Best (Economical) All-Around APS-C Lens?

Discussion in 'Canon Cameras' started by Cortian, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, this is, sadly, Yet Another "What Lens Should I Get?" Thread :icon_cheers: (YAWLSIGT?)

    Long story short: Was gifted a 20D. Having fun with it. Found myself wishing for Certain Features. Found I could get most of what I wanted in a 40D, economically. Have one On The Way from Adorama. My wife plans to take possession of the 20D. (She's had a hard time prying it out of my hands.)

    Currently have an EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and EF 100-300mm USM. A friend is gifting me an EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM for my birthday. We'll need another general-purpose/walking-around lens.

    Reading the various reviews of lenses my impulse would be to go for the Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. The only thing I can find not to like about that lens is the focus-by-wire, which I expect might be annoying.

    Recommendations on anything else we should consider?

    (Then comes the... *cough*... discussion over which lens goes on which camera body... ;).)

    TIA!


     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  2. kalgra

    kalgra TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    So my first thought is if you already have a 17-85mm you already have a decent general walking around lens and probably wouldn't gain a much at all from adding the 18-135mm. If you combine your 17-85 with the 70-300 your friend is gifting you then you already have the full range covered. I might suggest adding a fast prime like f/1.8 or better somewhere in the 35-50mm APSC equivalence.
     
  3. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thing is: As happened a few days ago we might find ourselves in the same place taking similar photos at the same time. Or different places & needing walking about lenses. So my thinking is each body needs a general purpose lens.

    As for the f/1.8 35-50mm APS-C equivalent: An EF-S 10-18mm IS STM (16-28mm equiv.) is on The List for landscape photos. But it's a bit lower in priority than a 100mm macro and a super-tele lens, atm.
     
  4. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have the Nikon 18-140, and LOVE it as a GP lens. Though it may be a bit heavy to carry all day long for a couple of weeks, on vacation.
    I recommended the yearbook advisor at the the local high school buy the Canon equivalent, the 18-135, when he bought additional gear for them. And it has proven to be an almost perfect lens for the kids.
    • With a longer reach than the 18-55, that they had before, they don't have to look for/switch to a telephoto.
    • That means they don't have to change lenses, except for the few times they need to reach even farther.
    • Less lens changes = less chance to drop and break a lens.
    • The 135 end is equivalent to a 215mm lens on a FX/FF camera. IOW a decent magnification for most stuff.
    The only con, for me, is that these lenses are daytime lenses. They are slow and trying to shoot high school sports at night under lights or indoor gym sports, results in my having to crank up the ISO to 12800, to get a fast enough shutter speed.

    My only beef is, that the zoom on the Canon 18-135 is smoother/easier than my Nikon 18-140. grrrr
    Score 1 for Canon.

    To deal with the low light, I recommend a 2nd lens, a 35mm f/1.8, or a 50mm f/1.8 if you need a bit more reach. I have the 35mm f/1.8, which I use for indoor gym sports, and it has been a fantastic improvement. I now shoot at 1/1000 sec at f/2 at ISO 3200, rather than 1/500 at ISO 12800 with my 18-140. The loss of zoom to gain the larger aperture was a good trade-off.

    So with 2 lens, I have most of my general needs covered.
     
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  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Some years back, I bought a new Canon 20D with Sigma 18-125mm DG, a 50/1.8, and later added other Canon EF lenses. (100/2.8 EF USM Macro, 85/1.8,50/1.4,70-200/2.8 USM IS,24-105/4,135/2-L,135/2.8 Soft Focus). But to start, I bought the 20D and the 50 and the 18-125 Sigma.

    The Siggy was focus by wire in manual mode, but it was "okay". The range of the lens, from 18 to 125mm on the 20D? SUPER-handy! The 20D does not place a lot of demands on the lens...
     
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  6. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the first-hand experience input, ac12.

    Discussed it with the family CFO, who's given preliminary approval to the purchase request. Naturally, she expects said lens to go on the 20D. Drat!

    Oh well, I guess it's only fair, as I am getting a "new" camera body out of the deal.

    Looks like that 18-135mm NANO USM may be a pretty good macro lens, as well. With the 70-300mm DO IS USM, maybe I can trade in the 17-85mm IS USM and 100-300mm USM and get the cost down on an 18-135mm for myself, too, and remove the 100mm USM Macro from The List?

    Maybe not, though. That 100mm macro lens is f/2.8...
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A 100mm f/2.8 macro is a nice lens for close-ups and general telephoto pictures, portraits, stuff where a selective angle of view and an uber-sharp prime 100mm lens is the best choice. Look at lens size/weight as part of the issue.
     
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  8. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    At first I was looking at the 18-105. I thought I would not have much use for the lens beyond 100mm, but danged if I didn't use the extra reach.

    And the 18-140 worked wonders on a football and soccer field, when I was able to zoom back to 18mm when the players were CLOSE to me. When I use my 70-210, at the short end of 70mm, I have to back-peddle from the sidelines, and the angle of view is still too tight.

    I just wish for 1 more stop wider to f/4, and it would be a REALLY nice lens.
    But bulkier and heavier, then it may not be a very good GP lens. Trade-offs :-(
     
  9. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    BTW, the 17-85 is a nice GP range also. So don't give up on it.

    I have the Nikon equivalent the 18-70 on my D70, and it was/is a nice lens.
    In fact, when I wanted a lighter lens to shoot volleyball (before I got the 35), I would swap in the 18-70, in place of the heavier/bulkier 18-140 on my D7200. Since I shot JV and Varsity games, I was shooting for about 2-1/2 hours, and the lighter weight made a difference, to this senior citizen.
    80/20 rule, I could get 80% of the shots with the shorter 18-70 lens, and I could crop into the image for most of the last 20%. And now with basketball, I'm using a fixed 35mm lens, so even the 18-70 is more flexible (but slower).
    It would have been REALLY nice if the Nikon 18-70 was a VR lens. But it came out before the VR lenses.

    I would get the 18-135 then shoot both lenses.
    Then see if YOU really need the extra reach from 85-135. You may, or you may not.
    For field sports (football and soccer) I do, for most general stuff I don't.

    Can you get your friend to gift you the 18-135 instead of the 70-300? :)

    BTW, depending on what you shoot, I may not want to give up on the 70-300 IS lens. That 2x+ reach over the 18-135 can make a difference, in reaching out to shoot bird and similar. In my book, I want the next longer lens to be 2x+, to warrant the expense of buying it, and the 70-300 gives you the 2x+ magnification increase over the 17-135.
    The exception is the 70-200 f/2.8, where the key feature is the aperture (for low light), not the max zoom range.

    With the 70-300 IS lens, I would sell the 100-300, because it is not an IS lens.
    To me, the longer lenses NEED the IS. In general, the greater the magnification, the harder it is to hold the lens steady (camera, binoculars, rifle scope or telescope).
    My 18-140 is VR/IS, and I can see the difference, compared to my non VR/IS lens, on those long shots. It is much easier to get a steady shot, as the shutter speed goes down.
     
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  10. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, I'm not giving up on it. I'm just thinking losing only 1mm on the close end for gaining 50mm on the long end might be a good trade.

    That was the plan, more-or-less. First I have to find an acceptable 40D body. Then acquire an 18-135mm lens and do the comparison.

    LOL! He's already got the 70-300. I imagine he's decided it's superfluous :)

    Oh, I've no plans to! Ken Rockwell says the IS on that lens isn't all that great, but...

    Exactly.

    Indeed. Shot some sandhill cranes, earlier today, with the 100-300. Most of the shots out around 180-300mm. Out of two dozen or so shots, only six were keepers, and one of them only because of the composition. (One bird had his wings slightly spread.)

    I shouldn't have tried to do those at ISO 100 :( Oh well, that's how you learn, right?
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Cortian,
    I shot without IS/VR for years with film and I know just how hard it can be with the longer lens.
    That is why I am amazed and frustrated at the longer lenses being sold w/o IS/VR. But as a business guy I know, they want to make a package kit with a low attractive selling price.

    Yes about the ISO. I tell people, forget noise, RAISE the ISO as high needed to get a shutter speed high enough to get the image. Low ISO and high image quality is of no value if the image is spoiled by subject/camera movement. Noise in the image is better than no image.
    I would set the ISO high enough to let you shoot at a shutter speed 2x the focal length, so a min of 1/500 sec for your 100-300 lens. If you are shooting in the wind, even higher, cuz the wind is blowing YOU around.
    There is a delicate balance here.

    One of the students in the yearbook staff asked another question about image noise and high ISO.
    I told her than the image in the yearbook will be only 2x3 inches, and no one will be able to see noise in such a small image. Well, unless the printed image is a DEEP crop into a noisy image, which should not be done anyway.
     
  12. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, ac12, I actually know better than to have selected ISO 100. That was a brain fart :( (I'll tell the story when I post the photos.). Ah well: We learn more from our mistakes than our successes, eh? :)
     

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