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Author Topic: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)  (Read 9331 times)

Josh11

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Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« on: July 05, 2011, 09:40:24 AM »
Hi,

Long time site/forum visitor first time poster! I'm looking to get my first proper DSLR camera and because I'm wanting it primarily for it's video capabilities I've narrowed it down to the 550D or 60D, and of course I know I want a Canon. ;)
I'm a student so budgets very much a factor but the 60D's drawing me in enough to want to spend the extra cash I think.
Though I know most there is to know in terms of the cameras I'm not too up on the lens, so I'm really wondering what kit lens I should go with for the 60D, it's going to some time before I can afford more lens' so I'm looking for one thats going to provide the best all round image quality and versatility.
Guessing that rules out the basic 18-55mm kit lens, so it's probably between the 17-85mm or the 18-135mm.

17-85mm: Jessops
18-135mm: Jessops

Thanks for any help!

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Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« on: July 05, 2011, 09:40:24 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 10:02:57 AM »
I'm looking for one thats going to provide the best all round image quality and versatility.

If your budget will cover it, I'd recommend one not on your short list - the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (along with a body-only camera).  Optical quality is substantially better than the other lenses, and the focal range is excellent for general-purpose use.  It's only 'handicap' is one shared by all the other lenses on your list - a variable/narrow aperture, meaning fine outdoors but not as good indoors.  The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is another excellent lens that is faster (wider aperture), but substantially more expensive.  Instead, you might consider supplementing the 15-85mm (or 17-85mm/18-135mm) with the EF 50mm f/1.8 II (aka nifty-fifty, a fast prime that's decently sharp although not well built, and is the cheapest lens in the Canon lineup).  Also, consider an external flash (light from the pop-up is harsh, and IMO pictures taken with that look like they could have been taken with a point-and-shoot) - get one that allows you to bounce the flash off a ceiling (e.g. 270EX II, although I recommend the 430EX II if possible).  Finally, consider a decent tripod - IMO, Manfrotto is the optimal compromise between value and quality (getting a cheap tripod just isn't worth it); although they are commonly used with ballheads, a fluid head will be better for video.

If you haven't run across The Digital Picture yet, there are great, informative reviews of Canon products there.  Here's the link to the EF-S Lens Review page, which has lots of details about the lenses you're considering.

Good luck with your decisions!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 12:19:43 PM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2011, 10:32:51 AM »
I'd go for the 17-85mm because of the USM. Although USM isn't neccessary for video it has FTM (full time manual).
If you need faster lenses for video you could also get some used M42 mount lenses. I got my 35mm + adapter for less than 20€ from ebay. I'm sure you can get a 35mm + 50mm + 85mm for about the price of a EF 50 1.8 II. They will have better build quality including better manual focus rings for video.
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Clint Johnson

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 10:37:28 AM »
I would suggest you take the 18-135mm off your list if you are primarily looking at it from a cinema perspective. It does encompass the focal lengths used in 99% of cinematography, the most popular sets usually consist of a range of fixed lenses in 18, 25, 35, 50, 85 and 135mm. Besides being hard to use manually and having a noisy non-USM autofocus, this lens has mechanical focus issues. When you change direction of a rack focus the lens assembly shifts slightly side to side and up/down depending on which directing you are changing to. It also has another lens assembly shift that takes place during a one direction rack. All this is fine for stills but it handicaps the lens for motion capture.

I did get that lens with my 60D because I needed a Canon video capable DSLR immediately for a job and it was the only one in stock- while the lens is not good for cinematography, it is my walkabout lens for stills and opportunity videos.

I haven't tested the EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 but I have heard that it is almost up to the image quality of the L lenses, if not their build quality. I will second the suggestion for the 50mm f1.8 II - it has an exceptionally good image quality despite the unbelievably cheap construction and low price... I've had one "rapid unintended disassembly" from a bump that would have left an L lens un-blemished.  Also keep in mind that it will be very hard to hit focus when wide open, especially on a moving target.

I have a selection of Canon's L lenses that are much better for motion and a set of old Nikon manual lenses with an EOS adapter that are better yet for all manual use if you have a 1st AC pulling focus as well as a camera operator... or if you are an ambidextrous master at multi-tasking and can do both.

That said, some great movies have been made with worse lenses and no matter which lens(es) you get, if you really learn the strengths and weaknesses of your lens, good images can be captured by any of them. It is just a matter of how difficult it will be to bend the lens to your will and how many compromises you will have to make in the images you want to create.

Reiterating the good luck,
Clint

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 10:39:33 AM »
If you are interested in video, get the 17-85.
It is way better in manual focus mode.
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 11:48:48 AM »
The focus ring on my 18-135mm was very loose and "jiggly". I don't think it would be ver good for focusing manually.

I think the 17-85mm is clearly the better choice.
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 12:41:37 PM »
I'd seriously recommend stretching your budget to the 15-85mm, I bought one on the strength of comments on here and been really pleased with the results from it with the IQ much better than the 18-55mm kit lens I have.  It's a good walkabout lens, you can add a longer range zoom later if you really need it, but I found I use my 70-300mm very little, but needed a low f lens, so added a f1.4 50mm and been really pleased with that too.  85mm is ample for most tasks on a crop body and the 15mm is surprisingly more useful than you would imagine the extra 3mm would be.  Go try it in the shop, trust me, you will part with your cash on the spot !

Also, try an independent photo store, I bought mine without the box as the unwanted kit lens from a 7D kit, saved me about £75 last October.
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 12:41:37 PM »

dstppy

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 01:00:00 PM »
I'm looking for one thats going to provide the best all round image quality and versatility.

If your budget will cover it, I'd recommend one not on your short list - the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (along with a body-only camera).  Optical quality is substantially better than the other lenses, and the focal range is excellent for general-purpose use.  It's only 'handicap' is one shared by all the other lenses on your list - a variable/narrow aperture, meaning fine outdoors but not as good indoors.  The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is another excellent lens that is faster (wider aperture), but substantially more expensive.  Instead, you might consider supplementing the 15-85mm (or 17-85mm/18-135mm) with the EF 50mm f/1.8 II (aka nifty-fifty, a fast prime that's decently sharp although not well built, and is the cheapest lens in the Canon lineup).  Also, consider an external flash (light from the pop-up is harsh, and IMO pictures taken with that look like they could have been taken with a point-and-shoot) - get one that allows you to bounce the flash off a ceiling (e.g. 270EX II, although I recommend the 430EX II if possible).  Finally, consider a decent tripod - IMO, Manfrotto is the optimal compromise between value and quality (getting a cheap tripod just isn't worth it); although they are commonly used with ballheads, a fluid head will be better for video.

If you haven't run across The Digital Picture yet, there are great, informative reviews of Canon products there.  Here's the link to the EF-S Lens Review page, which has lots of details about the lenses you're considering.

Good luck with your decisions!

I second (third) the 15-85.  It's a superb lens and I've gone back to it as my go-to lens.

If you're stretched for cash but want something now, get a 50mm and a body; avoid the kit lenses.

If you have to choose between the t2i and 60D and you're on a budget, get a nicer lens and the T2i.
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 01:20:16 PM »
Another thing to consider is to just get the 18-55 kit lens, if that is available, and buy some old Olympus OM or Nikon Manual focus lenses and adapters.  The adapters and lenses are relatively inexpensive.

They will be fine if you use a tripod.  If you want to do handheld video, IS will help, but you will also pickup noises in the audio, so will beed a external microphone and possibly a recorder if you are serious.

A 60 d is really not a camcorder, there is no autofocus while doing video.  If I were doing video, i'd go to a camera store and look at both the 60D and a Nikon D7000, which has limited AF during video and see if its usable.  Nikon has a refurb store in the USA as well as Canon, but in the UK they list refurbs on ebay, I believe.  A refurb is a good way to get a virtually new camera for a decent discount.

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 01:31:39 PM »
I agree on getting the basic kit lens and then branching out with older inexpensive primes.  If you're taking the time to set up the shots, you'll use them more than the zoom anyway.  If you only want one lens that does it all, I'd do the 15-85mm.  If it's out of your budget, go with the 17-85mm.  The 18-135mm is a stronger lens than the latter optically, but lacks the quiet autofocus (though the focus is still fast and the manuel focus works just fine).
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Josh11

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 04:44:34 PM »
Thank you all for your very insightful and fast replies!

After reading through them all I thought the 15-85mm lens sounds perfect and will definitely try stretch the budget if it's a bit more, but looked it up, over £550, sadly thats pushing it too much at this stage.
Currently think the best bet for me is to probably go with the 17-85mm USM one and expand later, might go for the 50mm 1.8 prime too at that price.
So many little things to reply to, will do a few:

- Thanks for the site link neuro, a fluid head Manfrotto tripod is the one I'd look to get at some point yeah. Thanks for the flash advice too, will look into those at a later point.
- LuCoOc, not familiar with the M42 mounts, will look into it, sound rather cheap? Which one/s did you get?
- Clint, thanks! Consider the 18-135mm off the list, convinced me =)
-Haydn1971, Ahh making me wish I had extra budget for that, bet the extra 2/3mm is useful too!
- dstppy, I think I'd feel limited without some sort of zoom lens for general shooting, though will try get the 50mm soon as. Kinda got my heart set on the 60D over the t2i/550D though.
-Mt Spokane, I'm very much aware its not a camcorder and it has no in shoot auto focus, though it would be very nice/handy it's not something that is needed.
- Eagle Eye, good advice, pretty much what I'm gunna do I think :)

These replies have been seriously helpful thanks a bunch! Just found out my grandfather has an old film Canon he doesn't need anymore, only has 2 lenses and are the old FD mounts which is a shame.

thejoyofsobe

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 05:15:29 PM »
I ran into a similar decision last month and went the Canon USA refurb store route.

Refurb 60D Body $799.00 USD
Refurb 24-105mm f/4 L $919.00 USD


If the online currency converter I used is correct for both it was around £1066 before taxes. Got any trustworthy American friends and don't mind a 90 day US-only warranty?


dstppy

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 09:09:41 PM »
I ran into a similar decision last month and went the Canon USA refurb store route.

Refurb 60D Body $799.00 USD
Refurb 24-105mm f/4 L $919.00 USD


If the online currency converter I used is correct for both it was around £1066 before taxes. Got any trustworthy American friends and don't mind a 90 day US-only warranty?

Canon refurb store usually eats up all it's price benefit with shipping and tax :(

Honestly, I've got the 24-105mm L and the 15-85mm EF-S and I have to say the latter has been my choice for shooting.
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 09:09:41 PM »

dstppy

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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2011, 09:15:00 PM »
Thank you all for your very insightful and fast replies!

After reading through them all I thought the 15-85mm lens sounds perfect and will definitely try stretch the budget if it's a bit more, but looked it up, over £550, sadly thats pushing it too much at this stage.
Currently think the best bet for me is to probably go with the 17-85mm USM one and expand later, might go for the 50mm 1.8 prime too at that price.
So many little things to reply to, will do a few:

- Thanks for the site link neuro, a fluid head Manfrotto tripod is the one I'd look to get at some point yeah. Thanks for the flash advice too, will look into those at a later point.
- LuCoOc, not familiar with the M42 mounts, will look into it, sound rather cheap? Which one/s did you get?
- Clint, thanks! Consider the 18-135mm off the list, convinced me =)
-Haydn1971, Ahh making me wish I had extra budget for that, bet the extra 2/3mm is useful too!
- dstppy, I think I'd feel limited without some sort of zoom lens for general shooting, though will try get the 50mm soon as. Kinda got my heart set on the 60D over the t2i/550D though.
-Mt Spokane, I'm very much aware its not a camcorder and it has no in shoot auto focus, though it would be very nice/handy it's not something that is needed.
- Eagle Eye, good advice, pretty much what I'm gunna do I think :)

These replies have been seriously helpful thanks a bunch! Just found out my grandfather has an old film Canon he doesn't need anymore, only has 2 lenses and are the old FD mounts which is a shame.

Honestly, the difference in a picture between a good (super) lens with an adequate body . . . and a good (excellent body) and a poor lens, will be day and night; respectively.

Seriously, get an XSi and a super lens instead of spending all your money on a body and getting a crap lens.
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2011, 09:38:44 PM »
Add another vote here for the 15-85 IS USM.
furthermore, if you're only going video and not photography, save the money from the 60D and get a 600D (ie, 600d + 15-85 > 60d + 17-85). Actually, for a starter who won't do sports and birds, i'd recommend that for photography too.
Or also the 17-55 f2.8 is a bit more again, but that decision is pure 'extra light' vs 'extra length'.

If you need faster lenses for video you could also get some used M42 mount lenses. I got my 35mm + adapter for less than 20€ from ebay. I'm sure you can get a 35mm + 50mm + 85mm for about the price of a EF 50 1.8 II. They will have better build quality including better manual focus rings for video.

i'm also an MF-prime fan, especially M42. But not all of them are good, and the good ones aren't cheap. SMC Takumar are one of the best non-zeiss you can get, the 50mm f1.8 and f2 should be less than $50 shipped. But go up to the 50/1.4 and you're well over the price of a niftyfifty (which has AF).

on the fast wide end there's nothing cheap, 28/1.8 are dime-a-dozen from a heap of different companies, but watch out for the quality of some unkown-names.
faster than that: zeiss 35/2.4 flektogon go for $200 and up, and takumar 35/2, nikon 35/2 & 28/2, OM 35/2, MIR 24N&M 35/2 all go for upwards of $100-150. (trust me, i search on ebay every week for something cheap in this range). still cheaper than the ef 35/2 and better IQ than a fast sigma prime though.

85 f2 look for a Jupiter9 soviet built, again lucky to get one under $100, otherwise spring for the EF 85/1.8 (or a mamiya 645 80 f1.9 MF for maybe the same price).

i suppose it depends what you call 'fast', if you expand it to f/2.8, then you can get a lot more range and a lot cheaper. but i'd spring for the 18-55 f/2.8 and not bother with the primes in that case...


also, forgot to say, and i don't think anyone's mentioned yet, if you're interested in video: Microphone.
even if it's an old crappy thing, just the act of getting the microphone away from the body will get rid of any AF motor or IS sounds, external mics can have a wind-sock put on too. Doesn't have to be a classy Hot-shoe Rode or Sennheiser, although they are better. Try pick up and old sm58 from a music hire-shop, they take beatings for years and live to tell about it. (kinda depends what you're filming though, more directional is probably more versatile)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 09:44:33 PM by dr croubie »
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Re: Which Canon 60D Kit Lens? (Plus 550D)
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2011, 09:38:44 PM »