Looking to get a zoom lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pezdaddy, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. pezdaddy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #1
    I need to start saving my pennies for a new lens, which will be an upgrade over the kit lens I currently have (and only lens, btw). My camera is the Canon SL1, which is a 1.6 crop. I have had it since Christmas 2013. so about 6 months. Came from various point and shoots prior to this camera (bought my first digital camera in 2001) but my only experience with the DSLR is about 6 months. I am interested in furthering this hobby, and don't see it as a passing fad for me.

    The lens I currently have is the 18-55 3.5-5.6 that came with it. I would like to invest in a better lens with a longer reach and am thinking about this lens:

    EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

    It doesn't have image stabilization, which may be important at longer zoom range? I don't particularly care for zoom lenses where the front glass extends way out (where you twist to zoom) - I think it looks silly. It is my understanding that the L series slide to zoom. How important is this? No big deal?

    I find myself shooting the family birthday parties quite a bit (we have one about once a month in my family) and would like to be able to zoom in on the birthday person without getting in their face. the 55 mm (88 crop) just doesn't get me close enough. I realize I won't use all that zoom indoors but nice to have outside. I was thinking the 70 would probably be fine indoors and the aperture would be better than 5.6 I'm currently stuck at when zoomed in at 55 mm.

    Can someone direct me toward lenses I should consider or things I should look for? I tend to lean toward the belief that the poor man pays twice, so I don't want to cheap out and regret it. At the same time, I'm not a professional so don't want to break the bank. I'm not opposed to Sigma, Tamron, etc, just not familiar with their lineup.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    How much do you want to spend? I'd stick with Cannon or Sigma. If possible get a lower fnumber. The lower the number the more light it can let in and generally the better it is. I just picked up a 70-200mm f2.8. Great lens. Look at second hand glass as people are always selling their gear. Also checkout the lens section on dpreview.com.
     
  3. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    #3
    The 70-200 f/4L was my first L-series lens. It's actually excellent glass. It's pretty sharp at f/4, and at f/8 it's flawless.

    You can deal without IS if you can keep the shutter speed above the 1 / effective focal length rule, and/or use a tripod or monopod.

    As far as the lens extending when it zooms, all the Canon 70-200 lenses are internal zoom lenses. But there are quite a few L-series lenses that do physically extend to zoom: Canon 24-70 (both f/2.8 and f/4), 24-105 f/4L IS, 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L).

    If you want to buy now and this is all you can afford, get the 70-200 f/4L.

    But if you can swing it, the pinnacle is the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. It's my workhorse lens and it is pretty much my go to for anything portrait.

    If you get the 70-200 f/4L and decide you want to upgrade to the f/2.8 with IS, you can easily flip the 70-200 f/4L. Better yet, get one used for a discount so you retain more money when you decide to sell it.
     
  4. pezdaddy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #4
    Thank you guys, definitely helps. I should look towards the used market - didn't think of that. I don't mind saving up for what I want

    Since my current lens is only a 55, do you think I'll miss anything by jumping to 70, since I won't have anything to cover the 55-70 range? Not looking to replace the kit lens yet since I feel the greater zoom would be the better purchase.
     
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #5
    Not having 55-70 won't matter a jot IMO.
     
  6. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    Folding space
    #6
    My first Canon, an Xsi, came with that 18-55 lens and the first thing I did is replace it. I got a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. I now shoot with a Canon 7D but that Tammy is still on my camera 90% of the time. Great lens.

    My other lenses are all "specialists":

    Canon 50mm f/1.8 - low light
    Canon 100mm f/ 2.8 macro - macro and drag racing
    Sigma 120-400 f/ 4.5-5.6 - wildlife

    Dale
     
  7. pezdaddy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #7

    Dale, I'm intrigued by the Tamron 28-75. I wonder if that would cover most of the kind of indoor shooting I do (birthday parties, holidays, etc.). Since I'm on a 1.6 crop that would give me 120. Plus I like that f/2.8. Is that constant?

    Hmmm, I could use a lens like that to replace the kit lens, which may be better than a zoom at this time (can't afford both at the moment, one or the other), and that would probably satisfy my craving for more reach. I really need just a bit more indoors.
     
  8. ChrisA, Jun 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #8

    The big mistake is you are thinking the long lens can substitute for getting closer. You generally do not want that. Remember that camera to subject distance determines the perspective and the lens focal length determines the angle of view. Perspective is the size ration of foreground and background objects. The 50mm on a crop body gives a fairly natural perspective at 200m and standing way back it looks very compressed and flat, un-engaging. Getting closer make the subject look larger in the image this looks better until you see distortions in the face. This starts with lenses much shorter than 50mm. 50 to 85 is just about perfect if you have a crop body SLR. You just need to position the camera correctly of the shot you want.

    For indoor people shots like you describe a 50mm f/1.8 is very good (and a LOT less expensive) and the 85mm is good for head and shoulders shots.

    With an f-stop of 1.8 you mostly do not need image stabilization because you can work with shutter speeds faster than 1/60th.

    I would use a long 200mm lens only when there is a physical barrier that prevents getting closer.

    With your 18-55 lens set at 55mm you are hardly "in someone's face". You are likely 8 feet away.

    What you need to do is get over the beginner stage before spending the big $$$. By that I mean get over the fear of getting closer. You shots will look so much more engaging when you are interacting with the subject and not standing far way with something like a snipper scope.

    The 50mm f/1.8 should be you next logical lens as it will allow a very fast shutter and small depth of field, just what you need for indoor shots of people.


    Had you said you were shooting at a daughter's gymnastics meet or some outdoor locations then200mm makes more sense but indoors portraits of a single person or very small group 50mm is the lens to use.

    Next after that, think about lighting.
     
  9. TheDrift-, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014

    TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #9
    My top two choices based on what you have described is the canon 24-105 f4L IS or the 70 200 F4

    on a crop body the 24 105 comes out at 38 - 168, if you can live without the wide end (you loose from around 29 - 38 on your current set up), you could even sell you current lens to help cover the cost.

    168 is plenty zoomy for most indoors and your not giving up any aperture against the F4 70 -200 and your getting IS, and your not having to change lenses.

    The 70 200 is a great lens (i have the 70 200 2.8 II IS) but on a crop your looking at 112 - 320... and you might struggle to fit people in the frame....canon also do a 55-250 i think which is a bit slower but a cracking lens for the price.

    Also I wouldn't discount the primes a nifty 50 will be a great indoor headshot portrait lens in a crop, and will give you that shallow depth of field and blur the background out....

    If you can it might be trying to borrow a few lenses to try them out, if not maybe a decent local camera shop will let you try a few out to see which works best for you?
     
  10. The Bad Guy macrumors 6502a

    The Bad Guy

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    Australia
    #10
    You can not go wrong with the 70-200mm f4L IS USM. Just get it. Then love it.
     
  11. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    Jul 2, 2009
    #11
    I'll shoot a portrait at 200mm if I want to blur the background. Shooting wide open is what most people do to bokeh the background, but shooting long focal length actually makes a huge difference in getting that separation between the subject and background.

    Also, shooting long focal length maximizes the perspective compression to make the subject look better (features aren't distorted).

    50mm on a crop is still close to 85mm, which is generally the most common portrait focal length, but shooting longer is better for portraits.

    Shooting close to be engaging with the subject is more a stylistic approach than anything. I guess I would favor this if I were trying to photograph people who wanted to be photographed, but simply are not very good being natural in front of a camera.
     
  12. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #12
    Some photos shot on my 7D with the 28-75 Tamron f/2.8.
    The aperture is constant through the focal range. This is an older copy of the lens and the new one has image stabilization.

    [​IMG]
    1/800s f/8.0 ISO100 28mm

    [​IMG]
    1/200s f/8.0 ISO100 28mm

    [​IMG]
    1/50s f/8.0 ISO100 28mm

    Dale
     
  13. pezdaddy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #13
    Wow...those shots are amazing! Not sure I will be as skilled as you with it on my camera but I think you just convinced me to get this lens. It would totally replace the kit lens I have.

    Thanks!
     
  14. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
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    Folding space
    #14
    Thanks. I stand corrected on the IS, they still haven't added it to this lens. I thought they had updated it. Here's t he link to it on B&H photo and video. read the reviews and make your decision. Handle it at a camera shop if you can. That's best with any camera gear purchase.

    Tamron 28-75 f/2.8

    Dale
     
  15. truettray macrumors 6502

    truettray

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