What is THE BEST "first lens"

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by 00bolt, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. 00bolt

    00bolt TPF Noob!

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    Okay, I know there probably is no real answer to this question, so Im hoping to get people's suggestions.

    Im a newbie and very amateur. I have had a Canon S2 point and shoot for the past year or so and just bought a Canon XTi SLR body today. So now I need a lens. Since Im on a budget, Id like to stay in the $300-$500 range. I dont mind shopping in used market (ebay, forums, etc) to be able to save a few bucks in hopes to get a better lens...

    I know eventually once I start getting better and understand the camera a little better I will want more lenses, but for now Id like to find that one perfect lens.... In a perfect world it would be a 17-300mm F1.8 IS for $500 and it would be perfect quality with no negatives... but since there is no such item, I need suggestions...

    What I plan to shoot: kids around house, outside, birthday parties, etc... on occasion I will try and go and find interesting things... who knows, could be a red barn in a field of flowers, could be a skyscrapper in downtown... just whatever catches me eye I guess. But mostly, will be used for taking pics of the kids. One thing I WOULD LIKE is capability to do the "blurry background" effect. So I was thinking of something that can do a low aperture like 2.8 or larger...


    I did a little research myself and found one that seems to get decent reviews, but still doesnt seem to be perfect, has some issues (guess everything does in reviews online)... But it doesnt have IS and its not a name brand like Canon... so still up for suggestions...

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tamron-17-50mm-f-2.8-XR-Di-II-Lens-Review.aspx
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I've got the Tamron 17-50 F2.8 and I can recommend it. Great lens :thumbup:
     
  3. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    Strong proponent of the Canon 50mm 1.8.
     
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If your budget will allow it go with BigMike's and ShutteredEye's suggestions in combination. I also own the Tamron 17-50mm and absolutely love it for a general walk around lens. I personally own the 50mm f1.4, but at about $70.00 the 50mm f1.8 should be in your bag as well. Sharp lens that would be a good start for those low light situations and portraits. Just my 2cents worth here.
     
  5. 00bolt

    00bolt TPF Noob!

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  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another vote 50mm 1.8
     
  7. 00bolt

    00bolt TPF Noob!

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    i found 2 lenses for sale locally. Both are used, but in perfect condition

    28mm 1.8 - $300
    50mm 1.4 - $250

    would these 2 lenses be a better solution than getting a zoom?? I heard getting prime makes you a better photographer in the end, I just kinda like the idea of zoom, but I also really like the idea of how fast (1.xx aperture) these are....
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another vote for the 50mm f1.8
     
  9. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Whether they'd be a better solution than a zoom is a matter of opinion, based on personal preference and priorities. As you say, they are fast... so if that is your priority then yes it would be a better solution. Also I would say that they will almost certainly produce better image quality than a zoom of similar price at the same focal length - especially in the case of the 50mm. As for whether primes make you a better photographer... well that's only one opinion. It may be that the simplicity of a single focal length, by removing the possibilities of other focal lengths, makes you think more about composition... maybe... it's down to the individual. I prefer primes to zooms but I certainly don't believe they make me a better photographer.

    A zoom with comparable quality to a prime (especially with larger apertures) will generally cost a lot more than a prime, even a faster prime. Of course there are significant advantages to a zoom as well... fans of prime lenses will often say "zoom with your feet"... well sometimes your feet can only "zoom" so far before you fall in a river. ;)

    Personally I too agree with the suggestions everyone else has made... a good quality wide to short telephoto zoom (e.g. 17-50mm f/2.8) and a fast prime for the extra speed when you need it. I would go for the 17-50mm over the 28mm, because you may want some wide-angle capability and 28mm is not all that wide on a 350D.
     
  10. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    I'd say nab the 50mm f/1.4 now and save your pennies for the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 zoom. Those two lenses are a pretty hard combination to beat for general-purpose shooting.
     
  11. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    I strongly recommend the kit lens. It is cheap, covers a good range and will give okay images if stopped down a bit. Use it until it wears out ... use it until you have mastered that lens ... use it until you absolutely know what range of lens you need next.

    Your lens acquisition should be as noted above ... get a lens ... use it until it is mastered ... until you know what you will get at each f/stop and lighting situation and distance from subject. Master the lens one at a time.

    After you have mastered a lens you will know what you need next and why. You may ask who makes the best lens ... but you will never have to inquire about what lens other's think you need.

    If not the kit zoom ... then I recommend something between a 28 and 35 ... those lenses will approximate a normal 50mm lens on a fulframe 35mm. I have found that the 50mm on a crop sensor to be an extremely awkward length ... too long for scenic shots ... too short for environmental portraiture and way to short of sports.

    For a beginner, the kit lens will serve you well ... this information may not be what you wish to hear/see ... just like the beginning driver would prefer a Porsche to a KIA ... in the beginning the KIA is a better choice.

    Gary
     
  12. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I originally suggested the 50 but with this comparison I would go with the 28.
     

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