Personal reviews of some good ole bargain lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by DSLR noob, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Okay, I currently own only 2 EF lenses for my 20D, and both FAR surpass the quality of my 18-55 kit lens and 50mm 1.8 Mk II I used with my Rebel XT before I traded practically my entire gear (peace by piece). Even though these lenses surpass my previous lenses in terms of image and build quality, they cost me nearly nothing. One was $55, the other $60. I'd like to do a small review to help those looking to get a good piece of kit, for practically nothing (under $100 is like pennies in the photography world).

    Canon EF 50 1:1.8

    First, is a hard to find beauty. Mine date codes back to 1987. The Nifty fifty. Yes, the Canon EF 50 1:1.8, but not the one you're used to. This is the Mark I, not the Mark II you see on the market for $80. The age on this lens only means it was built better (as well as built in Japan rather than Tiwan). There is an actual focus ring, a distance scale window, and a metal lens mount. The lens still has the same optics and 5 blade non-rounded aperture system the Mk II has, and has an older arc driven autofocus motor. This motor is noisier than the newer model, but focuses much faster (nearly instant). The lens is fair wide open, really starts to sharpen around f/2.8 and is golden at f/8 as one would expect from a prime. The lens can normally be seen going for $135 to $150 on the used market If you can find one. I highly highly highly HIGHLY recommend one over the newer model. My lens had some lunatic previous owner who superglued the hood on, so it does not come off, but I like the protection of the hood and the lens isn't so big that it is hard to store reguardless of the added hood.

    [​IMG]
    The Canon EF 50 1:1.8 (I)

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    Front of the 50 1:1.8 (I)

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    The metal lens mount on the nifty 50 is a nice touch for piece-of-mind

    [​IMG]
    they aren't too useful, but have helped on occasion, distance scales also make the lens feel much higher caliber

    Canon EF 28-70 1:3.5-4.5

    The next, also dates back to 1987. This is the Canon EF 28-70 3.5-4.5 This is also the MArk I version of a lens, and was discontinued after only one year to be replaced by the Mark II version. The Mark II has plastic internal gearing rather than the metal gearing of the Mark I and the Mark II is said to have minimally sharper optics. they both share the same minimum focusing distance, 6 bladed slightly rounded aperture, and lens body. Both lenses are reguarded as one of the "gems" of photography, as they are considered to be, one of the sharpest mid level zooms canon made (mid grade meaning, one of the sharpest non-L lenses). The quality is also greater than most lenses you see today for under $300. This lens has been replace by several generations of 28-70s 28-80s 24-70s 24-80s and 24-95s some getting up into the Mark IV levels of production! Every rendition after the first 2 is said to get worse and worse. We currently have a 24-80 3.5-4.5 USM on the market that has a bit of extra focal range, but is far from the optical quality, it does however have a ring USM motor, a metal lens mount, and distance scales. The older lens I am focusing on (the one with better optics) has another noisy, half as slow to go from infinity to "macro" mode as the 50 1.8, arc driven AF motor. It does have a metal lens mount, and distance scales as well. Two mark Is and one MArk II are currently on KEH. The Mark II is $135 listed in excellent condition and the Mark Is are both around $80 in the same listed condition (cheaper because it is less sharp). It should be noted that when zooming, the lens will retract into the barel, and it rotates and extends when focusing, using a polarizing filter on the lens is next to impossible)

    [​IMG]
    The Canon EF 28-70 1:3.5-4.5 (I)

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    The 28-70 lens mounted upright

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    The front element of the 28-70

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    a side view of the zoom

    [​IMG]
    This lens also has distance scales and a metal mount
     
  2. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    .... no comments, additions, thank yous?
     
  3. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ummm... those are not Nikon lenses, so although I appreciate your efforts, they are totally wasted on me :)
     
  4. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the acknowledgement though. I mean, your excuse makes perfect sense, it's the people who are always complaining that photography is too expensive that I wonder about seeing this thread. It goes to show that good photography does not have to be too expensive if you do your homework. You think that all these people who say it is too much would come flying out of the bushes to say "Oh, what a great alternative to my kit lens, thank you for helping me." but NO, they just keep complaining.
     
  5. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    Well, you offer options, but I gotta point out that right away you state the first lens is hard to find, and the 2nd lens was discontinued around 1988 or so...it doesn't seem like someone who knows very little about photography is going to really try to track these things down.

    Good info on some older lenses though. I think this is probably more useful for more experienced photographers who are willing to search for some old lenses and experiment. Just my 2 cents.
     
  6. molsen

    molsen TPF Noob!

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  7. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can you show us some shots you have taken with these lenses?
     
  8. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Alright, these are JPEGS shot on Large setting originally with no in camera sharpening.

    50mm 1.8:
    [​IMG]
    28-70 3.5-4.5:
    [​IMG]
     

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