Need help on choosing a zoom lens for Canon T2i.

Mintin8

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
689
0
United Kingdom
Right, I'm having a bit of a dilema about which lenses to purchase with the canon T2i.

I had a nikon D40 and feel that it's time to move on to a better camera. Especially because of the video features you get with the T2i.

I'm not interested in the kit lens at all.

The only definite purchase of mine will be the Canon 50mm 1.8. This could do ok as a walk around lens.

I need some ideas about a lens in the range of 70-200mm. Would the Canon 70-200mm f/4.0L be a good idea? Also, taking into mind the 1.6 crop sensor on the T2i.

I'm not a beginner photographer but I'm saving a big buy such as the Canon 5D (hopefully Mk3 by then) until I go to university in two years time, maybe then I'll pick up some L glass but for now, I'll want to further my photography and see which areas I prefer.

So macrumors, the question is. What lens should I buy with my T2i?

Thanks in advance.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
25,255
511
Harrogate
I need some ideas about a lens in the range of 70-200mm. Would the Canon 70-200mm f/4.0L be a good idea? Also, taking into mind the 1.6 crop sensor on the T2i.
It's a great lens. I love mine. But it's not a generic, walk around lens. It's way too long for that. The newer IS kit lens is actually not too bad...
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
25,255
511
Harrogate
Would you say the 50mm prime would be alright for a walk around lens?
Perhaps. Personally I've always found even my 50mm f/1.4 a bit longer than I like a lot of the time. It will clearly depend on your style more than anything else. If I was going to have a prime I'd be looking more in the 30-35mm range.

My best suggestion would be to get the kit with the 18-55mm IS lens and see how you go. Try setting it to 50mm and never changing it.
 

Edge100

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2002
1,558
10
Where am I???
50mm is a bit long for a walkaround lens on a 1.6x crop body (80mm effective). My Sigma 50 f/1.4 is my walkaround on a 1.3x crop (1DmkII), and that is about as long as I would want.

Check out the Canon 35 f/2 or Sigma 30 f/1.4 as possible "normal" lenses for your T2i.

The 70-200 f/4 is a fantastic lens; highly recommended, but remember it's 112-320 on your T2i.
 

DylanLikesPorn

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2010
314
1
If you're buying the T2i mainly because it has the video feature, I'd suggest you buy any zoom lens with IS. The 70-200 f4 IS is a great lens. I'd look into buying a used f2.8 IS as most pros are dumping them to buy the II version.
 

gnd

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2008
568
17
At my cat's house
If you do not want the kit lens maybe get a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. It has the most useful all around focal length range and a constant f/2.8 aperture. The only better lens in this range would be the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 but that one costs almost three times as much. What you gain with the Canon is a bit more range and a bit better CA control, sharpness is the same, build quality is maybe a bit worse on the Canon (zoom creep). Canon also has a bigger filter thread (77mm as opposed to 67mm on the Tamron) which means filters for it will be more expensive.
 

Mintin8

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
689
0
United Kingdom
Perhaps. Personally I've always found even my 50mm f/1.4 a bit longer than I like a lot of the time. It will clearly depend on your style more than anything else. If I was going to have a prime I'd be looking more in the 30-35mm range.

My best suggestion would be to get the kit with the 18-55mm IS lens and see how you go. Try setting it to 50mm and never changing it.
Maybe your right. Although having the 50mm anyway won't do any harm.

50mm is a bit long for a walkaround lens on a 1.6x crop body (80mm effective). My Sigma 50 f/1.4 is my walkaround on a 1.3x crop (1DmkII), and that is about as long as I would want.

Check out the Canon 35 f/2 or Sigma 30 f/1.4 as possible "normal" lenses for your T2i.

The 70-200 f/4 is a fantastic lens; highly recommended, but remember it's 112-320 on your T2i.
Your right, probably around the 30's would be an ideal walk around prime. Although it would be slightly larger on the t2i.

If you're buying the T2i mainly because it has the video feature, I'd suggest you buy any zoom lens with IS. The 70-200 f4 IS is a great lens. I'd look into buying a used f2.8 IS as most pros are dumping them to buy the II version.
I'll look into the f/2.8 IS version. Might find one cheap. Also, nice username.

If you do not want the kit lens maybe get a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. It has the most useful all around focal length range and a constant f/2.8 aperture. The only better lens in this range would be the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 but that one costs almost three times as much. What you gain with the Canon is a bit more range and a bit better CA control, sharpness is the same, build quality is maybe a bit worse on the Canon (zoom creep). Canon also has a bigger filter thread (77mm as opposed to 67mm on the Tamron) which means filters for it will be more expensive.
The 17-50 range seems ideal.
 

mtbdudex

macrumors 68000
Aug 28, 2007
1,863
449
SE Michigan
I just got the new Canon 15-85 lens (update over the 17-85), it's a "perfect" walk around lens for wide angle to some zoom - with it's 85mm reach.

Sure, you can debate the fixed 2.8 vs variable 3.5 - 5.5 thing like countless threads have here and other forums, but for $600-ish this is a very good lens and serves our needs.

fwiw, I started with both kit 18-55 and 55-250, they are great starter lens. I consider the 15-85 big step up over the 18-55.
 

leighonigar

macrumors 6502a
May 5, 2007
908
1
Why not just buy a video camera? And yes, I know there are reasons for the T2i, but I want yours. You seem remarkably vague on focal lengths for someone who claims to be "not a beginner photographer". Just make sure you're not spending frivolously, that's all.

Also, please, please, please learn the difference between 'your' and 'you're' it is distracting.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
115
Vancouver, BC
I went through this same process a few months ago...

Here are my threads with some good insights...

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/844072/

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/848275/

I ultimately filled out my lens kit as follows... (in order of purchase)

17-55 f2.8 IS USM - this is on my camera 90% of the time
70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM - use this 10% of the time
10-20 f3.5-4.5 USM - used very rarely
60mm Macro - used very rarely


However, a friend of mine has the 15-85 and it's very sharp as well.

At some point, I may opt for the 70-200 f4 IS with a 1.4x extender but that's a lot of money to invest in focal lengths I don't use very often.
 

Mintin8

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
689
0
United Kingdom
Why not just buy a video camera? And yes, I know there are reasons for the T2i, but I want yours. You seem remarkably vague on focal lengths for someone who claims to be "not a beginner photographer". Just make sure you're not spending frivolously, that's all.

Also, please, please, please learn the difference between 'your' and 'you're' it is distracting.
I'm remarkably vague on focal lengths because

1. I don't particularly want to spend much money now until I move to a bigger/better body.

2. I'm not a fan of the kit lens on the T2i. So I was looking for other options.

Oh, and, keep your spelling OCD to yourself or PM me in future if it bothers you that much. But thank you for the help (not).

I went through this same process a few months ago...

Here are my threads with some good insights...

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/844072/

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/848275/

I ultimately filled out my lens kit as follows... (in order of purchase)

17-55 f2.8 IS USM - this is on my camera 90% of the time
70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM - use this 10% of the time
10-20 f3.5-4.5 USM - used very rarely
60mm Macro - used very rarely


However, a friend of mine has the 15-85 and it's very sharp as well.

At some point, I may opt for the 70-200 f4 IS with a 1.4x extender but that's a lot of money to invest in focal lengths I don't use very often.
Great thread links, they'll help me a lot.
 

AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2008
1,599
1,450
Alaska
Why not just buy a video camera? And yes, I know there are reasons for the T2i, but I want yours. You seem remarkably vague on focal lengths for someone who claims to be "not a beginner photographer". Just make sure you're not spending frivolously, that's all.

Also, please, please, please learn the difference between 'your' and 'you're' it is distracting.
Actually the video feature can be quite convenient sometimes, specially short clips of wildlife in Alaska. That said, I am not interested in cameras just because of video capabilities, but there is not going back now since such a feature is in high demand at the moment.
 

leighonigar

macrumors 6502a
May 5, 2007
908
1
My post was an attempt at being helpful actually. I've seen loads of people waste lots of money on gear they don't have a need for, at the expense of things they could do with, like less debt. I know nothing of your financial situation, but university is expensive, this is all I was getting at. Even SLC debt is real debt.

You [the OP] didn't explain why you wanted video and you demonstrate inexperience in questions like "Would you say the 50mm prime would be alright for a walk around lens?". You've not explained what you want to shoot and you've declared yourself uninterested in the kit lens without explaining why (it's a fine lens with a good range). Generally, your original post was difficult to respond to constructively. More information please.

A minor grammar correction really isn't an insult but I'll be sure to send you a PM should I notice any other clangers.
 

toxic

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2008
1,664
1
there is really nothing wrong with the 18-55 IS other than the build.

if you must have something else, here are your (better) choices:
Canon 35 f/2 ($320)
Canon 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM ($720)
Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM ($1050)
Sigma 30 f/1.4 HSM ($440)
Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 Macro ($420)
Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS HSM ($670)
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ($370)
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS HSM ($450)
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 ($460)
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC ($650)

pick one based on your needs and budget.
 

Mintin8

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
689
0
United Kingdom
My post was an attempt at being helpful actually. I've seen loads of people waste lots of money on gear they don't have a need for, at the expense of things they could do with, like less debt. I know nothing of your financial situation, but university is expensive, this is all I was getting at. Even SLC debt is real debt.

You [the OP] didn't explain why you wanted video and you demonstrate inexperience in questions like "Would you say the 50mm prime would be alright for a walk around lens?". You've not explained what you want to shoot and you've declared yourself uninterested in the kit lens without explaining why (it's a fine lens with a good range). Generally, your original post was difficult to respond to constructively. More information please.

A minor grammar correction really isn't an insult but I'll be sure to send you a PM should I notice any other clangers.
Thanks for your concern but University is practically paid for where I live.

I don't feel I need to give a reason for wanting video. It's just very handy and who knows when I'll need it.

I find that canon cameras also feel better when holding them unlike nikons and generally find the range of lenses canon offer much better than nikon and other brands.

The reason I may come across as being inexperienced is that I'm new to primes. And especially if I'm choosing one prime as a walk around lens. Optically, I find primes better and the low aperture will be an advantage for indoor shooting.

Another possible reason for a prime is that the depth of field, I find, is generally a lot better.

Also, I could be anywhere with this lens, but mostly in the city.

Thanks for the possible PMs, it's great that you can waste your time correcting me but I think I'll save it for English classes.

there is really nothing wrong with the 18-55 IS other than the build.

if you must have something else, here are your (better) choices:
Canon 35 f/2 ($320)
Canon 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM ($720)
Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM ($1050)
Sigma 30 f/1.4 HSM ($40)
Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 Macro ($420)
Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS HSM ($670)
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ($370)
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS HSM ($450)
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 ($460)
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC ($650)

pick one based on your needs and budget.
I think the canon 35 f/2 seems quite a good buy.
 

leighonigar

macrumors 6502a
May 5, 2007
908
1
OK, fine. University isn't free. I live in the UK too and I have a nice £20k odd debt from my three-year degree. But anyhow. Best of luck.

The nikon 35mm f/2 and f/1.8 AFS are great, I can't imagine the canon is much worse, or much better.
 

Edge100

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2002
1,558
10
Where am I???
there is really nothing wrong with the 18-55 IS other than the build.

if you must have something else, here are your (better) choices:
Canon 35 f/2 ($320)
Canon 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM ($720)
Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM ($1050)
Sigma 30 f/1.4 HSM ($40)
Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 Macro ($420)
Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS HSM ($670)
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ($370)
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS HSM ($450)
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 ($460)
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC ($650)

pick one based on your needs and budget.
Canon 17-40 ƒ/4L??? Was an awesome walkaround on my old 10D.
 

toxic

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2008
1,664
1
I think the canon 35 f/2 seems quite a good buy.
pricewise, sure, but then again it's fixed FL lens and doesn't have USM. it uses a high-pitched, noisy arc-form drive motor.

Canon 17-40 ƒ/4L??? Was an awesome walkaround on my old 10D.
I don't see how the 17-40 is a better choice than any of those lenses, so I don't recommend it to anyone.
 

Mintin8

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
689
0
United Kingdom
OK, fine. University isn't free. I live in the UK too and I have a nice £20k odd debt from my three-year degree. But anyhow. Best of luck.

The nikon 35mm f/2 and f/1.8 AFS are great, I can't imagine the canon is much worse, or much better.
Thank you, the 35mm seems ideal for capturing most situations.

Oh and in Scotland, we get pretty much everything paid. Obviously there's other stuff like accommodation etc.
 

toxic

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2008
1,664
1
Sorry, you don't think the 17-40 is a good lens (i.e. not worthy of recommendation to anyone)? Wow.
I said I don't see how it's better than any of the lenses I listed. why should I recommend a lens that lacks the flexibility of all its competitors, yet would be the second most expensive option?
 

Edge100

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2002
1,558
10
Where am I???
I said I don't see how it's better than any of the lenses I listed. why should I recommend a lens that lacks the flexibility of all its competitors, yet would be the second most expensive option?
Because it has better IQ and better build quality than most of the lenses you mentioned???
 

leighonigar

macrumors 6502a
May 5, 2007
908
1
Thank you, the 35mm seems ideal for capturing most situations.

Oh and in Scotland, we get pretty much everything paid. Obviously there's other stuff like accommodation etc.
Oh, Scotland. I hadn't thought of that. Well good stuff.

35mm lenses are a good replacement for people used to 50mms on full frame cameras. That said I myself use various inherited 50mm lenses mostly, which I guess are equiv to what a short tele would be on a full-frame camera. One of these lenses is Canon's 50mm MK1 which I believe is of very similar construction to the 35mm f/2. There a few downsides to this construction, notably like lenses of old the whole thing racks in and out to focus, the motor makes some noise (though not so much) and you cannot override focus without flicking the switch. In this regard the Nikon 35 f/1.8 is a much more modern beast.

There's a review of the Canon 35 f/2 here http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/157-canon_35_2_50d - the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a modern alternative, but it's a lot more expensive and probably won't give better images.

I'm assuming you have the Nikon 18-55mm with your D40? You could try setting that lens to 35mm and just using that length, and seeing how you like the point of view.
 

jabbott

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2009
326
7
If you want to record video, getting lenses with a USM (Ultrasonic Motor) is important. Whenever a USM lens focuses, it does not make a lot of noise. If you are using a lens with Ring USM, you have the added benefit of Full Time Manual, which lets you adjust the focus silently even while the focus setting is on AF. I have a T2i also and purchased the following USM lenses so that I knew I could record video nicely:

- 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
- 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
- 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM
 
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