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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Canon EF lens discussion (dSLR newbies)
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09/06/2003 03:16:40 PM · #1
In a few months I intend to step into the Canon SLR system by either buying a 10D or 300D (hands on experience will be the deciding factor). I am sure that there are many others considering the same now the 300D has come out at this price level.

But what lenses should one buy? This depends of course on what you want to do in photography. Is nature important to you, is it landscapes, allround stuff, sports, low light indoor, family snapshots, portraits? How much do you want to spend? Do you buy them with a long term goal in mind, like upgrading to a 1D kind of camera or the 10D replacement?

I would like to share views with people who are in the same position as me and the couple of hundred current Canon users (views from users of Nikon, Fuji, Kodak are just as welcome) around here.
I ask you to post your lens plan or photographic interests and other people to respond on this on area's like good idea/alternatives/photographic quality/flaws/bang for the bucks.
I know there are several sites that have lens tests and reviews by pro reviewers and users, but information out of the first hand (our dear dpc friends :) ) is very useful as well.

My interests are animals, motorsports, watersport, architecture (esp. historical), landscapes and lowlight indoor (event) photoghraphy. Too shy for portraiture. I don't mind to spend a bit on lenses, they will stay, the body will not. Printing will be done in sizes from 15x10cm to 30x45cm continous tone and 6x4" to A4 on a 1440dpi printer. Some pics also end up in books. I want a 1D kind of camera in the future for the sports and nature stuff.

Lenses I am thinking about:
Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX Aspherical DG DF
This works like a 24-48mm on the 300D/10D.

Why? I like the wideangle for landscapes and architecture. The 30mm side of it is close to 50mm and that's also a nice allround focal length. I've read several positive reviews at Fred Miranda's user review section. It is said to suffer little distortion and handles Chromatic abberations pretty well. The optical quality seems to be pretty good. It is expensive, but wider and cheaper compared to the 17-40 F4 L from Canon. The other competitor is the Canon 16-35 F2.8 L, but that one is more than triple the price. Tilt shift lenses are pretty expensive as well.
Downsides: It is big; 85mm diametre and just as heavy as the 300D body. It doesn't take filters.
Why not the 18-55 EF-S kit lens? Because it is 4 degrees narrower at the wideangle side. Doesn't seem much, but it is. It also suffers some bad chromatic abberations at wide apertures and isn't that sharp at those apertures either. It also doesn't work with the 10D or the 1.3x 1Dd crop factor, let alone the 35mm frame of the 1Ds (who knows where we will be in ten years time). It is cheap, that's a big plus. You don't loose much. But for that money I could buy a..........

Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II prime
This one works like a 80mm lens. Seem to me a nice lens for low light indoor situations, occasional portraits, low light outdoor street scenes etc. Very cheap, but very good.
With the 602 I have learned that I am either at wideangle (35mm) or far into the telezoom range. I don't think that I need something for the gap between the Sigma and the next zoom. Perhaps I might get a Canon EF 35 F2 prime if necessary.

Canon EF 70-200mm F4 L USM
The big gun for sports, events, animals and compressed landscape scenes. Works like a 112-320mm zoom on the 300D/10D. It is fast (AF, aperture fast enough), optically super, read tons of nice reviews. It can take a blow, it can take a bit of water. It isn't too heavy and the price is pretty nice for such a lens. On the 300D and a tripod I thin I will need a tripod collar for this thing. Do you think the lightweight metal mount plastic body 300D can carry this baby?

OK, this is what I have in mind. Not really cheap, but I think it is a quality kit that covers a nice range for several purposes and can be used for years to come. Suggestions welcome.

Some nice links:
Photo.net on EF lenses for the 300D
Petteri Sulones has some nice insights on lenses and stuff
Fred Miranda -User reviews on all kind of lenses and makes-
Photographytips.com basic intro on lenses
Photographyreview.com user reviews
09/06/2003 04:33:05 PM · #2
I played with 3 Sigma lenses (all ranges) and every one had some issue with the 10D. I kept getting "Error 99" when shooting something very bright. Sigma was the only lens I had that problem with. Tamrac, Quantray and of course Canons all worked fine.


I couldn't find a use for a 50mm fixed lens. I have a 28-80 and 70-300 that pretty much covers everything I need. I wouldn't mind a good macro fixed lens, though.

And I wholeheartedly recommend the 100-400 IS USM Canon lens.
09/06/2003 06:11:26 PM · #3
50mm1.8 is a 'no brainer'. I used it in low light without tripod, handheld at 1600ISO in paris that I would have missed otherwise.

70-200Lf4 (that I am planing to buy very soon) is a sure buy for the price, nobody question its quality and its high quality/price ratio

WA zoom
=======

Personnally, I bought the canon 17-40 after having the 2 in my hands. Some additional $, but I decided to invest 'for the long run' even if I had to wait a little more.
The sigma 15-30 is pretty big, you cannot remove the hood (built in), filters are tricky, lens is bulging. That did it for me, I use my 17-40 half of the time without the hood and so happy with that.
In addition to that, although the sigma is ok in term of quality ... just hold a L lens and you will understand why people say that they are build to last. the 17-40L and the 70-200f4L are the less expensive L lenses , still some bucks though.
I would have like the additional 2mm but once I had the 17-40 in my hands without the hood, I had no question about it.
Other than that, people are happy with the quality of the 15-30 (except lens flare).

28-135IS is a very nice all around lens.

Azrifel, what I would say miss in your selection is something 'in the middle', you have one fixed lens between 30 and 70 and it's not a lot.
I think you are going to miss something there.

One lens only : 28-135IS is my advice, and even with additional, still cover a nice range even if short on the lower end.

my 0.02

Lionel
10D/17-40Lf4/50f1.8/28-135ISf4.5-5.6/flash 420EX

Message edited by author 2003-09-06 18:15:54.
09/06/2003 06:40:14 PM · #4
I agree with Lionel on the 50mm f1.8. It's a fast lens for a low price. I've gotten some shots with it that I would have missed with my other lenses.

I also have an OLD Canon EF 35-80mm f4-5.6. It's slow but a decent zoom. I round out my collection with a Quantaray 70-300mm f4-5.6 LD with macro. I like this lens. It's not a Canon EF but for me the difference in $225 and $800+ for a similar Canon was just too much.

I would also like to get the 17-40mm f4.


09/06/2003 06:54:20 PM · #5
If I bring my camera and just one lens it´s mostly the 28-135mm. My fav lens is the 70-200mm but it´s VERY heavy. That´s why I bought the 75-300mm. If money´s not the main problem I will warmly recommend to get the IS lenses.
-----------------------------
10D
EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
EF 50mm f/1.8 II
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
Extender EF 1.4x II
Speedlite 550EX
Extension tubeset 12/20/36mm
-----------------------------
09/06/2003 06:54:22 PM · #6
Not trying to say this is good, bad or indifferent but here are the lens choices I made (and have been pretty happy with so far)

50mm f1.8 - No brainer. Dirt cheap ($60) and sharper than about any other lens under $600. Huge aperture at f1.8.

24-85mm f4.?/f5.6 USM. My travel lens. Resonable range of zoom, quality is good, 24mm is a bit wider than the 28-135mmIS and its a lot lighter to carry around. Takes the same size filters as the 70-200mm f4L which was another reason I got it.

70-200 F4L Bargin price for an L lens. Quick to focus, gorgeous colour/ contrast. Not as heavy as its big brother, the 70-200f2.8L. I mostly use it outdoors so the extra stop exposure doesn't bother me too much. The 2.8 would be nice but expensive. Good for close-up portraits and field sports, as well as butterfly chasing. Focuses quickly, but I'd always like quicker. Also takes the filters for the 24-85mm.

1.4x teleconverter, because you can never have enough reach. Works with the L lenses only (and others with an extension tube but I dont have one) Cuts the 70-200 down by one stop, to a f5.6. Didn't get the 2x for this reason, as the autofocus packs in after f5.6 (other than via some odd tweaks) with the 1.4x and the D60 1.6x multiplers this makes a pretty good reach lens option.

100mm macro. Kinda specialist lens, but a great macro lens. Very very (did I say very?) very sharp.

I don't really plan on buying much more in the way of lenses for a while, as this set covers my needs pretty well. A wide angle might be good, but I expect a full frame digital will come out at a 'reasonable' price some time soon. I'm shooting film with the 24-85 on a Rebel Ti to make up for that in the mean time.
09/06/2003 06:58:54 PM · #7
This is one I'm considering

Anyone know about this Canon EF 75-300mm f4-f5.6 III Zoom lens?

Good to know about the 50mm f1.8 lens.
09/06/2003 06:59:57 PM · #8
For the long telephoto range, some people like the canon 75-300IS, it has the IS, soft after 200, good optical quality for the price.

Personnally, I hold it at B&H at the same time as the 70-200Lf4 and .. that was it ! I had some 'focus hunting' problem in the store when I tried it and the 70-200f4 was dead on each time in 1/10s.
The 75-300IS is still a choice you might want to consider as it is good and has the IS and not expensive. My criteria might not be yours.

the 70-200 is a 'cheap L' lens.

You know, I am not a purist, I am not going to buy 2000$ lenses but, before you hold a L lens, you cannot really realize the difference it is in quality build. For the 17-40L and the 70-200L, you pay more, but you really get something for what you pay.

When you go high in the L range of lens, it's not only the L that you pay, it's the aperture that you get (like 2.8 for a 70-200, f4 for a 300, f5.6 for a 400).

I do not have it but Jacko and others have it, the canon 100f2.8 macro is very good ( forget the canon maro 50, you need a 200$ acecssory to get to 1:1 macro, better going to the sigma 55 in that case). 100mm for macro allow yuo more flexibility with insects and bugs. Head very good about the Tamron 90 as well.

For macro (I do not do much right now) I use the Kenko extension tubes (100$ for the set) and I am happy with it.

Voilà .. that's all ...

One advice I could give is that if you get the 28-135 or something equivalent + the 50mm 1.8, it can give you more time to get other lenses a little better and maybe a little more expensive.


Lionel
09/06/2003 07:04:57 PM · #9
Originally posted by mavrik:

This is one I'm considering
Anyone know about this Canon EF 75-300mm f4-f5.6 III Zoom lens?
Good to know about the 50mm f1.8 lens.


I read more about the IS version than the non IS. just one big ( from my forums readin) do not buy this lens used as the quality of the 'old one' was less than the new ones.



09/06/2003 07:06:46 PM · #10
Thanks - I'll make sure to remember that - and get it new if I get it. I've been looking at Canon's lenses, but what other lenses fit the canon system? Sigma? Any others?
09/06/2003 07:24:39 PM · #11
So far I've got the 50 F1.4 and the 70-200 F4L. One of the selling points of the 50 1.4 over the 1.8 was the 58mm filters, of which I had several. The metal mount and the USM (with full-time manual, meaning focus lock, then re-focus manually if necessary and shoot, which is good for crowd situations) sealed the deal. I'd think about it if you are really into portraiture and/or low light and will use a 50 a lot.

The 70-200 F4L arrived yesterday, it's built like a tank shell and I'm sure I could use it for self defense and then take photos of the attacker with it afterwards. Have hardly used it but the AF is fast, fast, fast. I was really very surprised that it was so small. You're not going to need the tripod collar for weight reasons, it's carryable no sweat. Sorry for the very poor image, but I snapped a shot of it next to something which most of you will be intimately familiar with:

36685.jpg

If you're thinking the F2.8 is too large, I'd seek one out and hold it. It may not be as big as you think.

The third lens will likely either be a wide prime (20mm, although I've heard mixed reviews) or more than likely the 17-40 F4L. That will give me two L lenses and an ultra-low-light lens in the 1.4. In the distant future maybe a 135 F2L and a 400 F2.8L, both for sports, but that will be a long time coming.
09/06/2003 07:31:16 PM · #12
Originally posted by jimmythefish:


The third lens will likely either be a wide prime (20mm, although I've heard mixed reviews) or more than likely the 17-40 F4L. That will give me two L lenses and an ultra-low-light lens in the 1.4. In the distant future maybe a 135 F2L and a 400 F2.8L, both for sports, but that will be a long time coming.


I rented a 20mm prime a few months back and was pretty unimpressed. The lens was okay and the quality was okayish, but didn't give me much more than the 24-85mm that I already have does. 20mm just didn't feel very wide after you stick it on a D60 with the multiplier.

Only had it for a day though. You can see the shots I took with it here:

//www.pbase.com/gordonmcgregor/wideangle
09/06/2003 07:38:47 PM · #13
Hmm, yeah I've heard it's pretty soft. I'll likely get the 17-40. I'm not a huge wide-angle freak but the 50 is the widest I've got, obviously, and it's just too long at an 80mm FOV. I'd maybe consider the 24-85, though I'd prefer to get something that doesn't overlap my current lenses. I doubt I'd use the 50 as much if I had the 24-85.
09/06/2003 07:44:28 PM · #14
See, the D300 comes with that 18-55mm EF-S lens. So I'm not worried about the 18 side of things. And I'm thinking highly of that 75-300 because I like the zoom (480mm equiv) but ... am I going to be missing a lot if I don't have coverage from 55-75? I am (now) looking at that 50mm f1.8, but what is good to cover say 40-150?
09/06/2003 07:46:59 PM · #15
Originally posted by lionelm:

I do not have it but Jacko and others have it, the canon 100f2.8 macro is very good ( forget the canon maro 50, you need a 200$ acecssory to get to 1:1 macro, better going to the sigma 55 in that case). 100mm for macro allow yuo more flexibility with insects and bugs. Head very good about the Tamron 90 as well.


A couple of shots today with the 100mm macro. It is really sharp - lovely lens. I felt 1x was a good size to work with, the 2x is probably too close for some things.

I seem to be using this lens the most these days with all the bug and flower photography I'm doing. It is consistently excellent (or consistently better than I am more honestly)


small.jpg



small.jpg
09/06/2003 07:57:44 PM · #16
W O W.

Good lord. What's all this nonsense talk about Jacko running away with the blue? If you're entering one like or better than this, remind me to sit out! I can't .. wow....

That first image is good, the second image blows me away.


09/06/2003 08:05:15 PM · #17
Add a 100mm macro to my list. Awesome shots Gordon...I was thinking my F717 could handle the macro stuff, but I'll have to reconsider!
09/06/2003 08:21:34 PM · #18
While we're on this subject, maybe someone can explain something to me. If the cam will do f1.0 to f91 and you get an f4-f5.6 lens are those the ONLY apertures that work with it? The only ones that work with autofocus...or what?
09/06/2003 08:29:43 PM · #19
Originally posted by mavrik:

While we're on this subject, maybe someone can explain something to me. If the cam will do f1.0 to f91 and you get an f4-f5.6 lens are those the ONLY apertures that work with it? The only ones that work with autofocus...or what?


that f4-f5.6 is the widest aperture it can work with over the zoom range on that lens. f4 at the shortest focal length, f5.6 at the longest... your smallest aperture will typically be around 32 or 38, depending on which lens you're looking at.
09/06/2003 08:39:00 PM · #20
Originally posted by mavrik:

See, the D300 comes with that 18-55mm EF-S lens. So I'm not worried about the 18 side of things. And I'm thinking highly of that 75-300 because I like the zoom (480mm equiv) but ... am I going to be missing a lot if I don't have coverage from 55-75? I am (now) looking at that 50mm f1.8, but what is good to cover say 40-150?


If you're just worried about the odd time that you really want something in between, there is the cheapest lens they make the 28-80 cheap one... It is the poorest lens they make optically (especially considerting the big investment of a D-slr), but if you're just worried about that small range in between, its a dirt cheap option.

There was a 35-135/4-5.6, which was discontinued a while ago, maybe find used?

There are certainly some others, like the 28-105/3.5-4.5 or the 28-135/3.5-5.6 IS, if you want to spend a bit more. Most lenses are on the canon site, but not all. I do have here a handy chart lining up the EF lenses-- probably out there somewhere online. If anyone really wants, I can scan it in...

Message edited by author 2003-09-06 20:39:16.
09/06/2003 08:41:34 PM · #21
So it can do the f91, but not the f1? I think I understand.

At 75mm, f4 and at 300mm, f5.6? And anything smaller (f32, f91) all the time?

Thanks!
09/06/2003 08:41:48 PM · #22
by the way, thanks to Azrifel for putting in the time to start up a quality thread
09/06/2003 08:44:50 PM · #23
Originally posted by mavrik:

So it can do the f91, but not the f1? I think I understand.

At 75mm, f4 and at 300mm, f5.6? And anything smaller (f32, f91) all the time?

Thanks!


For the canon 75-300 lenses (all of them), the smallest aperture says 32~45. I'm not sure what the ~ means, because normally, they read with a dashed line -. Anyone?? I'm reading this stat straight off of the EOS book.

I'm not sure what lens would be made to handle f91.. it would be a very specialist type of thing. Perhaps someone that really knows lenses could lead us to one?

Message edited by author 2003-09-06 20:46:26.
09/06/2003 08:49:58 PM · #24
By the way, did anyone see the posting about the Walmart screw up, where they put the 75-300 IS lens up for $249?? It was posted on dpreview, and naturally, they are all sold out. It may be an error, and all of these people will be getting the cheaper lens, but worth a try. Out of stock again, maybe stay tuned...
09/06/2003 08:53:35 PM · #25
Originally posted by mavrik:

So it can do the f91, but not the f1? I think I understand.

At 75mm, f4 and at 300mm, f5.6? And anything smaller (f32, f91) all the time?

Thanks!


the rated number is the widest aperture you can get. For most zooms you can get a smaller aperture at the wider angle end and only a larger aperture at the telephoto end.

Typically you pay more for lenses that are the same aperture at any zoom length. So something like the 24-85mm/f4/f5.6 is f4 at the 24mm end, or f5.6 max at the 85mm end. Typically you can get about F22 to f32 with these lenses - again the max aperture varies with zoom and also lens to lens. Some go to about f45 but not much more.
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