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Old Mar 3, 2006, 9:16 AM   #11
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Glad to help.
I agree with NHL (as I usually do) Sigma and Canon make good and bad lenses. I wouldn't buy anything other than the Sigman EX line, but I have extremely high standards and I'm willing to pay through the nose to satisfy them. Not everyone is williing or capable to do so.

To answer you questions quickly, there are some deals that are worth taking as a package, but in my limited experience there aren't many. I only buy from basically 3 places.

I have purchased a lot from wbhunt, and therefor get discounted prices from them. At least in person (they aren't that far away from me) they regularly match B&H's prices, and some times beat them. If you don't know B&H Photo and Video (the first link I listed) is the largest single reseller of photo and video equipment in the country (note, I didn't say more than a chain, just more than a single store - by a large amount.) Of the reputable stores in the US, they generally have the best prices. Their sales volume is so much bigger than anywhere else they reduce their margin and make it up in volumn.

The 350D is not a bad camera at all. It lacks some things that the 20D has, but for the most part I bet it will do all that you need. You don't say what the "moving subjects" are that you photograph... the 20D has a better AF system than the 350D. But from your list I bet the 350D would be a great learning camera (and beyond.)

You can some times find bundles that are worth it. For example, a bundle with a good CF card or a CF reader. If its a good card (a one generation back SanDisk or Lexar) then it could very well be worth it. But the larger bundles like the one you say are almost always a "trick" to make the deal look better than it really is.

With that out of the way, lets look at what you want to shoot..

1. portraits
2. Moving subjects (need to be clear when is captured; static)
3. close-ups of subjects (detailed)
4. Slides of my work

For portrates you want something around 50mm to 80mm. If you get a lens with a larger aperture (smaller max f-stop) you'll get a smaller depth of field and the ability to separate your subject from the background better. The downside is that those lenses are usually more expensive and heavier (but often of higher quality.) A zoom that covers those ranges is often helpful... something like the Canon 28-135mm f3.5-5.6. This doesn't have a great f-stop, but its light, has IS when you want to do non-tripod shots of still subjects with lower shutter speeds and while not cheap isn't hugely expensive in the realm of lenses. It doesn't really offer macro, though, and its close focusing is only ok (1.6 ft.)

For moving subjects you need a lens with a larger aperture as well. You don't mention how far away the subjects are (i.e .how much zoom you'll want.) That changes the price tag greatly. Generally the longer the telephoto the more expensive it is (quality issues being equal.) If the subject isn't too far away the 70-200 f2.8 sigma lens people talk about is quite good. I've read of some quality control issues but when it works people like it.

You have three choices on macro work.
- get a dedicated macro lens. Not cheap, but amazing quality.
- Get a set of extention tubes. They reduce the close focusing distance to the subject and can produce suprisingly good results some times. I've a set of these because they are cheap and light. When combined with a quality lens they can do well.
- A lens you attach to the front of some lenses that turns it into a macro lens. I forget the name of this product (someone help here?) I've used them and they aren't bad... they certainly work... but I wasn't enchanged with the quality and found them a bit difficult to use. I don't own them.

That should give you something to go on.

eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 2006, 9:37 AM   #12
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Minor correction
some Canon lenses have a normal motor in them <- slow focusing
some Canon lenses have a stepper USM motor in them <- slow focusing
Some Canon lenses have a ring USM motor in them. <- fast focusing
some Sigma lenses have a normal motor    <- slow focusing
some Sigma lenses have a HSM motor in them <- fast focusing
I had (have) one of the Canon 75-300's and it has developed very bad lens flop, (when you zoom out the front of the lens heads towards the ground, great for shooting around corners :-))
And I bought a non EX series sigma once, the 28-105 F2.8-F4 and it spent much of its life being sent in for repair.
Both of these lenses produced soft images.

I have never had a problem with any Canon-L, Sigma-EX, or Tamron SP XR series lens.
(except the price :roll
Up till recently my longest lens cost more than the car I was driveing, that changed with the new Jeep Commander photo accessory I recently added :idea:

Homer J. wrote:
Most canon lenshave a USM motor in them. This means that canon's lenses will be faster than a sigmalens of the same quailty.
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 3:29 PM   #13
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eric / NHL...i believe all good Internet Forums (regardless of interest or topic) need individuals such as you two (and others here)...i believenot only the advice given here by eric and corroborated by NHL is 1st notch but was delivered in a very no nonsense fashion, but without sounding condescending or demeaning....

i have spent the last 5yrs as part of a PC Forum and have the equivalent number of post/replies as either of you do and i have helped many a neophyte using the same direct and truthful approach as you two...i am here because i passed the burn out stage a couple of thousand posts ago and also to incorporate myknowledge in one arena with a renewed interestin another (photography...

i think xenna and all the individuals that can get enthused by a 'sounds too good to be true' offer made on ebay or whatever etailer...would and probably have benefited greatly by you two laying the cards on the table and calling a spade a spade...thanks and good job!...


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Old Mar 4, 2006, 11:39 PM   #14
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Indeed... you guys surely had helped alot, really appreciate it!~
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