December 21, 2014, 08:34:20 AM

Author Topic: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?  (Read 7888 times)

A3X

  • Guest
HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« on: February 08, 2012, 01:59:18 PM »
So I've somewhat recently dived into the world with a Canon 600D + 18mm-55mm IS II.

I want something for extend range. I've narrowed it down to two.
> A bridged gap with the EF-S 55mm-250mm IS II?
> A gap with the EF 70mm-300mm IS USM?
> Or maybe something else, suggestions?

Also any suggestions below the 55mm range?

Any imput will be greatly appreciated.
Cheers! :)

canon rumors FORUM

HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« on: February 08, 2012, 01:59:18 PM »

K-amps

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1539
  • Whatever looks great !
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 02:03:57 PM »
What is your budget and what kind of photography do you do. That would help us make some suggestions.
EOS-5D Mk.iii 
Sigma 24-105mm F4 ART; EF 70-200 F/2.8L Mk.II; EF 85mm L F/1.2 Mk. II; EF 100mm L F/2.8 IS Macro, 50mm F/1.8ii;  TC's 2x Mk.iii; 1.4x Mk.iii

A3X

  • Guest
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 02:25:13 PM »
What is your budget and what kind of photography do you do. That would help us make some suggestions.
Mostly Landscape Photography.

Around GBP £190-250; USD $300-400.

K-amps

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1539
  • Whatever looks great !
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 02:36:56 PM »
Thats a tight budget  :): Do you think you will ever go to Fullframe bodies or will stick to APS-C sensors like the 600D?

« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 03:31:50 PM by K-amps »
EOS-5D Mk.iii 
Sigma 24-105mm F4 ART; EF 70-200 F/2.8L Mk.II; EF 85mm L F/1.2 Mk. II; EF 100mm L F/2.8 IS Macro, 50mm F/1.8ii;  TC's 2x Mk.iii; 1.4x Mk.iii

underjammer

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2012, 03:14:12 PM »
For the 55-250 IS vs the 70-300 IS, I will always recommend the 55-250..  I have both.  If the 55-250 existed when I bought my camera, I would never have bought the 70-300 (which at the time was ridiculously more expensive).

I have no experience with 3rd party lenses in this range, so I can't comment on those.  But between these 2, here's my take.

They are nearly indistinguishable performance wise.  The 55-250 is available (at least in the US) for around $170-ish used on ebay and others.. (It's price fluctuates a bunch, though, and can drop down to 130-ish during rebate season, etc..).  And the 70-300 is available for around $370-400..

For the extra $200, you're buying 2 "tangible" things in the 70-300:
   (a) the ability to use the lens on a full frame camera
   (b) an extra 50mm of telephoto.

Of those 2:
   (a) is not something you need to worry about.  You have a crop-sensor camera.  (When you go full frame, $170 is going to be laughable compared to the lenses you'll need to be buying..)
   (b) well, if you need that extra 50mm, you can start by cropping your image (you've got plenty of megapixels to do so on the 600D.. I think cropping a 250mm image down to 300mm would leave you with around 13-14mp..?), and if you find you are doing that a LOT, and you hate losing those few mp's, then maybe it would be time to sell the 55-250 (probably for what you bought it for..), or just upgrade to a 300mm prime..  But really, that's probably not going to happen.  : D

The main benefit of the 55-250 is the SIZE.  It's SO SMALL!  It weighs like half of what the 70-300 weighs, which is reeeeally nice when you're out taking a hike and what not.  It's also dirt cheap..  It should probably be a crime for anyone to NOT own it..  It's the equivalent of the 50mm 1.8 prime, if you ask me..  For the price and performance, you should at least own this lens.

One thing between the two that I have found, is that I got better results from the IS of the 70-300 when I had the battery grip attached to my XTi.  But when it wasn't attached, they were pretty much the same.  (The 55-250 supposedly has a better IS.)  I think the added weight of the 70-300 makes it a bit more stable when the camera is all big and chunky (battery grip..).

As for something else...  The next best Canon lens (a significantly better lens..) would be the 70-200mm f4L IS, which is way more expensive, bigger, and heavier..  But it's also top notch..  But again, at it's price point, the $170 spent on the little EF-S 55-250 is insignificant, if you keep both.

EDIT:  As a side note..  The 55-250mm IS II is optically and performance-wise identical to the 55-250mm IS (non II version)..  They changed the plastic lens barrel to have a painted white EF-S square in the version II model, rather than a glued-in/raised EF-S square in the original version.  So technically the original version is the "classier" of the two, haha..

Also, if you aren't afraid of the used market, I would guess that most of the 55-250mm lenses out there are practically brand new..  People buy them as a kit, and unload them to "make their camera purchase cheaper".  But, when you're new to all this, buying used can be a bit scary, hehe..  (or at least it was for me once upon a time..).  Of all the lenses I've bought used (10+ autofocus, and at least another 10+ manual focus), only 1 had a problem...  And I bought it *knowning* it had a problem.  If the lens is actually pretty new, you can try to get a copy of the receipt from the person you're buying it from (just ask them for a copy..), and you'll have the rest of the warranty with the lens.  (I think those lenses are warrantied for 1 year?).  The "warranty card" is pointless.  All Canon cares about is the copy of the receipt, so they know it's not a gray-market, or past-warranty lens.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 03:33:55 PM by underjammer »

A3X

  • Guest
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2012, 03:27:31 PM »
Cheers mate, solid advice I was looking for :)

K-amps

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1539
  • Whatever looks great !
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2012, 03:31:36 PM »
I highly recommend reading this article. Towards the end is a shot of some trees. you can click on the icons below to see the same shot taken with the 55-250mm, vs 70-300 IS and the best part is, it also shows you a comparison to an L lens. This article made me buy the 70-300L  ;)

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-55-250mm-f-4-5.6-IS-Lens-Review.aspx

Looking at your budget, if add a bit more, you can own an L glass, 70-200mm F4L (Canon sells refurbs for about $567): this will be a real step up in IQ, and be compatible with whenever you go FF sensor. You can find one here: http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_10051_269492_-1

For scenery however, I'd stick with the kit lens till you can save for the 10-22mm or 17-40 F4L, those would be step ups and wider than the kit lens.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 03:41:19 PM by K-amps »
EOS-5D Mk.iii 
Sigma 24-105mm F4 ART; EF 70-200 F/2.8L Mk.II; EF 85mm L F/1.2 Mk. II; EF 100mm L F/2.8 IS Macro, 50mm F/1.8ii;  TC's 2x Mk.iii; 1.4x Mk.iii

canon rumors FORUM

Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2012, 03:31:36 PM »

briansquibb

  • Guest
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 04:06:34 PM »
40d + 255 - taken 1 feb 2012

At about £130 secondhand the 55-255 is a real bargain


A3X

  • Guest
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 04:41:52 PM »
Cheers for the advice, K-amps & briansquibb! :)

underjammer

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2012, 05:30:46 PM »
I purposefully skipped the 70-200mm f4L non IS..  It's a great lens, but I wouldn't recommend a non-IS telephoto lens as a first telephoto..  I guess it depends how comfortable you are shooting without image stabilization, because at telephoto focal lengths, non-IS is very very obvious..  You'll need to pay attention to your ISO settings and your f-stop a whole lot more.  The 600D is capable of giving you good results, you're just going to have to work with your camera a lot more.

Here's the difference between the 70-200 non IS and the 55-250 IS, shooting-wise..  We'll use 200mm as a working focal length for comparison..  (As in, the 55-250, we're only zooming in to 200mm..)

The rule of thumb is, without image stabilization, you can take a hand-held crisp image with a max shutter speed of 1/focal_length.. so in our case, that will be 1/200 of a second.

   70-200 non IS: up to 1/200 of a second..  no IS, means no better results.  This is the lens's limitation..
   55-250 IS: *with* IS, you get "4 extra stops"..  let's be conservative and say you get 3 stops..  that means we take our 1/200 and half-it 3 times..  1/200 ->  1/100 (one) ->  1/50 (two) ->  1/25 (three).  So, the 55-250 IS will let you take pictures at 200mm at shutter speeds all the way to 1/25 of a second.  This is a HUGE advantage over the 70-200 non IS.

*However* shutter speed is only 1 part of the picture-taking equation..  You've got shutter speed, f-stop, and ISO.

shutter speed advantage:  Already covered..  the 55-250 IS has a 3 stop advantage over the 70-200 non IS.

f/stop advantage:  The 70-200 non IS is a constant f/4 (f-stop), while the 55-250 is f/5.6 at 200mm..  f/4 is 1-stop brighter than f/5.6, so the 70-200 non IS has a 1 stop advantage over the 55-250.

We can't lower the shutter speed on the 70-200 non IS if we need more light, but we CAN open the aperture (same as f-stop) more than the 55-250...

So technically, the 55-250 has a 3 stop shutter speed advantage, but a -1 f/stop advantage..  So it has in total, a 2 stop "picture-taking" advantage over the 70-200mm, if that makes sense..

Example:  a sunny day is f/8, ISO 100, 1/250th.  Both lenses can just shoot away on a sunny day, no problem..  But a cloudy day might be f/8, ISO 100, 1/60th..
   Without even thinking about it, you can just shoot away with your 55-250 IS no problem..  It can handle 1/60 of a second.
   With your 70-200 non IS, you CAN'T just shoot away...  You need to drop f/8 to f/5.6 to get you from 1/60th to 1/125.  That still isn't fast enough of a shutter speed, so you need to drop f/5.6 to f/4, which gets your shutter speed from 1/125 to 1/250th.  OK, now you can take hand-held crisp images.

What about in the late afternoon..?  Let's say you've got a reading of f/5.6 and 1/30th..
   With the 55-250, you're GOOD.. it can handle 1/30th of a second..  Point and shoot.
   With the 70-200 non IS, again, you gotta make some changes..  drop f/5.6 to f/4 and your shutter speed goes from 1/30th to 1/60th.  That's not enough.  Now you need to up your ISO.  ISO 100 to 200 takes your shutter speed from 1/60th to 1/125th.  Still not enough.  Now you need to bring your ISO from 200 to 400, which takes your shutter speed from 1/125th to 1/250th.  NOW you're good.

What about later in the evening, when it still doesn't even look all that dark out, but it actually really is..?  f/5.6 and 1/30th and ISO 800..? (depending on lighting, this is can be darker or brighter than indoors..)
   With the 55-250 you're GOOD (though you had to change your ISO settings to get there...)
   With the 70-200, you drop f/5.6 to f/4 which gets you from 1/30th to 1/60th...  Now you need to up your ISO again to 1600, which gets you from 1/60th to 1/125th..  Again you need to up your ISO from 1600 to 3200..  which gets you from 1/125th to 1/250th.  And you're good.  Except you're at ISO 3200..  Which is a compromise..  Your camera can handle ISO 3200 if you're not making huge prints, but it sure isn't ISO 800.

As for ISO, it's all dependent on your camera..  And YOUR camera has excellent ISO options..  Let's say ISO 100 - ISO 800 are all considered equal (or close enough) on your camera.  About in the ISO 800-1600 range is when you start losing a bit of contrast..  Perhaps about the contrast that the 70-200 non IS has over the 55-250..  It's a toss up.

Remember, that's hand-held..  If you're putting your camera on a tripod, then the 55-250 no longer has that shutter-speed advantage.  In fact, the 70-200 now has the 1-stop f/stop advantage!  Also, if you're taking pictures of people, 1/25th is a bit slow..  I wouldn't trust people to stay still much better than 1/50th or so..  If you're taking pictures of animals, it all depends on the animal..  You might need to approach 1/200th of a second regardless, in which case the 55-250 loses its advantage..

In all seriousness, those examples are real situations (and real available-light situations), but they're also over-simplified..  If you can steady yourself with that 70-200, you're going to get better shutter speeds than 1/200th.  And if you're actually carrying around a tripod, it's all a wash.  If you're doing flash photography, it's all a wash (or at least less cut and dry.. and 200mm is generally not flash territory.).  As you get into "your-way" of photography, all these things sort of come together and you know what YOUR limitations and photography needs are, and you know if you can consistently take crisp images with a non-IS telephoto.

But as an all-around-I'm-just-getting-into-telephoto-territory, I think it's rather frustrating to get a non-IS lens.  Once you know how you use it, maybe the IS is no longer important..  But I personally think IS is the better way to start.

underjammer

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2012, 05:33:12 PM »
That is a great shot, briansquibb!

unfocused

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 2208
    • View Profile
    • Unfocused: A photo website
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2012, 06:30:51 PM »
For your budget, I agree the 55-250mm is probably the best bet. Canon did a lot right with this lens. It is sharp and the IS works well. Don't be put off by the lightweight build. It is a lot sturdier than it looks and Canon practically gives it away.

Buy this lens, use it for a year or so and by then you'll have figured out enough about your shooting style and interest to know what you might want to upgrade to.

The only alternative I might suggest is the new Tamron 70-300 stabilized zoom. It's less expensive than the Canon 70-300 but is a better lens.
pictures sharp. life not so much. www.unfocusedmg.com

wickidwombat

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *********
  • Posts: 4575
    • View Profile
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2012, 06:43:14 PM »
you should have got the 55-250 in the kit,
look for a second hand one
lots of people buy the kits then sell off the kit lenses and put the money towards high end glass
so you can often pick up brand new kit lenses in the second hand market for cheap might save yourself $100

also do yourself a favour grab a 50mm f1.8 for $100 you will love it and you can get into some shallow depth of field/low light shooting
APS-H Fanboy

canon rumors FORUM

Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2012, 06:43:14 PM »

unruled

  • Guest
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2012, 03:28:31 AM »
maybe consider the tamron 70-300 VC usd

D.Sim

  • Guest
Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2012, 03:37:26 AM »
personally, the 55-250 over the 70-300 non L. It is a brilliant piece of glass for its price, and if you're just starting out, it'll give you enough. If  you're shooting primarily landscapes though, might want to consider the wides first...

canon rumors FORUM

Re: HELP! NEWBIE LENS ADVICE! 55-250mm, 70-300mm, or ___?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2012, 03:37:26 AM »