Which good all around lens to buy?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jennifer ann, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. Hello,
    I am looking for your opinions on what is a good "all around lens" to keep on my
    camera for most shots. I have the Rebel XTi, with the kit 18-55 lens that does
    not get alot of good PR. I would like a bit more working distance than 55mm.
    I am on a limited budget, and I am hoping to get the 100mm macro lens, as macro
    is my passion. My other interests are shooting landscapes and wildlife. So that
    said, what do you think is the right lens?
    Do I need to get one with IS?
    Thanks in Advance!
  2. I am sure a lot of people will ask how limited is your budget?
    When I think limited I am guessing around $400 - $500. For that I would suggest the
    Tamron 17-50 or a 28-75.
  3. Jenn, you are covering quite a range.

    Macro -- ultra close, using a tripod
    Landscape -- wide/ultrawide, tripod optional but recommended
    Wildlife -- telephoto, using a tripod

    You're not going to find one lens that does all this.

    IS is geat for handheld shots, particularly in low light.

    What is your budget?

  4. You mentioned macro is your passion.... quick story.

    I convinced my mom to get more into photography and upgrade from her 6 year old olympus 3.0mp digital camera to a Rebel XTi a year and a half ago. She got really into it almost right away, and took to the macro side of things as well. After about a year, I convinced her to pick up a macro 100 f2.8.

    Ever since then, she's been taking about 8,000 - 10,000 pictures per month, about 95% macro.

    Based on that, if macro photography is your passion, you cannot go wrong with the Macro 100 2.8 for around $500 or so (I think, check B+H). Great quality, easy to use, and versatile (for macro that is).
  5. The Tamron does say its Macro but its, I believe 3/1. more like close up then macro.
  6. Hello,

    Here is a link that will be helpful

  7. For inexpensive macro photography try an manual focus macro lens (like the Tokina AT-X 90mm f/2.5 and many others from Pentax, Nikon, Vivitar etc) and use it with an adapter on your camera.

    And the kit lens may have its flaws, but the photographers here on photo.net realize its a exceptionally fine kit zoom. The new IS version is even better and highly recommended.

    And well, with subjects ranging from landscape (wide angle) to wildlife (longe tele) you are very mistaken if you think you can find one lens that will cover these applications and gives you good image quality, is inexpensive and will not be a waste of money.
  8. A true upgrade from your present lens would be the canon 28-105 lens. It's the better "gold ring" series while your lens is the white ring series. It gives you twice the reach, is a stop faster, has macro capability and it has the faster focussing USM motor. Around $219 at B&H Photo. It's a decent all around performer for the price. My person choice would be the L series 24-70 which has all the above capabilities plus outstanding performance. However it's well over $1000 and I don't know if you wanted to spend that much.
  9. The kit lens 'ain't all bad' considering its price. For a telephoto, consider the 'kit' lens 75-300mm telephoto at around $100-150, depending on the kind of autofocus on it.

    Another lens that is better than its reputation is the 17-85mm IS lens. It covers a broad range (the equivalent of the 28-105 lens mentioned above on a full-frame camera). Although many don't like it for its barrel distortion at the wide end, this can be fixed in software, and most reviewers after listing its faults, say that somehow they still use it more than most other lenses. It's around $500. It has close-focus, but is not a true macro (few zooms are).

    If true macro (1:1 ratio) is really important, also consider the Tamron 90mm macro--it's cheaper and it's really as sharp as any macro out there.
  10. I am a bit surprised by the fact that no one has mentioned the lens I am about to mention. But that's the way it is sometimes, or maybe my suggestion is not as good as I think it is. :)

    Longer than 55: check
    Limited budget: check (I think)
    Macro: check (well, near macro, 1:2.3, but hey it's an all around lens!)
    Improved quality over kit lens: CHECK (huge improvement in sharpness!)

    Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5, at Amazon $370

  11. Sorry about the lack of wrapping. Let's try again.

    Longer than 55: check

    Limited budget: check (I think)

    Macro: check (well, near macro, 1:2.3, but hey it's an all around lens!)

    Improved quality over kit lens: CHECK (huge improvement in sharpness!)
  12. Thanks everyone,
    My budget is approx. $300-$400. I guess I will stay away from long telephoto right now, and stick with landscape & macro. I am getting the dedicated macro lens and wanted another all around lens to keep on the camera and replace the 18-55 kit lens.
    Thanks again.
  13. Your needs cover a lot of ground: macro, landscape, and wildlife. Covering all of these will require a few lenses, so a first step might be to think through what your eventual ideal lens kit might look like. A second step might be to then prioritize from among these lenses.
    One strategic question is whether to start by replacing your kit lens, or to instead keep it and begin by getting the lenses that do things that aren't covered by the 18-55 kit lens. There are arguments for both approaches, but if your images aren't suffering in a way that you can directly attribute to the features/capabilities of the kit lens, you might keep it and then decide whether your next purchase would best be one that addresses the macro, landscape (perhaps 10-22?), or wildlife needs.
  14. I think the Canon 17-85 would satisfy your requirements and it does have IS.
  15. This lens sounds like what I am seeking, 28-105, but when you say "macro capability" what does that mean exactly? This is in my price range and I am wondering if I could get away with using this for macro and holding off on the more expensive "true macro" - thoughts?
  16. If macro is your passion and you want more distance than 55mm, you might want to consider a true macro lens in the 100mm range, and keep your 18-55 for landscapes. If I were you, I would not choose anything other than a true macro lens that can do 1:1 macro. "Near macro" will not be enough for you.
    The Canon 100mm macro would be a great choice (as others have suggested). But it's slightly outside the range of your budget. The Tamron 90mm that was mentioned is also nice, but it too is slightly over your budget. Perhaps you should look at the Sigma 105mm EX macro. I have the Sigma 50mm EX macro, which is a lens of very similar quality to the 105mm, and I'm very pleased with it.
  17. The 28-105mm does approximately 1:5 (meaning that the ratio of image size to subject size is one to five; true macro would be 1:1). If you'd prefer to buy a general-purpose lens such as the 28-105, you can always get closer focusing by using an extension tube or diopters. An extension tube is just a metal tube that sits between the camera and the lens. Moving the camera away from the lens in this way lets you focus more closely (but you lose the ability to focus at infinity). A diopter is an additional lens that sits on the end of your lens like a filter. The advantage of an extension tube is that it contains no glass, so does not affect image quality (but you lose some light). The advantage of a diopter is that you lose no light (but you are adding a lens, which slightly affects image quality). Neither of these approaches will be quite as good as a true macro lens, but they do allow you to do close-up work with a lens that is not a dedicated macro lens, and would be cheaper than buying an additional lens.
  18. Here's another vote for the 17 - 85 IS. I've seen them avalable in the $400.00 range and depending on your personal definition of macro they do a nice job. It gets a semi bad rap here for some reason but in reality is a good lens from many standpoints, including IQ, range on both ends, weight, focus speed, etc. Yes, it does have some distortion at the 17 end but as was mentioned above, that can be dealt with in software. When I bought my 40D, I had the option of the 18 - 55, the 17 - 85 and the 28 - 105 as part of the kit. The shop let me walk around outside and inside with demos of each so I got to play a little and I chose the 17 - 85. I still like it, and I'm fussy. L glass it isn't, but it is almost all I use. You could possibly sell your 18 - 55 if you wanted to help finance the 17 - 85 should you desire to do so. Is it possible for you to rent or borrow one to try? I'm a bit wary of 'Net buzz, thought there are mounds of great information on this board. However, the most reliable is to get it on your camera and try it out.
  19. The EF 100mm 2.8 macro is a seriously sweet lens and my next purchase but a bit long on your camera so maybe the EFS 60mm 2.8 wich is very good too. Great for portraits too on a crop sensor.
  20. Get the EF-S 17-85.
  21. 28-135mm, for macro 100mm f2.8.
  22. I for one had not so good experiences with the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. The optical quality was only so-so (not that a big deal for me), but distortion was really noticeable. The worst of all was that the lens is pretty heavy and big, and balances poorly focused close or with the zoom extended (very front-heavy). When I used it on my camera with an external Speedlite, I got wrist pains after a couple of hours shooting and hand-holding it, which obviously is the dealbreaker for me. Furthermore, the lens is frustratingly slow and you need good light for satisfactory results. So while the specs looked pretty good, this lens didn't work for me in real life, and I went back to my primes.
    IS is pure magic, though.
  23. I had the 17-85 and it was a good lens. Shot pictures all over italy with it. That said, I have used the kit lens you are referencing and it is not bad at all. Optical quality is actually surprisingly good all things considered. For $450 you could get the 100mm 2.8 macro which is a truly wonderful lens and still have better coverage than a similarly priced 17-85 would give you when you add in the kit. The kit is not made well in that it has low build quality, but it is still a decent lens and it still takes pretty good pictures.
  24. Jenn: Macro capability on the 28-105 means that the lens will focus to about 16 inches. This is pretty close unless you take a lot of pictures of grains of sand. A true macro lens will focus closer (the Canon macro will focus to 12 inches but then you only have a single focal length versus a zoom. Enjoy.
  25. This will blow the budget but, for a (very) good general purpose zoom with near macro, the 24-70 will get you to .29x, at the 70mm. One downside: this lens is more suited to full frame, on crop bodies the wide end is mostly lost. For reference, the 24-105 will get you .23x at 105mm.

    This link to The-Digital-Picture review of the 24-105 has a table near the end showing macro capabilties of various Canon Lens:


    Still, I think a dedicated macro like the 100mm Canon would serve better. Here a link to The-Digital-Pictures review of that lens, with lot of comparison to other Canon macros:

  26. 28-105 3.5-4.5 is a good bang for the buck, and is plenty sharp.

  27. Janusz Nailed it. The Sigma 17-70 meet's all your requirements. It retains the wide end, gives you more reach is very sharp and pretty fast. IS is more important at longer focal lenghts, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    I have this lens. It was one of my first lenses after switchin to Canon. I have many more now, but will never get rid of the Sigma as it is so handy. Enjoy it.
  28. If macro is really your passion then get an true macro lens. These are characterised by have "floating systems" that imporve optical performance at close focussing. "Macro" zooms don't have this, so while some can focus fairly closely they won't have great optical performance when doing macro work. The sigma 105 and the Tamron 90 are regarded as good macro lenses but the Canon has it all over them handling wise. It has the good optical performance too, but also has USM and a focus limiter making it a pleasure to work with. Build quality is first rate.

    The Sigma 17-70 has a good reputation as an all round lens and may be something to get by for the time being if you are on a budget. However, I don't think it has a floating focus system so I doubt it would have a truly professional level of macro performance.

    ISis of little use in macro work, but is useful for other hand held shooting. I find it adds sharpness to shots from about 3 stops faster to about 2-3 stops under based on the 1/focal length rule for non-IS lenses.
  29. I bought the 28-75 Tamron, after I did all the research. The macro ability is worthless and you will not be happy with it. You may take pictures up close with it, that's all. Wanting to upgrade your 18-55mm, you will find that 28mm is often too long on your XTi. My 2 cents: get something wider. I feel longer is less important. With 10 MP you can crop a lot of photo's. As all of us eventually do, you just keep buying lenses for their right purpose.


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