non-zoom) lens.

    Prime lenses often offer a few advantages over zoom lenses. The optical quality is very good because the design does not have to make compromises for different focal lengths. Also, the maximum aperture is often large, for the same reason. I usually recommend the 50mm F1.8 lens to people...because it's very affordable and it's optically very good. The large maximum aperture is a very nice upgrade over the 18-55 F3.5-5.6 kit lens. You should look into it.

    Other good lenses are the 85mm F1.8, the 100mm F2.8 Macro etc.

    Just something to consider.
     
  4. outdoorlover

    outdoorlover TPF Noob!

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    I have just purchased a Nikon 70-300mm G lens, It cost $175.00 and the pics from it look great.I wouldn't want a nice lens on a boat with me, kinda clumsy I guess.
    If you do not intend to enlarge very much this lens will make very good photos.
    I know they have some similar in Canon, Tamron and Sigma so check out a few, even go to a camefra store put one on and take a couple of shots, go to Walley world print them out and judge the quality.
    Hope this helps some
     
  5. ssocal

    ssocal TPF Noob!

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  6. outdoorlover

    outdoorlover TPF Noob!

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    You will not regret that purcase.
    Never bought from the store though
    GREAT lens
    Do check out the store and return policy though
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I would avoid that particular 'store'. See Here

    That is a fantastic, top of the line lens though. It's a bit big and heavy...but otherwise it's really one of the best.

    Use the links on this site and check out B&H and Adorama. They are the biggest camera stores and will give you good service and fair prices.
     
  8. theusher

    theusher TPF Noob!

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    I concur on B&H, they ship extremely fast, you get full warranties (provided you don't buy International parts from them, and are reasonably priced.

    I've bought at off stores with decent reselleratings in the past, and been ok. But you spend the whole time hoping there will be no issues with bait and switch, gray market parts, etc. I would never buy from anyone with a rating like that.

    Good luck, looks like an awesome lens.

    Not to thread hijack, but would 50mm be good for landscape providing I can move closer or farther from the subject? The reason I ask is I already have 2 IR filters and a circ pol that are 52mm and would fit on this lens. I will probably buy a cir pol for my Sigma 17-70, but IR for it is pretty pricey.
     
  9. ssocal

    ssocal TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info on the "store", they're price for that lens seemed too good, had to be more to the story...

    I'm also looking at the [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Canon Telephoto EF 200mm f/2.8L, it's in my price range and I think it would work for the boating action shots, even with an extender. Of course it's not a versitile as a 70-200 zoom but it's a compromise. Any thoughts? [/FONT]
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    I have rarely, if ever, heard of anyone who is disappointed with a Canon L lens. I'm sure the 200 F2.8 L is a fantastic lens...and it would probably work well with a Teleconverter (check the compatibility though).

    It's not one of the 'white' Canon L lenses...which is a negative, if you are an Lcoholic...like me ;)....but may be a positive because it won't attract attention like a white lens will.

    Also, Canon has a rebate program in effect...so make sure to get your rebate...and if you buy two items on the rebate list...you get double the rebate on both items.
    http://downloads.canon.com/cpr/software/camera/rebate_claim_form_070108.pdf
     
  11. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm a high handicapper and I understand what you mean. We both know that, if a tour pro took my set of clubs he would still shoot around par, maybe better. He wouldn't like my clubs because they aren't stiff enough for him but he would get by and still score better than 99% of the golfers on the planet. Actually, I have a friend who was a Nike Tour pro and played in 4 PGA Tour events on sponsor exemptions so I know what these guys can do.

    I think the same applies to photography. A great photographer could take a point and shoot and go make wonderful images with it. He may not like the camera and might miss the capabilities of his own, but he would still make great images.

    My point is that the equipment doesn't make the photographer any more than it makes the golfer. Since others know much more than I do about Canon equipment I won't comment on that. I just wanted to expand on your point.
     

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