help with lens


TPF Noob!
May 2, 2006
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Hi i'm a beginner at photography and i had already bought a canon 350d with the kit lens. Now i'm thinking of buying a new lens since i'm not satisfied with just one. I'm thinking of buying maybe a telephoto or macro but it turns out there are so many different kinds and i'm confused. Maybe some help?
You are really the only one who can make the right choice...and you haven't given us much info, so it's hard to make any recommendations. Also, what's your budget? I know some nice telephoto lenses but they are over $10,000.

I always suggest the 50mm F1.8 lens. It's cheap ($70 US), although the body is mostly made of plastic. However, the optics are fantastic and the fast F1.8 aperture is really nice for shallow DOF and low light photography.

I think the most common Macro lens is the 100 F2.8 Macro. It's a nice focal length for portraits...but might be a little long on the 350D. I think they make a 60mm macro lens that is EF-S (will work on the 350D, 20D, 30D...but no other Canon cameras).

There are other options of macro photography. You could get a set of extension tubes. They would go nicely with a 50mm. You could get a set of diopter close-up filters. They just screw to the front of any lens. The image quality is not all that great, but they are much cheaper than a macro lens.

As for telephoto, the entry level lens is the 70(or 75)-300. There are a few different models at different prices. The most affordable ones are less than $300. There is a model with IS (image stabilization) which is great because it will help you take sharper shots when the light is less than perfect. It's expensive though.

There are some 70-200 lenses. One model is the F4 and one is the F2.8
The F2.8 is much bigger and more expensive but it's supposedly a fantastic lens. Sigma also makes a pretty good 70-200 F2.8

A really good telephoto zoom is the 100-400 L. "L" is Canon's designation for it's best lenses. They are the cat's meow but will cost an arm and a leg.

There are also 300mm and 600mm prime (non-zoom) lenses. But they are fairly expensive as well.

If you can, go into a camera shop and ask to try the different lenses on your camera. Take some shots and then go home and compare the images. This will give you an idea of the focal lengths, the balance and hold-ability of the lens on the camera and the image quality.
mike had a great suggestion with extension tubes or a 500d diopter. extension tubes contain no glass so they wouldn't harm your image quality. that coupled with a 50mm 1.8 would make a great macro combo (and the 50mm is very sharp). there are quite a few telephotos you can buy out there, like mike showed. what will you be using it for? if it's for portraits, a short telephoto (50-135mm) is a great idea. if it's for sports or 'birding', you'll want something in the 200-600mm range. unfortunately, in telephoto land you get what you pay for.
Thanks i think i'll buy the 100mm 2.8 macro. and i'm thinking of the 28-135 mm 3.5-5.7 IS for the telephoto or maybe the 70-300. my budget is around $400 -500. i'm mostly going to be using it for portraits and flowers. Can i ask how do those extension tubes and the 500d diopter work?
the extension tubes put the lense farther from the camera's sensor, which in turn means that you can focus closer (somehow :lol:). the diopter goes on the front of the lense like a filter, and contains a few glass elements that magnify the image a little, kinda like a magnifying glass. since there are other glass elements, it has the ability to degrade optical quality. I think that's what it is :)

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