I'm getting a Canon Digital Rebel but I'm a n00b. What lens?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Flying Llama, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. Flying Llama macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #1
    I'm getting a body-only black Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D). I really don't know much about photography but I can't learn from these tutorials without something to experiment with. I have a basic understanding of this lens "lingo" (focal lenght etc) but I would feel better if I had someone else's advice.

    I want (for now) an afforabdle zoom lens that's pretty compact. My budget for this lens stops at $250, so I don't have much choice. What lens would give me the best bang for that buck? Would I be better of getting the kit lens?

    Thanks in advance,

    llama
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #2
    Well, the kit lens is inexpensively available after the fact. I'd probably sell you mine, if you want it.

    It's not a *bad* lens per se, but it definitely does not produce images with the sharpness of some other lenses available. Granted that its not fair to compare my f50/1.4 prime and my kit lens... but it seems like often, I can tell just from a 100% crop which lens I used, based on the optical quality....

    As for other zoom lenses in that price range... well... That will be tough. You might look for something used. Also, it's my impression that there are some Sigma lenses and maybe other third party ones that offer better price/performance in that price range. One good place to get lens reviews is fredmiranda.com

    Anyway, good luck! :)
     
  3. iSaint macrumors 603

    iSaint

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    #3
    You can get a Sigma 70-210 for under $150. It's a good multi-use lens.
     
  4. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #4
    I got a Sigma 70-300 "macro" (max is 1:2) for about $200 a few years ago, just in case you want something a smidge longer than 210mm. You might want to look at little wider though, a 28-80 should be good, as the Digital Rebel crops about 1.6x (multiply the focal length by 1.6, and that's the 35mm equivalent)
     
  5. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #5
    You might want to ask this question in the new digital photography forum (scroll down through the forums list), as there are other discussions there about the Digital Rebel and lenses. You could also run a search as I know there have been several camera threads recently in which the Rebel and other cameras were mentioned. Also have a look at http://www.dpreview.com, which is a website that reviews lenses and cameras. There are also camera-specific forums on there.

    As for the kit lens which comes with the Digital Rebel I have not heard good things, so you might want to look elsewhere, perhaps, as suggested, at lenses produced by other manufacturers which would have a Canon mount and could be of decent quality. I'm a Nikon owner so can't really help much beyond this....

    OTB
     
  6. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #6
    I'm going to be purchasing the Rebel very soon (next few hours) so that I might get whatever blackfriday savings I can, and then get the lens later when I'm sure. I'll also take a look at the sigmas and dpreview. Thanks for all of your help! :)

    EDIT: I didn't buy it yet, so since blackfriday is over I'm not in such a rush anymore.
     
  7. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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  8. MacAficionado macrumors 6502

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    #8
    The best advise I can give you, is not getting a zoom lens, but rather, the widest angle lens you can get.

    There is so much more you can do with a wide lens than with a zoom lens. Unless of course you want to take pictures of animals from far away.

    A good wide lens that is not fisheye. Like 17mm without the fisheye effect is BEAUTIFUL.

    m2c
     
  9. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #9
    I thought of that, but wouldn't it be limiting? I'm worried they'll be some spontaneous occasion where zoom would really be practical... maybe the 8mp could emulate zoom through cropping afterwards in Photoshop? Thanks.

    EDIT: The wide-angle lenses are way above my budget so that'll have to be for another time.
     
  10. cwright macrumors 6502a

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    #10
  11. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #11
    Very nice lens, but yes, it's over my budget. :eek:

    I'm sort of changing what I want. I really am excited about the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, only $70. It seems to take extremely sharp pictures. Of course, I'm worried about the angle, will it be too much of a "zoom"? Help, I'm going to be making a decision soon!

    EDIT: Okay, I've pretty much decided on the $70 Canon 50mm f/1.8. Does anyone recommend otherwise? Anywhere I could get it for cheaper?
     
  12. Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

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    #12
    This may or may not help!

    A few months back I bought the Nikon D70 with the 18-70mm kit lens. Not regretted it one bit. A lens of this range on a 1.5/1.6x crop camera body is (IMO) a perfect way to get into photography.

    Thus, the Canon kit lens (18-55) will probably do you fine. No, it is not the best optical performer, and it is _relatively_ poorly made - but then it is only about $130 worth of lens - and a zoom lens at that - so you cannot expect a lot from it.

    From my understanding, the 50mm 1.8 will perform WAY beyond the capability of most zoom lenses. The important thing to look at (aside from sharpness) is that magic f/1.8 number - this wide aperture will give you the ability to focus quickly in very low light, and to get nonblurry pics without a flash - if that is your thing.

    But then: It doesn't zoom, and 50x1.6=80mm is getting into the short portrait/telephoto range - you may find it limits your compositions.

    Others were mentioning 70-210 or 70-300. Don't go there until you have something covering the "normal" focal ranges: Basically lenses in the 18-50mm range on 1.6xdigi crop.

    200-300mm + on a 1.6x crop is serious telephoto territory.

    From your list, if you can afford it, I would choose the 24-85mm.

    If not, I'd be tempted to increase your budget further and get a Sigma 18-200 (image quality will not be the best given such a wide zoom range, but it will be VERY versatile). Everything is a compromise in lenses.

    OR: just buy it with the 18-55kit lens. It's one of the cheaper options, and with this lens you will learn which aspects of photography you enjoy (and learn how to use the camera!) and then you can deliberate and purchase your next lens according to what you want/need (maybe it'll be a telephoto- maybe a fisheye - maybe a macro). That's the beauty of SLR - so many lenses to choose from - you can tailor your photog kit to exactly how you like to take pictures :)

    Good luck!

     
  13. PBGPowerbook macrumors regular

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #13
    get whatever you want, then save up 60 bucks for when KEH.com has a good condition EF 50/1.8. Also, photo.net, you should know that place
     
  14. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #14
    Thank you Spectrum, it certainly did help!

    Since it's cheaper to get the body only with the 50mm lens than it is to get the kit, I'll get the 50mm as a testing and first-time-user lens, hoping it won't act too much like a telephoto. Like you said, I'll be able to choose from a whole flurry of lenses later on.

    So I'll get the black Rebel (body only), a 50mm f/1.8 lens, and maybe a flash.

    If it isn't too off-topic, would the Speedlite 420 be a worth-it flash? I hear it's weaker than the built-in flash. Then there's the 430, but that's about $250. Should I just stay with the pop-up flash? Yes, I will be encountering many less than perfect lighting situations, maybe not pitch blck, but dim enough. (Dinner parties etc). Also, would anyone recommend I get a polarizer filter? If so which brand?

    PBGPowerbook, photo.net seems cool, but what exactly is KEH.com?

    I cannot thank you all enough. Man I love this forum! :)
     
  15. Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

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    #15
    Re:flash. I'm not much help I'm afraid - I just use the popup on my D70 - it can give reasonable results, but people tend to look "flashed". External flashes where you can tilt the flash head up are worth it - to get a bounced, more natural look.

    However - you should be able to use that 50mm 1.8 without a flash for dinner party shots, especially if you increase the ISO to 1000+.

    I love doing available light shots - much more natural (IMO) than with flash - but for best results, you need a steady hand/fast lens/and high ISO - but if you get the WB right - they look great - lots of warmth.

    One final thing: for dinner parties, the diminutive RebelXT + 50mm is a good combo - it will be very unassuming. People tend to get all uptight when you push a huge lens and an enormous flashgun in their face :)


     
  16. kbonnel macrumors 6502

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    #16
    My advice is to get the kit lens, which has a decent range. Or, find another lens from sigma/tamron that cost around the same price. Then take a lot of photos, and I mean a lot. This will let you learn the camera, and help you learn what kind of photos you like/want to take. (if you have a spare $70 get the 50/1.8 too, as you can then learn how to take photos when using a prime, i.e., you have to find the right spot sometimes to take that perfect photo). After you have taken many thousands of pics with the kit lens, you should have an undertanding of its limitations (or your limitations when it comes to the functionality of the camera). At that time you should be able to determine what to do next (buy more expensive lenses). There is no rush to get as many lenses as possible, they will be there tomorrow :)

    Kimo
     
  17. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #17
    Thanks Spectrum, I'm gonna save $250 and not get a flash. :)

    kbonnel: Thanks, and it's a good consideration. But I have just heard so many times that the kit lens is unsharp, I don't want to have a bad impression.

    Oh, and what about a polarizer filter?

    Thanks again!
     
  18. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #18
    You should probably splurge a bit when you get the flash. I got the 420EX a while back, and it will probably last me for quite some time, and if not as the main, but as a slave (*cracks a whip*). The 430EX looks to be much better too.
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #19
    Polarizers are cheap, and you should definitely get one, especially if you're doing people or man-made things outside, because you will get glare. I actually need some new ones. Ahem, so I don't mean to be a hypocrite. But they're good stuff. :)

    Also, just in case the question is what they're good for (I think you know already), polarizers can reduce / eliminate polarized light. Normal light from standard light sources, including natural lighting, is not polarized. But glare (the light that looks "white" that shines off of things) is polarized. So if you use a polarizer, you can eliminate things like glare off of eyeglasses or sunglasses, or off of metal or painted surfaces. The surface of water also casts a glare. On hot days when people have sweaty skin, the water on the skin will also glare. :)
     
  20. Lucky8 macrumors regular

    Lucky8

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    #20
    50mm f/1.4 built quality is a lot better than 50 f/1.8 plus USM
     
  21. RupertJ macrumors newbie

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    #21
    I've got a 300D with the kit lens, which is nearly identical to the kit lens that comes with the 350D. Anyone saying that it's 'unsharp' must be comparing it to some considerably much more expensive glass. It's certainly better than some of the cheaper sigmas that I've seen results from.

    Go for the kit.
     
  22. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #22
    Okay, so I will also get a polarizer, seems like I'll need it. (I know how much it can remove glare, I have polarized sun glasses and love them!). So, any specific brands? Any other filters I should get?

    And as far as the kit vs the 50mm, since the latter is cheaper I will get that. The f/1.8 meets my needs better than the kit too. Thanks for all of your help, this has made my first dSLR buying experience very smooth! :D

    It's also $350. ;)
     
  23. ibilly macrumors regular

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    #23
    it's about 4X more expensive.
    the only relly bad thing about the 1.8 is its focusing motor. It's fantastically sharp and fast (1.8!)

    the sigma 18-125 seems like an excellent value at $250-300

    the sigma 18-50 is a better, but more expensive lens than the canon 18-55

    the 50mm 1.8 is great, but at 80mm equiv, is pretty long for a lot of things
    i love mine, and the 1.8 has saved me several times. The spped, sharpness, etc is a fantastic bargain at $50-70, and shooting with a prime like this one has two effects:
    1)improving your photography, because you think more about where you are relative to your subject, and the focus, where ppl with an enormous zoom are prone to staying in the same place, playing endlessly with the zoom, ignoring other aspects
    2)making you jealous of all those pretty L lenses with their aperatures, and the solid build.
    -worth the risks, if you ask me... I reccomend the 50 1.8

    I got a 55-200mm for $100 new on ebay when they came out. It's not great, but more than I was expecting for $100

    try to get a feel for the kind of pics you take... a zoom is great, but a prime is small, light, and fast. telephoto is a whole diff realm that is as limiting as it is enabling
    then, get some combo of:
    18-50 or 18-125 sigma
    50mm 1.8 canon
    possibly a cheap tele-zoom like the 55-200 canon

    p.s. i'd buy the lenses before the filters. a UV protecting filter is good as far as dust, scratches, etc are concerned, and is much cheaper than a polarizer

    Edit: it may be too late, but i feel that you may be limiting yourself severely by getting only the 50mm!
     
  24. Flying Llama thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Flying Llama

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    #24
    Thanks ibilly.
    So I'll get the 50mm for now and then I'll get another, wider angle lens for Christmas.
    My budget would be $250-$300.
    It doesn't have to be zoom.
    The Sigma 18-50mm is too expensive.
    I would prefer Canon but I guess maybe Sigma.
    Something 25mm or under as a minimum.

    How about the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 - $285?
     
  25. jnicolso1 macrumors member

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    Adelaide
    #25
    I picked up this lense as a part of my kit its not bad although it has a cheap plastic mount rather than the metal used in the 17-85 IS USM, which is a great lense as well. You will find that lenses keep wanting to be added to the kit, also get a seperate flash as the little flash is not that great.
     

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