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Old Oct 5, 2008, 3:07 PM   #1
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Hey guys.

So after much searching and reading up on different cameras I've decided to go out and grab myself a Canon XSi after reading about the great features and abilities and the low price tag. Here in Canada I found a store that I can grab the body for 599, which looks to be a pretty good price.

What I am wondering though, is which lense I should grab for it? Since I am kinda amateur and this will be my first "slr" I am wondering which lense would work best for some shooting.

I wouldn't be doing anything special like macro, but I would like to take some nicer scenery and portrait shots to then muck about with on the computer, so I was looking at wide angle lenses, but I'm not sure what I should be looking for! Some have better zoom capablitiles, but cost less than others.. *scratches head*.

I also want to mention that I'd like to have two lenses.. one for regular point and shoot everyday people shots, and one with more zoom capability for wildlife and scenery.

Could anyone direct me towards a good 200-500 starting lense(s)that will work great with the XSi? Thanks for any help!!



Edit: in fact, here are the lenses I'm talking about..

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Autofocus.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...6_III_USM.html



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Old Oct 5, 2008, 4:38 PM   #2
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Scooby,

I'm sure TCav and JohnG will give you more complete tech answers (they are both great at it with no BS) but I own the 450D and I'm new to dSLRs also (June, '08 so I may be of some help.

I have The 50mm 1.4 and it's a seriously good prime for portraits IF you have the room. Remeber, on the 450D it's an 80mm view so you need some room to maneuver.

I've heard a lot of not good things about the 75-300. Apparently the newer 70-300 is a lot better and the 70-200 f4 (either IS or non-IS flavor) is really well liked.

I also have the 18-55 IS (the kit lens) which you should consider. It's about $100.00 as a kit lens and well worth that money. I also own the 55-250 IS and like it a lot and the 28-135 IS USM which I don't use very much but does a nice job when I do.

So that's the current experience of a very amateur hobbyist. The others on here will give you better reasons and more in depth info.

Hope this helps.



JG
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Old Oct 5, 2008, 4:54 PM   #3
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^ wonderful.. thank you John for your opinion. I will be looking into the lenses you mentioned.

Appreciate your input!
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Old Oct 5, 2008, 6:25 PM   #4
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ScoobyDooby wrote:
Quote:
So after much searching and reading up on different cameras I've decided to go out and grab myself a Canon XSi after reading about the great features and abilities and the low price tag. Here in Canada I found a store that I can grab the body for 599, which looks to be a pretty good price.
Good choice.

ScoobyDooby wrote:
Quote:
I also want to mention that I'd like to have two lenses.. one for regular point and shoot everyday people shots, ...
Actually, for this kind of thing, the kit lens is a good choice. It's stabilized, is a big improvement, optically, over its predecessor, and is inexpensive when purchased with the body.

ScoobyDooby wrote:
Quote:
... and one with more zoom capability for wildlife and scenery.
Generally, for wildlife you'd need a longer lens, but for scenery you'd need a wider lens. I'm not really sure how to answer this.

ScoobyDooby wrote: The Canon 50mm f/1.4 is a fine lens, but you can save some money by going with the Canon 50mm f/1.8. If will do almost everything the f/1.4 will do, and that 2/3 f-stop will save you ~$235.

The Canon 75-300 III USM hasn't gotten many good user reviews at PhotoDo.com, SLRGear.com or PhotoZone.de, whereas the Tamron 70-300 Di LD has been getting many good comments and reviews. I think this might be a better choice, and it's cheaper. The only advantage might be the Canon's USM autofocus motor.
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Old Oct 5, 2008, 6:27 PM   #5
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JohnGaltNY wrote:
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I'm sure TCav and JohnG will give you more complete tech answers (they are both great at it with no BS) ...
Thank you for those kind words. I consider it a great honor to be mentioned favorably alongside JohnG.
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Old Oct 5, 2008, 7:13 PM   #6
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^ well Tcav I have posted here a couple of times and your responses have always been completely helpful and above all friendly. Many forums online contain users who give smart and unhelpful answers, so you deserved to be recognized! You make noobs like me want to come back here and I never really feel bad about asking for opinions, so thank you!

And I appreciate your comments.. it will allow me to hone in on the right gear, and seeing as how much variety and brands there are out there, having some help focusing on a couple choice selection is invaluable really. Your experience and knowledge is so helpful! Thanks!


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Old Oct 16, 2008, 2:52 PM   #7
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Hi again guys!

So I finally got my rebel xsi, and I'm totally happy with my choice!

So far I've been finding the camera pretty nice to use. The interface is very straight forward, and it seems easy enough to navigate. Not too thrilled with its low light capabilities, but then again, my expectations in that department may be higher than they should be. I haven't had a chance to get outside and try to grab some shots yet since the weather is kinda on and off here right now.

I wanted to maybe continue the conversation from above regarding other lenses.

In particular, I wanted to ask what kind of difference I could expect from different models of lenses. By that I mean, how much better or worse would a "sigma" lens be over a canon or tamron? Does the brand matter as much as the actual model of lens itself? Because so far I've been reading that certain canon lenses are better than others, and the same is true for tamron etc. Also, is there a website that lists off lenses in terms of which ones work best with certain cameras??

The reason I'm asking is that I like the 18-55mm kit lens, but have also read that other lenses are far better and show the true capabilities of the camera.. is this true??


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Old Oct 16, 2008, 3:58 PM   #8
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Every lens should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Every manufacturer makes good and poor lenses. Some make outstanding lenses.

There are multiple factors in lens decisions. The pro grade lenses will tend to excel in more areas while some of the better third party lenses may excel in a single area but not others and the consumer grade lenses tend to be average to poor in all areas:

Some things to consider:
  • sharpness - and how sharpness fares at different apertures and focal lengths (if zoom). The pro grade zooms tend to do well wide open and at long and wide zooms - the consumer grades are at their worst in those extremese. Primes typically will provide the sharpest results wide open (not always but typically)[/*]
  • focus speed - not all lenses are created equal. Canon has 3 levels of focus motor (ring USM, micro USM, non USM). Sigma has HSM and non-HSM. Tokina and Tamron really struggle in this regard - they don't have anything yet that competes with HSM or ring USM. Depending on the type of photography you do though this may not matter.[/*]
  • bokeh - the quality of the blur. Peripatetic had a great post a while back illustrating the bokeh of several different 50mm lenses. This is controlled by the elements and blade construction of the lens - not all are equal. Again, for some types of photography it's important others it isn't[/*]
  • max aperture - consumer grade zooms are variable aperture, better zoms maintain a constant aperture and of course you have 2.0, 1.8, 1.4 and 1.2 aperture primes.[/*]
  • build quality. Just like anything else - butter built lenses can take a bit more abuse. Pro lenses from canon and Sigma are metal in construction and use less plastic parts[/*]
  • Element construction - the number and quality of elements used will control optical quality, flare etc.[/*]
  • weather sealing - not sure if anything but Canon Ls has this. [/*]
  • Minimum focus distance - really comes into play in macro shooting[/*]
  • macro ratio 1:1, 2:1, 4:1
[/*]
probably a host of other things. But the point is the zoom and f-stop are really only PART of the equation.


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Old Oct 16, 2008, 4:49 PM   #9
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The Canon 18-55 IS kit lens is a big improvement over its predecessor. To see some objective tests of your kit lens, see http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1114/cat/11

In fact, SLRGear.com is a good source of objective data on the quality of a large number of lenses. They've tested a many popular lenses from a number of manufacturers, and you can get a good idea of the optical quality of lenses from the included charts. And even if they haven't tested a particular lens, users have contributed opinions from their own experiences, and that should give you an idea of how applicable a particular lens might be for what you have in mind. JohnG mentioned a number of things to look for, and I think that SLRGear.com and other websites like it, are a good place to look for them.
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Old Oct 17, 2008, 3:05 AM   #10
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I agree.

Slrgear.com and Photozone.de provide the best and most reliable objective lens tests IMO.

For subjective tests there are many places one can look, but beware because the web is a place that is full of ordinary people. This is both a blessing and a curse.

Most complaints about lenses or cameras are user error or from unreasonable expectations by novice users. You get a disproportionate number of complaints on the web, because most people don't bother to post how well their lenses are working. The relatively few real complaints by experienced users tend to get blown out of proportion with novices jumping on the bandwagon not realising that their problems are behind the camera not in front of it.

My advice is simple. Don't rush.

Learn to use your equipment, find out its stregths and weaknesses. The more you practice the better it will get. Rest assured that your equipment is adequate to produce some stunning results. (Check out the equipment used by the photographersat onexposure.net if you doubt this.) After a few months you will begin to realise where your interests lie and where your equipment really is a limiting factor. But at the start of your journey assume that if something is wrong with your pictures that it's YOU that needs to improve.

Photography is a journey, don't be fooled into thinking of it as a destination with the most expensive equipment waiting there for you.
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