Lens Starter Kit


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Apr 28, 2009
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My g/f just dug out her Canon Digital Rebel for me. She has a 28-135 Canon zoom with a IS (big, bulky, heavy, don't need IS). I have a 35-50 canon cheapo-zoom with a crack in the collar (good size, but yuk).

I'm looking to spend around $300, for 1-3 lenses that would give me a lot of versatility. I'm thinking Tamron, but I'm not married to the brand.

You won't get much for $300.

I'd suggest a 50mm F1.8. It's cheap (both price and build) but the glass is good.
$300 leaves you a little short of a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8, which is a nice general-range zoom. If you were to have only one lens on a strict budget, that might be the one if you can stretch for it.

The 50 f/1.8 is a great choice for under $100 as well.
Not that big expert in the Canon world.
For nikons... I got the Nikkor AF-s 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX zoom for just under $300, a very nice lens IMO.

Got a 50mm f/1.8 for < $150, this is a fabulous lens optically, however, I find a 50mm lens on a small sensor DSLR too narrow for my taste and therefore I hardly ever use it.
Finally "upgraded" to the 35mm f/2.0 lens with a much better viewing angle for most day to day photo opportunities.
28-135 is heavy? hmm...

well, I think you have a bit of a problem.

If you want a single lens I would suggest the 50mm 1.8, however that lens is a prime, so it isn't probably versatile in the way you're looking for.

you could go with something like a 28-200, but truthfully most of those type of lenses are going to be as heavy or heavier than the 28-135. You could also choose something like what people were suggesting with the Sigma or Tamron 18/17-50mm 2.8, of course that lens is also going to be probably bigger and heavier than the 28-135.

Other than that you can go with a cheapo 18-55 kit lens for about 60 bucks or 100+ for the IS version, and maybe a 75-300 (again though, that's going to be bigger and bulkier).

So, if physical size of the lens is your main concern you're going to have to make a compromise, primes are usually smaller, but they don't zoom so you would have to get multiple and change them out, or get the zoom lenses and have them be physically larger.
That lens sells for around $350 and is a well made lens with IS. "The Canon 28-135 IS lens is probably the perfect all-purpose lens. I use this lens more than any other when I'm traveling, because it is wide enough for most scenery shots and it also provides a decent amount of zoom" I agree.
You will likely find yourself wanting something wider than the 28-135. However, I cannot believe you think its a heavy lens. Its a plastic POS in my opinion, I have one. Even your better 3rd party lenses are likely going to be heavier because they are better built. Perhaps you would like the 18-55 kit lens. Its cheap and produces "decent" images.

A Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 is only $339 bucks. I bet you could find a used one on fleabay or such places for cheaper. I have one, and although I rarely use it, it has always been a darn good lens throughout its range. Its not terribly slow, infact its fast at 17mm. THe new versions are HSM, but my older version focuses quickly and fairly quietly. I think I would defineatly recommend it over the 18-55 kit lens. You didn't want IS and it doesn't have it. I can post some sample shots taken with it if you need.

The 17-70 also offers a very close focusing distance and a 1:2.3 magnification for "macro(ish)" work. Inner focusing so the fron element doesn't rotate, has zoom lock. I really do like this lens. It also is well built. Now I am wanting to go play with this lens....
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