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Dresser100 Nov 28, 2009 8:57 AM

which lens for my purpose?
I just purchased a Canon T1i with kit lens. Iím wanting to purchase a second lens to meet secondary needs of taking vacation pictures, pictures of kidís performances at school and church (indoor poor lighting), and little kids playing soccer. One of the reasons why we purchased the T1i was because my wife doesnít like it when she gets blurry pictures of the kids with the point and shoot camera. My original thought was to buy a camera lens with IS. After researching, a perfect lens would be the 70-200 2.8 IS, however, it is over my budget. Iím looking to spend less than $600 used or refurb. Iím trying to decide between 70-200 f/4 non-IS and 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM. Indoors performances - we can set up a tripod. Vacation pictures - likely will be handheld. I donít want my wife complaining about the new camera but I also want the best pictures possible. I wish I could afford the 70-200 2.8 with IS. Has anyone used the two lenses and can give insight on whether how much she might miss the IS on the 70-200? If you were in my shoes, what lens would you purchase?

TCav Nov 28, 2009 9:48 AM

The 70-300, IS or not, is too dim to use in low light, even with the T1i's high ISO capability. The 70-200/4 is better, but the best choice would be either Sigma's or Tamron's 70-200/2.8 mated to the T1i's high ISO settings. That would allow you to get shutter speeds fast enough to take care of the camera shake. The Canon 70-200/4 is a full stop dimmer, which, in order to get the same shutter speeds, would require even higher ISO settings, which would risk image noise. The 70-300 is dimmer still.

Dresser100 Nov 28, 2009 2:25 PM

Thanks TCav, I've now looked that the reviews for the Tamron and Sigma. Several of the reviews mentioned auto focusing issues with both. I was planning on purchasing a used lens to save money. I'm now worried that by picking up a used Tamron or Sigma lens, I may be buying someone's problems from them. Do you have experience with either lens?

TCav Nov 28, 2009 7:39 PM

I don't have any experience with either of those lenses. My son has a Tamron and is very pleased with it.

What reviews mention autofocus issues?

Both of those lenses are quite good, very popular, and the Sigma has a 4 year warranty and the Tamron has a 6 year warranty. If there were problems, they'd probably be covered by the warranties, and both lenses are so new that even the oldest ones would still be under warranty.

Dresser100 Nov 28, 2009 9:39 PM

Here is one page where it refers to the Tamron focus issue using a Canon mount.

Here is one page where it refers to the Sigma focus issue using a Canon mount.

I read other comments by users too who experienced similar issues. I'm not opposed to trying a different company lens, but apparently based on these reviews even returning the problem lens, the company may not consider it abnormal.

Have you used an older Canon EF 70-210 3.5-4.5 lens before (it uses a ring USM)? It was rated fairly well for the price? I'm wondering how it would compare the other lenses.

Dresser100 Nov 29, 2009 6:29 AM

Here is another one talking about the inconsistent AF for Tamron

TCav Nov 29, 2009 7:39 AM

I also ran across this: has stopped carrying the Tamron because of its high failure rate. But their lenses get used quite a bit, and most of the damage they've seen occurs during shipping. And they've never carried the Sigma.

But also from the website: “We’ve had 171 copies of the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS, used on average 20 weeks each, and the repair rate was 6.8%”

So, maybe, for a reasonable price and high reliability, your best bet is the 70-200/4L. The big thing is that you need a large aperture at the long end. f/5.6 would probably be too dim, and f/4.5 might be pushing it.

Hards80 Nov 29, 2009 12:39 PM

the sigma 70-200 2.8 actually seems to show a less frequent failure rate on canon bodies compared to many sigmas. and sigma is very good at fixing their problems if you send it back to them. i would not discount that just yet.

but as TCav has suggested, the canon 70-400 f4 is a pretty failproof decision, its a great lens. its just down to whether or not you are going to be missing any shots from going from 2.8 to 4.0.

not sure what your working distances are here, but if you can lose a little bit of range, you could also consider the sigma 50-150 2.8. good optics, fast AF, and pretty small and light considering its bright optics.

Dresser100 Nov 29, 2009 1:09 PM

Thanks to both of you. I just bought the camera. I will primarily use the camera for personal portraits and family pictures. I’m looking a getting this secondary lens to compliment my kit lens and prime 50mm. I will use this zoom lens on the sidelines at children soccer games, first or second row at church or school plays, and vacation use of family photos and scenery. Considering I will probably only use this lens limited number of times a year, I have a hard time justifying spending $1000 on it. I’m ok spending $500 on a used lens as long as it will meet most of my needs. The 2.8 maybe too heavy to want to lug it around on vacation, especially nature walks. I think I'm leaning towards 70-200/4L. My wife will probably use the camera during soccer games and vacation as well. She doesn’t like missing a shot do to camera shake, which she experiences on our point and shoot. Since her use will primarily be used outside during the day, do you think the 70-200/4L with the higher shutter speeds would eliminate her experience of camera shake?

TCav Nov 29, 2009 2:00 PM

In general, you're better off nearer the rear of an audience when photographing a play. If you're close, you're looking up at the performers on stage. Being in the back gives you a better perspective.

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