Advice on which lenses to buy

Kiki109

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Hi, I'm still relatively new to photography and am looking for some advice on equipment.

I have a Canon 400d with the 18-55mm kit lens and I recently bought a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens as I like shooting macro.

Apart from macro, I mostly shoot landscapes and architecture but I am also interested in night scenes and portraits so I'm looking for any advice on which lenses would be good for these areas.

I'd like to replace the kit lens and have been looking at the following:

Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM

Can anyone suggest a good option? And in terms of having a diverse set of lenses then which lenses do people tend to go for?

In the future I would obviously like to upgrade my camera and I have heard that some of the Canon lenses do not fit other models so any advice on that would also be great!

Thank you!
 

SoulXquisite

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-no expert, but check out cannon's 50mm f1.8, that would be great for portraits. You want fast glass for night scenes.
 

Ajlista

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Well, from what was reccomended to me and recently ordered
The 55-250mm has a good reputation
You can get them from a vary price of 200-240 from what i've seen
I am no expert, but people have told me its a pretty good lens and you can take nice potraits still with it
 

pgriz

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I went from the EF-S 18-55 to EF-S 17-85 to EF 24-105 F/4.0 L . The last is expensive, heavy, but very high quality. However, the best suggestion for improving your photography would be to invest in a good quality tripod and ball head. My own photography improved dramatically once I started using the tripod. It allows better and more precise framing, removes (for the most part) the lack of sharpness due to camera shake, helps achieve accurate focusing. You can shoot dramatic night scenes with the camera on a tripod, using the whole range of shutter speeds from 1/30 sec to 30 secs. Your architectural photography will benefit from the ability to precisely frame (and check) the image you want. Portraiture will benefit from your being able to position your subject carefully and to verify the focus on the important points, such as the eyes. Having the camera on a tripod also allows you the ability to verify your Depth-of-field.

In another thread "the deliberate act of taking a photo", I discussed the idea of slowing down and being much more precise about the act of "making" the photo. Using a tripod certainly helps in this process.
 
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Kiki109

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Thanks for all of the help so far!

I do use a tripod but some of my night images have not been as sharp as I'd have hoped. Is this likely to be because I'm not using fast enough glass and details are being lost with slower shutter speeds? I've just bought a remote release so hopefully it will fix any user error if there has been in terms of shake from pressing the camera button!

if I went for the Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS as a replacement for the current kit lens do you think this is a good range for landscape too or I should branch out into something wider? I know my 400d has the cropped sensor so would not achieve the full 18mm.

Also if anyone can comment on what they have in their equipment in terms of a good range of lenses that would be great.

Thanks again for the help so far.
 

pgriz

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Thanks for all of the help so far!

I do use a tripod but some of my night images have not been as sharp as I'd have hoped. Is this likely to be because I'm not using fast enough glass and details are being lost with slower shutter speeds? I've just bought a remote release so hopefully it will fix any user error if there has been in terms of shake from pressing the camera button!

if I went for the Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS as a replacement for the current kit lens do you think this is a good range for landscape too or I should branch out into something wider? I know my 400d has the cropped sensor so would not achieve the full 18mm.

Also if anyone can comment on what they have in their equipment in terms of a good range of lenses that would be great.

Thanks again for the help so far.


The lack of sharpness could be due to missed focus (especially if you are relying on auto-focus in a dark place!), or to camera shake due to mirror slap (assuming you're already using a sturdy tripod). Those possible causes have to be eliminated before you can say your lens is not sharp enough. Another source of blurring (at least in my case) can be a less- than-perfect filter.

I do have the Canon EF-S 10-22mm wide angle, but it is less useful in doing landscapes than I thought. The more you cram into the picture, the smaller everything is. There are certain shots that require a real wide angle, but they are less common than I originally thought. As well, unless you are very careful about your camera positioning, the distortion introduced by the lens can be very distracting (and here I'm talking about the way lines are shown to be converging, not barrel or pincushion distortion). What the wide angle is really good at, however, is creating space between the foreground and the background, and using its tremendous depth-of-field to keep everything sharp.

My suggestion is to master getting well-exposed, well-focused and well-composed photos with your current gear. Once you've got that, you can get more toys (emmm... equipment). Plus you'll know exactly where you need to get stuff when you keep on bouncing into the "capability" wall.
 

bazooka

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I think 18mm is still a bit too long for a good front-to-back landscape shot, but it's a much more useful lens than the 10-22mm. I have the 10-22mm... while I'm not happy with it's sharpness in the corners, it allows me to get shots I would otherwise not be able to obtain. Darn compromises.
 

enzodm

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Thanks for all of the help so far!

I do use a tripod but some of my night images have not been as sharp as I'd have hoped. Is this likely to be because I'm not using fast enough glass and details are being lost with slower shutter speeds? I've just bought a remote release so hopefully it will fix any user error if there has been in terms of shake from pressing the camera button!

sources of movement are camera button pression but also mirror movement. For the former, remote is a good idea (as well as delayed shot, and if 400D has live view, also using live view blocks mirror). For the latter, among menus you should find mirror locking option, that helps in reducing its contribution. Another problem is noise on long exposures, but also for that there could be a menu for noise reduction (doubles time needed).
 
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Kiki109

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Anymore ideas on this folks as I'm getting close to buying!?

I totally agree I should probably try to master the basics before spending a lot on equipment but I think I definitely need to replace the kit lens with something.

Someone on another forum said perhaps I should just upgrade my non-IS 18-55mm Kit lens to the IS version which you can pick up for around £100.

What's everyone's opinions on this idea?

I'm still interested in the following also!

Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM Lens

Thanks again!
 

enzodm

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Anymore ideas on this folks as I'm getting close to buying!?

I totally agree I should probably try to master the basics before spending a lot on equipment but I think I definitely need to replace the kit lens with something.

Someone on another forum said perhaps I should just upgrade my non-IS 18-55mm Kit lens to the IS version which you can pick up for around £100.

What's everyone's opinions on this idea?

I'm still interested in the following also!

Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM Lens

Thanks again!

When I bought mine, after looking at reviews I decided to go straight with the IS version, because is described as better, with not much extra money. However, I'm not sure I would buy one having already the non-IS version (no: I'm sure I would not). Any kind of blurring due to the above mentioned reasons will affect image quality much more than lens features of the kit zoom.
Regarding the others, all have a range greater than kit lens, so there could be some reason to have them. I remember from readings that one of the two -85mm is not as good as expected, but I do not know which. However, 15-85 would give you some extra in the short side, which is not bad.
Max aperture is in the same values as kit lens.
Look here about the 17-85: Canon EF-S 17-85 mm F4-5.6 IS USM Lens Review: 4. Conclusion & samples: Digital Photography Review (I suspect this is the bad of the two). Or look here for some more reviews: All Tests / Reviews .

Again, try first to obtain the maximum sharpness from your current lens: it is matter of exercise. Mirror lock (or also Live view), shutter delay (I have a very cheap remote that helps), no IS on tripod. You will better compare also new lenses.

After that, if you have money to spend, I personally would go for something different instead of replacing what you have, to have a wider range of expressive possibilities (e.g. architecture: a shorter zoom; portrait: a prime lens like 50/1.8).
 

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