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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 12 Feb 2013 (Tuesday) 07:10
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Travelling to New Zealand, looking for 1 or 2 new lenses to take with me...

 
eastwood_andy
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Feb 12, 2013 07:10 |  #1

This is my first post on the forums, although I have been lurking for a number of years. So first, a little background.

I own a Canon EOS 1000D which came with the standard 18-55mm lens and a Tamron 70-300mm (the budget version). I've been quite interested in macro photography, so last year I bought a Canon EF 100mm f2.8 USM Macro and I love it!

So I'm off to New Zealand in November and the only lens I really like using is the 100mm, but it's quite specialist and limited, so I probably won't take it with me. I don't like my 18-55mm at all, poor focusing and IQ, the Tamron was pretty good when I first started but I'm now spoilt after using the 100mm.

So my question is, for a budget of around £500, which two lenses would you recommend I purchase? My requirements are:

- A lens for landscape, portrait (IQ/sharpness & quick focus the most important factors). This lens will get most use once I'm back.
- A longer lens for more distant nature shots (balance of IQ and budget, quick focus a bonus)
- A bonus would be good macro performance too, but this is least important

So I'm torn whether to plump for one really good, all purpose lens. Or get a combination of a short and longer lens, or whether to get a prime 50mm and longer lens.

Some lenses I've been looking over:

EF 50mm f1.8
EF 50mm f1.4 USM
EF-S 18-200mm IS
EF-S 55-250mm IS MKII
EF 28-135mm IS USM
EF-S 18-135mm IS STM
EF-S 18-135mm IS
EF 70-300mm IS USM

Tamron 28-300mm AF VC
Tamron 70-300mm AF VC

Thanks, and apologies for the lengthy question!


Canon EOS 700D, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 15-85mm EFS IS, Nissin Di622 II Flash.

  
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Bonbridge
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Feb 12, 2013 07:15 |  #2

Take a WA lens like the Tokina 11-16 or 12-24 and ad a 50F1.8.


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eastwood_andy
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Feb 12, 2013 07:40 |  #3

Thanks for the Tokina tip, I haven't read much about them before - certainly food for thought. Sample shots of the 11-16 lens look really nice. I think they're a bit too expensive for what I'd use them for, I'd then need something to cover mid and long range too.


Canon EOS 700D, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 15-85mm EFS IS, Nissin Di622 II Flash.

  
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Jptenberg
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Feb 12, 2013 09:13 |  #4

If you want to travel light, look into a 15-85 lens. This is a real nice walk-around lens with great IQ and a good range for a crop sensor. You can find these used for well within your budget, and have anough left for 50 1.8 to help with low light situations.

When I toured Europe last spring, I brought the 15-85 with my 7D and is served me well in all situations, except for low light indoor shots. I brought my 24L to use in those situations, but that lens is nowhere near your budget.

I know that the 15-85 is not really long for distance shots, but the macro on it is not bad, and honestly, with your budget, you are not going to get much for a long lens anyway. You could look into a used 100-400, although it's over your budget, it is a real bargain for what you get. Not the fastest tele out there, but it works well for long shots on wildlife if there is sufficient light.


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CaliWalkabout
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Feb 12, 2013 10:49 |  #5

I'm horribly jealous!

My wife and I went to NZ for three weeks in December, all on the south island. My trip involved a cycle tour and backpacking (Milford Track - stunning!) so weight and bulk was a factor for me. I took 3 lenses with my 60D: 17-55, 70-300L and 28/1.8. The majority of the time I used the 17-55, but I found the zoom extremely useful for certain shots, and just plain fun to have. The 28 never left my bag - the days are extremely long, so light is plentiful enough for a constant f/2.8 lens to perform just fine.

I never regretted leaving my UWA (10-22) at home. The landscapes in NZ are amazing, but the enormous spaces can get swallowed up by the super wide perspective. I found 17mm plenty wide enough, and when I needed something wider I'd just try to get a panorama set (lots of failures there - good thing to work on before you go!). Some of my favorite landscapes from the trip were taken with the 70-300, to take advantage of telephoto compression and isolate certain features of the landscape.

If you're going to one of the places where penguins are you'll want a telephoto - that's how I justified the 70-300L to my wife.

I think the recommendation of the 15-85 is a very good one. It's a superb lens. I sold mine when I bought the 17-55 and have no regrets, and would recommend the constant 2.8 lenses in the 17-5X range instead only if you're going to have a decent lens to cover the longer range.

Personally I would leave the macro lens at home.


6D, 17-40L, 24L II, 50L, 100L, 70-300L.

  
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DreDaze
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Feb 12, 2013 10:56 |  #6

15-85 and a 55-250IS would be a good two lens soltion

if you want to go wider, look at a sigma 10-20mm...
sigma 10-20mm, and a 55-250IS would be good...but you'd miss out on a lot of useful range


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Wilt
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Feb 12, 2013 11:52 |  #7

Needing to travel very light, my wife and I ventured around South Island for over a week with only two lenses...the Canon 10-22, and the Tamron 28-75.

Consider the possibility of renting the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8, or the 15-85mm as an alternative lens to the 18-55 which you do not like. (Since you are in UK and have no idea of your local pricing after VAT etc., I can't comment about whether or not the purchase of lenses falls within your budget)

Keep in mind carryon weight restrictions can be quite limiting on many airlines. Air New Zealand can be quite strict in their weight limitations.


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amfoto1
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Feb 12, 2013 12:11 |  #8

Lenses sell for different amounts in different parts of the world. But, to stretch your budget you might want to buy used.

Here in the U.S. it would be easy to pick up a used 28-135 IS for $200 and a used Tokina 12-24 for $400. I don't know if they are similarly priced in your part of the world, if they would fit your budget. However, those two lenses would make for a pretty comprehensive travel kit. Using them on a crop camera such as your 1000D, they actually cover a wider range of focal lengths than most film shooters ever owned in their lifetimes: ultra wide to moderate tele.

The 28-135 has fast USM focus, is quite close focusing, and has pretty good IS. Image quality is good... it rivals the far more expensive 24-105L (the L is better built and sealed, has a little better IS). If the close-focus ability of the 28-135 isn't enough (it's X0.19 or about 1:5, one fifth life size natively), it can be used with macro extension tubes to make it even closer focusing.

An altearnative is the EF-S 18-135 IS. This is now more frequently offered as a kit lens with 60D (or a step up kit lens with any of the xxxD series cameras). It tends to sell for more like $300 in the US and it doesn't have USM focus. The latest version has STM focus, which is better than micro motor, but probably not quite as good as USM. It's also EF-S or crop only. It has reasonably good IS.

The Tokina 12-24 has far less flare and a much wider range of focal lengths than it's more expensive 11-16 sibling.... Also, it's f4... while the 11-16 is f2.8... but most people don't need to use large apertures very often (or at all) with wide angle lenses, anyway. The Canon 10-22mm might be an even better lens for image quality (it's unusually flare resistant)... but likely over your budget. The Tokina seem better built than the Canon (they feel "L-like"). SIgma actually offers a couple different 10-20mm... a cheaper one with a variable aperture and a more expensive one with non-variable aperture. I'm only familiar with the older variable aperture model, didn't find it as good as the Tokina or Canon lenses.

I consider the Canon 28-135 and Tokina 12-24 two of the best bargains out there when bought lightly used. The 28-135 is actually an old film lens, so has been around for quite a while. There are a lot of them on the used market (which is why used ones are discounted about 50% off the price new), it was frequently sold as a kit lens with 40D and 50D (though it's better made than most kit lenses). The Tokina has been around for less time, but there are still plenty of them around on the used market.

With some luck and careful buying, you might have enough left for a small flash or a 50/1.8. The "thify fifty" is the least expensive lens Canon makes, sells new for just over $100 here in the U.S. and can be found for less used. It's about as cheaply made as possible... But it's capable of decent images and it might be nice to have a larger aperture lens for portraits. This short tele (on a crop camera) is small and light, too. Might not need a lens hood with it, either, because the front element is somewhat recessed.

The built-in flash on your camera is pretty wimpy.... and in the worst possible place for redeye and ugly shadows. Instead of a larger aperture lens, you might consider a compact flash. Canon 270EX is small, highly automated and easy to use, but more powerful and it doesn't rely on (and drain!) the camera's rechargeable battery. There are also the earlier 220EX and 240EX, which might serve nicely for travel. If possible, I would recommend putting the flash on a bracket to move it farther away from the lens axis. There are cheap, generic flash brackets on eBay and elsewhere. Some fold nicely for travel. If using a bracket, you also need an off-camera shoe cord to connect the flash to the camera... Canon offers OCSC, but there are far cheaper clones on eBay and elsewhere, that work just fine. Some of these flashes can be found for $100 US or less.

To me, New Zealand means lots of scenic opportunities... not a lot of call for longer focal lengths. However, if you feel you need a lens with more reach, the 55-250 IS is an inexpensive option that's got good image quality. It's frequently offered as a kit lens, is widely available for $200 or less in the US. It is not a USM lens, so don't expect top focus performance. It's reasonably compact for travel. It also can be used with macro extension tubes for close-ups.

For inexpensive macro extension tubes, I'd recommend Zeikos or Opteka. Those are available for around $75-80 US new. Just be sure they are the later versions that are compatible with EF-S lenses, if that's what you want to use them with. (The 28-135 and 50/1.8 are EF lenses... the 12-24 is too, tho won't very likely be used for close-ups... the 15-85, your 18-55, the 55-250 are all EF-S lenses). There are cheaper macro extension tube sets... but the ones around $50-60 US are pretty flimsy and the ones for $25 or less do not have the electronic contacts for auto focus or aperture control... so are a pain in the arse to use. I don't recommend the sub-$25 US, particularly (they are okay with adapted, vintage lenses... just not so much with modern electronically controlled lenses).

Have fun shopping!

Sounds like a great trip!


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eastwood_andy
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Feb 12, 2013 16:21 |  #9

Wow, thanks for all the useful replies! It really helps having so many different perspectives/prioritie​s.

Jptenberg, DreDaze & Wilt, thanks for the 15-85 tip, I'm very tempted.

CaliWalkabout & Wilt, we're headed to South Island only. Current plan is Christchurch-Greymouth TranzAlpine train, then onto Franz Josef, Milford Sound and Lake Tekapo. Do you know if it's worth spending more than a day at Milford Sound? A lot of places seem to do day trips, but I'd be tempted to stay a bit longer. Any recommendations for South Island destinations?

amfoto1, thanks for the detailed reply! The 28-135 looks like a good contender against the 15-85, I think I'll have to try them out in the shop to see what fits my needs best and weigh up if I have any extra money left for another lens (longer if I get 15-85 or shorter if I get 28-135).

I forgot to mention, I bought a flash at the same time as my 100mm macro. I got a Nissin Di 622 mkii and I think it's great value for money. I always thought flash photography was out of reach for the poor DSLR enthusiast, but learning about bouncing flash was like joining the magic circle and finding the secrets to a neat magic trick.

I think I'm leaning towards the 15-85 and to take either my 100mm macro or my cheap 70-300mm Tamron and live with the slow focus & not as good IQ. At the end of the day, my long shots are never going to be perfect anyway, they're more snapshots of "hey, look what cool wildlife I saw on holiday"

The 15-85 will get more everyday use after the holiday and I can use the trip as a gauge to see if I really need a longer lens, or if I just think I do.


Canon EOS 700D, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 15-85mm EFS IS, Nissin Di622 II Flash.

  
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manipula
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Feb 12, 2013 16:47 |  #10

Doubtful Sound is considered better than Milford and I've heard rave reviews of the overnight trip there (usual tour websites will have the details.)

IMO, it depends what you're wanting to look at when you're here. if it's all scenery and landscapes then a decent wide angle lens is a great idea, but as beautiful as the country is, it's the little things that make NZ unique and what it is, not big sweeping vistas. For that on a crop body, a wee wide angle to try your hat at documentary would be wise. Something like a 28mm or 35 maybe... Depends if you wanna look under the skin and see what makes the place tick or just marvel at the sights. IMO long lenses are always useful but not a priority here.

To put it into context, having been here over 5yrs now, the lens I have fitted to my camera for almost anything most of the time is a 35mm (on FF) and it honestly does 95% of everything you'd need.


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CaliWalkabout
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Feb 12, 2013 17:34 |  #11

I probably wouldn't spend more than a day at Milford Sound itself. The tourist trap nature of the place means you'll spend a fortune to stay there! Milford Track is something else entirely, though. I could spend a month on that trail, happily (not that they'd let me).

Mt. Cook is definitely worth a visit as well! It's another good place to avoid staying in, due to cost, but the landscape there is jaw-dropping.

Be sure to check out the landscape east of Tekapo, on the way to Burkes Pass. We crossed it on the first day of our cycle tour into an insane headwind - it took us 6 hours to go 30 miles, an unbelievably slow pace. My wife was bonking out there, but man, the landscape was astonishing. It's worth getting out of the car to look hard at it. Wish I'd taken out the camera, but I was too busy trying to get my wife to eat something!


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Tareq
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Feb 12, 2013 17:42 |  #12

When you will come back from NZ just post the photos and let's see what you did there.

I was there in 2008 and my main camera was 1Ds3 and the lenses most used are: 16-35, 24-70, 70-200.


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Grayheron
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Feb 13, 2013 02:00 |  #13

Andy, Great to hear you are coming down to our part of the world. You will find the 15- 85 mm a useful lens.
I was in Nepal last year, had the EF 17 - 40 mm and 24 - 105 mm used the 24 - 105 most of the time.
Your itinerary looks pretty good you will want to take in Mt Cook when your at Lake Tekapo.


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Simpleboy
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Feb 13, 2013 02:41 |  #14

If you havent really used a UWA before I wouldnt recommend it. The combination of going "wow thats wide" and the scenery will mean you get a photo with the landscape squished up and lots of sky at the top and grass etc at the bottom. Not saying thats not what you want, but your main subject will just be a small section of the photo. I find when I'm out and about I want to do panoramic shots. When i had my 7D my 17-55 would be in the range of 30-55mm. Now that I have a FF cam, i use my Sigma 85mm quite a lot of Panos.




  
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eastwood_andy
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Feb 13, 2013 03:06 |  #15

manipula, thanks for the Doubtful Sound tip. I think we'll research Fiordland a bit more, I'd like to do some hiking and avoid the "jump out of coach and take a snapshot" mentality.

I'm interested in taking in the landscapes, exploring flora and fauna. I'd like to capture anything from large scale scenery, to distant wildlife, scenic shots with me & dad in them, and close up small detail. I realise I'll have to compromise somewhere, that will probably be at the macro and long distance ranges. My Tamron has acceptable macro mode, and will be ok for long range zoom shots.

I think I'm drawn towards the 15-85 as I'll get the most use out of it when I'm back. Any longer lenses are either going to be expensive or not much improvement on my Tamron.

CaliWalkabout, I agree, I don't want to get caught with all the tourists but price is also a concern. It looks like Milford Sound gets really busy from late morning to mid-afternoon because of all the day trippers, so I was hoping to avoid that by staying a bit longer. I might try looking further afield.

Mt Cook is on our list (time permitting). Our main aim is to visit four main "hubs" during our two weeks, and try to make each one as different as possible. We'll be spending a couple of days around Lake Tekapo, I'm keen to go on their astronomy tour at night, they allow you to attach your own cameras to their telescopes/mounts for some astrophotography (another hobby I'd like to expand if I could afford a tracking mount!).

Tarew, Grayheron, thanks for the comments. I'll be sure to post some photos on here, I don't really have an proper online galery at the moment, I'll be posting some of my older photos on here at some point.

Simpleboy, thanks for the UWA advice. I don't think I'd get enough everyday use out of a really wide lens.

In the meantime, here's a couple of diverse shots I took last year. They couldn't be further apart in terms of focal distance! One is of Jupiter and Galilean moons (500 million miles) the other is a dragonfly in my back garden (12 inches)

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Canon EOS 700D, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 15-85mm EFS IS, Nissin Di622 II Flash.

  
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