Advice on 3rd lens for Canon Rebel T1i

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by amy_r|5, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. I'm pretty new to DSLRs. I recently bought the Canon T1i & have 2 lenses (1: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, 2: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II). I'm thinking the next lens should be a telephoto at least 200mm, but I just can't decide on which lens. For this next lens, I want something to take pictures of birds & animals outdoors. I keep getting told to buy primes lenses, but I feel like I want more versatility in a lens. I'm an amateur photographer so I think another prime isn't necessary. The only problem with the zoom lenses is that they seem really heavy but I'm willing to deal with the weight for the right lens. I probably want to keep the price under $600.
  2. I have the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM hich I believe is within your budget and is a very nice lens (for your budget). I have it and I shoot alot of birds and it does me good. Take a look at some of my ird shots within my profile. Most of those pictures were taken with the 70-300MM. Please note these were mostly taken at bird shoots. Israel
    Good Luck!
    David Israel
  3. Consider a used 70-200 F4L. Its cheap, small and extremely sharp.
  4. for birds, it will be hard to get close for under $600. I suggest a used 70-200mm f/4L like Angel says. It won't be super telephoto, but it is the best quality lens for the price and will allow you to take a hefty crop without much penalty. Also, I'd go for zooms, primes are very good, but zooms are more versatile and are also very good. Years ago zooms may not have been up to par, but that is simply not the case today. I'd go for a wide angle zoom as well. The 17-40mm f/4L is a great chocie as well as the 17-85mm IS. The 17-40mm is more expensive but is built better and has better image quality. The EF-S 17-55mm is also great, but even more expensive than the 17-40mm.
  5. Thanks David, that's the lens I've been looking at actually. Do you use a lens hood or any other accessories with this one?
  6. The 70-300mm IS is a great lens, but its a pretty slow lens at f/4-5.6. Although its longer the auto focus is very sub par compared to the AF on the 70-200mm lenses. For birds and action, fast AF is an absolute must. All the focal length and IS in the world won't help if your AF is too slow to get the shot. It will search and take awhile to gain focus. Also, if you use al servo it will hesitate betwen shots while it refocuses. With the 70-200mm, the focus is instant and there's no hesitation. Like I said, its a good lens, but thats something to think about. For me, I'd rather give up the focal length and IS and maybe have to crop, but I won't miss the shot.
  7. That is true Nathan, the 70-300 IS is a slow lens, specially for bird photography. I have never used, but my cousin got it as a kit and her biggest complaint about it is that it hunts for focus and when it nails its slow to focus confirm.
  8. Buy the 70-200 F4L. You can find it new for about $600 and then save for the 1.4X at about $298. On your T1i you will then have 480mm. With the 1.4x the lens will be 5.6 but that should still work fine outdoors.
  9. Obviously with your budget, you will have to make a compromise. For your price range, the highest quality/most versatile lens is probably the 70-300 IS USM. the 70-200/4 is missing the extra 160mm of range, and IS. For a non professional, frankly it's not worth the sacrifice (esp. the IS).
    Of course, IMHO, you are missing out on the entire WA side of the spectrum. Everything south of 85mm (effective range) is lost currently. So, of consideration is one of the new 'vacation' telephoto lenses. With your budget, you could fund an 18-200 IS (Canon) or a 18-270mm VC(Tamron's version of IS) (Tamron). Neither lens is a stellar performer optically (with such an incredible range, who could expect them to be!), but either gives you a FAR wider range of options than ANY other lenses on the market. The bottom line is that despite the less than professional optical quality, widening your capability is a critical aspect to defining your passion.
    Of course another option w/ that budget is a 17-85 USM IS & a 55-250mm IS, you could get both for your budget, and have nearly the same capability, plus both have better optical quality than the vacation zooms, and are reasonably lightweight.
    Best of luck!
  10. Tokina make an 80-400 f4-5.6 ATX pro lens for $500. I haven't tried it but their ATX pro lenses are normally pretty good. The reason I mention it is because it goes to 400 mm and for birds you need all the focal length you can get. You would have money left over for a monopod.
    A 70-200 lens is way too short for birds unless they are in a cage.
    I am not sure why everyone keeps telling you to get primes. They have a speed advatange but otherwise good zooms can be the equal of primes. If you have to crop a lot due to the inability to frame exactly with primes the zoom may win out optically. Also you can cover a range of focal lengths from say 10 mm to 400 mm with just three zooms, whereas builidng the same kit with primes would require many more lenses and much more frequent lens changes.
  11. Maybe save a eenie meenie little bit more and get the 200/2.8L?
    I think that if you have a 100 macro that you hardly need the 70-200 because you'll only need it for the last 50mm or so. The rest you can crop or foot zoom with your 100.
    I also like the suggestion Geoff made. With the addition that Sigma makes long zooms too that have a pretty decent reputation.
    And, regarding my first advice... the 200/2.8L is relatively small, light, black and takes the x1.4 extender pretty well!
  12. There is a direct coorelation between lens focal length and distance to the subject. The farther you are from your subject the longer the lens focal length you require to get the same frame filling shot. Therefore, if your subjects are at a fairly consistent distance from you, a prime lens makes sense. This is generally true with studio & portrait shots (your 50mm) , and macro photography (your 100mm). However, in the event that the distance to your subject varies, (and you cannot move easily to adjust the distance) a zoom lens is the correct choice for you. Since birds and other wildlife generally are not cooperative when it comes to subject distance, a long telephoto zoom makes sense. As said earlier, telephoto zoom lens quality has improved greatly in the past few years and now rivals that of primes. So pull yourself out of the "primes only" rut and experiment a little.
    I would tend to agree with the previous contributer who said that a 70-200 is too short for most birds. If your subjects are less than a foot in height and more than 10 yds away, you will most definitely want more than 200mm. You will frequently find yourself digitally cropping shots and therefore degrading that beautiful image quality and thus defeating the purpose of a superior (and expensive) zoom lens. I own a EF 70-200 F4 and am often frustrated that my wildlife subject is either too small or too far away to get the best possible shot with my lens. It is possible to get some good shots, but you really have to exhibit extreme patience and stalk your subject or sit in behind a blind to get close enough to most birds with a 200mm lens. I know a friend who has a hummingbird feeder outside her window and sits about 8 ft inside the open window and gets some super shots shooting through the window at 200mm, but, as you see, you have to improvise. You really need a 300 or better still 400mm focal length on the high end of zoom range to shoot most birds in the wild.
    So, obviously when working on a budget you need to find the best combination of focal length and AF speed.
    Ok, what zoom lens? I won't answer that question, because I really don't know, but I will state that your range of choices will increase dramatically if you consider lenses other than Canon alone. (Am I committing heresy here?). There are several acceptable lenses made by companies other than Canon. (Sigma and Tamron, etc).
    As a side note, as part of my evaluation of any lens I will look at the end product. One way to go about this is to go to www. dpchallenge (this is a contest site) and look at the photos under Equipment/Lenses (for a specific lens). This gives an idea what your best shots with this lens might look like. It also demonstrates what type of shots people use this particular lens.
    (Since WA alternatives have been raised already...) If you are considering any landscape or architectural shots, I suggest at some point you consider a wide angle. I would highly recommend the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.4-4.5. This lens is really superior in quality yet is fairly modest in price (maybe $100 more than the 70-200mm F4). It is my favorite lens (and the only one of mine that is not an L lens - now does that make any sense?). As an "S" lens it will only work on APS-C Digital SLR cameras, but yours certainly qualifies.
    Good luck!
  13. I too am surprised that you don't feel the need for a wider lens rather than a longer one at this point; having nothing wider than 50mm on a 1.6-factor body is pretty limiting. But it's your choice. If you definitely want a longer lens, then I would urge you NOT to buy a non-IS lens such as the 200/2.8 or 70~200/4, since IS is a huge benefit at that sort of focal length even on FF, and much more so on 1.6-factor. The value-for-money choices are clearly the 70~300IS or, failing that, the EF-S 55~250.
  14. Frankly, I'd get a 15-18 - 55-135 zoom lens. Something around there. You want light weight, the kit zoom 18-55 IS is optically pretty good, and very light. 17-85 is better, but heavier IIRC. The 55-250 is all plastic, but it's okay because it's also very light, and a great price, with a better optical quality than the cheap version of 70-300, though not as good as the 70-200, but it has a better zoom level and IS that actually does seem to work up to 4 stops like they say. You can have both for less than your budget.
    Now, these are both micro motor, which sucks, because they don't focus so fast, and they're not dead quiet. But, they're both reasonably fine. I've used the 55-250 to do wildlife, and I've used a couple USM lenses from friends, and it's not much worse. The only problem is the reach, but for this price, you don't get better, and especially not with image stabilization. I'd rather have IS at 250 than no IS at 400 for some shots. If it doesn't matter to you, the Tokina lens is supposed to be good.

    But the point is you have three huge gaps at wide angle, short telephoto, and long telephoto. One lens can't cover that unless you sacrifice dearly in image quality. So, I suggest either the IS kit lens and the Tokina, the IS kit lens and the canon 55-250 IS and a tripod and accessories, the 17-85 and the 55-250, or the Tamron, which I've used, which has poor resolution at high zoom levels, but it fills your need for one lens.
  15. I'm also surprised you don't have (or want) a wider lens like the 18-55IS. But for wildlife and birds telephotos are 400mm + and that will cost more than $600. the Canon 70-300 or 55-250IS is within your budget and you can get decent shots with those or look at used zooms, something like the Sigma 150-500.
  16. I do want a wider lens but being a newbie I guess I don't know what I want (I actually don't even understand all the points that are being made here) I got advice from a professional photographer, which wasn't bad but might not have been for the beginning amateur photographer. Although, I could have just gotten the kit lens had I not listened to that advice.
    So maybe my question should be (and I think it's already been answered). What are the next 2 lenses I need? I can stretch my budget a bit. I can buy other lenses in the future, I'm just trying to fil my gaps for now.
    I have a tripod on the way already.
  17. Hello Amy,
    I do use the lens hood.
    I realize there are faster lenses out there but for the budget this is a great lens. I would love an tele photo "L" lens but just don't have the budget for it now but I will say my 70-300MM does a wonderful jib for me.
    Good Luck!
    David Israel
  18. Amy,
    I've been shooting with an XSI for about a year now. First, I got the EF 24 2.8 and the EF-S 55-250 IS. A few months later I added the EF 85 1.8 and the 430 EX flash.
    The mistake I made is that I should have gotten the EF-S 18-55 IS and the EF-S 55-250 IS. After shooting with that combo for a year (or less), I would have known what other focal lengths I prefer and what other lenses would improve my photography.
    You could buy both of those with your current budget and learn with them. At that point, you'd know if you want better primes at a specific focal length or if you want high quality zooms. You'd know if 250 is long enough, or if you need 400+ for the type of shooting you want to do.
    My next purchase will probably be a Tamron 17-50 2.8 because I have learned that I like the faster aperture. I would be frustrated with the slower aperture of the EF-S 18-55 IS and the fact that it is not a fixed aperture. After that, I want to add a good macro lens, because I know I want that and I have nothing now that allows me to shoot that type of photography.
    For all practical purposes, I don't need more than 250. I do like to shoot birds and wildlife, but I don't do that enough to justify spend the money on a longer lens - not at this point anyway. I like my 55-250 and don't find it to be too noisy. It is not the best auto focus in the world, but it has met my needs pretty consistently up to this point.
    I hope this helps a little as you try to understand all the advice you are getting.
    DS Meador
  19. I don't know. Call me crazy, but wouldn't you want something faster, especially for bird shots? My budget is pretty limited as well, so I'm currently looking at third party lenses. My next purchase will probably be the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8. I currently have two other Sigma lenses that I'm very happy with.
    After that, if you are looking for another lens I would recommend a wide angle lens. I love my Sigma 18-50mm f2.8. And as I love shooting in natural light, for me, a fast lens is everything. I found that lens on Craigslist, barely used, for $300.
  20. Canon's 100-300MM USM is a low price option. However, image quality from it is not-that-great.
  21. gr


    Ditto on the 70-200 F4L. Its cheap, small and extremely sharp and at $600 it's a steal.
  22. Hi Amy
    Looks like your getting some interesting advise on lens. If I may I'd like to take your question form another angle. Personally I just started shooting with an XSI the past two years (this is after shooting with a Canon G2 for 4 years). Like you I sold my kit lens ( 18-55 and 55-250) in favor of:
    Canon EF 17-40 F4
    Contax Planar 50 mm F1.7
    Canon EF 70-200 F2.8 (I would of went with the F4 but my brother had that already)
    As I have been learning to take better photo's I have gone back and forth between shooting wide shots when traveling to shooting candidates of people on the street with the zoom. My lens choices reflect the idea of making the most of the money in my budget but maximizing the type of shots that I can take as I learn what subjects I like best.
    My question to you is what do you like to shoot beyond animals?
    From reading through the thread I can see that if you wish to shoot animals like birds then something beyond 200mm would be preferable. Animals are quite timid and will often flee. When photographing butterflies, insects and birds I tend to use a yongnuo wireless trigger after I setup the shot. Definitely takes patience but the benefit is I can use my 70-200 for nature photography. Oh and don't get m wrong .... I can also walk and shoot with the 70-200 but I do find I will have to crop due to the distance of the subject. This is not a bad thing since I find he quality of the lens picks of many of the fine details.
    I have some samples show on my Flickr site.
  23. If you want to "shoot" birds, you need a long lens, at least 300, but 400mm is better. Bird photography is specialized, so a 400mm lens is all but essential. Longer lenses (500, 600, etc) are specialized and expensive, something you would consider later. The Canon 100-400 is expensive but worth it. The 70-300 gives you versatiity, something a beginner should consider. Wide angle lenses are specialty lenses that produce a special effect and are hard to use well. Buy the lens for the task. In any case, buy the best lens you can afford. Lenses will outlast several bodies.

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