Starting Lens Kit

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Jayson Prentice, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Jayson Prentice

    Jayson Prentice TPF Noob!

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    I'm getting the Canon Rebel XTi and trying to figure out what kind of starting lens kit I should get. I am a storm chaser and thus would be looking to get a wide angle lens, I also like to do some wildlife and athletics pictures, so a zoom lens would also be wanted. Most likely a 2 lens kit to start out with and being the poor college student that I am, looking at the most I can get for the buck. Probably in the 400-500$ range for the two lenses and no more, I've got a couple of solutions, wondering if you kind photographers could help me out on what choice would be better or if you have another option that would be best alltogether...

    1) Canon 18-55 Kit Lens & Canon 75-300 f/4-5.6 III AF

    2) Tamron AF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 & Tamron AF 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di (or Tamron 75-300)

    3) Sigma 28-70 f/2.8-F DG AF & Sigma APO Macro Super II 70-300 f/4-5.6 (or Sigma AF 70-300 f/4-5.6 Macro DG)[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    4) Any combination of the above, such as Canon Kit Lens w/ Tamron or Sigma Zooms, etc...


    Thanks for any help!![FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
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  2. rprimeau95

    rprimeau95 TPF Noob!

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    I am new here and wondering the same thing hope someone can answer
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    The 18-55 kit lens is a good deal because it's only about $100 extra when purchased with the camera. It's the cheapest way to get a decently wide view. The optical performance of that lens is OK but the build quality is terrible...it feels like a toy...however it's light, if that's a concern.

    28mm on that camera...just isn't very wide. So if you opt for something better than the kit lens...I'd look for another lens that starts at 17 or 18mm. Both Sigma and Tamron make lenses in that range. If you can afford it, they both make a wide zoom lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8...which is a vast improvement over the kit lens.

    As for the telephoto zooms...I don't know how different any of those are. I have the Canon 75-300 f/4-5.6 III, it's a decent lens when there is enough light...but it struggles when the light is not great. Those other lenses will be no different.

    You might also think about adding a fast prime lens to your decision. The 50mm F1.8 lens is rather cheap...but it's optically very good and the maximum aperture of F1.8 is a great tool to have in your bag. If I were to suggest a starting kit...I'd say to get the kit lens and a 50mm F1.8. Then, if you really find that you need a telephoto...then get one...but you will probably use either the wide lens or the fast (50mm) lens a lot more often.

    On another note...I recently picked up the Canon EF-S 18-85 IS USM lens. It's a step up from the kit lens (which I also have) and it's a great lens. The build quality and feel are much, much better than the kit....it has Image Stabilization, which is fantastic...but it's still not a fast lens. I'm also considering the Tamron 17-50 F2.8.
     
  4. rprimeau95

    rprimeau95 TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike

    can you explain what it means when you say "a fast prime lens" Use the fast lens?

    How is a lens fast? sorry if that sounds like a stupid question I am upgrading form P&S cameras. thanks

    Rabecca
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    rprimeau:
    A lens is fast by having a wide aperture, usually f/2.8 and wider. meaning that if you've got a really wide aperutre like f/1.2, you can shoot at fast shutter speeds.

    A fast prime lens is a lens that doesn't zoom and has a wide aperture, like a 50mm f/1.4 becuase since it has a really wide max aperture, it can help you shoot at faster shutter speeds than you would otherwise with something like a 50 f/1.8.


    Jayson:

    If you're going to shoot athletics and you're going to shoot canon, than get nothing less than the 70-200 f/4L.
     
  6. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    IMO, if you are serious about being a photographer you would be much better building from scratch with one good lens rather than assembling a collection of very versatile but cheap lenses that wont perform well. That is money thrown away.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    That's right...fast means a bigger aperture (lower F number). The kit lens, for example is F3.5-5.6...which means that at the wide end (18mm) the maximum aperture is F3.5....and at the long end (55mm) the maximum aperture is F5.6...which I would consider to be slow.

    A prime lens with a maximum aperture of F1.8 or bigger is a great tool to have. You don't have to use it at it's maximum...but it's nice to have the option. Also, most lenses perform best when they are a stop or two smaller than the maximum. So the kit lens is pretty good at F8...but you need a fair bit of light to shoot at F8. A 50mm F1.4 will be fantastic at F2.0.

    As mentioned, for sports...fast is king. The 70-200 F4 L is a fantastic lens...very sharp. You wouldn't catch a professional sports shooter using it though...because F4 is just not big enough. That's why they make a 70-200 F2.8 lens...and a 70-200 F2.8 with IS...but of course, those are much more expensive.
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Another note: sports and wildlife are the most expensive genres to shoot in when it comes to lenses. You usually want a combination of long (telephoto) and fast (big aperture), which doesn't come cheap. You'll have to decide which way you'll want to compromise on. A shorter lens means you have to sneak closer to the animals, which can be tough, and get good seats for the game or right on the sideline, which still may not be close enough. A slow lens means you are going to need well lit areas or you'll get camera shake blur, and it's going to be hard to freeze action.
     
  9. Jayson Prentice

    Jayson Prentice TPF Noob!

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    Well I'm making my storm photography my highlight right now, which is why I'm going to most likely go with a Sigma 17-70 to cover that area. I've had some very good reviews from fellow chasers and from other photographers and it looks to be a very good buy for the price. This fairly new lens features f/2.8-4.5 as well as a macro feature of 1:2.3 which I believe will work quite good for storm photography, especially beings it will be at the wide angle of the lens.

    I'll be storing up some money and buying a telephoto later as you stated above this class of lens is by far the most expensive if I want a good lens. Thanks for the conversation thus far...
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    I've also heard good things about the Sigma 17-70 lens. Let us know how you like it.
     

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