Canon "kit lens" vs $$$ Canon lens; thread?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mtbdudex, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #1
    I really like the info gained by the DOF comparisons thread by member "kallisti", http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=796202

    In that spirit, can someone point me to a Canon "kit lens" vs $$$ Canon lens shootout?
    This forum, another forum.
    (I did a search and nothing in particular popped up)

    I have the "kit lens" EF-S 18-55mm IS & EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens, and am curious how these $200-ish lens compare to their Canon $800 - $1.2k bigger brothers.

    Mostly picture sharpness and contrast I'd like to see, some side/side shots.
    I know, you "get what you pay for", this is a learning experience for me.

    Since my T1i is a Costco "kit" with 90 days I just might return it, get a T1i body with "better" than kit lens. I've seen many-many here say shop for lens,then camera body for the lens. I like the T1i size/etc, so with that this may help me decide what to do.....
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #2
    For the money, the two lenses you have are very good. I personally find the 55-250 to be very sharp.

    Of course, with the relatively slow apertures, you aren't going to get the awesome DOF shots that a fast prime would, but there are things you can do to get the nice blurred backgrounds on the kit lenses.

    As for reviews and comparisons, you could check out this SITE. The site crashes my browser at work quite often, but it works at home.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    The biggest different is simply that the f-stops on the better lenses go to f/2.8 while yours end at f/5.6 (at max focal length) An f/2.8 lens is just so much more useful.

    The next different is the the f-stop limit remains a constant f/2.8 at all zoom lengths

    See as this is an SLR, you look through the lens, the view through and f/2.8 lens will be 4X brighter

    Not only does the larger f-stop allow you to reduce the depth of field but you can use either a 4X faster shutter, to reduce or eliminate motion blur and camera shake blur or youcan lower the ISO setting to greatly reduce sensor noise. So the f/2.8 speed helps in three ways.

    To go even faster you can buy prime leses that open up to as much as f/1.4. This is yet another two stops. The jump from f/2.8 to f/1.4 is almost as helpfull as the jump from f/5.6 to f/2.8. I say "almost" because many times f/1.4 just has to little DOF.
     
  4. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Where am I???
    #4
    This already exists here, at least for lens sharpness.

    Select the lenses you're interested in at the f/stop you're interested in, and voila: instant comparison of centre and edge sharpness.

    No real-world shots under controlled conditions, but this is a pretty good resource nevertheless.
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #5
    That is one big difference, but the ones that really jumped out at me after I upgraded from the 18-55mm IS kit lens to the 17-55/5.28 were contrast and color. I upgraded because I wanted the f/2.8 and didn't realize how dull and "cold" the glass in the kit lens was rendering my images. The amount of pop I got with the new lens really took me by surprise.

    The kit lens is quite sharp, but not nearly as sharp as the 17-55. Here they are at their respective sweet spots:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have no experience with the 55-250, so I'll withhold judgment on that one.
     
  6. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #6
    Primes are your fastest way to get the kind of bokeh that you seek. They have much greater light range (down to f/1.2 in some cases) and can be cheaper than zoom lenses. In almost all cases, primes are sharper.

    The easiest step into prime lenses is the 50mm f/1.8. It's only $75 or so and has amazing potential. It's not built for a war zone, but if you lose/break it, you can just buy another!
     
  7. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #7
    When looking at thumbnails, it is easy to see the difference between the 17-85 and 70-200. The 70-200 just has more pop. I recently was playing with a 24-105 and again, each picture taken with it just had way more life in it than did pics with the 17-85.

    I don't know the technical reason for the improved images, whether it is contrast, distortion, abherrations, who knows, I just know there is an easily visible difference.

    I have regretted buying the 17-85 since the first day I had it. I should have gone for the 24-70 at the time, but budget didn't allow it. In bright sunlight, I am happy with (most of) the pics the 17-85 gets, as light drops off, the limited light gathering ability really becomes apparent.

    Having a zoom with a constant f-stop is also much more enjoyable to use. For instance, if I am in a situation where I need f 5.0 or faster to keep the shutter speed up, I know I can't zoom in past 35mm or so. Being able to keep up the shutter speed as you zoom in is important.

    Basically, most consumer zooms are living most of their life in the f5.6 range, the expensive lenses are living in the f4 or f2.8 range. That is 1 or 2 full stops faster (with the added benefit of smoother bokeh). If you are taking pictures in good light and stopped down, the differences in pictures become smaller, but still apparent.

    No experience with your lenses though, sorry.

    I would skip the 17-85 (or 16-85 or whatever the new one is) if I were you. Either stick with the kit lenses and learn and enjoy, or invest in the 17-55/24-105/24-70/70-200 lenses if you want a zoom.

    Most people start out with kit lenses, then move to expensive zooms, then sell their zooms and buy primes. By the time they get to that point in photography, they know what they shoot, what they like and what works for them. At each step, the investment (and size of bag) typically increases significantly (but as people have pointed out, price doesn't have to get out of hand as there are some quite decent affordable primes).

    If you are happy with your current lenses and they are getting the shots you want, that's all that really matters. Have fun.
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #8
    I think it's the "ultra-low dispersion" and aspherical glass elements they use in the more expensive lenses. The cheaper lenses have cheaper glass in them.
     
  9. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #9
    Thx everyone, I'll review the advice and links in this thread tonight.
     
  10. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #10
    That's the main key there. Color and Contrast are leaps ahead in the pricey glass, along with the constant/faster apertures. It's much higher quality, cleaner glass. And it's sharper because of it. Sure, you can post-process the contrast and color up, but the natural sharpness you get from HQ glass is hard to replicate.

    Are they more expensive? Yes, by a long shot. However, time=money, and if I did my part in exposing and focusing correctly, then my post time is drastically reduced. It's much more entertaining to open up a nice shot for the first time and realize you don't really have to adjust anything. I enjoy shooting much more than editing, so for me, if I have to spend more to get better shots from the go, I'll happily go that route.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #11
    Generally speaking they're not that expensive if you look at the cost of the lens over its lifetime. You can easily get 10-15 years out of a good lens, so a $1500 lens is less $8.30-12.50/month- even less if you spend time to find a used sample for that's already taken the big depreciation hit.

    :)
     
  12. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #12
    Everything about high-end glass is just much better than what you'd find on the consumer end of lenses. They're pricey for a reason. They're made for pros who shoot photography for a living. And for them, it's worth the cost.

    There's simply no comparison between cheap glass and high-end glass. What the cheap glass can help with, is teaching you how to expose your shots properly. Once you learn from that, it's just much easier to shoot with high-end glass. ;)

    Contrast, sharpness, and DOF are simply the three factors of what makes the higher-end lenses worth the cost. What you should probably do, is find a shop that'll let you test out their lenses, take the pictures with your own camera, and compare between the lenses. You'll notice the difference in image clarity, especially in low-light. If you're starting to get serious in photography, go and check out the L lenses that Canon has! :D

    And I agree with Grimace. Prime lenses are the way to go, even though you can't zoom with them. They simply teach you how to move around and compose your shots. Nothing beats a prime lens in sharpness and DOF. I suggest you try out the 135mm f2.0L lens. It's my personal favorite, and has amazing bokeh for the price.
     
  13. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #13
    I rented the 24-105 awhile back and took it to Yosemite for a day. I already did a trip there with my kit 18-55. It was unbelievable how improved the shots looked with the 24-105. I agree with one of the above posters, the 18-55 looks dull in comparison, although it gives decent enough pictures.

    I'm renting the 17-40 in the next week or so and will decide upon one of the two for a zoom. Everything else I buy will be prime - I've had a lot of fun and great shots from my 50 f/1.8.
     
  14. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #14
    Right, you can't replicate sharpness, but neither can you replicate the color and contrast of a good lens. Having a cheap lens is like having a reduced dynamic range. No amount of post-processing will introduce the range of values that get lost by using cheap glass. All you can do is tweak that limited range of values that did get captured; it's not the same.
     
  15. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #15
    photozone.de, SLRGear, and The Digital Picture all have comparisons. do read the reviews (if applicable), since they may point out things about the image comparison samples.

    primary difference is the build, AF speed and accuracy, and constant f-stop. contrast may or may not be better than your lens, though the best lenses will be. the 18-55 IS has a slight pink color tint, and I am not aware of any other lenses in its range that has a color tint. I find claims of color differences to be exaggerated and more of a placebo effect than anything else - if it doesn't have a color tint, I don't really care about the color since it'll be adjusted in post anyway. the "pop" is more from (micro)contrast than anything else.

    there are "real-world" comparisons floating around the photography-on-the-net forums, if you haven't found it already.
     

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