Need A L Glass Substitue


TPF Noob!
Jun 18, 2013
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Chicago, IL
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I'm have had the canon rebel T3(1100d) for a few months now(5 or so) and I'm ready to upgrade. I have the kit lens(18-55) and the 50mm f/1.8. I have noticed I need a little more reach with my shoots so I'm in the market for a standard zoom lens/a basic telephoto. I wish it could get the 70-200L f/4 usm but its a little out of my price range and I was wondering if there is anything that can compete with it for around 500 or less.
Nothing as fast but the Efs 55-250mm is good in your price range.
Depends what you are photographing; for slow-moving stuff or portraits or still lifes, scenics, and so on, almost ANY 85mm 1.8 or f/2 prime made in the last 40 years is close to the equal, or is better, than the zoom. A $45 Pentax Super-Takumar 135mm f/3.5 in m42 thread mount is the "equal" of a 70-200 f/4 modern zoom, at 135mm. Buuuut, the focusing is slow, and manual, so...that might not be a good solution for a person not familiar with manual focusing and stopped-down shooting and so on.

Canon EF mount cameras can easily be adapted to hundreds of thousands of "pawn shop" priced m42 or Nikon F-mount lenses. For "some" types of photography, manual focusing is not that big of a disadvantage. Not sure what you mean by "basic telephoto". TO me, the term basic telephoto means something from 85mm to 135mm, and there have been a lot of those made in the last 4 decades. The Canon 85mm f/1.8 EF is really a great value; autofocus, decent weight, high sharpness, good focusing speed, and in the price range.

The 70-200 f/4 L IS USM is a pretty good zoom. Maybe the 18-135 is something you could swing? That's got more range than the 180-55, and AF. I am 100% sure you could check out some gear in a Chicago-area camera store, and get a feel for what you like.
Derrel beat me to it. 18-135 IS STM is a fantastic lens with great AF, great build quality, quite good sharpness (for a zoom of such large range), that can completely replace your kit lens and almost triple your range, for only like $400 and much less of a flimsy toy feeling than the plastic mount $100-$200 slight upgrade telephotos they sell.

For your crop sensor camera and stated needs, I think that's your best bet.
You should also consider the

Tamron 28-75 f/2.8

And the

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC
Another question, Can someone explain to me what the difference between stm vs. usm and which one is faster? I tried googling it but I came up with mixed results.
Another question, Can someone explain to me what the difference between stm vs. usm and which one is faster? I tried googling it but I came up with mixed results.

USM is an ultrasonic motor and is generally pretty fast at acquiring focus, much faster than the normal focusing mechanism normally found on kit lenses. STM is a stepper motor and is primarily beneficial for video, but the STM tech can only be used by the T4i and T5i afaik. It's still probably faster than the normal focusing build. Probably not on par with USM but I haven't used one and can't say for sure.
I have a Kodak Gear 80-210mm f/4.5-5.6. It cost me sixty pounds.
No, it's not L standard - it's a long way from it. But cheaper lenses will still cover the distance and produce decent results.

If you really want L standard glass, look out for the 80-200mm /2.8 L on eBay (about 500 dollars or 400 pounds, probably) - the predecessor to the 70-200, it's still a very good lens by all accounts, or consider the 3rd party equivalent to Canon's current lens - Sigma offer a 70-200 /2.8 which many report being the equal of the Canon (but still beyond your budget).

Depending on what you're photographing, and your personal preference, it may be worth considering a 85mm, 100mm or 135mm prime lens - there are great options from Canon within your stated price range.

Personally I own a couple of older manual lenses at 85mm and 135mm which are great for portraits (but hard work for action photography). In fact, I got all three of my longer lenses (80-210 zoom, 85, 135) by spending less money in total than just Canon's 85mm/1.8 would have cost me, and am really happy with them.

This was shot on the Kodak Zoom:

Lioness by Neil Gratton, on Flickr

This was shot with the 135 (Jupiter 37A)

Verena by Neil Gratton, on Flickr

I only just got the 85 /2 (Jupiter 9), so no samples on flickr yet :)
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I brought an old EF 70-210 F4, push/pull type lens. It works quite well for an older lens, it's slower to focus but that's fine for my use.

I got for $27 NZ.

I'm not sure where in the world you are but I've seen them on EBay quite cheap.

Be a good start until you get the 70-200.
have you considered the 24-105L? It is included in a lot of kits and can be found pretty cheaply. I have it and it is my "walk around lens."
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