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Old November 26th, 2004, 01:40 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,314
I'm going lens shopping

Hey guys
Looks like I'm going lens shopping next week, wondering if I could get some feedback on my needs. This will be for a Canon 10d.

Here is what I shoot:
- general use
- portraits
- landscape
- action/sports

Check out my photo gallery for examples:

I'd also like to try some macro photography, so a lens that has a good macro function would be choice.

My price range is up to $1000 for one lens, and then $3-500 for two or three others. I'm not buying all these at the same time. Maybe one now, then another every month or two.

Currently I'm considering a line up of:
a Canon 50mm F1.8 mk2 (ok Mk 1 if I can find one) for portraits. I considered the 85mm F1.8 for portraits too, but that has a 136mm equiv on a 10d, kind of long for indoor use. It may be very limiting based on my previous portrait experience. I shoot in people's houses, no big studio for me.

a Canon 28-135mm IS for an all purpose I'm going walking around and don't know where I'll end up, lens. But it ain't that wide, and ain't that telephoto. Then there is the Sigma 18-135 DC that John Locke pointed out in a different thread, but I think the Canon is probably a lot sharper, plus the IS. Still, I'd use the extra wide angle from the Sigma. What I really want is a compact 28-300mm (or 18-200+), but Canon only makes the big white 'L' IS version, which is out of my price range. Sigma makes a 28-300mm, but it's cheap so I'm guessing it is bad. I would prefer something that lets me do wildlife and landscape while hiking with only one lens. Or if I was on a family vacation somewhere exotic, a lens that would let me shoot everything without carrying that weighs 10lbs.

For a telephoto, either a Sigma 50-500mm or a used Canon 35-350mm, which would both be in the same price range. I've read the Sigma is very good. However, both are big, heavy and on the slower side. These two top out my budget. If I found something with a little more reach than the 28-135 for my all purpose lens, then I'd skip the Canon 35-350mm and go for the Sigma 50-500mm with the longer lens.

What I'm hoping for from you guys, is suggestions on other lenses I might not have considered, or other combinations to get what I need. Older/discontinued/used lenses don't bother me, if it allows me to get something better in my budget.

Plus I need a suggestion for a macro lens, or if any of the above are good for macro use, then let me know, because I have no idea.

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Dylan Couper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2004, 05:36 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Syke, Germany
Posts: 249
Just had a look at your gallery, Dylan, very nice stuff! I like it.

I'm afraid, I don't have any suggestions for suitable lenses. Personally, however, I don't like the "all purpose" zooms (28-300 mm or similar) because they are slow, they usually have considerable distortion and a fall-off of 1/2 to 1 f-stop in the corners (is that correct english??).

I rather carry some big lenses around (well, I'm 47 now, may be in ten years...) like the 2.8/70-200mm L IS zoom, which is a hell of a lens. Almost no distortion, fast, sharp... and awfully heavy. It's out of your price range, I know, so why not consider some prime lenses? They are fast and offer best image quality at reasonable prices.

Back in the old days I used only prime lenses on my Rolleiflex 3003 and never missed the zooms. Though the quality of zoom lenses was not that impressive at that time.

Well, it's a difficult decision. But then, it's always nice to buy some new toys.
Keep rolling

Rainer Hoffmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2004, 07:36 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St.Thomas, Ontario, CANADA
Posts: 428
I suggest you look at the Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 lens.
I really like it. Constant F2.8 in a medium zoom lens is very nice. It compliments my 70-200 F4L very nicely.
I also have a 50mm MII and for the price you can't beat it. Everybody should have one.
Toogood Studios
Jeff Toogood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2004, 08:26 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,828

After market lenses are never a good investment in my opinion. Besides all of the usual concessions in sharpness, quality etc. they have a much shorter life span. All photographic lenses are coated. This coating degenerates over time and once it does the lens is a throw away item. This has never been an issue in many years of Nikon and Canon lens experience. I have seen it in Sigma after just a few years.

My answer to your question is always the same, if your going to buy one lens first and fill your quiver with additional tools later get the 35-350mm. It is big, heavy, slow, and not very smooth. It is also amazingly sharp. It covers an incredible focal range, making it the most versatile lens I own. Most importantly, it is manufactured to Canon “L” series quality standards to provide you with a lifetime of value. I have its entire focal length (and then some) covered with other Canon “L” lenses. The 35-350mm is still my workhorse because of its versatility, all of that range and NO compromise in image quality. Heavy? My photo back pack weighs in at about 50 lbs. What do I do to go light? I put the 35-350, one body, and a 550EX in a fanny pack and go.

Quality is a one way street. Every shot with a sharp lens is sharp, every shot with a soft lens is soft, it is not a sometimes thing. When you get that trophy shot with a cheap lens and it is soft in the middle and dark in the corners you can never go back.

I looked at your photo gallery, cool stuff! I would venture to guess that the majority of those shots could be handed by the 35-350mm?

Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2004, 12:19 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 149
If I shot Canon my two lenses would be a 17-40 f/4 and the 70-200 f/4. Yes they are a bit price for what you want (not as bad as the f/2.8 versions though) to spend although they do not compromise quality. After that I would get that new digital only wide angle Canon are offering.
I have used the Sigma telephoto you mentioned on my Nikon Body’s (F100 and D70) and well it sucked compared to my 80-400 VR. Not to mention on a DSLR 500mm is quite a stretch to hand hold with out VR/IS, especially with the maximum aperture being so small.
I also would not recommend the “super Zooms” such as the 28-200/300 for the reasons stated above.

Stick with good glass and you will see the full potential of the 10D.
Alex Ratson is offline   Reply

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