Newbie needs a lens!

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jordan_haegele, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Hi there, always loved photography, but I just bought my first DSLR- a Canon T1i. It came with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS and I
    also just purchased the 50mm f/1.8 (love it). I am thinking about selling the 18-55mm due to the bad reviews and to put money
    towards another lens. The question is, what lens should I get?!?!

    My budget is around $600-$700 and I don't care what brand it is. I would like a lens I can use for sports/action as well as nature
    shooting. IS would be nice, but it's not a necessity and something starting around f/2 or f/3 would be great. Zoom or prime- I don't
    care, but if it's a prime it'd be nice to be able to use a teleconverter with it. I'm really just unsure of how powerful a lens is- would a
    100mm be suitable for shooting a football game from the bleachers? Is it powerful enough to catch a turtle perched on a log 100ft

    Any help is GREATLY appreciated and I hope I helped narrow it down enough!

    Thank you,
  2. Forget the bad reviews and learn how to use it by yourself, then form your own opinions. Every lens (almost without exception) has those who think less of it than others. The 18-55 with image stabiliser is a big improvement on the first iteration of that lens.
    something starting around f/2 or f/3 would be great. Zoom or prime- I don't care, but if it's a prime it'd be nice to be able to use a teleconverter with it.​
    Your statement above indicates to me that you are indeed a newbie. f/3 lenses don't exist, there are vast differences between zooms and primes and for your intended subject (long zooms with wide apertures), cheap will not appear in the same sentence (read: wide max aperture aka "fast" lenses are generally pricey, fast zooms perhaps even more so). If you do need a zoom, Canon's EF-S 55-250mm IS has garnered some decent reviews.
    But...don't get lured into buying additional gear when you've barely got into SLR photography. Learn with what you've got first.
    Finally, I often point posters to this link when they ask about the 18-55...
  3. Sorry, I've been up plowing snow all week so my brain isn't fully functional right now. That WAS a newbie comment
    though- I should've said f/2-3.5 would be nice. Here are some of the lenses I was looking at- keep in mind I've only
    looked at Canons and haven't researched any 3rd party lenses yet....

    EF 70-200mm f/4L USM....
    EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS....
    EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM....
    EF 100mm f/2 USM....
    EF 200mm f/2.8 L USM II (if I find a very used one cheap enough)

    I haven't seen any primes from Canon that offer enough magnification for me and still fall in my price range. I really want a decent zoom that can take good pictures in lower light (i.e. Dawn, dusk, stadium lights). I doubt I allow myself to buy the 200mm f/2.8, but that'd be ideal. The 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS is appealing due to the range and IS, but does IS help with moving subjects, or is it mainly for slower shutter speeds and still subjects? Thank you for the help!
  4. Jordan,
    I pretty much agree with Mark Anthony in using the 18-55 for awhile.
    But to improve in that focal length, I would suggest the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. It can be had with or without VC (Image Stabilization) and will fall within your budget.
    If you decide on something like the 55-250mm, keep your 18-55 to fill the void.
  5. I am thinking about selling the 18-55mm due to the bad reviews and to put money towards another lens.​
    It is pretty stupid to sell a lens just because of "reviews" on the internets. The 18-55mm is pretty good. It has its limitations, but within these it preforms very, very well. Many photographers have sold works shot with this lens.
    I'm really just unsure of how powerful a lens is- would a 100mm be suitable for shooting a football game from the bleachers? Is it powerful enough to catch a turtle perched on a log 100ft away?​
    100mm is just half the angle of view of the 50mm. You should be able to estimate it using your 50mm prime. But no, it is not really a "powerful" telephoto. For telephotography you need (especially if you want to satisfy the reviewers) highly expensive primes -- 300mm, 400mm, 500mm etc. -- and you want these to be fast, you need to sell your car (or get a second mortage). My recommendation: Move closer.
    But for your budget you can buy a EF 200mm f/2.8 L USM lens -- especially a used Mk.1 version (same AF and optics as Mk.2). It offers a pretty good reach and is fast enough for many applications, but it lacks IS, unfortunately.
  6. I would recommend learning your camera and technique before purchasing other lenses. For example, are you using a single focus point or are you just letting the camera decide how to focus. Many new photographers let the camera decided focusing and that may not be where the sharpest focus needs to be. Thus, the lens is often blamed for lack of sharpness when in fact it was the photographer not talking control.

    Since you have an interest in nature and sports photography, I would recommend not purchasing the 70-300 f4-5.6. My impression of this lens is that it is fine for static subjects but a little slow for fast follow focus such as sports or nature. A lens like a 70-200 2.8 with or without IS will focus fast.

    A 100mm lens is simply too short for the majority of nature or sports photography. You would no doubt have some photo ops if you were near a football field but a 70-200 would be much more versatile and useful.

    As far as using a 100mm lens to catch a turtle on a long, you would have to be much, much closer. If nature photography were that easy, there would be little challenge, or little fun for that matter. Even 300mm is a bit short, but doable if you can hide yourself in a blind, but even then 100 feet is way, way too far away. Knowing your subject is vitally important in nature photography. I have no photos of Painted Turtles on logs, but I have 100s of photos of ¾” long spring peepers from a foot away and under ideal conditions have approached other frogs during the daylight at waters’ edge where they allowed me to approach to a foot or two away. Knowing your subject is basically everything; plus a lot of patience.

    My suggestion is to practice with what lenses you have and learn the camera thoroughly, learning about aperture, shutter speed, composition, etc. In the mean time, save for a telephoto or telephoto zoom. I would not spend the money on a teleconverter, but instead put that money into purchasing a faster telephoto lens like a 70-200 2.8 lens, or 70-200 4.0 L. If 200 is a bit too short, consider the new 70-300 f4/5.6L; a bit slow at the long end but reported to be an excellent lens.
  7. Yet another vote for giving the 'kit' lens a chance before you dump it.
    First, you won't get much for it, and didn't pay much for it, so it's a good idea to keep it for a light-weight lens even if you decide you need something "better"
    Second, the poor little thing is better than anything else you'd get for twice as much. Much of the "bad press" is viral criticism from people who read and heard about its non-IS predecessor, and don't know the difference.
    In any event, don't be stampeded into something by what you "heard" - the actual reviews of this lens are in fact surprisingly good. Look at the one on, a source I have come to trust over the years.
  8. You guys are awesome. The only reason I decided to try and get a better lens right away is because my brother is
    actually a very good photographer ( and I knew he'd be able to help me with any questions about
    certain situations and techniques. I've asked him SO many things these last couple days though, so I figured I'd post
    here for a while so I didn't "wear out my welcome" with him. He has already taught me basics of aperture, ISO, shutter
    speed, focusing, and a lot more to get me started. The only cameras I've owned are a Kodak Easy Share, Olympus
    1030SW, and more recently a Sony DSC-H20. The Sony was nice because it had a lot of manual settings I could play
    with like a DSLR.

    I am by no means trying to make a living through photography. Those things like vignetting, CA, soft corners,
    distortion, etc. don't really bother me. As long as my subject is in focus I'll be happy- the most I'll do with a photo is
    print off an 8x10 and stick it in a frame, or put it in my photobucket! I have a 7month old and he will be my main
    subject along with nature now and then (avid angler) and just normal things like the Zoo, landscapes, and sports. That
    is another reason it is hard to talk to my brother sometimes- his opinion is that of a perfectionist that does this for a
    living and spends thousands on a single lens. If I ask him "will this lens work", he tends to think if it will work for him,
    instead of me. Thanks again, and I think I'll hang onto that 18-55 for now until I decide if it isn't performing well

    By the way, another thing I do is airbrush fishing lures to sell, so I will be taking macro shots occasionally.

    Thank you!
  9. "By the way, another thing I do is airbrush fishing lures to sell, so I will be taking macro shots occasionally."​
    That will be an entirely different conversation I expect! In the meantime, . . . use what you got and start saving!
    By the way, . . . Does your Brother use Canon EOS? If yes, then hopefully your relationship is such that you can borrow some of his lens for a trial run!
  10. Haha yeah he uses an EOS but I think he literally loves his camera more than his girlfriend of 6yrs! He might let me try them out
    while he stands right next to me though.... maybe.

    I think I might save up for that EF 200mm f/2.8L USM. It doesn't have IS, but the f/2.8 seems like it will make up for it. At what shutter
    speed does IS really start to make a difference?
  11. It depends on the focal length of course, a wide angle lens will give you a wider field of view, so is able to be shot slower without sig. degredation from movement. The oft quoted rule is 1/(eff. focal length) = shutter speed, but IS should (and I say should because it depends on technique) allow you to shoot at several shutter speed below that. (so for example, w/o IS @ 18mm, shoot at down to about 1/30 sec (since on your crop (1.6x), 18mm is eff. 29mm)
    My personal recommendation to your original post is to either sell the 18-55 and buy a single 'vacation' lens, which will serve ALL your focal length needs for awhile (such as an 18-200 IS, or a Tamron 18-270mm VC ("VC" is tamron's IS)), or to keep the 18-55 and buy a telephoto zoom for the long end (70-300mm IS for example) that is in your price range. Even though the quality of these lenses won't match that of a 200/2.8 at least you'll have a kit that's more than a one trick pony.
    Getting a 200/2.8L prime is probably a waste of time and money for a good long while. on your crop the effective length is 320mm, so it will be unuseably narrow for 99% of the everyday shooting you might want to do. Yes, It will take a marvelous picture of a bird, or a groundhog, or even a jet at the airshow, but your wife might be a little upset if you can't even take pictures of the kids w/ your $$$$s of dollars of eqp. like I said: One trick pony. Of course if you keep the 18-55, at least you'd be able to take pics at the B-day party.
  12. At what shutter speed does IS really start to make a difference?​
    One answer is that it depends on how long the lens is. The sort of old saw about how slow you can shoot with a lens is that you're likely to get an acceptable shot if you keep the shutter speed above 1/focal length of the lens.
    For a 200mm lens, that would mean 1/200 of a second.
    This is only a very rough rule, however. Some people can hold steady at incredibly slow speeds, while others (the very, very nervous) get shake with a 50mm lens at 1/125. See ( ) for more discussion on this in recent posts. A Google™ of the site will reveal lots more.
    The real answer is that you will get camera shake at slow speeds no matter how long the lens is or isn't. The thing is that you just don't notice it in the broad field of coverage of the wide angle lenses.
  13. Gotcha- thanks for clearing that up. If I hang onto the 18-55 (or get one similar to that range), and get the 200mm
    f/2.8L, will there be any situations that I won't be covered- besides the obvious long range with low light? Keep in mind
    I also have a nifty fifty.

    Thanks for that 1/focal length tip! That should give me a decent idea on the limitations of a lens I'm looking at. This
    stuff is a lot more complex than I expected, but I love learning about new things. Already learned just about everything
    to do with fishing and airbrushing so photography is my new project! My brother has a 35L and Sigma 85 with his 1ds
    Mark III so I might play around with those when he's not looking. Haha

    By the way, you guys have some AMAZING photos.
  14. Hi Jordan. Thats a bucket full of good advice... now you can go shoot photos.. put them on photonet and we will give you helpTIP. post in the beginners questions forum it is moderated to provide help. if you want help in working your way rou nd photonet. ask and we will help .regards miken
  15. I,m not into sure,but some were in march will be all L line new on US market . It like double your saving not going to sorry!
  16. If you only go with the 18-55 and a 200mm, you're obviously missing the span from 55-200, a pretty critical range. You could pick up the 55-250 IS, which is the complement to your 18-55 to fill in the gap. Save the 200 for low light shots, or use a teleconverter for more reach.
  17. Another thing to note about Image Stabilisation: if the subject is moving non-linearly then it will be of little use. It is used when you have a stationary subject but the ambient light is lower than can allow steady hand-held shooting (read: low shutter speed). On some lenses IS has two modes, one of which will allow you to pan horizontally (on a subject moving more or less linearly) and still get a steady shot.

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