Recommend a good addition to 28mm and 85mm?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by natalya|1, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Good evening, everyone.
    I currently own a Canon 5D, a kit zoom (18-55mm, which I haven't used in years), a 28mm 1.8 Canon, and an 85mm 1.8 Canon lens.
    I am looking for a good addition to my lenses. I do mostly portraits (outdoors) and landscape, when traveling. But my daughter is starting school, so I foresee the need for some event work in the near future.
    The most logical choice to me seems to be some kind of telephoto lens. 100mm didn't seem like a worthy improvement over 85mm, in terms of reach. Given that I by far prefer primes to zooms, my next choice was 135mm 2.8 and I even ordered one. But then re-read reviews online, chickened out, and cancelled my order.
    I also considered 70-200, due to its versatility, but I really can only afford an f/4 no IS one at this point ($600 is about my budget, at most, would prefer to get something for $300-400), and a lot of friends said that hand-holding at 200mm without IS is not a good idea.
    So, I seek some advice. Should I just keep saving and waiting, and get something really good down the road, like a 135 1.8? That sounds like a good idea (except that I'm impatient), but it may take me easily another year or even more to double my budget for a lens. But then the question of what do I do when I have to shoot a school play or something like that remains open...
    So, I'm really hoping you could either
    1) talk me back into buying 135mm 2.8
    2) talk me into buying 70-200mm f/4 no IS
    3) suggest a lens I overlooked? Maybe a Sigma or a Tamron?
    Really appreciate your input!
  2. If you shoot in fairly good light, the 70-200 non-IS is a great lens for the money. Given your budget, that is what I would buy.
  3. What about the 200 f2.8 prime? A very good completely overlooked lens, probably because the 70-200's are so good.
  4. Have you considered a used Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM? It is a sharp portrait lens.
  5. I'd probably stick a 50mm in there. To me a good working kit is 28-50-85mm. I'm using zooms more these days but I feel like I could shoot most anything I need with those three lenses. Good luck!
  6. For most event and indoor work the IS does notnhelp a lot so the 70-200 is probably the way to go. I personally have
    two 70-200 lenses ( the F2.8 non IS and the F4IS) and both are great. For versatility the 70-200 s are hard to beat so
    this is what I would chose. I have and like the 100 F2.8 LIS but the 70-200 gives you more options
  7. 28mm and 80mm are nicely spaced, 135mm or 200mm or 50mm would be good additions
    What did you read that was bad about 135mm f/2? There is also a f/2.8 soft focus version, but the f/2 is supposed to be great.
    Normally you want primes with focal length in multiples of 2 to make a difference, so 28,56,112 that kind of a lineup. 70-200mm would probably get too heavy to hold, i would say 135mm f/2 or 200mm f/2.8
    and a 200mm or 100mm macro lens would be a great fun lens when the sky and light are not best for regular photos, focusing on the small flowers or small details can be quite fun to explore. Either of the macro lenses can be used for portraits too.
  8. In your budget range I would look at the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 (best budget lens I have ever used). I would also suggest the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 over the Canon 70-200 F4 they are about the same price. The main benifit is you can put a 1.4 extension tube on the Sigma and get a 280 MM F4 addition. However, the lens you seem to be missing is the obvious 50 1.8 or 50 1.4. I use the 28 1.8, 50 1.8 and 85 1.2L which I wish to get rid of and replace with the 85 1.8 because it is just way too heavy to carry in camera bag. If you ever upgrade your camera to the 5D Mark II you will be quite happy with those three primes for video purposes as well.
  9. Jesse - thank you! I had my heart set on 70-200 f/4 non-IS for a while! I think 1 good zoom is a good addition to a collection of primes, as much as I love the latter.
    Scott - I actually looked at 200 2.8 before I looked at 70-200, problem is, it's a little over my max. budget right now, and again, I've heard concerns that handholding at 200 without IS is difficult... Other than that, it is one of the more affordable L-grades, and I have been dying to get my hands on one of those!
    Peter - I did consider 100mm, but like I said, I think it's just too close to 85 to go for it at this point. I was choosing between the 100mm and the 85mm when I bought 85mm, and got a feeling that those lenses were very comparable and just not different enough to own both (unless you have a lot of extra cash, in which case why not, they are both great lenses).
    Gil - I actually had and sold my 50 1.8 after I got my 85mm because I was simply never reaching for it with 85mm around. I do hope to fill that gap eventually by buying a 50 1.4, but I keep hearing that 1.4 is a) old and ought to be replaced by Canon soon and b) does not have a true USM motor, so I'm kinda waiting to see what happens with that lens, since I don't seem to need it desperately.
    Philip - yay! one more vote for 70-200. May I ask why you happen to have both 2.8 and 4 version? Do you use them differently, or was it just the matter of buying f/4 first, and then upgrading to 2.8?
    Robert - no, no, 138 f/2 is, alas, outside my budget. I ordered and then cancelled the 2.8 soft focus version. Didn't read anything bad about the f/2, and wish I could afford it! 200mm 2.8 is also a bit outside my budget. So, I guess, your advice would be to wait and save?
    M.P. - Thanks! I really never looked at that Tamron, will now! As for Sigma - hmm... I looked at that one, and it was $1400, vs. the $674 for Canon f/4 non-IS, so that was more than twice the price, which is why I never seriously considered it. But now that I did the search on Amazon, I see that there's also another version for $748! I'm not that familiar with Sigma designation, but it seems that the CHEAPER version is newer (at least, that's what II tends to mean in Canon)? But no stabilization? Is that what explains the reduction in price? Cause at $748, it's definitely an interesting choice, even if it's slightly over my budget.
    Oh, and I apologize - was writing rather late at night - I already do have 5D Mark II.
  10. Natalya,
    Have you thought of secondhand? That easily outs the 200 f2.8 in reach.
  11. Philip,
    nm! I just read your explanation for why you own both a 2.8 and a 4 in a different thread! :)
  12. It's probably a good idea that you haven't tried to use your 18-55mm kit lens on your 5D.
    What I did when I got a 5D was to get the EF 24-105mm f/4 IS L lens for it.
    As it is, you've only got a modest wide angle and a short telephoto. Telephoto is not where my thoughts wonder as I contemplate a lens assemblage of only a 28mm and an 85mm lens. If primes are the be-all here, then how about an EF 50mm f/1.4 or even a short 50mm macro?
    There is a world in between in the so-called 'normal' range, and I'd be lost without my 24-105, as would many others.
  13. In my twenty-odd years of kid event photography, I've found 135mm lenses to be too short (for full frame). You end up having go down to the stage or courtside; and if you're going to do that, you might as well use your 85mm. The 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM would of course be ideal, but the last time I looked longingly at that lens, it was at least a grand over your budget. The only lens I personally have used, that might do the job in your budget, is a good used or refurbished 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM. This lens gives very good IQ and IS for the money. At high iso you can get good shots of performances. For sports.... not so much. If the subject is moving quickly, there's no substitute for a big aperture.
  14. Scott - you know, I kind of did overlook used lenses, mostly because it seems that lenses do not depreciate much, and I figured, if I'm going to (eventually) shell out $1600 for a lens, I might just as well buy a new one, rather than pay $1400 for a used one. But I should definitely look at used 200mm, since it's original price is already pretty close to my budget, a used one may end up exactly what I need.
  15. JDM von Weinberg - as I mentioned before, I did own a 50mm lens, and ended up selling it when I got my 85mm and my FF. I just never used it! 85mm has a much better IQ, it has USM, it has better color and contrast... Plus, I know have a suspicion that my 50mm had some backfocus issues that I failed to diagnose because I was being repeatedly told to "blame the photographer, not the lens", and so I did... Since 50 and 85 are pretty close together, I just really didn't see justification for keeping both, since I'm not a pro and don't do a lot of commercial shoots. For my personal and occasional commercial needs, 85 seemed to suffice. And in fact, with FF, I often even can use 85mm at home, so between 28 and 85, I have in-door portraits well covered, and 85 is perfect for most portraits outdoors. So, as far as I see it, I only miss a good telephoto to take pictures of arcitectural detail and school events.
    No doubt, I WOULD like to eventually have 50mm, but not sure it should be my next purchase. Maybe the one after. Oh, as for 24-105, I'm not sure it should be my next move either, while I appreciate what you say about the difference in the normal range (and I did want 35mm rather than 28, too), this lens would, in essence, overlap with both lenses I already have. While it will fill in the gap in between them, it won't extend my range, and that is what I'm seeking to accomplish right now.
  16. Dr. Path - thank you for confirming my fears! That was one of the reasons why I cancelled my order of 135mm 2.8 - I just wasn't sure it was a sufficient telephoto improvement over 85mm, on a FF. So, I really should eliminate 135 as an option and look at 200 or 70-200 (or 70-300, as you suggested).
  17. The logical choice is a 50/1.4, but If you feel you need something longer, the 135/2 would be my choice in a heartbeat (though def. not the 135/2.8 -- might as well get a 70-200/2.8). At that point, with that selection, picking up a cheap newer rebel is an easy way to extend the reach of your primes further.
    I use a 28/1.8 a 50/1.4 and an 85/1.8 on my 5s, and am pretty satisfied wth the coverage they give, though my next prime will be a 135/2 for it's true portraiture capabilities. (In fairness, I also use the 24-70/2.8 & 70-200/2.8 for portraits -- but like my primes output more.)
  18. Personally I've never used the 135/2.8 SF.

    However "the digital picture" review is pretty good and comparing his reviews to the equipment I do own has me
    thinking that he's always spot on.

    I'd think you'll be happy with it.
  19. If the only thing holding you back from the 70-200 f/4 IS is that you'll have to wait another year to afford it, and the possibility may arise during that year for you to actually need such a lens (seemingly infrequently), perhaps save for the lens you want, and rent one for the event should it happen. That will give you two benefits: 1) you can save for the lens you really want, rather than settling for something in your budget; and 2) if you rent, you can try out that very lens first. If the IS turns out to be useless for your shooting, then you can buy the non-IS version shortly after, since you'll already have the money set aside, and perhaps have already saved enough in the meantime for some other accessory you may need.
  20. Marcus Ian - why is 50 such a logical choice, really? I'm a little puzzled, because like I already explained, I used to own one, and sold it. Sure, in a perfect world, I'd have every step of the range covered - fisheye, 35, 50, 85, 100, 135, etc. But in this less than perfect world, for someone with rather modest photographic needs and aspirations, isn't having 50 AND 85, as well as 85 AND 100 rather redundant? In retrospect, maybe going 28-50-100 would have been smarter, but I'm so in love with my 85mm, I can't really say I regret it, especially since 100 is more expensive than 85, but the bang-for-the-buck is about the same.
    135 f/2 would be my choice in a heartbeat too, except for the price tag. And saying that instead of buying 135 f/2.8, I "might as well buy 70-200" certainly makes sense aperture-wise, but is utterly unrealistic in every other department: it's apples to oranges, AND 70-200 2.8 is about $1200 more than the 135 2.8! That's hardly "might as well" in my book.
    As for a cheaper Rebel (I imagine, to take advantage of crop-factor to get more of a zoom) - I actually own one already. But I'm not sure I'd take a Rebel over 5DII to an event in a large and probably not too well lit auditorium... What I'd gain in range by crop-factor, I'll lose in ISO. At that point, it's easier to take picture with the longest zoom I have on 5DII and then crop them later, than to get cropped noisy pictures from my 450D. At least, that's my thinking...
  21. Natalya, there's no question that I would recommend the 70-200/4 L IS above all other EF lenses for your intended applications. I use the lens almost exclusively for outdoor portraiture on my full frame and crop bodies. I also used to use the 24-105 for that application, but found the IQ of the longer zoom to be much better at the focal lengths at which I was primarily shooting (namely, 70mm on). Consequently, the 70-200 is my only remaining EF zoom. The lens is virtually the optical peer of the 135/2 L and 200/2.8 L (both of which I also have), its IS system buys you up to four stops for static or slow moving subjects, and it's half the weight of the 70-200/2.8 L's.
    I picked up my copy used, but in like new condition, for only $1000. It's one of a very few lenses I have owned (and I have owned all too many) that I have found to be indispensible.
  22. Matthijs Claessen - I'll be sure to re-read that review (I'm fairly sure I already read it, but I've read so many) before I make my mind up one way or the other!
    Jay DeSimone - Renting is an option, but it has a number of obvious drawbacks, too. Signature confirmation delivery is a pain when noone is home during the day. And I can just never talk myself into spending $100 just to try a lens for a week. At this point, $100 is about a quarter of my budget. It will be particularly a pity if I do decide to buy the lens that I try. Then I just upped the price by $100 just because I was indecisive.
  23. Thanks, Mark! I'm looking into used ones right now, too, and it seems that $1000 is still about as good a deal as I can find. I didn't realize IS could make such a big difference! I thought it would be a stop or two at most...
    Too bad there's no chance you'd want to sell yours at a bargain price any time soon! :)
  24. Natalya, I would have thought that an 85mm should be fine for most kiddie snaps at school. IMHO, you have almost the perfect combination of lenses to cover you for 95% of most situations in everyday shooting. Obviously if you want to shoot macro or birds, then you need the specialised lenes, but two good primes like you have (although I prefer the 35mm to the 28mm) is ideal. If anything, a fast 50mm might be useful.
  25. Natalya you should be able to handhold the 200 f2.8 without the need for IS. For years I shot with MF lenses like the 300 F2.8 and 400 F2.8 and with only film ISOs. So no IS, no Auto focus and lower ISOs yet handheld was fine (mind you the old 400 F2.8 was a massive beast to handhold). Iregularly shoot the 70-200 F2.8 handheld so the 200 F2.8 will be fine. If you can afford it get the 70-200 F4 IS as it is an amazing lens - the IQ is as good as most primes.
  26. Ty Mickan - well, I'm happy to hear that! My only concern is getting "action" shots from plays, concerts and, potentially, sports events, when I cannot maneuver easily and cannot get close enough for 85mm. Other than that, I also feel that I'm mostly covered just with those 2 lenses for most of the shots that I do. I would also like to get a telephoto lens for when I take pictures of the city - every once in a while I want to take a picture of a picturesque window up high or people on the bridge far away, or a kite in the sky, and for those occasions, 85mm doesn't always cut it.
    And I'm with you - I would by far prefer to have a 35mm lens, in fact, I agonized over 35-28-or (Sigma 30) on here before I purchased my 28mm. Two factors convinced me to get the 28 in the end: 35 f/2 has less than stellar reviews, and I couldn't afford the 1.4. Also, at the time, I was only eyeing the 5DII, and had a Rebel, so 28 was actually closer to the feel of 35mm than the 35mm on a crop (and I still had my 50 1.8). I really liked the Sigma and would have gone with that, but since I WAS eyeing 5DII, decided not to invest in a lens that I won't be able to use on a FF.
  27. Philip Wilson -
    happy to hear 200 should remain in the running.
    I must admit, you guys did get me all excited about 70-200 f/4 IS. If it is, in fact, an equal to primes, its versatility makes it quite worth the extra money. I'm actively looking into used options right now.
  28. My 70-200mm f/4L IS has stunning IQ. It's very useful for sports, wildlife, portraits and kids activities. I think it's worth going to a used or refurbished lens to try to get the 70-200 IS into your budget. However, if you can't afford IS, then the non-IS still has great IQ and you can shoot at higher shutter speeds.
  29. Well in answer to your question Natalya, 50mm is a logical choice to fill the gap between 28 and 85, because it falls near the midpoint of those two lenses. The difference in FOV is pretty significant (as opposed to 85 vs. 100) for 28 vs 85, which results is many many shots which simply cannot be optimized w/ either 28 or 85mm (yes, even if you cropped the heck out of an 28mm shot). That, and it's perspective gives great results for portraiture. I know several local portraiture photographers who shoot nearly everything w/ a 50, and one who only owns one lens -- she produces absolutely stunning work with just a 50/1.2. That's why I would presume to suggest that a 50 might be a good lens to span the 28/1.8 and 85/1.8. My years of professional experience have taught me that the 50 is an essential piece of hardware.
    OTOH, I understand that you also want something longer, and, with a budget, the 50 may not make sense for you right now. so... 135/2.8. I've shot w/ the 135/2.8 and it's a great lens. Unfortunately, it's as slow as competing zooms, which makes for an interesting question: Why buy a prime, and limit yourself to 135mm when equally capable zooms are available -- especially when you are planning on shooting kids, where you'll benefit from a zoom? Of course the answer is two fold - cost and quality. 1) quality - the 135/2.8 is sharper than a 70-200/4 WO, and a 70-200/2.8 WO -- but not by much, in fact, I'd predict that you need to get into pixel peeping territory to even find the differences. -- I know I do. To be perfectly honest, it's far more likely you will meet the limits of your technique before you achieve the maximum capabilities of either lens -- esp. for your application. 2) cost - While the 70-200/4 is near your price range, so is Tamron's 70-200/2.8 and Sig's 70-200/2.8 HSM. While there is merit to the observation that Canon's Ls in the range are superior to either -- again, optically, it's not by much, and only rarely are the differences even qualifiable specifically (unless of course you get a 'bad' copy of either lens -- always a risk (even w/ canon)) other than that both are slightly softer WO - by f4, both are the equal of the 70-200/4L aka razor sharp.
    Personally, I have found that the 70-200/2.8 is near ideal for kids portraiture (FF), my L and Sig are pretty interchangeable (which one I use depends on what the shooting circumstances are - more mud/rain = the Sig). The zooms give me the flexibility to move and follow (and let kids be kids), and still get ideal framing. I don't use the IS version because I've simply found I don't need it, and the extra heft and cost aren't really worth it as a result. I'm not big on the f4 one personally, but that doesn't make it a 'lesser' lens, just a slower one ;-). I shoot so much of the time @ f2.8 -> f3.5 that I would miss not being able to go there -- that'd be a dealbreaker!
  30. David,
    The 135 f2.8 is not an L, the 135 f2 is. But I agree with your conclusion.
  31. Marcus -
    ay-ay-ay! I just made my mind up that I needed a 70-200 f/4 IS, and you threw me a curveball! Indeed, with my 85mm, I mostly use 2.8-3.5 aperture (for individual portraits, anyway), so I WILL miss that if I go for f/4! Ah, what to do, what to do. I guess I'm better off researching Tamron-Sigma equivalents some more. Since you own a Sigma, would you recommend that over Tamron? How does it compare in weight to Canon? I know it's lighter than Canon 70-200 2.8, but is it about the same as 70-200 f/4?
    Or is it not worth exploring those options because they will still be too soft at 2.8, and I now need to either save forever to buy a 70-200 2.8 IS, or go back to my initial idea of getting a prime?
    And thank you for a very detailed answer! I do agree that I will need 50 at some point. I just don't feel the urgency right now. 85 gives me beautiful outdoors portraits, and 28 allows to take pictures inside with nothing but available light, so I'm a happy camper. In fact, the only times I really miss the 50mm range is at indoors birthday party, when I want to switch from taking pictures of the entire party to quickly taking a portrait of a kid who's doing something very interesting. Even if I manage to walk over quickly enough, 28 is not a flattering lens for portraits. And really, I think, for those cases, I need a zoom more than anything, so I can go from a wide-angle to portrait-length in a matter of secons. I do plan to add a 50 eventually, just not right away.
  32. 70-200mm f/4 IS makes sense based on your recent description of how you want to use it.
    Here is one link to a used $950 one (not available any more),70-200,f%2F4#9834785
    or a used one $1100 one (still available),70-200,f%2F4#9855650
    or new offers come up on that site or others...... others can recommend website names for buying used.
  33. David,
    well, other focal lenghts are always a plus, and I think very few people can claim that they simply don't need the f2.8 speed, but I definitely cannot afford a 2.8 IS, not a Canon version, anyway. And saving for it will not be a matter of 1 year, too. So, it's too much of a long-term goal, I'm afraid, especially for someone who 1) prefers primes and 2) is worried 70-200 is too heavy to get much use.
  34. I didn't see that last post of yours just now....... ok 135mm f/2 then
    The decision between a f/2.8 or IS (or in this case f/2 vs f/4 IS, plus prime vs zoom) is difficult
    Sometimes you want one, then the other. and ignoring the cost, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS might be too heavy to be fun to use or even making you miss shots because of the weight effect [when handholding. i have that lens and mostly use it on a tripod].
    Only time can tell which is better for you... or you get used to what you have, either the fast prime or the IS. ISO settings can help, introducing a camera into the equation
    Nice thing about buying used, like the $920 135mm f/2, is that after you use it for a while, want to try the f/4 70-200mm IS, you can sell it for pretty much the same you bought it for [used], and then try the other lens. looks like 135mm f/2 goes for less, around the $900-$1000 vs the $1000-$1100 for 70-200mm IS f/4
    going for non Canon...... personally i would decide between the Canon offering and not choose a non-Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS because it costs less than Canon's 70-200mm f/4. I have not used the 135mm f/2, always wanted to, but would I I give up my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS for it..... no, i would want to try the 135mm f/2 for a while first
  35. Natalya, the f/4L IS is not too heavy for most of us.
    Do you think that you need the f/2.8 speed? I think that the 5D's high-ISO performance is such that the extra f-stop isn't really going to impact the shots that you can get very much.
    Also, don't get too hung up on the myth of primes' superior IQ. In the link that I provided earlier in the thread, you can see that the 135mm f/2.8 isn't superior to the 70-200mm f/4L IS, even at 135mm. Also, many (most?) of us that use digital zooms correct for geometric errors, CA, vignetting, etc. at every aperture, at every focal length when we do our RAW conversion, further improving performance over what that comparative chart shows. (Primes should be corrected also).
    All of Canon's 70-200mm lenses are very special, with great color, contrast and overall IQ. If you can afford one and they're not too heavy for you (I think you'll find the f/4 fine for you) then one of these will change your whole outlook toward photography and zooms.
    f/4 bokeh:
  36. David, 135mm f/2L is the lens of focus....... not the f/2.8 Softfocus one. it is Softer on "purpose" and is not liked by many overall. maybe for a portrait [by some people only]
    If you pick 135mm f/2L in the link you provided, just one step above the f/2.8, the 2 lenses come quite close, yes in the example 70-200mm f/4 IS is a bit sharper.
    Technique is quite important of how the lens is used, when handholding there is a greater chance of error no matter the lens. I would want to want both lenses (not the f/2.8 non-L some people give it thumbs down and there is nothing about it attracting me to ever try it, and it has nothing to do with the "L" just the softfocus is usually a bad thing)
    so depending on the task i would pick the 135mm f/2L or the 70-200mm (any f). the combo of 1d4 and 70-200mm f/2.8 IS gets heavy for example to hold, so that's when I would want to try the 135mm f/2 for certain kids of shots, additionally the prime being a motivator of a different kind than a zoom would be
  37. David,
    I am dreading losing f/2.8 not so much because of the f-stop, but more for the bokeh. I notice that a bokeh at 5.6, for example, is not nearly as pleasing to me (in portraits) as at 2.8.
    BUT it seems that you're putting those fears to rest with your picture. How far removed was the background? It looks fantastic, and it seems that it was fairly close, so it is, indeed, the bokeh, and not the mere distance doing the job. Oh, and what's the focal length of the shot above? From what I understand, while at 200mm you could get a very pleasing bokeh even with f/8, at 85mm, f/8 will not blur the background enough...
  38. Robert,
    I tried a friend's 70-200mm 2.8 IS for about 2 hours once, and it's def. too heavy for me. I don't know, maybe if I lag it around regularly, I will develop the stamina, but then again, I just probably don't do enough shooting at this point to really "shape up" for it any time soon.
    And you're right, because my arms were so tired so quickly, the pictures turned out quite disappointing even with IS...
  39. The cardinal was around 12-ft away and the trees in the bokeh BG are around 30-ft away. That blue in the bokeh is the Pacific Ocean off the North Shore of Hawaii.
    Just so you know how light the f/4 70-200mm is, it's 1.55-lbs vs. 3.28-lb for the f/2.8 and 1.65-lbs for the f/2 135mm. It's really quite handy-dandy.
    Sorry if it seems that I'm pushing for the 70-200mm f/4L IS, but want to share the joy I experience in using it.
    Here's a grab-shot of one of my granddaughters at 105mm and f/4. She's right across a train table from me. The window and stuff behind her is only another couple of feet. If you look at the seat back, you can see the bokeh starting there. This is on a 5D MkII, so it's full-frame like you'll be shouting. Getting out at 150mm will bring on the stronger bokeh. The bird shot was max tele focal length.
  40. David, feel free to push anything you want! :) I'm so indecisive myself (at least, at this stage) that I embrace the strength of conviction in others! :) At this point, I'm fairly sold on the f/4 IS idea, save for the price... A couple of those are currently going for around $600 on ebay, but they have 2+ days of bidding left, so I'm guessing they'll go for around $900 in the end... But will keep an eye on them to see how that plays out, maybe I'll get lucky.
    Your granddaughter is very cute!
  41. Yes, she's a cutey and fun to be around. Thanks.
    I'm afraid that your $900 prediction is pretty accurate. One just sold at for $1,000 delivered.
    Lots of people swear by their non-IS f/4s. The two shots I've shown you were easily doable with no IS, as is the case of most of what I take with it. When out at 200mm you'll just need to remember that 1/200th or faster is really desireable. You can use slower shutter speeds than that, but your technique will need to be impeccable.
  42. I second the 200 2.8L II idea. It must be the best bang for the buck out there. I own it and it is of superb quality and can easily be used handheld. I personally prefer lenses without IS so to me this was an added bonus. Price, weight, quality, speed. It has everything going for it and it sounds that's the kind of reach you are looking for (otherwise I would have suggested a used 135L, but that would likely be pricier). The obvious alternative then is one of the 70-200 lenses. I personally prefer primes. The zooms are either too expensive, too slow and/or too big for me.
  43. bms


    I am not a canon guy but I have not regretted getting a 70-200 ever. I have a 135 f2 and have almost never used it.
  44. It seams that you are skewing toward 70-200. I fully agree with you as it is a must for the photographers. If you want to shot sports or
    moving objects at low lighting then you need f2.8 else you can live with f4 easly. IS or non IS both result good IQ. I use 80-200 f4
    nikkor manual focus and I am getting good IQ

    On the other hand I would like to mention about sigma 70-200 f2.8, they have released 4 versions with no IS ( they call it OS, optical
    stabilizer) the last version was II which is Macro & HSM "like USM" and it costs around 750 $
    The new version is having OS but no macro which costs 1399 &
  45. I wouldn't worry too much about included macro in a 70-200mm, since all the Canons work very well as macros with an Extension Tube and Tele Converter added.
  46. The best thing to add after 28 and 85mm is imo... 20/2.8. That's considerably wider than 28mm. Why do you need a longer lens?
    I got a 70-200/4 IS and personally I prefer 70-200/2.8 non-IS and even better is 135/2. There is quite a big difference between an f/2 prime and a f/4 zoom. IS will not get into play often when you have a large aperture and keep an eye on the shutter before pressing the button.
    I agree that 100 macro makes no sense when you have an 85. But, if you rebuild your system and get rid of the 85, a 100 macro can fit just right. Let me tell you that the 100 macro IS is one sweet lens (though 135/2 is killer) and is more flexible than your 85.
    Why not sell everything and try 16-35/2.8 and 100 macro IS and tell us how that works out. I strongly doubt if the wide primes are any better than the wide L zoom.
  47. Playing catch up...
    Harry P - I explained why I need a longer lens: to shoot my kid's events at school (on stage, in the gym, etc.) How will a 20mm help me in that department?
    I am not just asking for an advice for a purely theoretical line-up, but a line-up that suits my specific needs - the needs that I tried to explain in the very first post.
    Selling everything I own will not even put a dent in a budget that I'd need to buy 16-35 and 100 macro. Those two will come close to 3K, and I can at best hope to raise $700 or so buy selling my 28mm and 85mm. So, it's way over my budget. AND this combo once again doesn't help me with event shooting, but rather gives me an alternative to my current line-up - a line-up I'm quite happy with, actually.
    To boot, I specifically stated that I am fond of primes. Maybe quality of wide primes isn't much better than that of wide zooms, but I doubt it's worse, and primes are way cheaper, for obvious reasons. So, you want me to sell a cheap prime and buy and expensive zoom, to get the same quality with slightly more of a range? And then replace a perfectly wonderful 85mm with a very close, but more expensive 100mm? I lose a bunch of money, and gain only a margin of versatility, which will be offset by much heavier lenses...
    And I missing something?
  48. Harry P - I explained why I need a longer lens: to shoot my kid's events at school (on stage, in the gym, etc.) How will a 20mm help me in that department?​
    So you wanna buy a 1K lens just to shoot your kids? Why not hire a pro photographer for 10% of the cost of a said lens and receive great pictures.
    The 70-200/4 IS might seem great on paper but in practice the wider aperture takes better pictures and with some tought you don't need IS. If you want to go longer, it's either 70-200/2.8 non IS or 135/2. F/4 lenses are generally for outdoor shots or for misguided amateurs (sorry if it sounds rude, just trying to wake you up).
    Btw, do you have a flash? You'll need it.
  49. To boot, I specifically stated that I am fond of primes.​
    In that case you will love 135/2.
    Maybe quality of wide primes isn't much better than that of wide zooms, but I doubt it's worse, and primes are way cheaper, for obvious reasons.​
    Actually, 16-35/2.8 is better than the 28/1.8 you have. You buy the 28/1.8 for its compact design but not for its optics and neither for its speed (at f/1.8 it's optically weak).
    Some primes do cost more than zooms. Compare 24L and 35L vs 16-35L.
    I lose a bunch of money, and gain only a margin of versatility, which will be offset by much heavier lenses...
    And I missing something?​
    Yes. Rent the lenses I mentioned for a day and then justify the extra expense. On paper you might seem to be right but in practice you are missing some things. No debating will help. If you want to keep your set, just add 135/2. It stands head and shoulders above what you have now. Enjoy :)
  50. Harry said:
    So you wanna buy a 1K lens just to shoot your kids? Why not hire a pro photographer for 10% of the cost of a said lens and receive great pictures.​
    What the heck are you doing in this thread Harry? You haven't looked at her stated needs and budget and then you denigrate her desire to take quality shots of her kids. She's got a 5D and some good lenses already and she knows how to take good pix, based on what I've seen.
    You remarks do nothing but pump up your own ego.
  51. You remarks do nothing but pump up your own ego.​
    Sorry to hear that. I wasn't aware there was something like an internet ego.
    So what great advice have you been giving that this thread needs to be 6 pages long?
    If you want to have optimum quality at minimal costs, hiring a pro photographer is the best way to go. There's nothing denigrating about that, it's just honest advice. With all due respect, quality doesn't come cheap and if she's so skilled, she doesn't need anything longer than 85, does she.
  52. Harry P - um, wow...
    First off, I don't WANT to buy a 1K lens, I want to buy a $400 lens. Yes, my kid is that important to me, I am willing to spend $400 to capture her event to the best of my abilities.
    However, some people here shared their experiences and opinions, and I'm considering putting off the purchased or finding a used lens to compromise between my budget and the best lens for my needs.
    A professional photographer for 10%? For a $100? I don't know any pros who'd shoot a kid's event for $100. Even I charge more, and I rarely shoot and do not consider myself a pro. But even if I could find someone for $100 an event, in just 10 events would cover a lens. Surely, my 5-year-old will have more than 10 special events in her life and school career. So, I fail to see why my decision is so irrational.
    Not to mention that, quite frankly, while I am not the best photographer out there for anyone, I AM the best photographer for my kid! Before I got into photography myself and got a decent camera, I hired 3 different pros to take pictures of my kid in Houston, Paris, and Moscow, and while their pictures were of a stunning quality and I am very glad I did that, now that I have a decent camera and nice lenses, I consistently produce pictures that capture my daughter much better than any stranger ever could. If nothing else, I beat any photographer by the sheer number of pictures that I can take and choose from. And for that, yes, I'd like to have nice equipment.
    If you read my original post or the thread, you would have seen that I am considering 135.
    I do have an external flash, although I'm not sure in a big auditorium or gym it will be all that helpful.
  53. Harry P -
    Actually, 16-35/2.8 is better than the 28/1.8 you have.​
    It better be! It's a $2000 L-grade lens...
    You buy the 28/1.8 for its compact design but not for its optics and neither for its speed (at f/1.8 it's optically weak).​
    At least it has an f/1.8...
    Yes. Rent the lenses I mentioned for a day and then justify the extra expense. On paper you might seem to be right but in practice you are missing some things. No debating will help.​
    1 day won't cut it, especially for several lenses. Renting several lenses for a few days + insurance + shipping puts a pretty big dent into my budget. And I disagree about debates not helping. I've come here before every lens purchase, and while I may not have walked away with the best lens there is, I walked away with the best lens I could afford for my needs.
    You know, it doesn't take a genius to say "go get a bunch of L-grades and you'll be happy". Helping a person figure out what to get if a bunch of L-grades are not possible takes more time and patience. So, I'm extremely grateful to all those who took their time to give their opinion, and I do not want to discard it as that of "misguided amateurs".
    With all due respect, quality doesn't come cheap and if she's so skilled, she doesn't need anything longer than 85, does she.​
    Ok, now I'm definitely missing something. What does skill have to do with having the right tools? So, if I'm skilled at nailing with a hammer, should I go drive the screws into the wall with a hammer, too? After all, if I am skilled, a hammer is all I ever need? Interesting logic.
    Most pros have quite an arsenal of lenses, is that because they are lousy photographers? I thought the consensus was - each lens has its task, and part of being good (which I'm not saying I necessarily am) is knowing what lens can handle what task with best results.
    Or am I held to a higher standard than a pro, and expected to turn up consistently good results for every situation and light with 1 prime, before I'm allowed to contemplate other lenses?
    And just on a side note, "she" did plenty of events with nothing but an 85mm, in particular - half a dozen kid birthday parties, and 2 ballet recitals, and "she" is quite happy with the results and most people who tried taking pictures with "her" at the same time, said that "her" results were significantly better. So, while I think "she" isn't "so skilled", "she" is skilled enough to make do with 85mm, but since "she" now also has a full-time job now, "she" felt like making her life a little easier next time around. Sue me.
  54. Natalya,
    You don't need to justify your thought process to us, or defend yourself against irrelevant, hurtful and plain incorrect suggestions.
    Think about what you need, either the 70-200 f4 IS or the 200 f2.8 or whatever, then save the money and get it, then take the best photos a mum can take of her daughter.
  55. Actually Harry's concern about the quality of the 28/1.8 vs. the 16-35/2.8 is completely incorrect. @28mm (obviously the limit of the prime and the only comparable point for the zoom. ;-) ) The 16-35 is abyssmally (a word chosen subjectively ;-) ) soft WO, stopping it down to f4 ->5.6 is the only reliable way to get it into the same ballpark as the 28mm lens is @ f2.8 (let me put it another way, 28/1.8 @f2.8 = 16-35 @f4->f5.6(!) -- by f2.8, the 28/1.8 is as sharp as legendary lenses like the 35/1.4 (one of numerous examples) are @ f2.8.
    Is this a terrible sign? no, the 16-35 is an UWA zoom -- sharpness WO is one of it's weaknesses, but, given the common use, it's not really an essential component of the lens's task so not particularly surprising to me. I have one, and despite it's poor performance (WO), it gives a flexible perspective that can be quite nice (though not really for portraiture obviously ;-) )
  56. You're welcome Natalya.
    Another thought is to use the 85mm with a 1.4x TC or even a 2.0x TC. It'll have enough speed to AF with the 5D. The Series II 1.4x has excellent IQ and the 2.0x isn't bad in a pinch. This'll give you some inexpensive reach while you're saving for a 70-200mm or 135mm. One you get either of those lenses you'll want to use them with the 1.4x TC for extra tele reach and for macro shooting (they don't change the minimum focus distance). Combined with at Extension Tube, your 85mm and everything you're considering will work nicely with a 1.4x TC. I use mine a bunch on my 70-200mm.
  57. David Stephens - David, you read my mind! I was just thinking the same thing. I know we've been kicking the idea of an extender around for a while, but I sort of thought that FIRST I'll need to buy a longer lens, and THEN add an extender for more reach. And now I'm thinking - why not get an extender first?
    I also realized something else while I was discussing my choices with you guys: I still have my 450D body, it was my parents' present and I was ecstatic when I got it, so just kinda feels wrong to sell it, even to raise money for a new lens. But since I DO have it, and it's a crop camera, I could actually use my 28mm on it to get 44mm - practically a 50mm. That could, in a pinch, fill the gap between 28 and 85 (and, since 50mm is a bit too "tele" for inside my house, I will probably use it outdoors, where I won't need high ISOs to get good shots).
    And if I put my 85mm on 450D, I will get precisely 135mm. I think I will dust off my 450D, and do just that tomorrow, I'm curious to feel how I'll like that focal length and if it will have more or less use of it than of 85.
    And, if the old adage that it's better to have a good lens on a "bad" body than to have a "bad" lens on a good body, I should get decent results with my primes on my 450D.
    So, with these realizations (which probably should have dawned on me a while ago, but really didn't), I now have a 28mm, a "50"mm, an 85mm, and a 135mm, and, if I get an extender, I will also have something close to 135mm on my 5D and and almost a 200mm on my 450D!
    Now, I realize that that doesn't solve all of my problems - I wouldn't use a 450D for an important event, because I wouldn't be able to get away with bumping up my ISO much, but it allows me to experiment with various focal lengths without splurging on rentals, which will, in turn, hopefully help me decide if 135 is enough of an "improvement" over 85mm (in terms of reach).
    The only lens I still kinda want to rent is 70-200 f/4 IS. Simply because I want to see how it compares to primes and see if I miss its versatility after I go back to primes.
  58. A Canon extender won't work on the Canon 85 mm. The Kenko one, I believe, will.
  59. [duplicate]
  60. I was going to say the same about 85mm lens not taking a 1.4x or other extenders, same for a 105mm. I haven't seen the 135mm lens so i don't know if it will. 200mm f/2.8 i don't know either.
    70-200mm lenses definitely will and the primes starting at 300mm definitely. The internal layout of those telephotos starts with a "hole" on the camera side, that's what the teleconverter needs to insert into.
    Someone could confirm the ability/inability of 135mm and 200mm lenses to take the 1.4x.
  61. I don't know how the pixel-pitch compares between your 5D and 450D, but using an older crop-sensor will generally not yield superior results to using your FF and cropping the resultant image down to the same field of view as the crop-sensor.
    A crop-sensor does not increase "reach" (magnification). It merely only uses part of the area that a FF sensor can see. I use both a 5D2 and a 7D, but for entirely different purposes. The 7D is my bird and wildlife body, because it's fast, has more AF choices and it's pixel-pitch yields slightly better detail than the 5D2, but at the expense of weaker high-ISO performance. I use the 5D2 for street shooting, portraits, high-ISO, scenics, archetecture.
    You might take some test shots to compare performance. Given that your 5D has more "professional" features, I suspect it'll be superior when you shoot with it and then crop down by the 1.6 factor. The 450D will have the advantage of you seeing something closer to your final image in the viewfinder. That's not to be discounted, but you shouldn't automatically assume that your finished images will gain "reach" by using a crop-sensor.
  62. I believe I've read on Amazon that 200mm takes extender no problem, will check the 135mm, but yeah, didn't realize it won't work on 85mm, thanks for pointing it out.
    David, you're right, I understand, that it doesn't really increase the "reach", but for me, mentally, it helps to see the picture as it will end up... I feel that when I take a picture with the intention of cropping it later, I often realize AFTER I crop that I should have composed the shot differently...
  63. I think that Scott is probably right about the Kenko working with your 85mm. This thread is so long that you might consider a new thread with just that question. I've never owned a Kenko, but I seen some good results and sometimes they will work where a Canon will not.
  64. it


    I like my 135/f2 for kids photos.
  65. So you wanna buy a 1K lens just to shoot your kids? Why not hire a pro photographer for 10% of the cost of a said lens and receive great pictures.​
    These have to be the most inane comments I've ever read on I have several lenses, including a 2.5K one, that I use primarily to photograph my kids. Since they are my primary (and most precious) subjects, I want to use the best tools I can afford to make images of them.
  66. I either own or have owned a great many lenses in this range - 28mm f2.8 and f1.8 (I was put off the f1.8 for years by the reviews, but it's a much better all-round lens, and the f2.8 has gone), 35mm f2 (got used a fair bit until I got the 28 f1.8), 50mm f1.8 (gone), f2.5 and f1.4, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2.8 macros in both non-L (sold) and L versions, 135mm f2.8 SF and 200mm f2.8 L Mk I. Oh, and the 70-200 f4 L IS. There's not really a weak lens among them, whatever some people say - but the best in pure IQ terms is the 200. It's a grossly underrated lens and would compliment your existing lenses nicely - and it takes extenders - I use both the 1.4x II and 2x Mk I with it, although quality suffers with the second option. Most versatile, and not that far behind in IQ, is the 70-200, which is a pretty light lens to carry and use and also works well with the 1.4x extender - and I find that at the long end, that's useful for isolating elements of landscapes, too. I do like the 135 SF, but I've always found the focal length a bit awkward - neither short nor long enough for me much of the time, and this lens doesn't take (Canon) extenders for sure.

    I do feel that the lens that would suit you best is probably the 70-200 f4 L IS - any chance of putting off the purchase for a while to afford it? And what about hiring one for now to check out if it's right for you? For me, the only downsides with it are that it's a stop or two slower than the primes in the same reason, and that it doesn't reach 300mm
  67. Nick Roberts - thank you! You've used pretty much every lens I ever owned or considered (as I mentioned, I'm into primes), so your review is very VERY helpful!
    I am happy that you think that 200 is a good choice in terms of lens quality. It turns out, it can be found used for about $500-600, which pretty much puts it within my budget reach and I've been reading an awful lot about that lens lately.
    Can I ask how it does in terms of bokeh? Does it beat 70-200 or are they on par? Is it sharp WO? Is it a good length for just portraits (not events)?
  68. Natalya wrote: "I AM the best photographer for my kid!"
    Hear, hear! That made me smile. And it is so true! :)
    Just a brief general thought about lenses. Anyone who suggests that there is one particular sort of lens that is always better and must be used for X type of photography may be taken with a certain grain of salt. On the other hand, a person who points out that some lens is most often used for a certain type of photography or is popular with people doing that photography or who lists the features of the lens that might be applicable could be worth paying attention to, whether or not you eventually end up agreeing.
    Frankly the whole zoom versus prime thing strikes me as being very strange, especially when it gets wrapped up in notions about "better" photographs or photography and double-especially when it becomes an almost moral crusade. ("Real photographers" shoot primes! Not. ) Gear questions quite often do not come down to simple and objective "better and worse" characteristics of the equipment - they more often come down to "more appropriate" and "less appropriate" or, quite often, "best compromise." Sometimes a prime can be the best choice, sometimes a zoom; sometimes an expensive lens and sometimes a less expensive lens, sometimes crop and sometimes full-frame. I'm sure you get my point.
    My general perspective is that for most general sorts of shooting these days, a good zoom is probably going to be more useful for most people than a set of primes that covers the same focal lengths, especially as a starting point, but that is just a generalization. To continue the generalization, the IQ differences among these options cut both directions and probably don't amount to a whole lot in terms of the final image quality in most cases. The question of larger aperture versus, say, IS cuts both directions. Each person has to decide.
    I will say that while making such decisions, it is a good practice to try to avoid buying into some of the mythology that drives so many such decisions - must have L lenses, primes always better than zooms, (or vice versa), largest maximum aperture always better than smaller, and many more. Try to simply think though the functional characteristics of the gear in the context of your own shooting with as few preconceptions as possible.
    Going back to your original post... The 135mm f/2.8 is actually a fine performer, from all that I've heard. (There are a number of non-L Canon EF primes that are great, actually.) The "advice" about hand-holding the non-IS f/4 70-200mm zoom that you were given seems over-wrought to me. Yes, IS makes the lens more useful for handheld shooting, but people shot with non-IS 200mm lenses for many years and one can still do so with this one. You mentioned a 135mm f/1.8 - there is a wonderful 135mm f/2 L lens, but it is quite pricey and may not offer you all that much advantage. I wonder if you would find the 50mm f/1.4 lens useful for this type of shooting - I know I would. (I use most of the lenses mentioned here, by the way.)
  69. G Dan Mitchell - you're right, when I say "I love primes", I should always amend that primes IN MY PRICE RANGE tend to be better than zooms in my price range (which has mostly been $400-500).
    70-200 2.8 IS has been the lens of my dreams for a long time, but at the time, I was a grad student and there was no way I could afford it for years. So, I settled for 50 1.8, and my love affair with primes has begun. They allowed me to take good quality shots without putting thousands and thousands of dollars into a hobby. Also, since they tend to be more fast than zooms, they allowed me not to invest seriously into flash and lights, etc.
    Had my budget been unlimited, I probably would have preferred the convenience of zooms and bought the best L-grade zooms, but zooms like 55-250 simple did not hold a candle to primes...
  70. Natalya, it's sharp wide open. Any difference in bokeh? Can't say I've really noticed any real difference. It's OK for portraiture if the working distance is right.
  71. Just ok?
    A friend who owns a 100mm and a 70-200 f/4 IS says that when she wants nice and creamy bokeh, she usually reaches for 100mm, not 70-200...
  72. For bokeh the f/4 of the zoom is not enough, not even at 200mm f/4 vs 100mm f/2.8
    Best bokeh is usually claimed by primes like 85mm f/1.2, 135mm f/2, some others..
  73. Natalya,
    Does this bokeh seem OK?
  74. :) It does! Is it 70-200?
  75. It's a 70-200 at f4, even though it is an f2,8 lens the native f4 is virtually identical. Background blur is highly dependant on several factors, most notably, subject to background distance, manipulate the situation to your advantage and slower lenses can be used to very good effect.
  76. Sorry, I didn't mean "just OK", but that I'm happy with it.
    As to what Robert Brody says, bokeh isn't the degree of background blur, but the quality of it, which is influenced by the lens construction and location of aperture blades - which has little to do with the maximum aperture, unlike the degree of blur, which does.
  77. "A friend who owns a 100mm and a 70-200 f/4 IS says that when she wants nice and creamy bokeh, she usually reaches for 100mm, not 70-200..."
    At f4 and with some separation between the subject and the background, the 70-200 produces very nice bokeh. You can get more blur with a larger aperture on a prime, but you also get much narrower DOF, which is not always desirable for portraits unless you are actually going for the "one eye in focus and one not" look.
  78. f/5.6 at 188mm on the 70-200mm f/4 L zoom:
    100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L zoom at 400mm and f/5.6
    I have plenty of others...
  79. I just felt like I owe you all an update, now that I have one, in case someone returns to this thread. I just got my lens today - I ordered the 70-200 f4 IS (deciding against 135 and 200 L-grades, for versatility purposes). I've only done 1 brief test-shoot with it so far, and in pretty great light, so while I cannot speak to its ability to perform in low light, but so far, I'm very impressed with contrast, sharpness and bokeh! I compared it against my 85mm 1.8, and when framed similarly, the bokeh is very very alike (and I LOVE the bokeh on my 85mm).
    So, I think I'm keeping this lens! (I figured if I really disliked it, I'd return and get 135mm instead). Although I'd love to hear from anyone who tried both 135mm AND 70-200 f4 IS, just to see if you think I'm missing out. Would 135mm be a head above 70-200? Am I compromising too much by choosing a versatile zoom over a legendary prime? Since this is my first experience with L-grade lenses, I'd say that 70-200 f4 IS definitely compares well to my 85mm, but would it compare equally well to an L-grade prime?
  80. Your compromise with this zoom, if any, is very small, particularly if you shoot in RAW and use the geometric autocorrection features of Lightroom, DxO Optic Pro and similar programs.
  81. David, thank you!
    And G Dan Mitchell - thanks, those pictures helped convince me!

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