Recommended a good versatile lens.

Jan 2, 2019
2
0
#1
I've been using my 80D for around 6 months now. So far I've just been using the 18-55 that I got the camera with. I love to shoot land and seascapes.

I'd like to get into macro photography in the future, but for my first 'nice' lens I want something that's not so specialized. I could even do 2 lenses, but at the moment I'd like something I can really work out, instead of getting a few and getting overwhelmed.
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I've got a budget of around $1400, so I'd love some recommendations.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,315
174
Germany
#2
Hi itnithand !

Of course it really depends a lot on what you are shooting.

In general and if you want a versatile lens I'd be going for a better all around zoom lens instead of your kit lens.
For this IMO there would be two choices:
  • EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM,
    about the same zoom range, but f/2.8 and delivers much better IQ than the kit lens
  • EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
    much wider zoom range at same aperture level and better IQ than kit lens but not as good as the f/2.8 lens
Some more recomendations:
cheap but decent IQ and really good bang for the buck:
  • EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
    gives you a cheap first impression into wide apertures and shallow DOF (=depth of focus)
    ==> don't think about it, just buy it
  • EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
    small, good IQ, not really needed if you choose EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
For macro work there are some choices differing from subject:
  • EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM
    new, great feature with macro light, but a bit wide FL
  • EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
    old, but still good with medium FL
  • EF 100 f/2.8 Macro USM either L or non-L
    classical FL for macro, esp. with FF. Both deliver about the same IQ.
    If you do macro with tripod the non-L is enough.
    If you plan to do walk around macros eg. insects, then go for the L with the HIS
If you want more reach, FL then I'd do this with a dedicated tele zoom and first start thinking how much you need, up to 300, 400 mm or even more.
Third party lenses like Sigma and Tamron are good here as well.

Hope I could help a little bit. Enjoy your GAS ;)
 
Last edited:
Likes: stevelee
Dec 26, 2011
363
20
#3
Comments by Maximilian are spot on. My crop kit has the 15-85, 50 (non-STM in my case), and 100L from his list. I also have the old 50 mm f2.5 Compact Macro which is discontinued but cheap used. All excellent lenses, but note that the 15-85 suffers from zoom creep - shooting anything pointed straight down you have to hold it in place. If you shoot landscapes you'll really notice the 3 mm difference from 18 mm on your kit lens down to 15 mm. You may even want to go wider in which case either the 10-18 mm or 10-22 mm zooms would be a consideration.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
7,666
826
Canada
#4
All excellent lenses, but note that the 15-85 suffers from zoom creep - shooting anything pointed straight down you have to hold it in place.
If you are having trouble with zoom creep, try a wide rubber band that is half on the zoom ring and half on the lens body.

I second the recommendations for the 17-55 F2.8. This really should be an L lens, very solid and great quality, but beware, after about 5 years of very heavy use, my copy has also started to show a bit of zoom creep.

If you want to go really wide, there are some very good quality Tokina lenses at an extremely good price.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,047
413
#5
I have had two 15-85mm lenses with my crop cameras, they are great for general use. No zoom creep on either, if its a problem, return the lens.

The 17-55 f/2.8 is near "L" quality, I loved mine, but its not as versatile as the 15-85.
 
Likes: stevelee
Apr 3, 2013
4,035
67
51
Isle of Wight
#6
Hi itnithand.
For the landscape / seascapes I would recommend the 10-22mm lens, a good wide angle on a crop body, I don’t know how the 10-18 stm image quality stands up to the 10-22, the 10-22 has slightly wider aperture “wide open” though that is pretty irrelevant for land / seascapes.

Cheers, Graham.

I've been using my 80D for around 6 months now. So far I've just been using the 18-55 that I got the camera wit5h. I love to shoot land and seascapes.

I'd like to get into macro photography in the future, but for my first 'nice' lens I want something that's not so specialized. I could even do 2 lenses, but at the moment I'd like something I can really work out, instead of getting a few and getting overwhelmed.
Showbox Tutuapp Vidmate


I've got a budget of around $1400, so I'd love some recommendations.
 
Likes: stevelee

Normalnorm

EOS 7D MK II
Dec 25, 2012
439
52
#7
The challenge here is that the kit lens is a versatile FL range. Changing it for the 17-55 would be pointless as the slight, maybe imperceptible improvement in IQ would be overshadowed by the fact that the FOV was essentially unchanged. IOW, more buck, no bang.
Valvebounce gives the most sensible suggestion with the 10-22 as you get the versatility of a zoom with the FL range that is outside your current lens.
Primes are nice but if you want to "work it out" you will be working much harder to find useful subjects that with a zoom.
 
Apr 3, 2013
4,035
67
51
Isle of Wight
#8
Hi Normalnorm.
It is not often I’m credited with sensible advice, and I can’t really accept the credit this time, I was basically only reiterating what old-pr-pix already mentioned though maybe I was more direct about it.

Cheers, Graham.
 

hne

Gear limits your creativity
Jan 8, 2016
298
13
#9
If I had an 80D, I'd want to pair it with a Sigma 18-35/1.8 Art (had one on my 70D) and a 50/1.8. The perfect pair if you ask me.

18-35 on a 70D:
18-35.jpg

50/1.8 II on a 550D:
50.jpg
 
Likes: Random Orbits

Geek

EOS M50
Nov 18, 2014
46
6
#10
Another lens that has not been mentioned is the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 STM. It is not as good as the 17-55 f2.8 or the 15-85 f 3.5-5.6, but it does have a larger focal range and is not a bad lens at all. See the review below:

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-18-135mm-f-3.5-5.6-IS-STM-Lens-Review.aspx

If you want to start looking at Canon's top end L lenses, the EF 24-105 f4 L II is a good general purpose lens. The 24mm at the low end may not be wide enough for sea/landscapes on an APS C body with about a 38mm equivalent. Or a wider general purpose EF 16-35 f4 L is an extremely great lens with about a 25 - 56mm equivalent on the APS C.

It all depends on what you want to do going forward. Personally I started with an APS C body but my GAS had me knowing that eventually I would purchase a full frame body. Against some peoples recommendations (there are many arguments that can be made on this subject), I only purchased EF lenses so that I would not have to sell/trade when I did finally buy the full frame body.

Beware the red ring. Once it bites you're hooked....
 
Jul 6, 2017
899
102
Davidson, NC
#11
When I was using my Rebel, I did not replace the kit lens, which is probably not as good as yours. I got the 10-22mm. I was quite pleased with it, but I gather that the 10-18mm is as good, and a lot smaller and cheaper, but also slower. That would leave money to buy more lenses. I also got the f/1.4 50 mm to use as a portrait lens, since the kit lens doesn’t open very wide. For macro I got the 100mm non L. It is a fine lens for general use. On the Rebel it was a 160mm equivalent telephoto, and now on my 6D2 it makes a pretty decent portrait lens in addition to the macro use.
 

jd7

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 3, 2013
685
74
#12
FWIW if I had crop sensor camera and my main interest was landscapes and seascapes, I reckon the kit I’d want is

EF-S 15-85 or EF-S 17-55. The zoom range of the 15-85 is probably the better choice specifically for landscapes but if you wanted the lens to serve other purposes as well such as portrait/people and indoors, the wider aperture of the 17-55 would be my choice

EF-S 55-250 IS STM. Telephoto can be useful for landscapes! You could also consider one of the EF 70-200L / 70-300L options but they are much bigger, heavier and more expensive. The little EF-S lens has great IQ for its size/weight/cost

EF-S 10-22 or EF-S 10-18 IS STM. These have already been mentioned in posts above, and I would need to research them to decide between them

a wide aperture, low light prime to have something different in my kit. If I really thought I wouldn’t use it much, the EF 50 1.8 STM is the obvious choice given its price. Other options would include the Sigma 30 1.4, Sigma 35 Art, and EF 35 2 IS.

If the OP wants a single, versatile lens primarily for landscapes and seascapes, I think the 15-85 would be my suggestion.

Edit: post edited to pick up what Valvebounce says below about the 55-250 IS STM lens being better than the earlier 55-250 versions. I was definitely thinking of the IS STM version. Thanks Graham!
 
Last edited:
Apr 3, 2013
4,035
67
51
Isle of Wight
#14
Hi.
Just to elaborate a bit on what jd said and this is from hands on experience, don’t settle for the early versions of the EF-s 55-250mm lens, make sure you get the STM version, it has slightly better optics, but the AF is a world apart from the previous versions, quicker, quieter, less hunting (and possibly more accurate, at least that is the feeling I got from it) just all around better. Angela (my better half) has replaced one with the other so yes I’ve used both!

Cheers, Graham.

EF-S 55-250. Telephoto can be useful for landscapes! You could also consider one of the EF 70-200L / 70-300L options but they are much bigger, heavier and more expensive. The little EF-S lens has great IQ for its size/weight/cost.
 
Likes: jd7
Dec 26, 2011
363
20
#15
If you are having trouble with zoom creep, try a wide rubber band that is half on the zoom ring and half on the lens body...
Good suggestion, I'll try it. For years my 15-85 was a favorite walk-around but is now 8+ years old. I'm sure the zoom mechanism is well worn from heavy use. Now for walk-around I use 24-105 or, honestly lately, a m43 body.
I have had two 15-85mm lenses with my crop cameras, they are great for general use. No zoom creep on either, if its a problem, return the lens.
If it were newer I would, or at least send it in for service. I suspect both 17-55 and 15-85 were not designed to be as durable as L lenses despite being optically equivalent to L quality. At this point it isn't a big enough issue for me to warrant the expense.
 
Dec 9, 2013
84
2
#16
I think the responses so far have many good recommendations. For me, landscapes can span a pretty wide range of focal lengths. One thing to ask yourself is which focal lengths do you use the most with your 18-55mm lens? If 55mm, then maybe the recommended 55-250 IS STM would be best. If 18mm, maybe the 10-18 or 10-22 would be best. If you use the full range, the 15-85mm might be the best choice. Another question you should ask yourself is are you using a tripod? Do you have a good tripod and ball head? If no, you might consider using some of your budget for a high quality tripod and ball head that can really help landscape photography.
 
Likes: Michael Clark
Mar 30, 2016
45
0
#17
I've been using my 80D for around 6 months now. So far I've just been using the 18-55 that I got the camera with. I love to shoot land and seascapes.

I'd like to get into macro photography in the future, but for my first 'nice' lens I want something that's not so specialized. I could even do 2 lenses, but at the moment I'd like something I can really work out, instead of getting a few and getting overwhelmed.
Showbox Tutuapp Vidmate


I've got a budget of around $1400, so I'd love some recommendations.
I'm surprised no-one has recommended the 18-135 USM. I got it as the kit lens on my 80D and I reckon it's just made for that camera. I use it 90% of the time. It's a lot sharper than the 18-55STM and is much more versatile with all that extra focal length, and it's also sharper and better built than the 18-135STM (which my daughter has). It opens up to f/3.5 at the wide end, so not much slower than the 17-55 and has similar image quality to both the 17-55 and 15-85. You could use the left over cash to buy the 50STM, 24STM, 10-18STM and 55-250STM, all of which I have and which are very cheap and quite respectable in terms of image quality, as well as lens hoods and polarising filters, and have a very versatile kit. If you buy used you might even be able to squeeze a 100L macro or a good tripod into your budget.
 

docsmith

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 17, 2010
814
139
#18
Another vote for the EFS 15-85. It was my general purpose lens when I shot on a 7D. Amazing "walk around" combination.

UWA photography can be a bit tough. It took me awhile to see the world in an UWA perspective. But the EFS 10-18 is good (by reputation, I have not owned it) and the EFS 11-22 is also good (I owned it at one point with my 7D).

After that, if you are into sea- and land-scapes, I would think about good filters and a good tripod. For filters (in order of priority):
  1. Circular polarizer (CPL)
  2. 6 stop neutral ND (I like B+W or Breakthrough)
  3. 10 stop neutral ND (I've transitioned to Breakthrough, at 6 stop the different in color cast is minimal, at 10 stops, breakthrough has the most natural colors I've seen)
  4. 2 or 3 stop revers ND filter (sunsets). I own a Singh-ray here, but if Lee has a version, it is likely also good.
  5. 3 stop grad ND (I like LEE)

For the CPL(s) and solid ND filters, I use screw in filters, for the Grad ND I use 4x6" filters with a cokin filter holder.

For tripods, there is the legs and the ballhead. For legs I own Gitzo and Really Right Stuff. I went high end as I view these as decade to life long investments. Other brands are also good, I just do not own them. But I've heard good things about Induro, Robus, Oben and Manfrotto. I would stay with carbon fiber legs. For ballheads, there are a lot of good ones out there. Mine are from Markins and Really Right Stuff. If you go down this path, you may want to read reviews at TDP for other brands:
https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tripod-Ballhead-and-Accessory-Reviews.aspx
 

Michael Clark

Now we see through a glass, darkly...
Apr 5, 2016
367
108
#19
Another lens that has not been mentioned is the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 STM. It is not as good as the 17-55 f2.8 or the 15-85 f 3.5-5.6, but it does have a larger focal range and is not a bad lens at all. See the review below:

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-18-135mm-f-3.5-5.6-IS-STM-Lens-Review.aspx

If you want to start looking at Canon's top end L lenses, the EF 24-105 f4 L II is a good general purpose lens. The 24mm at the low end may not be wide enough for sea/landscapes on an APS C body with about a 38mm equivalent. Or a wider general purpose EF 16-35 f4 L is an extremely great lens with about a 25 - 56mm equivalent on the APS C.

It all depends on what you want to do going forward. Personally I started with an APS C body but my GAS had me knowing that eventually I would purchase a full frame body. Against some peoples recommendations (there are many arguments that can be made on this subject), I only purchased EF lenses so that I would not have to sell/trade when I did finally buy the full frame body.

Beware the red ring. Once it bites you're hooked....
I've probably taken more frames on Canon FF bodies with the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS than all other lenses combined. But I'd never consider it a good all around lens for an APS-C body. The angle of view range of a 24-105mm lens on an APS-C camera is just way too awkward.
 
Likes: jd7
Dec 1, 2016
147
7
#20
I've been using my 80D for around 6 months now. So far I've just been using the 18-55 that I got the camera with. I love to shoot land and seascapes.

I'd like to get into macro photography in the future, but for my first 'nice' lens I want something that's not so specialized. I could even do 2 lenses, but at the moment I'd like something I can really work out, instead of getting a few and getting overwhelmed.
Showbox Tutuapp Vidmate


I've got a budget of around $1400, so I'd love some recommendations.
I would recommend for land and seascapes
a) Canon 10-18mm (67mm filter thread)
b) Canon 70-200 f/4 (67mm or 72mm filter thread)

I would recommend screw on Neutral Density (ND) and Circular Polarizer (CP) filters
For ND (3, 6 and 10 stops) I would recommend either Hoya (ProND 8, 100, 1000) or Breakthrough (X4-ND 3, 6 and 10-Stop)
For CP, I would recommend Breakthrough or B+W XS-Pro Kaesemann.

I would recommend getting two sizes for 67mm filter thread and 82mm thread with couple of good step-up rings to adapt from (58-67mm, 62-67mm, 72-82mm, 77-82mm, etc)