Good quality zoom lens for Rebel XTi, advice pls

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Coheebuzz, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #1
    Hello, i got a new Canon Rebel XTi or 400D as a christmas present from my gf. It hasn't arrived yet, i hope to get it in a couple of days. The camera will come with the standard kit lens, the 18-55mm which has a value of like $30.

    Until my camera arrives am looking for a better quality zoom lens with a better range for my everyday shooting.

    I visited a local Canon dealer with not much variety and looked at a really nice 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, but then i heard the price tag and turned blue.

    I didn't find this lens in Canon's website, but there are 3 other models in a similar focal range and was wondering if there are any owners here that can give me a quick review. Also if you know of any other brands which have a good quality lens in a similar range please let me know.

    The lenses am talking about are:
    EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM
    EF 28-105mm f/4-5.6
    EF 28-105mm f/4-5.6 USM

    For now i have a budget of about $500 give or take although i may pay a bit more if it's worth it.

    I will later invest in a 10-20 wide-angle and probably a 70-300 tele to complete the range, at least for my needs. So it would be great if you have any lens suggestions for these ranges too, any brand.

    Also if you own this camera tell me your opinion about it, it's strong and weak points or any comment that could help me get to know with the camera.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3
    If I had the money, I would have gone with Sigma's 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro:

    http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/sigma_1770_2845/index.htm

    I guess if you have the 18-55, you do have the flexibility to get a good lens in whatever range you think you'll use a lot and use the 18-55 for wide angle, but 28-xx seems like a strange range on a 1.6x crop camera. All depends on what you want to use the camera for, of course.

    I have the XTi, and I have to say that I've gotten a lot of joy out of Canon's 50mm f/1.8 Mk II. It's plasticy and jumpy and kind of feels like a piece of crap, but it's f/1.8 and takes great pictures. I love taking indoor candids without a flash, so I use this lens a lot. It's also been nice for things like flowers since I don't have a macro lens. $80.

    My other lens is Tokina's 19-35 f/3.5-4.5. If you have a $500+ budget, you can get a better lens than this, but for $150 I've been extremely happy.

    As for the camera, it's been great. I do think that I might eventually buy a battery/vertical grip thingy for the bottom of the camera to improve the feel for the camera.
     
  4. coldrain macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    #4
    Lenses to consider for under $500.

    The 18-55 kitlens is not horrible, but it does lack a bit in contrast. With some post processing you can get decent results though.
    If you want to improve in the same focal range there are a few options. I will leave prices for you to find since I do not know the exact prices by heart.

    The Tamron 19-35mm f3.5-4.5, very cheap, a bit better, though a smaller focal range.

    The Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4, sharp, still quite a limitted focal range.

    The Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5. Longer range, 1:2.3 macro mode, and better contrast as the kitlens.

    The Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 macro. New and improved version, f2.8 constant focal range in a very sturdy package.

    Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. Along the same lines as the Sigma above.

    If you want a bigger focal range you can consider the Sigma 18-125mm. It performs a bit better in contrast than the kitlens.

    Now I see that you are planning to aqcuire a wide angle zoom in future. This may mean that you do not have to get a lens with "standard range", because you will have wideangle covered in future. So you can consider lenses that lack wide on an APS-C body like your 400D.

    The Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5. Good contrast and colour, very cheap (under 220$ I think) and silent, accurate AF. A steal in Canon's lineup. Do not consider the quite horrible f4.5-5.6 versions.

    The Sigma 24-70 f2.8. Offers f2.8 over the full range, sturdy built and good image quality.

    The Tamron 28-75 f2.8. If you get a good copy, it is very sharp. Not a lens im impressed with colour wise myself, but I have never used one and it has a lot of fans.

    About wide angle lenses, there are 3 lenses to consider.

    The Canon EF-S 10-22 USM is a good lens, but do not forget to order its sunhood too.

    The Tokina 12-24 f4 is very sharp, has great contrast and colour, but quite some CA at 12mm. Quite a bit cheaper than the Canon.

    The Sigma 10-20mm vignets much more than the Tokina, and more than the Canon, also when you stop it down. Also cheaper than the Canon.

    About telelenses of the 70-300 kind, there really is only one that stands out (and in a big way):

    The Canon EF 70-300 IS USM. It is without equal from any lens of any manufacturer, in thie class, including the new Nikon 70-300 VR. It is one of Canon's sharpest lenses (and that includes fixed focal point lenses), has very good colour and contrast throughout the range (even in full frame it is very sharp into the corners).
    It is an (the) other hidden gem in Canon's lineup. The only thing that makes it less in use that the expensive Canon L tele lenses is its moving front element. So using a polarized light filter on it can be a big challenge.

    If you want a cheaper alternative, your best option is the Sigma 70-300 APO DG. This is the best of the rest.

    Single focal point lenses to consider are the:

    Canon EF 50mm f1.8. Very cheap, quite sharp and such. Nice lens for when there is not all that much light available and for portraits.

    Canon EF 50mm f1.4. Not that cheap (around $350 ?) but better in every area.

    Canon EF 35mm f2.0. Nice lens as "standard lens", wider than the 50mm one which makes it nice indoors.

    Canon EF 85mm f1.8. Great lens, for portrait phtography.
     
  5. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #5
    have you considered the Canon 70-200 f4 L? I saw it at Amazon for $580 (if my memory serves me well). Excellent contrast, constant aperture, and it's an L ;)
     
  6. Coheebuzz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #6
    Many thanks to all of you for the replies, especially coldrain for the elaborate post! My shopping will be much easier now that i have some canditates.

    Basically the lens collection i want to built based on my needs is as follows,

    10-20mm
    18-55mm
    28-105mm
    50mm
    70-300mm

    For now, I am considering the Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 which has really good reviews for the price and i'll have cash left for a 50mm prime and some extra memory too. ;)
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    #7
    The 50 f1.4 is great. Probably my favourite lens at the moment. The DOF is fantastic, the colours amazing and the ability to take pictures in very low light without flash makes it worth having a DSLR. Is it really 3 times better than the 1.8? I'm not sure as I've never had a 1.8!

    Regarding the 70-200 f4/L. It's good too. It's an L lens so the build quality and optics are amazing. I've got one and it's been useful, but I have to say I'm considering a 2.8 now. Indoors shooting fast moving stuff f/4 is just not fast enough!
     
  8. buffalomike macrumors newbie

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    buffalo
    #8
  9. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    #9
    Yes, but the f2.8 is about twice the price (3x if you want the IS version).:p
     
  10. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #10
    I know! I keep watching eBay for underpriced older copies to snap one up :D
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    Based on your needs? Looks like you're trying to cover every focal length under the sun!! ;) Do you know what you're really going to shoot yet? What's a priority? Having all of those lenses are nice, but realistically, you're not going to carry all those lenses with you whenever you go out to shoot. I know most people might say "So what if you won't?", but I'd rather own 2-3 good lenses that I know will do the job 99% of the time rather than own 5 lenses to do the same job. For example, you have 5 lenses on your list, and only the 50 mm f/1.8 is good at shooting under low light.

    What you're underestimating is the usefulness of lenses with constant f/2.8 apertures. Is a 50 mm f/1.8 lens wide enough to shoot family and friends indoors when the light isn't so great? Answer = no, unless you use flash. Wouldn't owning a Sigma or Tamron ~ 18-50 mm f/2.8 be fantastic in that situation? Or how about a 28 or 35 mm f/2.8 or f/2 lens rather than buying the 50 mm? When the time comes to shoot people indoors, you'll wish you owned one one of these. Or maybe consider the Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 and Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8. Maybe wait for the Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 to be released. The Tamron is very very sharp if you get a good one, but it feels like cheap plastic poo. The Sigma feels like it's actually worth money, and I feel more comfortable holding it. It's also 4 mm wider, and I tend to shoot wide more often than long. 4 mm on the wide end is more significant than the extra 5 mm that I get on the "long" end of the Tamron. In fact, you'll barely notice the difference between 70 and 75 mm.

    Shooting at f/2.8 using my Sigma 24-70 mm still gives me sharp photos. The bokeh is surprisingly good with this lens, so the lens shoots good portraits. If I need a lens wider than 24 mm, I just use my Tokina 12-24 mm. With these two lenses, I'm covered in the wide to medium range focal lengths, which is where I do essentially all my shooting. :)

    And if you're considering a wide-angle zoom lens, also consider the Sigma 12-24 mm. Yes, Sigma makes the 10-20 mm wideangle, but the 12-24 mm version will work on full-frame cameras if you ever decide to get a FF Canon (like the 5D and 1Ds models). It's not a bad lens and will give you good results, although the Sigma 10-20 mm is supposed to be much better. At least consider getting it.

    ADVICE: Stick with the kit lens until you know whether you need wider aperture lenses, or ultra-wide lenses, or a lens that can reach 300 mm.
     
  12. Coheebuzz thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #12

    Thanks for this Abstract your post was really helpful. I should have said sooner what i do and what i want the camera for. I am a graphic designer and the camera will be used professionally and personally. Personally i shoot just about everything, but for my job it will be used for shooting product pack shots, machinery, foods or anything else the job requires.

    I also go out often and shoot abstract photos for textures, backgrounds, 3d materials etc. So 90% of what i shoot on my job will be used for offset printing, thats the reason i went with the 400D since the higher MP will come useful.

    Anyway, this is how i thought the lenses would be used for in the future,

    10-20 - wide angle shots of landscapes and buildings, i love wide-angle, moslty personal use
    18-55 - i like the range on this one but i've read some horror stories so i'll have to test it first.
    28-105 - everyday lens when i dont have anything particular to shoot, mostly personal use again
    50 mm - pack shots, food images, portraits
    70-300 - same as the above

    I will not go out and buy all lenses at once, the list above was sort of like a goal. I'll wait until the first lens pays itself and then start buying more stuff since this is not my primary job.

    I really need the 50mm and 70-300 or any other good macro able to get really close to objects. These two will be used mostly for my job. So with the $500 i thought of getting a 28-105 and a 50mm for now and get the rest at a later stage.

    Again, thanks guys for all the helpful posts. :)
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    Well if you're going to be shooting food, package shots, and portraits, I don't think you're going to be using the 70-300 mm often at all. And maybe I misread your post, but the 70-300 mm (no matter which brand you get) is not a "real" macro lens. If you plan on shooting lots of candid shots of random people, then the 70-300 mm may come in handy. I don't feel comfortable doing that often, but maybe you do. ;)

    If you're after a sharp lens for a decent price, the Tamron 28-75 mm has a fantastic rep. It's very sharp, and can take "quasi-macro" shots with a reproduction ratio of around 1:3.7 or something. My Sigma 24-70 mm can do the same. It's sharp, but the Tamron is sharper if you get a good copy. My friend owns the 28-75 mm. Like I said, the reason I didn't get it is because it feels cheap and not sturdy like the Sigma. That, and the Sigma goes a bit wider.

    I think it's the perfect general purpose lens. The reason for getting a 28-105 mm or similar lens is because you want something even MORE general purpose....something with a wider range so that you don't need to switch lenses. They're great to have for this reason, but these types of lenses don't have large apertures, so if you want the ability of shooting subjects with the background blurred, along with low light use, you're not going to get this from these sorts of lenses. That's the tradeoff, and the reason I went for a lens with a shorter focal range. I want my general lens to be more capable of shooting under lower light. A 50 mm f/1.8 can shoot under low light, but there's no zoom!! I haven't used the Sigma/Tamron/Tokina 18-50mm equivalents yet, but I trust Sigma and Tamron's higher end lenses unless I read about a huge user backlash against a particular Sigma/Tamron lens.

    If you're happy with the "sorta-macro" ability of either lens, then it'll serve many purposes. The 18-50 mm equivalents also have similar macro capability. The 50 mm f1.8 is a good lens to shoot products with, I think. Anyway, it's good to own it just to be able to shoot in even lower light. It's hard to use indoors if you're shooting people, but it's cheap, fast, and great bang for the buck. The Canon 28 mm f/1.8 is more expensive, but more useful if you thought that using the 50 mm f/1.8 to shoot photos was going to be easy. ;)
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    Use the 18-55 for a while. Shot a thousand images of vaired subjects and keep notes. Then buy the lens that would get you the most number of "missed" shots. No use going for a 300mm lens if you notes say you would have only used it twice but on the other hand if 55mm frequently was not long enough AND there was always some physical barrier that prevented you from getting closer then look at a longer lens.

    Likely after you've had the experience of shooting the first 1,000 images you will find you care more about getting a faster lens. Something that does f/2.8 or even f/1.4

    In any case all those lenses you listed start at 28mm. You will almost certainly want a lens that goes to 18mm.
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    If it were just the low light then you could always use a strobe. But at f/2.8 you can use the shorter DOF to isolate the subject. Indoor shots always have background clutter and the f/2.8 lens can reduce that clutter. If you can't afford a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom consider an 85mm or 135mm prime.

    I shoot Nikon and like my 85mm f/1.8 and if I needed more reach I might think about a 135mm f/2.0 both are faster then an f/2.8 zoom
     
  16. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    #16
    It's almost twice the weight, too.
     
  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #17
    I'm afraid that I'm shooting from the stands so no chance for strobes. Whilst I'm on eBay waiting for the bargain zoom I'm watching out for bargain primes as well :D
     
  18. drumnkyle macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    #18
    SIGMA 28-300 mm less than $280

    I have purchased this lens for my Digital Rebel XT 8.0 MP! It has a fantastic zoom while also having a decent wide angle so that for most cases you can just use the one lens!!!

    Awesome lens and for a good price. I would recommend it for all!
     
  19. Coheebuzz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #19
    Good points!

    Now i am more confused than ever. :D

    Not really, but i now know that picking up the right lens is a form of art by itself. Respect to all photographers!

    Anyway, i'll take everything into consideration and i hope i make a wise buy.

    Cheers
     
  20. timnosenzo macrumors 6502a

    timnosenzo

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    ct, us
    #20
    You won't regret it, the f/2.8 version is definitely very very nice. You may want to consider holding on to your f/4 though, cause the f/2.8 versions are big! :)
     
  21. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #21
    That's probably good advice. People already think the weight of the bag I snowboard with is crazy!
     
  22. Joony macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    #22
    Go for the 70-200 f/4L!

    L quality at your price range!

    I finally got to see one in person and I can say that it's a mini-me version of the 2.8!
     

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