Building my lens system - where to go from my basic kit?

janmaxim

EOS M50
Apr 22, 2013
29
0
I have been photographing for four years now. I started out using a 600D with the kit lens, but upgraded after 1.5 years to a 6D because I wanted better low light performance and IQ when doing landscapes. So far, this camerahouse has been fantastic and been a companion on my all of my travels the last 2 years.

I currently have and use two lenses depending on the situation: 24-105 F4L for general walkaround lens, and the 35 F1.4L for more creative use, and "astrophotography" when the weather allows for it.

However, when I look at my pictures, the ones I like the best comes from the 35, with a few exceptions from the 24-105. When pixelpeeping the pictures from the 35 is miles ahead of the 24-105 with regard to image quality, atleast to my eyes. Besides, the pictures I take with the 24-105 tend to be either 24mm (65%) and 105mm (25%) and 15% spread among the rest of the range (from my Lightroom catalog). Lately, I've frequently found myself shooting panoramas at 24mm and stitching them in post process to cover the scene I see with my eye.

From this, it seems I want to go wider, and longer when shooting portraits. Considering I travel I also want to be able to bring atleast some of it on my travels. I want to have a system that cover lenses from the wide end to tele. So here are the options I've thought through:

My main thought is: ditch the general zoom and buy a wide angle lens and a tele lens
For wide angle I see two options: the 14 F2.8 or the new 16-35 F4 IS. A third that I might evaluate is to buy the Samyang 14 F2.8, but as I travel I don't know how much use that would give me. The 14 F2.8 does not accept any of the screw on filters I have, so I think the 16-35 F4 IS is the winner here. Another alternative could be the 24-70 F2.8, but I don't know if it will leave me satisfied with regard to the focal length.

For the tele-range I have thought through these three options: 135 F2, 70-200 F2.8 II or 70-300 F4-5.6. I might do a safari in the coming years, but I think would rent a 100-400 or 400 for that when that time comes. But I'd like to be able to photograph wildlife occasionally. The use of the tele lens would be for family events and portraits. The 135 seems light and desireable, and sounds like a good fit if my experience with it reflects my use of the 35. The gear-nerd in me want the 70-200 F2.8 II, but I am afraid it could turn out to be a very expensive paperweight and not be used much while travelling.

To sum it up:
- I would like to be able to travel with my kit. So weight is a concern (keep in mind that many airlines enforce a 7kg carry-on limit. The ones I use for short-haul trips have a 10kg limit)
- I would like to be able to photograph landscapes, urban, portraits, events and wildlife.
- I would preferably have kit with 3 lenses, possibly 4 with future 100-400 or 400.

Alternative 1:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 135 F2

Alternative 2:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 70-200 2.8 II or 70-300 F4-5.6

Alternative 3:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 100-400 or 400

Alternative 4 (that I think some of you might suggest):
- 16-35 F4
- 24-70 F2.8 II
- 70-200 2.8 II

Some of you must have experienced the same situation, or have some input on this situation?
 

brad-man

Semi-Reactive Member
Jun 6, 2012
1,676
588
S Florida
Although I have no idea what you shoot, and therefore have no understanding of what your needs are in this regard, I won't let that little detail stop me from recommending a couple of lenses I feel should be in everyone's kit: EF16-35 f/4L and the EF70-300 f4-5.6L 8)
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,652
1,603
janmaxim said:
To sum it up:
- I would like to be able to travel with my kit. So weight is a concern (keep in mind that many airlines enforce a 7kg carry-on limit. The ones I use for short-haul trips have a 10kg limit)
- I would like to be able to photograph landscapes, urban, portraits, events and wildlife.
- I would preferably have kit with 3 lenses, possibly 4 with future 100-400 or 400.

Alternative 1:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 135 F2

Alternative 2:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 70-200 2.8 II or 70-300 F4-5.6

Alternative 3:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 100-400 or 400

Alternative 4 (that I think some of you might suggest):
- 16-35 F4
- 24-70 F2.8 II
- 70-200 2.8 II

Some of you must have experienced the same situation, or have some input on this situation?

I've been thru that. I've had the 70-200mm f/4 IS and all three of the 70-200 f/2.8 models, dozens of Canon lenses. I ended up with alternative 4 plus about 8 more lenses, but the 24-70mm f/2.8L gets by far the most use.

I'd keep your current lenses, add the 16-35mm f/4 and the 70-300mmL as in alternative 2. You can then decide if you want a 24-70mm f/2.8. Its not really a walk around lens.

While the 24-105mmL is not perfect, and weak at 24mm and at long focal lengths, its still very good for the price as a kit lens. You will have to pay a lot more to beat it.
 

Davebo

EOS M50
Sep 29, 2014
39
0
Alternative #4......+ an EF 2x III. The extender mates well with the 70-200 2.8 II and should satisfy during occasional wildlife outings (and adds little weight). Since 2 of 3 pics are taken @ 24mm....the 24-70 2.8 II would likely be your go to lens. 16-35 f4 covers your landscapes...70-200 2.8 II for family/portraits.....and your done (and maybe broke)!
 

Helios68

EOS M6 Mark II
Aug 5, 2014
85
0
www.flickr.com
I would add the 16-35mm f/4 to start because it is useful for landscape, street, architecture... a lot of things you see when you travel. Keep the 24-105mm for the moment and consider the 70-200mm f/2.8 it is an amazing lens for action and event photography but quite heavy. The 70-200 f/4 should not be bad also. For wildlife you need at least 200mm.

B6t for travelling i prefer taking zooms for their versatillity
 

NancyP

EOS R
Dec 17, 2013
1,297
14
It depends on how much wildlife you want to shoot and on the size of the wildlife. "light" and "wildlife" tend not to go together in SLR-land. Some people with serious weight restrictions use the bridge superzooms, which will give you perfectly good photos for identification and snapshots. If wildlife, especially small wildlife (birds), is a big part of your shooting plans, for full frame the 400mm f/5.6L is lightest. However, if it is going to be an occasional thing and 280mm is "good enough", you could try the 70-200 f/4L IS and 1.4x TC II, a versatile travel set. If you need a bokeh monster for portraits and are willing to back up a lot, there's always the 200mm f/2.8, a good lens that ought to work fine with a TC.
 

bholliman

EOS R
Dec 6, 2012
1,473
0
USA
www.flickr.com
janmaxim said:
Alternative 1:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 135 F2

Alternative 2:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 70-200 2.8 II or 70-300 F4-5.6

Alternative 3:
- 16-35 F4
- 35 F1.4
- 100-400 or 400

Alternative 4 (that I think some of you might suggest):
- 16-35 F4
- 24-70 F2.8 II
- 70-200 2.8 II

Some of you must have experienced the same situation, or have some input on this situation?

I've owned a 6D since they first hit the market and after buying and selling many lenses ended up with your Alternative 4 (plus 4 primes).

I recently ordered a 16-35 F4 and might be selling (haven't decided yet) my Rokinon 14mm 2.8 when it arrives. The Rokinon 14 is an excellent lens and terrific value, but I often would like to use filters with it and am not interested in investing in an expensive filter kit for it. The 16-35 F4 will be much more versatile and I think IS will come in very handy in low light situations. Plus a already have a full set of 77mm filters for the 16-35.

I mostly shoot family/kids, portraits and landscape with some limited high school sports thrown in. The 24-70 is my most used lens, but the 70-200 gets a fair amount of work as well. Both are incredible! The 70-200 often gets left at home however to save weight if I will be carrying my gear quite a bit.

If you don't have the funds for Alternative 4 right away, I think you could get along nicely with Alternative 1 or 2.
 

Hjalmarg1

Photo Hobbyist
Oct 8, 2013
775
4
50
Doha, Qatar
Don't look around. The best combo is Alternative 4. Keep the 35mm 1.4L for very low light situations and sell the 24-105 f4L
 

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
533
8
St. Paul, MN
Sorry to here that the 24-105 is working for you. I love mine for walk around use and any shots with moving water. The IS is a big asset with slower shutter speeds to control the motion blur. I would definitely keep the 35 1.4. This appears to be your benchmark lens and it's nice to have a fast prime like this in your arsenal. Maybe consider the 70-200 2.8 II next. This happens to be my most used lens, but our subject matter may differ. I just can't see it becoming a paperweight. Then consider the 16-35. Save the decision to replace the 24-105 with the 24-70 for last to see how much you really need the 35-70 range.
 

gregorywood

Always in learning mode
brad-man said:
Although I have no idea what you shoot, and therefore have no understanding of what your needs are in this regard, I won't let that little detail stop me from recommending a couple of lenses I feel should be in everyone's kit: EF16-35 f/4L and the EF70-300 f4-5.6L 8)

+1

If I'm traveling and need the broadest range in the fewest lenses, i grab these two. the gap in the middle is mostly unnoticable, at least to me.
 

Haydn1971

UK based, hobbyist
Nov 7, 2010
593
1
50
Sheffield, UK
www.flickr.com
Every kit should include a 24-70 f2.8 II L ! An amazing lens that you will use most of the time.

I've found I shoot my 16-35 mostly at 16, but I had the 16-35 before the 24-70 - given that knowledge, I'd now go for the 14mm f2.8 if I was to have my go again, but happy enough for now with the 16-35 f2.8 II L

Creativity ? I love my Lensbaby, optics and bits... Fisheye, macro, selective focus, all good fun.
 

jdramirez

EOS R6
May 31, 2011
2,950
0
44
I throw my vote towards 2 with the 70-200mm... heavy, but just a staple in my lens system. I'd also suggest having a prime for dark events... so f2.8 just doesn't cut it. I'm not a wide angle guy, so I couldn't care less about that choice, but it seems like the best bet on the market...
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
1,631
4
55
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
gregorywood said:
brad-man said:
Although I have no idea what you shoot, and therefore have no understanding of what your needs are in this regard, I won't let that little detail stop me from recommending a couple of lenses I feel should be in everyone's kit: EF16-35 f/4L and the EF70-300 f4-5.6L 8)

+1

If I'm traveling and need the broadest range in the fewest lenses, i grab these two. the gap in the middle is mostly unnoticable, at least to me.

Yep, me too. However, I gotta say that my bag usually carries these lenses...

24-105L f/4
16-35L (f/2.8 v I)
(These two lenses share the same 77mm filter size which is handy.)
15mm FishEye f/2.8
28mm f/1.8

I only throw in the 70-300L and the 28/f/1.8 when I know I'll use them. And the 24-105L and 16-35L get 90% use most of the time. I also own the 24-70 f/2.8L (II) and it receives less use than I expected. It's a great lens. If I am shooting something important like an indoor ceremony or something, I will use the 24-70-II and the 70-200-II. But I would sell the 24-70-II hands down before I ever considered selling the 70-200-II. Big time.
 

tcmatthews

EOS RP
Jan 6, 2013
411
0
42
Texas
I vote for a variation on 2.But, I would keep the 24-105f4 for its versatility. I would consider get a 70-200f4 IS and a 1.4x TC instead of the 70-300L. To use as a travel light kit. Then latter buy the 70-200 2.8 II and a 2x TC before going on Safari.

I have nothing against the 70-300 F4-5.6 L but it does not take the canon extenders.

I when traveling light I try to limit my self to what I can carry in a Lowepro Adventure 170. I am very sure that my 6D, Tamron 28-75f2.8, 70-200f4, and a 16-35f4IS will fit. It will be very tight I might have to leave the lens hood for the 70-200 at home ;). The 70-300L is to fat to fit in my Adventrure 170 with the other lenses. :(

I came to the conclusion that I would own a 70-200f4 and a 70-200f2.8L at the very beginning. The 70-300L was not out at the time.
 

zim

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Oct 18, 2011
2,129
317
Option 2 has my vote, with the 70-300L for holiday general travel
The 35 would be a permanent fixture at night.

As far as safari's, that has renting something big all over it, two bodies, no lens changing. There are many topics and peeps on here that can give you great advice when it comes to it.
 

tayassu

EOS RP
Jun 17, 2014
361
0
500px.com
The 70-200/2.8 is a beast and really heavy!
If you want to have a light, small (that is of course relative) travel setup, I'd go for:

-Canon 16-35/4 L for landscape, architecture, group shots etc.
-Sigma 50/1.4 A for people, street, low-light and creative stuff
-Canon 70-300/4-5.6 L for details, landscapes and every other telephoto use

The two Canons are the greatest travel lenses on earth and the Sigma is just stellar, but buy it with the USB dock and finetune your AF.