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Old Jan 23, 2007, 1:49 PM   #1
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Hey guys and gals. I recently purchased a Rebel XT and am trying figure out the best lenses for my needs and within my budget. This is my first dSLR and am enjoying it so far, but I am a little disappointed in the kit lens (I just hope the problem isn't me).

Primarily, I will be shooting landscapes, softball games (during the day), and indoor candids. After reading for days, I think I have decided on the following (budget)lenses:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro

Would these lenses suit my needs? I am very new to the dSLR world,and hope Iam leaning towards some decent lenses for the money.

Thanks in advance for any assistance/recommendations!!!

:-)

jnew


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Old Jan 23, 2007, 3:52 PM   #2
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jnew wrote:
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Primarily, I will be shooting landscapes, softball games (during the day), and indoor candids. After reading for days, I think I have decided on the following (budget)lenses:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro

Would these lenses suit my needs? I am very new to the dSLR world,and hope Iam leaning towards some decent lenses for the money.

Welcome!

First off, neither of those lenses will help with landscape shots. But landscape shots are typically f11-22 range. Are you still dissatisfied with your kit lens at those apertures? It should perform quite decently

On to your other needs:

Daytime softball: The sigma lens is the cheapest alternative out there. It's not the sharpest above 200mm and it isn't fast to focus compared to other more expensive lenses, but the next step up the food chain is the Canon 70-300 at around $550. So, to answer your quesion you are getting a very good $200 lens but at the end of the day, it's still not in the same league as it's much more expensive counterparts (the mentioned canon lens and the Sigma 100-300 f4 at $1000 and Sigma 120-300 2.8 at $2200). So, in many ways it's a telephoto version of your current kit lens. It's a very good value and capable of good results but it has limitations.

Indoor candids:

This is a trickier thing. I encourage a good external flash in this case because it's useful in more situation. While I love fast prime lenses (I use the 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8) they have limits - namely if it's dark enough even they won't be of much use. Also, 50mm isn't very wide so when you are in close quarters or want photo of several people 50mm may not be wide enough. Finally there is the issue of shallow depth of field - when shooting at f1.8 or 2.0 you only have a foot or two of DOF which means when you take a photo of a couple people - unless it's posed, likely one of them will be out of focus. IMO, a good flash capable of bouncing is better for indoor candids - you can use any lens you have in the appropriate focal length and not have to worry about DOF or it still being too dark. Fast primes are great, but a good flash is just more useful IMO.

I realize you're on a budget so a good flash may not be in the cards right now (about $200). So, you can go with the 50mm but realize that some lighting conditions may not be bright enough and you're limiting your shots to more individual shots and not able to take candids of a group or even pair of people (without them posing and lining up their heads nicely).
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 9:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response JohnG! The Canon 70-300 you mentioned is the IS version, correct? If I'm moving up into that price range, would the 70-200 L (F4.0) be a better option than the 70-300 IS?

I am not "set" on having 300mm, but I would like the have the best lens I can get for the money. I have heard good things about both the L and the IS.

Thanks again for you assistance!

jnew


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Old Jan 24, 2007, 9:43 AM   #4
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jnew - tough question. First, yes I'm talking about the 70-300 IS lens (not the DO version though). The 70-200 f4 is better optically no question. But if you want IS on the lens you have to pay Canon's ludicrous (IMO) ransom for it. The problem is 200mm is too short for softball even if you're shooting on the field. So you would want a 1.4x TC to use for the softball shots and I honestly don't know how the 70-200 f4 with TC compares to the 70-300 without a TC. Welcome to land of "there is no right answer" - if there was a clear cut answer, Canon wouldn't be making both lenses. Without a doubt the 70-200 has better build quality too - metal vs. plastic (the difference with an L lens) so that's a factor.

So, with the 70-200 f4 you get better build quality, better IQ, faster focusing but 100mm less focal range - focal range you'll need for softball and you lose IS (unless you want to pay extra for it). So, add the cost of a TC into your estimate. And maybe someone else knows if the 70-200 with TC performs as well as the 70-300 does. If so, I'd vote for the 70-200 plus TC. If it doesn't then the question becomes what is your primary purpose for the lens? If shooting softball then the 70-300 wins. If all-around then still go with the 70-200 f4.

IMO for most purposes IS is over-rated - especially on a lens as light as the 70-200 f4. I know there's a whole crop of people that swear IS is essential. But I have lenses with IS and lenses without and I honestly don't buy the hype. Unless you're doing a lot of low light non-action shooting OR handholding heavy lenses, IS is kinda nice but certainly not essential. Just my opinion. Proper technique will get you much more keepers in the long run than having to rely on IS (again, with the exception of low light still photography)
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 11:57 PM   #5
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Don't buy the anti-IS drill for a minute. IS is simply awesome, and Canon charges what the market will bear for it's innovation. The 70-200 IS is an awesome innovation, and is worth the cost. I pay extra for a high quality lens with a large aperture, so I currently own the 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens, but if f/4 is OK with you (trust me, it's OK if IS is on the table), then go for the 70-200 f/4 IS lens.

It will please you in more situations than you ever could imagine, and will remain a favorite for many years to come. It is worth the extra cost, and you will not regret saving for a little longer to buy it. It's just that good.

I have read many posts from people who decided not to spend the extra cash on the IS version, and then spend years posting about how happy they are with their choice, but I have not read any bona fide posts from people who started with the IS version of a lens, and wished that they bought the cheaper lens to begin with.

A high quality lens will be with you for many years to come. I still own lenses and bodies that I bought in the 70's. Don't go for the budget version, even if it will save you $600 at the time. When you choose to buy a high end lens, go for the gusto, and don't cheap out. The additional wait for your budget to catch up with the new reality is well worth it, and you will never regret it.

It will feel great to own an IS lens that you will enjoy for years to come as your hobby grows, while reading posts by others who try to justify their purchase of the same lens in non IS build over and over again.

If nothing else, keep this in mind; IS simply rocks. No matter what, or how you shoot, if you can wait until you can afford an IS lens when a choice is provided, stiffle your enthusiasm, and wait until you can afford the IS version.

Let someone else spend $1000 on a far less usefull lens, while you wait until you can afford $1600 for the version of the lens that is a lifetime keeper.

Be patient with your spending, and don't buy into the spin. IS is awesome. Make sure that your best lenses have it if it is offered.

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Old Jan 25, 2007, 8:15 AM   #6
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Volk - we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. I own both IS and non IS lenses. I have a 100-400 IS as well as a Sigma 120-300 2.8. Without any hesitation the 120-300 is a much better lens. Produces fabulous images and has no IS. I also have a 70-200 2.8 lens. Now, I could have spent $1600 on a Canon IS version. But the money saved went into an 85mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.8 lens - which both help me out infinitely more than IS would have (I shoot sports and IS does nothing to freeze action in low light). So, in my case those funds were more wisely spent in other areas. So, you have to always ask yourself: is it better to have one high quality lens with IS or 2 high quality lenses without IS? The answer will differ with each person. In your case you found it useful. In my case it was more useful to spend the money on another lens. Everybody is different.


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Old Jan 25, 2007, 10:45 AM   #7
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Thanks for the comments. I have to agree with both of you, I need to save up to invest into a quality lens. I will probably get the 50mm f/1.8 lens since it is a solid, cheap little lens to experiment with, and start saving to get a high quality tele-lens (either IS or L).

That will give me a temporary "fix" for my lens-itis, and give me some more time to decide between L and IS for my first major lens purchase.

I really appreciate the input, andhope to be able to contribute to theforum in the future!

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Old Jan 25, 2007, 11:10 AM   #8
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jnew wrote:
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and give me some more time to decide between L and IS for my first major lens purchase.

jnew

jnew,

I'm going to make this even more difficult on you. First, good idea to hold off on buying an expensive lens until you figure out what you really need. However, I will add another twist - your choices aren't just between 'L 'and 'IS'. Despite what many Canonites might tell you there are quality 3rd party lenses out there as well. To be sure, not all 3rd party lenses are quality - but as you've seen not all Canon lenses are quality.

I'll give you an example - let's say you want a 300mm sports lens. The 70-300 Canon is a decent lens as stated.

But, Sigma offers a 100-300 f4 lens ($1000) and 120-300 2.8 lens ($2200) that are outstanding.

Your choices in the Canon camp of 300mm f4 lenses are the 300mm 4.0L for about $1200) - which is no sharper tan the Sigma and it doesn't have zoom so if you want to shoot sports you need to either switch lenses or have a 2nd camera body.

Your next choice is the 300mm 2.8 ($4000) - outstanding lens - better than the 120-300 but at twice the cost. And, once again, you need to either swap lenses or have a 2nd body with a shorter lens if you want to shoot sports with this.

The entire lens world is riddled with these choices - sometimes Canon is the clear cut winner. Sometimes a third party lens is a clear cut winner (please let me know where I can find a 300mm 2.8 zoom in the Canon lineup) and sometimes a 3rd party lens offers about 90% of what the canon lens offers at a substantially lower price.

Bottom line? When you're ready for your next purchase, decide what you need and people can help identify several lenses that meet those needs. Surprisingly some of those suggestions maybe 3rd party lenses.
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Old Jan 25, 2007, 1:00 PM   #9
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JohnG wrote:
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jnew,

I'm going to make this even more difficult on you. First, good idea to hold off on buying an expensive lens until you figure out what you really need. However, I will add another twist - your choices aren't just between 'L 'and 'IS'. Despite what many Canonites might tell you there are quality 3rd party lenses out there as well. To be sure, not all 3rd party lenses are quality - but as you've seen not all Canon lenses are quality.

I'll give you an example - let's say you want a 300mm sports lens. The 70-300 Canon is a decent lens as stated.

But, Sigma offers a 100-300 f4 lens ($1000) and 120-300 2.8 lens ($2200) that are outstanding.

Your choices in the Canon camp of 300mm f4 lenses are the 300mm 4.0L for about $1200) - which is no sharper tan the Sigma and it doesn't have zoom so if you want to shoot sports you need to either switch lenses or have a 2nd camera body.

Your next choice is the 300mm 2.8 ($4000) - outstanding lens - better than the 120-300 but at twice the cost. And, once again, you need to either swap lenses or have a 2nd body with a shorter lens if you want to shoot sports with this.

The entire lens world is riddled with these choices - sometimes Canon is the clear cut winner. Sometimes a third party lens is a clear cut winner (please let me know where I can find a 300mm 2.8 zoom in the Canon lineup) and sometimes a 3rd party lens offers about 90% of what the canon lens offers at a substantially lower price.

Bottom line? When you're ready for your next purchase, decide what you need and people can help identify several lenses that meet those needs. Surprisingly some of those suggestions maybe 3rd party lenses.
Excellent and well balanced advice! Thanks
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Old Jan 25, 2007, 1:14 PM   #10
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and then comes the question of satisfaction and compromise.

the worst part of choosing lens is the greediness to own a great gadget. The insatiable need to get the best in class thought there are alternatives. The answer is with u to choose what u want. U can either feed the desire of unrealisticly priced Canon L IS lenses or be satisfied with alternatives.

i always want to own a 400 f2.8. But i can no way justify a 7500 dollor lens :blah:

the lens john mentioned 100-300 and 120-300 are great replacement lenses for canon lens's in that range.

And again IS will stop anylens shake and not subject shake.
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