Canon Lens- Need some guidance

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by txhockey9404, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #1
    I have had a Canon Rebel XS with the standard kit lens for a few months, learning the basics (this is my first SLR) and trying to learn more about photography in general. Up until now, I have done some simple family/vacation shots that could have easily been handled by a PnS (I also have a Canon PowerShot SD900 that travels along with its larger brother), a few experimental shots (like I said, I'm learning), and some indoor amateur hockey shooting (my main reason for purchasing because the PowerShot was too slow and had too little optical zoom). The problem is, the kit lens does not have enough optical zoom either. Therefore, I am in the market for a new lens. I have found 3 models that I would like advice on, but feel free to suggest anything else you think is good for this particular need.

    My Needs (or what I think I need)
    • Under $350
    • Well-built (not going to fall apart in a year or two)
    • Good enough zoom for shooting up to 75 feet away
    • Fairly quick (must have AF and be able to keep up with players)
    • Ok with fairly good light (most rinks are well-lit)

    The Three

    Also, any shooting advice or tips are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #2
    Save your money for one of these:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/397663-USA/Canon_0345B002_70_300mm_f_4_5_6_EF_IS.html

    Don't waste your time with the 75-300's, they're pretty poor lenses. I've heard that the 55-250 is decient for the price, and it has IS which is nice to have on a longer lens, but at the same time you've got be realistic. It's a $250 lens, and that just doesn't go all that far in the realm of digital SLR's. It's really cheaply built, it doesn't have the greatest IQ, CA and barrel distortion issues, ect.

    None of those lenses will be good in low light, especially if you're looking to freeze motion. For that you'd have to step up to something like the 70-200 f/2.8 IS or the 200 f/2.8.

    I know it's tough to hear that you need to spend another $200 on a lens, but it will be money well spent.
     
  3. romanaz macrumors regular

    romanaz

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    NJ
    #3
    hows the lighting indoors? Those len's might not be fast enough for the indoor sports, especially since you'll be shooting @ a fast shutter. IMO grab a USM since they focus quicker. F/4 is dog slow indoors. IMO a good prime might be the best, cheapest solution for indoors. Maybe the 100 f/2.0? Figure thats 160mm on the XS, which will definitely need cropping if they are 75 feet away or more.

    Being in your price range will be tough though, to get a lens fast enough IMO.

    I would say you probably need something 200-300mm but for a lens faster then 3.5 @ the wide end of a zoom will be more then your budget probably.

    And IMO don't go for the 55-250 for what you want to do, my copy of it is friggen slower then dirt focusing @ the 250 end.
     
  4. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #4
    Out of those three lenses, the 55-250 is the best choice and a nice little lens. But, as others have noted, it's slow on the long end for indoors shooting. Your only alternatives are: 70-200 f4 non-IS for about $500 used or some kind of fast prime, like the 100/2 that someone mentioned (used, it's under $400). The other choice is saving up for a different lens.

    But I do like my 55-250 -- but not for indoor sports, unless you are willing to put up with the sacrifices (ISO 1600 and slight blurry shots, because your ss is going to be -- at best -- around 1/60, 1/80 or 1/100 with a negative EV adjustment and not a lot of keepers).
     
  5. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #5
    Thanks for the quick replies.
    First, I have a question: what exactly is USM, and what does it do?
    Next, the 75-300 seems out, unless USM is very beneficial.
    Some blurry shots will be OK, considering there are about 50 minutes of time to shoot on an 8gb card, a 4gb card, and a 2gb card, so I can take as many pictures as I want.
    I know lenses have very long life spans, but I will only buy new, as I'd prefer to have the comfort of a return policy and easy warranty.
    I've been using the stock lens at 55mm with 5.6 aperture, and only need about twice that zoom, so the 55-250 at 4 for 55mm should be OK in the aperture department, which, correct me if I'm wrong (this is really pushing my knowledge) will allow for faster shots than the kit lens at max focal length.
     
  6. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #6
    Don't buy any 75-300mm lens -- garbage!!

    The 50-250mm is okay, but not great. The problem is that you want a medium-long range zoom lens, that does well with sports. There isn't any other way of saying it other than you'll need to drop a bit more money to get something of quality. That said, it will also be worth every penny.

    The 70-200mm family is amazing...yes, amazing. It comes in four flavors, two of which use image stabilization:

    70-200mm f/4
    70-200mm f/4 IS
    70-200mm f/2.8
    70-200mm f/2.8 IS

    You are almost guaranteed to get amazing shots with any of these lenses. Do a search on the forums and you will see hundreds of posts that back this up. The 70-300mm is doable, but the speed of the f/4 (or better) 70-200mm is worth every penny.
     
  7. paintball312 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    #7
    USM is Canon's ring focusing system. It's a very fast, and quite focusing system, and allows for full time manual focus. It'll help a bunch when shooting sports. Out of your list, the 55-250mm is the best optically. However, you say you are ok at f/4, but want more zoom... With any of those, you do lose a stop of light at the long end. If you would be ok with looking a stop, and the range is good, the 55-250 is a decent lens. Even though it is certainly much more expensive, I'd save for a 70-200 f/4L. Constant f/4 throughout the zoom range, great optics, extremely fast focusing, just about everything you could want, but you'd have to sacrifice a little reach for much better IQ. If you NEED that extra 50mm, and don't wish to pay that much, the 55-250 will most likely suit your needs.
     
  8. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #8
    Thanks again!
    Those look like absolutely amazing lenses, and probably are based on the amount of people that back them. The only problem for me is the price. Even the F/4 no IS is $600 on amazon, and that is too far out of my price range. As much as I would love to have one, I cannot justify spending tha much on a lens for something that is simply a hobby that I am just getting into. Maybe later on I will buy one if I get more serious, but right now it just doesn't make fiscal sense because I need to purchase a new MBP, keyboard, and monitor as well.
    So the 75-300s are out completely. Will the 55-250 suit me sufficiently or should I take a more serious look at the used upper end? I need IS because I do most of my shooting freehand at this point.
     
  9. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #9
    OP - you're going to get a lot of replies from Pros or "Prosumers" not to buy a Consumer lens.

    Me, being on an extremely tight budget AFA a camera system, says go ahead.

    I have the kit 18-55 non IS lens that's considered "garbage", but if you know how to use the lens in its "sweetspot" - then you can get some pretty nice pics.

    Read the reviews here:

    http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showcat.php/cat/11

    (all the 75-300 are more or less the same optically)

    and you can find out how to use the lens to get the best pics, and know what to expect in that price range.

    You may also want to look into Third Party (Sigma or Tamron).

    Good luck! Please post your best pics!
     
  10. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #10
    Thanks! I knew I would get the best advice here because of all the pros and prosumers. I checked out the reviews, and the 55-250 looks like the winner, but I have a few more questions.
    What are the benefits of a lens hood?
    Should I get one?
    How large are they?
    Which one would I get for this lens and the kit lens?
    Would it benefit my indoor hockey shooting?
     
  11. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #11
    I like this site for Canon advice:

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=29529
     
  12. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2004
    #12
    Here's a review of the 55-250mm:

    The Digital Picture

    One problem with getting the 55-250mm is that if later down the line, you wanted to upgrade to a full-frame camera (like a 5D), you can't use it on that camera. EF-S only works on EF-S cameras, and EF works on all EF and EF-S cameras. But if you aren't getting one, then it won't be a problem.

    The site shows comparison crops between the 55-250mm, 70-300mm, and 70-200mm L. You can tell a difference in sharpness and contrast between them. I still think the BEST bet is to save money down the line and grab the 70-200mm f4.0L. The constant f4.0 and image quality alone makes it worth the cost. No USM on the 55-250mm sucks, since it won't focus as quickly. Plus, the retracting focus and zoom is just an annoying design...

    Trying to sell a cheaper quality lens is usually a little harder than selling a higher end lens, if you were to upgrade later. Plus, you lose more value on the cheaper lens, whereas if you were trying to sell a higher end lens, it'd retain its value a lot longer. But why would you try and sell a high end lens in the first place? :rolleyes:

    Anyway, the hood is useful for shooting outside, where there's a lot of sunlight and glare. Basically it controls the amount of glare/flare from entering in on your photos. It's unfortunate that Canon doesn't include these hoods with their consumer line lenses. If you got the L lens, then you wouldn't have to worry about it. :D
     
  13. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Washington, DC
    #13
    The 55-250 is a very nice lens with incredibly high image quality for the price point. The IS works well, and the real question is how flexible your budget is. If your budget is $350 and you really cannot or are not willing to go over that, I would say without question that this is the lens to get.

    The lens is slow focusing and is inexpensively built, but without spending at least twice as much, you're not going to get better optical quality.

    A hood is useful if there's a very bright light out of the frame of what you're shooting with the camera, but still in front of you. If you see lens flare across your images or a severe loss of contrast, a hood may help. You should be able to see the effect before you take the picture. You can also use the old-school lens hood, also known as your left hand, to see what a hood might be able to do for you.
     
  14. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #14
    How does this hood look? Will it fit the 55-250?
    Canon et60. Sorry I can't get a link, but I'm on my iPod touch

    is it true that they are also good for protection? The biggest downside to this lens I have read so far (aside from being f/4-f/5.6 and not just f/4.") is the somewhat poor build quality of the lens itself. I really want any lens investment to last, regardless of whether I sell it in the long run or not. Another factor I forgot was whether the lens will even fit in my (fairly expensive) case. I just checked and the 55-250 would make it but the 75-200s seem bigger
     
  15. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2004
    #15
    Like I said before, a constant f4.0 is better than f4.0-5.6. It is attributed to the designs of the lenses. Yes, the 70-200mm f4.0L is heavier, but that also means that it's built with heavy duty and quality in mind. If you want something that'll last for YEARS, grab the 70-200mm. You'll love the non-retractable design of the lens too. Oh and plastic versus metal? It'll be money well spent. :D

    Look at the link that I gave. Look at the lenses side by side, and how they look when they're retracted and extended.

     
  16. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #16
    Keep in mind that the 55-250 is $255 and the 70-200 f/4 L is $600.
     
  17. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2004
    #17
    I know that. But quality vs cheap? I take quality. You save more money in the long run anyway, IF you were to upgrade. :p

    Oh by the way, you not only get a lens hood with the camera, but you get a lens pouch with it, so you can carry it along with your bag if you don't have enough room!
     
  18. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #18
    The 55-250mm will do you just fine. My suggestions for the 70-200mm line were only if there was flexibility in your budget.

    Lighting is your best friend or worst enemy, so you may have to plan your shoots accordingly, and also crank up the ISO setting to get a fast shutter speed.

    Good luck!!
     
  19. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #19
    Would you buy a rebel XS and use the standard kit lens?
     
  20. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2004
    #20
    Haha nope. Only L lenses for me now. I would get an XS without a lens kit and grab an L lens, but that's just me. ;)

    I used to have an XTi, and used a kit lens on that for a while, until one day, I grabbed an L lens. It was all over for consumer lenses after that. Although I did take awesome pictures with the kit lens for a while, but an L lens is even better. :D
     
  21. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    #21
    If he's shooting indoor hockey, this lens will be absolutely useless. I shot with that lens for a couple of years, and really enjoyed it, but it quickly became useless in marginal light.

    f/4 is pushing it for a well-lit hockey arena. Most youth and amateur arenas are very poorly lit, with uneven light temperatures and brightness across the length of the ice.

    To the OP: If you can't afford a 70-200 f/2.8 ($1000 to $1200), consider some cheap primes. The 50mm f/1.8 (about $80) is a decent start, but will probably be too short based on what you said above. The 85mm f/1.8 is a decent lens, too.

    If you're serious about shooting hockey, you need a serious lens. You really need an f/4 or f/2.8 lens (not an f/4-5.6, either), otherwise you're going to end up with a card full of blurry shots.
     
  22. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #22
    Ok, well $900 is definitely out of my price range, so I really can't get a professional lens. Here are some test shots from a day I shot in a fairly poorly lit rink with the kit lens, full zoom, f/5.6, and SS 1/80-1/100 using AI servo. Please critique. The object of focus is thee #64 white player. I found these to be pretty good, with 0540 the best of this series.

    I just uploaded them to Flickr because they are too big for this site and I don't want to compress them or lose quality for review purposes.

    0539
    0540
    0538
     
  23. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #23
    i dunno if you're using auto ISO or what, but raise your ISO. 400 obviously doesn't cut it.

    f/5.6 is too slow for what you want - assuming 1/60 f/5.6 and ISO400 is the proper exposure (actually, that will still probably underexpose...), you'd get 1/250 at 1600, which is still too slow to freeze action. f/4 gets you to 1/500, which is just enough. what you really need for that is f/2.8.

    my suggestion: get a 55-250 now and start saving for a used Canon 80-200 f/2.8, 200/2.8, or 135/2. buying a 55-250 used will minimize your losses.

    for reference: a full-body shot (of an adult) at 50mm (on 35mm film) requires a working distance of approximately 10ft, so for a standing person to fill the frame at 70ft requires 350mm (219mm on APS-C). you probably won't want the player to fill the frame, of course, but it's something to work with.
     
  24. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    #24
    These are all underexposed, IMO. You really need f/4 or faster.

    Take a long, hard look at the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L.

    Agreed, but even ISO 1600 is going to only get your shutter up to around 1/320, where you really need 1/400 or 1/500 (to really stop motion). Combining ISO 1600 with an f/4 lens will do that, but just barely.
     
  25. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    I just ordered the 55-250 without hood, and it should be here around the 3rd. Now that I know a bit more about what I am doing, I am going to stop with the Auto ISO and move into manual (using 800-1600), as well as monitoring shutter speed. Which mode and settings are best for hockey shooting with this lens without a significant loss of quality (not too grainy from ISO)?
     

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