Beginner lens advice needed.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Xeperu, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. Xeperu macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    Greeting my fellow forummers.

    After googling first, to no avail, I thought I'd pose the question here.

    I'm a beginning photographer and I got a free Canon 550D with my new car. However the standard lens is super crappy and I'd like to get a bit better all round beginner lens.

    Basically I'm looking for a compatible lens which is good as an all round lens. I'll be backpacking around Japan again this summer and only want to bring one lens to safe on weight.

    If any of you have a good suggestion in the 100-200$ price range I'd be much obliged.

    As proof I actually did some research and not the lazy way, some options people advise me to consider are

    Tamron 18-200mm F 3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Canon Which is supposed to be good value for money.
  2. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    what is your "standard lens".. 100-200USD won't get you anything spectacular my friend. I have heard that the canon 18-55 IS kit lens is superb actually. The 18-200 lenses (superzooms) have some serious sharpmness trade offs because of the zoom ranges. With fairly basic lenses costing 300+USD and go up to thousands, do you really think you will get a non crappy all round less for 200 bucks?

    Then again, i am not a canon shooter so you might be able to.
  3. Xeperu thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    The Tamron one I mentioned sells for about 200$
  4. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    If you think the kit lens that came with the 550d is crappy, you're not going to do any better with a budget of $200.

    What lens came with the 550d? The 18-55?

    If the goal is to save weight for backpacking AND get a decent quality lens, you might want to check out the Canon 50mm 1.8.

    Obviously, you aren't going to be doing any zoom shots with this lens, but it does produce quality images for about $100.

    The Tamron lens you listed only sells for about $200 from stores that operate like the guys with speakers in white vans. The cheapest I could find it from a REPUTABLE dealer is $299.
  5. Xeperu thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
  6. oblomow macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2005
  7. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    Is this just something you have heard often enough to believe it, or based on your own experience in comparison to other lenses?

    If you won't be making huge prints out of it, I don't think you'll see the difference compared to a more expensive lens. I've made 30x40cm prints from photos taken with my 1000D and kit lens, and it was pretty acceptable quality. Here you can see a comparison of lenses:

    What you should also consider is what type of shots you take. How many times do you really use that zoom as opposed to taking wide landscape shots, in which case the longer and heavier 18-200 would be quite a burden compared to the kit lens.
  8. macjube macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2011
    Great White North
    Stick with the Canon 18-55mm kit lens

    If your Canon 550D did NOT come with the 18-55mm "kit" lens, then that's definitely the lens you should buy (it sells for around $200). This is the perfect focal length range for mountains, landscapes and general-purpose photography. It's small, light and has excellent optics and image stabilization too.

    Avoid the Tamron 18-200 (at least, do your homework and read some unbiased reviews, like at -- this lens has severe optical distortion, particularly at the 18mm end, and in the 35-70mm "normal" range). Note that it does NOT have image stabilization, which I think is essential at the 200mm end of the zoom range, as this lens needs to be stopped down to f/8 to improve sharpness. Also at the long (200mm) end, the lens is f/6.3, which means you will definitely have autofocus problems in low light. I've come across a couple of reviews complaining that the seals are quite poor on this lens, and several owners got dust and dirt in the optics early on; not appropriate for serious outdoor stuff like backpacking. Most reviewers complain that the autofocus mechanism is slow and noisy, which means that you'll never get a decent picture of an infant or a cat or dog, as the noise will disturb them.

    Don't fool yourself (or let others fool you) about what you can get for $200. I have the Nikon 18-200mm which costs $850, and it's worth every penny. But if I want truly excellent images, I'll use my Nikon 14-24mm or 24-70mm zooms; the much smaller zoom range gives corresponding improvements in sharpness and distortion.

    Anyone with a few years of experience in DSLR photography will tell you sad stories about how much money they wasted in their early days, before they realized that it's all about LENSES, not cameras. New cameras are announced every year, more megapixels, sharper CCDs, more fancy features -- and they're cheap compared to good lenses, which you can keep for decades (if you buy good lenses, of course). Five years down the road, you might upgrade your camera body – and then you'll really see how badly those cheap lenses perform.

    Do you still think the Tamron is "good value?" I think you need to find better people to "advise" you. You're just starting out in photography, so try seek the advice of those who have had some serious experience. And do your own homework also.
  9. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    You not going to get that much better than the kit lens for that kind of money.

    If you want a better all round ZOOM lens then you can consider:
    24 - 70 2/8 (£1000ish)
    24 105 f4 is(£700/800 ish)
    18 - 55 2.8 is (700/800 ish)

    Depends what you mean is crappy about the kit lens??

    If you want a longer reach (more telephoto) then the 55 250 is a nice lens for the money.

    If you want better image quality and faster aperture then consider a prime eg canon 50 1.8 (around £100).

    If you want to do portaits and blur the backround then maybe a 85 f1.8 or the 100mm's

    If your shooting indoors you might be better of with a decent flash



    You just arnt going to get it all in one lens for a cheap price
  10. unclet macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2011
    Bloomington, IN
    I agree with everyone that $200 is not going to get you a better lens than the 18-55 that comes with the 550D. I also own the 550D, and would suggest that for that price range you get the 50mm f1.8. It's the only lens in that price range that will significantly improve the types of images that you can capture. The only problem with this lens as a travel lens is that on your camera's cropped sensor it actually functions more like an 80mm lens, which means you won't be able to capture wide angle shots. I own the 35mm f2.0, which is more like a traditional 50mm lens, and I absolutely love it. It's on my camera most of the time. However, it costs a bit more, and still won't get you really wide angle shots. You should definitely consider a fast prime lens however, as they will let you do a lot more with depth of field, and provide much higher quality images for the price compared to zoom lenses.
  11. tinman0 macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2008
    Another ?????? for the comment that the 18-55 is "super crappy".
  12. Chitoneus, Jun 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011

    Chitoneus macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    I'll just chime in that I was very happy with the 18-55 IS lens and the 50mm f/1.8 that people have mentioned when I had my Rebel. I'd say get the prime, save the rest of your money for now (or use it to buy protective filters), and take lots of pictures with both lenses until you start to get a feel for what you really need.
  13. Xeperu thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    Wow, great comments.

    TO be honest, I must apologize, I did get the "super crappy" comment from a 3rd party. Yes, the Camera did come without a lens. Bit weird because it's kinda useless without one. Stupid car dealer I guess, initially opted for a 500euro discount, but he refused to budge ;).

    I'll read up a bit more and maybe pick up a kitlens from someone who doesn't want it anymore.
  14. Chitoneus macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    Ahh, if you don't have a lens at all, that's a little different. The 18-55 IS is pretty easy to find used. Since you mentioned Tamron, I'll say that I've been pretty happy with my 17-50 f/2.8 non-VC, which you could probably find for not much more than the kit lens. It offers a little extra versatility with a wider aperture throughout the range, so it's better for indoor shots.
  15. TechNut315 macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    Stock Lens

    The new 18-55 IS lens that comes with the camera is pretty decent. The older 15-55 non-IS lens that it shipped with originally was pretty crappy.
  16. Mac Addiction macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2011
    I've used the 18-55 IS LENS and I loved them :D
  17. Xeperu thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    I ended up buying the 18-55 canon "kit" lens, the 50/1.8f Canon prime lens and a 55-200 Tamron zoom lens (cheap one).

    Good wide variety to start playing around with.

    I paid about 300 euro for the lot, new.
  18. cleanup macrumors 68030


    Jun 26, 2005
    Sounds like a good start. Enjoy!

    Please keep in mind that 18-55 kit lenses are kit lenses for a reason. They go from wide to slight telephoto (ie. on a crop body like yours), and thus have a very functional zoom range for anything besides portraits and long-range street photography, and while they don't wow in the large aperture department, they're really very sharp and most of them have optical stabilization built in. For most people, the kit lens is meant to satisfy a majority of needs. Only once you truly understand the types of photography that a kit lens can't really help with should you invest in anything more.
  19. doug in albq Suspended

    doug in albq

    Oct 12, 2007
    Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.0 all around lens sort of near your price range. Nothing touches this lens for the price, actually. Vastly sharper images than the kit lenses you bought.

    With that setup you got only the prime will give you a superior image.
  20. davidinva macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA
    The 18-55 kit lens that comes with a 550D is not "crappy." Use that and get a 55-250 for about $250 and you will have a useful range kit that will produce good results. My experience with the 50 1.8 is that results are mixed. Kit lens works just as well for me. The 50 1.8 is nice to have if you are shooting indoor sports and need to use available light and stop some action.
  21. davidinva macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA

    Didn't read your post on what you bought. You will enjoy those and get good results. Happy shooting!
  22. jeevesofRKdia macrumors member

    May 8, 2009
    I agree with everyone. This is a great set of lenses to get an idea of what you would like to shoot. I'm biased, however, because those lenses are pretty much what I have (except for the Canon 55-250 rather than the Tamron one). :p

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