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Rex914
05-10-2005, 11:14 PM
DCRP Lens Buyers Guide
Version 3.7 - July 2008

Thanks to calpchen for hosting all of the images.


Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Figuring out your needs
3 What determines price?
4 Apertures and IS
5 Extenders
6 MTF Charts

7 Lens Recommendations
8 Conclusion
9 Links/Resources

I. Introduction

Buying a lens for your new DSLR can turn out to be a more difficult decision than deciding which DSLR or brand to buy. For each system, there are dozens upon dozens of choices on the market ranging from a lowly $50 all the way up to a bank breaking $10,000+.

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661950-L.jpg

This guide will help you choose the right lens(es) given your needs and your budget.


II. Figuring out Your Needs

The first step towards buying a lens is asking yourself what kinds of subjects you shoot the most. That’s where the bulk of your investment needs to go initially. Ask yourself questions like the following...

- Do I shoot indoors or outdoors?
- Do I take pictures of closer things or farther things?
- Do I take photos of fast moving objects (i.e. action, sports)?
- Do I want to take portraits or do weddings?
- Do I like hiking around to take pictures of wildlife and nature?
- Am I into macro photography?
- Do I take pictures of landscapes, interiors, and/or architecture?
- Do I prefer more compact, convenient lenses or more bulky, inconvenient lenses that will help me take "better" pictures?

These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself. Once you find out what your needs are, you need to decide what your budget is and how many lenses you plan to buy. If your lens budget is in the range of…

Under $300

In this range, a solid 3rd party all-purpose lens will be your best bet. Hopefully, you won't be in tricky situations like indoor sports, concerts or indoor venues where flash is prohibited.

$300-$600

In this range, you have a little more room to work with. You still can’t afford a “premium” first-party (Canon/Nikon) lens, but you can comfortably buy a top-grade 3rd party lens with money to spare for a 50mm prime (for low light situations).

Above $600

When you have a little more money to work with, you can start looking at entry-level premium lenses. However, these may not work for tricky situations like indoor, low-light photography. For those situations, you will want to look at lenses with large apertures of at least f/2.8. You may also want to opt for a prime instead.

Either way, refrain from buying more than 2 lenses at the outset. Buy slowly and constantly evaluate what you need. You may end up changing your mind once you start shooting.

Reminder!

Whichever lens(es) you decide to purchase, be sure to actually try them out in the store before buying! Make sure you’re comfortable with the build of the lens as well as its weight. And most importantly, make sure that its optical quality meets your expectations.

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661957-L.jpg

Bring along a memory card and see how the shots come out at home. There's no way you can evaluate image quality through the preview LCD, even a 3.5" one!

III. What determines price?

If you are looking at lenses and their prices for the first time, you may be quite bewildered at the pricing scheme. It may be counter intuitive at first to see that the lenses with the widest ranges (the highest "optical zoom") tend to be the cheapest while the ones with the most restrictive ranges tend to be the most expensive.

But once you understand how several key factors play into the final cost of a lens, you’ll understand why certain lenses can cost thousands while seemingly similar ones can cost only hundreds.

There are two primary factors that determine the price of a lens. These are focal length and aperture.

Focal Length

The cheapest lenses are the ones that are easiest to make. The easiest lenses to make are those that are close to the 50mm mark*. The farther the focal length deviates from 50mm (percentage-wise), the more costly it will be. It is much trickier to design a 10mm or a 500mm lens than 50mm lens.

Moreover, we must take into account the fact that most digital SLR's use sensors whose area is smaller than that of 35mm film. This is where the crop factor originates and is why people commonly say to multiply a lenses focal length by 1.5x or 1.6x to get its true length.

* Precisely speaking, the "normal" focal length is defined as the length of the diagonal dimension of the medium. For film this is approximately 43.2mm (24mm x 36mm). Calibrating this to 50mm is a simplification, so that we can make our calculations easier.


http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661964-L.jpg
(Comparison between a 50mm to a 1200mm lens)

Aperture

The bigger factor into cost is how large the aperture is. The larger the aperture is (indicated by a small f-number), the more costly a lens is. This is why two lenses with the same focal lengths can differ by $1000. Notice how the lenses with large apertures have huge, fat barrels while the small aperture lenses are skinny and compact.

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661970-L.jpg
(Comparison between a small aperture and large aperture lens)

There are other features that factor into the final cost such as build quality and the inclusion of ED (extra low dispersion) elements for reducing Chromatic Abberation (abbreviated CA and known as "purple fringing").


IV. How big an aperture do I need? Do I need IS?

Bigger apertures are better, but they cost you a lot of extra money. Why do you need a bigger aperture anyways? There are several reasons for wanting a big aperture.

Bigger apertures are most commonly used in situations where there’s poor lighting and if you cannot use flash. To take a picture, the camera will either need a bigger aperture or it will need to make the shutter speed slower to expose the shot properly. Using a larger ISO value (1600, 3200) will help too, but going too high may sometimes introduce unwanted noise into the picture. If you are handholding the shot in this situation, the need for a bigger aperture is that much more important because a slower shutter speed will lead to camera shake and blurriness.

You will also need a bigger aperture when you want to blur the background in a shot. When you use a larger aperture, the depth of field becomes shallow, placing only closer things (to the focus point) in focus, leaving the rest out of focus, or blurred. Conversely, when you use a smaller aperture, the depth of field becomes deeper, making a larger part of the image in focus.

Diaphragm Blades and "Bokeh"

The other major factor when it comes to blurring the background is how many diaphragm blades there are. This affects the the "bokeh" (a Japanese word which literally means "blur"), describing how well a lens handles out of focus areas of an image. Having more blades (7-9) is better than having fewer (5). Bad bokeh can be characterized by the presence of distinct geometric shapes (like pentagons or hexagons) instead of smooth circles when certain elements are blurred out.

Do I need IS?

Image Stabilization (IS) is a technology that can reduce the need for a larger aperture if you are handholding shots in low light. In layman's terms, it is a "virtual tripod." In situations where you cannot bring along a tripod, IS can make a difference between a photo that's a keeper and one that heads to the trash bin.

In practice, IS will gain you about 2 full stops (3-4 for newer generation lenses), but your mileage will vary depending on how advanced the technology in the lens is and technique. To put things into context, I've heard of people who were able to handhold shots at shutter speeds of 1/4 sec!

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661976-L.jpg
(Right - IS off, Left - IS on)

Beware that IS does NOT help when the subject moves. While IS may still help you handhold the shot, you will still need a fast lens to obtain a faster shutter speed that will freeze the action.

Like everything else, IS is a useful tool but is not a substitute for skill. You still need to hold your camera still and use proper technique.

What apertures do I need?

If you are doing available-light indoor photography, f/2.8 is the bare minimum. I recommend f/2.0 or larger.

If you are doing indoor sports or action photography, f/2.0 and larger is virtually required, so you can get fast shutter speeds to freeze the action in addition to bumping up the ISO to 800 or 1600.

If you are working in decent light (i.e. outdoors), f/4 will work just fine. If you work mostly outdoors in great lighting, f/5.6 and above will suffice. If you plan on bringing a monopod or a tripod to stabilize things, you can even get away with even smaller apertures.


V. What is an extender?

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661983-L.jpg

An extender is a special kind of lens which mounts itself between the main lens and your camera. As its name suggests, an extender increases the focal length of your lens by some set amount. At this moment, there are two kinds of extenders, 1.4x and 2.0x. As a quick example, if you have a 100mm lens, the 1.4x and 2.0x extenders will transform the focal length into 140mm and 200mm respectively.

For this reason alone, extenders can be quite useful in extending the reach of your lenses at a relatively low cost while taking less space.

As always though, there's a tradeoff when you gain convenience. You sacrifice image quality, and the lens becomes "slower." Here's an explanation for both points.

1) You might recall that f-stop is a simple ratio between the diameter of the aperture of the lens (how big the hole is) and the focal length of the lens. For example, a 50mm lens with a 25mm diameter has an f-stop value of 2, hence the f/2 branding. Naturally, this means then that doubling the focal length will double the f-stop value, causing you to lose TWO whole stops. Using a 1.4x extender makes you lose ONE stop. If the f-stop value gets too high, sometimes auto focus will no longer function. Check with your manufacturer for exact details.

2) Extenders also degrade image quality, especially if you use a 2x extender. Think of an extender as a magnifying glass for a moment. If an extender is a magnifying glass, all of the "faults" in a lens will effectively become that much more noticeable. For examples, images may be softer, be more distorted or may lack contrast. But this is the price you pay for convenience. I'm sure that most of us would be happy lugging around a 200mm lens with an extender rather than a 400mm lens and a tripod.

To sum it up, extenders are useful tools for getting more utility out of your lens collection. I personally recommend buying a 1.4x converter as the degradation in speed and image quality is less noticeable in practice. If you start with a very good lens, you may not notice a difference at all!


VI. How do I read MTF charts? (For the Adventurous)

MTF stands for Modulation Transfer Function. You don't need to understand what the heck that means to read an MTF chart.

An MTF chart gives us a visual representation of how well a lens performs. It gives us a good idea of how contrasty and sharp a lens is in laboratory testing.

Here are two sample MTF charts from Canon. For simplicity, I have chosen 2 primes. The first chart is for the 135 f/2 L. The second chart is for the 50mm f/1.8.

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/app/images/lens/ef_135_2mtf.gif http://consumer.usa.canon.com/app/images/lens/ef_50_18mtf.gif
(Source: Canon USA)

The vertical axis represents contrast, ranging from 0% to 100%. An ideal lens would take in 100% of the light, but that never happens in practice. So, the higher a line is, the more contrast the lens has, which is good.

The horizontal axis represents the distance for a sample point from the center of the image in millimeters. It is typically the case that quality suffers as you move towards the edge, but that isn't always true as you can see with the 135L.

Ignore the dotted lines for a moment. The black lines represent the lens performance wide-open. The blue lines represent its performance at f/8. Obviously, stopping a lens down will result in better contrast and sharpness. The best lenses will differ little when stopped down, meaning they can be used wide-open! This means you want the black and blue lines to be as close to each other as possible as you can see once again with the 135L.

If you look carefully, you'll notice that for each pair of lines (black and blue), there is a thicker line and a thinner line. The thick line tells you specifically about contrast while the thin line tells you specifically about sharpness.

Finally, what do the dotted lines represent? Rather than go into the technical jargon of what they are, you are looking for these lines to be close to each other. They represent the quality of the "bokeh."

MTF charts shouldn't be taken as the ultimate word on everything as they are yet just another bunch of numbers, but they are usually pretty accurate. Their weakness though is that they don't reveal everything about a lens.

BOTTOM LINE: A good MTF chart doesn't necessarily lead to great performance in real world photos and vice-versa.

Rex914
05-10-2005, 11:15 PM
VII. Lens Recommendations

These recommendations are geared towards a budget-minded DSLR buyer. I've also included some nicer lenses that are popular choices for those who've outgrown kit lenses and wish to upgrade.

The prevailing theme is: Less is more. Spend your money on fewer lenses rather than spreading your money out. It's better to acquire lenses slowly but steadily. Buy one lens at a time and evaluate your needs. Never buy a lens for the sake of buying a lens!

Disclaimer: Prices are estimates taken from Amazon.com as of the time of this post. I do NOT count rebates in the price, so please check with your preferred merchant before buying.


A) Starting Out?
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The following 4 setups are the among the most common starting kits I've come across.

Setup A ($250 and up) - Single Convenience Lens

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661994-L.jpg

Recommended for those who want one lens to handle it all. These are perfect lenses for traveling when portability is a concern. These lenses compromise some quality because of the large range, but the upside is that you can figure out what focal lengths you use the most and work from there.

Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 ($250)
Cheap and good price-performance. A great traveling lens.

Sigma 18-200mm OS f/3.5-6.3 ($450)
A solid and versatile lens for non-Nikon users.

Nikon 18-200mm VR f/3.5-5.6 ($680)
The current king of convenience lenses. It's not flawless, so make sure you try this lens out before you buy.


Setup B ($300 and up) - Single "Walkaround" Lens

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181662002-L.jpg

A walkaround lens is another name for standard zoom lens. These lenses are faster and better in optical quality than convenience lenses, but they lose range and portability. They also cost more.

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 ($350)
A solid replacement for a kit lens.Great optical quality (sharp!) and fairly fast.

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 ($450)
This Tamron lens is widely regarded as the cream of the crop for third party lenses. Highly recommended if you are after a constant aperture zoom lens.


Setup C (add $80) - "Walkaround Lens" + Prime

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181662008-L.jpg

Pair any of the lenses above with the 50mm f/1.8 prime. The prime is ideal for portraits, available-light photography and more.


Setup D ($700 and up) - Prosumer Lenses

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/181661942-L.jpg

For those who want something more than the entry level. These lenses aren't cheap, but they are lasting investments that will serve you well.

Canon 17-40mm f/4 L ($700)
A popular choice for those who want to splurge on a quality wide-angle lens with top-notch build quality and autofocus. As good as this is, consider the EF-S 17-55 if you are not using a full-frame body.

Canon 70-200mm f/4 L ($600)
Arguably Canon's most popular lens. It's one of the best zoom lenses on the market (optically speaking) and comes at a moderate price. If f/4 is OK for you, look no further. The IS version costs $1100.

Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS ($1000)
The best of the best when it comes to a standard zoom lens. L-class optical quality, L-class autofocus and an L-class price to boot. Alas, build quality is a bit weak relative to the price point, but this is the best lens for an APS-C body at the moment.

Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS ($1100)
A convenient standard zoom lens at a premium price. The focal length is a little awkward to use on an APS-C body, but if it fits your needs better than the 17-55, it's a good choice.


B) Convenience Lenses
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The rest of this guide splits up lenses into various categories. This category contains compact, super-convenient lenses which are good for outdoor shots and for budget-minded photographers.

Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 ($250) – It's not without its flaws, but it's a convenient starter lens and also good for vacations. For $100 more, you can get the 18-200, a similar lens with longer reach. For $100 more, you can add image stabilization to either lens.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS ($550) - A popular alternative to the kit lens. It has its flaws, but it's a convenient lens for traveling and general use.

Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX ($680) - This is a very good lens relative to other "convenience lenses," but it still has its shortcomings. Try before you buy.


C) Walkaround Lenses
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If you want a wide or standard zoom lens, put these at the top of your list. These are less versatile than the do-it-all lenses, but they are faster and have better optics.

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 ($350) - An excellent alternative to a kit lens at a slightly higher price. This lens is sharp throughout its range and roughly replicates a classic 28-105 lens.

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 ($450) - A spectacular lens for APS-C cameras. If you're in the market for a quality standard zoom with a fixed aperture but can't splurge on the Canon 17-55 IS, this is the one to get.

Canon 17-40mm f/4 L ($700) – Arguably Canon's most popular lens, this great wide-angle walkaround lens can be used everywhere as long as the lighting is good. While third party alternatives are budget friendly, the Canon still trumps them in focus speed/accuracy and build quality.

Canon/Nikon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 ($230) - One of the best bargains out there and is easily one of the best consumer zooms available. It beats a kit lens by a long shot, but it's less convenient due to the crop factor. Do not confuse with the f/4-5.6 variations which are cheaper and far worse in quality.


D) Telephoto Zooms
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Need that extra reach to capture distant subjects? If you are on a tight budget, I highly recommend buying a decent walkaround lens first and then dealing with telephoto later. In addition, you'll learn how to use the camera and be able to better evaluate your situation when the time comes to buy your second lens.

There are lots of choices, but my top recommendations are the Sigma 70-300 APO for budget users, the 70-200 f/4 L for discerning users, and the Canon 70-300 IS for everybody else.


APS-C Telephoto Zooms

Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX ($600) – A compact and economical alternative to a classic 70-200 lens for APS-C cameras. Optically sound, but early adopters are reporting front focusing issues. Try before you buy.

Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 EX ($700) – A similar lens to the Sigma, without the front focusing issues but with a reduced range.


Up to 200mm

Canon 70-200mm f/4 L ($600) - An entry-level L lens which is a big leap up from consumer telephoto lenses. Stunning optical quality as long as you aren't taking low light shots. Lightweight and compact enough to bring everywhere. One common use of this lens is for zoo/short-range wildlife photography.

Nikon 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 VR ($250) - A cheap telephoto kit lens that has image stabilization. Recommended for those starting out. Don't expect much, but having VR at this price is a boon. Canon has a similar lens (55-250 IS).


300mm+

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG ($200) - If you need a telephoto lens and only have $200 to spend, this is the lens to buy. Be sure to buy the APO version.

Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS ($550) - Canon has replaced its popular 75-300 IS with a brand new version that contains a UD element, an updated IS mechanism and an updated body. This is a much sharper and better lens than the old version. Some consider it to be close to the 70-200/4 L mentioned above.

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR ($530) - Similar to the Canon lens, with some of the same strengths and flaws.


Worth a Mention (Good but flawed choices)

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG ($750) – An alternative to the first party offerings for hundreds less, IF you get a good copy. Be sure that your merchant accepts exchanges, or be ready to send to Sigma for calibration. I'm only including this here because it's a nice lens when it works properly.

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 ($700) – A cheap and fairly lightweight alternative to first party offerings. Optically equivalent to first party offerings, but early reviews and user reports find that autofocus speed and accuracy are disappointing. Try before you buy.


E) Ultra Wide Zooms
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With the advent of digital bodies with a crop factor came the need for ultra-wide lenses to make up for lost coverage at the wide end. Consequently, almost all of these lenses are only suitable for such bodies and if used on a full-frame camera, will exhibit vignetting. In general, there are a lot of ultra-wide lenses on the market, and most of them are pretty good. The first party offerings are better, but like always, they may not be worth twice the price.

What may sway your decision most (besides price) may be how each lens fits into your current lens lineup. Because each one starts and stops at different focal lengths, what works for one person may not work for you.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 ($700) – This is a sharp, relatively distortion-free (for this focal length) lens that has L-class optics. Don't be misled by the f/3.5-4.5 designation. It's f/3.5 up to 20mm and f/4.5 for the last 2mm.

Tokina 12-24mm f/4 ATX-PRO ($470) – This lens is a great alternative to first party ultra wide lenses. Build quality is superb, and the image quality is similar. The newly released 11-16/2.8 is even better.

The other good third party lens to look at is the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX ($470). It's not perfect, but it's similar to the Tokina. I would avoid the Tamron 11-18 which is more expensive and has more faults than the Tokina and Sigma. Nikon has a similar lens that is similar to the Canon and Tokina, but it's priced close to $1000, putting it out of range for most.


F) Primes
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Primes are the best bangs for the buck if you need them. You lose flexibility, but you gain it all back in sharpness (especially wide-open), low distortion, less lens flare, and less ghosting.

Do you shoot indoor sports like hockey or indoor action? Do you shoot indoors in low-light in places where flash is prohibited? If you work in these kinds of tricky conditions, consider these lenses. Primes are also superb for portraits though high grade zooms also do the trick.

I am only listing shorter primes (less than 200mm) here.

50mm f/1.8 (< $100) – Should be part of everybody’s collection. If you use this prime a lot and you own a Canon body, step up to the f/1.4 version for the better build quality and better optics.

85mm f/1.8 ($360) – An ideal lens for candids and portraits. Also works as a short range telephoto lens in low light. Canon offers a similar 100mm f/2 lens for a little more if 85mm is too short for you.

Canon 135mm f/2 L ($900) – This is one of Canon’s best lenses. This gem will serve you extremely well if you shoot indoor sports or concerts. It's also a superb portrait lens. Nikon has a similar lens, but it costs more.

Canon 200mm f/2.8 L ($700) - This lens is very similar in quality and size to the 135 and is a great, compact alternative to a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom which is heavy and attention grabbing.

You may notice that I have not listed any wide primes here. Generally speaking, consumer-grade wide primes aren't a whole lot better than quality wide zooms. You are better off buying a quality zoom instead.


G) Macro Lenses
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In a gist, macro lenses let you get closer to your subject than a normal lens can, effectively letting you fill up the frame with a small subject. This is how small subjects like bees and flowers can appear "magnified." Macro lenses can also double as standard lenses. The downside? They tend to have higher f-stop numbers than an equivalent lens, and they also tend to hunt a bit in low light.

Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX Macro ($230) – A good bang for the buck. This lens renders life size images (1:1) as opposed to the Canon model which only has 0.5x magnification (1:2).

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro ($370) - Although it's an EF-S lens, this is a spectacular macro lens made to replicate a classic 100mm macro lens. Sharpness is top notch. Great for product photography. I personally use it for taking pictures of food.

Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro ($400) – Popular telephoto macro. The Canon/Nikon 100mm versions are better (particularly in focusing) but cost more. The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX ($350) is also very similar to the Tamron.

Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX APO Macro HSM ($650) - Sharpness is undeniably good though focusing speed is lacking compared to first party choices. Sigma also makes a popular 150mm macro lens if 180mm is a bit too long.

Summary: It's hard to go wrong with any dedicated macro lens. Just pick the focal length(s) you need, and you're set!


VIII. Conclusion

I hope that you now have a better idea of what lenses to get for your brand new DSLR. Even if you are still unsure about what to get, you should now be a more informed buyer, and you will make a better decision about what lens to buy in the end.


IX. Resources

These are sites that supply ratings and/or reviews for various lenses. Take what they say with a grain of salt. They’re good for doing a “sanity check” and making sure the lens you want isn’t a dud, but don’t take what they say as the absolute truth. Look for general trends in what users say and see if those comments really affect you.

Lens Specification Charts

- Canon (http://www.usa.canon.com/eflenses/pdf/spec.pdf)
- Nikon (http://www.nikon-image.com/eng/Nikkor_Lenses/af_spec.pdf)

Lens Reviews

- Our lens reviews (DCRP) (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15252)
- Lightrules (Detailed Lens Comparisons) (http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/lenstests)

- Photozone (Full reviews) (http://www.photozone.de/)
- The Digital Picture (Full Reviews and Comparisons) (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/)
- Fred Miranda (numbers and user comments) (http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/)
- Photodo (all numbers) (http://www.photodo.com/nav/prodindex.html)
- William Castleman (lens comparisons) (http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/index.htm)

Bullitt
05-10-2005, 11:40 PM
Very good post Rex, thank you for the information...

jeisner
05-10-2005, 11:42 PM
Another factor that effects price other than aperture and focal length is the number of ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) elements, if any, these reduce chromatic aberration...

Suggestion for a cheap telephoto (for daylight outdoor use) is the Sigma 55-200 amazing value for money, good suggestion for a first tele lens...



If you are doing available-light indoor photography, f/2.8 is a must.

Should read 2.8 is an absolute bare minimum ;)


You will also need a bigger aperture when you want to blur the background in a shot

The quality of the bokeh is also important, the number of Diaphragm blades plays a part in this 7 or 9 is better... (lot more to it than this, but it is a contributing factor)


Under Primes you may mention they tend to (on average) have less distortion than zooms, less prone to flare and ghosting and are generally sharper (esp wide open)... may explain it is this way as they are have less glass-to-air surfaces.

TheObiJuan
05-11-2005, 12:33 AM
Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 costs $700- 750 new at many places.

Rex914
05-11-2005, 03:21 PM
Thanks for all your comments. I will revise the guide very soon. Because I'm treading on 10k chars, it will probably spill over into the second post.

Please link me to a mainstream online retailer selling it for the prices mentioned. I checked Amazon, BHPhoto, etc., and they all sell between $800-$900.

jeisner
05-11-2005, 04:11 PM
looking good rex

aparmley
05-11-2005, 05:37 PM
The telephoto lenses that were recommended are a little pricey... :mad: ... I was thinking it may be an important element to the article to add a telephoto lens for the tight budgeted amateur photographer, like....ME :D

I have had others suggest the Sigma 70-300mm APO Super Macro II [priced approx. $219.00] ... lots of good quality images over at pbase.com and a lot of people using it? What do you think??

TheObiJuan
05-11-2005, 06:22 PM
I have that lens and it is a good consumer lens, but comes no where near the canon/sigma 70-200. The sigma 70-300 is super loud, slow to focus, and is maxed out at f/4-5.6. The lens needs to be stopped down atleast 1 stop to be sharp too.
For what it costs, it is great though.
I put on a 1.4TC today and will post the pics.

jeisner
05-11-2005, 06:46 PM
The telephoto lenses that were recommended are a little pricey... :mad: ... I was thinking it may be an important element to the article to add a telephoto lens for the tight budgeted amateur photographer, like....ME :D

I have had others suggest the Sigma 70-300mm APO Super Macro II [priced approx. $219.00] ... lots of good quality images over at pbase.com and a lot of people using it? What do you think??

I agree for people who don't use telephoto much or who want a cheap alternative this would be a good idea.. This is why I suggested the Sigma 50-200 4-5.6 in my post earlier the macro super II is also a good suggestion as is the Tamron 70-300 LD Macro...

Obviously these are not in the class as the constant 2.8/4s like the sigma 70-200 or 100-300 f4 (and others) but not all users (and esp I would guess users who will find this write-up most usefull) will want to spend US$700+ on a telephoto right away...

Rex914
05-11-2005, 06:47 PM
The telephoto lenses that were recommended are a little pricey... :mad: ... I was thinking it may be an important element to the article to add a telephoto lens for the tight budgeted amateur photographer, like....ME :D

I have had others suggest the Sigma 70-300mm APO Super Macro II [priced approx. $219.00] ... lots of good quality images over at pbase.com and a lot of people using it? What do you think??

If you read carefully, I recommended getting a far reaching convenience lens instead of opting for a cheaper telephoto zoom. That's my rationale behind dropping any recommendations for those lenses.

I'm up to debate about this. I'm in the bandwagon of "less is more." Buy less but do it well and grow your collection slowly.

Khyron
05-11-2005, 09:56 PM
Sigma 18-50 f/2.8? Seems to have gotten good reviews as a decent entry wide angle? Paired with a 70-200 f/4 for a 1100?

Khyron

Rex914
05-11-2005, 10:04 PM
It's gotten some very, very mixed reviews, so I left it off. This list isn't meant to be comprehensive in any way. It's just what a lot of people buy when they start out. This should leave off the need for "What lens should I buy for my XT/D70?" threads.

If you can get me several (substantial) reviews of the 18-50, I'll be happy to consider.

Rhys
05-12-2005, 08:55 AM
One problem - you're quoting prices which keep changing.

Rex914
05-12-2005, 10:50 AM
I will continue updating the prices as they drop. Prices are there just to give people a very rough idea of what they'll be spending.

aparmley
05-12-2005, 06:23 PM
I completely understand your recommendation of getting a solid walk around lens instead of a mediocre telephoto, but when the walk around lens won't cut it and $600.00 - $[insert price] is a slap in the face and will most likely never be a realistic possibility unless I save for a long long time... then what? I might as well throw rocks at the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, etc... than to walk up to them and find that perfect distance for my 125mm limit to be useful, that is assuming I follow the advice and purchase the Sigma 18-125mm 3.5-5.6, Which Blue has already convenced me to purchase with his results! My parents have a hug population of finches, wood peckers, squirrels, chipmunks, humming birds, you name it... all feeding in peace together in their backyard, only problem is that I have been unable to get close enough with my 114mm range on my A95 and clearly my 50mm on my xt no where near long enough... I am not sure about the 200mm lenght.. I do not know if that will be long enough... I would love to be able to borrow one for a day and find out but, lets face it, theres no "lens-buster" out there where I can.. wait a minute.. Can you rent equipment? lenses and such??? but wait... 100/day rental fee is just the kinda thing that wouldn't make sense to me, thats a lot of damn money... maybe it would be worth it?? IDK... flingerflemminflammer.. :eek: ;)

Rex914
05-12-2005, 07:15 PM
I've been gathering data on which cheap telephotos are good, but it's taking some time. Telephotos either lie in the $200 range or jump straight up to the $550 Canon 70-200 f/4 L (can be had as low as $500 after rebate). The ones at $200 suffice, but most tend to have the usual suspects tied to them. I'll see what I can do in a few days...

But going back to the deal with the 18-125. Would it be better to have that for $250 and have to pay $200 more for a dedicated telephoto or pay $400 total for an 18-200? Of course, if you do use 300mm, that's a whole different story and that will require a different strategy...

aparmley
05-12-2005, 07:53 PM
Well Hey don't go blind researching things on my behalf... I just thought it may be a good area to cover as I would think there may be a lot of people out there interested in it. There was a guy who just recently posted "My first rebel xt gallery" He was using the Sigma 70-300mm super macro lens and was talking about the softness of it in low light... I looked at his duck pictures and I didn't find them to be soft and they are completely exceptable to me so realizing this I now know what kinda ball of wax we are dealing with here as there is no universal yard stick to measure these things with... everyone has their own view on what is sharp was isn't... so... ?? IDK..

Rex914
05-12-2005, 08:04 PM
IMO, to a point, sharpness is pretty clear cut. It's just definining what that point is. It's the other things like saturation and contrast that are a lot more subjective.

I took a look at the photos. If you view the originals, they are a bit soft, especially considering that this was shot at f/8, but once you compress the image down, it's hardly noticeable.

I'm going to sit and wait and see if I get any more recommendations for 75-300mm lenses (or really anything that reaches 300mm). So far, I've only seen 1 and that's yours. The other recommended one was 55-200, and that's not exactly super telephoto.

Mr. Peabody
05-12-2005, 08:36 PM
IMO, to a point, sharpness is pretty clear cut. It's just definining what that point is. It's the other things like saturation and contrast that are a lot more subjective.

I took a look at the photos. If you view the originals, they are a bit soft, especially considering that this was shot at f/8, but once you compress the image down, it's hardly noticeable.

I'm going to sit and wait and see if I get any more recommendations for 75-300mm lenses (or really anything that reaches 300mm). So far, I've only seen 1 and that's yours. The other recommended one was 55-200, and that's not exactly super telephoto.


Speaking of 75-300mm lenses, I have the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS (USM). I use it for outdoor sports shots. It's great IMO. It only costs about $400.

Rex914
05-12-2005, 08:42 PM
I was considering that one, but for $400, you can almost get the 70-200 L, not too shabby. But then again, that one only goes to 200, so it all works out in the end. I'll take all recommendations between now and next Wednesday and choose the final ones from that bunch.

Mr. Peabody
05-12-2005, 08:47 PM
I was considering that one, but for $400, you can almost get the 70-200 L, not too shabby. But then again, that one only goes to 200, so it all works out in the end. I'll take all recommendations between now and next Wednesday and choose the final ones from that bunch.

Which lense are you talking about exactly? My dream lense is the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L lense with IS. It runs about $1600. When I get that lense, I'm going to buy one of those extenders for it.

Rex914
05-12-2005, 08:54 PM
Which lense are you talking about exactly? My dream lense is the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L lense with IS. It runs about $1600. When I get that lense, I'm going to buy one of those extenders for it.

The f/4 version can be had for $500 after rebate right now. We wish to see the day when the f/2.8 IS version comes that cheap. It will... eventually.

Speaking of which, I should add a small section on extenders and how they affect image quality and speed.

Mr. Peabody
05-12-2005, 09:09 PM
I would like to see your post about extenders.

ReF
05-12-2005, 09:44 PM
I can’t say for sure because i didn’t start the post, but i think the orignal point was to suggest high quality glass at a good price. I don’t think sigma 18-125 and 18-200 are really up to the level of the 70-200 (any version), 50mm, and 28-75 lenses but they are easy to suggest because there aren’t many 18-125 or 200 lenses out there and these seem to have a great price/quality ratio. Being a former owner of the canon 17-85mm IS and liking it at one point, i now feel that i would not recommend it because of its price. It’s just too expensive for the level of quality and IS at 85mm is really not necessary except on the rare occasion. Having done quite a bit of research trying to finding a good tele lens that reaches over 300mm, i’ve come to the conclusion(for now) that such lenses are very expensive if they are to be at the same quality level of the 70-200, 50mm, and 28-75 lenses. You definitely won’t find a new, unused one under $500. good quality tele lenses ARE EXPENSIVE, that’s just a fact of life. Heck i didn’t even think the $1400 canon 100-400mm L IS f/4.5-5.6 was up to the quality of the $400 (or less) tamron 28-75 f2.8. (i took a few shots with it in a store but the images 400mm at f5.6 and f.8 just didn’t make me feel like i was going to get my $1400 worth)

If we are going to get into sub $500 lenses that reach 300mm then i believe we are looking at making suggestions for consumer level quality glass. This could get tricky because you could take some heat if someone decided to buy one of these lenses upon suggestion and found that it wasn’t up to their standards. All i can say is that i’ve heard that some people are quite happy with their canon 75-300mm (IS version is available) lenses considering how much (or rather, little) it cost them.

After doing much research i’ve found a lot of positive feedback(but haven’t used them myself) concerning the:

Sigma 100-300 f4 $750-$900
Sigma 80-400 f4.5-5.6 OS. $1000

I don’t want to twist anybody’s arm into making suggestions but i believe ObiJuan had some good results with the canon 135 softfocus (Jamison too?) and Jamison55 had a list of suggestion for lenses as well.

For who will just be shooting everything in general and are on a tight budget the sigma 18-125 covers an excellent range at a great price and the sample images I’ve seen are pretty good.

For those on a bigger budget i would personally go with the tamron 28-70 f2.8 XR Di at around $350-$400 plus $30 rebate. You get super sharp images that you’d actually want to use below f5.6, ability to shoot in low light without flash, pretty darn good wanna-be-macro capabilities for a non-macro lens, small and lightweight, low price. Compare the price, sharpness, and range of this lens to primes like the canon 50mm - $80, 28mm - $160, 35mm - $230, 85mm - $335-$370.
This is also a lens that isn’t likely to get replaced because you just don’t get images from a zoom lens with this focal length range that are much sharper. If you can get a sigma 24-70mm f2.8 macro that is as sharp as the tamron, then you get a slightly better range and better build quality for a bit more $$$. Downsides with the sigma are larger size/weight and much louder AF.

Rex, your effort in helping people shop for lenses (which is tough!) is appreciated. keep up the good work!

Jeff Keller
05-12-2005, 10:29 PM
I was considering that one, but for $400, you can almost get the 70-200 L, not too shabby. But then again, that one only goes to 200, so it all works out in the end. I'll take all recommendations between now and next Wednesday and choose the final ones from that bunch.

I have the 70-200 F4.0L and am VERY pleased with it. Might be the best lens in my otherwise unimpressive collection.

Rhys
05-14-2005, 08:45 AM
There used to be some excellent lens reviews in Amateur Photographer magazine in Britain. I know it's a weekly magazine and I think the lens roundups were monthly although every week had a camera roundup. I don't know whether they have yet fully embraced digital photography. I know they paid me GBP 50 for an article I wrote, decrying digital photgraphy (which was welcome extra income).

If it's possible for you to get this magazine or maybe they have a website then that's an excellent source for lens information (assuming they still do the reviews). I last bought the magazine regularly about 10 years ago, ceasing when it started to cost over GBP 1.50 as I figured reading it free in the public library saved me GBP 75 ($150) per annum and meant I didn't have stacks of magazines to dispose of.

Rex914
05-14-2005, 10:50 PM
That really sounds interesting. I'll see if I can find it or find any online archives of that. Sounds like a very reliable and helpful resource. Thanks!

Rex914
05-16-2005, 01:32 PM
I have added a relatively detailed section on extenders. It's located in Part 2.

aparmley
05-16-2005, 02:27 PM
The Guide is coming together quite nicely. Thanks again for the great work. I am seriously considering putting my telephoto lens purchase on hold and opting for the sigma 18-125... That extra 150 bucks for the other 75mm isn't looking to appealing, however, this doesn't mean that I am not struggling with the decision, I keep coming back to this thought process - if I just get the darn 18-200mm then I won't be wondering if 200mm with suffice or not and if it would, then I don't need to make another lens purchase for a while.. if it doesn't then I still have a great everyday walkabout lens which will stay on my camera for a majority of the time... not a bad deal... but if I end up needing to purchase something with a little more reach then the 18-125 would have been the best choice as the $150 savings could have been applied toward the longer lens...

As of now I think I have my mind made up.
The Sigma 18-125 will give me the versatility I need right now for more of the everyday shots. I have the 50mm 1.8 and am very pleased with its portrait capabilities. So the 18 - 125 will fill in very nicely where the 50mm combined with the foot zoom can't cut it. This route will get me up and running fairly well for the time being [I have many portrait -family/senior obligations coming up] and will give me enough range to allow for the longer savings period of a solid telephoto lense purchase.

Bluedog
05-16-2005, 03:39 PM
As of now I think I have my mind made up.
The Sigma 18-125 will give me the versatility I need right now for more of the everyday shots. I have the 50mm 1.8 and am very pleased with its portrait capabilities. So the 18 - 125 will fill in very nicely where the 50mm combined with the foot zoom can't cut it. This route will get me up and running fairly well for the time being [I have many portrait -family/senior obligations coming up] and will give me enough range to allow for the longer savings period of a solid telephoto lense purchase.

Andrew the Sigma is a good lense and I assume you've read my take on it with the 350D/XT. Just remember not all copies are the same and to play around with the lense before taking portrait photos where the aperture might need to be wide open. I would might even highly recommend using manual focus to assure tack sharp results.

jamison55
05-17-2005, 05:09 AM
I don’t want to twist anybody’s arm into making suggestions but i believe ObiJuan had some good results with the canon 135 softfocus (Jamison too?) and Jamison55 had a list of suggestion for lenses as well.

Yes, the 135 f2.8SF is an excellent lens for a great price. On a 1.6CF camera, it acts like a 200mm telephoto with a fast aperture. I sold mine to ObiJuan when I bought an 80-200 f2.8L, and the 135 became redundant. I used the money to buy an 85 f1.8, and boy was that a good trade.

Lenses I recommend?
For zooms, I currently use a Sigma 18-50 f2.8, and Tamron 28-75 f2.8. The Tamron is a jewel among lenses. It appears to be the best lens in this range right now, competing on the same level as the $1300 Canon 24-70L (though some would argue that the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Macro is a close competitor as well). The Sigma 18-50 f2.8 is a darned good lens for the price...a little soft at 2.8, but sharp by f4 and contrasty throughout. I'm shooting a lot of weddings these days, and both of these lenses produce images that I am happy to give my clients - and I'm pretty picky about these things!

For primes, it is hard to find one that isn't superior to just about any consumer zoom lens out there. IMHO the Canon 85 f1.8 is the king of the portrait primes. I love this lens, sharp, contrasty, beautiful bokeh, fast focusing USM, low price tag...this is the one lens I will NEVER sell. You can build a really good kit with primes for about $500 (Canons 28 f2.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8). This is actually the most economical route to take if most of your shots will take place in low light situations, and you want to avoid using a flash. At the very least, everyone should have the 50 f1.8 from their respective camera manufacturer (all are prices at <$100). You definitely give up the convenience of zooms, however.

For cheap lenses, I own the Sigma 55-200 (actually the 2nd lens I bought after purchasing my DReb). I paid about $130 for it online. It is definitely a very decent lens - especially for the price. I tested out the Quantaray branded version at my local Ritz against a Canon 70-300, and Sigma 75-300, and the 55-200 was sharper and more contrasty. I suspect the fact that it was created and optimized for digital cameras has something to do with it. Don't use it much anymore because of the 80-200L, but several of the images in my portfolio came from that lens....

Bluedog
05-17-2005, 10:19 AM
I bought an 80-200 f2.8L, and the 135 became redundant.

Curoius jamison did you mean 70-200 F/2.8L?

jamison55
05-17-2005, 11:30 AM
Curoius jamison did you mean 70-200 F/2.8L?

Nope - the 80-200 f2.8L (a.k.a. the "Magic Drainpipe"), now discontinued. It was the predecessor of the 70-200, and many folks claim it is sharper. Never used a 70-200, but the 80-200 is amazingly sharp throughout its range, with that special "pop" that the "L" lenses ar famous for. You can get one on the 2nd hand market for between $700 and $800...

Bluedog
05-17-2005, 02:50 PM
Umm and in Black too ... :eek:

Thanks for the heads up

Rex914
05-17-2005, 02:52 PM
This also shows clearly why a Digital Rebel XT and big lens combo can't be done without a tripod. Even a 24-70L would tip the scales on that tiny thing.

aparmley
05-17-2005, 03:27 PM
is that an XT? it has a black shutter button.. 20D ?? 10D whats the camera there Jamison?

jamison55
05-17-2005, 03:40 PM
is that an XT? it has a black shutter button.. 20D ?? 10D whats the camera there Jamison?

No it's a 20D...it just looks small because of the big-a$$ lens and tripod ;)

Mr. Peabody
05-17-2005, 05:42 PM
No it's a 20D...it just looks small because of the big-a$$ lens and tripod ;)


You should have stuck a battery grip on it.

Rex914
05-17-2005, 07:04 PM
is that an XT? it has a black shutter button.. 20D ?? 10D whats the camera there Jamison?

I didn't mean that the camera in the picture was an XT (you can tell it's a 20D by the grip). But that just furthers my point. If a 20D looks like that, imagine an XT in its place.

ReF
05-18-2005, 07:55 PM
wow, just saw the additions you made since the original post Rex - good effort. thanks

Rex914
05-22-2005, 01:02 PM
I will be adding on a short section on what MTF is and how to read the charts soon. Any other suggestions?

aparmley
05-23-2005, 08:26 PM
I have another lens I want to feed into the dcresource.com ultimate-lens-picking-machine and see what the results are... Tokina AT-X 242 AF 24-200mm F/3.5-5.6 ??? Any thoughts on why this may or may not be a good budget all-around lens consideration?

Rex914
05-23-2005, 08:46 PM
I just want to let everybody know that I'm out of room in terms of sections. Both posts are at the 10k post limit. I can add in lenses, but no material. I'll see if I can compress what I have.

A section on filters would have been nice, but I'm completely out unless Jeff ups the post character limit.

aparmley, we need to see how it performs relative to the two Sigma's and the Tamron.

ReValveiT
05-28-2005, 01:31 PM
The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC EX should difinitely be in there. This is one crackin' Lens.

I'd say image quality wise, it's up there with my Canon 70-200 f/4L and that IS saying something. I really can't fault it.

Rex914
07-01-2005, 08:38 PM
Version 2.0 is here. I touched up the cosmetics and rewrote some parts. Don't think that I've turned a blind eye towards those lens recs. I've seen everything and am considering each one that gets suggested.

With that said, is there anything else content-wise that should be placed in this guide?

Clyde
07-01-2005, 10:16 PM
Version 2.0 is here. I touched up the cosmetics and rewrote some parts.
...

With that said, is there anything else content-wise that should be placed in this guide?

Very nice, looks like you know your HTML as well as your lenses.

Though you mention macro-ing in pt. II, it doesn't show up again. I hope you add some appropriate lenses to your recommendations...

Clyde

Rex914
07-06-2005, 11:07 PM
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll add a Macro lens recommendation set in the next revision.

Chucko
07-22-2005, 04:42 PM
How about a cheapskates' guide to finding the best used lens values? There's a huge used market for Canon, Nikon, Tamron, Sigma, et al lenses for film SLRs, and most of them work fine with dSLRs.

Speaking of which, I sealed a deal for a "Magic Drainpipe" earlier today and I'm stoked!

Rex914
07-22-2005, 04:49 PM
As much as I'd like to write something on scouring around for used lenses and making sure you know what to look for, that's beyond the scope of this article and outside my knowledge base. Someone else will have to write that one. Good suggestion though!

xlsdiva
08-27-2005, 06:10 PM
Whats the difference between the Canon 70-200 f4 and the Canon EF 135mm f/2.8? I am interseted in getting a telephoto lens for indoor wedding shots & outdoor street photography. if none of these are appropriate for both kinds of uses, what do you recommend that is affordable <$500?

Thanks! :)

ReF
08-27-2005, 08:21 PM
Whats the difference between the Canon 70-200 f4 and the Canon EF 135mm f/2.8? I am interseted in getting a telephoto lens for indoor wedding shots & outdoor street photography. if none of these are appropriate for both kinds of uses, what do you recommend that is affordable <$500?

Thanks! :)

main difference is that the 70-200 is not bright enough at f4 for available light shooting and i believe the 135 f2.8 has a soft focuse feature. 135mm might also be a bit limiting for either application. not 100% sure but the 135mm should give you better image since it's a prime. are you only looking for teles?

xlsdiva
08-30-2005, 05:25 PM
i was looking for a telephoto lens.. i didnt realize that the 135 was a fixed lens, i apologize for my lack of knowledge..

I think i will be settling on the tamron 28-75 in the meantime until i can afford a 70-200 or somehting as good.

thanks for your help.

MrSleep
09-14-2005, 07:29 PM
Do the Canon's & the Nikon's work with Pentax ist*?
Any disadvantage in crossbranding?

What would be high quality affordable primes for ist*?

Rex914
09-16-2005, 09:01 PM
The Pentax only accepts Pentax lenses (obviously) and select 3rd party lenses from Sigma, Tamron, etc. I say select because you have to make sure the Pentax version of the said lenses are available.

Rex914
11-09-2005, 12:26 AM
Update: It's a fairly minor update, but I've adjusted the prices to better reflect street prices on the market, and I've added a lens or two to the list. My next update will be fairly significant, so keep your eye on this guide. :)

onlyafterdark
11-09-2005, 08:03 AM
Thanks Rex, keep up the good work. This thread has made my transition to dSLR cameras a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

Rex914
11-09-2005, 03:24 PM
As promised, I have made some major visual changes to the guide. All I can is... take a look. :D

I hope you enjoy it. I will be updating the lens recommendation section a bit more in the near future.

Balrog
11-09-2005, 06:11 PM
Looking great, Rex! A couple of comments...


The cheapest lenses are the ones that are easiest to make. The easiest lenses to make are always those that are close to the 50mm mark, the viewpoint of normal human eyesight. The farther the focal length deviates from 50mm (percentage-wise), the more costly it will be. It is much trickier to design say… a 10mm or a 500mm lens than a 35mm or an 85mm lens.
Might want to tweak this a bit to reflect the effects of sensor size; I think it's better to clarify the whole "crop factor" debate as soon as possible. Could say something like: a "normal" view is achieved when the focal length of the lens is equivalent to the diagonal dimension of the sensor, which was about 50mm for film SLRs. Current consumer digital SLRs have smaller sensors, so the "normal" focal length would be closer to 30mm.


You will also need a bigger aperture when you want to blur the background in a shot. When you use a larger aperture, the depth of field becomes shallow because the camera has less time to “assimilate” the whole image, placing only closer things (to the focus point) in focus, leaving the rest out of focus, or blurred.
That's a rather confusing explanation; it could lead someone to believe slower shutter speeds would give the camera more 'time to assimilate' and thus increase dof, which is hardly the case. e.g. assuming a static subject, at the same aperture if you open the shutter twice as long but compensate by putting on a 1-stop ND filter, the image will be identical.

Also, you could add the Tamron SP90 AF f/2.8 to the list of macro lenses; it's pretty popular, and high-quality.

Other than that, everything looks wonderful; very handy resource for SLR beginners.

Rex914
11-09-2005, 07:26 PM
Thanks! I've made the changes and have added the Tamron in.

Would anybody be interested in seeing an ultra-wide zoom section?

snapim
11-11-2005, 05:45 PM
wow, were you ever right on the complexity of this one! I am buying the Nikon D50 and I am wondering if the Sigma 18-200 is worthy of a carry around. My shots vary from family shots, party/gatherings (informal), outdoor hiking/backpacking/and waterplay. I am nowhere near a professional but clarity is important and I love closeups. So I am stuck on the convenience of the all purpose and unsure if it will suit my current needs since I am still learning...........

Jim Last
11-13-2005, 02:01 PM
Rex,

Any chance of adding a section on 'Wide Angle' lenses?

Nikon 12-24mm f4 G DX AFS IF-ED
Canon10-22mm f4-5.6 USM
Sigma 10-20mm f4.5-5.6 EX DC HSM
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG
Tamron 11-18mm f4.5-5.6 Di II
Tokina 12-24mm f4 DX

Rex914
11-13-2005, 02:47 PM
Yes, I just asked if anybody was interested a few days ago. I'll get to work on it. :)

Jim Last
11-14-2005, 01:01 AM
Sorry Rex, must have mist that :)

I is just I am having a real problem working out a 'limited budget kit'!

Think I would like something that goes wider than the 18-70 Kit lens.

Need something for low light indoor without flash, noted the 50mm f1.4 & f1.8 but worried that they are a bit on the long side. Possible Sigma 30mm f1.4 or Nikon 35mm f2. There are also the Sigmas at f1.8 for 20mm, 24mm & 28mm but really don't know.

Not a huge Macro user but like the ability to do some shots now and again, but looking at dedicated lens prices I think one that is combined with a zoom may be better, or maybe a good manual lens might work quite well on a budget.

Also need to cover the range upwards from 70mm of the kit lens, I don't want anything too big, but then I do want to be able to use it wide open at full reach. I think that one that reaches at least 200mm would be good and one that went to 300mm or even 400mm would be great. This would be used mostly outside in useable light conditions, although possible once in a blue moon may benefit for aome reasonable speed for low light/indoor use.

Well that's my situation and what I 'think' I am looking for:confused:

Rex914
11-14-2005, 10:37 PM
Added a rough draft of my take on the ultra wide lenses. In summary, they're all good, and what matters more is what you can spend and what fits best into what you already have. Since you have an 18-70, something that ends as close to 18 as possible would be best. Because of this the Tamron 11-18 may be the best fit, but if you want a faster lens, the Tokina 12-24 is better.

Jim Last
11-15-2005, 12:52 AM
Thanks Rex:)

Rex914
11-15-2005, 01:32 PM
I've made a tiny update to the telephotos in that I now added the Canon 70-300 IS (the new one) which has proven to quite a good lens. It's a much sharper lens than both the old version and the DO version, and I highly recommend it if you find the similarly priced 70-200 f/4 L too restrictive. I also expect the price of this lens to sink below $500 by next year, making it bargain.

meillana
11-17-2005, 04:00 PM
While still now owning a DSLR myself, you've been such a big help, thanks!

Rex914
11-23-2005, 01:31 PM
Mini-update:

It's taken me long enough, but I've finally addded the Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO as a budget telephoto lens. It's pretty much the only cheap telephoto lens that I could recommend.

dschneiderch
11-28-2005, 09:17 AM
Mini-update:

It's taken me long enough, but I've finally addded the Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO as a budget telephoto lens. It's pretty much the only cheap telephoto lens that I could recommend.

First of all, great thread! It really gave me a good idea of what to work towards. Second, why do you recommend the Sigma 70-300 APO Macro over the Tamron 70-300 Macro? I'm looking to get a lense in this range for xmas but haven't been able to decide which; reviews go both ways (perhaps leaning towards the Sigma) but of 3 stores that I have walked into, none have carried the Sigma.
Also, the newest sigma is a "DG" --optimized for DSLR's. I have a film rebel 2000. Since I don't understand how the optimization works, I'd like to know if I should steer clear of the DG and look for the older version (Super II). Will the DG not work well on a film camera? Thanks for the advice.

Dominik

coldrain
11-28-2005, 10:49 AM
The Tamron just is not as good a lens. And yes, the DG version should work fine on your Rebel 2000, do not worry about that.

texascam
01-01-2006, 09:08 PM
Thanks, Rex, for doing such a thorough job.

I am contemplating making the "jump" (from "point and shoot") to dSLR with a Canon 20D VERY soon. I want to learn to take portraits and do weddings.

Your guide to lenses has explained MOUNTAINS of information to me...so that now my head is swimming. :o I am VERY GRATEFUL for all your hard work in assembling this guide.

I am leaning towards purchasing the 20D Kit that comes with the EF-S 17-85 mm F4.5 - 5.6, but realize now...after reading your guide...that with ONLY that lens, I will have lots of trouble with low light situations. SOOOOO...I need to choose an additional lens with low light capabilities and a greater reach. (I can only afford ONE additional lens right now...and that is going to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g it for me!)

With SO MANY options, I am really overwhelmed about this choice. Any suggestions for my situation? (I'll take suggestions from Rex and anyone else who can give me some insight on this!)

Again...NICE WORK on the Lens Guide! THANKS, Rex!!! From "Tex" :)

ktixx
01-01-2006, 09:45 PM
You may want to think about scraping the 17-85 and purchase a fast lens such as:
1) Canon 24-70 f/2.8L (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=264304&is=USA&addedTroughType=search) (Probably out of your price range) ($1300) (without rebates)
2) Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 EX DG Macro DX (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=350973&is=REG&addedTroughType=search) ($400)
4) Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 XR Di LD (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=284399&is=REG&addedTroughType=search) ($390)

The one benefit that the 17-85 has over the lenses listed above is the IS, which will allow you to shoot at much lower shutter speeds with great results. If you were to go over your budget and spring for the 20d with Canon 24-70L I would suggest also purchasing another lens (possibly the 70-200 f/4) as you can almost get it for half with the tripple rebates (again, probably out of your budget)
Ken

texascam
01-02-2006, 12:20 PM
[QUOTE=ktixx]You may want to think about scraping the 17-85 and purchase a fast lens such as:
1) Canon 24-70 f/2.8L (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=264304&is=USA&addedTroughType=search) (Probably out of your price range) ($1300) (without rebates)
2) Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 EX DG Macro DX (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=350973&is=REG&addedTroughType=search) ($400)
4) Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 XR Di LD (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=284399&is=REG&addedTroughType=search) ($390)


Thanks, Ken! This DOES narrow things down for me quite a bit. I appreciate your help.

I HAVE read on a different thread that one person had trouble with a Sigma lens "communicating" with a Canon Speedlite 580EX. Has anyone else run into this trouble?

Believe me the Sigma price is MUCH more within my budget -- but it won't be helpful if my lens and my speedlite don't "get along."

texascam
01-02-2006, 01:30 PM
Errr??? What's this about a triple rebate? Where do I go to take advantage of THAT?????!!!!! :D

Thanks,

Tex

ktixx
01-02-2006, 04:07 PM
Thanks, Ken! This DOES narrow things down for me quite a bit. I appreciate your help.

I HAVE read on a different thread that one person had trouble with a Sigma lens "communicating" with a Canon Speedlite 580EX. Has anyone else run into this trouble?

Believe me the Sigma price is MUCH more within my budget -- but it won't be helpful if my lens and my speedlite don't "get along."

I have the Sigma 24-70 and the Speedlite 580ex, works fine for me. I don't quite understand how there would be a problem between the 2. The light meter is inside the camera, not in the lens and all the processing is done in camera or in the speedlite. The only thing that the lens does is tell the camera/flash the aperture and the focal length... I would be interested in learning where you heard of this problem.
Ken

ktixx
01-02-2006, 04:11 PM
Errr??? What's this about a triple rebate? Where do I go to take advantage of THAT?????!!!!! :D

Thanks,

Tex
I answered this in your other post.
http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15864

texascam
01-02-2006, 10:20 PM
I have the Sigma 24-70 and the Speedlite 580ex, works fine for me. I don't quite understand how there would be a problem between the 2. The light meter is inside the camera, not in the lens and all the processing is done in camera or in the speedlite. The only thing that the lens does is tell the camera/flash the aperture and the focal length... I would be interested in learning where you heard of this problem.
Ken


I have spent the last hour or two trying to FIND where I read that post! NO LUCK!!!! I guess I've been on TOO MANY places today. But I know that I read it TODAY at some point. The guy who wrote it said that he was so frustrated that he eventually sold his Sigma and vowed to never use 3rd party again. IF I EVER DO find that thread, I WILL let you know where it is.

REALLY SORRY that I can't direct you to it right now. I would LOVE for you to get a chance to evaluate/respond to that post.

And THANKS VERY MUCH for the link to the Canon triple rebate!

texascam
01-03-2006, 01:16 PM
FOUND IT!!!!! It is thread: http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15418

Quoted here in its entirety:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24Peter
Jamison - aren't you a fan of the Sigma 18-50 2.8 for your wedding work?

http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/s...&cat=37&page=2


Used to be...got some really nice images from that lens. It was SHARP at all apertures - even wide open.

...and then...

I realized when I got my first USM "L" lens that the Sigma 18-50 was the reason why I had so many OOF shots when the room lighting got low (like happens at EVERY wedding reception I shoot). The thing is, the blinking light in the viewfinder would tell me that an image was in focus, when it definitely was NOT.

...and then...

I upgraded my flash from a Sigma EF500 DG Super to a Canon 550EX and the flash metering was terrible...but only with the Sigma 18-50. The Canon lenses I had metered fine. It was like the Sigma was sending false distance info to the Canon flash.

So I sold my Sigma 18-50 and bought a Canon 17-40. I miss the extra stop of light but the Canon locks focus EVERY TIME, even in the darkest of rooms. My percentage of OOF shots has dropped to < 3-5% vs to 25-40% that I was getting when I used the Sigma 18-50 and the Tamron 28-75.

I still recommend those lenses to photogs who are on a budget and shoot only available light stuff. Basically with those lenses, if there's enough light to achieve handholdable shutter speeds they focus fine and deliver excellent results. Once it is so dark that you have to turn on the flash, however, all bets are off!

Since you almost always have to turn your flash on at some point during your average wedding, I no longer recommend these two lenses to wedding photogs who shoot Canon (not sure about how they play with other brands)...

My $.02, YMMV...
__________________
www.jamisonwexler.com


Did I understand correctly what he was saying? His Sigma len and his Canon flash did not communicate properly with each other?

D70FAN
01-03-2006, 02:10 PM
FOUND IT!!!!! It is thread: http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15418

Quoted here in its entirety:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24Peter
Jamison - aren't you a fan of the Sigma 18-50 2.8 for your wedding work?

http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/s...&cat=37&page=2


Used to be...got some really nice images from that lens. It was SHARP at all apertures - even wide open.

...and then...

I realized when I got my first USM "L" lens that the Sigma 18-50 was the reason why I had so many OOF shots when the room lighting got low (like happens at EVERY wedding reception I shoot). The thing is, the blinking light in the viewfinder would tell me that an image was in focus, when it definitely was NOT.

...and then...

I upgraded my flash from a Sigma EF500 DG Super to a Canon 550EX and the flash metering was terrible...but only with the Sigma 18-50. The Canon lenses I had metered fine. It was like the Sigma was sending false distance info to the Canon flash.

So I sold my Sigma 18-50 and bought a Canon 17-40. I miss the extra stop of light but the Canon locks focus EVERY TIME, even in the darkest of rooms. My percentage of OOF shots has dropped to < 3-5% vs to 25-40% that I was getting when I used the Sigma 18-50 and the Tamron 28-75.

I still recommend those lenses to photogs who are on a budget and shoot only available light stuff. Basically with those lenses, if there's enough light to achieve handholdable shutter speeds they focus fine and deliver excellent results. Once it is so dark that you have to turn on the flash, however, all bets are off!

Since you almost always have to turn your flash on at some point during your average wedding, I no longer recommend these two lenses to wedding photogs who shoot Canon (not sure about how they play with other brands)...

My $.02, YMMV...
__________________
www.jamisonwexler.com


Did I understand correctly what he was saying? His Sigma len and his Canon flash did not communicate properly with each other?

Yup. Thats what he said. And this is echoed by other Canon users. Time for Tamron and Sigma to get their act together...

D70FAN
01-05-2006, 03:32 PM
Looks like I finally get a shot at the Nikkor 17-35 f2.8 this weekend, so I will post the review early next week. Looking forward to this one.

Still no luck on gettting a rental of the Nikkor 17-55 DX.:(

neon83
01-08-2006, 06:43 PM
I'm looking into buying a Nikon D50 camera, my only problem is figuring out which lens to buy for it. I currently have a Kodak point and shoot digital camera that has an add-on wide angle lens which I frequently use when traveling in order to capture monuments and buildings. The camera kit that I was looking at comes with a Nikkor AF 28-80mm lens. I asked the salesman at the camera store if I would be better off with a Nikkor DX 18-55mm lens since it would give me a wider angle for taking architectual and landscape photos. He told me that due to focal-length multiplier the DX 18mm is equivalent to the AF 28mm. I was under the impression that focal-length multiplier applied to all lenses, not just DX, but he told me that the AF 28-80mm would give me a true 28mm, and since it was $100 cheaper it would be a better deal. So now I'm completely confused! Which lens would would give me the capability of having a wide to normal range angle? Any info or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Francesca

ReF
01-10-2006, 02:28 AM
I'm looking into buying a Nikon D50 camera, my only problem is figuring out which lens to buy for it. I currently have a Kodak point and shoot digital camera that has an add-on wide angle lens which I frequently use when traveling in order to capture monuments and buildings. The camera kit that I was looking at comes with a Nikkor AF 28-80mm lens. I asked the salesman at the camera store if I would be better off with a Nikkor DX 18-55mm lens since it would give me a wider angle for taking architectual and landscape photos. He told me that due to focal-length multiplier the DX 18mm is equivalent to the AF 28mm. I was under the impression that focal-length multiplier applied to all lenses, not just DX, but he told me that the AF 28-80mm would give me a true 28mm, and since it was $100 cheaper it would be a better deal. So now I'm completely confused! Which lens would would give me the capability of having a wide to normal range angle? Any info or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Francesca

any lens you put on the camera will be affected by the crop factor. so that 28-80mm lens will become 42-120mm. if you want proof, go to the store, put on the 18-55 lens and shoot a pic at the 18mm mark on the lens. then stick the 28-80mm lens on the camera and shoot the same subject at 28mm mark. you will see a huge difference in focal length. either the guy means to say that it will work on a full frame/film camera and produce true 28mm there, or he is just confused. the DX will only work on cameras that have a 1.5x crop factor.

umbalito99
01-12-2006, 11:39 AM
Uhm.. I guess this thread is as good a place as any..

I am a complete noob looking to purchase an DSLR.

From what I understand on my reading of this thread, Canon lenses are made specifically for certain Canon cameras and Nikon lenses for Nikon cameras etc.. So there is no chance of a Canon lens going on a Nikon camera etc?? or is there??

But what about thrid party brands like this sigma I keep hearing about??

thanks.

D70FAN
01-12-2006, 12:25 PM
Uhm.. I guess this thread is as good a place as any..

I am a complete noob looking to purchase an DSLR.

From what I understand on my reading of this thread, Canon lenses are made specifically for certain Canon cameras and Nikon lenses for Nikon cameras etc.. So there is no chance of a Canon lens going on a Nikon camera etc?? or is there??

But what about thrid party brands like this sigma I keep hearing about??

thanks.

I'm pretty sure that there is an adapter for Canon cameras that allows use of Nikon mount lenses. Good if you want to change to Canon and own Nikon lenses. Unfortunately, for Nikon, this has been a pretty common occurance.

Sorry i'm a Nikon guy at this point so don't know much about the adapter.

tigerli
02-22-2006, 10:14 AM
[FONT=Georgia][SIZE=3]F) Primes
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Primes are the best bangs for the buck if you need them. You lose flexibility, but you gain it all back in sharpness (especially wide-open), low distortion, less lens flare, and less ghosting. Primes are superb for portraits. They are a must in poor lighting where flash isn't an option. I am only listing shorter primes here.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX ($400) – A cheaper, sharper alternative to the expensive Canon 35 f/1.4 L. Contrast, bokeh, and color aren't as nice, but what is there to expect for a third of the price? If $400 is too much to spend, Canon and Nikon offer a cheaper 35mm f/2 lenses.

50mm f/1.8 (< $100) – Should be part of everybody’s collection. Period. If you use this prime a lot and you own a Canon body, step up to the f/1.4 version for the better build quality and better optics.

85mm f/1.8 ($350) – Ideal lens for portraits. Also works as a short range telephoto lens in low light. Step up to a f/1.2 or f/1.4 version if you desire the premium build quality or need that extra half stop.
[COLOR=Green]




Rex, thank you for the lens guide.

Under Prime lens section, you list three prime lense with first one being Sigma. What brands are the other two lenses, which you didn't indicate?:confused:

Thanks

Rex914
02-23-2006, 10:24 AM
Canon or Nikon. If I don't specify the brand, assume it's from a first party like those two.

autobahn7
03-18-2006, 07:17 AM
This is the best analysis and guide for a DSLR beginner (like me) I've found on the net. Thanks.

I'm planning on stepping up from my digicam point and shoot to dSLR in the next couple of weeks. I'm going with the 20D (price and availability) and I like your recommendation "C" baby "L" (17-40mm f4/L and 70-200mm f4/L). Budget considerations (read: the wife) prevent an immediate jump into more expensive lenses.

I travel some and need the 17-40 for landscape shots and the 70-200 should be fine for outdoor sports (kids soccer).

Between these, my major requirement is for indoor sports with questionalble lighting. I can't find a recommendation for a solid zoom lense under $1000 that covers between the two f4/L's and that is good for indoors. Do I need to go with a couple of primes? I'd probably get the 50 f1.4 right away, but then I'm tapped out for a while. Would you recommend the 85 f/1.8, 100 f/2.0, or the pricier 135 f/2.0 L as a future add?

ReF
04-09-2006, 12:42 AM
This is the best analysis and guide for a DSLR beginner (like me) I've found on the net. Thanks.

I'm planning on stepping up from my digicam point and shoot to dSLR in the next couple of weeks. I'm going with the 20D (price and availability) and I like your recommendation "C" baby "L" (17-40mm f4/L and 70-200mm f4/L). Budget considerations (read: the wife) prevent an immediate jump into more expensive lenses.

I travel some and need the 17-40 for landscape shots and the 70-200 should be fine for outdoor sports (kids soccer).

Between these, my major requirement is for indoor sports with questionalble lighting. I can't find a recommendation for a solid zoom lense under $1000 that covers between the two f4/L's and that is good for indoors. Do I need to go with a couple of primes? I'd probably get the 50 f1.4 right away, but then I'm tapped out for a while. Would you recommend the 85 f/1.8, 100 f/2.0, or the pricier 135 f/2.0 L as a future add?

you'll get a lot more responses if you start a new thread here: http://dcresource.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=11

Patang
05-01-2006, 05:35 AM
hey there - love this thread! So much info! But I was hoping to find some more info out on the older Sigma 100-300mm - the f/4.5-6.7 DL. I know it won't be great, but I can't afford the f/4 or the 120-300mm from Sigma. And it is either this one or the Pentax 100-300mm f/4.7-5.8...

Any suggestions would be appreciated. (also considering the sigma 70-300mm but don't like that much cross-over between lenses as have the 18-125)

Pat

coinguy
05-02-2006, 01:14 AM
Well, I guess this is the thread in which to ask my question. Can anyone recommend which lens for a Canon SLR would be suitable for taking close-up photos of coins? Specifically I'm looking for a lens capable of taking detailed photos of mint marks, dates and die markers. An example of the type of photography I do can be found here: http://home.comcast.net/%7Ejckcoins/unk21d.htm

The pictures taken on that page were taken with a very outdated Sony Mavica MVC-FD81 mated with a 16x jeweler's loupe, which as you can imagine is a royal pain (and the pictures don't turn out too well). I'm getting ready to update to a 30-D and would greatly appreciate it if anyone could give me an idea of what lens/setup I should look into.

Thanks,
Jeffery

Rex914
07-06-2006, 11:38 PM
I haven't updated this guide in over 6 months, and I bet that some of my lens recommendations are a bit dated now, particularly in the area of APS-C specific lenses, a burgeoning segment of the market where new entries (like a new Tamron I'm hearing about) may supplant older ones.

Rex914
07-27-2006, 10:23 PM
I've done some minor updates to the guide. The biggest changes are the addition of the Tamron 17-50 and the Sigma 17-70 to the recommendation list. They're both good lenses that I think will supplant the popular Tamron 28-75 in time because they're more appropriate on cropped cameras.

The Tamron 17-50 isn't without imperfections (build quality isn't great, already hearing about QC issues, price is higher than the Sigma 18-50 by quite a bit), but if I had to recommend a good starter lens, it would be the 17-50.

Rex914
08-06-2006, 02:43 PM
I've updated the guide once again. I've removed the "Tricky Situations" section and merged it with the Primes section. I also did price updates and reworded quite a few of the recommendations. I've also begun adding in usage suggestions for several lenses. For example, the 85/1.8 is great for portrait photography, and the 135/2 is great for indoor, available-light photography (as well as long-range portraits!).

fStopJojo
08-14-2006, 09:27 PM
..and a helpful, well-thought through thread that I am sure will help many folks out. I've linked it at my site for the time being as well. Jojo

cdifoto
08-14-2006, 09:54 PM
..and a helpful, well-thought through thread that I am sure will help many folks out. I've linked it at my site for the time being as well. Jojo

Welcome to DCRP Fstop! Glad to see you make it over here too! :D

Rex914
08-14-2006, 10:06 PM
..and a helpful, well-thought through thread that I am sure will help many folks out. I've linked it at my site for the time being as well. Jojo

Glad to see you here Jojo! I lurk around at POTN and FM, and I've always admired your lens comparisons because they're one of the very few resources around that visually compare lenses to lenses.

I look forward to your tests on the recently announced Sigma 50-150 and the upcoming Tokina 16-50. Keep up the good work!

fStopJojo
08-15-2006, 08:03 AM
Thanks CDI and Rex, it's nice to be here. The new Tokie 1650 will be a dandy, but I am somewhat concerned about its price, which from preliminary reports will be higher than both the S1850 and T1750. How much higher, time will tell. But the new Siggie 50-150 will be popular too...so long as they price it right also. See ya'll around.

rvstanton
09-14-2006, 12:40 PM
I am a newbie and this tread as helped me to start to understand lens
and to make some informed purchases. What I have purchased are the
Canon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5(MACRO Version) and Canon 50mm f/1.4.
Thanks to Rex914 for putting in the time for this Guide.

algogo-com
09-14-2006, 09:24 PM
:p Thank you for your information.
http://www.algogo.com
It is so helpful for a beginner.
Thanks again!

marcie2002
10-12-2006, 05:33 PM
HI I have the sony a100. I have done lots of action shots!!! Please recomend me a lens that I can do action shots indoor. Prob has low lighting but I will have an external flash. I want a type of lens that i can take action shots and indoor action shots. Thanks,

PHeller
11-12-2006, 11:52 AM
Super helpful info. I learned all this info back in highschool (only 4 years ago) but I have forgotten most of it.

Now I remmeber it all once again, and I can tackle the challenge of "which lense for low light dancing photography".

lafgas
11-23-2006, 02:05 PM
Thanks Rex for the explanations and suggestions. I'm a beginner and I found your post most informative. I'm looking to purchase the Canon XTi and I will be using it primarily (at least in the beginning) to photograph my son's hockey games. I found your post while almost giving up on the search for an all-in-one lens. I think that I need at least 200mm to get a full shot and I know that action and light will be a huge factor. You mentioned getting a prime to do this type of photography though. I'm still having trouble here because there are too many opinions on the Internet. Of course, money is a factor here too so it has to be affordable, but yet I want to get better pics than my point and shoot. Am I not going to be able to find a single lens that works for hockey and portraits? If not, what 2 lenses will cover everything from hockey, portraits, zoo, vacations, and low light?

Thank you,
lafgas

cgl88
03-05-2007, 01:05 PM
It is amazing that your thread still holds true. One thing your thread doesn't cover is how many lenses does one require to have a true 'set' that covers it all?

Would it be something like this:
1) 28mm
2) 50mm
3) 28-70mm
4) 70-210mm
5) 100-300mm

Robert Besen
03-05-2007, 04:56 PM
I have a 11-18 mm zoom that I would add to the list.

r3g
03-15-2007, 08:31 PM
dude.. i came into this thread knowing besically nothing about lens specs and was very confused at all the different numbers and such. after finishing this review i am confident in my ability to select good lenses when the time comes. good work!

Rex914
08-06-2007, 09:24 PM
I have a big favor to ask of somebody. As you notice, all of the images in this guide are broken since my site is now gone.

Thankfully, I carbon copied this guide over here (http://forum.digitalcamerareview.com/showthread.php?t=2116) a while back. So I'd like somebody to grab those images back and host them, so that this guide can continue to operate.

Once this happens, I can update this thread, which badly needs an update to account for some great new glass that has appeared since my last update.

Let me know if you are interested.

Thanks.

- Jon

calpchen
08-08-2007, 01:26 PM
Rex,

I might be able to help. Check your PM.

Rex914
08-08-2007, 10:30 PM
Thanks for your help. I'll be updating the post now.

- Jon

Edit: It is all updated and fixed up. Thanks again!

cap
09-02-2007, 01:34 PM
A few months ago I read a post on this forum with a link to a great lens comparison website which allowed you to select the lenses you want to compare and have similar pictures taken with the lenses come up in a composite window. I have now lost the link and I cannot find it again. Does anyone know the site I'm talking about?

By the way, I currently have a canon 350d and only the kit lens but I'm thinking of upgrading the lens. Given my budget I'm considering the sigma 18-50 f2.8 or the sigma 18-200 with OS. My main use for my camera is to take pictures of the kids - mainly indoors and I'm not very happy with the sharpness of the pictures I'm getting from the kit lens. I would like the flexibility of the 18-200mm lens but I would also like to generally improve the sharpness of the images I get. Would the 18-200 give an improved sharpness compared to the kit lens?

cap
09-02-2007, 01:36 PM
A few months ago I read a post on this forum with a link to a great lens comparison website which allowed you to select the lenses you want to compare and have similar pictures taken with the lenses come up in a composite window. I have now lost the link and I cannot find it again. Does anyone know the site I'm talking about?

By the way, I currently have a canon 350d and only the kit lens but I'm thinking of upgrading the lens. Given my budget I'm considering the sigma 18-50 f2.8 or the sigma 18-200 with OS. My main use for my camera is to take pictures of the kids - mainly indoors and I'm not very happy with the sharpness of the pictures I'm getting from the kit lens. I would like the flexibility of the 18-200mm lens but I would also like to generally improve the sharpness of the images I get. Would the 18-200 give an improved sharpness compared to the kit lens?

Gintaras
02-25-2008, 04:54 AM
Cap, 18-50 with constant 2.8F and 18-200 with higher F number are different animals. I am not sure how much the sharpness can be improved though. I use kit lens non-IS and find it reasonable in daylight situations. I compare this to 28-105/3.5-4.5 II USM lens and find them both reasonably good in this department. I concur L lens probably will do better but having used Sigma 17-70 I am not sure. I find Sigma on Canon does not do miracles, although it can yield good photos. I also find lack of constant 2.8 limiting on 17-70 which was the purpose I bought it for. I hear 18-200 is inferior to either 18-50 or 17-70, but I did not use 18-200 so must trust what others say. Some people also blame yellowish cast of Sigma optics in pix, which I experienced as well, but this was not dramatic to make you shy this lens. What I found really limiting was accuracy of Sigma in AF mode, I had problems with this and this put me away from Sigma. I confess I did not try other Sigma since then. However my 17-70 was sharp enough at times I could snap accurate focus and right exposure. I did not like how it performed at 17 with 2.8 however.

born2snooze
03-11-2008, 11:16 AM
I started a thread but no one posted yet, maybe somebody can suggest which Macro lens is good for jewelry photography? My camera is Canon 400D. Thank you!

Guy594
03-11-2008, 12:06 PM
I started a thread but no one posted yet, maybe somebody can suggest which Macro lens is good for jewelry photography? My camera is Canon 400D. Thank you!

Hehe Maria,
Here you are again :p
I post something about the macro lense in your thread.

born2snooze
03-11-2008, 12:53 PM
Hehe Maria,
Here you are again :p
I post something about the macro lense in your thread.

Thank you! I know! I'm all over this place! :p

photo-print-reviews
03-26-2008, 03:05 PM
Wow, this is an awsome resource for information on DSLR lens. I'll start researching for mine!

Cheers,
-Tom

Laurie O
05-12-2008, 09:29 AM
I have the Konica Minolta Maxxum D5 and am looking to purchase a wide angle lens but not at all sure what I'm looking for. I know that Konica Minolta was bought out by Sony...are compatible lenses still available? If so, can anyone recommend a decent wide angle that's compatible for this camera?

On another note, I know that the hot shoe flash is proprietary, can anyone recommend a compatible flash?

Thanks so much...it's my first time posting so forgive my ignorance.

toriaj
05-12-2008, 10:29 PM
Laurie, not too many people venture into this thread. Try starting a new thread here in the Digital SLR Chat or General Digital Photography Chat forums. Good luck ...

Coltess
05-18-2008, 09:37 PM
As far as I know, all of Sony's lenses should be compatible with your camera as well as any lens made for Sony dslr's. Check dyxum.com for reviews and comparisons of lenses for Minolta and Sony (d)slr cameras.

Robert Besen
05-19-2008, 07:00 PM
Any lens made for Sony DSLRs will work on you camera. Sony has an 11-18mm wide zoom. Also,tamron and sigma have wide angle zooms that are compatible the KM 5D. Also, sony makes two flashes that are also compatible. I don't know the model numbers, but any camera stores that carry sony DSLRs should have them.

Rex914
06-09-2008, 11:11 PM
Many thanks to you all for reading this and continuing to help me improve it.

Expect to see some updates to the guide this week. Prices will be changed to be more accurate. I'll refer to current camera models and also factor in new lenses that have come out in the past year. Lastly, I will add a little more coverage of higher end lenses in the $1k range that new users with a little more cash would be interested in looking at.

Rex914
06-24-2008, 12:46 PM
I've updated the lens recommendation portion of the guide.

As a note to all - with prices rising everywhere, it's inevitable that lens prices have also been rising, and on average, prices for first party lenses have gone up 5%-10% in the past 6 months.

Alice_LJ
07-29-2008, 02:48 AM
give a good answer and people get learn from that answer:D

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Geoff Chandler
01-12-2009, 07:50 AM
I sometimes wonder what is a good lens to buy - from my Nikon angle, and considering a walkaround zoom: -
Nikon - Hmm - sharp but spoilt by Chromatic abberations
Sigma - Hmm - sharp but spoilt by colour cast/hue
Tamrom - Hmm - sharp but dodgy auto focus

Maybe we are a little over critical at times!

MacHeadCase
05-27-2009, 06:28 AM
This is a great resource! So a big thank you for posting this.

There is only one thing I would add to make things clear. In all the lens jargon, it's hard to see which third-party lens manufacturer has IS (Image Stabilisation in Canon-speak).

I am thinking of replacing my aging Rebel XT with the Canon EOS 50D and, contrary to the XT, the packages are quite different in terms of lenses offered to the buyer. Apart from the body-only option you can have the 50D with the Canon 28 - 135 mm IS USM or the 18 - 200 mm IS EF-S.

What I'm trying to figure out is if it wouldn't be better, price-wise, for me to pick the body-only option and get a third-party lens instead but the IS feature would be, for me, a must.

Like I was looking at FredMiranda third-party lens reviews for options and my head is still spinning. I'd rather rely on user reviews and experience instead of sales pitches, if you know what I mean. :p

Geoff Chandler
05-27-2009, 11:13 AM
Straight off I must delare I am not over familiar withthe Canon range of lenses
simply because once I had chosen my Nikon I have just run with that and
not taken so much notice of Canon lenses.
That said - I am not at all biased one way or the other - simply my choice was more about what felt right for me.
I understand that the kit lenses from Canon are nothing special - whereas
the seperately bought up market ones are stunning - here I suspect Nikon's kit lenses nudge ahead - but up market i think it's the other way around - anyway -
I would go for the body only and look around - try to try out a few different lenses. Sigma seem to work OK on Canon - I even suspect they are better on a Canon than on a Nikon...
I really quite like Tamron - though I hear some of them are slower focus and they can feel plasticky - but all the results I have seen have looked really good to me. There is even an adaptor to fix Nikon lenses on a Canon camera!!!
I think you need to decide what sort of range you want - then go and look up some reviews and finally go out and try a few out

MuRRe
05-27-2009, 12:06 PM
Hi!
GREAT guide.
How about adding
Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical
(IF) MACRO?
Sorry if this has been suggested before

Geoff Chandler
05-27-2009, 12:22 PM
That Tamron 18 - 270 would certainly cover a huge range and work for a walkaround lens -
or
If it's absolute quality you want - but still want a zoom - the Tamron 17 - 50 is excellent
So - I reckon you need to decide on what range you require first - and do you want it in one lens or more...

MacHeadCase
05-27-2009, 12:59 PM
Straight off I must delare I am not over familiar withthe Canon range of lenses
simply because once I had chosen my Nikon I have just run with that and
not taken so much notice of Canon lenses.
That said - I am not at all biased one way or the other - simply my choice was more about what felt right for me.
I understand that the kit lenses from Canon are nothing special - whereas
the seperately bought up market ones are stunning - here I suspect Nikon's kit lenses nudge ahead - but up market i think it's the other way around - anyway -
I would go for the body only and look around - try to try out a few different lenses. Sigma seem to work OK on Canon - I even suspect they are better on a Canon than on a Nikon...
I really quite like Tamron - though I hear some of them are slower focus and they can feel plasticky - but all the results I have seen have looked really good to me. There is even an adaptor to fix Nikon lenses on a Canon camera!!!
I think you need to decide what sort of range you want - then go and look up some reviews and finally go out and try a few out

Hi Geoff, thanks for your reply. You make very good points.

My old Rebel XT came with the kit lens Canon 18 - 55mm F3.5-5.6 EF-S that I didn't use all that much but it was there when I needed it. The quality wasn't anything to write home about but it was a Swiss Army type of a lens, and was useful for certain type of shots. My thing is more shooting wildlife than portraits but I do need, I find, a Swiss Army type lens.

As I posted earlier, I did start doing some research at FredMiranda, BobAskins, etc. to see what reviewers recommended in that range. I want to see if there could be a possible alternative that would cost less than what now comes as the choice in kit lens for the 50D, namely the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f-3.5-5.6 IS or the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM.

I have already a list of possible third-party lenses but it's really hard to tell which have IS and which have not. It seems that each lens manufacturer has its own way of naming the Image Stabilization feature.

IS to me is an important feature so it's worth noting in a lens review and I was just suggesting to Rex914 that it might be a good thing to add the different designations/appellations to his initial post in this thread. At least IMO it would be a useful addition to his excellent post.

For instance, is the Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] equipped with IS? Is Tamron's IF the same as Canon's IS? See where I'm getting at? And that's just one example with Tamron. Each lens manufacturer has its own way of calling Image Stabilization. It boggles my mind to try to remember all that jargon. :D

I guess that I will write down each lens model I have on my list and look up the description on the lens maker's page to see if the lens has IS or not.

FLiPMaRC
05-27-2009, 01:22 PM
:)

With Tamron, it's designated with VC (Vibration Compensation).

With Sigma, it's designated with OS (Optical Stabilizer).

MacHeadCase
05-27-2009, 01:31 PM
:)

With Tamron, it's designated with VC (Vibration Compensation).

With Sigma, it's designated with OS (Optical Stabilizer).

Thanks a heap, FLiPMaRC! That helps me a lot.

:eek:

But OTOH I wanna cry: makes me realize that all the lenses I had on my list don't have IS.

Oh well, back to the proverbial drawing board I guess. :D

Csae
05-27-2009, 10:09 PM
Better draw a new proverbial wallet while you're at it if your adding IS to the list of Reqs for the first time.

You'll be suprised at the price gaps :(

salgaonkar
02-25-2010, 10:28 PM
looking good rex

Hi I have problem with my 17-55 canon lense and it does't focuses properly its gives me most of the images out of focus

AdamW
02-26-2010, 08:44 AM
Hi I have problem with my 17-55 canon lense and it does't focuses properly its gives me most of the images out of focus

I don't believe you. You have a "sify.com" email address, just like many other weird spam posts in the last few months.