Lens Selection Advice

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by confusedxx, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. confusedxx

    confusedxx TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys

    I have a 350D Canon camera which I believe has a 1.6x crop factor. I might buy a 50D or even 5D mkii at some point in the next year, but I am really new and figure I should first invest in lenes and build some creative composition and digital darkroom skills.

    So for lens I wanted to get good ones that will grow with me as my skills grow and also be useful for the upgraded camera bodies I may buy later.

    I am interested in all photography basically. I have not found any specific discipline yet. Thus I was thinking a zoom up to 200mm should be fine and then a wide angle down as low as possible. Possibly a seperate macro lense at 50mm would also be a great lens.

    What 2 or 3 lens would you recommend?
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lens choices... hum .... you may need to let us know your budget. It's because you will find a lot of lens falls into a similar group but their prices are totally different.

    For example:

    70-200mm F/4L
    70-200mm F/4L IS
    70-200mm F/2.8L
    70-200mm F/2.8L IS

    The price range from the above lenses are ranging from $600 to $1600.

    Or

    50mm F/1.8
    50mm F/1.4
    50mm F/1.2L

    The price range from the above lenses are ranging from $90 to $1400.


    And that is why budget is one of the major criteria on choosing lens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  3. confusedxx

    confusedxx TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the feedback. With regards to budget, I would like to focus in the upper middle range and at a point where the value per dollar expenditure is still justifiable for an amature. I heard the IS is worth the money and a small fixed apature.

    On the 70-200 I figure the f4 IS would be a nice one, but I am not sure the f2.8 would be worth the extra cost. Plus how often do you really ever shoot at f2.8??

    On the macro I am amazed at the huge cost difference. There I would go with the amature range for sure f1.4. I want good to excellent quality items, but photography will never become a job where I can earn good money - unless I find there is some hidden creativity or skill in me :drool:

    What lens would you suggest to fill the range up to 70mm?
     
  4. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    That's correct...it's a 1.6x crop camera.
    If you're considering the 5D MkII don't get any of the EF-S lenses as they won't work on a full frame or 1.3x crop camera. Stick to the EF lenses.
    Hmmm...that's a tough one...2 or 3 good budget lenses to cover that range. I know what I would get but they're all L lenses. Can't come up with a good combination right now.
    Depends on what and where you're shooting. If most of your shooting will be outdoors in good light then the f4.0 will be fine. But if you like to do low light indoor shooting then the f/2.8 is definitely worth it. And as my shooting buddies say "The f/2.8 will do f/4.0 but the f/4.0 can't do f/2.8".
    Canon doesn't have a 50mm macro with a f/1.4 aperture...that's the normal 50mm lens. They do have the 50mm f/2.5 compact macro for about $230 US. A lot of people like the Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens.
    The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is popular, but not quite upper middle range on the pricing since it goes for about $1120. They have the EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens which goes for about $290 US.
     
  5. confusedxx

    confusedxx TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Samanax,


    I understand that a F2.8 allows more light into the Camera than a F4. This is a great advantage, but how often is it used? I guess I have a knowledge gap on the way the Fstop works. I understand that the lens is always fully open (largest apature) when framing and focusing. The Fstop only stops down (moves to F11 or F16) once the button is pressed.

    Thus the large Fstop provides advantage in focusing and some further creative depth of field settings, but % of images are shot with F2.8 or even with F4? I kinda thought that most images are shot with a medium depth of field (F9, F11, F16) or else most of the images would have a background that is totally blurred. For macro photography this is really good and maybe for portraits, right? But what about landscape, city, sport, nature, animals, weddings, and everything else? Maybe I misunderstand the way the Fstop works??
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You use f2.8 when ever you point the camera at something to compose and focus a shot - since the aperture blades are not shut. Thus f2.8 lets more light into the camera to allow the AF better accuracy in lower light conditions, but also to give you a brighter viewfinder image as well.
    Further whilst you are right that many shots are not taken a f2.8 because of the small depth of field at that aperture, it does not make it a wasted aperture. A long distance shot of an animal standing side on to you could probably be done very well with f2.8 - though many times f4 - f5.6 are going to be more common.
    Also f2.8 lenses (as they are often high class) can be combined with teleconverters to better effect than smaller aperture lenses. A 1.4 TC takes away one stop of light - changing an f2.8 lens to an f4 - a 2*TC takes away 2 - sending it to an f5.6 which is the limit for accurate AF (and on canon cameras after that aperture the cameras AF will not function). Flagship camera bodies do let you go higher, but on lower end ones accuracy drops off after that point. Of course not all lenses are best with teleconverters and some will not work with them at all.

    Also for inside work - say gigs and parties - wider max apertures are used more because of the very low lighting (and often lack or limitaitons on the use of flash). A wider aperture is well worth investing in if you can.

    As for macro lenses the wide apertures are very important for allowing you to see the image since focusing has to be spot on (which is why its done manually and not using AF). For macro f13 and smaller apertures are more commonly used toget the depth of field in a shot - this often requires flash to achive since you have such small apertures.

    For macro lenses I would avoid the 50mm options as they are generally very cheap and often not even proper full macro lenses without adaptors - the short focal length also means that you have to be very close to the subject which is undesirable with macro as you then run the risk of spooking the insect.
    There are a good range of options for macro;
    Canon EFS 60mm - very good lens, but won't work with a full frame camera.
    Canon 100mm macro - very popular and good lens - note that it does not sell with a lens hood or tripod collar - both of which are very important components and should really be bought
    Sigma 70mm macro - possibly sigma's sharpest lens - a good macro
    Sigma 105mm macro - a good and solid macro lens - not as good as the next 2 sigma options, but still a solid performer
    Sigma 150mm macro - longest macro lens (for canon) that is still handholdable for macro work without being too heavy. Also offers internal focusing (lens remains at the same length); HSM AF motors; teleconverter compatability; SIgmas EX build quality (sigmas best)
    Sigma 180mm macro - Equal in image quality to the canon 180mm macro L but a fraction of the cost. Build quality is good and solid (not as solid as the canon L but solid enough) and the lens also has the advantages listed for teh sigma 150mm. It is generally agreed to be a bit heavy for prolonged handheld macro shooting and is a better tripod based option
     

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