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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses
Thread started 28 May 2006 (Sunday) 14:44
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Buy Lens Extenders or save and buy bigger lenses?

Junior Member
22 posts
Joined Jun 2005
Washington State
May 28, 2006 14:44 |  #1

Buy Lens Extenders or save and buy larger lens?

I need sound advice from all who are willing to share. The more opinions, the better. For starters, I’m fairly new at photography and don’t have a ton cash. That probably describes quite a few forum members.

Would I be better off to buy a couple of lens extenders to get me started, or save my money and buy bigger lenses? Eventually I’ll buy the lenses anyway, but to get going quickly and inexpensively would the extenders do?

In the long run my goal is to have a small but well rounded assortment of lenses that will cover most photographic situations, but duingthe the next six months to a year, the most I can afford is $2,000 to $3,000.

What are the pros and cons of Lens extenders? What’s the difference between a Lens Extender and an Extender Tube? Will most Canon lenses work with these extenders?

Here’s what I have for gear:

Canon EOS 30D
Canon 18-55, f/3.5-5.6
Canon 28-135, f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Sigma 10-20
Bogen Carbon Fiber Tri-Pod
Manfrotto Gear Head
Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3

Thanks in advance for all of your input,
Mike Wendell

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Cream of the Crop
crn3371's Avatar
7,198 posts
Joined Mar 2005
SoCal, USA
May 28, 2006 14:54 |  #2

Non of your lenses are going to perform very well (or at all) with an extender. For what you would pay for an extender you can buy a cheap tele-zoom. Secondly, if you've got a budget of 2 or 3 grand for lenses don't waste your time on an extender, you can get some pretty nice glass for that amount of money. An extender multiplies the focal length of a lens, typically by 1.4 or 2. Extension tubes are used for macro work, they allow a given lens to focus at a closer distance.

Compensating for his small ... sensor
9,860 posts
Joined Jan 2003
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
May 28, 2006 14:57 |  #3


welcome to the forum :D

I can just echo what CRN3371 told you.
Also, take a read of the Teleconverter FAQ list, as it will explain how those work and what CRN3371 meant with his suggestions.

Best regards,

some cameras, some lenses,
and still a lot of things to learn...
(so post processing examples on my images are welcome :D)
If you like the forum, vote for it where it really counts!
CLICK here for the EOS FAQ
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Cream of the Crop
steved110's Avatar
5,776 posts
Joined Dec 2005
East Sussex UK
May 28, 2006 17:06 as a reply to Andy_T's post |  #4

None of your current lenses will work well with teleconverters ( or extenders as Canon calls them)
the Canon extenders come in 1.4 x and 2 x sizes. they reduce the amount of light getting through the lens, and this affects all sorts of things but especially autofocus.
this means that any lens with a maximum aperture of5.6 or more will lose autofocus abilities if used with a telconverter. The professional 1- series dlsrs will autofocus with an aperture of f/8 if need be.
The Canon Teleconverters only fit a limited number of the canon lens range. 3rd party versions can often be fitted on any lens with an EF fitting, but the results are often poor.
Having said that all your lenses are reasonable, especially the 10-20. The kit lens is a decent enough lens, in spite of all the bad things people say about it, it's perfectly adequate, as is your 28-135 IS - though this lens is a better focal range for a film camera.
I would suggest sell your 28-135 and get the 70-200 f/4 L - it's a superb medium tele zoom, and will take a 1.4 teleconverter with only minimal loss of quality. I am delighted with mine, and am having a great time with it.
Then I'd start saving for a 100-400 IS , assuming that you want a long telephoto lens as well. I personally find zooms more versatile, but there are a lot of arguments for primes as well, the 300 f/4 and the 400 f/5.6 are good quality L primes, at a reasonable price. Primes tolerate teleconverters much better than zooms as a rule.
you might also want to fill a hole in the mid range, in a way that will supercede your kit lens in time, and for this, a 24-70 f/2.8 fast zoom is ideal - look at the Sigma range for value for money. Tamron also have a 28-70 which is well liked.
A tripod is also a great idea at some stage, as is an external flash, the on-board one really is just good for outdoor fill-ins, and a 430 EX is money well spent.

Canon 6D
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 , Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro
CanonEF 17-40 f/4 L Canon EF 24-70 f/4 IS L and 70-200 f/4 L :D
Speedlite 580EX and some bags'n pods'n stuff

"My dog ate my title"
mbellot's Avatar
3,343 posts
Joined Jul 2005
The Miami of Canada - Chicago!
May 28, 2006 22:33 as a reply to steved110's post |  #5

Personally I think the choice between another lens or a TC depends alot on how much you will really use the extra reach.

If you're serious about birding (or other small wildlife) then a high quality long lens is a must.

I just play around (not serious at all) shooting rabbits and such in my back yard, so a 1.4x TC for my 70-200 IS was an easy choice. Not to mention the $120 (used Tamron Pro) was a lot easier to sell to the wife over a $1k plus lens. :lol:

Cream of the Crop
DocFrankenstein's Avatar
12,324 posts
Joined Apr 2004
where the buffalo roam
May 28, 2006 22:44 |  #6

What are you planning to shoot and how small do you want the lens to be?

I'd recommend 70-200 f/4 L as a compact all around telephoto. It still autofocuses with a 1.4 extender and it's not too big

If you want to lug around a few extra pounds, then 70-200 f/2.8 is the way to go. Sigma makes an pretty good one, especially for the price. The 70-200s are the general all around telephotos for film cameras and for APS sensors they are often good for sport too.

If you want something longer than 200, make sure you actually need it first.

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Cream of the Crop
grego's Avatar
8,819 posts
Joined May 2005
May 28, 2006 23:04 |  #7

Canon's 200 2.8L is a nice one. And you can use a 1.4(at f/4) or 2x TC(at f/5.6) on it. It's priced very well. At 200mm you can shoot at f/2.8(320mm field of view with the 1.6 crop factor taken into account). 280mm with 1.4 tc(448 fov with crop), and 400 with 2x tc(640mm with crop).

Primes tend to handle the teleconverters better than zooms.

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