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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 30 Oct 2010 (Saturday) 12:25
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Moving to Canon, Need Lens Help (Primes or Zooms?)

 
julian.shelton
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Location: Georgia
     
Oct 30, 2010 12:25 |  #1

Hello,

I’m new here, so please go easy on me. I’ve been studying and practicing photography as a hobby for a while now. I currently have a Sony a230 DSLR, and I hate it. It has come to the point where it is limiting me photographically. For a very long time, I have wanted a full frame camera. I want maximum control over DOF; I want a larger, brighter viewfinder—composing an imagine in my a230 viewfinder is very unpleasant; I want better low-light performance; I don’t want to deal with crop factors (I generally like wider focal lengths); and finally, I want better IQ. After doing a lot of research between Canon and Nikon, I have decided on a 5d Mark II, mostly because I like Canon’s lens lineup more, and I’ll have the lenses a lot longer than the body.


The issue I am currently having is which lenses to get. I am a hobbyist and have to keep the entire purchase under 5,000 (the more under that number, the better). I like landscape (urban and non), and portrait photography. I also really like low/ambient light photography; I have used a D300S with a 24-70 2.8 before and had an absolute blast taking lower light photographs (in restaurants, at social events, etc).


Specifically, I can’t figure out whether to go with zoom lenses or to go entirely with primes. I was initially looking at the 24-70mm 2.8/f, but as I looked at the Canon lens lineup, I became more and more intrigued by the primes they offer. I am especially interested in the 50mm 1.2/fL, the 28mm 1.8/f and the 85mm 1.8/f. I have noticed that when I take pictures, I use the maximum and minimum focal lengths that my zoom lens offers more often than I use the range in-between. I have also found that fixed focal length lenses make me focus more on composition, while I think zoom lenses make me a little lazier. With that being said, though, I really hate changing lenses.

Here are the options I have come up with:
1) 24-70mm f2.8 L and a 100mm f2
2) 50mm f1.2 L, 28mm f1.8 (Also interested in the 24mm f2), and 85mm f1.8
3) 16-35mm f2.8 L, 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8
4) 24-105mm f2 L and 50mm f1.4 (My least favorite option)

I am very intrigued by the 50mm f1.2 L. It has very polarized reviews. It looks like an incredible lens (that takes some skill and practice to use properly). Is it as good as its price and press info suggest?

I know this is a very subjective and difficult question to answer for someone else. I went through all the pictures (the ones that I felt were worth editing) I took in the last few months and looked at their exif data and made a list of focal lengths I use most. Here it is *Edit: There is a 1.6 crop factor for these focal lengths*:
18mm - 260
20mm -7
22mm - 13
24mm - 9
26mm - 4
28mm - 10
30mm - 5
35mm - 24
40mm - 9
45mm - 6
50mm - 140
55mm - 20
75mm - 59
105mm - 11

Also, here is my flickr account if that adds any insight:
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/jcshelto/ (external link)

Thank you so much for any insight you can give me!


MAJU Photography (external link) | Flickr (external link) | Canon 5D Mark II | Canon 35mm f1.4L | Canon 24-70mm f2.8L | Canon Eg-S Focusing Screen | Slik Pro 700DX Tripod

  
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sas8888
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Oct 30, 2010 12:35 |  #2

For me I find that a zoom at the wide end is good and comes in handy when I am in tight places where it it impossible to move around. then I use primes from there on. I have a 16-35 for doing wide angle landscapes which the 17-40 would also do very nicely. I choose the faster lens because of some of the shooting that I do. I then have a 50 (which I gave to my daughter as I never used it) and 85 1.2 my most used focal length and lens (the 1.8 does great and is much lighter and a lot less expensive) and the 135 with a 1.4 converter. there is no reason why you have to be all zoom or all primes. I good mix might be in order


Scott
gripped 5D MkII

  
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Todd ­ Lambert
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Oct 30, 2010 12:47 |  #3

I run a very similar setup to Scott's, most of the time...

16-35
35L
85L
135L
1.4tc

It's a great kit that gives me the utmost flexibility with only 4 lens. The reverse of this kit is good too, and only 3 lens:
16-35
24-70
70-200

That's a great setup too, but I often feel constricted by the 2.8s, so that's why I go with the primes.




  
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julian.shelton
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Location: Georgia
     
Oct 30, 2010 12:58 |  #4

sas8888 wrote in post #11193664 (external link)
For me I find that a zoom at the wide end is good and comes in handy when I am in tight places where it it impossible to move around. then I use primes from there on. I have a 16-35 for doing wide angle landscapes which the 17-40 would also do very nicely. I choose the faster lens because of some of the shooting that I do. I then have a 50 (which I gave to my daughter as I never used it) and 85 1.2 my most used focal length and lens (the 1.8 does great and is much lighter and a lot less expensive) and the 135 with a 1.4 converter. there is no reason why you have to be all zoom or all primes. I good mix might be in order

That is an interesting option that I hadn't thought of. You think a 16-35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4 and an 85mm f1.8 would be the best option?


MAJU Photography (external link) | Flickr (external link) | Canon 5D Mark II | Canon 35mm f1.4L | Canon 24-70mm f2.8L | Canon Eg-S Focusing Screen | Slik Pro 700DX Tripod

  
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sas8888
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Oct 30, 2010 13:06 |  #5

the 2.8 on the 16-35 depends on what your going to be shooting and if you need the 2.8. the 17-40 is a great lens for landscapes if you don't need the 2.8 and throw the money at a better prime in the 50 or 85 category. I use the 2.8 frequently as I take photos where flash can't be used or inconvenient. If I didn't need the 2.8 I would have the 17-40.


Scott
gripped 5D MkII

  
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RPCrowe
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Location: San Diego County, California, USA
     
Oct 30, 2010 13:43 |  #6

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time in a land far-far away... O.K. maybe not so far away, but once upon a time anyway... Still photographers had only prime lenses with which to shoot.

The first zoom I used on a still camera was a Nikon 43-86mm in 1966. When I shot with that lens, I thought it was the most wonderful lens that ever happened. However, when I looked at my proofs, I never picked up the lens to use again. The image quality was horrible! I was very surprised at the poor image quality because I had been using a 12-120mm Angenieux zoom lens on my 16mm Arriflex motion picture camera with very satisfactory results.

All still photographers of that era shot with prime lenses because that was where the quality was! However, professional photojournalists and advanced amatuers usually carried more than one body so that they would not be burdened down with changing lenses which always carries the great possibility of missing shots and possible damage to the lens or camera when you are in a hurry to switch your focal lengths. Now; dirt on the sensor is another pitfall of changing lenses in the field.

I am the first to admit that a pixel peeker would find that most primes have better IQ than zooms. But, I know from experience that top grade zoom lenses like the 24-70L and the 70-200mm (series) can produce IQ that is superb and will enable the photographer to make big prints if that is the photographer's desire.

I also know from experience that you are not always in the exact spot to frame your image like you want and "zooming with your feet is not always an option!" Using a prime lens you are then forced to use the next widest focal length in your kit and, if you haven't missed the shot, you need to crop the image to how you want it framed.

Using a zoom lens I seldom, if ever have to do any but minimal cropping of my images. Shooting with a 3 camera/3 lens setup (12-24mm f/4 Tokina, 24-70mm f/2.8L and 70-200mm f/4L IS) I have an unbroken focal range from 12-200mm and I can crop my image EXACTLY how I want it. The IQ from these lenses is superb...

Even when I am shooting with my standard 2 camera/2 lens travel kit (17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS) I have an excellent focal range from 17-200mm (I don't really miss the 56-69mm gap). The IQ from these two lenses is equally superb...

I guess what I am saying is that using primes is a great way to go, but having a 2-3 camera setup with primes makes shooting more pleasant and efficient. In fact, for me, that would be a necessity.

If I were to begin assembling a new camera setup, The first lens that I would buy would be a top-line mid-range zoom with a constant f/2.8 aperture.

If you selected the 24-70L and then fleshed out your lenses with one of the 70-200L (series) lenses, you would have a setup which would give you excellent quality imagery along with a very usable focal range and extreme flexibility...


See my images at http://rpcrowe.smugmug​.com/ (external link)

  
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40dbaby
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516 posts
Joined Jul 2009
Location: socal
     
Oct 30, 2010 14:28 |  #7

based on your post, option 1, but pick up the 100 L with IS instead.


Only an untrained eye can appreciate the sharpness of a lens...
5DII | Zeiss 50 MP | Sigmalux | 85 1.8 | 24-70L | 70-200L II | 100-400L | 580ex II | 430ex II

  
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Moving to Canon, Need Lens Help (Primes or Zooms?)
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