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Rex914
02-02-2005, 08:55 PM
Let's assume for a moment that I'm getting an EOS 20D.

I will skip the starter lens and jump straight to buying a few (2-3) lenses of my own instead. I do a LOT of food photography, but I'd also like to do some portraits. I will be shooting many shots in a low light situations (i.e. inside restaurants). Speed/performance is a key factor. I will not have the luxury of setting up shots and moving around. For now, I don't need anything on the telephoto end.

I'm currently looking at the following lenses. Please feel free to make suggestions. I don't have a specific budget, but image quality is important to me. I'll choose 1 lens from the following categories.

Primes
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 ($80)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM ($320) <--

Zooms
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM ($700)
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG MACRO ($400) <--
Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L USM ($1200) <--
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-4.5 IS USM ($430)

Are these reasonable choices given my intentions or should I consider different kinds of lenses to get the most out of my camera?

Also, what bag would you recommend getting? I would prefer a compact shoulder bag, enough to securely hold the camera and just a couple lenses.

timmciglobal
02-03-2005, 12:54 AM
The 28>135 has poor sharpness edge to edge.

A 50 1.4 and 17>40L both great lenses.

Tim

TenD
02-03-2005, 06:03 AM
The 17-40 is an excellent lens and the 50mm f/1.4 or 1.8 offer a very sharp lens and good low light performance. Take a look at the Tamrac Velocity 7 it will hold a couple of lenses and a body and then some. It will flip around on your shoulder and permit access to the camera from the front.

ReF
02-05-2005, 04:43 AM
well, i have 3 of the lenses you mentioned, all except the 50mm 1.4. they are all very good. the 28-135 is surprisingly sharp between 40-50mm at f11 (the range i've tested so far) and holds up extremely well against the other two. the corners are pretty darn sharp too; maybe this is due to the crop factor cropping out the soft corners that would otherwise appear on film. it's pretty sad when it comes to flare resistance though. the 17-40 performs better at the wide end, and maximum sharpness is around f8. maybe i expected too much of this lens, but it's performance is not what i had in mind. i think the 50mm f1.8 would be enough for most people (compared to the very expensive f1.4).
you'd probably be good with the 50mm f1.8 and the 17-40L f4 though a shallower DOF than f4 might be useful to you. i believe there is a sigma or tamron wide angle with f2.8 or something like that.

Rex914
02-07-2005, 07:20 PM
Has anybody worked with Tamron's 17-35 f/2.8-4 or Sigma's 20-40 f/2.8? It would be nice if I could step up to the 16-35L, but that's over my price range right now unless Canon does another rebate promotion in the future.

If there are any other lenses that you'd think would be good for my purpose (food photography), I'd like to hear about them.

D70FAN
02-08-2005, 02:34 PM
Has anybody worked with Tamron's 17-35 f/2.8-4 or Sigma's 20-40 f/2.8? It would be nice if I could step up to the 16-35L, but that's over my price range right now unless Canon does another rebate promotion in the future.

If there are any other lenses that you'd think would be good for my purpose (food photography), I'd like to hear about them.

The 20-40 f2.8 as well as the 17-35 f2.8-4 get pretty decent reviews. I'm sure that either would work fine. The 20-40 has a decent minimum focusing distance of about 11 inches (not sure about the 17-35).

If you google these lenses you can read some user reviews.

ReF
02-08-2005, 06:16 PM
Has anybody worked with Tamron's 17-35 f/2.8-4 or Sigma's 20-40 f/2.8? It would be nice if I could step up to the 16-35L, but that's over my price range right now unless Canon does another rebate promotion in the future.

If there are any other lenses that you'd think would be good for my purpose (food photography), I'd like to hear about them.

that extra background blur is really what you are going for huh? well the tamron is pretty well priced, and you can find a few reviews of all the lenses you are looking at on fredmiranda.com
at f4 you will need at least 5-6 inches of clearance behind the subject for any decent blur to begin (IMO). just remember that when you are not shooting food, the 17-40L have much better flare resistance than the canon 17-35L and most likely better than the tamron as well. flare is a big problem with wide angles lenses.
I should also mention that the 50mm f1.8 at it's minimum focus distance will get you a pretty large close-up shot. you can get so close that if you framed a CD with this lens, 1cm off both the top and bottom will be lost. you probably wouldn't need to get closer than that for food.

Rex914
02-08-2005, 07:41 PM
Interesting, you're saying that the 50mm would be great for the food eh? In that case, I may want to invest in the f/1.4 instead of the f/1.8 (for build quality more than gaining the extra 0.4). Makes sense that I'd be using that given that a good deal of my shots will be indoors with no flash.

ReF
02-10-2005, 05:17 PM
Interesting, you're saying that the 50mm would be great for the food eh? In that case, I may want to invest in the f/1.4 instead of the f/1.8 (for build quality more than gaining the extra 0.4 f-stop). Makes sense that I'd be using that given that a good deal of my shots will be indoors with no flash.

that might be a worthwhile investment. i've heard alot of people complain about the build quality of the 50mm f1.8 lenses that are available today, and i've even heard one account of the lens "falling apart" after constant use. just make sure the minimum focus distance of the f1.4 allows you to get close enough. there is also a 50mm macro that doubles as an everyday lens that you may want to look into. it is also by canon and should cost about the same or less than the f1.4

eagle17
02-10-2005, 06:55 PM
you could look around for a canon 20-35 f2.8L used. I just purchased one for a steal (it is pretty beat up) but i have seen great quality lenses for around $500 it is not as fast as the 17-35 or 16-35 L's (it does not have USM) but it is just as sharp and contrasty at the same focal lengths (20-35).

BTW the one I bought was $350. I see pretty often.

For what you are descibing I would also look at the sigma 24-70 macro 2.8 and the canon 20mm f2.8 primes but you will pay 300-500 for each of those.


the good news is there are a lot of choices out there just one word of advice I would always take a canon lens over a third party lens even with a 30% cost premium. I have not heard of anyone having to ever send a canon lens back to be "re-Chipped".

also as always if you do look into the used lens route make sure you are dealing with someone that has good local feed-back.

John

gary_hendricks
02-10-2005, 08:23 PM
The 17-40 is an excellent lens and the 50mm f/1.4 or 1.8 offer a very sharp lens and good low light performance. Take a look at the Tamrac Velocity 7 it will hold a couple of lenses and a body and then some. It will flip around on your shoulder and permit access to the camera from the front.


Yes, I have the Tamrac Velocity 7 too ... excellent product for its price.

Rex914
02-10-2005, 11:18 PM
How does the quality of the 24-70L compare to having several primes across that range? I'd be happy to invest in one or two good primes, but after that I'd rather let good quality zooms take over.

The macro lenses that were mentioned a couple times sound interesting. They can also serve as a normal lens too right?

jamison55
02-11-2005, 03:06 AM
No one has mentioned the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. It is an extremely sharp lens with a great build quality. I think I posted this picture before, but it's straight from the camera (a DReb): http://www.fphoto.org/jamiewexler//paige&ryand%20057p

I used to use my Canon 50 1.8 "plastic fantastic" for this type of shot, but now I find that I like the smoothness of tone and the slightly warmer colors of the Tamron. At $375 (+ a $40 rebate) this lens is a one of the best bargains out there.

TenD
02-11-2005, 06:10 AM
How does the quality of the 24-70L compare to having several primes across that range? I'd be happy to invest in one or two good primes, but after that I'd rather let good quality zooms take over.

As a general rule primes will always be sharper than a zoom lens at a given focal length. The great thing about a zoom lens is it offers convenience, you don't have to move your feet to change the FOV. The 24-70 by all accounts is a very good zoom, although early on there were a lot of complaints about quality control. A used 28-70 f/2.8L might be worth a look, it was long regarded as one of Canon's finest wide/mid zooms.

ReF
02-11-2005, 04:58 PM
As a general rule primes will always be sharper than a zoom lens at a given focal length. The great thing about a zoom lens is it offers convenience, you don't have to move your feet to change the FOV. The 24-70 by all accounts is a very good zoom, although early on there were a lot of complaints about quality control. A used 28-70 f/2.8L might be worth a look, it was long regarded as one of Canon's finest wide/mid zooms.

i agree. i like the pictures from my old 50mm f1.8 better than the ones from the $670 17-40L. but when i'm outdoors, the 50mm f1.8 almost never comes out of the bag because of the limited field of view. when i do get a shot off that lens though - WOW! if you are considering a 24-70mm then i would strongly recommend the tamron version. it is rated very highly and is a fraction of the cost for a canon. i personally would choose the tamron over the canon any day.

D70FAN
02-11-2005, 07:36 PM
No one has mentioned the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. It is an extremely sharp lens with a great build quality. I think I posted this picture before, but it's straight from the camera (a DReb): http://www.fphoto.org/jamiewexler//paige&ryand%20057p

I used to use my Canon 50 1.8 "plastic fantastic" for this type of shot, but now I find that I like the smoothness of tone and the slightly warmer colors of the Tamron. At $375 (+ a $40 rebate) this lens is a one of the best bargains out there.

Yes I definately concur. I finally used the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 over at the camera store this week, and at 50mm it's every bit as sharp as my Nikkor 50mm f1.8. A beautiful piece of lens work. As soon as the feds pay me back this lens will find it's way into my kit... Or maybe sooner.

Rex914
02-11-2005, 10:49 PM
Do they make something similar that goes slightly wider than 28-75? With the 1.6 crop factor that comes out to something like 44.8-120... That's why I find 24-70 to be a pretty good compromise.

jamison55
02-12-2005, 03:28 AM
Do they make something similar that goes slightly wider than 28-75? With the 1.6 crop factor that comes out to something like 44.8-120...

Tamron makes a 17-35 f2.8-4 that is pretty highly regarded: http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=191&sort=7&cat=43&page=1

I tried one in the store, and it seemed to hold up pretty well against the 17-40 f4L that I was testing as well. Looks to make a pretty fine companion to the 28-75...

Rex914
02-12-2005, 10:38 PM
I've been using my current camera to check the focal lengths I use the most, and I found a bit to my surprise that I use something around 60-80mm (actual) the most. That fits the 50mm prime really well. (I could also imagine a good 35mm prime doing the trick too on the wider end.)

Does Canon make an L version of the 50mm? Since I'll be using that range a lot, I would be very willing to invest in one and then I could worry about the rest at a later date.

ReF
02-13-2005, 03:20 AM
I've been using my current camera to check the focal lengths I use the most, and I found a bit to my surprise that I use something around 60-80mm (actual) the most. That fits the 50mm prime really well. (I could also imagine a good 35mm prime doing the trick too on the wider end.)

Does Canon make an L version of the 50mm? Since I'll be using that range a lot, I would be very willing to invest in one.

no 50mm L. not sure it can get any better than the f1.4 anyways. good news for your wallet!

TenD
02-13-2005, 08:55 AM
Canon did make an "L" 50mm but it is outrageously expensive(around $2500)and from what I have heard not super user friendly.

Rex914
02-13-2005, 01:00 PM
Hmm, it would be nice if they made something like a 50mm f/1.2 L. Looking over some reviews of the 1.0, it did indeed look more like a specialized tool rather than a pumped up USM lens.

The only qualms I have about the 1.4 (which is still leagues better than the 1.8 in build quality) is that it doesn't use a "true" USM motor and that its build quality, while acceptable, could be better given its $300 price point. I'm not asking for L build quality at that range, but Canon could have done more for the price.

I took a look at the reviews for Sigma's 24-70. Sounds good except for one annoyance and one possible dealbreaker. The annoyance is the noisy motor (it has no HSM). The dealbreaker is its trouble with focusing properly. That could just be isolated, but I caught it mentioned multiple times so it can't be ignored. Other than that, I really like it and the $400 price tag is hard to beat.

D70FAN
02-13-2005, 08:30 PM
Hmm, it would be nice if they made something like a 50mm f/1.2 L. The only qualms I have about the 1.4 (which is still leagues better than the 1.8) is that it doesn't use a "true" USM motor and that its build quality, while acceptable, could be better given its $300+ price point. I'm not asking for L quality at that range, but Canon could have done more for the price.

I took a look at the reviews for Sigma's 24-70. Sounds good except for one annoyance and one possible dealbreaker. The annoyance is the noisy motor (it has no HSM). The dealbreaker is its trouble with focusing properly. That could just be isolated, but I caught it mentioned multiple times so it can't be ignored...

Hey. It's your money. And just what would a 50mm f1.2 buy you that a f1.4 could not? Or even an f1.8 compared to the "leagues better" f1.4? A league is quite a bit.

The Canon lens division is going to just love you, as will the dealer.

Here is an FD 50mm f1.2 I found on e-bay. $275.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=48552&item=3873120369&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

Rex914
02-13-2005, 08:59 PM
Actually, since I'm going to buy all my lenses locally (for easy returns should something go wrong), my choices aren't as varied as I'd like. The store that I'm considering has extremely good service and prices, but they don't carry everything (they only carry first party lenses). If I have to go third party, the only stores that come to mind are the Ritz/Wolf camera stores and their expensive prices.

Interesting link. That thing can really go for $275 when it originally cost something like $1500? Guess the "defects" he mentions are probably the cause.

ReF
02-14-2005, 01:55 AM
Canon did make an "L" 50mm but it is outrageously expensive(around $2500)and from what I have heard not super user friendly.

so they did, but not anymore, right? i checked canon's site before my last reply and didn't see it.

D70FAN
02-14-2005, 05:17 AM
Actually, since I'm going to buy all my lenses locally (for easy returns should something go wrong), my choices aren't as varied as I'd like. The store that I'm considering has extremely good service and prices, but they don't carry everything (they only carry first party lenses). If I have to go third party, the only stores that come to mind are the Ritz/Wolf camera stores and their expensive prices.

Interesting link. That thing can really go for $275 when it originally cost something like $1500? Guess the "defects" he mentions are probably the cause.

Your camera store should be able to order lenses. Here is a good site to get an idea of what they should cost (and a good store in general).

http://www.normancamera.com/shop/searchresults.asp?ProdManList=ALL&ProdTypeList=35mm+Lenses

The point was that you really don't need an f1.2. ;)

Rex914
02-14-2005, 03:13 PM
Your camera store should be able to order lenses. Here is a good site to get an idea of what they should cost (and a good store in general).

http://www.normancamera.com/shop/searchresults.asp?ProdManList=ALL&ProdTypeList=35mm+Lenses

The point was that you really don't need an f1.2. ;)

Those prices look just about right (if a little on the low side for a few of them). Thanks for the link.

By the way, is this Sigma lens (http://www.normancamera.com/shop/SearchResults.asp?ProdStock=546) the macro version or the old version? I've heard that the macro version is a lot better than the first version of this lens.

I still have quite a bit of time before I actually make my final purchase (not allowed to buy until school ends). I'll still be shooting a lot with my old camera between now and then, and I'll probably find out more about what I shoot the most and how I shoot, so I can come to the best decision in the end.

p.s. I just wish that Canon would come out with a revision to the 50mm 1.4 to rectify those few problems and get its act together on the build quality. I know this is an isolated case, but it shows that the 1.4 isn't invincible (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=12250252). A 50mm f/1.4 II USM would be perfect.