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Old Aug 30, 2003, 4:58 PM   #1
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Default Starter lenses for first-time dSLR

Hey guys, this is my first time posting here; though I have been reading everyone's great posts for a while.

Although my livelyhood doesn't depend upon my photography alone. I do make my living doing a LOT of various computer graphics tasks (3D animation/still-life, HDRI 3D rendering, 2D image manipulation, web design, digital illustration & painting, and limited publishing/print work).

I am finally ready to take the plunge and get my first dSLR. It will be a big jump for me from my old FujiFilm P&S.
I hope you guys don't get asked this question everyday, but I couldn't find any answers via searching the forum.

My question is this:
I have decided to buy the Canon 10D for my dSLR use. But I am having trouble deciding on what lense (or lenses) I should initially get for the camera (some of the EF series I looked at cost as much as the camera body).
I am looking for at least one lense with a general-purpose, wide application range functionality as my first lense. I will then later add other lenses as funds allow.
What I would like to know is:
1) Is there one lense good enough for most shooting needs? And if so what features make this a "must-have".
2) If a multi-lense aproach is the best bet to start with; what lenses should I consider...and what features should I look for in a particular lense?
3) This might be stretching the topic a bit but what lenses should I consider for my second/third purchases?
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Old Sep 4, 2003, 11:32 PM   #2
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Nuts, I made a really rather long reply to this, but it was lost.

You didn't tell us what type of photography you will do. We can't help you with a lens without this info. Will the subjects be moving (kids playing soccer) or stationary (a room or your sports car)? Will they be far away (kids playing soccer) or fairly close (group of friends mugging at a party)? Will it be low light (concerts) or bright outdoors?

How much are you willing to spend? How much are you willing to pay for quality? How much does absolute quality matter? How much does weight matter?

Without knowing the above, the answer is easy. None, because there is no "all purpose lens". For the 10D a good (but not pie-in-the-sky) "all purpose lens" would be:
24-300mm f2.8-5.6 IS USM L
Its optical quality would be equal to the 100-400L (quite good, but not amazing... that is a > 10x zoom, after all!)
It would weigh something reasonable (4-5lbs.)
It would be fully weather sealed & have a metal lens mount.
It would cost around... $700USD.
(Yes, I've skipped many things which should be listed, like full-time MF override, reasonable filter size, good min focus distance.)

300mm might be too long, but for that kid playing soccer, they can get fairly far away.

Eric
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Old Sep 7, 2003, 1:18 AM   #3
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Thanks for the pointers. I did see your earlier post (I think) before the forum had gone down.
I appreciate your reply. I know there is no "one-perfect-lense" otherwise I wouldn't be getting a dSLR :P .
I would say most of my photography (the stuff that matters to me anyway) is landscape, wildlife, closeup/macro, and archetecture. I really don't take many action/sports photos, and I really don't like portraits or still-life (if I'm going to compose a scene I like to do it digitally in my computer).

The lenses I have been looking at are the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM, for wider, general shots, the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM and/or the 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS (although your 24-300mm f2.8-5.6 IS USM L suggestion sounds a bit better) for landscape/wildlife, and the 28mm f/1.8 USM as a fixed wide and fast solution.

Are any of these lenses really good or really bad choices? I don't have a ton of money to spend, but I'm willing to spend it if the lens is worth it. I'll be honest and say up front that I haven't even looked at prices for the lenses I mentioned. I'd rather decide upon the best lenses to get first, then worry about affording them.
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Old Sep 7, 2003, 9:50 AM   #4
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Those L lenses are not cheap, you realize?

A quick look on the web shows that people like the 28m f1.8. For what it's worth, some say that it's basically as good as the 2.8 version (but costs more.) (But another place I trust puts this over the 2.8.) With the 1.6x crop, this becomes almost a 50mm, which is handy.

Wow, the 16-35L is an expensive lens! (Not that I should talk, it costs as much as one of mine.) What I've read, people like it. A common complaint is that its a bit soft on the edges (but the crop factor should help this) and some CA.

What little I could find on the 28-200 wasn't good. Not very sharp. If you really want something in this focal length I would either go with the canon L with IS (very good, but expensive) or get the sigma EX line. Their 70-200 F2.8 EX APO IF HSM is good. Most like it 'cause its good and cheaper than the canon. The problem is that leaves a rather large gap in your lens line.

The 75-300 was bashed in the two places I go for reviews. It was the 2nd lowest rated x-300 zoom at one place. Sounds like you should stay away. I couldn't find anything on the 24-300. Can't help you there.

I would bet for landscapes you'll use the 16-35 more, or maybe the 28. They are very sharp, and you need that for a landscape rich with detail.

I have been told good things about mating the 70-200 f2.8 IS with a 1.4 and 2x teleconverter. It isn't amazing, but it's good and gives you reach you might not have been able to afford (with the tradeoff that you have to add the TCs.) Then you wouldn't need to get something as long as 300 (which is required for most wildlife.)

Eric
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Old Sep 7, 2003, 2:07 PM   #5
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28mm is no wide angle for landscape on the 10D!

You might want to consider the EX 17-35 f/2.8-4, it's on the 2nd picture here, the 1st image is Canon's EF 28-135 IS USM as a comparison for the tight angle. This Sigma lens is also HSM so it's ultra fast and quiet and not plasticly either, but a lot cheaper than the 16-35L. BTW Sigma also has an excellent and more popular EX 15-30mm but it's not HSM!

Another picture with a Sigma EX 70-200 f/2.8 HSM is over here (notice the shallow DOF @ wide open). :P
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Old Sep 7, 2003, 6:47 PM   #6
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Wow, awesome stuff guys. thanks a lot. I'll take both your suggestions into serious consideration.
Thank you.
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