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Author Topic: Starting Lens Recommendation  (Read 4331 times)

rattlit

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Starting Lens Recommendation
« on: February 14, 2013, 11:13:27 AM »
Hello, I'm a student interested in photography. The reason I'm writing this is because I really need some advice on the lenses (my teacher uses Nikon only). I have Rebel T3i but I would like to have an ef lens rather than an ef-s lens because it'd be really nice to be able to share the lens with my fathers' film camera (eos 2000 i assume and it's lens is currently broken). My maximum budget is about $850 (i saved this for about 2 years, if you ask). I'm thinking about buying second hand gears at KEH.com as I live oversea and heard they have some good reputation.

So here are some lens I've looked up. They are about or under $850 second hand.
1. EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM
2. EF 17-40 f/4L + EF 50 f/1.8 II
3. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 28-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM
4. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 50 f/1.8 II + EF 100 f/2 USM

I know that 24mm isn't that wide on a crop camera but I'm fine with that. Please put some comments suggest which combo should i get. I really appreciate your help.

P.S. I'm currently living in Bangkok and will move to Seoul next year. So, I'd love to have lens that can be used for travel as well.

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Starting Lens Recommendation
« on: February 14, 2013, 11:13:27 AM »

sagittariansrock

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 11:19:16 AM »
So here are some lens I've looked up. They are about or under $850 second hand.
1. EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM
2. EF 17-40 f/4L + EF 50 f/1.8 II
3. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 28-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM
4. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 50 f/1.8 II + EF 100 f/2 USM

One caution, the 28-105 does not have IS.
If you are a student of photography (instead of merely a student interested in photography) :P then I'd recommend getting a 35mm prime.
Among your choices no. 4 seems the most versatile to me (for me the aperture ranges provide more versatility than the focal length ranges of a zoom). Personally, on my own crop sensor I'd be happiest if I could have a fast 24mm lens.
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7enderbender

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 01:20:20 PM »
Hello, I'm a student interested in photography. The reason I'm writing this is because I really need some advice on the lenses (my teacher uses Nikon only). I have Rebel T3i but I would like to have an ef lens rather than an ef-s lens because it'd be really nice to be able to share the lens with my fathers' film camera (eos 2000 i assume and it's lens is currently broken). My maximum budget is about $850 (i saved this for about 2 years, if you ask). I'm thinking about buying second hand gears at KEH.com as I live oversea and heard they have some good reputation.

So here are some lens I've looked up. They are about or under $850 second hand.
1. EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM
2. EF 17-40 f/4L + EF 50 f/1.8 II
3. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 28-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM
4. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 50 f/1.8 II + EF 100 f/2 USM

I know that 24mm isn't that wide on a crop camera but I'm fine with that. Please put some comments suggest which combo should i get. I really appreciate your help.

P.S. I'm currently living in Bangkok and will move to Seoul next year. So, I'd love to have lens that can be used for travel as well.


I'm a traditionalist with this kind of question and others will disagree. I would always get a 50mm focal length and stick to that for a while. On your crop body the equivalent would be any 35mm lens. Any of them will do. The faster (=wider aperture) the better but that's a matter of budget also. The basic Canon 35 2.0 (non IS) should be fine. Any of the Sigma lenses are nice as well. The 30mm 1.4 is a steal for instance.
And then there is always the Canon 40mm 2.8 pancake lens.

Once you're getting good results with any of those you can then make a more educated decision as to what else you need and what your style of photography is.

If I had to chose one of the combos above I'd personally go with #4.
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florianbieler.de

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 02:50:48 PM »
Y no Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC? Alright, it's a bit above your limit, but probably of the best affordable standard zoom.
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Richard8971

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 09:01:09 PM »
I would say that the EF 28-135 is a good, affordable alternative to the 24-105L but the L is a MUCH better lens, combinded with the EF 100mm macro (non-L) with the 70-300 IS USM (non-L) you would end up with 3 affordable lenses that are outstanding for the cost and would cover about 99.9% of all of your shooting needs. I have used/still use each of these lenses to this day.

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rattlit

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 08:25:51 AM »

One caution, the 28-105 does not have IS.
If you are a student of photography (instead of merely a student interested in photography) :P then I'd recommend getting a 35mm prime.
Among your choices no. 4 seems the most versatile to me (for me the aperture ranges provide more versatility than the focal length ranges of a zoom). Personally, on my own crop sensor I'd be happiest if I could have a fast 24mm lens.

Oops typo there. Should have been 28-135. Sorry about that. And, yes, I am taking photography course at my high school now (used the old Pentax K1000 last semester). Thanks about advice. But adding another prime would be out of my budget... I guess using the kit lens with f/8 setting would work for that...


I'm a traditionalist with this kind of question and others will disagree. I would always get a 50mm focal length and stick to that for a while. On your crop body the equivalent would be any 35mm lens. Any of them will do. The faster (=wider aperture) the better but that's a matter of budget also. The basic Canon 35 2.0 (non IS) should be fine. Any of the Sigma lenses are nice as well. The 30mm 1.4 is a steal for instance.
And then there is always the Canon 40mm 2.8 pancake lens.

Once you're getting good results with any of those you can then make a more educated decision as to what else you need and what your style of photography is.

If I had to chose one of the combos above I'd personally go with #4.

So prime is the way to go I guess. But I cannot buy more lens nor it wouldn't be wise to replace any. Maybe i can replace 100mm with 35mm but that would leave me no telephoto lens...Thanks for help anyway.

Y no Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC? Alright, it's a bit above your limit, but probably of the best affordable standard zoom.

Uh, that's quite a bit above my budget... thanks for advice though!

I would say that the EF 28-135 is a good, affordable alternative to the 24-105L but the L is a MUCH better lens, combinded with the EF 100mm macro (non-L) with the 70-300 IS USM (non-L) you would end up with 3 affordable lenses that are outstanding for the cost and would cover about 99.9% of all of your shooting needs. I have used/still use each of these lenses to this day.

D

So you are suggesting range coverage over the aperture...I think they'd be nice for traveling as well! But 28mm on a crop sensor would be about 45mm on full frame so the only way for me to shoot wide angle is to shoot with my father's film camera. Thanks for help though.


Thanks for advice everyone! So I guess I'll go with the primes. But let me ask just one additional question. In terms of photos' quality, are the primes comparable with the 24-105L?

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 09:05:51 AM »
Option 4 + 5Dc. Sell the rebel, your better off learning on that camera.

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 09:05:51 AM »

bwfishing

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 10:19:12 AM »
There has already been some really good advice given already.  Perhaps give try at the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM as the crop body match up for the 24-105mm range, or perhaps you might be better off saving for the full frame camera body. The 28-135mm is nice, but not really wide on a T2i/T3i body. The 70-300mm is also a good low cost lens with impressive image quality for the price, great when traveling "light", but be carful it is all plastic and does not include FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing -- you must switch to MF mode to manually focus the lens. You may want to look at the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L too.  Also if your willing to go manual focus perhaps consider the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED IF AS UMC Manual Focus Wide Angle Lens. They also have a 8mm, 14mm. I have the 35mm and it is wonderful. One of my first primes was the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens it is awesome! It's better on a full frame, but still a top pick and affordable too  IMHO. Also I've only bought one lens so far from Keh.com, but I will likely buy from them again as the lens is in great condition and the price was pretty good too!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 10:53:32 AM by bwfishing »

J.R.

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 10:59:55 AM »
Option 4 + 5Dc. Sell the rebel, your better off learning on that camera.

+1 ... I recommend that as well
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dickgrafixstop

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 11:50:41 AM »
As a student on a limited budget, I would recommend the 35mm f2.0 non IS version.  As others have
mentioned on a crop body it will give you a 50mm equivalent and will take about half your money.
It's hard to beat the 50mm f1.8, but my next lens would be the 85 f1.8 as a perfect range for portraits.
An alternative would be the non-IS 100mm f2.8 with macro, but that's a personal decision.  Both are about the same price and should leave you enough room to purchase the 50mm.  Those two - or
three - lenses are a wonderful starting point.  Good luck with your schooling.

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2013, 12:44:24 PM »
Hello, I'm a student interested in photography. The reason I'm writing this is because I really need some advice on the lenses (my teacher uses Nikon only). I have Rebel T3i but I would like to have an ef lens rather than an ef-s lens because it'd be really nice to be able to share the lens with my fathers' film camera (eos 2000 i assume and it's lens is currently broken). My maximum budget is about $850 (i saved this for about 2 years, if you ask). I'm thinking about buying second hand gears at KEH.com as I live oversea and heard they have some good reputation.

So here are some lens I've looked up. They are about or under $850 second hand.
1. EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM
2. EF 17-40 f/4L + EF 50 f/1.8 II
3. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 28-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM
4. EF 24 f/2.8 + EF 50 f/1.8 II + EF 100 f/2 USM

I know that 24mm isn't that wide on a crop camera but I'm fine with that. Please put some comments suggest which combo should i get. I really appreciate your help.


If you're "fine with" 24 not being wide on a crop camera because you're not much interested in wide-angle photos, I wouldn't bother with #2; and I wouldn't bother with #3 either - 24 is too close to 28 (unless you want it to get 2.8, for some reason).  In a sense, inexpensive primes give you the best picture quality/price ratio and, because you have a crop sensor camera, you'll need their wide apertures to minimize noise when photographing in low light, so #4 looks appealing, but you may not get enough reach (though 100mm on a crop sensor isn't bad in that regard).  So you may want to mix it up - get a fast wide/wide-ish prime plus the 70-300 IS zoom, perhaps. Or get two zooms, such as the 70-300 IS + the Tamron 28-75 2.8 that Roger at lensrentals thinks so highly of (like the primes you list it doesn't have IS, but at your age you presumably don't need it...).  (If you had a full-frame camera I might suggest #1, which is a very good lens, but I suspect you'll end up wanting a faster lens on your camera.) 

But you don't have to buy it all at once, do you?  It might make sense to consider one of the multi-lens suggestions, pick one that seems a plausible candidate, use it for a while and figure out what you're missing - you may find that you want to go farther than you think, need less (or more) reach than you think, don't care about photographing in low light, etc., etc. 

Dantana

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2013, 01:24:09 PM »
If you are on a budget, and a student learning photography, I would recommend going the prime route.

Since you are shooting crop, I would start with the 35 2.0 non IS. Yes it's an older lens and doesn't have full time MF, but I've been very happy with the focal length on a crop body and it's made for some great shots. I don't have any experience with the 40mm pancake, but from what I've read it would be another choice for a "normal" lens.

The 85 1.8 is a great prime and has been living on my camera since I got it for Christmas.

One other lens to consider on the wide end is the 20mm 2.8. I know this lens has a dubious reputation, but I picked one up used last year for a good price and so far I have been pretty happy with it. It's a nice focal length on a crop body.

Since budget is a concern, I would start small and build, with say either the 35 or 40 and the 85, then see what you feel like you are lacking.

I also think that as a student, primes will serve you better than zooms, but then again I have been accused of being fairly old school when it comes to learning.
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 01:34:05 PM »
I would like to have an ef lens rather than an ef-s lens because it'd be really nice to be able to share the lens with my fathers' film camera (eos 2000 i assume and it's lens is currently broken).

My first recommendation would be to forget that limitation. There's nothing for a student to learn with film these days. Any more, it's at most an advanced elective or an expensive toy. Yes, yes -- there are people still creating great art with film, and there always will be. And there are painters who still grind their own pigments, too, and chefs who have on-site gardens. But that's not what those fields are about these days, and that's certainly not what you need to learn.

If you can let go of wanting glass to use on both your modern APS-C DSLR and dad's old relic, I would first recommend a standard zoom for the format. At KEH, I see the ultimate such lens, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS, available for well under your budget limit.

And, frankly, that's all I'd recommend you get at first. Save up the remainder of your budget for something else.

If and when you start to get frustrated with the limitations of the 17-55 -- and, frankly, there aren't any, except for focal length and maximum magnification -- then add to your kit with something that directly addresses those limitations. You might want a macro; you might want an ultrawide; you might want a telephoto. But wait until you know what it is that you want, and then get it.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 01:34:05 PM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 01:55:00 PM »
If you are on a budget, and a student learning photography, I would recommend going the prime route.

I very much disagree.

For one, a single zoom is cheaper than a trio of primes covering the same focal length range.

For another, primes are specialized tools. The only time you want a prime instead of a zoom is when the prime does something the zoom doesn't.

It used to be that that meant image quality, but no more. Many of the lenses with the best image quality are zooms, and some of the lenses with the worst image quality are primes in popular focal lengths. For example, the 20mm f/2.8 -- a perfect medium-wide for APS-C, is one of the most "meh" lenses in Canon's lineup. And the worst lens I've ever owned is a Canon 28 f/2.8, which should be the ultimate normal lens for the format.

It also used to be that that meant speed, but not very much any more. While there are times when you want to shoot faster than f/2.8, those situations are rare and marginal. With the high ISO capabilities of modern DSLRs, you don't need the speed for low light shooting. And razor-thin depth of field effects are a specialist "look" of a certain style of portrait photography.

Now, there are a number of specialist lenses that happen to be primes that are well worthy of consideration. True macro lenses are always primes, for example, and lenses with movements (TS-E) are always primes. Until the 200-400 goes on the market, all the Great Whites are primes. The amazingly diminutive Shorty McForty is a prime. And, yes, the super-fast portrait lenses are all primes.

But each of those lenses has something in particular that it does that a zoom doesn't, and it's for that something in particular that you'd want said lens. When you don't need that something particular, though, the zoom is far superior to the prime, as it's literally a bag full of primes in a single lens for less money.

Some will suggest that the big limitation of a prime -- that you can't change focal length -- is somehow a creative advantage. Bullshit -- with a simple piece of gaffer's tape, your zoom suddenly acquires the exact same creative advantage as the prime. And a two-second adjustment gives your zoom the same advantage as with another prime of a different focal length.

So, rattlit, my suggestion still stands: get the 17-55 (and, if you really think you need it, a $2 roll of gaffer's tape).

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 02:29:12 PM »
If you are on a budget, and a student learning photography, I would recommend going the prime route.

I very much disagree.

For one, a single zoom is cheaper than a trio of primes covering the same focal length range.

For another, primes are specialized tools. The only time you want a prime instead of a zoom is when the prime does something the zoom doesn't.

It used to be that that meant image quality, but no more. Many of the lenses with the best image quality are zooms, and some of the lenses with the worst image quality are primes in popular focal lengths. For example, the 20mm f/2.8 -- a perfect medium-wide for APS-C, is one of the most "meh" lenses in Canon's lineup. And the worst lens I've ever owned is a Canon 28 f/2.8, which should be the ultimate normal lens for the format.

It also used to be that that meant speed, but not very much any more. While there are times when you want to shoot faster than f/2.8, those situations are rare and marginal. With the high ISO capabilities of modern DSLRs, you don't need the speed for low light shooting. And razor-thin depth of field effects are a specialist "look" of a certain style of portrait photography.

Now, there are a number of specialist lenses that happen to be primes that are well worthy of consideration. True macro lenses are always primes, for example, and lenses with movements (TS-E) are always primes. Until the 200-400 goes on the market, all the Great Whites are primes. The amazingly diminutive Shorty McForty is a prime. And, yes, the super-fast portrait lenses are all primes.

But each of those lenses has something in particular that it does that a zoom doesn't, and it's for that something in particular that you'd want said lens. When you don't need that something particular, though, the zoom is far superior to the prime, as it's literally a bag full of primes in a single lens for less money.

Some will suggest that the big limitation of a prime -- that you can't change focal length -- is somehow a creative advantage. Bullshit -- with a simple piece of gaffer's tape, your zoom suddenly acquires the exact same creative advantage as the prime. And a two-second adjustment gives your zoom the same advantage as with another prime of a different focal length.

So, rattlit, my suggestion still stands: get the 17-55 (and, if you really think you need it, a $2 roll of gaffer's tape).

Cheers,

b&

Trumpet, I respect your opinion and you make some great points.

Still, I disagree that someone learning photography would be better off with a zoom than starting with primes. I think that the biggest parts of learning to shoot are finding/manipulating light (which doesn't necessarily fit in this discussion) and learning to see the world through your camera. To me having a zoom while you are learning acts as a crutch, and though I love the bit about a piece of gaffers tape, I have a feeling that it would be ripped off at the drop of a hat.

That is just my opinion though. Like I said before, I tend to use an old school approach when it comes to learning. I run a small computer animation department but I always look at a candidate's drawing ability even though that has become quite out of fashion in recent times. To me, that knowledge is important. I feel the same way about learning to shoot. I think the basics are very important. In fact, I would consider having a student start with only a "normal" prime until they know what else they really need, or get some recommendations from their school.

I also don't consider a prime a specialized lens. But that's how I shoot and obviously not how everyone else shoots. Perhaps Trumpet's advice would work out for the best.
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Re: Starting Lens Recommendation
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 02:29:12 PM »