What lenses to buy

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by steven_hyman, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Hi all,
    I have a Canon 550D with the standard EF 15-85 lens.
    I am only just really getting into photography and my main interest lies in photographing landscapes, city scapes and general photos around and about the city and tourist attractions.
    I have purchased a Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens but I don't know what to compliment it with. I was looking at the Canon EF-S 15-85mm but my concern there is that there is a cross over of 5mm's between both these lenses. I have been put off the Canon EF 22-105mm as I have read reviews that it is wasted on an APS-C.
    I'm also looking at prime lenses with the Canon EF 50mm and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8
    I do plan to buy the Canon 70-200mm f/4L when my budget allows so again I don't know if this negates buying the 85mm lens.
    Please could someone offer me some advice as I've got bogged down in a minefield.
    Many thanks
    Steve
     
  2. Steve,
    I suggest you don't buy any yet, or maybe one.
    The time to buy is when you can say specifically what you want the new lens to do, given how you shoot and what you shoot. There are lots of choices, and what is ideal for one person is often a bad choice for the next. So, you are likely to waste money if you buy before you know what you need.
    You say that you you have the 15-85 but also say you are looking at it. I assume that means that you have the 18-55 kit lens. If so, you have a decent standard zoom and a wide angle that is arguably the best available for a Canon crop. So, ask yourself: what can't you do with these two lenses that you want to do? It sounds like you need something longer, and if so, a 70-200 or something else with a similar focal range is a logical next step. The 70-200 f/4 IS is a fabulous lens--I own one--but there are decent choices that cost a lot less, so you might ask yourself whether you will be better off with that one or with a cheaper lens and the difference in cash for other purchases later. But either way, if you already know that you need something longer, I would buy something longer and then stop buying until you find something else that you really can't do, or can't do well, with that three-lens setup.
     
  3. To chime in... you do not have to buy any more lenses right away. In fact, there are very good reasons to not rush out and start buying more lenses right now.
    Lens choices are (or should be) driven by your knowledge of your own specific photographic needs. As a new DSLR photography you do not yet know what those are. However, as the owner of a functional DSLR kit and as a person who is very interested in making photographs, you are equipped to begin to understand your own photography and to then consider adding addition gear if necessary and only as you come to understand what you need and why.
    So, put your money in savings. Shoot a lot with the fine, functional gear you have - and several thousands of photographs from now you will start to develop a clearer understanding of what you want to do, of what your current gear can and cannot do in that regard, and what specific sorts of things (if any) would make sense for you to acquire.
    It is all too common to misunderstand the process of becoming a photographer to be one based on "getting the right gear." While that is not exactly unimportant, it is far down the list of important things for you to worry about right now.
    Enjoy the gear you have. Shoot a lot!
    Dan
     
  4. Steven, you have received great advice so far. I have nothing to add in that respect, as I fully concur.

    On the other hand, just to clarify, there is only one current Canon 15-85mm model, which is a standard range zoom from
    the EF-S series, and I don't recall any EF (not EF-S) zoom lens with 15mm in its range.
     
  5. Thanks for all the responses I have received from you and it has been good advice, especially from someone like Mr Mitchell (whose website I have viewed prior to today).
    Mr Leal and Dan M - I made an error in the original post and I meant to say I have the EF 15-55 kit lens. I used this lens in SE Asia recently and I found the images devoid of colour and lacking sharpness. I know that I desperately need to replace this lens.
     
  6. Lack of color tends to be a post processing issue. Have you tried tweaking your pictures in Canon's DPP software? Are
    you shooting RAW?

    Could you post a typical image that you're not happy with?
     
  7. I presume you meant EF-S 18-55 in the first sentence, since you are looking at the 15-85 later on?
    The latter is a replacement/upgrade for the kit lens, although it's good to keep the kit anyway for light, casual shooting. I recommend it heartily as a main shooter.
    Eventually you would want a longer range telephoto, but for now you really don't NEED anything.
     
  8. Steven,
    I respectfully think you're still a little confused about which lens you have. Should be the EF-S "18" - 55 that you have. While some consider this lens to be less than satisfactory, it is a very capable lens. I agree with everybody that has posted above me and can't emphasize enough, "you" will know what to buy "when" it's time to buy something new. In the mean time, here's a test you can do about your preserved lack of color and sharpness with your kit lens. Rent the 15-85 "or" use your 10-22 and put you camera on a tripod and take a photo with your kit lens at 18mm and then using the same "exact" settings (focal length, aperture and shutter speed) take one with the other lens and compare. I doubt you'll see much if "any" difference. You should be able to make a much more informed decision after this. FWIW I have this lens and many others, spanning focal ranges from 10mm to 300mm and the 18-55 is on my camera most of the time and usually only change it because I need a focal range outside of it.
     
  9. The older non-IS 18-55mm "kit" lens is OK but not great. The newer image-stabilized versions are actually pretty darn good in optical terms, and if you are having sharpness or color problems with that lens, the issues likely lie somewhere other than with the lens.
    I like to say that if you cannot produce a sharp photograph with the IS 18-55, you won't be able to produce one with more expensive lenses either.
    Dan
     
  10. I stuck my EF 24-70mm f/2.8L on the Rebel T2i (the same camera by another name) about a year and a half ago, and the sharpness of the resulting images blew my socks off. I am not recommending that you buy a lens like that for such a small camera, and yet the results indicate that you will not get all the pixels out of that fine 18mp sensor without a fine lens. (Sometimes I think that we put far too much money in the bodies and not nearly enough in the glass.)
    If you do have or know anyone with L lenses, you have got to try them on that camera to see just what potential is there. It is enormous. If the images are flat, try a shallow S-curve in the post-processing, or just up the contrast by 7-10 percent and drop the brightness by about the same amount. You will be surprised.
    People say not to put a lot of money into expensive glass if you have a crop sensor camera, but, if you do move up to full-frame all that EF-S glass will be wasted. People try to encourage beginners to restrain themselves, but I say buy the best you can--you only pay once that way.
    --Lannie
     
  11. I have a three lens kit for my T2i/550D; 10-22mm, 17-55mm and 55-250mm. The 55-250mm is small, light and surprisingly good for the price. I bought a refurbished version that was under $200. Canon T2i / 55-250mm:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Lack of color, contrast and sharpness in you images is likely due to errors in shooting or lack of appropriate processing. Take a few images with the camera set to Raw or Raw plus JPEG and process them in Digital Photo Professional, applying DLO (Digital Lens Optimization). Correct Contrast, Vibrancy, etc. to taste, and see if you're images are not more satisfying.
    Once you get that down, then consider lenses that fill some need. The 70-200mm f/4L IS is one of my favorite lenses and something like it usually ends up in most serious photographer's bag, but you may not be ready yet.
     
  13. I respectfully disagree with some of the earlier advice. When somebody gets into photography enough to be pretty confident that it's a long term interest instead of a passing fancy, I don't see the point in spending years shooting with a couple of lenses that offer a very limited focal range. There are a lot of landscape shots where a maximum reach of 55mm is not going to come close to getting the job done; the same goes for birds and wildlife, even at the zoo. A big part of improving your photography is trial and error, and spending 2 or 3 years looking at landscapes that call for a telephoto lens and not having one is going to slow down your learning curve, not speed it up. It may also reduce your enthusiasm for photography.
    As far as recommendations, I concur with David Stephens on the 70-200 f/4 L IS. It is a great lens and one that will work long term as you change camera bodies. I'd either buy a good used one or buy a new one when Canon is offering a rebate program. I'd make that a higher priority than upgrading the 18-55 kit lens, presuming it is the newest IS version. That lens is capable of making very good images though I found that it really struggled to focus in low light. Longer term, you could potentially replace the 18-55 with a couple of prime lenses. The 35mm f/2 and a 50mm prime, either the "nifty fifty" f/1.8 or the more expensive but still very reasonable f/1.4, would do a good job of covering the gap between 22mm and 70mm if you went for the 70-200 L f/4 IS. They'd also give you a couple of good fast lightweight lenses for walking around and shooting in low light.
    You didn't mention whether you have a tripod yet, but if you're going to shoot a lot of landscapes, particularly things that often call for slow shutter speeds like waterfalls, low light or night photography, a decent tripod (including a ballhead or pan/tilt type head) should be on your purchase list as well.
     
  14. I should have noted when mentioning the Canon 35mm f/2 lens that I was talking about the older version that can be purchased new for less than $300, not the new IS version that costs about 3 times as much.
     
  15. I'll second Don's endorsement of the EF 70-200/4 L IS. There is, in my opinion, no better zoom in Canon's line up. An excellent lens to fill the gap between 22mm and 70mm is the EF-S 15-85/3.5-5.6 IS.
    The only drawback to the aforementioned zooms is that they are slow, and consequently require good light. For lower light, one or two non-L primes, such as the 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8 or 100/2, would work just fine.
    I personally think that the much-maligned 50/1.4 is optically one of the best lenses Canon has ever made. It actually has decent resolution wide open, but it's contrast is relatively low till around f/2. I think this leads people to erroneously believe that it's soft wide open.
     
  16. As someone who owns and uses the much exalted and glorified 70-200/4 IS (which not so long ago was regarded as dog food in comparison to the 70-200/2.8 IS), I fall into G Dan's camp: Use what you've got, and save your money until you've identified a specific need that a specific lens will fill. But that presumes that your financial resources are modest like mine.
    I'll only comment on the following:
    I'm also looking at prime lenses with the Canon EF 50mm and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8

    I do plan to buy the Canon 70-200mm f/4L when my budget allows so again I don't know if this negates buying the 85mm lens.​
    These lenses fill different niches, so they are not (necessarily) redundant at 85mm. For instance, I have the aforementioned 70-200/4 IS, a 70-300 IS non-L, a 100/2, and a manual focus Nikkor 105/2.5 with an EOS adapter. While some people might view this collection of lenses somewhat redundant, each has a specific use to me that is not as well satisfied by the other three. So no, there is no reason not to have both the 85/1.8 and the 70-200/4. It depends entirely on how you are to use them.
     
  17. I suggest you look into the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye. It will let you shoot stuff you never imagined shooting. I also think you have been misinformed about the Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS. That lens is AMAZING. It is an image stabilized lens, and you already have a good lens to cover wider angles. You can eventually compliment that lens with the excellent Canon 100-400mm L. That is also an excellent lens, which is superior to the majority of cheaper 70-300mm lenses. The 24-105mm L and the 100-400mm L are a great pair that will serve you well for many years to come, and if you decide to buy a 5 D Mk III or a 1Dx they will both work quite well on either of those full-frame cameras. There is nothing like a full-frame L lens to fill the bill. I would start by getting the 24-105mm and see what you think. The f4 aperture will be great for most things you will shoot. Eventually you can get a wide aperture lens though, like the 85mm f1.2 L, which will make you a very happy camper, though you will rarely use it. That is like the first lens some people get, but I would probably reserve it as the last. I might get a 135mm f2 L first.
    This all assumes you want a great set of lenses. Get inferior lenses, if you plan to buy bunches of lenses over time. You COULD go with just the two zooms to compliment your 10-22mm, and you'll have your 18-55 as a "back-up" lens. That four lens kit would really suit just about any photographer quite well. Eventually I would add the 10-17mm Tokina fisheye and some day the 85mm f1.2 L from Canon. That six lens kit would be just amazing. Then it would be time to look into a 150mm f2.8 OS APO Macro lens from Sigma. Those things are awesome. Get an extension tube and try macro shots with your 24-105mm f4 L set at f11 first though. If that works fine, you won't ever need a macro lens. That's the cheap way to shoot macro.
    This all assumes you have plenty of money to be buying lenses you can keep. If you are buying to try a variety of lenses you should check out what is available at KEH.com instead. Used lenses are good to play with. You can usually sell them on Craigslist for about what you paid.
     
  18. you do not have to buy any more lenses right away. In fact, there are very good reasons to not rush out and start buying more lenses right now.Shoot a lot with the fine, functional gear you have - and several thousands of photographs from now you will start to develop a clearer understanding of what you want to do, of what your current gear can and cannot do in that regard, and what specific sorts of things (if any) would make sense for you to acquire.
    I like to say that if you cannot produce a sharp photograph with the IS 18-55, you won't be able to produce one with more expensive lenses either.
    G Dan Mitchell​
    Best advice for a beginner
     
  19. "the much exalted and glorified 70-200/4 IS (which not so long ago was regarded as dog food in comparison to the 70-200/2.8 IS)"
    What a load of complete BS.
     

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