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Old Sep 8, 2009, 2:24 PM   #11
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Wow! All I can say is, thanks so much all of you for the great links and discussion! I am sure this thread will help anyone who is even remotely interested in purchasing a Canon DSLR.

Regarding the Filters discussion, I feel that there is no harm in purchasing one (they seem to be pretty cheap) and keeping it. That way, in situations where I know that there is a chance of some tree sap () hitting my lens, I can put it on and in other times, take it off for greater image clarity.

Thank you for the recommendation of the Copperhill system.

So, with the camera decided, I have been doing a lot of research on the kinds of lenses. Earlier, I was keen on the kit lens which comes with the camera, but I thought why not see if I can get a better lens for not much more money?

I have been reading reviews of a lot of lenses and I have a lens question. I thought of making a separate thread in the lenses forum, but I am going to put it here only, if thats ok.

Ok, so as I mentioned earlier, I am looking for a general purpose lens to be my first lens! I have a wide angle 28mm P&S right now so I would want at least that much (in 35mm terms) with a little bit of telephoto.

So the choice now is, should I go for the stock kit lens or just get the body and get one of these other lenses? The price to quality ratio is very important here, as most of these lenses may be better than the standard one, but if they cost something like a $1000, then they're pretty much out of my league for now.

Ok, here goes:

Relatively Low Priced:

CANON EF 28-135 F/3.5-5.6 IS USM LENS


CANON EF 28-105MM F/3.5-4.5 II USM LENS

CANON EF 24-85MM F/3.5-4.5 USM LENS

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro AutoFocus Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens

Sigma 18mm-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC AF Lens

Moderate Priced:

CANON EF-S 18-200MM F/3.5-5.6 IS LENS

SIGMA 18-250MM F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM LENS




Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens

I found a very cheap telephoto lens, which looks like a good 2nd lens option:

CANON EF 75-300 F/4-5.6 III USM LENS
Why do you think this is so cheap?

Coming back to the lens list, I feel that the 24-28mm starting ones are mostly out as due to the 1.6x multiplier, they will not be wide enough for me. Unless someone has a strong recommendation?

So that leaves:

1. CANON EF-S 17-85MM F/4-5.6IS USM LENS

Looks like a decent lens, but is it better than the kit lens?
Concern: The focal length is more (sorry, I am not a professional). I have heard that if the focal length is high, less light comes onto the sensor and moving objects might be blurry? What about low light performance?
I have also heard about dust problems?

2. CANON EF-S 18-200MM F/3.5-5.6 IS LENS

This is actually out of my budget, but I may be able to spring for it as it would remove my need for a standard lens and a telephoto, as this gives me the flexibility to do both. What do you guys think?


Again, out of my budget but man, am I lusting over this!

4. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro AutoFocus Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens


Sigma 18mm-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC AF Lens

Is Sigma a good lens company?

Do you guys recommend any other lenses? A good Sigma or Tamron? Are they as good as a Canon lens?

Last edited by vseera; Sep 8, 2009 at 2:46 PM.
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Old Sep 8, 2009, 2:33 PM   #12
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Hi Jim-

I guess I'm still nervous about my lenses since I got just two kit lenses (normal & tele lenses). And kids are unpredictable. There was no warning.

Thanks for your reply!

- Hiro
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Old Sep 8, 2009, 2:59 PM   #13
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My advice is - stick to the kit lens - it is great bang-for-the-buck. You're going to find lenses that are in the 24/28 wide range (28-135) are too tight for a lot of shots. I am not a huge fan of the superzoom (18-200, 18-250) lenses - they're a great option for travel lenses but there are too many compromises in their construction to make them quality options. You can almost always spend less money and get a 2 lens setup that will provide better performance. To me, you're tossing out a huge portion of the DSLR benefits if you're using a superzoom as your lens most of the time.

The last item on your inexpensive list is the 17-85 which is OK but not better than the kit lens and not that great of a value IMO.

I'm also not a big fan of recommending people buy $1000 lenses as their first lens - or even $500 lenses. Every photographer is different. Some would be happy with 17-40 focal length while others would find it too short to use as their walk-around. Some require 2.8 while others are happy with 4.0 or 5.6.

The kit lens adds very little to the cost of the camera and it really is good quality. What it will enable you to do is determine what you need next in a lens - be it more focal length or faster aperture or whatever.

For the record on filters - i used to use them but don't any more. I have built up expensive lenses and it's stupid in my opinion to waste optical benefits of great glass with a $20 filter. And good filters are extremely expensive. I came to realize that cleaning a filter was just as difficult as cleaning the original lens and I never damaged a filter enough where I needed to replace it. I use lens hoods now (again on decent glass - 24-105 L, 17-40L, 100-400L, 70-200 2.8L - I just didn't find filters to be worth the cost but that's just me.

Also, on cleaning the copperhil system is great, but first purchase should be a rocket blower - always use the least invasive method of cleaning first. My current DSLR, a 1dmkIII has sensor cleaning, but I still find I need to clean it manually. I probably use a rocket blower 3-4 times a year and in 2 years I've had to wet-clean the sensor once. I can't say if the 500D has better technology or not. Best of luck!
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Old Sep 8, 2009, 4:49 PM   #14
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JohnG: That's some excellent advice there. As I traverse more through the forum, I find that the kit lens is indeed a good value for money (I have also read about 10 reviews of it ).
And yes, I do agree that the 24/28 range lenses are going to be too tight for me. I prefer to shoot wide most of the time. However, there are times when I like a good closeup, that's why I am looking at the flexibility of a zoom lens. The 18-55mm range suits me just fine, to be frank.

I also 100% agree with the fact that the kit lens will enable me to judge my shooting needs and then determine my next lens accordingly. I am just worried that I might want something better (sharper?) a little too soon and then might regret having purchased the kit.

So, in my travels across the forum, I have come across some interesting lenses:

SIGMA 18-125mm F3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM LENS
(Ok, so these two are superzooms but they seem to be highly recommended and are supposed to be good quality)

(This one looks good. Can someone confirm whether it will be sharper than the kit lens?)

Another thing: If I was getting the Canon 17-85mm lens for a negligible difference with my purchase (instead of the kit lens), would you rather that I go for it or even then, go for the kit lens?

In any case, I would love to hear opinions on the above mentioned lenses by people who have them or know of them.

I'm a bit discouraged on the superzooms by JohnG's comments and reading elsewhere as well that they don't offer the best quality.

I've been trawling the canon lenses forum so long that I am suffering an information overload breakdown, I think

Hmm...I guess I will lay off the filter idea for now (or get one with my purchase if I am getting it cheap) and just see how things go.

Regarding the Rocket Blower, do you mean this one?

There is a 5", 6" and 7" one...which one should I get for the 500D?

Last edited by vseera; Sep 8, 2009 at 4:51 PM.
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Old Sep 8, 2009, 6:21 PM   #15
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Vseera and Hiro-

Kit lenses seem to vary in quality with the camera manufacturer. All in all, I have found the kit lenses from Olympus seem to be well above average. However, Canon kit lenses have been quite variable.

I would definitely stay away from the Canon 28-135mm and the 75-300mm lenses. The 28-135mm when mounted on an APS-C imager like the 500D/T1i gives you a 42mm wide angle positiom, which IMO is useless! The Canon 75-300mm lens is one of Canon's monumentally unsuccessful lenses. Please stay away from that lens! That is why it is so cheap.

If you want a one lens for everything solution, then the Canon 18-200mm should be considered. However, if it were me, I would shy away from that lens, if you want to any low light level shooting. You have to tell us in more detail the kind of photos that you normally shoot, so that we can provide some realistic lens suggestions.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 9, 2009, 12:15 AM   #16
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(This one looks good. Can someone confirm whether it will be sharper than the kit lens?)
The tamron is sharp. A bit slower than the Kit lens with respect to AF but definitely sharp and fast(F2.8)

From Dpreview
And most importantly the tamron has come out with an image stabilized version of this lens recently

thats an image stabilized verision of the same lens.

But the best bet for the bucks IMHO is the 18-55 IS kit lens and the 55-250 Kit zoom.

Both are very good for a start and both have a good used market price when u upgrade.
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Old Sep 9, 2009, 1:57 AM   #17
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Of all the lenses you mention above I wouldn't choose any of them for your purposes.

The most sensible option is the 18-55 IS kit lens. It's cheap and has some issues, but it is very sharp and perfectly good for most purposes.

The only two other options I would consider are:
1. The newly announced 15-85 IS. This is the replacement for the 17-85 IS which is okay but not great. (I used to own one.)

2. The newly announced Tamron 17-55 f2.8 OS.

You should absolutely stay away from anything starting at 24/28 as your first lens. Not wide enough unless you know for sure you don't need anything wider as your main lens. You should also absolutely stay away from the 75-300, it's a very old very cheap lens. Horrible.

However there is still a good reason for getting the 18-55 IS. Both #1 and #2 above are just now starting to roll off the production line. I would recommend that you give them a few months of production to settle any issues they may have with early ones. After 3-6 months of using the 18-55 IS you will have a much better idea of which other lenses, if any, you need.
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Old Sep 9, 2009, 3:58 AM   #18
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Thank you for the warnings against the 75-300mm!

I definitely need something wide as my walk around lens, so I am looking for anything with a starting range of 15-18mm.

nymphetamine: So would you go for the Tamron or the Canon kit lens, in such a case?

Once again, I appreciate your insight!

1. I did see the new 15-85 IS. It looks good but as you said, we should probably take a wait and see approach to this.

Regarding my shooting needs, this is what I shoot:

Indoor parties/events (wide angle necessary), Nature (maybe a little telephoto), landscapes, travel photography (can't describe but hope you understand). No specific needs as I am not a professional, but a nice clear sharp photo is one which makes even the most expensive camera worth it

Sorry to be a pain, but let me put another question to you guys:

If money was no object, would you guys go with the

Canon 17-55mm f/2.8
Canon 17-40mm f/4 L

As a replacement for the kit lens? Or one of the Sigmas or Tamrons?

peripatetic: Just one more question. I've decided to get the 18-55mm kit lens, unless I can get one of the above at a significantly cheaper price. I am being offered the 17-85mm for a little more money (with the purchase of the new camera and instead of the 18-55mm). In such a case, do you think it wise to stick with the 18-55mm or go for the 17-85mm?

Thanks a lot, as always!
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Old Sep 9, 2009, 7:51 AM   #19
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Money no-object I'd choose the 17-55 f2.8 IS over the 17-40 for sure.

At almost the same cost I'd take the 17-85 IS in a kit above the 18-55 IS. The new 18-55 IS is as sharp or possibly even slightly sharper, however the zoom range, build quality and AF speed of the 17-85 IS is much better. It is probably a good time to take advantage of deals on them because they are being discontinued.
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Old Sep 9, 2009, 2:47 PM   #20
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That's perfect. Thanks!

I plan to get the camera in the next 10 days, so barring the discontinuation of that deal, I shall be picking up the 17-85mm IS then with the body.

And later on, I can maybe think of a nice telephoto, the 17-55mm, or the 10-22mm one, depending on my needs.

I really can't wait to get it! I've already started reading a bunch of photography & DSLR tutorials which I am sure will come in handy when I get the camera.

Hopefully, once I actually learn a bit more, I can be an active contributing member of this forum as much as you guys have been!
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