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Author Topic: Lens choice advice please??  (Read 6931 times)

lego_boy

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Lens choice advice please??
« on: December 15, 2012, 06:21:07 PM »
Hi all,

I'm relatively new to photography, and I've realised that to get the most out of the camera I really need to up the quality of the lens. With so many brand names and focal lengths to choose from, I could really do with some advice on what to buy please. I'll give you a bit of background on where I am at.

I've always shot with the stock 18-55mm but could never quite get the quality of image I'm happy with, and with not always having a tripod to hand I always seemed to struggle with motion blur. I haven't had chance to test the the new stock lens with the 650D that I've bought, but even with IS...I cant imagine it will make that much of a difference will it? Hence the reason for wanting a new lens.

I have begun to do a fair bit of research...and clearly the faster the lens the better....but with that comes a price. One lens that is raved about is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8. For the price, and quality of image it can produce...it seems a really good buy...and almost went out and bought one straight away. My only problem is that it is 50mm....great for portraits etc....but to be honest, I do take a photographs of landscapes/buildings (being an architecture student)....so the 50mm is a nice to have, but a wider angle is what is needed...but unfortunately my budget it is tight £150 ish (i know that isn't a lot at all, and if i have to wait and save some more money I might have to but I am looking for a second hand lens). This means that I could really help with you guys getting me the most for my money.

I have also seen the really cheap (usually foreign imported) screw on lens additions to the 18-55mm (not quite sure what to call them) they come with a macro part and a wide angle part....what are peoples thoughts these?

Apologies for the long post, but any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Lens choice advice please??
« on: December 15, 2012, 06:21:07 PM »

RS2021

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 07:50:28 PM »
If you are on a Crop, and your kit lens doesn't quite cut it for you, and you want a faster wide angle lens, the bottle neck becomes your rather small budget. Wide angle lenses in general, and good quality fast ones in particular, are notoriously expensive.

If you are hard set on Canon EF lenses, one of the lenses that would somewhat come close to the £150 budget and is a wide angle lens would be the older EF 24mm f2.8 in the used market. It is still a decent lens, of course recently superceded by the f2.8 IS version. On your crop it would not be really wide, but will be wider than the 50mm. I think the older EF 20mm f2.8 is a tad more expensive and is not great on image quality front compared to the 24mm f2.8. I occationally dust off the 24mm 2.8 as it is one of the most compact lenses in the line up before the pancake came along. The new 40mm pancake, while cheap, will not be really all that wide compared to the 50mm on a crop body.  The other option may be the 28mm f1.8. We will not even go near the 24L or other wider primes or zooms given the budget.

Even for the used Canon EF 24mm f2.8, or EF 28mm f1.8, you may need marginally a few more dollars ...I mean pounds. Even if you can garner £50 more, and get up to £200 total, on the used market you can easily grab one of those or get a third party lens.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 08:20:59 PM by Ray2021 »
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LostArk

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 08:27:23 PM »
1. Never, ever use screw-on lens "additions"

2. 18-55 is fine for landscapes and architecture. For those types of photography a tripod is 100% mandatory anyway.

3. As you stated, the 50 1.8 is the best value for the money if you need a faster lens.

4. The 50 1.8 is the only logical option given your camera and budget.

5. The 50 1.8 is a fine lens regardless of budget, and it is my 50 of choice even though I have the budget for the L.

You're welcome!

pwp

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 08:28:47 PM »
You are thinking in the right direction with primes as an upgrade over your kit lens. There are OK copies of the 50 f/1.8 but most don't start looking good until f/5.6 and don't tend to last too long in regular use. But at $85 what do you expect? How about the brilliant little Shorty McForty? http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-40mm-f-2.8-STM-Pancake-Lens-Review.aspx

-PW


Policar

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2012, 08:37:55 PM »
I love the 18-55mm IS, but it does have its weaknesses (corners). In my experience the 50mm f1.8 is a mixed bag because build quality is poor and there's a lot of sample variation. I have a terrible sample that's very bad on APS-C but brilliant on FF, even wide open. My favorite lens on my Mark III because it's small and light and fast and I love the FOV. It's not the sharpest and bokeh sucks stopped down, but it is quite good! On APS-C, it's an awkward focal length and the softness becomes an issue.

I love the 17-55mm f2.8 IS but it's not that much better on the wide end than the kit lens. The rest of the mid-priced Ls are kind of mediocre on FF, worse than either of those two except in terms of build quality. If you can afford a 24-70mm II I'm sure that's amazing, but if you can afford that why are you shooting APS-C?

For architecture you really need to go T/S, but the 17mm is $2000, I think. The easiest way to fake it is getting an UWA (11-16mm Tokina is awesome or the 10-22mm Canon is maybe better, never used it) and correcting for keystoning in photoshop or shooting with the horizon level and cropping. Architectural photography all-but requires perspective correction. You lose a lot of resolution this way, but perspective correction is crucial for architectural photography.

Others have found otherwise, but I think the 18-55mm IS is nearly world class if you get a decent sample and shoot at normal stops. Get a tripod, maybe. I don't know what to say; if the IQ isn't up to snuff it's a lot of money to do significantly better, but significantly better stuff does exist. It's also much more special-purpose; the kit lens is a very multi-purpose lens. If you want shallower focus that's easy, though. Get the fast fifty or 30mm f1.4 Sigma or even the pancake.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 08:40:54 PM by Policar »

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2012, 08:39:21 PM »
My first prime was the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM that I used with my 30D and 40D.  I still love that lens.  Versatile for both crop and FF.  It's effectively a 45mm on a crop and is good in low light.  Much easier to use indoors than a nifty 50 (= 80mm) on a crop.  Yes it's more expensive than the nifty 50 but it's a lens that could be used for years with satisfaction.  I think they go for around ... oh.  I just checked eBay and they've gone up.  I guess the new IS lenses have driven up the used prices.  Oh well....
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

LostArk

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 08:43:25 PM »
You are thinking in the right direction with primes as an upgrade over your kit lens. There are OK copies of the 50 f/1.8 but most don't start looking good until f/5.6 and don't tend to last too long in regular use. But at $85 what do you expect? How about the brilliant little Shorty McForty? http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-40mm-f-2.8-STM-Pancake-Lens-Review.aspx

-PW


The 40mm only gives 1 stop over the kit lens and it's 50% more expensive than the 50mm. Yes, the 50 1.8's build quality doesn't inspire confidence, but I slammed mine in my car door once (was clipped to my belt in a neoprene pouch and I forgot about it) and it took it in stride.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 08:45:02 PM by LostArk »

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 08:43:25 PM »

pdirestajr

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 08:49:17 PM »
35mm f/2 is great on a crop sensor. I used that lens on my 7D more than any other lens. It isn't wide, but not too tight. It also focuses close and gives nice shallow DOF, anything wider gets more expensive.
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LostArk

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2012, 08:56:03 PM »
35mm f/2 is great on a crop sensor. I used that lens on my 7D more than any other lens. It isn't wide, but not too tight. It also focuses close and gives nice shallow DOF, anything wider gets more expensive.

Difference in field of view between 35 and 50 is minimal, and certainly not worth the price difference. If you can afford a 35 f/2, you might as well save a little more and get a 28 1.8.

As I see it the 50 1.8 is really the only logical option given the OP's parameters.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2012, 08:59:05 PM »
Motion blur can be caused by a subject moving, IS will not help, you must use faster shutter speeds.  Even with IS and a still subject, you need to keep a reasonable shutter speed, I'd keep it near 1/100 sec with the kit lens.
The 18-55mm IS is quite sharp.  The low price comes it is made with low cost materials.  You should be able to get very sharp images with it.  The same is true of the 50mm f/1.8.
One of the things that can go wrong, is that the lens is not focusing accurately.  You can easily check this by placing the camera on a tripod and very carefully take 5 or more shots while setting the lens to infinity between shots so that it has to refocus for each shot.
 
Then, without moving the setup, place the camera in liveview being sure you are using live autofocus (very slow) and repeat the 5 shots.
 
Live autofocus is almost always perfect, and if the images taken that way are a lot better, the camera and lens needs to go to Canon for adjustment.  The 7D and the FF bodies have autofocus micro-adjustment capabilities built-in, but only Canon can adjust the Rebels and the 60D.
 
You really need to get to the bottom of your issues before buying a new lens, only to discover that it doesn't help. Once you are getting good sharp images from the kit lens, you can consider buyin a nicer lens.  The Canon direct refurb store has refurbished lenses, and often has sales going on. 
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 09:05:16 PM by Mt Spokane Photography »

Policar

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2012, 09:02:49 PM »
35mm f/2 is great on a crop sensor. I used that lens on my 7D more than any other lens. It isn't wide, but not too tight. It also focuses close and gives nice shallow DOF, anything wider gets more expensive.

Difference in field of view between 35 and 50 is minimal, and certainly not worth the price difference. If you can afford a 35 f/2, you might as well save a little more and get a 28 1.8.

As I see it the 50 1.8 is really the only logical option given the OP's parameters.

I strongly disagree. The difference in FOV between 35mm and 50mm is very significant--although I find both to be not so great on APS-C. On FF, for instance, I love the 50mm focal length and can't stand 85mm for most purposes (I like 135mm). You ask an experienced DP like Roger Deakins and he claims he wishes he had a prime lens for every 3mm difference toward the wide end (21, 24, 28, 32, 40, 50, etc.). I can't tell the difference at those extremes, but it illustrates a point. It boils down to personal preference and you might like 35mm and 50mm equally well (I love them both on FF quite a lot), but on APS-C I find 50mm to be a tricky focal length to love and 35mm a lot better but still just a bit long.

The 50mm f1.8 is a nice lens, but I'd rather get the 28mm f1.8 or 30mm f1.4 Sigma (neither of which I've used, but a useful focal length trumps sharpness by a lot) on crop.

For architecture, of course, none of these lenses are particularly appropriate. For that it's UWA and perspective correction in post or T/S. That's really the only way to do it well. And a tripod, of course.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 09:22:00 PM by Policar »

verysimplejason

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2012, 09:35:13 PM »
For an APS-C normal lens, a 28mm or a 35mm should be enough.  For me, I'd rather have the 28mm F1.8.  My copy is sharp even wide open though with some CA.  PP takes care of this for me.  I've tried the Sigma 30mm F1.4 and I'm immediately turned off because the very first copy I've tried doesn't work.  I suspect Sigma's quality.  I've also tried the original 28mm F2.8 but AF is not so fast.  50mm is not a normal lens for an APS-C.  It's too tight to be a normal lens.

phoenix7

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 10:59:06 PM »
Gees does no one ever actually read and understand the original poster's post?  I see that SO much
that it finally got to me that I had to register and stop lurking; to which I will be going back to momentarily.

Currently 150pounds is about $235 US.  In that range there is no new canon EF or EF-S lens he could
purchase.  That is about the current cost of his 18-55mm.

I think this is the sort of thing you were asking about: (or something like it I would guess)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/DIGIFLEX-58MM-Wide-Angle-Canon/dp/B003VNF116/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1355629529&sr=8-10
Do not buy these sort of auxiliary lenses at all.

The one most of the other useless replies are mentioning is this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-28mm-1-8-USM-Lens/dp/B00007EE8N/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355629684&sr=8-1
Too expensive for your budget though a very nice lens.

What you will have to try for you budget is winning something like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Carl-Zeiss-Jena-1Q-Zebra-Flektogon-20mm-F4-20-4-M42-mount-ultra-wide-angle-lens-/121034957518?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item1c2e3ee2ce
Zeiss are always good and getting an adapter shouldn't be more than another
10 to 20pounds.  Though nearly any M42 screw lenses will fit a Canon EF camer lens mount.
If you want to be more sure look through this list:
http://www.panoramaplanet.de/comp/index.htm
and then choose a lens and check ebay for price and availabilty.

Hope that helps lego_boy.  Happy shooting!


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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 10:59:06 PM »

Policar

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2012, 11:53:50 PM »
Gees does no one ever actually read and understand the original poster's post?  I see that SO much
that it finally got to me that I had to register and stop lurking; to which I will be going back to momentarily.

Currently 150pounds is about $235 US.  In that range there is no new canon EF or EF-S lens he could
purchase.  That is about the current cost of his 18-55mm.

I think this is the sort of thing you were asking about: (or something like it I would guess)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/DIGIFLEX-58MM-Wide-Angle-Canon/dp/B003VNF116/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1355629529&sr=8-10
Do not buy these sort of auxiliary lenses at all.

The one most of the other useless replies are mentioning is this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-28mm-1-8-USM-Lens/dp/B00007EE8N/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355629684&sr=8-1
Too expensive for your budget though a very nice lens.

What you will have to try for you budget is winning something like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Carl-Zeiss-Jena-1Q-Zebra-Flektogon-20mm-F4-20-4-M42-mount-ultra-wide-angle-lens-/121034957518?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item1c2e3ee2ce
Zeiss are always good and getting an adapter shouldn't be more than another
10 to 20pounds.  Though nearly any M42 screw lenses will fit a Canon EF camer lens mount.
If you want to be more sure look through this list:
http://www.panoramaplanet.de/comp/index.htm
and then choose a lens and check ebay for price and availabilty.

Hope that helps lego_boy.  Happy shooting!


The issue is he's asking for something impossible. The 18-55mm IS is a reasonably fantastic lens and the best cheap wide angle available for anything, really. At f8 it's quite strong across the frame. Wide open it's decent, too.

What he's looking for is a 17mm TSE and FF body for $200. Something wider, sharper, and appropriate for architecture (lens movements). That's $4000 minimum. Either you can ignore his price concerns or what he wants to use the lens for...

I'd recommend a tripod, honestly. If you're getting image shake that can help, and then you can stop down all you want to improve image quality. Or saving up for the 11-16mm or 10-122mm (for architecture) and fixing distortion in post. Or getting the 30mm f1.4 Sigma (or 28mm f1.8 Canon) as a general purpose lens, though it is not great for architecture.

The $12 fotodiox macro tube is nice for macro, though. That's one thing that's cheap and useful.

Zorfunk

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2012, 12:10:49 AM »
Sell your 18-55 on EBay or Amazon for $85-$100ish (USD) and pick up a used Tamron 17-50mm 2.8. That should be pretty close to your budget and a decent upgrade. It'll give you some dof control, better low light, and better sharpness.

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Re: Lens choice advice please??
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2012, 12:10:49 AM »