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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 29 May 2018 (Tuesday) 12:56
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Upgrading from kit lens - what focal length for my use?

 
gco78
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May 29, 2018 12:56 |  #1

Hi all!

I've been reading posts on this forum for a while now but only now deciding to post as I am getting really confused and would very much appreciate your help!

I have had a Canon 650D for a while now, using it with the kit lens (18-55mm) and then with the Tamron 18-270mm. I was very happy with the versatility of the Tamron until about a year ago, when I started working on improving my photography and noticed the quality of both my lenses is just crappy. I am looking to upgrade and thought I would learn a lot (and gain a lots of quality for a small price!) by buying a prime lens.

However, I really cannot decide what I need / want, as I haven't yet found my preferred photography style (I shoot landscapes, buildings, portraits, street photography, nature, macro... just about everything!). An analysis of my lightroom photo library shows that about 40% of the photos taken with my Tamron were taken at 18mm, 12% at 20-27mm, 10% at 30-39mm and only 5% at 50-59mm (and a little bit at every focal length in between), but I'm not sure that means anything as I often crop my photos in Lightroom, sometimes heavily.

I am now hesitating between a combination of the following options:
- Canon 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM (equivalent 16-29mm): for landscapes, buildings, etc.
- Canon 24mm f/2.8 STM (equivalent 38mm): for street photography, probably a few landscapes
- Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM (equivalent 80mm): for portraits, macro (using it reverse) and bokeh... and because everyone just seems to love this lens!
- Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM (equivalent 29-216mm): for general purpose, to have a versatile lens and not carry 10kgs of equipment with me (I usually go for full day shootings) - but will an amateur like me see the difference in quality compared with my Tamron?

I just can't decide which one(s) to buy!! I would love to remain under 500$ but don't know if that will be possible? What do you think would be the best combination to improve my images quality for a relatively low price without compromising too much of my focal range?

Many thanks in advance for your advice!

G.




  
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Archibald
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Post edited 6 months ago by Archibald. (2 edits in all)
     
May 29, 2018 13:19 |  #2

Our friend Kenny says that sharpness is mostly due to the photographer and not the lens. Take that any way you want. :)

The 18-55mm STM is excellent for sharpness and autofocus behavior, it is cheap and light, and of course versatile. Pick one up for little cash and you won't have buyer's remorse.

The 18-135mm STM and newer 18-135mm USM are also excellent but heavier. Of course they are more versatile with the greater long end.

Both of these lenses have very good reputations here at POTN. Note that both have issues with chromatic aberration and distortion, but these can be fixed easily in Lightroom.

Unless you have a full frame camera too, forget about equivalent focal lengths.

And welcome to POTN!


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PhotosGuy
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May 29, 2018 13:41 |  #3

but I'm not sure that means anything as I often crop my photos in Lightroom, sometimes heavily.

Well, that could be one reason why your images aren't "sharp"! And if you do that, you probably need a longer lens regardless of what % focal length you're currently shooting at.

Also, a lens was considered sharpest at 2.5-3 stops down from the maximum aperture. Now with the "crop-sensors", we're using mainly the center (sharpest) portion of the lens & I'm not sure where the dividing line is.
So you really should put the camera on a tripod & run a few tests. Do them at a fast enough shutter speed that camera shake isn't a factor.

And you should consider this, too: -=What to do if you suspect a focus problem=-
Try shooting a yardstick at a 45-degree angle to confirm that you don't have a focus problem.


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May 29, 2018 14:01 |  #4

gco78 wrote in post #18635164 (external link)
Hi all!

I've been reading posts on this forum for a while now but only now deciding to post as I am getting really confused and would very much appreciate your help!

I have had a Canon 650D for a while now, using it with the kit lens (18-55mm) and then with the Tamron 18-270mm. I was very happy with the versatility of the Tamron until about a year ago, when I started working on improving my photography and noticed the quality of both my lenses is just crappy. I am looking to upgrade and thought I would learn a lot (and gain a lots of quality for a small price!) by buying a prime lens.

However, I really cannot decide what I need / want, as I haven't yet found my preferred photography style (I shoot landscapes, buildings, portraits, street photography, nature, macro... just about everything!). An analysis of my lightroom photo library shows that about 40% of the photos taken with my Tamron were taken at 18mm, 12% at 20-27mm, 10% at 30-39mm and only 5% at 50-59mm (and a little bit at every focal length in between), but I'm not sure that means anything as I often crop my photos in Lightroom, sometimes heavily.

I am now hesitating between a combination of the following options:
- Canon 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM (equivalent 16-29mm): for landscapes, buildings, etc.
- Canon 24mm f/2.8 STM (equivalent 38mm): for street photography, probably a few landscapes
- Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM (equivalent 80mm): for portraits, macro (using it reverse) and bokeh... and because everyone just seems to love this lens!
- Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM (equivalent 29-216mm): for general purpose, to have a versatile lens and not carry 10kgs of equipment with me (I usually go for full day shootings) - but will an amateur like me see the difference in quality compared with my Tamron?

I just can't decide which one(s) to buy!! I would love to remain under 500$ but don't know if that will be possible? What do you think would be the best combination to improve my images quality for a relatively low price without compromising too much of my focal range?

Many thanks in advance for your advice!

G.


Pictures from a used Tamron 18-270mm lens of various moving subjects. Not perfect, but usable.


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From having owned one once, a good replacement lens would be a Canon EF-S 18-200mm unit.

https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …8_200mm_f_3_5_5​_6_IS.html (external link)



  
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MalVeauX
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May 29, 2018 14:05 |  #5

I'd go for a 10-18 STM (refurb) and 50mm F1.8 STM (refurb).

Both together well under budget. Covers almost everything you do.

Very best,


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ChrisS76a
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May 29, 2018 14:31 |  #6

naddieuk wrote in post #18604426 (external link)
This is my attempt at Messier 106 using a modded Canon EOS 1000D. I still have tracking issues for more than a minute, it's balanced, but still has a problem with wide stars. I think I will need to grease it somehow or other. So, this was ISO 1600 at 60 seconds. I have light pollution here.


thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by naddieuk in
./showthread.php?p=186​04426&i=i187523602
forum: Astronomy & Celestial

Nice try.




  
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Chris.R
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May 29, 2018 14:32 |  #7

MalVeauX wrote in post #18635215 (external link)
I'd go for a 10-18 STM (refurb) and 50mm F1.8 STM (refurb).

Both together well under budget. Covers almost everything you do.

Very best,

I'd agree.
The 50 is just about as sharp as anything available. If that's fuzzy, it's you!
The 10-18 isn't, but if you stop it well down (f/11) it's very very good. And it's stabilised, so you can use slow speeds.




  
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duckster
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May 29, 2018 15:52 |  #8

If you are considering the 18-135, I would go with the USM version rather than the STM version. I have both and the focus is faster with the USM version




  
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mcoren
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May 29, 2018 18:11 |  #9

gco78 wrote in post #18635164 (external link)
[...] I often crop my photos in Lightroom, sometimes heavily.

As PhotosGuy said, maybe you need something longer rather than shorter.

I'm a big fan of the Canon EF-S 55-250 STM. It's my standard hiking, biking, and zoo lens because it's lightweight and very sharp. I've seen used ones for $175 or less. That and the 18-55 STM make a great traveling kit.

Mike


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gco78
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May 29, 2018 20:10 |  #10

Thank you all for your advice! I don't think it is a focusing problem since I am also unsatisfied with the quality of some photos I took with a tripod, and it's not really blurriness that bothers me but rather an overall lack of sharpness (it does look different from blur). It looks great on screen and when printed in small formats, but I want to print some photos in big formats to hang in my apartment, and feel that it would just not be sharp enough to look good. I've read in many places that the widest the focal length of a lens (such as a 18-270mm), the less quality the image would have, and that prime lenses give much more sharpness. That's why I thought a prime lens could be a solution. I will nonetheless look into the link you sent on troubleshooting for focus problems - it would be so much easier if I could solve it all that way!




  
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Archibald
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May 29, 2018 20:30 |  #11

gco78 wrote in post #18635432 (external link)
Thank you all for your advice! I don't think it is a focusing problem since I am also unsatisfied with the quality of some photos I took with a tripod, and it's not really blurriness that bothers me but rather an overall lack of sharpness (it does look different from blur). It looks great on screen and when printed in small formats, but I want to print some photos in big formats to hang in my apartment, and feel that it would just not be sharp enough to look good. I've read in many places that the widest the focal length of a lens (such as a 18-270mm), the less quality the image would have, and that prime lenses give much more sharpness. That's why I thought a prime lens could be a solution. I will nonetheless look into the link you sent on troubleshooting for focus problems - it would be so much easier if I could solve it all that way!

Thanks for the clarification.

If your pics look good on the monitor but not in big prints, then it may be possible that your gear is not up to your requirements, that you are a demanding user. There is nothing wrong with that, more power to you.

However, it becomes difficult to say what is limiting your image quality without knowing more. It would be helpful if we could have a look at a raw file, which you could upload to a site like Dropbox for us to download.

You are right that prime lenses usually give sharper pictures than zooms. Shooting technique also is important. The 650D should give excellent images, but depending, you might need to upgrade to a higher resolution body. Post-processing also contributes.

Before buying gear in the hopes of getting the quality you need, I would do some careful investigating and check things out with rented gear.


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ChrisS76a
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Jun 10, 2018 17:13 as a reply to  @ gco78's post |  #12

I would suggest shooting at F/8 as this is usually a “sweet spot” for many lenses.




  
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Upgrading from kit lens - what focal length for my use?
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