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Author Topic: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II -- Lens Purchased!  (Read 7305 times)

stevevihon

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Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II -- Lens Purchased!
« on: January 11, 2012, 11:54:46 PM »
I finally pulled the trigger on a 5D Mark II over Christmas (body only) and would appreciate some recommendations on lenses to pair with the camera. 

I am new to Canon (ex Nikon D300 owner) so I am starting from scratch in terms of lenses.  Not first post on forum (you might recognize the "uncooprative daughter" comment from an earlier post) but my first since buying the camera.  I have been giving more thought to what I shoot to help with what lenses to buy.

What I shoot: 
(1)  An uncooperative four year old daughter (mix of low light shots at home and shots outdoors)
(2)  Cityscapes and architecture (Live in Chicago, so lots of great places to shoot)
(3)  Sunrises of the lakefront (Live very close to Lake Michigan facing east with unobstructed view from my balcony to try to capture some great sunrises)
(4)  Prairie landscapes (embracing the flatness of my home state)
(5)  Museums like the Shedd Aquarium which currently has a great temporary Jellyfish exhibition

My budget is between $2,500 and $3,000.  Lenses I have been considering so far:  50L, 50 1.4, 85 1.4, 135L and 70-200 f4 (weight, cost versus 2.8).  And, I am also open to 35L, 24-70, 45 TS-E and am hoping to begin saving for a 24 TS-E, to buy in the future.

I have rented both the 50L 1.2 and 50 1.4 and am renting a 35L this weekend along with the 135L.  Really liked the 50L but did experience the back focus issue many people have discussed.

A few images are below to give some examples of subject matter.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 03:42:21 PM by stevevihon »

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Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II -- Lens Purchased!
« on: January 11, 2012, 11:54:46 PM »

Leopard Lupus

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 12:40:17 AM »
Congrats on the purchase!
Personally, I am a prime lens guy. I have owned the 50mm f/1.4, and loved it until I tried the 50mm f/1.2 L. What sold me was the build quality and my love of this classic focal length. However, I would gladly buy the 50mm f/1.4 again if the L was not an option.
I also own the 135 f/2 L. Hands down, the sharpest lens on the 5D mk ll with the exception of the 85mm f/1.2. As far as build quality, excellent. IQ, oh yes. I find it perfect for portraits and indoor sports, but bothersome for landscapes.
Paring the 135 L with the 35mm L brings some of the best quality that I personally love.  Even though I enjoy the 50mm on FF, the versatility of a long lens (portraits) and short lens (landscapes) is unbeatable.
As far as the "uncooperative daughter" is concerned, I find the 35 L to be great (wonderful AF if that is what you are looking for) unlike the 50mm's. The 135 is a tad too long for this sort of subject, but the AF is nice and easy like the 35 L.
Good luck on your purchases, and keep us updated!

Cosk

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 12:45:08 AM »
You speak of architecture, landscape, and museums... all wide subjects.  I would start with the 35L - it's the lens I keep on my 5D.  It's also great for children.  You don't really have a lower priced option - the non L 35 is pretty clunky.   

Next, for your daughter, an 85 is great for portraits... I currently own both the 1.2 ($1850) and the 1.8 ($380).  Both are FANTASTIC, but honestly the 1.8 does almost everything the 1.2 does, one stop slower.  The 1.8 is a really high value lens (but I love my 1.2).  My advice is to get the 1.8, and upgrade to the 1.2 later if you really like the focal length. 

I also owned the 50 1.4 and the 50 1.2.  I think they're both great lenses, but I couldn't justify the price difference between the two so I returned the 1.2.  The 1.2 produces slightly better images, but I felt the big difference was build quality - If money were no object, go with the 1.2.  But since you specified a budget and the 1.4 is a very good option, I recommend the 1.4.     

The 135 is my street photography lens - I personally like it's ability to discretely capture portraits... but that's wasn't on your shot list, so I'd throw in a 17-40 f/4 L ... it's great for building interiors and museums - you can step in front of everyone and get shots without people.  It's not the fastest glass... but it's wonderfully sharp.   

So, my advice would be:
35 1.4 L
85 1.8
50 1.4
17-40 4 L

And that should be about $2800-$2900 by the time you add your filters.  Throw in a high quality Polarizer for your primes, and you're at $3000 and fully kitted. 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 09:11:50 AM by Cosk »
5DII 5D 135L 85L 50/1.4 35L 17-40/4L | Denver, CO

squarebox

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 12:49:27 AM »
My only comment is that you like taking landscapes and cityscapes, yet your widest lens is a 50mm.  My be good to look at the 16-35L or the 35L for those.  There is also alot of talk about how the 35L is a great walk around lens on a FF.

the 70-200 2.8L is an amazing lens for indoor photography.  Was playing around with it at a party and it was great on a crop from across the room for head shots.  Though a bunch of my shots didn't come out cause it was the non IS version.

I'd 2nd Leonard on the 50mm 1.4 being a very good lens for the price.  And if you can get over the build quality and the f2 of the 35mm, it has very close to on par IQ as the L.

So my overall suggestion would be to pick up the 35L (currently on sale!) and the 70-200mm 2.8L IS and the 50mm 1.4.
5Dmk3 - 16-35L - 24-105L - 70-200L F2.8 mk2 - 35L - 50mm 1.4 - 100L - 600xt-rt

Goshdern

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 12:50:11 AM »
My wife and I picked a 5dii up around thanksgiving.  We also bought the 16-35 2.8l II, 85 1.2l II, & 70-200 2.8l is II.

I have to say for $3k you would be happy ( for now) with the 70-200 2.8l is II & 50 1.4 (but we use 35mm on the 16-35 more then our 50 prime).

The vast majority of the shots we take end up at iso 100 f2.8 below 1/100th between 150-200mm... You can't get that shot (obviously) with the f4 nor without IS.

If you consider a 35mm lens (prime or zoom) someday you could skip the 50 1.4 and get a 100 2.8l macro (our next lens).  I haven't rented it yet but read great things about the portraits.. Oh and it's L grade macro glass too hehe.

We shoot canon for the glass... Right?
Tamrac 5592; Canon 5D Mark II, 7D, 16-35mm 2.8L II, 85mm 1.2L II, 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, 580EX II (x2), PCBuff Einstein-Vagabond Mini & reflectors, Sekonic 758DR, Trigmaster tx and rx's & lots of eneloops

bvukich

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 01:15:49 AM »
Congratulations on your purchase!

Just starting out, I would have recommended getting the 24-105/4L IS kit; but it's too late for that, so why dwell on it  :)

Given the budget, I would do 35L 85/1.8 70-200/4L IS.  After that (next time the wife permits), I would fill in the primes, probably a 50/1.4 & 135L, and maybe a wide zoom at the bottom like the 16-35L.  Then after that, a standard zoom (if you're so inclined) like a 24-70L.

Then I'd finally start upgrading the non-L primes (unless there was a favorite focal length that couldn't wait), and the 70-200/4L IS to the 2.8 IS II.

PS Love the pics, I'm from Milwaukee, so I know that sky well.  Keep that horizon level though, that couple of degrees is distracting.  I use the AF points to gauge level, just pick a pair and keep them equidistant from the horizon.

87vr6

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 01:54:12 AM »
You're worried about lenses... Obviously you bought a body, so you need at least one to take pictures with... What I would be more concerned about is the fact that your last two shot, of landscapes, your horizons were noticeably not level....

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 01:54:12 AM »

D.Sim

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 03:57:28 AM »
You're worried about lenses... Obviously you bought a body, so you need at least one to take pictures with... What I would be more concerned about is the fact that your last two shot, of landscapes, your horizons were noticeably not level....

Which can be fixed in Photoshop, so I have no idea what you're going on about. But you digress, so back to the topic on hand.

Totally agree with bvukich, would have gone with the kit, the 24-105 is a great all round lens, but in the absence of having one, I'd suggest at least a 17-40 f/4 L, which, if you're after landscapes, should be a nice lens to use, not much difference in this and the faster 16-35 when stopped down, which you'd be doing when taking landscapes (generally) anyway. Pretty cheap too, so its not gonna blow your budget.

Interestingly though, while you missed out on the 24-105 f/4, you've given yourself a chance to go for the 24-70 f/2.8, which is also a pretty good all rounder, but also cover your landscapes AND portraits if need be. A 50mm f/1.4 (The Sigma is another possibility (HERESY! I hear you shout... nevermind =P)), or the 85mm would be beautiful, or go for the longer 135mm. (which could help get shots of your "uncooperative" daughter - can't be uncooperative if she doesn't know she's in your sights.

70-200... I'd put that off first though, from what you describe I don't think you'd need to go into that range yet... but thats just me.
Thats just me though.

stevevihon

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 09:07:17 AM »
I am the OP.  Thanks for everyone so far for their thoughts.  I wanted to respond to a few of the posters. 

Great point on some of the shots not being level -- I was shooting these scenes to test the lens versus as keepers (but, I do like the Milwaukee shot and will level it).

I am able to still exchange the camera body for a kit with the 24-105 lens -- I did not buy the kit because I wanted to have faster lenses and felt that a f4 as my primary lens would not be good when shooting indoors and for bokeh.  So, I still have the option to get it if it would take care of my architecture needs.  Thoughts with it still being in the mix?

It sounds like everyone that has the 70-200 2.8 loves the lens.  I have been looking more at the f4 because it is much lighter and significantly more affordable.  More to do with weight -- I shot with the Nikon 70-200 2.8 and it was awesome, but really, really heavy.

Again, thanks for the thoughts and suggestions so far.  Definately a lot to consider.

JR

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 09:52:05 AM »
Hi Steve, congrats on your new purchase.  I personally have lived a full year with only two lenses: the 50 1.2L and the 85 1.2L II.  Those were mainly for inside portrait of my then 1 year old daughter (she is almost 2 now).  So those were working for me because i did not do a lot of landscape (although the 50 is great for that).

With your budget and your need, you have a few good scenario as per the many good advice above.  One combination I find interesting for you would be the combo of the 35L, 135L and the 24-105L.  This way you have the flexibility of the zoom, but you also have fast prime (wide and telephoto) for low light situation.

The 135L can work as a light long focal lenght lens instead of the heavier 70-200 2.8 (one of the reason I got it myself).  If you feel you need faster prime at smaller focal lenght, then another option would be the 35L, 85L II and the 70-200 f4 IS as you eluded to...

Any combination of a F4 IS zoom with some fast prime will go a long way for any type of situation.  Hope this helps...

BTW, you will notice I have lots of prime myself, but next on my list will be the 24-105L as a general purpose lens as well...
1DX, 24mm f1.4L II, 35mm f1.4L, 50mm f1.2L, 85mm f1.2L II, 135mm f2L, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II :  D800, D4, and a whole bunch of Nikon lenses

treyconnally

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 09:56:14 AM »
Hi Steve, congrats on your new purchase.  I personally have lived a full year with only two lenses: the 50 1.2L and the 85 1.2L II.  Those were mainly for inside portrait of my then 1 year old daughter (she is almost 2 now).  So those were working for me because i did not do a lot of landscape (although the 50 is great for that).

With your budget and your need, you have a few good scenario as per the many good advice above.  One combination I find interesting for you would be the combo of the 35L, 135L and the 24-105L.  This way you have the flexibility of the zoom, but you also have fast prime (wide and telephoto) for low light situation.

The 135L can work as a light long focal lenght lens instead of the heavier 70-200 2.8 (one of the reason I got it myself).  If you feel you need faster prime at smaller focal lenght, then another option would be the 35L, 85L II and the 70-200 f4 IS as you eluded to...

Any combination of a F4 IS zoom with some fast prime will go a long way for any type of situation.  Hope this helps...

BTW, you will notice I have lots of prime myself, but next on my list will be the 24-105L as a general purpose lens as well...

What he said.  :D  +1 JR.

chaos2k

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 11:05:40 AM »
I just bought the 5d mark ii with the 24-105L kit this week. So far I am happy with it.  I did really debate getting the 24-70 for the 2.8 but I thought the extra 35mm and IS would be more versatile.

Also I was thinking with the 700 dollars I saved by not getting the 24-70 I could maybe get  a faster prime for portraits. I have the 50mm 1.8 right now. I bought it when I just started out and didn't know if I would use it much. I love the optics on it but wish I would have bought the 1.4 for build quality. At this point it dosent make much sense to sell it and buy the 1.4?

what would you guess suggest as a good lens to go with the 24-105 and 50mm for portraits?

also off topic but I am trying to decide between and original canon grip and a 3rd party B&H has a Vello and the salesman said its just as good. there are also ebay options.

if you want to see my shooting sytle most of my shots are here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaos2k/

thanks for any advice

jasonsim

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 11:34:03 AM »
If you have no lenses, I would start with a few zooms.  You can get the specialty primes later.

On a 5D there is really no better general purpose lens than the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.  Spectacular lens and also perfect for handheld video.   Do not try video handheld without IS. :-)  Unless you have an $800 steadycam merlin.

I'd also suggest a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II.  Right now these are on huge discount.  If you do not need f2.8 in a telephoto lens then I'd go with the cheaper 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM (also on sale). 

For a fast lens on a 5D that will not break the bank and be just as good if not better than the Canon  is the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM.  Better than any Canon 50mm in my experience.  I returned my 50mm 1.2L for this one.  The Canon suffered from too much chromatic aberration at 1.2 and 1.4. Plus the canon was really soft at 1.2L and suffered from focus drift...terrible for the price they charge.  If you can buy the Sigma locally and try it out and get the newer version with the smooth finish, you will have a gem on your hands for $500.

Kind regards,
Jason

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 11:34:03 AM »

jasonsim

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 11:38:19 AM »
I just bought the 5d mark ii with the 24-105L kit this week. So far I am happy with it.  I did really debate getting the 24-70 for the 2.8 but I thought the extra 35mm and IS would be more versatile.

Also I was thinking with the 700 dollars I saved by not getting the 24-70 I could maybe get  a faster prime for portraits. I have the 50mm 1.8 right now. I bought it when I just started out and didn't know if I would use it much. I love the optics on it but wish I would have bought the 1.4 for build quality. At this point it dosent make much sense to sell it and buy the 1.4?

what would you guess suggest as a good lens to go with the 24-105 and 50mm for portraits?

also off topic but I am trying to decide between and original canon grip and a 3rd party B&H has a Vello and the salesman said its just as good. there are also ebay options.

if you want to see my shooting sytle most of my shots are here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaos2k/

thanks for any advice

Get the Sigma 50mm 1.4 locally where you can test it out for auto focus accuracy and get the genuine Canon grip.  The canon grip will last forever...the knock off not so much.
Cams: Canon 5D3, EOS M
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Support: Gitzo GT4542LS/G2258, RRS BH-55, Wimberley WH-200

bigblue1ca

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 12:02:15 PM »
Based on your comments, you seem to really like shooting landscapes, in addition to your daughter.  I'd look at the 16-35 2.8 II for landscapes, 50 1.4 for low-light indoors/portraits, and the 70-200 4.0 for some reach.  I have the 70-200 2.8 IS II, but from all the comments, reviews, and pictures I've seen of the f/4, it is a great lens with excellent IQ as well.  That collection of lenses should get you in around the three grand mark and within budget.  Then when you save up again, buy either the 24-70 2.8 or 24-105 4.0, or a couple of other primes if you prefer those.

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Re: Help choosing lenses for new 5D Mark II
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 12:02:15 PM »