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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 16 Oct 2008 (Thursday) 20:48
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Deciding on a lens set..

James ­ P
1,900 posts
Gallery: 5 photos
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Joined Aug 2008
Location: Chatham, Ontario, Canada
Oct 17, 2008 05:56 |  #16

In my mind, the 70-200 f/4L wouldn't be my first choice as a walk around lens because it's not wide enough. If you want reach, the 70-300 will give it to you with IS for about the same price. For macro, just get the macro filters for this lens for now to see if you want to persue that kind of photography. You might be steady enough to hand hold for macro work, but many people I know use a tripod. The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS would serve as a pretty decent walk around lens.

1Dx - 5DIII - 40D - Canon 24-70LII, 100L macro, 135L, 16-35L, 70-200 f4 and 100-400L lenses

- "Very good" is the enemy of "great." Sometimes we confuse the two.

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1,765 posts
Joined Oct 2007
Location: NYC
Oct 17, 2008 06:42 |  #17

-Refurb Canon 30D (from Adorama) $574
You can pick one up from this forum for about $500-$550, great camera. I just sold mine recently to upgrade to a 40d and I love the difference. I loved my 30d, except I wished it had live view for macro, its been very useful.

-Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 Macro (not a real macro, but still good for closeups) $329 (Sigma4Less)
Great lens very sharp, good walk around.

-Canon 50/1.8 II (just for messing around with) $75
Don't rush on this one yet, I bought it for $60 (new) when it was still cheap and I only used it a few times, I ended up selling it to a friend of mine.

-Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS $510 (Sigma$Less)
Another great lens, do you think you are going to jump to the L eventually? If that's the case why not just purchase the 70-200. You lose IS and 100mm but you get a super sharp and superb lens and a constant f/4.

I started out with a cheap sigma 70-300 apo macro ($140-$200). It was cheap for the price and fairly sharp, I knew I wanted to upgrade to an L eventually, so I started out with that telephoto. The canon 70-300 IS is definitely way better, but for a price tag of $140.


3,012 posts
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Joined Dec 2006
Oct 17, 2008 06:48 |  #18
bannedPermanent ban

We like to help people shop here :-)

whatever you do, if you get a Sigma 70-300, make SURE you get the APO version, not the DG Macro non-APO version. It is unbelievably bad- you could literally have mine for free- I'm unwilling to sell it online as I don't want to hurt my selling rep. What a piece of pooh! The APO version, as ooo says, is well thought of, but you can't go past IS at longer focal lengths IMHO.

Leonard ­ Wong
206 posts
Joined Aug 2007
Location: Belmont, CA
Oct 17, 2008 10:32 |  #19

nordstern1 wrote in post #6510827 (external link)
how about...XSi + 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS + 60 macro + sigma 30 1.4?

+1 I've used the non-macro 100, and I liked it. I found it too long to use it for portraits. You'll need work room to frame your shot. I suggest getting the 55-250 first and checking using it at 60 and at 100 to which one will work better for you.

Also, what made you decide the 70-200 F4 over the 55-250 IS? 70-200 is almost double the weight of the 55-250 (400g vs. 700g). Of course the build quality and optics are better.

If you want to make your budget work a little better, than you could try the 50 1.8.

40D | 10-22 | 17-55 | 30 1.4 | 50 1.4 | 85 1.8 | 70-200 F4 IS | 2x580EXII | YN CTR-301P | Lowepro Slingshot 200 | Kata R-103 | Manfrotto Monopod 679B
HV20 | WD-H43 | DM-20 | Manfrotto 390RC2
G12 | D10

4,706 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 35
Joined Sep 2006
Location: West Palm Beach
Oct 17, 2008 10:45 |  #20

nordstern1 wrote in post #6510827 (external link)
how about...XSi + 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS + 60 macro + sigma 30 1.4?

ditto... You'll better know your needs later so if you buy low you'll not lose much $$$ when upgrading to fit them....
I'd even recommend holding off on the 60mm macro until you've first tried using the 18-55 IS kit for those shots and see if it fulfills your's a shot with the 18-55 IS kit


My Canon kit 450D/s90; Canon lenses 18-55 IS, 70-210/3.5-4.5....Nikon kit: D610; 28-105/3.5-4.5, 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF, 50/1.8D Nikkors, Tamron 80-210; MF Nikkors: 50/2K, 50/1.4 AI-S, 50/1.8 SeriesE, 60/2.8 Micro Nikkor (AF locked), 85mm/1.8K-AI, 105/2.5 AIS/P.C, 135/2.8K/Q.C, 180/2.8 ED, 200/4Q/AIS, 300/4.5H-AI, ++ Tamron 70-210/3.8-4, Vivitar/Kiron 28/2, ser.1 70-210/3.5, ser.1 28-90; Vivitar/Komine and Samyang 28/2.8; 35mm Nikon F/FM/FE2, Rebel 2K...HTC RE UWA camera

74 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Location: California
Oct 17, 2008 11:46 |  #21

Thanks a lot for the suggestions you guys. I'll try to answer as many of the questions as I can:

t60p wrote in post #6510350 (external link)
My biggest complaint about the 70-200 f/4 was the lack of an image stabilizer, otherwise it is a great lens. If you plan to take photos early in the morning, late evening, or in less than ideal light, then you would greatly appreciate the IS in the zoom.

So, I think you should simply consider the XSI w/kit lens and the 70-200 f/4 IS.

If you are not set on getting the 70-200, then you might want to consider the XSI kit and the 135 f/2.

I have actually considered that also, but decided against it. While IS is obviously a nice factor, I live in sunny California so light isn't usually too much of an issue. I think I would rather spend $350 on a 50mm 1.4 then $400 more on the 70-300 IS.

nordstern1 wrote in post #6510827 (external link)
since you said you wont be using the 100 macro for insects, i suggest you check out the 60 macro instead. its cheaper, smaller, lighter & as sharp as the 100. you dont need the longer working distance of the 100. youre goin to save a few bucks from this swap.

how about...XSi + 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS + 60 macro + sigma 30 1.4?

extension tubes are also a good option to cut down costs. you might be able to squeeze in the 70-200 f4 L in your budget.

hmmm...XSi + 18-55 IS + 70-200 f4 L + 50 f1.8 + kenko extension tubes?

Sorry I think you may have misunderstood me. I won't be using the 100 macro for insects with a tripod. While insects aren't my priority, it would be nice to be able to capture them. I just didn't expect to have time to set up a tripod while doing so.

I actually had considered the 60 macro but decided against it since the prices were so similar and the 60 is EF-S which isn't ideal if I ever upgrade my body in the future.

I do think I would like the XSi, 18-55 IS, 70-200 f4L, 50 f1.8, extension tube route and I'm thinking that might be my best bet. As several people have illustrated with sample photos, macro work would still be possible and if I decide that it's something I will get heavily involved with, I could probably scrap together the money to buy the 100mm macro in the upcoming months.

dithiolium wrote in post #6511041 (external link)
It nice to have a plan for which lenses to get. I suggest you don't get them all in one shot, needs will change over time and you end up buying/selling too often.

People I know buy standard lens and a 70-300 telephoto lens initially, only to underutilise the tele, what a waste of $$.
Is the $1500 budget one time only? or is it $1500 now then $1000 annually? Think about it, you won't only spend $1500 on this hobby, it will get out of hand easily. So now you can plan your lens purchases over time.

I always found myself zooming a lot on P&S's so I feel like I would appreciate the reach. The $1500 is pretty much one time only. After this I could probably buy one more lens under $500 or $600 in a few months, but that will probably be it for a while.

Leonard Wong wrote in post #6512366 (external link)
Also, what made you decide the 70-200 F4 over the 55-250 IS? 70-200 is almost double the weight of the 55-250 (400g vs. 700g). Of course the build quality and optics are better.

Mostly for the reasons you stated: build quality and optics. The image quality is significantly better and I know that somewhere down the road I will probably want to upgrade to the 70-200 anyway, so why not buy it right away? The 70-200 is much more of a "forever" lens than the 55-250. Plus there is the factor that the 55-250 is an EF-S lens, which could be prove problematic if I ever upgrade my body (which definitely won't be anytime soon). I'd just rather spend $600 now than $275 now and $600 later.


Now just to make my job even more difficult, I have been thinking about XSi + 70-200 + 28-135. I have heard that the 28-135 is an excellent starter/walk around lens. It may not be wide enough for some situations so I guess I could still get the kit lens.

Anyway.. further complicating things for the win!

Canon XSi | 18-55 IS (kit) | 100mm 2.8 Macro
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Cream of the Crop
8,042 posts
Likes: 1116
Joined Nov 2005
Location: San Diego County, California, USA
Oct 17, 2008 12:08 |  #22

YES and NO!

JeffreyG wrote in post #6511097 (external link)
Yes, then instead of a $250 tripod you need a $1000 twin flash rig. Where I was headed with my original tripod advice is that macro needs to be stopped down a lot for most shots which precludes ambient light handheld shots.

Lot's of newbies add macro lenses to starter kits without knowing this, so it was worth a mention.

Yes, I believe that you do need a flash for macro and I do believe that many macro shots (especially of creepy crawlies) can be done better hand-held than tripod mounted.

No, I don't think that you need a $1,000 twin flash rig. I use a old Siegelite articulating flash bracket (I got mine at a garage sale for $5.00 and often see them on eBay for under $25.00). I modify the flash with a Lumequest mini softbox (Chinese knock-offs are available on eBay in the neighborhood of $20).

Of course, I need flash and an off-camera cord. I first used a 420EX because that was the only flash that I owned. I now use a 550EX because of the increased manual capability. I use the flash, of course, for a lot of other photography than macro.

This is what I would get considering your budget and needs:

The following three prices are from Adorama

Refurbished 30D = $574… I have been using a refurbished 30D for almost two years with no problems. However, I needed to send both my “NEW” 10D and 350D to the Canon Service Center within the first 90 days of ownership. I consider the 30D a much superior body to the XTi for many reasons including, IMO, a far better control system.

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 = $419… This is a great lens at a moderate price. It doesn’t have IS but it does have a constant f/2.8 aperture. I consider it a more versatile lens than the IS kit lens.

70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS = $549… I had the 70-200mm f/4L and IMO it was not an all-around go-to telephoto because I needed relatively bright light in order to hand hold it. I finally opted for the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens but, the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 is a relatively moderately priced substitute for the expensive 70-200mm f/4L IS

I use a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS combination for 90% of my shooting so I know that the focal lengths are great. I believe that the above combination would satisfy you for most shooting situations.

These prices are from eBay

Tamron 90mm f/2.8 AF SP Macro lens. I have this lens which I purchased for $125 from eBay and it is a top-notch performer with image quality up there with my “L” lenses. I absolutely LOVE this lens..​mron-AF-90mm-f-2-8-Macro-lens-for-Canon-SLR-No-Res_W0QQitemZ320310418​145QQcmdZViewItem?hash​=item320310418145&_trk​parms=72%3A1205%7C39%3​A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%​7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p​3286.c0.m14 (external link)

Canon 550EX which can be had for between $100 and $250 used.

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Deciding on a lens set..
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