Upgrading from Rebel XTI to Canon 50D, need lens help Pleeaase


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Mar 9, 2009
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Northern California
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Hello everyone!

I desperately need some help and was hoping someone out there would lend some expertise on my delimma. I have been wanting to upgrade to a 50D with 1 new lens for now but have been torn about which lens is a must have for me right now. I currently have an 18-55 Kit Lens and a Quantarary 18-200mm f3.6 I bought separtely shortly after I bought my camera. I am just a beginner and don't know much about how to take good photo's but I'm wanting to get a camera I can grow with and a more professional lens that I won't grow out of. I mostly take portrait style pictures of my children, animals, etc.. But really want to get something that I can take professional studio type portraits with. I also do alot of shooting at my boys baseball practices and games and so I need a good lens that can be good for many things. I use the 18-200mm now for everything and it is good for distance shots but the pictures are not very crisp and when I zoom them in, they are very grainy. I'm torn between the following lenses and I was hoping someone could tell me which one is a must have if I can only afford one lens for now.

Canon 50mm F/1.4
Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 or Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro

Thanks to everyone who responds!!!
The Canon 70-200mm lenses are fantastic...after all, they are L lenses. The best (& most expensive) one is the F2.8 IS version. It's also very heavy, especially if you are lugging it around all day. You could save quite a bit and get one of the F4 versions. You loose one stop in max aperture, but that may be a good trade because the 50D is very good at higher ISO levels. Tamron & Sigma also make 70-200mm F2.8 lenses that are pretty good.

Either the 50mm F1.4 or 85mm F1.8 lenses would be good choices. Very good value for the money.
What do you find limiting about your XTI? The 50D is a good camera -- but so is the XTI; if you haven't hit its limitations, you might get more mileage out of an update to the 18-55mm kit lens rather than a new camera body.

The lenses you list all do different things. The 50 is nice for low light, and if you can get close enough could be good for baseball. (Check your previous pictures to see what focal range you're taking those shots at -- if it's more than 50, then the 50 wouldn't be good for that.) The 85 is similarly good, for the same reasons.

The 100mm Macro is a nice lens -- I like it a lot. It takes beautiful, crisp macro photos (i.e. pictures of very small things) -- but in my experience it doesn't have the fastest autofocus for things like sports (just not what it's made for).
What focal length do you find yourself using the most? The $395 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di-II covers the same general range as your kit lens, with a wider aperture and a sharper image.

As the others have said, the Canon 70-200mm telephoto zoom lenses are excellent. The 70-200 f/4L is $600, while the 70-200 f/2.8L IS is $1700. Any of these should provide sharper images than your Quantaray super-zoom can manage.
To really get the best out of the 50D you need pro glass. At least that's what I've noticed with mine, and I've also heard this from other pros that have one.

It doesn't shine with consumer lenses attached. It looks good, but not the best it can. :thumbup:
I'm not sure an upgrade to a 50D is what your beginner photography needs. The XTI is a great camera for a beginner.

I totally understand the want to grow with a body. If I were in your shoes, I'd upgrade my lens set and keep the XTI, mainly because the applications you have are varied. The better lens you will get you can use in the future with a new body.

For the portraits and such, I'd go with the 50mm 1.4. I think the 85mm on a crop camera will be too long a focal range.

For the baseball practices and games, I would definatly look into the 70-200 2.8. The IS is nice, and if your budget has room, get it. But this is a must lens for sports. Its a bit on the short end, but if you are just doing your kid's game, then it should be fine.

If you want to stick with Canon, the 17-55 2.8 IS is a good lens. It can give you sharp images and be a nice replacement for the kit lens you are using. Its a bit pricey for non-L glass, so maybe look at the equivalent Sigma or Tamron.

I'd pick up the 70-200 2.8 before doing anything else. Use that lens on your XTI for a while and see how things go. Make sure you learn the basics of photography, both the technical aspects (apertures, shutters,...) and the artistic aspect (composition,...). Information and technique is way more valuable than an expensive lens and can take you much farther. I have seen amazing pictures done with point and shoot cameras and I have seen pretty lame pictures with a 50D and L glass.

If you are dead set on getting a new camera, get your 50D. For the 1 lens, get the 70-200 2.8. I'd also pick up a 50mm 1.8 as its under $100 and a great lens. If you still have budget, get the 1.4.

But really, I'd learn to master photography with the good tool you have right now.
I'm going to amend my previous post.

After running the 50D for a week now and calibrating it I've come to the conclusion, as have many others, that the 50D is not a good upgrade over the 40D. In fact I've found that what is being reported is true. The 50D does not produce as high quality a file as the 40D. It produces a lot of noise. The other features are really not that big a deal. The only thing I actually think is a worthy upgrade is the calibrating option.

I'm taking mine back and exchanging it for another 40D.

Save your money, get the 40D and a grip for the same money. :thumbup:

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