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Old Sep 22, 2008, 7:03 AM   #1
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We just recently purchased a Canon 40D for our son's Christmas/16th birthday present. I only purchased the camera body, so we could choose which lenses would be best suited to it, and honestly, I was able to get a better deal that way. I really dislike those "kits" with everything in them, but not what you "really" want (i.e. type of case, etc.).

We might be able to afford 2 lenses, if they are not too expensive, or maybe one good lens to go with it. We really want to stick to the Canon brand.

Most often, our son takes pictures of our animals (dogs, cats and horses), sometimes they are in motion, and sometimes they are not. Also, both he and I are asked to do the photography at some outdoor funcitons that friends might have, where getting good shots of people becomes important. There will be times also that he (or I, since I just "might" want to borrow it from time to time!) will be taking shots of people riding their horses as well. He is always trying for that unique shot of a hawk flying over head, or a plane flying low as well. He currently has a Canon S1-IS, and loves it, so this will be quite a step up for him.

Our original idea was to get the 18-55mm, and also a 75-300mm, but someone on Ebay told me not to get the 18-55mm, because he thought it was junk (he was actually selling the 18-55mm), and told me to get a 17-85 or a 28-135mm. I have priced these lenses, and they are quite a bit more expensive. If one of these is recommended, then we could only afford to get one of them.

Just a caveat: Our son is helping out quite a bit with the purchase of his new camera, even though it is a gift. We don't normally purchase gifts like these for our kids, even if they are turning 16!

Thanks so much,
Carol Lugg
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Old Sep 22, 2008, 7:32 AM   #2
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An idea of budget would help a lot.

The best value-for-money lens available is the new 18-55 IS (not the old one without IS). $170 If you can't decide on a good starter lens, then that is a great one.

A very good value telephoto lens is the Sigma 70-300 APO (not the non-APO). $220

Those two lenses together should come in at only around $400.

Stepping up to the next level would be something like the Canon 17-85 IS $500 and 70-300 IS $550. - combined $1050.

There are a few options in between, but without a bit more background it's hard to suggest anything in particular.
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Old Sep 22, 2008, 7:39 AM   #3
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We need to keep it to the lower end, if possible. One thing I forgot to meniton, is that we live out in the country, and he loves to take shots of sunrises and sunsets, as well as just about any beautiful scenery picture. He also likes to try for good moon shots too.

As I say, we are trying to stay with the Canon brand, something my father in law told me several years ago, when I was saving up to purchase a good zoom lens for our Pentax.

I don't know if that helps or not, please let me know if you need more information.

Blessings,
Carol
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Old Sep 22, 2008, 11:17 AM   #4
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Carol,

The advice on the 18-55 IS from Peripateticis right on the money. It's a great lens for the price.

As for the zoom. The Canon 75-300 is really a rather poor lens. The sigma is slightly better for not much more money. If you won't consider 3rd party then the next quality lenses in Canon's lineup are:

Canon 70-200 f4L - $570

Canon 70-300 IS USM (not as sharp as the 70-200 f4, and it's 5.6 aperture but you get 300mm and it's still a pretty sharp lens) - $570

There's a big difference in quality between these two lenses and the original 75-300 lens you were considering. Bottom line: 300mm, quality and <$300 really don't go together.


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Old Sep 22, 2008, 11:44 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for your suggestions. So, in your opinion, the Canon lens and the Sigma lens quality are pretty much equal?

Oh yes, and I would like to dispel something my husband has heard, and that is whether or not the IS lenses use your battery more quickly than non IS lenses. From what he heard, they REALLY go through batteries.

I know that my father in law, several years ago, when I was purchasing a zoom lens for our Pentax ist, when I asked for his advice on whether to purchase the name brand or Tamron or Sigma, he told me it is better to purchase the name brands. One reason was optics, but another, was that if we ever decided to sell our camera, it would sell better with the name brand lenses, as opposed to having on "off" brand, as he put it. I guess ever since that time, I have always believed that a person should choose the name brand, so to speak.

Thanks Again,
Carol


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Old Sep 22, 2008, 12:32 PM   #6
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Carol - I would rate the 3 lenses as follows:

1. Canon 70-300 IS USM as the best by far

2. Sigma 70-300 better than the Canon 75-300 but nowhere near as good as the Canon 70-300.

3. Canon 75-300. Worst of the 3.

I've had IS and non-IS lenses on my camera without issue. Really the DSLR batteries are a HUGE improvement over digicam or AA batteries. The amount of use of the LCD screen (i.e. reviewing images) will have a greater impact on battery drain than using an IS lens. You should get several hundred shots easily from the battery of any DSLR.I wouldn't put much credence in the argument IS will have a severe impact. Probably some but not a big deal.

Having said that - I am a firm believer that IS in shorter lenses is a VERY overrated feature. It's a nice to have but I would ONLY use it as a tie-breaker between 2 lenses. If two lenses are the same quality and one has IS and one doesn't and you can live with the price difference get the IS. But it is not a feature that would EVER cause me to buy one lens over another at shorter focal lengths. Now, when you're talking 300mm then I agree IS can be beneficial. But that's not law - just my opinion. My primary walk-around lens is the canon 24-105L IS USM. It would STILL be my primary lens even if it didn't have IS. In the same vein, I use a 300mm lens too. I happen to use the Sigma 120-300 2.8 lens. It does NOT have image stabilization. I would choose it any day of the week over the canon 70-300 IS lens because it is a much better lens. I'm not recommending it because it's outside of your price range. I'm merely pointing out there are more important features - optical quality, build quality and for sports/wildlife focus speed which will contribute more to success or failure than image stabilization. Again, just one person's opinion.
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Old Sep 22, 2008, 12:40 PM   #7
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I also wanted to point out - lens decisions shouuld be made on an individual basis. Canon makes good lenses (like the 70-200 f4) and poor lenses (like the 75-300). Sigma makes some good lenses (50-500, 120-300 2.8, 100-300 f4, 70-200 2.8, several macro lenses) and some poor lenses. In the last 5 years, third party lens manufacturers have really stepped up their game. While it's true no third party lens can compete with some of the best canon has to offer (70-200 f4, 300mm 2.8, 400mm 2.8, etc...) there are a lot of instances where third party lenses may be sharper than Canon's or may be 'good enough'. For instance I would rate the Sigma 70-200 2.8 lens as about 90% of the Canon version. For a number of years that 90% was "good enough" - especially since when I bought mine it was $600 less than the canon. But I eventually got to a point where I wanted that extra 10% out of a lens so I sold the sigma and bought the canon. The Canon is definitely better but you pay more for that. And the Sigma served me well for several years and made me money. Now, for instance, Tamron has a 70-200 2.8. By some accounts it's even sharper than the Canon version. It doesn't have the same build quality or focus speed but if sharpness were all that counted and you could live with slower focus speeds (i.e. not shooting sports with it) the Tamron is an excellent choice for some people at a great savings. I don't mean to suggest any of these lenses for you. I only point them out as examples of third-party lenses being a very realistic possibility.
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Old Sep 23, 2008, 12:03 PM   #8
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What I learned in this DSLR game is don't settle for a cheaper lens just cause you can buy it at the time, it really pays off in your image quality to hold out for the better lens it will pay off in the end. Also JohnG always has the great info. when its comes to these questions he has helped me out a few times already.
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Old Sep 23, 2008, 1:24 PM   #9
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O.K., I stayed up WAY past my bed time last night, looking at the "PixelPeeper" web site, and have made some definite decisions regarding lenses to go with our son's camera. I am definitely leaning towards the Canon 28-105mm 3.5-4.5, and the Canon 100-300mm lens. I should NEVER have looked at the 100-400 lens!

I have read a couple of places that this is a nice set of lenses for Joel's (our son) camera. I definitely liked what I saw in the way of pictures, and I think Joel would do well with them.

What are your ideas on this combo?

Thanks Again,
Carol
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Old Sep 23, 2008, 2:33 PM   #10
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IMO you're better off with the 18-55 IS kit lens and a fast aperture 70-200 f/2.8
-> The lenses that you picked were designed for yesterday film days and are both poor choices for your 40D...
1. 28mm is not wide enough in most instances and not as sharp as the kit lens...
2. What do you plan on using the 100-300 for as 300mm is barely long (or fast) enough for wildlife? At least with a 70-200 f/2.8 you can use it with a 2xTC to get to 400mm f/5.6
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