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Old Sep 12, 2006, 4:36 AM   #1
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I've pretyt much settled on getting a Canon 400d. Now I'm down to what lens to buy.

It comes with a weak 18-55 lens. Should I get a :

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

Or

Canon - EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Zoom Lens

Or

Canon - EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Zoom Lens (NO IS to save some money)

I'm looking for something to shoot indoors like at a party and such and not use the flash too much. So I would need a wideangle like the stock or the 17-55.

I also want to shoot outdoor stuff.

Now I'm trying to figure out if I take a outdoor shot at 55mm vs the 135mm with no IS and I'm mostly holding it. WOuld I take a better shot with a 55mm with IS than a 135 without?

Should I just stick with stock lens and get the 28-135 with IS? for my outdoor shots since zoom would have the most blurr?

If I bout the 17-55mm since the f is stuck at 2.8 I wont be able to play with DOF?

Trying to find the cheapest alternative to have my cake and save money
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 6:25 AM   #2
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Starstreak,

I have the Canon 350D. And the Canon EF 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens. As far as I know (and I'm 99% sure) there is NOT such a lens as a Canon 28-135mm NON IS! (Maybe some people or websites just forget to mention IS, but it IS is there.

The 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens is a much different and more expensive lens. And depending on your budget and shooting style, there is a big difference. I have the kit 18-55mm f3.5 - 5.6 lens, which I use when I need wide angle. It's good enough for me... Most people who know would not say that it is a "weak" lens. OK, it certainly has limitations, but once you know these you can often get good results from it... I certainly can't afford the 17-55mm f2.8 lens! But maybe you can.

Indoors you might find you need wide angle and IS would also help. But you still might need the flash. Depends on lighting / situations.

I shoot often at 135mm outdoor handheld with IS turned off no problems. If it's darker IS is helpful. Or I can turn up the ISO (even at 1600 ISO it produces good results, especially with a bit of noise reduction afterwards).

The 17-55mm is not "stuck at f2.8"... it just means it lowest f-stop is 2.8 (an advantage over say 5.6!) You can still get f5.6 or any f2.8 lens (using AV or manual mode). Try reading or researching about these things and you'll understand it more. I can't explain more here.

You wrote you want to find the cheapest alternative... well that is simply the Canon 400D with the kit 18-55lens. My advice is that you buy this package and try learning things with that. Then you'll discover later what you (might) need additionally.

I've seen people using the Canon 350D with kit lens and getting results that were published in magazines and so on! In 90% of cases it's much more to do with the person behind the camera than their equipment. If you search this website for great photos you'll often see people shooting fantastic photos with a $200 to $300 dollar point and shoot! (superior to what others shoot with their $2000 dollar SLR and lenses!)

Hope this is helpful!

Paul
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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To clear my writing up (I wrote it before going to bed)

When I mentioned the lens without the IS I meant a lens like that. something similar to my Sony 828 wich would do a wideangle and have a pretty good zoom

When I mentioned the 17-55mm lens it was becuase I know it can take pretty good low light shots. (I know this bugger is a $1k lens. hehe)

When I meant cheapest, I didnt want to spend $1k for camera and $2k+ for different lenses. Like one for macro, one for wideangle one for long zoom.

I'll be going on a family trip and wont be able to take a tripod so all my shots would be taken by hand.


>The 17-55mm is not "stuck at f2.8"... it just means it lowest f-stop is 2.8 (an advantage over say 5.6!) You can still get f5.6 or any f2.8 lens (using AV or manual mode). Try reading or researching about these things and you'll understand it more. I can't explain more here.<

Really? I thought that lens was a 2.8 constant which is why I thought you couldn't change it.
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 2:13 PM   #4
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Starstreak,

Thanks for explaining some things from your previous post.

There is a Canon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM (but non IS) lens whichis quite a good one for the price according to many happy users. check it out on FredMiranda or other websites.

When a (zoom!) lens is quoted as being: "a constant f2.8" lens or something like this (or "a lens with a constant aperature of f2.8") what this means is that the lens CAN keep the lowest f-stop at all it's focal lengths (all its zoom). Often these are the most expensive or higher quality lenses. However while they can achieve f2.8 at say 17mm as well as 55mm, they can also be set (on the camera most times in AV mode) to be say f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, etc, etc at 17mm as well as 55mm and all focal lengths inbetween.

Many cheaper or consumer lenses (but which can still be very good quality!) or the higher quality large zooms (hi-zoom ratio) will only be able to achieve their lower f-stop rating at the minimum focal lengths - e.g. the Canon 28-135mm lens, f3.5 at around 28 - 35mm, then it goes to f4 at 35-45mm then f4.5 at 45-55mm, f5 at 55-70mm and f5.6 around 70-135mm.

(these f-values and zoom mm figures are just approximate guesses / experience from what I remember with my lens, but after all these little details are not THAT important !)

I hope this is clear. All the best with you decision making process. Again my advice is just get the basic kit lens and experiment with it first, THEN maybe get other lenses you might need, according to your situation and / or shooting style. I definitely wouldn't get the 17-55mm f2.8 lens (yeah, expensive bugger!) unless you gain some experience and are SURE you need it. I have (already!) read of some people buying this lens (wanting "the best") and then being disappointed because they really didnt' need it - and prefer more reach and they used $1000 on a lens whereas they would have been better spending $300 on another lens which better suited their needs!

Just as an example... tomorrow I'm going travelling internationally for a few days and will just be taking my Canon 350D with the 18-55 mm kit lens,m even though I have 3 other lenses (which arguably ARE "better" / higher quality and so on than the kit lens.) Butas I'll mainly be in landscape or city areas, the kit lens suits me best for these types of modes.. as well I need to limit the amount of camera gear I'll be travelling with ... so this small combination (with that "weak lens") is actually the best bet for my next few days and I am sure weather permitting I'll have some decent shots out of it (ok, I'll also be taking my polarizer too, sunny weather and blue skies forecast!....)

Gotta go now.

Paul
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 2:17 PM   #5
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Starstreak,

when I was explaining the "consumer" (often cheaper) lenses which don't have a constant f2.8 / aperture, I forgot to say that for example my Canon 28-135mm can of course achieve HIGHER f-stops (e.g. at 28mm it can still go to f5.6, f8, f11 etc.. and also at 135mm it goes from f5.6 to f8 and f11, f16 etc).

There are also intermediate half or third f-stops between this (e.g. f6.3, f7.1 between f5.6 and f8 on the Canons).

I just had an idea.... go to www.slrgear.com and check out their graphical displays (of lens sharpness, performance, etc). That should help you get an idea (visually via a graph) what I'm taking about. the constant lenses will have the constant lowest fstop at all focal lengths, others (mainly consumer lenses) won't.

Paul
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 3:05 PM   #6
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Ok thanks! You cleared up alot of things. So a good Idea might be to keep the stock lens and be forced to use a flash for the indoor party/room shots. and get a decent zoom lens.

I'll check out that site you mention...
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