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Old Dec 3, 2004, 5:31 PM   #1
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So I'm writing a wish-list for friends & family for Christmas. I got a Dig Reb off of eBay two months ago. It came with the following:
18-55 ef-s

70-200 2.8 L

Phoenix POS (I think that should be in their lens titles) 100-300

Battery grip, extra battery, camera bag, 512 MB CF card, POS 1.6 x and .5 X multipliers (the kind you put on the front of a lens).

All for $1,200. Pretty sweet deal, if I do say so myself. I bought a (fairly cheap, yeah, I know what you all say about that) tripod and UV filters for the lenses.

Right now, I'm only slightly impressed with the 18-55. It's okay, but nothing special. And I'd really like to have a walk-around lens with a little more reach.

The 70-200 is nice, but it's so heavy and bulky, and it's probably more lens than I need right now as a beginning photographer. Also, if I sell it on eBay (for $800 or so) I can purchase a few other lenses & accessories (or pay off my credit card for the dig reb purchase!)

Here's my problem: I'm looking for (1) a nice walk-around lens with good wide angle capability, (2) a macro and/ornormal lens(3) something to replace the 70-200 L (or even a little longer) that isn't such a pain to carry around. Price ISimportant (my relatives love me, bnot not that much). I've read all of the reviews from camerasystems.info, cmpsolv.com, tihlde.org, etc., and compare their "magic numbers" and then read anectodal evidence from people like NHL and Frank D., and I just end up more confused.

So here's my wishlist right now:

1. Sigma 500DG Super flash & Lumiquest ProMax system (after reading all the rave reviews around here)

2. Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC Lens OR Canon 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM (or another lens in this category I'm forgetting)

3. Sigma Normal 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro OR the Sigma 105mm Macro

4. Sigma 70-200??? Canon 75-300 IS? Sigma 75-300 APO?

5. Ultra II CF memory cards, new, larger case, etc.

My questions are these:

1. Is it worth it for me to ask for a walk around other than the 18-55 (other than for the extended range, of course). In other words, does anyone know if either of the lenses listed in #2 are any sharper/faster/"cleaner" than the 18-55?

2. Does there exist any ~50 - ~200 or 300 mm lens that's of acceptable quality for under $500? Or am I wasting my money with any of the lenses listed in No. 4?

3. If I have a good "walk around" lens, is it worth it to have a 50mm "normal" (even though on a dig reb, it's not really a normal, because of the crop factor)? I ask this because, from what I've read, the 105mm macro is easier to use for macro photography (because you're farther away from the subject, less chance of "spooking" insects, interfering with light, etc), but it seems like it's important to have a fast, normal lens. Would it be better to buy the 105mm for macro and then invest in a 35mm prime (which would be closer to 50mm normal after the 1.6x crop factor).

I'm sure the next question is: Well, what do you want to do with your camera? Because I'm fairly new to photography (but was a videographer in a former life) I'm open to anything. But because I don't know too many beautiful women whom I would feel comfortable asking to pose for me (yet), I'm mainly sticking to (1) landscapes (2) cityscapes/"urban" pics(3) nature photography and (4) macro photography. I don't have a real interest in sports photography.
And I know that many will likely say "well, the lens is in the eye of the beholder." but with all this conflicting evidence, I'd just like someone to say "the general belief is..." or have specific evidence to refute the general belief and help me decide. Whatever I don't get for Christmas I'll probably purchase with money from the sale of the 70-200 2.8 L (except, of course, when you all say "you're crazy to sell that lens. It won't get any better, just lift some weights and get in shape and stop complaining.").

Thanks in advance,

~kjk


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Old Dec 3, 2004, 10:42 PM   #2
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A variety of things to say.
If you really care about quality... Great picture sharpness & contrast that will give you really good prints then don't sell that 70-200 f2.8. It is one of the best zooms made. But if you can live with the similar spec'ed Sigma and you can get a reasonable price for the Canon lens then sell the canon and get the sigma. Then spend the money on something else that you actually need. Personally, I wouldn't sell it. But that is me. I'm a perfectionist. BTW, I think you'd get more than $800 for that lens if it's "like new"… probably $1,000

People seem to have mixed opinions of the 18-55. Getting a lens that is 18mm isn't easy (and they are usually expensive.) So that is nice. But some people don't' think its very sharp or contrasty. I've never used it, so I don't know.

I would suggest the 105 macro over the 50 for exactly the reasons you suggest. If you are going to take bug pictures, then you need the extra space. And from what I recall it's a very good lens.

There are certainly better lenses than the 18-55. But they will be much more expensive (the 17-40L is around $600 and is light years better.) The 28-135 is a good lens. I know people who love it and some who think it's ok-to-fairly-good. I have it but don't use it a lot. But I like the results when I do. It isn't my best lens, but then again my best lens costs as much as a good used car.

There probably aren't many lenses under $500 that are of acceptable quality to me. "Acceptable quality" is a personal thing. Are you a perfectionist? Do you get mad when your equipment isn't as good as it could be? Even if the higher quality one might be way above your skill level? If so, don't touch them. If you can live with lower quality for awhile while you learn and get better… that is another matter.

Also, I don't recognize any of those lens review sites you list. Maybe you should try some of these:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/
http://www.photozone.de/bindex2.html
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...n_lenses.shtml

They might help you some more.

Eric
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 9:24 AM   #3
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perdendosi wrote:
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2. Does there exist any ~50 - ~200 or 300 mm lens that's of acceptable quality for under $500? Or am I wasting my money with any of the lenses listed in No. 4?
Yeap, the Tokina: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...97&forum_id=65
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 12:16 PM   #4
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eric s wrote:
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A variety of things to say.
If you really care about quality... Great picture sharpness & contrast that will give you really good prints then don't sell that 70-800 f2.8.
70-800 f2.8? Where can i get it? You do mean 70-200 right. Which i think you are right about the pictures i have seen from it are outstanding(well as outstanding as possible within scene demands and photog skill).
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 12:51 PM   #5
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What 70-800? Just ignore that little notice about how I edited my post...

Eric
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 3:24 PM   #6
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Eric-

Send me the address too!! 70-800f2.8 NOW THATS A REAL LENS.

HeHe
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 5:21 PM   #7
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lol, i would accept nothing less than a 12-800mm f2.8.....lol

alright...i seriously need to get one of these "L" lenses! i've had pretty good results from wat i've heard is possibly the worst lens canon makes (lol, the 18-55mm)
check out any of my last 4 threads i've posted...well, the macro ones in particular...i've gotten some sharp shots with it! i can't imagine shooting with a top of the line lens then

hmm..i don't think i would sell the 70-200mm f2.8....if eric s says it's top quality...it's gotta be good!

i dunno...the 18-55mm has been good so far as my walk around...not amazingly fast though... :-\

lol, sry i'm not much help

Vito


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Old Dec 6, 2004, 4:26 PM   #8
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Well guys, thanks for the replies. I'm really interested in the Tokina NHL linked to... (although a few sample pics I saw had pretty nasty vignetting and I read a few reviews about terrible barrel and pincushion). Looking at some of the shots I've taken, I sure can see how sharp and nice the 70-200 is... and the USM is great, and the 2.8 is great... the problem is that the lens itself is such a monster that it's just no fun to haul along... it can't fit in my camera bag... it's hardly worth it for me to bring along unless I'm sure I'm going to use it... and for most of what I'm doing I need a lens with at least 35mm on the wide end (landscapes, friends & fam photography, metro/urban architecture photography, etc). So I don't know. I promised myself that I would sell it (to offset the cost of my setup). But I remain undecided.



Thanks again

~kjk


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