NEED HELP! Canon Lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tmhutter, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. tmhutter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2010
    I need help deciding which lense I should get for my Canon 50D. The lens that came with it was ok it was a 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 however my 2 year old son spilt water and it got in the lense and well it doesnt work anymore. I have been wanting to replace this lens with a better one any ways. Most of my photos are of him and my family . I am looking for a lens that does well with backdrops and low lighting, specifically for young children and newborns. I do take some pictures out side , action wise swimming in the pool, sports and some portraits outside. I have been looking on line and several different types and ranges. If anyone has an idea of a great lens I could use for these purposes it would be greatly appreciated. Also, is there really a difference between canon/sigma/tamron lenses?

    thanks for your time,
  2. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    of course there are differences between the different brands.. optics, build, price, etc.

    I am sure people will chime in and recommend the Canon EF-S 17-55IS. You didn't list a price range, so I will give some lens suggestions.

    The Tamron 28-75 is a great lens. I am assuming you don't want to spend a grand on a lens? The Tamron is like $400 new or so, less used.

    If you are going to be shooting a lot indoors (and in low light), you will need a faster lens (ie, f/2.8 or faster..2.8 really isn't that fast)

    The Canon 50mm 1.8 ($80 or so new) is a great little lens that is super sharp. The Sigma 30mm 1.4 is another lens that is superb and not too outrageous in price. The Canon 85 1.8 is about $300 and is an amazing portrait (longer) lens.

    I would probably say go with a Tamron or Sigma 24-70 (or similar focal length), perhaps something in the 18-50 range (both Tamron and Sigma make great lenses in this range) and perhaps the 50mm cheapo prime lens.
  3. sprtnbsblplya macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2004
    Arlington, VA
    Canon develops their own AF software for their lenses for focusing, whereas the others reverse engineer it. So some models of cameras may have issues with some 3rd party lenses. has some decent reviews. Pretty critical reviews though. More user experiences can be found on the Fred Miranda review lists.
  4. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    Third party lenses work fine with all Canon cameras. All you have to do is to be aware of which lenses to buy. For example, Sigma makes lenses for Canon cameras with FF sensors, and also for cropped sensors. The 50D uses a cropped sensor, while the 5D series use a FF sensor.

    With my Canon 40D I use two third party lenses in addition to several Canon lenses: Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, and a Tokinca 11-16mm f/2.8 (both designed for APS-C sensors).
  5. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2010
    thanks for your imput.. i have come across a few websites that say they rent different lenses? would any of you advice of doing this before making a purchase to see which one is going to work best?
  6. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, if you would rather spend $30 to rent than to spend $xxx(x), it may be a good idea. Remember, that a lot of local places don't rent 3rd party lenses (atleast here in Portland). They also tend to have more "professional" gear, ie "L" lenses and such.

    Online lens rental places ma be a different matter...
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    If your budget is in the $500 range or less, I'd say probably not. For the cheaper lenses, the cost of a couple rentals quickly adds up and soon you've paid >50% of the cost of a new lens in rental fees.

    For the higher end stuff though, renting some potential buys lets you try some of the premium gear out and does not inflate the cost of the overall purchase too badly (say around 20% extra to rent)
  8. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2010
    i would like to spend under a $1000. .but i have read about some canon L type lenses and dont know if its really worth the price. I see some of them start at $1400
  9. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    Unless you plan on getting a full frame camera in the very near future I'd advise against getting any of the 24-70mm (28-75mm or anything similar) lenses, they are too narrow at the wide end on aps-c cameras. If you prefer zoom lenses I'd suggest Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for indoor shots where you need a fast lens. It won't have as much reach as your old lens though. In general the rule is, the less reach a lens has, better its image quality is.
  10. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    It sounds like you are looking for a large aperture lens (low f-stop) lens so that you can get good low-light and action shots. In order to get good low light shots without image stabilization, you generally need an f/2.8 lens or faster. You can use an f/3.5 lens with image stabilization (IS) in low-light, but the IS won't prevent blur from the subject.

    Here is a fairly comprehensive list of Canon lenses... If you exclude all of the lenses with apertures slower than f/2.8, that leaves mostly L-lenses and prime lenses.

    The cheapest way to get good low-light and action shots is with prime lenses. If you are willing to go without zoom, you will be able to get a much larger aperture (50mm @ f/1.4 or f/1.8, 100mm @ f/2.0, etc.) for the money. There are a lot of Canon prime lens options available for less than $1,000, ranging from 20mm to 135mm. I would say make sure you are comfortable with a fixed focal length before moving to prime lenses however. If you are happy with 50mm, the f/1.4 provides amazing low-light / action performance, and great sharpness when used at f/4. The 135mm f/2L is another amazing prime lens which would be perfect for outdoor sports photography, but it is right under $1,000, and would be a little too much telephoto for general purpose use.

    If you must have zoom, there are still options for under $1,000. The 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is available under $1,000 used, and it offers a nice wide aperture combined with image stabilization. I personally think it is a little soft and has noticeable chromatic aberration, which for the price was unacceptable to me. I was picky about those things and purchased the 24-70mm f/2.8L USM instead. I wanted a no-compromises lens and with the exception of image stabilization, that was it. The 24-70mm has weather-sealing as well, which protects it from dust and water intrusion when used with a fully weather-sealed camera body (the 50D is not weather-sealed around the lens mount from what I have read). Unfortunately the lens is around $1150 used, so scratch that idea.

    You may also want to consider a used 28-70mm f/2.8L USM, which is the predecessor to the 24-70mm. Here is a comparison of the 24-70mm and 28-70mm together. The 28-70mm usually sells for $800-$900 on eBay. It does not include weather sealing but otherwise it is a great lens. Like the 24-70, it is heavy but worth it for the image quality.

    As for non-Canon lenses, I have seen results from the Sigma 28mm f/1.8 prime, and it is good. I was initially tempted by the Tamron 18-270mm for its very long zoom range, until I saw bad image samples and heard that people were having issues with the zoom ring.

    As someone else mentioned, The Digital Picture is a great website for lens reviews. I recommend using their ISO 12233 comparison charts so you can see how various lenses perform against each other.

    Good luck with your lens choice!
  11. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    I shoot 24-70mm on a 1.6x crop camera and I'm happy with it at both ends of its range. The only time it isn't sufficient is when I'm trying to get super wide shots of rooms inside of houses (which the 10-22mm is made for), and when I'm getting distant wildlife shots (which the 70-300mm is made for). Otherwise the 24-70mm covers most of the range I need for general purpose use.
  12. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    fwiw, I have a T1i and am very happy with the Canon 15-85 as a walk around lens, you can get it for under $700. Not a fixed 2.8, but a variable aperture 3.5-5.6. From what I've read very crisp/sharp images compared to your 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 .
  13. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    one lens won't do everything you want. here are a few options to think about:

    1. $850-900
    - Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS HSM: $670 new
    - Canon 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS: $230 new or $180 used

    2. ~$850
    - Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8: ~$330 used
    - Canon 70-200 f/4: ~$520 used

    3. ~$700-830
    - Canon 35mm f/2: ~$270 used or Canon 430EX: ~$190 used
    - Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8: ~$330 used
    - Canon 55-250 IS: $230 new or $180 used

    4. ~$970 used
    - Canon 15-85 IS USM: ~$600 used
    - Canon 55-250 IS: $180 used
    - Canon 430EX: $190 used

    you should determine which lens is the priority - a standard zoom for general purpose use or a telephoto for swimming, sports, and tight portraits? 'cause if a telephoto is really that important, you can cheap out and expand your options on the wide end and still get a 70-200/4.
  14. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    This may sound wired but how about either of these options

    Opt 1
    28-70 f2.8 l
    Equivilent to 44.8 mm 112 mm on your camera

    Opt 2
    17-40 f4l
    Equivilent to 27.2 - 64 mm on your crop sensor thats half price of th 24-70 but still a great quality l lens and great if you want to get into landscapes at 27 mm at the wide angle and ok for kids at 64 mm
  15. egis macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Bethesda, Maryland
    Traci – your requirements seem to be a mixed bag, by that I mean some are camera dependent and others are lens dependent.

    Camera Dependent requirements: low lighting is largely a factor of ISO speed that is camera dependent. A Canon 50D has:
    • 15.1 Megapixel
    • 6.3 fps Continuous Shooting
    • Uses Canon EF & EF-S Lenses
    • 3.0" Clear View VGA LCD
    • Live View Mode
    • Integrated Cleaning System
    • ISO 3200 - Expandable to 12800
    • 9-point Wide-area AF
    • Face Detection Live AF
    • HDMI Output

    So by expanding the ISO up to 12800 will give you the capability to capture all the low light situations one can possibly imagine.

    Backdrops: is camera, lens dependent, and most important you the photographer dependent. The camera can control ISO, and settings for the lens and the pre-set programs. The lens offers among other things Auto Focus, image stabilization, and bokeh ( Depending on the lens you chose, some of these will not be available. Canon has lenses for both APC and FF cameras. EFS lenses can only be used on APC cameras that have this sensor. L series lens can be used on all Canon DSLR equipment.

    I see a lot of consumer photographers using Sigma and Tamron equipment. Read as many reviews as possible to learn what lens from which manufacturer can do in comparison to Canon lenses. There are instances where lenses from these manufacturers provide excellent results at a significant cost savings, and other times they simply cannot compare to a Canon lens.

    For your particular requirements, I urge you to review the article on lenses at: While this article is vintage 2007, the basic information in it is timeless. Many of your questions are directly addressed in this piece. This article specifically addresses topics like sports, outdoor photography and portraits. To find the latest crop of Canon lenses go to the Canon Museum at

    I hope this helps your search and finding the right lens
  16. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    Hi Traci,

    This is probably not covered under warranty, but it's worth contacting the store where you purchased it to look into repairing it, even if you intend to upgrade. Though Canon's warranty probably won't cover this, if you bought it from a good shop the store warranty might, especially considering that in all likelyhood it's less than a year old. A repaired lens is worth a lot more than a broken one, and often the cost of repair can be recovered by selling it (on more expensive lenses anyway, not sure about the 18-135). If you bought it with a gold credit card or an Amex it's worth calling them as well to see if you have any purchase protection; such plans are usually more liberal with regard to damages than the factory warranty.

    Even if they quote you more than the lens is worth for a repair, most repair shops will buy broken lenses for a small sum, or you could always go the eBay route (just make sure you're crystal clear that you're selling a non-working lens).

    Anyway, a $1k budget leaves a lot of options to consider. Given what you describe it seems like you're actually looking for two lenses. There isn't really a single lens that will do what you want:

    - a luminous lens for indoor work (meaning it should have a large aperture & preferably a stabilizer as well).

    - a long telephoto for sports.

    My suggestion is that the Canon 55-250 IS is probably all the telephoto you need for your sports shots. It's light, inexpensive, and is a great bargain for what you get.

    For a good luminous standard zoom in this budget, you'll want to look at 3 f/2.8 stabilized zoom lenses (in order of increasing price):

    - tamron 17-50 VC
    - sigma 17-50 OS
    - canon 17-55 IS concluded that the Canon is the best, but you pay for it, and the Sigma comes very close for significantly less money. Apparently the Tamron is not nearly as good as the Sigma (I'm talking about the ability of the lens to resolve fine detail, especially in the corners of the image at large apertures) with less than $100 difference between the two lenses.

    Unfortunately for you none of them seem to be weather sealed...

    You can get a faster aperture for less money with fixed-focal-length lenses (often called "primes") but you sound like you're tracking moving subjects in changing circumstances (e.g. kids), so a zoom is probably better suited to the type of shooting you do.

    The final suggestion I'll make if you've got a grand to drop on lenses is that you acquire a Canon 50mm f/1.8, regardless of any other lens purchases you may make. This is Canon's smallest, lightest, least expensive lens, it has very good image quality, and is perfect for portraits and static low-light work on a crop camera such as yours at moderate distances (as long as you can keep the camera stable as there's no stabilizer). This prime lens is more suitable for portraits as the background will be more pleasant than one of the above zooms.

    Best of luck.
  17. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2010
    i really appreciate all the feedback.. i honestly never really though about all the things that could be considered! I have now purchased the 50mm 1.8 for starters, i would really like a 2.8L zoom lens, (maybe for christmas if I can get the husband to buy it :) ) Until then I will play around with the 50mm and go from there.. Thanks again!
  18. advres Guest


    Oct 3, 2003
    my $.02

    I just sold my 'nifty-fifty'. Great lens, you'll love it. Problem with it with your camera is it may not be wide enough. On a crop sensor camera that is more like 80mm when comparing to full frame 35mm cameras. In my opinion, it was not wide enough for an everyday, all around lens. You;ll like it for sure but I think you'll be left wanting more.
  19. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    I use a Canon EF-S 17-55IS on my 50D and love it - great lens for everyday shooting imo.
  20. advres Guest


    Oct 3, 2003
    my go to lens on my t2i as well. Only bring out the bigger throw L's when I need more length but the 17-55 is wide enough and enough length for a perfect walk around everyday lens IMHO.
  21. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    A third vote for the 17-55mm. Price made me splutter for a non L but I am hugely pleased with it.
  22. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    Glad to help, and enjoy your 50mm lens! As for going with an f/2.8 L lens, you won't be disappointed -- and if you check B&H Photo and/or Adorama every so often, sometimes you'll see Canon giving a $65-100 rebate on them. This year they had rebates during March and early May through early July.

    By the way, the other reason I didn't go with the 17-55mm lens is that I kept seeing complaints online about the IS motor failing. The 24-70mm currently doesn't have IS, but I see that as a good thing in terms of reliability.
  23. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    If you have the coin....17-55mm f/2.8

    Here is an option if budget is a consideration. How about a used Canon EF 28-70 mm f/3.5-4.5 II? They are about ~100 used on eBay. Hard to say it would work for you, but might do a google search to see. To me this is a jewel for price/performance.
  24. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    It is indeed an underappreciated lens. If one were to go this route I think the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 EX would be worth a look as it's been around a good long while.

    But even 24mm on a crop camera will leave you without any wide-angle option. The solution to this that I use on my 40D is a Canon 24-105 f/4L and a Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, but then I rarely shoot in situations where I need to switch back & forth between the two (& when I do I slap the Tokina on the GF's 350D and carry two cameras :).

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