Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 29, 2010, 6:27 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2
Default Travel lens for Canon EOS 550D

Hi everyone,

As you can see I'm new here, and I'm pretty new to proper photography in general. I've been traveling as much as possible in the past few years and intend to see more of the world in the upcoming few years

Quite often I walk around and realize that what I'm looking at would be such a stunning picture, but my little compact camera just doesn't allow me to focus / zoom correctly and it doesn't have any manual settings.

So, I'm looking to buy a decent camera / lens set-up to take with me. I'm almost sure at this point that I'll go for the Canon EOS 550D, it seems to get great reviews at DP Review etc.. and I've had a little bit of opportunity to play with a friend's 5D and it feels great in my hand.

That does leave me with the choice of a lens / lenses, I hope the following explains a bit what I'm looking for :
* I'm leaning towards getting one all-around lens. I really don't feel like changing lenses all the time to get a good picture.
* My main interests would be : landscape and serious zoom under day light or at dusk / dawn.
* Some close-ups of people / objects.
* Macro shots or indoor / low light conditions would be good to have but not at all essential.
* I'll have to learn what works for me once I have the camera, but I'll probably take most shots in-hand, i.e. no tripod, so a good IS system is very desirable.

After doing a fair amount of reading, I've come across the Canon EF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS. It carries a, for me, hefty price tag, but if it's "all I ever need", I'm willing to ignore that part

So my questions are : do you think this is the right lens for me ? Are there areas I should be concerned about as I've read it has some optical issues, to be expected with such a great range. Are these the kind of things that would bother me as a beginner photographer and / or are they things I could get rid of with Photoshop if needed ?

I've also seen Canon has i.e. a EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, which is a bit cheaper, how would that compare to the above one for my needs ? Any other set-ups that I should consider are very welcome too of course.
Radiance is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 29, 2010, 6:43 AM   #2
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,452
Default

Hi and welcome to Steve's.

Personally if you are looking for an all in one package I would go with a Superzoom like the Canon SX20, Fuji HS10 or Panasonic FZ35/38.

A single lens dSLR package is IMHO a bit limiting and generally a waste of money. You get better image quality with a dSLR in certain situations but then putting a more basic lens (a single solution lens is more limited in optical quality than more specialist lenses) on it takes a lot of the advantage away. Also with a lot of the superzooms you can get better macro than a dSLR unless you pay for a real macro lens which isn't cheap. The main advantage of a dSLR over a superzoom is that you get better low light ability due to the way that it handles high ISO settings. Also if going the dSLR route you can add better lenses to your setup so you get the optical advantage back.

I use a selection of cameras depending on what I want to do and where I want to go. A lot of the time I will just take my Canon SX1 which is a superzoom as it is convenient, OK quality and a great lens range. If I want to go smaller then will take a more compact camera and then for higher end work I will take a dSLR and better glass. With a dSLR the general rule is the smaller the range between the wide and long ends of the zoom the better the image quality (not always true), prime lenses (fixed focal length) are usually the best and I'm using these more and more when I want really high quality or creative shooting.

For your 'serious zoom' in low light you pretty much are going to want a tripod no matter what the camera.
__________________
[SIZE=1][SIZE=2]Any problems with a post or thread please use the report button at the bottom left of the post and the team will help sort it out.
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 7:05 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

First, the 5D your friend has let you play with is very different from the 550D you're talking about. I wouldn't use that experience as the basis for selection.

Second, the Canon 550D has a smaller image sensor than dSLRs from Nikon, Pentax and Sony, so for shooting landscape photos, it has a narrower angle of view than the others with lenses of the same focal length. If landscape photography is important to you, I think you'd be better off with another brand.

Third, while an 18-200 "Superzoom" lens might be convenient, superzoom lenses in general don't perform as well as two or more lenses of less ambitious zoom ranges, and they are often more expensive. That convenience comes at the price of lower image quality (and the Canon 18-200 is no exception, btw.) And the image will outlast the convenience.

Fourth, superzoom lenses don't do close-up photography and are dim, so they don't do well indoors or in low light either.

I suggest you look at the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro. It's a very good lens throughout it's zoom range, it's faster than most zoom lenses so it's good in low light, and it does 1:2.3 macro as well. It's not stabilized like the Canon lens you're looking at, but it would be stabilized on a Pentax or Sony camera body, and it would have a wider angle of view on those bodies than on the Canon. There's a stabilized version for Canon (and Nikon) bodies, but it's not as good.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 10:00 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2
Default

Thank you both for your fast and honest feedback. After I posted this I walked into a shop to have a look around and have a first glance at some of the different bodies and lenses.

First, I'd like to point that, while I didn't bring it up, I will definitely purchase some more specific lenses later on, hence my interest in a dSLR body. I imagine that whatever brand I decide to go with will offer a good range of lenses or third-party lenses, so I'm not really taking that into consideration right now. I just don't intend to drag those around on holidays and thus wanted one all-around lens to start off with.

I've now had the 550D in my hands and while the layout is fairly similar to me, it indeed feels completely different from the 5D, so thank you for pointing that out.

The other thing I indeed noticed is the narrow angle of view of a Canon (I believe it was that 18-200mm mounted on a 450D) compared to a Nikon at 18mm. Despite the fantastic reviews, that indeed makes me reconsider the 550D (well Canon in general), as this may become an issue for the type of photography I want to do.

As neither of you seem very convinced of the qualities of these superzoom style lenses, I should probably reconsider that part as well, and look into a 2 lens setup, I'll definitely look into that Sigma 17-70mm.

Last edited by Radiance; May 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM.
Radiance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 10:17 AM   #5
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiance View Post
The other thing I indeed noticed is the narrow angle of view of a Canon (I believe it was that 18-200mm mounted on a 450D) compared to a Nikon at 18mm. Despite the fantastic reviews, that indeed makes me reconsider the 550D (well Canon in general), as this may become an issue for the type of photography I want to do.
There's not much difference in them. You'd have a horizontal angle of view of around 57 degrees with an 18mm lens on a Canon model with an APS-C size sensor, as compared to around 54 degrees on a Nikon model with an APS-C size sensor. Depending on the exact models you were comparing, you could have been seeing differences in viewfinder coverage area, too (as you're not going to have 100% frame coverage with most viewfinders).

Basically, for most Nikon models with APS-C size sensors, you need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.523 to tell what focal length would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera; whereas you'd use 1.613 for most Canon models with an APS-C size sensor. They're usually rounded to 1.5x and 1.6x respectfully.

So, an 18mm lens on a Nikon model with an APS-C size sensor would give you roughly the same angle of view you'd have using a 27mm lens on a 35mm camera; and an 18mm lens on a Canon model with an APS-C size sensor would give you roughly the same angle of view you'd have using a 29mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Here's a handy calculator you can download that can show you that kind of thing for most popular camera models. It's a Windows program. But, it also runs under Wine in Linux:

http://www.stegmann.dk/mikkel/barnack/
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 10:21 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

As far as the selection of lenses is concerned, Canon has the broadest, followed closely by Nikon. Then there's Sony and Pentax. But an important consideration for the kinds of things you want to do, is image stabilization. Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in some of their lenses, while Pentax and Sony use sensor shift image stabilization in all their camera bodies. Arguments can be made as to which approach is potentially better, but as to real world useage and objective test results, there is no clear winner.

But the result of this is that the size of Canon's and Nikon's selection of stabilized lenses isn't a lot different from the size of the selection of new lenses that would be stabilized on Pentax and Sony bodies. But the big difference is that optical image stabilization is fairly new, so the selectuion of stabilized used lenses is small, while any lens made for Pentax or Sony (Minotla) in the past 20+ years will be stabilized on current camera bodies. So the selection of used lenses that will be stabilized on Pentax and Sony bodies is larger, by orders of magnitude, than will be stabilized on Canon and Nikon bodies.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 10:38 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

True, the difference in the angle of view of Canon APS-C dSLRs when compared to Nikon, Pentax and Sony APS-C dSLRs os only about 5%, but if landscape is a big part of what someone plans to shoot, why would they want to pick a camera that has a built-in disadvantage?
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 10:51 AM   #8
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

That's just splitting hairs. The OP also mentioned other types of subjects.

A very small difference in angle of view for a given focal length would be the least of my concerns when comparing those types of cameras for General Purpose use. ;-)
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2010, 11:04 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Yes, but if Radiance said he or she wanted to shoot sports/action, I'd say that the Canon's superior AF system would outweigh the narrower angle of view, but that's not the case. And in all other respects, the Canon isn't any better at landscape photography than other brands, so there's nothing to balance out that disadvantage.

Assembling a selection criteria needs to start somewhere. Why not there?
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31, 2010, 3:54 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,487
Default

Also look at the Tamron AF18-270mm Lens f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC...it's a good All-In-One to eliminate toting around 2-3 lens...I have some very good shots with mine and have seen many others of course it needs plenty of light, but does a respectable job...
LTZ470 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:30 AM.