Noob Canon Lens Question

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by xfiftyfour, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #1
    So, I'm about to purchase my first DSLR. I know the basics of photography, and have taken a photography class, but I'm still quite a beginner, I'd say. I'm hoping to start taking photos every day to get better (I'll never be a professional photographer or anything, but I am studying graphics, so this skill can only help).

    Anyways, I was set on getting the Canon XTi, but I've read that the kit lens is pretty horrible. So, as a second option, I was thinking about getting the Canon XT body instead, and opting for a slightly better walk around lens.

    My question to you is: for a somewhat beginner, is the kit lens really all that bad? If so, are there any lenses you'd recommend instead (either Canon or third party), that is a good walk around lens, but is still only around ~$200-$250? Or, would you just opt for the better camera, and worry about the lens at another time?

    Oh, and while I'm getting advice anyways - what do you think about the differences between the XT and the XTi? Even if I go with the kit lens, would anyone think that the XTi might be overkill for a beginner, and would you think that the XT would be the better/smarter buy?

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  2. macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #2
    Personally, I don't think anyone should use a kit lens. Better optics is really the reason that you'd buy an SLR to begin with. The best lens for general use, in my opinion, is Canon's 28-135mm IS USM lens. However, this lens is more than you're looking to pay.

    I also want to add that I've used several Canon DSLR's, and I liked most of them okay. Last week I picked up an XTi for the first time though, and while the picture quality was fine, I thought the ergonomics were terrible. I think the Rebel XTi might be the best selling DSLR on the market, but had it been the first Canon i'd used, I wouldn't have bought another one. I have no idea how the ergonomics of the XT compare to the XTi, but I would imagine they are similar.

    If camera ergonomics are important to you, I'd recommend you look around on eBay for a cheap used EOS-20D.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

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    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #3
    Yeah, well, ergonomics is mostly personal preference - different for each person. I learned photography on a Canon Rebel 35mm, so I'd really like my first DSLR to be the Rebel as well (familiarity, comfortable with the grip, etc). I will take a jump into the store just to be sure that the ergonomics are the same as the film camera before ordering, though. Thanks for the heads up. :)

    As for the lens: Yeah, I honestly didn't even know if there WAS a better lens than the kit in my price range, but I thought I should ask.

    Fortunately, a friend of my fiance is a photographer on the side, shoots canon, and has a huge collection of lenses that we'll be able to borrow and try out, so we're not too concerned with building up our own collection just yet.
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
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    #4
    For $75, you should have the 50mm f/1.8 -- great bokeh and low light performance; one of the sharpest lenses out there.

    It's not a zoom so you may want to look at less expensive offerings from Sigma.
     
  5. macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #5
    It's a good lens to have, but it's definitely not an all-purpose lens.

    Sigma lenses aren't bad, and they're definitely cheaper than Canon lenses, but I think Canon probably makes the best glass on the market. Still, you could also buy a Sigma lens now, and buy an L lens in the distant future.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #6
    I'll look into the Sigma lenses. Any off-hand that you think would be a good lens to have if you could only have one?

    Or, if not, what should I be looking for in general?
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #7
    I second the 50mm lens as an excellent buy for portraits. You may also want to throw a nice 300mm lens in as well. These two, coupled with your kit lens, will be able to help you immensely as you learn. As you get better, begin to upgrades your lenses.

    Remember, the digital Rebels are backwards compatible with the 35mm Canon lenses. This is a great way to give you most of the functionality, without all the cost.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #8
    You want a zoom lens that starts in the 20-35mm range, and zooms up to the 70-150mm range. Autofocus is a must (Canon USM is preferable), Image Stablizer (IS) is nice too. You probably don't want a really wide-angle lens. If you want to check out specific lens reviews, you can always head over to http://www.fredmiranda.com
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #9
    Thank you so much for the help! That info makes it much easier to shop on my own. I really appreciate it!
     
  10. macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy part of the Pacific NW
    #10
    The problem with any lens that starts at, say 28mm on a Digital Rebel (or any other 1.5-1.6 cropped sensor) is they are likely not wide enough for you to be satisfied having as your only zoom. You have to remember that, on these cameras, 28mm is the equivalent of 42mm on a film camera.

    That's why the kit lenses on dSLRs tend to start down at the 18-20mm range.
     
  11. macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
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    #11
    If he has only one lens to pick (ever) -- that is a good thought, but he may also want to consider starting with a wide-midrange zoom and then getting something longer later. There are a LOT of zooms in the 70-200mm and 70-300mm range. A fast zoom at the wide-midrange vs. an all-purpose but slower lens is what I would go for personally. Just different opinions!
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #12
    As someone said, look to buy an used 20D. They perform very well and feels better. It will last you longer than a XT ever will. I know because I have a XT right now and looking to upgrade to a 5D or Mark IIn. The price difference between my current camera and the upgrade is ridiculous. If I had bought a 20D, I would have been able to hold onto it for a bit longer. Now, I just have to pray that they announce the new 5D this fall (or please please please sooner!).

    The kit lens isnt THAT bad. its just that when you compare it with better lens, you can quickly tell the difference, at least when the lighting condition arent perfect.

    What I usualy suggestion is to get the kit lens, a 50mm prime and a 70-300 zoom. Every range is covered and it will give you the time to learn what you like to do and then upgrade to L lens.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #13
    Inspired by the poor reviews of the kit lens, I decided to buy Tokina's 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 as my sort of basic lens for my XTi. I'm not sure if this was a brilliant move or kind of silly, but I have enjoyed the lens for the most part.

    http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/241/cat/33

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=240&sort=7&cat=40&page=1

    It tends to get excellent reviews as a cheap but good lens, and I think that's pretty much been my impression of it.

    And it's big and heavy, with a 77mm filter thread, which makes me feel like a big boy.

    I feel like that's well complemented by Canon's 50mm f/1.8 and I have a hand-me-down crappy zoom, 70-210 Tamron f/4.5-6.3.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    #14
    The kit lens is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It's a great lens to learn with and a lot more capable than many say. My advice is to go with the kit and save your money for a very nice lens that compliments the shooting habits you observe and develop. The other fellows here have given some great advice and sites, but here's one you should look at:

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1031&message=22402000

    These were all taken with the kit lens, incredible isn't it. Don't start out thinking that your equipment matters more than your eye or visualization of the image. As your skills develop, so too should your equipment. The next step in lenses would be the 50mm f/1.8. A fantastic little lens for a great price as others have already pointed out.

    Cheers,

    Larry
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #15
    Awesome, thank you so much. :)

    I think we'll go ahead and get the XTi with the kit lens, and then just buy a better lens down the road, once we've developed enough sense to notice the difference. :p
     
  16. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    Which body you buy does not matter much. it makes almost zero difference to the finished image. Lenses do matter. But the Canon kits lens is not the best build quality but on the other hand it is cheap, very inexpensive so on balance it's a good deal. It only cost about $100. Use it. Take 1,000 photos and then decide what lens you really want. What you do is remember the images you could NOT get with the kit lens and then buy one that would have gotten those. But shoot 1,000 photos first.

    Don't spend more money on a body if that money has to come out of a lens budget.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    #17
    My thoughts exactly. I don't know if I got a pretty good kit lens, or if I'm half blind, but I enjoyed the performance from the kit lens. I've since moved on, but I would still argue that the photographer makes a bigger difference to a photo than the equipment (though, no doubt a good photographer can do even better things with great gear).
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #18
    The waterfall photo on that website is the perfect example of how things work with the kit lens, in my opinion. It's a really wonderful photo, despite the lens, but if that were my photo I'd be frustrated that it doesnt have better sharpness and color contrast especially in the upper left quadrant. If it had been taken with a better lens, that likely wouldn't have been an issue.
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #19
    Those look great! Although, I have very serious doubts that the fruit fly picture was taken with the kit lens. Looks like a macro to me. And IF that really is the kit lens, and the fly isn't 3ft., someone please fill me in, cause last time I checked, I couldn't do that with the kit lens that came with my camera. :rolleyes:
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #20
    He was probably using extension tubes.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Cameront9

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #21
    Either that, or he reversed the kit lens (I.E. got a fancy adaptor to mount it on the body backwards, which effectively turns it into a cheap macro...)
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #22
    Well, see, my point exactly: I think I ought to wait until I actually NOTICE these things on my own before spending cash on a better lens. I guess I'll know I've progressed once the kit lens starts to tick me off. ;)

    Until then, I think a better lens would just be wasted on me.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    bmcgrath

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    #23
    Canon EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 lens is super! I have one and it's performance is very good. I have also used the kit lens that canon supplys with their dslr's and to be honest there not half bad.
     
  24. sjl
    macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #24
    By and large, I tend to agree. Its one major achilles heel, and the one reason why I might replace it down the road, is that it suffers from very noticeable barrel distortion at the wide end. It's not particularly objectionable, and can easily be corrected in software, but it may be a cause for some concern.

    But until I can afford the EF-S 10-22mm, and then (probably) the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS, it'll stay in my bag. I'm nowhere near the point of needing to replace it; even when I do replace it, it'll be because I want to, not because I've outgrown it.

    As a walkaround zoom, you can do far worse, and you'd have to spend a fair bit more to do better.
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #25
    for guaranteed *sharp* pics - you still can't go wrong with a 50mm f/1.8. Yes, it's not a zoom, but you will capture amazing quality -- just move your feet! ;)
     

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