Lens Advice Please?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MacAztec, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #1
    I have a Canon T2i that I bought over a year ago, and I absolutely love it. Currently, I have the stock 18-55 lens, and I bought a "nifty fifty" 50mm fixed lens from Canon. I use the 18-55 most the time, but the 50mm comes in handy.

    I want to step my game up and turn this into an active hobby, as I realize how much I love photography. I'd like some advice on lenses, attachments, and other accessories that can help me achieve my goal. I would like to shoot in these categories:

    -Ocean Photography: Surfers, waves, etc.
    -Macro: Fun closeups of interesting things for artistic photos.
    -Landscapes: I hike/camp a lot, and would love a lensthat takes great landscape photos.

    I look forward to your input, thanks!
     
  2. Bluefusion macrumors 6502

    Bluefusion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #2
    These are very open-ended interests, so it's hard to say.
    I shoot Nikon, so I'm not totally sure of Canon's lens series, but:

    waves/action - virtually any lens, probably you'll want some kind of a zoom.
    close-up - again, a good zoom will be best (but remember you need a lot of light)
    landscapes - most people prefer wide-angle lenses for this, so make sure that zoom goes back to like 18-20mm or so.
    So essentially, any lens will work for you -- even the kit lens -- if you're just shooting action and landscapes. It's really about what level of light you need (ie. whether you shoot at night) and whether crisp detail/bokeh is important to you.

    Personally, I use:
    - 18-55m 3.5-5.6 (kit lens), which believe it or not I just bought for the first time. This is a perfect "everyday" lens, but it doesn't get a lot of light when zoomed. Mainly this is nice because it's super-cheap and does everything "ok".
    - 55-200mm 4-4.5 (zoom lens) -- my new love. Never had a tele before and it's awesome.
    - 35mm 1.8 (a prime lens, meaning it's stuck at a single length.) I do this because it's very fast (gathers tons of light) and it's one of Nikon's best lenses-- sharper than anything I've ever seen. Canon should have something vaguely similar. Don't pay a ton for this, but it's KILLER if you want great portraiture/macro/night shots.
    Whatever you do, don't buy Sigma unless you really must. And make sure you get lenses with image stabilization: Nikon calls this VR, Canon calls it IS (I think) and Sigma/Tamron call it HSM/OSM or something like that.
     
  3. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #3
    You have two of the trinity that is the beginner's lens arsenal for Canon. the 55-250 IS would round it out. This would probably be useful for waves and surfers. I started out with these three lenses as I'm sure many others have. I have since upgraded the 18-55 to a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 non-VC, but I still love the 55-250 and don't foresee upgrading it for a long time.

    One accessory that I think would be really good for you to look into is a tripod. Both macro and landscape shots pretty much demand one, especially in low light.
     
  4. Bluefusion macrumors 6502

    Bluefusion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #4
    Doh! Didn't even read the lenses you do have already.

    Yes, a tele would round that group out -- the 55-250 sounds like a nice one. Of course, if you find 50s too "close" for your taste, you might want a prime at a different focal length, but that's mainly for fun. (I had the 50mm 1.8 and traded it in for the 35-- I just like the way 35 "feels", but YMMV!)
     
  5. MacAztec thread starter macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #5
    Thanks guys!

    When I mentioned macro lens, I meant something that I could take closeups of...say...flowers, water drops, things of that nature. Thanks!
     
  6. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    #6
    This should answer any questions you have about lenses for Canon's www.the-digital-picture.com . Sure helped me out, but take some reviews with a grain of salt since these guys can be really picky at times and some times they may have just received a bad copy. If you're ever planning to upgrade to a full frame body though, I'd seriously consider sticking with the EF mounts rather then EF-S lenses since they will fit any Canon body. Hope this helps!
     
  7. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #7
    If you really want to get serious with it get faster lenses; depend on amount of money you could spend.
    Nice lens would be obe of the 70-200 in 2.8 or even 4.0. That one will stay with you over several bodies.
    You could add the 17-40/4.0 as wide angle.
    I always tried to not use the "monster-range" lens like 28-300. They have to make too many compromise in quality. Actually I even have more fixed lenses compared to zooms.

    And as mentioned before stay with EF lens as those working with all bodies; a very good tip.

    A good source is also www.dpreview.con
     
  8. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Hi MacAztec. For surfing pictures you have two choices, either a very long lens or the even more expensive option of an underwater housing (and a wetsuit!). Assuming that you are not quite committed enough to be taking your camera in the water right away I would recommend you try hiring a lens. I have shot some surfing and found even a 70-300mm zoom only just adequate. If you hire a lens for a weekend it is a good way of finding out if that lens is what you really need.

    As for macro photography. The cheapest way to give it a try is to use an extension tube. Canon do a 12mm and a 25mm but there are also cheaper alternatives from other brands (there is no glass in them so the brand/quality doesn't really matter). The longer it is the closer you can get to your subject and the greater the magnification. You will find the autofocus struggles close up so will probably need to switch to manual focus.
     
  9. Ja Di ksw macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #9
    I second dpreview.com, best place on the web to go.

    telephoto - an extender can really help here. I use the 180mm f/3.5L, and slap on the 2x extender when I really want something up close. I've seen a lot of really good results with the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 as well (though I've never tried it myself, but not for a lack of want!).

    The ocean shots you mention would probably be two different lenses. For big shots of the waves, or a surfer on a giant wave, you will want a wider lens. But unless all your shots are going to be a speck of a guy on a giant wave you'll need a telephoto lens, especially since I'm guessing you'll be on the beach. I'd recommend the 300mm f/4L. Gives good colors and is decently fast for that length. The 400 might be good too, never tried it.

    Landscapes you could probably get away with something not too wide, though I do really like the 24mm. Might be a bit much, though.

    For lenses, my two pieces of advice are to invest in them (a good lens will last you years and years, if not the rest of your life, while the body can always be upgraded cheaper as newer ones come out) and to go primes, with 1 or 2 zooms for when the occasion calls for it. Yes, zooms are very useful and handy, but they just aren't as sharp or nice as a good prime.

    Best of luck, welcome to a very fun and fulfilling hobby, and send my condolences to your wallet :).

    (PS - tripod is very useful, don't skimp on it, I did and it cost me some great shots, I really regret it).
     
  10. TheReef, Jan 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012

    TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #10
    Just to reiterate what others have said, I think you are fine with the kit lens for landscape photography.
    One of the great things about it is it's low demand on gear. :)
    Invest in an a graduated ND filter to darken clouds and bring sunset scenes to life, and circular polariser to reduce harsh reflections and glare.

    Surf shots on the other hand, can place much higher demands on your equipment (and wallet).
    As mentioned I think a good starting point is the 55-250mm, it fairs quite well for a good price.


    The 400L is a superb lens in every aspect - build, colour, contrast, sharpness - RAW images straight from the camera require minimal adjustments. I'd definitely recommend it, overkill as a starting point though due to it's specialised area of application.

    Here's a surf shot with the 400L

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Ackgirl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    #11
    Buying new lenses can get expensive quickly, especially if you're new to photography. There are a number of places where you can rent lenses for a day or a week at a fraction of the cost. This will let you try out many different lenses to see what you like shooting with most.
     
  12. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #12
    Nice shot ! Which 400 you used ?

    2.8 or 5.6 ?
    I "just" have the 5.6 but happy with it. Given that's a nice weather lens with 5.6. But will be fine for beach/wave or air shows. Normally you have enough light on those events.
     
  13. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #13
    Thanks!
    I use the 5.6, and shoot with it almost exclusively in the golden hour, where there's enough available light.

    If it's overly cloudy or the sun has set, I won't even consider using it, not even on a tripod.
     

Share This Page