Which lens to buy for Canon Xsi? 1 or 2 lenses...

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by lucie_levasseur, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Ok. I’ve changed my mind again. I sending out a new post because I’m not sure how to get a response back from
    my other post. So I decided to hold off on getting the Canon Xsi kit with the 18-55mm lens and the 55-200mm
    (neither IS lenses). The kit was inexpensive ($599) though, but I did not get very good reviews for the kit. I guess I
    should go for the body only. Now… this is where I need help… Here’s what I’m trying to do; I’m new to SLR
    cameras, I have a Kodak Z710 (point and shoot) and basically take pictures of my one year old son. I probably don’t
    need multiple lenses but want to practice to become a better photographer.

    What lens or lenses should I still get?
    The standard 18-55mm IS or not? I think I might end up getting the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (for $400) since so many
    have suggested it but I did not really want to spend so much to start. What is the big difference with the Tamron AF
    28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) (for $350)?

    The following lenses are what I found on Amazon, mostly inexpensive so not sure I would be wasting my money.
    What should I get (if any)? The first two I like because of the price, but maybe it’s best to go with one more
    expensive lens and practice… Tamron AF 55-200mm F/4.0-5.6 Di-II LD Macro Lens for Canon for $181, Canon EF
    50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens – Canon for $85, Or should I go for the more expensive Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6
    IS Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon for $272?

    I assume the next 2 lenses are just TOO cheap and should not consider at all but I guess I need reassurance to
    keep my money on these: Tamron AF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical Lens for Canon for $46 (is this too cheap?),
    Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4.0 High Speed Zoom Lens for Canon SLR for $80.

    Ok, here’s my conclusion. If you suggest I get the two more expensive lenses (Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and EF-S 55-
    250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS) but I have a $400 budget, which should I get?

    THANKS so much. (I hope I’m not asking for too much info, I’ve just bought a book to start my learning process but
    I’m impatient!)
  2. Actually, the new IS version of the kit lens gets quite decent reviews. Especially in the case of someone who is not certain
    yet what lenses to get, starting with this kit lens is an excellent choice. By shooting with that lens - perhaps a few thousand
    frames - you'll start to figure out with some degree of certainty what features you really need in a lens or in additional
    lenses. THAT will be the time to invest in additional lenses.

  3. I also vote for the 18-55mm IS kit lens. As long as you understand it's limitations (mostly avoiding wide apertures) it can produce very (very!) nice shots. You can do a lot worse than starting out with the new 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. To be honest, if I saw a 55-250 IS on really good sale, I'd consider buying one to have an ultra-light longish lens for those times I want (or need) to travel light.
  4. You are certainly right to run away from the non-IS 18~55 kit lens and the (non-IS) 55~200, both of which, to judge from tests,would be pretty disappointing on a 12Mpixel body. As Dan and Geoff have said, start with the new 18~55IS, which you can probably find in a Canon-packaged kit with the XSi body at a better price than buying separately (but NEVER buy retailer kits, they're usually a way of shifting obsolescent or unpopular lines, as with the two lenses you have looked at). Don't buy any more lenses immediately, but learn what things you want to be able to do but can't do with that lens.

    Remember there is quite a big learning curve in moving from a P&S to a DSLR. Don't be disappointed if it takes a while to learn how to produce good results. Shoot in RAW, and learn how to use the Digital Photo Professional software that comes with it.
  5. -- "The standard 18-55mm IS or not?"

    If you're on a budget, this lens is a very good choice.

    -- "I think I might end up getting the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (for $400) since so many have suggested it but I did
    not really want to spend so much to start."

    If the 400$ for the Tamron are too much, then get the 18-55 IS. There are not much lenses "in-between" the two
    that would give you a recognisable advantage over the 18-55 IS.

    -- "What is the big difference with the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) (for $350)?"

    Well, looking at the numbers, its obvious that focal-length is different. The 28-75 is a very good standard lens
    on a fullframe camera, but its a normal-to-tele on a crop-1.6. (That's why Tamron brought out the 17-50).
    The other difference is "Di" vs. "Di-II" ... the 17-50 is designed for crop-cameras only. The 28-75 can be used
    on fullframe as well. I own both lenses, and both are very good quality for the money you pay. But the 17-50 is
    just the better "standard" lens on a crop body. That said ... there are uses for the 28-75 on a crop-1.6 body as
    well. I like to use mine as a portrait-zoom occasionally. But since you're after a standard zoom, the better
    choice is the 17-50 (between the two Tamrons).
  6. -- "I assume the next 2 lenses are just TOO cheap"

    Yes, they are. Before you buy cheap glass, just get the 18-55 IS.

    --" If you suggest I get the two more expensive lenses (Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and EF-S 55- 250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS) but I have a $400 budget, which should I get? "

    Clearly the 17-50. The other lens is a pure tele-zoom. At least in the vast majority of the cases, the 17-50 is the more useful lens.
  7. The "Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and EF-S 55- 250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS" would indeed be a great /relatively affordable combo. If it's to expensive either go for just the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or the EF-S 18-55 IS and EF-S 55- 250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS combo.

    If you want to grow into it I'd say try to get the best deal on a Xsi and 18-55 IS combo and decide on other lenses later. If you need the longer range now try to get a deal on the Xsi/18-55/55-250 combo. If you want to have the best results that your current money can buy get the Xsi and Tamron combination.

    Kind regards, Matthijs.
  8. For a one year old, the 50 f/1.8 is a no brainer. Fast lens that will serve you well. Great for indoor/low light images. Recently got one myself for a similar use. Buy this no matter what else you get. As for zooms, the options are many. I would read up on the Canon 17-55 f/2.8. Perhaps consider the Canon 55-250 to go with. It has IS and is a value from what I can tell. But all this depends heavily on what your interest are. Not much help here. Sorry. But buy the 50 f/1.8 no matter what else you do.
  9. Ok, what is a crop body? It keeps being mentionned... How do I know if my Canon XSI is or not?
  10. Your camera is a crop body. Crob body is basically all rebels xti, xsi, as well as the 20/30/40/50D. It basically means take
    any lens and multiply it by 1.6. ( 50mm = 80mm ) Its caused by a smaller image circle then traditional 35mm film bodies so
    it crops your image.

    The 5D and 5D2 are full frame ( 50mm = 50mm )
  11. I didn't like the 18-55 IS lens which came with my XSi kit that I bought 4 months ago.

    So I returned the kit, bought the XSi body-only, and a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. Was the best decision I've made. The Tamron
    will let you shoot moving subjects in much lower light - especially indoors. And give you much more creative control in the process.
  12. Luci,

    Since the main purpose of your lens is taking pictures of your one year old you don't need a telephoto lens at this time and not maybe for several years at least. Buy the Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 zoom. It will give you great indoor shots with the 2.8 lens speed and it is very good in the close focus portrait range. As your son grows and becomes more mobile consider adding a 430EX flash. This is a very good lens that will allow you to grow and improve your photographic skills. When you feel that you need a telephoto you will have a much better idea what you need. Don't sit around with paralysis by analysis, just get the XSi and the 17-50mm 2.8 lens and start takiong pictures and learning instead of theorizing. The 18-55mm IS kit lens is very good but it takes much better photographic skills and technique to get good indoor pictures with it's slow aperture. If you decide on the less expensive lens get the flash and a Stofen diffuser along with it and learn to bounce flash. Good luck.
  13. I would also throw out there the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 lens. A great shooting range and a constant f/2.8 aperture. If I had to be confined to one lens, this one would probably be near the top of my list.
  14. Like Dan said above, whatever else you get also put the 50 f/1.8 in your shopping cart. My favorite photos of my kids are with that lens.
  15. "For a one year old, the 50 f/1.8 is a no brainer."

    For most beginners, no.

    The 50mm focal length is a short telephoto lens on the crop sensor cameras. Being fixed focal length prime, it is
    considerably less versatile for a new shooter, especially one who is trying to figure out what focal lengths might be
    useful in the future.

    Yes, the 50mm f/1.8 is cheap. Yes, it is optically quite good, especially for the very low cost. No, it is not a lens that
    most people need starting out.

  16. Check to make sure that the lenses are really not the new IS lenses. I don't remember any non IS 55-250mm, for
    example. Maybe I missed it, but the closest I could find at Canon's Museum site was the 50-200L lens- a lens
    unlikely to be offered as a "kit" lens. The 18-55mm non-IS lens is better than its reputation, but you should
    definitely not buy one unless you get virtually free. However, the reviews of the new, improved lens have been
    very good.

    Get the camera and the two, new IS lenses and you will be happy for a long time
  17. Sorry, in looking back I see that there IS a 55-200mm, and if that is what is offered look elsewhere. I was thinking 250mm. Clearly, the seller is trying to fool people into thinking they are getting the newer lenses.
  18. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    > Ok, here’s my conclusion. If you suggest I get the two more expensive lenses (Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and EF-S 55-
    250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS) but I have a $400 budget, which should I get? <


    I answered your follow up question in your former post, please see it.

    My bottom line is, having read all both posts: If you can afford it, get the Tamron 17 to 50F2.8.


    Firstly, comparing the Tamron to the EF-S 18 to 55F3.5 – F5.6 IS kit lens, the Tamron has a constant maximum
    aperture throughout the zoom range, which will be of great benefit for you when photographing your one year old,
    especially when they are two or three, and running around – you will benefit from the fast(er) shutter speed you can
    get with the Tamron. This fast shutter speed (available becasue the lens is F2.8) will be more useful than the IS of
    the newer kit lens, for this particular purpose.

    Secondly at Focal Lengths from 35 to 50mm the Tamron will make a better portrait lens as you grow in your
    knowledge of selective Depth of Field


    Choosing between the two lenses quoted:

    Comparing the Tamron to the EF-S 55 to 250, the Tamron is a much better choice as a general lens, for a range of
    photography, because it has a more suitable Focal Length compass (17 to 50). The Canon EF-S 55 to 250 IS is a
    very good value for money lens, but it is a telephoto zoom, and not a ``general lens`` for ``everyday photopraphy``

    If you are on a limited budget, I suggest NOT getting the EF50mmF1.8 and the Tamron lens, as I mentioned in the
    other post, there might be other items you wish to buy . . . before a second lens.

    Yes, the EF50F1.8 is a very good value for money lens: but it will still be a good value for money lens in 6 months
    time, if, with more experience, you decide you want it.

  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Addendum (which I implied but I did not state):

    If you cannot afford the Tamron 17 to 50, then I suggest as the second option, you get the EF-S 18 to 55 F3.5 to F5.6 IS, and as Robin Sibson suggested . . . hunt around for a good deal with it and the XSi.

  20. The XSi is my first digital SLR, after using Canon film equipment for decades. To start off I chose the kit lens 18-55 IS and the 55-250 IS. Once I got past how lightweight and cheap these lenses feel compared to my old FD Canon lenses, I was very pleasantly surprised at how well they work. The image stabilization far exceeds my expectations, and lets these "slow" lenses capture handheld images that I could never have gotten with my old film gear. I think Canon has produced very capable lenses for amateur photographers like me, who are dipping toes into the digital world.
  21. -
    Hi Lucie IS isn't all that. Save your money. I say get the 50m 1.8 because that will help you not just financially but in terms of photography understanding relationship to subject with a fix focal length is great. Plus the low light is a bonus. There is a reason they cal it the "Nifty Fifty". Really the 50m is all you need right now ... thats just me
  22. Oh here is the 50m 1.8
  23. Oh here is the 50m 1.8 shout
  24. Oh here is the 50m 1.8 pIcture
  25. thats funny
  26. -- "Oh here is the 50m 1.8"

    Josh certainly means the 50mm f/1.8. (50m whould be just too big a lens) ;-)

    The sample image already shows, how tricky it can become to compose an image with the shallow depth of field ... and the example was "only" taken with f/4.

    But as desirable the 50/1.8 is (if one is into portraits), I don't think it's imortant to have it to start with. The (now long discussed) 17-50/2.8 will serve much better as a general purpose lens than the 50/1.8 will.
  27. Hi Lucie

    I was in exactly your position about 4 years ago.

    I initially just brought the canon 18-55 and found it to be great for a beginner. It small, light, cheap and its quality is perfectly acceptable. Anyway, as a beginner the defining factor of the quality of my photos was by far and away my lack of skill, not the quality of my lens!

    However six months in I found that I wanted a lens that let in more light than the one I had. So I purchased the canon 50mm f/1.8 II. Although the 50mm doesn't zoom, it lets in about ten times as much light as the zoom lens and gives a fantastic background blur, which is great for portraits. This is the lens I used whenever it was getting dark or I was taking baby photos.

    But now my photography has moved on and I purchased the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. It is by far and away the best of the three; its strong, great optically, focuses well and lets in lots of light. But it's $400.

    If I was you I'd get the Canon 18-55 and maybe the 50mm f/1.8 if you want. And once you've learnt a bit about photography then you can start upgrading your system to how you want it.

    Good luck

  28. I purchased the Tamron 18-250 3.5-6.3 Di II lens and have been extremely satisfied with the quality and versatility of the lens. Almost no distortion or chromatic aberration and very sharp.
  29. Wow! I love this site/forum, you have all been so helpful, thank you everyone. I've decided to order the xsi with the 18-55mm IS kit, along with the 50mm f/1.8. Thanks WW, I decided on the 50mm f/1.8 right away because it was so inexpensive, and I will take my time if I and when I decide on another lens much later. I might check in again when it's time to buy the next lens, it most probably will be the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for $400 but I'll appreciate it then! Merci beaucoup! Lu
  30. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    > and I will take my time if I and when I decide on another lens much later.<

    ``Ideally the Photographer will choose basic equipment of adequate quality, with nothing that is inessential. It is certainly preferential to work from simple equipment up, as needs dictate, than to `overbuy` equipment at first. Starting with basic equipment allows the Photographer to develop a full understanding of the capabilities of each unit before advancing to other instruments.

    [ . . . ]

    The next time you pick up a Camera think of it not as an inflexible and automatic robot, but as a flexible instrument which you must understand to properly use. An electronic and optical miracle creates nothing on its own! Whatever beauty and excitement it can represent exist in your mind and spirit to begin with.``

    Ansel Adams
    January 1980
  31. I recommend Tamron 17-50/2.8. I really like mine. Great place to start. Don't worry about telephoto for now - pick up a telephoto lens once you get used to the gear.

    If you are going to get T17-50/2.8 I see no huge advantage in getting Canon 50/1.8 right away. Mine sees only occasional use. If you are interested in a prime, consider Canon 85/1.8. Awesome lens for portraiture and telephoto shooting. I really like mine. Paired with the T17-50/2.8 it's a very versatile setup.

    I also have Canon 55-250 IS. It's a nice little lens, very light, great for travel photography. The choice between 55-250/4-5.6 or 85/1.8 depends on your style and interests. Don't automatically assume 55-250 is the more versatile lens and the prime is a specialist tool. Yes you do get longer reach and stabilization. But the prime gives you low light capability, shallow depth of field, and bokeh. Both are similarly priced.

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