Lens suggestions?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jazzitupphotography, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. jazzitupphotography

    jazzitupphotography TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I'm new to the forum. I'm looking for advice on lenses. I just got an XSi for Christmas and I absolutely love it. I was planning on only getting the body and then getting a really nice lens, since I have heard that the kit lens isn't all that great. But my parents got me the XSi kit with the 18-55 mm lens, which is fine with me. I haven't had a chance to really try it outside yet, as I've either been at work or snowed in. I am only planning on getting a nicer lens this spring, since I don't really need one right now, I just want to get to know my new camera before starting some serious shooting. So basically, I photograph animals; horses, cats, dogs, and nature/landscape. I'm a very outdoorsy person and take more pictures of my horse than anything else. So I need a good lens with IS to take action shots, and also still shots. I also take portraits of people. I would love to get into macro lenses some day, but for now I'd like to stick with Zoom and Telephoto lenses.

    So any recommendations? Thanks in advance. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    IS won't help with wildlife or animals as much as you think - IS counters handshake and does it very well, but it won't counter blur because of the animal movements. That is the domian of the shutter speed you use to shoot with and (in a general sense) a lot of wildlife shooting is done at speeds where IS will be having little to no effect unless you have very strong shake in your hands. That said IS is worth the investment (in my opinion) for all those times when you can't push your shutter speed fast enough.

    As for which lens for wildlife things get expensive - very quickly. Firstly decide on a budget for yourself and then start looking at the options. Idealy you want a lens of at least 300mm focal length for wildlife and I would also advise avoiding the very cheap 70-300mm zooms since whilst they are dirt cheap they are budget lenses and thus do lack quality at the longer end.
    Shorter focal length lenses do work well in zoos and wildlife centres where getting closer to the animals is not a problem.
     
  3. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    How much are you willing to spend on a lens?
     
  4. jazzitupphotography

    jazzitupphotography TPF Noob!

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    Oh, I probably wasn't clear enough, sorry! I don't shoot wildlife. I shoot domestic horses and animals. I have no trouble getting near my horse.:blushing: I've done loads of research on camera bodies, and the creative modes (Tv/Av/M), on the other hand, I really don't know much about lenses aside from the basics. I got into DSLR's expecting to spend a lot on lenses. But until I master my camera, I won't be spending over $400 on a lens. I don't need a super huge zoom, really. I also like the background blur effect.

    I have a question though. What are the differences between a 17-85mm and a 17-55mm? Except for the obvious 30mm.

    Also, what would be the most versatile lens? Which would be the cheapest?
     
  5. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    The first lens I bought for my XTi was the Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS. It has a wide zoom range, is image stablized and quite sharp for a zoom in this price range. I paid around $500 for it.
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  6. jazzitupphotography

    jazzitupphotography TPF Noob!

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    thanks!

    OK, so I was wondering, do I really need IS? seems the IS lenses are very expensive, and I don't want to spend extra money on something I don't need.
     
  7. LiveWave

    LiveWave TPF Noob!

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    Blurry backgrounds (Shallow Depth of Field) is done with lenses with large apertures (small f/stops) the 17-55 (Canon) is a f/2.8 lens and is made with a solid metal construction and IS and is essentially pro grade glass. It is incredibly sharp and has great IQ well worth the investment unless you plan to upgrade to a full frame body in the near future.
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Probably not...

    I haven't used an IS lens before though, so maybe it really is the be all and end all of photography. I've been doing fine without it though.

    If the added cost was no concern - sure, I would get it. I ain't made of money though...
     
  9. jazzitupphotography

    jazzitupphotography TPF Noob!

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    So for shallow depth of field, what would be the best lens in my $300-ish price range?
     
  10. jazzitupphotography

    jazzitupphotography TPF Noob!

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    OK, so I've narrowed it down to these two lenses. A Telephoto zoom and a standard to telephoto zoom. Both in my price range.

    Canon EF 75-300mm F/4-5.6 III USM -$269.99
    Canon EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS -$349.99

    which would be best for my type of shots? I really don't mind spending and extra $80 on IS, but only if it's what I need.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I can't really comment on either lens - I would expect both to be softer at the long end though - since they are cheaper lenses, however in the right conditions both should be able to give decent results. Of the two if you decide to go for the 75-300mm then make sure you get a tripod (even a cheap one) to provide some stability when shooting at the longer end, I have found that with such lenses a support (beanbag, fence, tripod) really does help get sharper results than freehand shooting. IS is often not needed with shorter focal length lenses, but with longer telephotos being handheld it really becomes very desirable.

    however some general tips I have picked up from others and my own shooting;

    I have read that some people have found that with shorter lenses - like a 50mm - when you get close to a horse the distances make the horse look a lot fatter in the photo than it actually is (I think this is because the belly of the horse is a lot closer to the lens than the back and head are). Thus longer telephotos (like the ranges you are looking at) are prefered to that when you take a shot the reletive distances are far less and the horse comes out with better proportions.
    Aside from that a lot of the requirements for wildlife and animals are going to be similar - though you will probably not be pushed for the super long lenses, but something like a 300mm f4 prime would be a good investment further down the road - since it offers you good quality, good focal length and also a good wide aperture (Idealy a 300mm f2.8 for even more light - but that lens really does cost a heck of a lot!)
     
  12. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    Between those two, the EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS is the better choice. The EF 75-300mm lenses tend to have lots of CA (chromatic aberration) at the long end. I have one and rarely ever use it and only at the short end, never zoomed out. A friend has one and tried using it at a football game and the CA in the pictures was horrible. They are also pretty slow at locking focus.

    A lot of people on other forums have said pretty good things about the performance and picture quality of the EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS.
     

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