Lens Questions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by macman4789, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. macman4789 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    #1
    Hi guys,

    Quite new to photography so sorry if I'm asking obvious questions. I'm going into a business with someone but thought I'd ask you guys for your opinions.

    I've recently purchased a Canon 30d with a EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6. From what I can gather this is quite a basic lense and I'm looking t getting a new lense.

    Are the canon pro range, the L series i think they're called that much better than your mid range canon lenses? Do they justify they're price?

    I'm looking at a wide angle zoom lense for weddings. I'm looking at around 20-70mm. I look at the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM and the Canon EF 24-105mm f4 IS USM.

    Do the equivalent sigma lenses perform similarly? Or can you tell the difference?

    Thanks for your time
     
  2. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #2
    I would have fun with your 18mm - 55mm lens in the mean-time. Perhaps later you may consider changing to one of the Canon "L" lenses. The "L" series of lenses are top of the range and yes you will notice a difference in quality. Sigma lenses are very good but IMO not just as good as the "L"'s
     
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #4
    On your 30D, those wouldn't be wide-angle lenses anymore, 24 mm on your 30 D correspond to about 40 mm on film -- that's a normal lens and very close to 50 mm already. If you are into wedding photography, I'd get a zoom with a 2.8 aperture from a third-party manufacturer, my favorite is Tokina (16-50 mm, built like tanks), but also Sigma and Tamron have similar lenses. The latter two are cheaper, but especially the Tamron has a lower built quality. In addition to that, I'd get a prime lens, probably 50 mm (corresponds to almost 80 mm), for cheap available light photography.

    I'm amazed that you are using such a lowest-end lens with such a high-class camera.
     
  4. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #5
    It really depends on how serious you want to get. I've seen too many people get these a nice camera like you have and then go around and set the thing to full auto and always shoot that way. You say words like aperture to them and they have no idea. All they want is an expensive point and shoot.

    Now, if you intend to shoot photographs with it, I would say it's well worth the time to buy once and buy right. I got my camera with the 28-135 and I ignored someone's advice to buy a *good* lens like the 24-105 (which admittedly is 2.5x the price). Now after using the 28-135, I'm really not happy with it and wish I had gotten a good lens off the bat.

    Things I have noticed are that the consumer grade lenses suck for the first 2 f stops. On mine that means I have to go up to f/8.0 to get decent pictures. And then they are pretty good. They L lenses are generally better at those first 2 f stops.

    For your range, I believe the two "good" lenses are: the 24-70 f/2.8L and the 17-55 f/2.8. The first is an L series lens and generally considered "the" lens for wedding shooting. I don't have it but was going to borrow one this weekend. It's big, fast, well built, big, heavy and is supposed to take great shots. Did I also mention it's big and heavy? The other is supposed to be a smaller lighter lens that still takes excellent pictures but doesn't have the L designation (so it's basically lighter) and may or may not be prone to dust. I don't think I'd look at the 24-105 for wedding shots unless it was a supplement to the 24-70 or something. It's an f stop slower and I think you'll want the shallower depth of field the 2.8 can provide.

    I have not in general heard good things about Sigma but I generally have spoken to the Canon snobs. I would read some reviews at fredmiranda.com also.

    Now one other thing. Go buy a 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8. The 1.8 is $75 and the 1.4 is $300. And use them for a while. Chances are once you get these, you'll leave it on your camera cause it's a great lens. You can learn all kind of great things with either of these. They're cheap (I recommend the 1.4 if you want something that will actually last longer and it sounds like you will be seriously using the camera).
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    You are going to shoot weddings and you don't even know basic stuff like this?

    The most important things are of course lighting and composition. The equipment you use matters a lot less. But equipment can let you get shots you could not otherwise.

    Back to the lens. You get what you pay for. Don't worry about the cost. A good lens has a lifetime measured in decades. When you figure you can get 20 years of use out of a lens $300 difference in price does not mean much. Buy what you need for the job

    One thing about weddings, if you want to impress people, most know nothing about photography and they will think you know what you are doing simply because you have high end gear. If they see you have cheaper gear than many of the guests you don't look good. Yes I know they should judge you by your work. You might find that having the good stuff gets you referral business. But do you really need it? Depends on the shots you want to get.

    I think you are going to need at least two zoom lenses, one long one short and both need to open up to at least f/2.8
    Some times you will have to shoot in dim light and they will ask you not to use a flash. A fast f/1.4 prime and a tripod can help there. You will use a wide angle (about 18mm) some times and a 200mm on a tripod can get closeup candids of a cerimony when you can't be up front and close. But most photographer re-stage shots afterwards but these may lack the emotion of the real event.

    Sigma vs. Canon? Many people can see the difference. back in the film days could you see the difference between Agfa Portiga and Kodak's equivalent? Or between Kodachrome and Velvia? Any serious photographer could but most of the public just bought "film" and didn't care much. Same here with lenses. The Canon L glass will all have a similar "look" in terms of color balance and contrast. Nikon is even better at matching their lenses. Mixing brands mixes this. The effect is subtle

    I can't imagine a professional not knowing all of the above. It's very basic. Perhaps your partner is the photographer? If so he'd certainly have some strong opinions on this.
     
  6. macman4789 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    #7
    Sorry should have been more clear, my father-in-law is the experienced photographer, and does weddings and family portraits. I came here to get a larger set of opinions, cos it is a lot of money!

    Thanks to all of your great detailed replies.

    Is there a major difference getting the 1.4f over the 1.8f in the 50mm? I know it's a quicker lense but have people seen significant improvements over the 1.8f?

    Thanks
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    The 1.8 is the most recomened because of it's "bang per buck". Almost as good for half the price. Yes you gain some speed but the reason many people go for the 1.4 is also because you can get some very narrow DOF and isolate just part of a subject.

    One other thing not to forget. The view finder looks through the lens wide open and focus is done wide open. So the view is brighter with the wider lens and because of the DOF, focus is easier too. Even if both are set the f/8 that is only for an instant during exposure. Viewing and focusing are always done wide open.
     
  8. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #9
    Depends on the L series lens you're looking at, the mid range lens you're looking at, and what you want out of it. One camera shop employee said to me that the EF 85mm f/1.8 is 80% the lens at 20% of the price, compared to the 85mm f/1.2L. Having done a bit of research of my own, I have to agree. The 85mm f/1.8 is on my "to buy" list (after I get a 5D or its successor); the 1.2L isn't - it's not worth the extra money to me. Somebody who shoots in very dark environments may disagree; but then, somebody like that wants something out of the lens that I don't.

    Conversely, the 24-105mm f/4L is much better than the 28-135mm, and is probably worth the extra money (unless you need the extra reach, although adding a 70-200mm lens to the collection may alleviate that concern.)

    The differences basically boil down to build quality (usually noticeably better); optical performance wide open (noticeably better in the zooms as a general rule; maybe only slightly better for the primes); and weather sealing (only [some] L glass is weather sealed, but only if it's mounted on a 1 series body, so most people won't care about that factor.)

    My dream lens collection (without going overboard) is:
    Zooms:
    • 17-40mm f/4 L
    • 24-70mm f/2.8 L
    • 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS
    • 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS (mainly because I already have it ... :D)
    Primes:
    • 15mm fisheye
    • 50mm f/1.4 (already in my collection)
    • 85mm f/1.8
    • 135mm f/2 L (maybe, not certain about this one yet.)
    • 100mm macro (next on my "to buy" list.)

    Notice that all of the zooms are L series, and the primes (for the most part) are not. This reflects the relative ease of making a good quality prime compared with a good quality zoom. (I also have the EF-S 10-22mm and the EF-S 17-85mm, but long term, I intend to get rid of those and the 20D in favour of the 5D or 1Ds. Long way off yet, though; first I want to get the macro and the 24-70mm, then I can look at moving up in my body choice.)

    So in other words: what do you intend to do with the camera? What sort of tradeoffs are you prepared to make? Sacrifice lens zoom for foot zoom or lens swaps? Lens speed? Image quality wide open? What sort of shots do you intend to take, as a rule? Etc., etc.
     
  9. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #10
    I've also heard the 1.8 is fairly poorly built. From what I have read, the 1.8 is likely to fail within a year or two whereas the 1.4 should last a good long time. I don't know that I'd worry about the smaller depth of field. I would look at how long the 1.8 takes to get sharp vs the 1.4 more than the smaller depth of field. I agree though the 1.8 is the most bang for your buck at more like 1/4 the price (not half).
     
  10. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #11
    You read and heard but apparently haven't tried. I had the 1.4 and it failed on me about 6 months later after heavy use. The 1.8 has lasted me well over a year and it's been perfect. Oddly enough.
     
  11. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #12
    Nonsense. While the 50mm is plastic, it can take abuse. I've had mine quite a few years and there isn't anything wrong with it.
     
  12. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #13
    Exactly. I used those words because I haven't used one personally. I did research which indicated to *me* that it was worth it to just spend for the 1.4. I just posted what I had read in reviews and what a friend had told me. I'm merely passing along that info.

    Edit: One thing to point out is that from the reviews I have read, there are two versions of the 1.8. The older version did not seem to have the gripes about the build quality. The newer version gets a 6 for build quality whereas the older one got an 8. Reviews of the newer one mention poor build quality very frequently.
     
  13. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #14
    I'd put whatever source gave you that information into the "not to be trusted" bin. I got the 50mm f/1.8 with my Canon EOS 30 (note: 30, not 30D), back in August 2002. I sold it to a friend earlier this year, and it's still going strong. I'll agree that it's not built as solidly as the 1.4, but it's not going to break without more abuse than any lens should be subjected to.
     
  14. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #15
    I suspect you are talking about the old version then. Again, there were 2 versions. The older version had a metal mount. The new one is all plastic and if you read through the reviews at Fred Miranda, you can see how many times mentions of the poor quality come up:

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=30&sort=7&cat=2&page=2

    In the first 30 posts I counted 13 mentions of cheap build quality.

    1) Build quality is crap
    2) I rate build quality at 1/10
    3) concerned about durabilty
    4) Cheap build
    5) It breaks too easily.
    6) build cheapy
    7) It does look and feel like a toy.
    8) A very fragile and cheap lens.
    9) Cheap construction
    10) Fragile build.
    11) plastic build
    12) Terrible build (I mean, I have some you know so-called cheapo from Canon, but man, this is the worst of all. If you shake it a little you hear some rattling noise like something is already broken inside!)
    13) cheap build quality

    That, along with a buddy who said that I should pay for the f/1.4 version is what convinced me to go with the 1.4. Again, the 1.8 is 1/4 the price.
     
  15. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #16
    Nope, definitely the mark 2. The mark 1 had a focus distance indicator, amongst other things, which the mark 2 doesn't have; my 50 f/1.8 didn't have that, and was definitely plastic all the way. I'm not disagreeing about it being a poor build quality - it most definitely is - just that it's not as dire as you seem to be making it out to be.
     
  16. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #17
    The 50mm f/1.8 is very good, but if you really want a 50mm lens go for the f/1.4 if you can afford it. Worth it if you want a 50mm prime that you'll be using a lot. As for L lenses, if you can get one you might as well. If not, you can get some decent lenses for cheaper, but L lenses are L for a reason. If they're worth it or not usually depends on how big your wallet is and how serious you are about photography.
     
  17. macman4789 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    #18
    Thanks for the replies guys,

    Both the 24-70 f/2.8L and the 17-55 f/2.8 have been mentioned. Would you say it's one or the other? The 17-55 is a wider angle lense and I've heard great things about this lense but it isn't an L lense. Whereas the 24-70 is an L lense but will this be as flexible for weddings starting at around 38mm on my 30d for group shots?

    Bearing in mind I'd like to do portraits also would the L lense be more favourable?
     
  18. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #19
    Great for achieving a shallow depth of focus for portraits. I used to have an old Nikkor 1.2 (big piece of glass) on my F1 and it was great in dark situations and produced a lovely shallow DOF for a 50mm lens.
     
  19. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #20
    Canon won't put an L on an EF-S lens. It's a mental thing for them.

    I have owned the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and the 24-70mm f/2.8L. Both are L quality without a doubt. The price of the 17-55mm is definitely L quality! :p
     
  20. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #21
    Yeah the only reason the 17-55 isn't an L lens is because it is EF-S and the build quality isn't as good. Other than that though, everything else is perfect. I would choose the 17-55 out of the 2 because you're using the 30D, which is on a cropped sensor. It's pretty much the same focal length as the 24-70 on a full frame.
     
  21. macman4789 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    #22
    That's what I was thinkin but if I ever upgrade to a full frame camera that lense will be obsolete for me won't it?

    The 24-70 will start at around 38mm on my camera, would I have any issues with group photos at 38? I'm thinkin this lense would be great for portraits aswell?
     
  22. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #23
    If you're the second photographer, I'd think the 24-70 would work well for a lot of things. It's probably not wide enough for posed group portraits unless you have plenty of room to back up, or for nice wide interior shots, but for non-posed and semi-posed portraits and detail shots (glasses, flowers, settings, etc.), I think it'd work well.
     
  23. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #24
    There are other compatible brands besides Canon, for example: Sigma.

    18-50 f/2.8 EX
    50-150 f/2.8 EX

    That's a combination that should suit to *any* situation out there, and it still costs "only a grand" together. I would take that combo over a single "L" series lense any time (if those would be the only lenses in bag). Surprisingly enough, the Sigma image quality is not very much behind the "L" series lenses which are also a lot more heavier to carry.
     

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