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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 21 Mar 2014 (Friday) 15:17
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Need assistance selecting a new lens

 
craigat
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Mar 21, 2014 15:17 |  #1

I'm beginning the process of upgrading my lenses and wanted to get the opinions of the folk on this forum in addition to the research I'm doing. Please forgive my creating yet another "which lens is best" thread, but as I've found the best lens is dependent on numerous factors, I thought a thread of my own would allow us to narrow down on what's best for my particular use.

So to start, this is what I have today (basically all t3i kit lenses):
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens

This is what I shoot:
Primarily landscapes and nature, but I've recently begun doing shoots with portraiture and bodyscapes and intend to do more of that (I particularly enjoyed the bodyscapes, so a fast lens would be helpful)

Price range: I'd like to keep it in the $800-900 range, though I'd be willing to go as high as $1,200, no more than that. Also, while I would love to have the pro-grade cannon lenses, my skill level would most likely not take advantage of all of the quality they provide, so a lens that gets 95% of the quality for 60% of the price would probably be a better option overall. That is, of course, presuming that the dream lens is not within my budget (otherwise I'd just buy that).

So what does the dream lens have (initial thoughts):
-A single lens that roughly covers the range of the three lenses I currently have (18-250 mm) with better quality (if not the greatest quality in existence)
-A lens where the max aperture is reasonably big and can maintain that aperture throughout the length of the lens (unlike my current lenses)
-Fast and Sharp (I suspect that one is no surprise to anyone)
-Good AF (I need the lens to get at least very close, my eyes don't focus easily through the viewfinder, so the closer the AF gets, the less time my eyes have to work extra hard tweaking the focus)
-I've also been known to be a bit shaky, which isn't a problem with outdoor stuff since I use a tripod, but a lot of the people stuff I do hand held, so IS would be handy if its good.

Thanks again for helping me in this manner,
Craig




  
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MalVeauX
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Mar 21, 2014 15:24 |  #2

Heya,

For landscape, the 18-55 is actually perfectly good. I'd stick with it for now. Stop down to F8 or F11, and use a tripod. Good to go. Or you could go with a newer one that also covers some medium to entry telephoto ranges, like 15-XX and 17-XX type stuff.

I would focus on the longer end of the telephoto side of things.

I'm thinking:

Canon EF 70-200 F4L IS
Canon EF 24-105 F4L IS
Canon EF-S 15-85 IS
Canon EF-S 17-55 F2.8 IS

Or, enter the world of primes:

Sigma 85mm F1.4
Canon EF 85mm F1.8

And while you're getting into portraiture and bodyscapes, there's a big thing that you need that is frankly more important than a new lens: lighting.

I would get a speedlite, if you don't already have one, and prepare for off-camera flash use.

Yongnuo 560 III (get two)
Yongnuo RF 603CII (pack of two; get two packs)
Enloop rechargeable batteries (AA & AAA)
Lighting stands (inexpensive ones work fine)
Umbrella/hot-shoe stands (inexpensive ones, $8 maybe)
Shoot through umbrellas (white/satin, 43" is a great starting size)
Reflector (get one that does white/gold)

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

  
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runninmann
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Mar 21, 2014 15:25 |  #3

craigat wrote in post #16775736 (external link)
I'm beginning the process of upgrading my lenses and wanted to get the opinions of the folk on this forum in addition to the research I'm doing. Please forgive my creating yet another "which lens is best" thread, but as I've found the best lens is dependent on numerous factors, I thought a thread of my own would allow us to narrow down on what's best for my particular use.

So to start, this is what I have today (basically all t3i kit lenses):
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens

This is what I shoot:
Primarily landscapes and nature, but I've recently begun doing shoots with portraiture and bodyscapes and intend to do more of that (I particularly enjoyed the bodyscapes, so a fast lens would be helpful)

Price range: I'd like to keep it in the $800-900 range, though I'd be willing to go as high as $1,200, no more than that. Also, while I would love to have the pro-grade cannon lenses, my skill level would most likely not take advantage of all of the quality they provide, so a lens that gets 95% of the quality for 60% of the price would probably be a better option overall. That is, of course, presuming that the dream lens is not within my budget (otherwise I'd just buy that).

So what does the dream lens have (initial thoughts):
-A single lens that roughly covers the range of the three lenses I currently have (18-250 mm) with better quality (if not the greatest quality in existence)
-A lens where the max aperture is reasonably big and can maintain that aperture throughout the length of the lens (unlike my current lenses)
-Fast and Sharp (I suspect that one is no surprise to anyone)
-Good AF (I need the lens to get at least very close, my eyes don't focus easily through the viewfinder, so the closer the AF gets, the less time my eyes have to work extra hard tweaking the focus)
-I've also been known to be a bit shaky, which isn't a problem with outdoor stuff since I use a tripod, but a lot of the people stuff I do hand held, so IS would be handy if its good.

Thanks again for helping me in this manner,
Craig

I don't believe an 18-250 "reasonably" fast, constant aperture sharp zoom with IS exists at any price. The closest might be the Canon 28-300L, but it's more than $1200.

Which of those parameters are you most willing to compromise?


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gonzogolf
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Mar 21, 2014 15:35 |  #4

The dream lens doesnt exist. You cant have super range, super sharpness, and super (or even moderately )fast in a superzoom. Decide which of the features is most important to you, and what you want to shoot most.




  
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craigat
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Mar 21, 2014 15:36 |  #5

Hmm, the usual mix of fast, good, and cheap - pick 2, lol.

One thing I forgot to mention is that when doing the inside stuff (for now at least), I'm doing them as organized shoots or workshops at various studios, so good lighting is provided.

I'm trying to stay away from primes as I don't want to spend the time at a shoot changing lenses (again, not a problem when I do landscape as I'm normally out hiking or such and can take an extra couple mins to get everything just right, including changing the lens).

So, where to compromise - I can't go up on price, and getting a lens that isn't reasonably fast and sharp defeats the purpose of upgrading, so I guess the range would be the compromise. Not sure if I'd be better going with the longer or shorter end though. Since the outside work I've done doesn't seem to be too bad to me, and the inside seems to be not as good, I'm thinking the shorter end might be best (most of the portrait/bodyscapes was done with the 18-55), but I'm open to debate there as I haven't really thought that part through yet. Also, I'm wondering about the constant aperture - is that what's causing this to fall apart? I know I've seen some large ranged lenses that are highly recommended by their users, and have presumed that they have a constant aperture, but I might be wrong about that.




  
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gonzogolf
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Mar 21, 2014 15:42 |  #6

If you like your 18-55, consider replacing it with a canon ef-s 17-55 2.8, If you want to replace your 55-250, go with the 70-200 F4 IS.




  
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ceegee
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Mar 21, 2014 15:43 |  #7

Since the "dream lens" doesn't really exist, what you seem to be looking for, compared to what you already have, is: faster aperture, faster focusing, and IS, in a focal length suitable for portraits and bodyscapes.

Given your comments in your second post, I'd suggest taking look at a mid-range zoom with constant f2.8. I personally enjoy the 24 to 80 range for portraits. There are many options at different prices within that focal range. I used to own a Tamron 28-75 f2.8, which can be found for around $300 used. In terms of image quality, it easily rivals the Canon "L" lenses, but its downside is its slower focusing and lack of IS. Tamron also makes a 24-70 f2.8 with IS, which just about falls within your budget and is highly regarded. Then there's the Canon 24-70; the earlier version of this lens is right at the top of your budget. If you're intending to keep your 18-55 for landscapes, any of these would be worth a look. If you're intending to sell your 18-55, then the Canon 17-55 has IS and is also highly regarded.

Despite the fact that you're currently working in a borrowed studio, I still second MalVeauX's suggestion of lighting. It's essential for portraits and bodyscapes, and you're going to want your own lighting at some point: at least one Speedlite, and even better, two of them, with stands and modifiers.

Good luck with your choice!


Gear: Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Canon 24-105L f4, Canon 70-300L, Canon 60 macro f/2.8, Speedlite 580 EXII, 2x AB800

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FerozeK
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Mar 21, 2014 15:59 |  #8

Ive seen 28-300mm's go for $900-1500 on ebay, it covers almost all your critrea except the constant apperture, I assume F3.5 is resonably big? I cant comment on the IS on this lens but I heard its about 3 stops




  
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gremlin75
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Mar 21, 2014 16:22 |  #9

What focal range do you currently use the most with what you shoot?

For landscapes, is 18mm wide enough for you or do you need wider?




  
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craigat
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Mar 21, 2014 16:25 |  #10

Gonna have to give the range some more thought as my subjects are in flux and what I've previously done may not be what I expect I'll be doing over the next few years. That said, I would love wider than 18mm for landscapes, but for that I would buy a purposeful lens and not try to incorporate it into this.




  
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mine1
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Mar 21, 2014 16:25 |  #11

If you went used you could probably get both the sigma 17-50 os, and the canon 70-200 f4 IS. Well at least get close enough that you could buy one and save for a little while and get the other. You will not find what you want in one lens, but these 2 would give you a pretty big boost in both of the ranges you use. And you could for sure get the sigma and canon non is for your price range (maybe even new)


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/81190407@N08/ (external link)
Canon 60d.Canon 18-135, 55-250 II, and 10-18 stm. and Benro C-1681t Travel Angel, with Sirui K20x head.

  
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mine1
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Mar 21, 2014 16:28 |  #12

you could probably squeeze in the sigma 17-50 f2.8, sigma 10-20, and the non is canon 70-200 all for under your 1200 max.


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/81190407@N08/ (external link)
Canon 60d.Canon 18-135, 55-250 II, and 10-18 stm. and Benro C-1681t Travel Angel, with Sirui K20x head.

  
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craigat
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Mar 21, 2014 17:07 as a reply to  @ mine1's post |  #13

So one thing I've been thinking as we discuss this is that the problem with changing lenses isn't so much changing them as having neither really do the job, the range of one is good but doesn't get big enough, the other is good, but doesn't get small enough, which makes me think the 24-70 might be interesting option as it bridges the gap. It may be that the length at which the lenses split and force changing is just at an uncomfortable place.

Also, in reference to used lenses, I've been considering them too, but really worry about getting them damaged or broken. Are you generally able to get good lenses used - I'd like to save the cash and do better overall, but would be really angry if I dropped a lot of cash on a scratched lens that I was stuck with.




  
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mine1
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Mar 21, 2014 17:23 |  #14

Make sure you buy from a buyer with good feedback (that has not made their account recently) on either here or fred miranda, and you should be pretty safe, besides most people pay with paypal and they are going to side with you if the lens comes "not as advertised". So I think as long as you do your homework on the seller you should be safe buying used. and the savings can be quite large.


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/81190407@N08/ (external link)
Canon 60d.Canon 18-135, 55-250 II, and 10-18 stm. and Benro C-1681t Travel Angel, with Sirui K20x head.

  
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ceegee
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Mar 21, 2014 17:27 |  #15

craigat wrote in post #16775970 (external link)
Also, in reference to used lenses, I've been considering them too, but really worry about getting them damaged or broken. Are you generally able to get good lenses used - I'd like to save the cash and do better overall, but would be really angry if I dropped a lot of cash on a scratched lens that I was stuck with.

I've bought virtually all my gear used, mostly from Craiglist or the Canadian equivalent, Kijiji, but also from the "for sale" section of this forum. Most of what I've bought has been in like-new condition, for much less than I would have paid new. I couldn't have afforded my gear if I'd had to buy it new.

If buying in a face-to-face transaction, it's fairly easy to assess the equipment, look for scratches or evidence of damage, and form an opinion of the seller's trustworthiness. Take your camera body, examine the lens carefully, try it out, look carefully at the results, ask a lot of questions, ask to see original invoices if possible. If buying through the forum, check out the seller's references, ask plenty of questions, and exercise basic common sense.


Gear: Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Canon 24-105L f4, Canon 70-300L, Canon 60 macro f/2.8, Speedlite 580 EXII, 2x AB800

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