Canon EOS400D with 18-55 mm kit for starters?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by process, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. Greetings,

    After much reading and browsing, I've finally set my sights on a Canon EOS400D
    as my choice for going from compact to SLR.

    The only question that remains regards the lens. So far I have little real-world
    experience with lenses, and really have no clue as to which ones perform better
    or worse.

    My interest is currently landscape/architectural and "everyday life"
    photography. With my current 35mm my main complaint is low light performance.
    When the light starts to dim, I either have to activate the flash and burn out
    areas of the shot, or simply set the camera down and rely on long exposure
    times, which generates noise. I would like to minimize that annoyance with the SLR.

    Canon offers an EOS400D kit with an EFS 18-55 mm lens, which I'm thinking would
    be a good startup option, and when I get the "feel" for where the setup is
    lacking, I'd jump to a more suitable lens combination.

    Can anyone comment on the EFS 18-55 lens? Is it a half-decent option, or one of
    those bundles that tends to cause more trouble than it's worth?
  2. The little kit lens has horrid build quality but the optical quality is not too bad, specially if you can use it stopped down a bit.

    It's a very useful range for general photography.

    I used mine for a year before replacing it with a 17-40 f4L.

    For low light performance I suggest a tripod.

    If you have to keep shutter speeds up for handholding or subject movement there are two routes.

    A fast lens, and or image stabalisation. Options around the normal side:

    1) Fast prime depending on budget and if you want slightly tele or normal view, 50/1.8, 50/1.4, 28/1.8, 35/1.4
    2) Fast zoom 16-35/2.8 lots like, but 2.8 is not that fast.
    3) EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS, moderatly fast and has image stabalizer but only usable on APS-C sensors and not full frame like the 5D.
  3. Having, as you say, little real-world experience with lenses, the kit lens is probably the best place for you to start.
    It reportedly isn't a bad lens for what it is, and it is capable of getting good photographs. And the cost is next to nothing.
    There are certainly better and more expensive lenses that would work on this camera - lots of them! - but you won't really know what the right ones are for you until you do a bit of photography with this camera and lens. As you use the 400D and kit lens you'll start to understand what your needs are and you will be able to make much better decisions about how to expand your lens collection.
    As you wrote, the kit lens would be "a good startup option, while [you] get the 'feel' for where the setup is lacking." I think you are on exactly the right track here.
  4. I've been using the kit lens along with other longer zoom lenses and I find it to be fine. Complaints about the plastic build of the lens has had no effect so I would ignore that aspect.
  5. I think I'm going to chime in here before the "you need an L lens" crowd gets here.

    You've got some really good advice here already. The EFS 18-55mm is a very good starter lens. For the price it is quite impressive actually. It is far from perfect (build quality already mentioned) but is capable of excellent "real world" performance. If you pixel peek at the edges in harsh light you will find problems but I doubt you are expecting perfection from a $100 lens.

    Personally, I want a lens that is wider (I'm thinking of one of the ultra-wides right now) and one that is a bit faster (I'd love a fast 50mm). The way I figured those things out is by using the 18-55 and learning how I shoot and what I need. As you've said, you will likely do the same.

    I'll say it again, the EFS 18-55 is a great starter lens.
  6. If I were you, I'd buy the Canon 18-55mm, but not in the kit. If you get it separate, it costs more (about $140 or so at Amazon, I think), but you get USM; probably not the best USM, but I'd still rather have USM. I'd also guess that the more expensive USM models have slightly better quality control, though that's just a wild guess.
  7. The 18-55 is a good starter option, but does not have very good low-light performance. I would agree with Lester and suggest a faster prime lens (in addition to the 18-55). The 50/1.8 at $80 was my second lens, for low-light work and portraits; I would recommend getting it with the camera if your budget allows.
  8. If you have the money, take a look at the 17-85. Not a champion, but decent and surpasses the 18-55 in pretty much every quality except cost.
  9. It's a half decent option, but if you know what you want you can safely bypass it. I think you may find the distortion at the wide end an annoyance for architectural photography, and the need to stop down to f/8 to get sharper results doesn't make it ideal for low light work, especially if you are trying to deal with moving subjects. Set a budget and you may get some recommendations consistent with your limit.
  10. The kit lens is not too bad.
    Here's some pictures with 300D, kit lens wide open, ISO400, and no tripod from last saturday. The first two are resized and perspective corrected, last one is 100% crop.
  11. About 10 minutes later.
  12. Full res crop, not sharpened.
  13. Here's the 100% crop for your peeping pleasure.
  14. Someone wrote: "The 50/1.8 at $80 was my second lens, for low-light work and portraits; I would recommend getting it with the camera if your budget allows." In what is becoming one of my boilerplate posts at, I'd like to comment on this. This poster is a bit more circumspect than some who suggest a 50mm prime as the first lens for a crop-sensor camera, but do read carefully: "low-light work" and "portraits." If that is your main type of photography, then a 50mm lens could be a good starting point. However, I'm guessing that you have something else - and probably more varied - in mind. The Canon 50mm lenses are excellent performers. I own one and like it a lot. That said, they are not generally good starter lenses for most photographers using crop-sensor cameras, on which they act as slight telephoto lenses. As such, they are appropriate for portrait use, but other than that you will find them to be limiting. If you preferred a normal prime lens over a zoom - and most people won't at first - you are more likely to want something a lot wider. Typical candidates are in the 24mm, 28mm, or 35mm range... ... but most people will be better served by a zoom as their first lens these days.
  15. What is your budget? That is a critical point not mentioned.

    My recommendation goes to the 10-22 USM (landscape) and 50/1.8 (low light). If you have the money and shoot static objects then replace the 50/1.8 for the 17-55/2.8 IS.

    Happy shooting,
  16. It seems that my reply was misunderstood, so let me clarify: The 18-55 kit lens is in my opinion a good first lens. If your budget permits, and since you said low-light performance was important, I would _additionally_ get the 50/1.8. That said, you can always buy it, or any other lens you find you might need, later.
  17. I just bought the 400d with the 18 - 55. It feels a bit slow to me. Well, when compared to the one i'm used to anyway, which is a 28 - 105.

    But it's really not bad for what you'd pay for it.
  18. Yes just to clarify further the kit lens is a good start, optical not the best but not too made either. You will not miss the features like FTMF and a distance readout for hyperfocal focus if you are begining.

    I used the kit lens to cover the basic photography range whilst I built up other lenses around it and then replaced it in the last phase.

    It good lens to start off with.

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