Help buying a new Lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Barnzee, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Barnzee macrumors regular

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    Oak Harbor, WA
    #1
    Hello I know there are some excellent photographers on here and was wondering if there was anyone who can break down the Tech into something more understandable when it comes to Lens Technology.

    I am looking to purchase a new Canon Lens because I own the EOS T2i Rebel (I plan to uprgade at a later date) and was considering an "L" series but I don't know which one to buy. A friend told me that typically high end lenses are permanent purchases, and its the body that gets upgraded.

    Overall I want a lens thats versatile. A lens that can take good landscape photos as I plan on Hiking a lot, as well as decent portraits. Also I like to spin fire poi at at night, and I often record and make HD movies with the footage; I will link an example at the bottom. obviouslly i'm an ametuer photographer and this is just a hobby, but what lens would best fit my needs?


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvLU-btnOWU&hd=1

    I also use Appeture if that is relevent in anyway.


    Suggestions? thanks in advance.
     
  2. mackaydesign macrumors newbie

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    Jan 27, 2011
    #2
    One thing to consider about L series lenses is that they will add some weight (and usually bulk) to the body... just something to think about it if you want to use it for hiking. But the lenses are built to last. :)

    I've used the L 24-70mm for quite some time, and its a great all around lens. You can take wide shots, get in tight for macros, and take portraits too. Landscapes should be fine. At f/2.8 (it's widest aperture) you can experiment in lower-light settings...

    My recent "go-to" lens has been the L f/1.2 50mm... great for really low-light settings... and I love it for portrait and landscape.

    The T2i is a nice body, have fun!

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #3
    The "L" lens that best matches your description would be the 24-105mm f/4L IS. The stabilization will help with your video efforts, and its broad focal length range makes it fairly versatile.

    There are, however, some very fine stabilized non-L lenses that you might consider since you are using an APS-C camera. These lenses are designated as EF-S. They are lighter and and smaller to match the smaller sensors of the APS-C cameras. They are not weather sealed and are not as robust as "L" lenses, but some of them are optically superb. They are therefore less expensive too. The ones that best match your needs are probably the 17-55mm f/2.8L IS and the 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS.
     
  4. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    The 17-55 was my first thought. I haven't had the chance of using it myself since the store was out of them when I went to play around and check out a few lenses, but I know everyone that has it absolutely loves it. Maybe someday I will actually own one :D

    OP: Just out of curiosity, what kind of gear do you currently have and how is it letting you down?
     
  5. Designer Dale, Jan 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #5
    An L lens is a major piece of gear unless you have a ton of cash. It is a true investment and you need to really consider what you are going to do with this piece of world class optics. I wanted a macro with killer sharpness and bought the 100 mm 2.8 L. It's primarily a specialty lens to me but it is an outstanding medium telephoto as well. I wanted a bird lens, but couldn't justify the high price tag for a 600 mm L. I bought a Sigma 120-400 and it is serving me well.

    If you are thinking "I want an L lens, which one should I get", then your thinking is backwards (to me, at least). Try "I really need a killer (insert focal length), which lens will best do what I want."

    Just my $1.5-2K worth. Thats the amount of money you need to be willing to part with before considering going with the world class stuff.

    With that said, the 85 mm 1.2 L will cover the low light and portrait stuff. A lot of my landscape stuff is shot at 28 mm. The lens Phrasikleia mentioned is a good catch-all, but you might want to think about which situation you will use this lens most in. Unfortunately, the correct answer in questions like yours is "two"...

    Dale
     
  6. Barnzee thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Whenever I buy something I have to have the best. Otherwise I allways end up with the feeling that the money I spent could have been put towards something better. I saved quite a bit of money to get a good lens so why not invest in something of supreme quality.:D

    the 17-55 and the L series 24-105 are about the same price on amazon which is the better Lens? also should I invest in Filters?
     
  7. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #7
    when I was researching for my bird lens, I ran across complaints regarding packaging and shipping from Amazon. Look at B&H photo and Video. They are top notch. I bought both my 100L and the Sigma I mentioned previously from them. both were delivered to the door with signature required. Amazon has left $200 orders on my doorstep when I lived in a high crime area.

    Dale
     
  8. scottkifnw macrumors regular

    scottkifnw

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    #8
    Excellent question. You will get a lot of opinions.

    I recommend a zoom lens for you. My fav is the 70-200 F4L is and is the lens I use most. I think that this is a bit long for you however for landscapes, and may get a bit heavy.

    I would recommend that you look into EF 24-70 2.8 or the 24 105 f4. Both have is. Go to the Canon web site and see which is best for you, and also listen to other opinions.

    Remember you have a crop camera, which simply means that the focal length will be actually 1.6 more magnification than the lens says. For example, if you have a lens marked 100 mm, a crop sensor lens will look like a 160 mm lens. Keep this in mind for your landscapes.

    sek

     
  9. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    Calgary AB
    #9
    what you describe sounds perfect for the 24-105 f4L. Unfortunately I dont own one, but have played around with one and it is fantastic. Even though its an f4, your night stuff will look good especially with longer exposures (even then, picking a 1600ISO for more speed isn't even that bad these days now for noise). Solid video lens as well.

    The thing about the 24-70 which some have recommended above me is that while right now it'll be great for your rebel at the 1.6 crop, once you go to a full frame (if thats what you upgrade to), your reach may be a little on the light side.

    Just my 2cents
     
  10. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    What lens do you have now? What focal lengths do you find yourself using?

    The 24-xx zooms will be very not-wide-angle on your camera, starting at 35mm-equivalent of 38.4mm. Is that really wide enough for your landscapes and hiking photography?
     
  11. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Haven't had any problems whatsoever with lenses purchased at Amazon. If you look carefully you will notice that some of the lenses at Amazon are sold by other stores through Amazon. I also order from B&H, and also no problems here. I imagine that Adorama should be just as good.

    That said, not all L lenses are very expensive, nor heavy. But the cheaper L lenses usually aren't weather sealed like the more expensive ones. Also, there are non L lenses that have great glass. For example, the 17-55mm mentioned above, the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, EF 50mm f/1.4...

    An outstanding prime that's small, lightweight, fast focusing, and does not cost too much (around $700.00) is the EF 200mm f/2.8L USM II (black color with a red ring).

    Another very nice lens, although not the best one for low-light situations (most times, of course), is the 17-40mm f/4L USM. Probably costs around $600.00-700.00 (?).

    This last one is the one I recommend to you.
     
  12. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #12
    I could be wrong, but I think what you've said about weather sealing is not quite right. The cheaper "L" lenses are sealed, but some of them require a UV filter to complete the sealing around the front element. For example, the 17-40mm f/4L falls into that category and is one of the least expensive "L" lenses. It has the rubber flange around the rear element, and the zoom rings are all sealed. It's just the front that needs a filter if you want complete sealing.

    As much as I love that lens, I don't think it's the right one for someone who wants to do video regularly, since it has no IS. So I wouldn't recommend it for the OP.

    The one "L" lens I have that is not sealed is the 24mm f/3.5L TS-E (tilt-shift lens). But that's probably because its tilting and shifting parts are impossible to seal.

    Again, I could be wrong. Maybe there is some cheap "L" lens that really has no sealing at all, but I have no idea which one that would be.
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #13
    In my opinion, you should forget about the letter L that Canon adds to certain lenses and pick a type of lens first. A lack of `L' is not indicative of worse optical quality, e. g. Canon does not consider any crop lenses to be worthy to be blessed, even if they are optically excellent (the 17-55 mm f/2.8 springs to mind).

    What you describe can be covered by the `bread and butter zoom' that corresponds to 28~80 mm on full frame. Since you have a crop camera, this corresponds to 17~50 mm. There are lenses with more reach, but the initial aperture isn't as large (you lose at least one stop, e. g. f/4 instead of f/2.8). Hence, I suggest you have a look at (in the order of preference)
    (1) Tamron's 17-50 mm f/2.8 (the first no VC=IS version),
    (2a) Canon's 17-55 mm f/2.8
    (2b) Canon's 17-40 mm f/4.

    Another lens I'd definitely add is the nifty-fifty -- great for portraits and at only $100, it's very cheap, but well worth the price. It's also `very bright' and allows you to take pictures in situations where you'd simply have to give up with another lens.

    I'd suggest you to go for the Tamron + 50 mm Canon: that way, you have money left over for a flash :)
    I think where IMHO you're going the wrong way is you don't actually know what `best' means (in the sense that more expensive = better) and that in some situations you can get equal or even better performance for less money.

    Even more importantly, the big picture could be that it is more useful for your creative freedom to buy two less expensive lenses rather than one expensive one (e. g. you get Canon's 70-200 f/4 and Tokina's 11-16 mm f/2.8 instead of only Canon's 70-200 f/2.8).
    What is a better car, a Miata or a Landrover Discovery? ;)
     
  14. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #14
    Some of you seem to have glossed over a point that the OP made at the outset: "I often record and make HD movies"

    To best meet that requirement, he should really be considering stabilized lenses.
     
  15. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #15
    I have UV filters on each of my "expensive" lenses; Canon 100mm L macro, Tamron 28-75 2.8 and Sigma 120-400. I consider them insurance for the front element.

    Phrasikleia: Good point. We often stray from the original topic.

    Dale
     
  16. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Are there also seals around the zoom rings or so? Just curious.
     
  17. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Or a tripod.
     
  18. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    And we still don't know what focal lengths he/she generally uses at the moment.
     
  19. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Another vote for 17-55mm IS, either Canon or Tamron. These are the most commonly used focal lengths for video/film (add an 85mm or something for close ups, though) and I can vouch for how good the Tamron one is. IS is pretty key for video on dSLRS due to skew. I also shoot landscapes sometimes and use 90mm, 135mm, 180mm, and 240mm lenses for that (equivalent to 17-45mm on APS-C) so...I can't see any other lens being more useful on the t2i. Would buy one if I could afford to!
     
  20. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Well, while all L lenses may have some seals, the cheaper ones aren't as weather-resistant as the more expensive ones. Just read the features and specifications provided by the manufacturer (Canon in this case) in the manual or brochure that comes with the lens. For example, see the difference in lens "sealing" between the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM without IS, and the same lens with IS. This is only one example of numerous.

    However, it's possible that Canon, Nikon, and the rest are beginning to built all lenses new more weather-resistant. I don't really know.

    The same applies to camera bodies. For example, while the 40D has "some" weather-recistancy (seals), the 7D is made very tight in relation to weather-recistancy. It means that if you have a 7D and weather resistance is very important to you, by all means buy L lenses designed with such because not all are. The same for Nikon, and the rest in relation to cameras and lenses.
     
  21. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Or a high quality lens that gathers more light. For example, some people use manual f/1.4 Leitz lenses for video.
     
  22. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #22
    He was pretty clear about it in his first post. He didn't specify a focal length range, but said that he needs some basic versatility: landscapes, portraits, and video all interest him. Fair enough. Lots of people start out with those basic criteria, and that's why lenses like the 24-105 exist.

    Your point about the tripod may be a good one, though. I actually don't do enough video to know how practical a tripod is for most video work, but videographers all seem to prefer stabilized lenses.
     
  23. Barnzee thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Thanks for all the replies. I have decided after much debate to go with the canon 24-70mm f/2.8. I think this will suit my purposes perfect. Though I do wish it had IS I think I can live without it. I do have a tripod but I still have the 200$ kit lens which is 18-55mm EF-S which does have image stabilization If I need it.

    Why does Photography have to be such an expensive hobby?
     
  24. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Why is it expensive? Because you choose to spend (waste) large amounts of money on gear you probably are not ready for.

    It's a bit of a stretch, but I hope you can understand the following: you don't pick an L lens, an L lens picks you. Or perhaps, you don't pick an L lens, your shots do.

    Dale has it correct, your thinking is backwards. You shouldn't pick an L lens because it's good, or because you think it will work, or because you want to make the right investment the first time. The better way is to shoot with what you have right now, and learn what focal lengths/apertures you want to shoot at. After that, picking the right L lens is a simple task, and you would not find the need to ask others about it on a photography forum. For example, you get some shooting experience and find that you really enjoy macro. Then the choice is easy, you pick the 100mm f2.8L and be done with it. There is no debate over which focal length, or which aperture, stabilization, etc. because you have the shooting experience to answer those questions.

    Furthermore, there is not really such a thing as a "versatile" L lens. Lens design is all about compromise. The manufacturer can choose to create a more versatile/capable lens at the expense of weight, cost, and most importantly- optical quality. In the case of the L lenses, a conscious decision was made to sacrifice versatility in favor of optical quality. Each L lens does a specific job and does it well, but trades that ability off in its limitation of function. You want a hiking landscape lens? That's the 17-40. You want a portrait lens? That's the 85 f1.4 or perhaps the 50 1.2. Need a telephoto zoom? That's the 70-200. They all have their place, and no one L lens tries to do the job that another one does. To truly cover your stated photographic goals you really need to be picking up 2 or 3 L lenses in total. That you don't recognize this should indicate something to you.

    Unless you are very wealthy, you certainly did not manage to save up enough for an L purchase by squandering it away. Why start now?

    Note that I refer to L lens here, but the same could be said of any high-end, pro-grade lenses.

    Ruahrc
     
  25. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    #25
    I agree with Rhuarc and the others. With your camera and your experience youa re buying a ferrari the day you got your drivers license.. a WASTE. also the focal length for your camera will be very narrow i have to say. I would have went with the 17-55 IS instead. Same image quality (the 24-70 is now quite old design btw), IS and much, much wider on your camera.

    but as I stated in the gear thread, to each his /her own. you want the most expensive thing that you can afford but cannot use, its up to you. But then dont complain about the price.
     

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