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Old Jun 18, 2005, 12:10 PM   #1
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I've finally decided on a Rebel XT, and now I need to pick a decent starter lens. This is my first SLR, so I'm fairly clueless. Of course, the least expensive route would be to get the kit lens. While this might be a good lens for learning the camera, it sounds like I should expect to replace it fairly soon.

Many people are advising against the kit lens and suggesting the Sigma 18-125mm, Canon 17-85 IS USM, or Tamron 28-75. However, I don't think the Tamron is wide enough and it sounds like this lens has XT-specific problems. Any suggestions between the Sigma and Canon lens? Any others I should be considering instead?
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Old Jun 18, 2005, 12:18 PM   #2
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Beware what you are asking about a "Starter Lens" aka Waste of Money. I would get the best lens you can afford. I have a EF 28-135mm IS USM that I love. If that is too much then go with a 50m F1.8 MK II it is cheap (like 80 bucks) and it is fast. However it is loud since it doesn't have USM motor. But I have to say that a 50mm lens will make you a better photographer, because I you have to frame and zoom manually.....walking backward and forward, side to side.

I started my Canon System with a Elan7e, 28-135mm IS USM, and a 420EX flash. That was a few years ago...now I have the above and a 20D, EF 50mm F1.8 mk II, EF 300mm F4L IS, EF 20mm F2.8 USM. I'm saving up for a nice EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM.

After I purchased my 300 L lens I said from now on it isn't a lens unless it has an "L" on it.....they are just that good..SHARP!
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Old Jun 18, 2005, 7:53 PM   #3
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vjack wrote:
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I've finally decided on a Rebel XT, and now I need to pick a decent starter lens. This is my first SLR, so I'm fairly clueless. Of course, the least expensive route would be to get the kit lens. While this might be a good lens for learning the camera, it sounds like I should expect to replace it fairly soon.

Many people are advising against the kit lens and suggesting the Sigma 18-125mm, Canon 17-85 IS USM, or Tamron 28-75. However, I don't think the Tamron is wide enough and it sounds like this lens has XT-specific problems. Any suggestions between the Sigma and Canon lens? Any others I should be considering instead?
The Canon EF-S 17-85 is a very good lens. However the Tamron 28-75 and Sigma 24-70 have the advantage of being much faster lenses, so better for low light situations.

Personally I wouldn't go with the Sigma 18-125mm but would choose from the following:

Canon EF-S 17-85 USM IS
Sigma 24-70 f2.8
Tamron 28-75 F2.8

Just my $0.02
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 3:16 PM   #4
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BobA wrote:
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The Canon EF-S 17-85 is a very good lens. However the Tamron 28-75 and Sigma 24-70 have the advantage of being much faster lenses, so better for low light situations.

Personally I wouldn't go with the Sigma 18-125mm but would choose from the following:

Canon EF-S 17-85 USM IS
Sigma 24-70 f2.8
Tamron 28-75 F2.8

Just my $0.02
What makes you say you'd avoid the Sigma 18-125? I only ask because over at the DCRP forums (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/) it appears to be the most recommended lens for newbies.
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 4:26 PM   #5
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Hmm?

18-125 as a newbie lens? So you're implying that you'd still like a starter lens before you know what you want.

I got the kit lens with the XT around May. At first, I thought all the pictures I took were fairly great. But as I gained more experience, I noticed that the smaller focal lengths (18-35) were fairly soft compared to anything higher, even if I stopped down. If possible, I just make it like a prime lens and just leave it at 55mm.

It is certainly a start to determine what are your needs. For me, I found out I can generally live with a focal length of ~50 and move back and forth if I needed to "zoom". Sure, this may not work in some cases, but for me it works +90% of the time. Another thing is that I generally don't like the harsh light that comes from the built in flash so I want a lens with a large aperture. And always, always try to avoid iso1600...

Getting a starter lens can lead you into a general direction of what you're looking for...
From looking at the kit lens I would ask myself:

-Is the AF noise bothering me? should I get a USM?

-What focal length do I use most? Is there a focal length I wish I had? Do I use that focal length the most because of picture quality or for the actual focal length? Is there a focal length that I wished had better quality?
Can I live with one focal length and go with a prime?

-Do I switch often between MF and AF control? should I look for FTM?

-Do I take a lot of low light photography? should I get a faster lens?

-Are most of my shots posed (i.e. flowers/buildings) or in motion (i.e. bee)? Need a fast lens to help freeze the motion, and need a zoom to cover the changing distances from you and the subject

-Do I use a tripod a lot? Maybe a faster lens or a lens with IS is not TOO important...

-Am I comfortable with the size and weight of the lens, itself? Can I live with the build quality? (To me, the 50 1.8 prime feels as sturdy as the kit lens, while eveyone else says it'll break if you stare at it long enough)

Because of my experience, I'm currently looking at 50 f1.4 usm or the 85 f1.8 usm.

If you can create a perfect scenario in your head to answer all those questions, then great, you don't need to bother with a starting lens. Unfortunately, many of us cannot do that and those who try to will probably make a mistake. Another thing to be very weary of are peoples' opinions on lenses. It's all about certain point of view.

"There's ton of CA when wide open on so-and-so lens"

What's a ton of CA? when the whole picture is purple? Half a picture? There's no actual scale to tell you how much CA there is, but it will alter between different people.

Another obvious example are the people with only L series lenses. Most of them will probably end up comparing everything to an L series lens- so you may be left with the impression that your money is wasted unless you pay the big bucks for that red ring.

So, once again, the kit could give you a general direction in life... i mean... lens. Unfortunately there is that initial investment for that starter lens, as was mentioned before. But if you're considering to have the sigma 18-125 as a starter, the kit is a bit cheaper. I may suggest the 50mm1.8, but for that extra 20$ or so, you can try the kit lens with different focal lengths.

After you have a better idea of what you want, you may be able to rent out a lens... The only problem is that most of the lenses are L series... Makes me wish I had the money

Happy Spending


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Old Jun 19, 2005, 11:36 PM   #6
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vjack wrote: [quote]
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 8:22 AM   #7
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You couldn't go wrong with a Tamron 28-75 XR DI.

It's a nice walk around lens at a friendly price.

The focal range acts as a nice portrait lens, anywhere from an upper body shot, to a full body shot, to a full body shot of a group of 5, 6 people.

I got mine for about $320 after rebates, which is not at all expensive.Most of my favorite shots been taken with that lens using my Canon 20D.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 10:43 AM   #8
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The 28-135IS is my #1 walk-about lens. It has IS & cost less than the 17-85IS,but then again it is not as wide. BUT . . . I still shoot slides in my EOS-3 so the 28-135IS is also used on this camera or my Elan 7, which I use strictly for back-up.

By the way, I just got back 7 rolls of Provia 100F processed by A&I out in Hollywood, CA & I still say a Properly exposed slide, done by a great lab is Hard to beat!! Sometimes, my 300D does a LOT better job than film, but rarely does it do better than my EOS-3 Provia 100F combo on a Bright, sunny Day. I actually think I need to use a tripod more, especially when I am using the 300D/Canon 20-35 USM zoom combo.

But, if I am wanting to get prints in sizes of say 16 X 20, the 300D is the way to go - even better results than my old Mamiya 645.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 12:44 PM   #9
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i also have the XT i got the 50mm 1.8 and love it, also, i got the tamron 28-200 which is nice too. the kit lens is ok... but its kind of soft and not that sharp indoors, outside in bright sun its pretty good. I got the canon IS 75-300 which i love but dont use all to often... unless im doing landscape from a distance or something like that. i love my little 50mm though.

-zacker-
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Old Jun 21, 2005, 3:21 AM   #10
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Consider strongly the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 EX DG Macro; one amazing lens for $360. There is also the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 and the Tamron 28-75, which can all be good optically. But the 24-70EX is simply excellent. See my site for test shots of many lenses, including the 18-125DC.

www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/lenstests

Best wishes to you.
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