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Old May 1, 2012, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default What should I buy next?

I am just starting out in photography. I got a Canon Xsi and have been playing around with it for about a year. I have the standard 18-55 lens and I bought a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens to get a little more zoom. I am thinking about getting a Canon 580EXII Flash or another lens. I take pictures on trips, some portraits, and at football and basketball games of my son. What do you think I should buy next?
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Old May 1, 2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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For football, you'd need something longer (70-300 or so from the sidelines), and for basketball, you'd need something faster (f/2.8 or better.)
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Old May 1, 2012, 4:22 PM   #3
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time to prioritize.
External flash is the best thing for portrait and general inside family shots.
For basketball, I'm afraid 2.8 on the XSi probably isn't going to cut it. Your camera has a max ISO of 1600, so an f2.8 lens won't be fast enough. For basketball, the 85mm 1.8 is your best bet as a lens

For football, what lens depends on the details: day games or night? Do you have field level access?
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Old May 1, 2012, 4:44 PM   #4
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As far as basketball. I do not take a lot of pictures there. When I do it tends to not be action shots.

For football it is all middle school day games were I can go almost anywhere around the field so I tend to walk around so my current lens seems to be good there.

Most of my pictures are outside at family gatherings and traveling. I do not take many inside pictures. I was thinking maybe a macro or wide angle lens but I am really not sure where to go first. I have also read that once you have a couple good lenses you should look into a flash. So that is what I was thinking. I have about $700 that I have been saving for about 8 months so I want to make sure I get the right thing.

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Old May 2, 2012, 4:11 AM   #5
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i would go with the flash as it can be used not only inside but outside too. IMHO it will add more to your photography. if i was to add a lens then look at the 50 1.8 for its price it should be in your bag
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Old May 2, 2012, 9:06 AM   #6
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Should I buy a Canon 580EXII or save the money and buy the Canon 580EX?
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Old May 2, 2012, 10:14 AM   #7
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both a fine flashes what i would think about is are you going to use it off camera or just from the hot shoe. if you just use it from the hot shoe then look at metz nissin as well
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Old May 2, 2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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What would be the pros and cons of each?
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Old May 2, 2012, 7:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner75 View Post
Should I buy a Canon 580EXII or save the money and buy the Canon 580EX?
Initial Note - I believe that the Canon 580EXII is the more expensive (and recent / updated) of the two above. I have a Nissin 860mkII flash and it's great (very similar to the Canon 580EXII, but the Nissin even has some additional features, eg a smaller sub-flash, better GUI screen, etc).

I don't use my flash that much, but there are times where it is invaluable, eg sometimes for special lighting, portraits, focus assist and even macro or product photography.

Ok... to answer your lens question/s from my perspective.

You wrote:

"As far as basketball. I do not take a lot of pictures there. When I do it tends to not be action shots.

For football it is all middle school day games were I can go almost anywhere around the field so I tend to walk around so my current lens seems to be good there.

Most of my pictures are outside at family gatherings and traveling. I do not take many inside pictures."


Several years ago I started off with a Canon 350D - and the kit 18-55mm and 28-135mm lens. So I know where you're coming from. I had a good copy of the 28-135mm (I liked it's zoom range, and it's image quality was noticeably better than the kit lens; though the kit lens can produce very decent photos, especially stopped down). Also the USM and IS of the 28-135mm give additional functionality and benefits.

As your lens (or lenses) seem to give you adequate coverage of football (middle school day games not as challenging as some other environments) - I would focus on the 'family photos' and 'travel photos' sections. You wrote you are fairly new to photography. Survey your photos... and see what you're doing most of, and what 'parts' of your existing lenses you are using most.

Is 18mm of your kit lens wide enough for most of the landscapes (or architectural shots) you take on your travels? If you realise you are often using 18mm, but wanting wider, maybe you should get an ultrawide. I have the Sigma 10-20mm, which is very good, and was the best 'bang for the buck' at the time. The Canon 10-22mm is also very good (but more expensive, particularly when I was looking for an ultrawide a number of years ago). Then there are others (eg Tokina 11-16mm, Tamron 10-24mm, etc). I see ultra-wide lenses (especially when used wider than 14mm on a crop body) as very specialist lenses, and they take quite a lot of getting used to.

A macro lens is another lens with a specialist application. Depends what you want to go for, there are many very good options - from Canon, Sigma, Tamron, etc. I ended up getting the Canon 100mm f2.8 USM (nonL) - which fit my purposes great, and I wanted that level of working distance (minimum focusing distance - for 1:1 macro shots). If you get the Canon 100mm f2.8 L version - it's more expensive - just a tad sharper (barely noticeable), and has IS which is particularly handy if you use that lens as a portrait lens. IS is not so important for true macro where in most cases you'll need a tripod anyway. (I occasionally use my 100mm non L as an impromptu portrait lens, and it does a great job, particularly on my 7D). However you might find the Canon 60mm f2.8 macro suits you better - as it's a smaller lens, and probably a more suitable focal length for portraits on a Canon crop DSLR. It's also very sharp - but has less working distance - so if you want to photo insects, that can be more challenging as the end of your lens will be close to them.

My other recommendation for consideration is a telezoom (eg a 70-300 type lens) - if you find you would like to take more photos of birds / animals / wildlife while on your travels. I initially had the Canon 100-300mm USM (as I really needed/wanted a fast focussing lens). The lack of IS and not-so-great image quality at 300mm (especially wide open) - meant that I have now upgraded to the 70-300mm L USM IS - which is a cracker of a lens, awesome IQ at any setting, tank-like build quality and a great IS / USM combination. Not cheap, but worth every cent! There are other options from Canon (eg the nonL 70-300mm IS - which doesn't have 'true USM'), or the cheaper 55-250mm IS (non USM).

Final thought... I have upgraded my 28-135mm to the Canon 15-85mm USM IS, which is my most used lens now. It's such a great 'all purpose' lens - from 15mm wide angle to 85mm. Can take superior quality photos compared to the 28-135mm (but the 28-135mm is no slough either). If you find it annoying switching between the 18-55mm and 28-135mm on your travels, maybe you might consider the 15-85mm - which covers the best of both worlds, and then some!

Hope you can think about all the options well, and make a decision that you will be happy with and which can aid your photography. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Paul
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Old May 3, 2012, 9:07 AM   #10
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Thank you very much! That has given me a lot to think about!
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