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Old Sep 16, 2008, 8:42 PM   #1
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I'm about to purchase my first dSLR, likely a Canon XSi. It comes with an 18-55 mm IS lens. Is this a good lens? A piece of junk? Good enough? Insufficient? I wonder if I need to purchase a second lens at the same time. I wonder if there are limitations to the 18-55 mm lens. I've noticed that the range is much smaller than what's included with many other dSLRs. Maybe it's a ploy to force customers to buy more lenses?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

My most frequent subjects are friends and family at different functions and social gatherings (weddings, parties, cottage weekends). I also travel at least once per year and I like to capture as much of our vacations in photosas possible (people, architecture, landscape, etc.). I'm not into sports photography, although I do snap the odd photo of our dog in action, jumping for a frisbee, etc.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 21, 2008, 10:01 PM   #2
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Hello
I too just bought a XSi with the 18-55mm IS lens kit. I beleive the newer versions are Made in Japan and are slightly better than previous versions. At first i disliked this lens because i previously shot with Super Zoom 12x. However since then i have found this lens quite good. In low light with IS on you could grab blur free shots hand held at very low shutter speeds , but you have to boost your ISO. It does go pretty wide to 27mm after the 1.6x, i think, crop. No doubt there are better lenses suited for different types of shooting but this little kit lens is quite adequate. You will need to use your shooting skills a lot more often than just leaving it on AUTO. But then isnt that the reason you bought a DSLR. My suggestion is to keep this lens and then after shooting a wide variety decide what you like and dislike about the lens. Remember no one lens will fulfill your needs so you will require more, depending on your budget. The better build Canon lenses are substantially pricey. You may even consider 3rd party lenses which are of very good quality but one thing to consider is thatthey maybe chipped for for certain camera bodies and should you upgrade your camera some lenses may not be compatible. This may have happened with my older Sigam 28-200mm Ef mount lens. I am probably going to try and stay with the EF mount rather than the EFS mount because the EF mount has a wider range of compatibility. However i am not very experienced in this topic and i hope other more experienced readers will respond.
I am attaching some shots taken with the 18-55mm lens.
Good Luck
Pete
Shutter Priority ~ f/3.5 ~ 1/10sec handheld ~ ISO-800 ~ focal length 18mm ~ looks like i used the flash ~ very low mixed type light indoors

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Old Sep 21, 2008, 10:08 PM   #3
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AP ~ f/5.7 ~ 1/395sec ~ ISO200 ~ metering mode pattern ~ focal length 55mm
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Old Sep 21, 2008, 10:10 PM   #4
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AP ~ f/4 ~ 1/200sec ~ ISO 200 ~ no flash ~ pattern meter mode

NO POST PROCESSING AT ALL ON ANY OF THESE IMAGES ~ SHOT IN JPEG ~ ONLY RESIZED IN PHOTORAZOR WHICH I THINK ALTERED THE IMAGE SLIGHTLY
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Old Oct 8, 2008, 11:26 PM   #5
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Boldstar,

You made a smart choice with that Canon XSi. The XSi is a serious amateur to semi-pro level camera (some might even argue a "pro" camera). The XSi provides serious image quality for the price.

There's nothing wrong with the 18-55 kits lens. You should be able to product nice shots with it. Perhaps use it until your more familiar with your camera. Then, when boredom factor starts to kick in, think about another lens.

A really nice lens for functions and photo gatherings is the Sigma 10-20mm lens. You can chat with a group of people, lift up your camera and get a wide angle group shot without having to take a step back from your subjects.

I use my Sigma 10-20 for about 90 percent of my photography these days, although I am a bit lazy. Other than that, I'm looking at getting a "walk-around" lens like a Canon 17-85. I also have the Canon 70-200 F/4.

I'm not telling you this to brag about my lens collection (not much to brag about by some people's standards), but to let you know that one of the extreme joys of owning a DSLR is the purchase of different lenses.

You can certainly "build" a nice lens kit around the 18-55. As your not a "pro" (ie getting paid for your work), there's really no justification for the expense of "pro" level lenses (unless, of course, you have lots of money and can afford the best even for a hobby).

From that perspective, your 18-55 can be your "walkaround" lens for the time being. When your looking to expand, think about a super wide angle lens like the Sigma 10-20, and then think about a longer lens like a Canon 70-200 f/4.

A Sigma 10-20 and a Canon 70-200 F/4, which are very nice "serious amateur" to "semi-pro" lenses will cost you about $1,000 US dollars for the two of them.

So, as you can see, DSLR photography is expensive. Everybody thinks the expense is in the camera body, but if you really get into the hobby you'll realize the bigger part of the budget is the lenses. When you also factor in a flash kit, a tripod, camera case, computer, printer, software, etc. -- it all starts to add up!

The nice thing is your XSi should give you years of enjoyment. You can take as many pictures as you like and experiment to your heart's content.
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Old Oct 8, 2008, 11:51 PM   #6
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I love all the input. Thanks guys.

So far I'm happy with my 18-55mm lens. My biggest problem is learning to use the camera itself. I'd perfected my S2, but the XSi has a lot more to fiddle with. For example, I only learned today that the 9-point AF only grabs the shot focused on the closest point... duh. Solution: Set to center point focus only.

I tried out a buddy's fixed 50mm lens taking shots of his kid. Much brighter, much more clear than my 18-55 at the same focal length. I might have to put that on my Christmas list.

In my photography class tonight at the local college, the instructor was quite impressed with my camera's capabilities... and he's a Nikon guy.
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Old Oct 9, 2008, 3:56 PM   #7
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Boldstar,

Like you, I came from the S series (S2 and S5) which I started with, was comfortable with in M mode and still love. Like you I'm a hobbyist. Like you I bought a 450D/XSi with the kit lens. Like you ( I assume) I don't have a trust fund from daddy and the family likes to eat.

Given all our similarities, here's my thoughts for you.

The 450D takes some getting used to before you match the IQ you got with the S2/S5. That seems counterintuitive but there is a whole lot more to learn and remember (for example - to check the ISO setting every time you start the camera). However, there will come a time when you realize you got a frame that you could not have gotten with the S series no matter what.That is the target.

You'll need to get used to shooting at 400 & 800 ISO (which no sane person would do with any P&S of any kind). It is an adjustment.

You can spend your lungs trying to match the 432mm f3.5 speed of your S2. You won't match it for anything under $3,000. Accept that and compensate with the 800 ISO.

There is no "perfect lens". If you want to build a good enough kit quickly, keep your 18-55 IS, then go for either a 55-250 IS ($250.00) or a 50mm 1.8 ($90.00) or 50mm 1.4 ($325.00). Next get either the 55-250 or 50mm you didn't get in the last step. Somewhere, get a used 430EX flash ($225.00 new). For about $500.00 at Christmas, you can keep busy for years and never outpace the capability of the 450D.

If and when you want to try an L lens, rent one like I did for this weekend coming up. (70-200 f4L IS for about $75.00 all in).

No go enjoy youself and revel in the fact that none of the drek you shot cost you dollar one for developing. I'm at about 6,000 clicks on my 450D and 18,000 clicks in 2 years and almost 100 of them kind of weren't horrible.

Good luck.




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Old Oct 10, 2008, 3:34 AM   #8
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The 18-55 IS is a very nice little lens.

Check out the reviews:

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1114/cat/11

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/18...report--review

Bottom line is that you have to spend a significant amount more money to get better quality. Be happy.
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