all-purpose lens shopping

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JonD25, May 31, 2008.

  1. JonD25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    #1
    I already started talking about a lens purchase in this thread, but since the subject swayed so far from the original, I figured a new thread would attract more responses.

    First, what I already own...

    Bodies: Canon 40D, Canon Rebel XT

    Lenses: 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, 50mm f1.8, 75-300mm f4-5.6 (all made by Canon)

    So, I definitely need some better glass. I'm essentially wanting to get rid of the kit 18-55. I still really like the 50, so that's staying. And at some point I'd like to replace the 75-300, but long telephoto lenses aren't a huge priority for me and my style I think right now. The kinds of photos I generally take can be seen on my portfolio linked in my sig if you're interested. Mostly portrait type stuff, some weddings, but also some art photography and I'd like to maybe get into some street photography too.

    My absolutely ideal lens purchase would be the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L. However, due to recent events, my budget has been cut back a bit unexpectedly, and unless I go into (even more) credit card debt (something I'd like to avoid at this point in my life), I might have to put off getting that lens for a while.

    So, I was wondering what people thought of this: Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 to replace the kit lens I have ($430), and also the Canon 85mm f1.8 prime ($360).

    From reviews I've read, the Tamron is supposed to be a helluva lens at that price. It only works on crop bodies though, so when I go full frame in the future I'll have to sell it. But, I figure at that price, it's not as much of a loss as it would be if I bought, say, the Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS which is nearly $500 more expensive. And I think I'd get a good few years of use out of it, even if I did get the 24-70 in the future since the 17-50 is much wider.

    As for the 85mm f1.8, it looks like a good telephoto range prime at a good price that can replace the poor quality 75-300 I have for most anything I'd use that one for. It'll work great for portraits and is plenty fast for low light and weddings. And because it's EF, it'll last when I get a full frame in the future.

    So for about $800, I get two pretty great lenses that will give me a lot of added flexibility and are certainly much better than the lenses I own now. They're no L, but I think they could tide me over until I can save more to get some nice L glass.

    Sound like a good plan? Anyone use either of these lenses and can give some feedback or other possible lens choices? If you're going to suggest something else, please keep in mind that my requirements are at least one "all-purpose" type lens in the wide-normal range and that it has to have at least an f2.8 constant aperture.
     
  2. techie4life macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Sounds like a plan to me! I shoot Nikon, but I recognize your different options from extensive research I did when contemplating Nikon vs. Canon. For the money, I don't think I could recommend anything better. Good luck!
     
  3. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #3
    Okay, I'm a Nikon shooter too. But...

    Another option - especially if you think you'll go full frame at some point - is the 24-105mm f/4L. It seems to be a popular walk-around lens with the Canon pro folks.

    Cons are it's a bit pricier at $1050; and it's 24mm at the wide end rather than 17mm. But it's supposed to be very good glass.

    Edit: I now realize this is probably out of your price range, since you thought the $1190 24-70 f/2.8 was too expensive. Sorry.
     
  4. techie4life macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I wasn't going to bring up the 24-105 f/4L because of it's price, but I have also heard great things about it.
     
  5. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2006
    #5
    It's the price, but also it's f4. I also looked at the 17-40 f4.0L, and I decided against it solely on the f4 aperture. I need something faster. f2.8 is the minimum I'm looking for because, although I do own a 580EX flash, I shoot with available light most often, and especially for weddings, an f4 just doesn't cut it.
     
  6. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #6
    In that case, you're going to have to spend a lot to get a f/2.8 wide lens. The 16-35mm f/2.8L is pricey.

    You can get super fast glass if you stick with primes.
     
  7. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a

    ButtUglyJeff

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  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    The 16-35 mm is a nice lens, but it's also a very big lens. I guess if you get that, and a 50 mm f/1.8, you've got some good lenses for that range.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    Sound like you've found the good option for the price. I too have a low cost f/5.6 tele zoom and an 85mm f/1.8. I use the 85mm whenever I can although with a crop body you need some room. At f/1.8 I can completly blur out and bussy background. The 85 is like my 135 was on my film cameras, good for close up people shots from a distance.
     
  10. comptr macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Another vote for the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
     
  11. bluesmap macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2008
    #11
    both excellent lenses. especially that 85mm 1.8. geez that lens is badass. the tamron 17-50 is sharp as a tack just like the 50mm 1.8. dont ever get rid of the 50. best bang for the buck period. the only drawback of the 50 1.8 (compared to the 50 1.4) is that the 1.4 has warmer sweeter bokeh. i have the 50 1.8 and love it.


    i cant recommend anything else because price is an issue. ----> expensive gear ahead ---> (24-70 2.8L, 16-35L MKI not the mkII, 70-200 2.8L without the IS) the IS on the 70-200 is way over rated. i've used both the IS and non IS and to be honest i cant see much of a difference in IS.

    the reason i would get the 24-70 over the 24-105 is the f/2.8 vs the f/4. makes a difference to me especially when flash is not allowed.

    at this point if you dont have a flash unit, i would get that also. really necessary down the line.
     
  12. bluesmap macrumors newbie

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    #12

    what do you mean by big lens? i dont think i understand what that means
     
  13. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I may have found a used 24-70 that fits in my budget. I'll post and let everyone know if that works out or not.
     
  14. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #14
    Come on guys. 17-55 f/2.8 IS is the lens he needs to replace his kit.

    It can be had for about $960. Up there with the 24-70 (which I have) but better in terms of wide angle stuff on crop sensor.
     
  15. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    While that is the perfect lens for me now with my cropped sensors, I'm also trying to think of the future. I don't want to spend over $500 on a lens that will end up obsolete in 5-10 years when most bodies go full frame and EF-S lenses are suddenly useless. Hence, the Tamron being a cheaper alternative that I'll get a good $400 worth of use out of and replace in the future.

    But, that 24-70 I thought I could get fell through. I was looking at getting a used one on eBay, and there was one that was a really good price with only a couple hours left. But I ended up getting sniped at the last second.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    I honestly don't know why you keep thinking about it. You had the right lenses picked out already. Who cares if the Tamron is "L" or not. The range was good, and like you said, you could sell the Tamron later and not lose much money on it, since it didn't really cost that much money to begin with (as far as lenses are concerned). Like ChrisA said, it would have been a smart purchase for you, but now you're thinking about the Canon 24-70 mm f2.8 again?

    By getting the Tamron 17-50 mm and 85 mm f/1.8, you would have had fantastic lenses that would cover a whole lot of range. You'd have a very fast aperture 85 mm lens, and could have shot at 17 mm as well. I'd think that for a wedding, the ability to shoot quite is far more useful than the extra 20 mm you'd get with the 24-70 mm that you'd lose by buying the Tamron. At that distance, 20 mm isn't really that much. Going from 17 mm to 24 mm is probably a bigger issue.

    I haven't looked at them before (since I'm a Nikon shooter), but lets take a look at the review right now:

    Canon 24-70 mm
    Tamron 17-50 mm

    Just for fun....

    So for a lens that costs over 2x more, and yet doesn't really perform much better (except for distortion, which the Canon does far better in), you want to "save money" by buying the Canon now? You won't save money. You would be spending a lot more money now to save money later, and it doesn't make much sense if you grab a calculator.

    Even the Sigma 24-70 mm is comparable to the Canon, and it's probably much cheaper. I own it. It's good, but soft at 70 mm. The Canon doesn't really do any better.

    You don't have an unlimited budget. Get 2 useful lenses that will serve you longer.

    Big.

    Large, huge, immense, enormous, massive, gigantic, gargantuan, lofty, voluminous, jumbo, whopping, ginormous.
     
  17. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I'll take this as a slap-to-the-face, "Pull yourself together, man!" ;)

    You make some really great points. I was kinda taking losing that auction as a sign that I was spending too much. If I could have fit it within my budget, it would have been nice, but it looks like I'm not going to be able to anyways. I'm going to give it a few more days to think it over and see where my budget goes, but then I'll likely go with the original Tamron and 85 prime combo. Thanks.
     
  18. bluesmap macrumors newbie

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    #18
    excellent choices.
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
    No, I'm still not quite getting what you mean... :confused:





    (okay I wasn't the original questioner, but that HAD to be said :D)
     
  20. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Looking at the 16-35, it doesn't look big at all. No bigger than the 24-70. So I don't quite get that statement either.

    (not that I'm considering that lens anyways)
     
  21. bluesmap macrumors newbie

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    #21

    that's my point i agree jon. big compared to what?
    70-200 is big.



    16-35 is not big. you fail
     
  22. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #22
    Well, I was trying to make a joke by playing off the zillion synonyms of "big" Abstract had posted. Apparently I needed more smileys (or maybe just better writers).
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    Well it's not big like a 70-200 mm is "big", but it's quite a lot of lens to carry around when all you get is 16-35 mm f/2.8. I think when I saw my friend's 16-35 mm, I was surprised at how big it was. I thought it'd be smaller, or significantly smaller than the 24-70 mm (i.e.: around 33% smaller). But no, this lens is not "big" in the grand scheme of things. 300 mm primes are big. Cars are big.

    This Canon lens was bigger than I expected, but also VERY well built. It's a beautiful lens when you feel it and use it.
     
  24. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    #24
    The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 is a pretty good lens for the price, I bought one for my assistant to use and for the price its a pretty sharp lens. I would go for that since it's in your budget.
     
  25. NeXTCube macrumors member

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    Upstate NY
    #25
    I have the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 (non-macro version) that I use with my EOS 300D that works pretty well, and would also fit in your budget.
     

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