Need help picking a new lens for 350D!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by AndyClarke, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. AndyClarke macrumors regular

    AndyClarke

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    #1
    I have a Canon 350D but find the supplied lens rather limited. So I have decided to purchase a new lens for longer range photos. I require the lens to take photos at my daughters sports day but there are so many on the market that is very hard for a novice photographer to chose the right lens.

    Can anybody please recommend a lens to me?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #2
    I just bought the 70-300mm IS USM last week. It's excellent. Can't beat the price for the quality and it's image stabilized. I even looked at the L series, but I'm used to 300mm and the combination of L lenses to get the same range would be prohibitive, both in $ and "just too much to carry for me".

    I had the 75-300, and the mechanics started to get "wobbly" (zoom barrel). This is a great improvement, and my first shoot the other day impressed me. The new USM is much faster than the old, which wouldn't really keep up when in AI Servo (on 10D). The zoom mechanism feels smoother - doesn't have the plastic on plastic feel of the old model. I haven't done an a/b comparison with the old lens' shots, but my impression is an improvement in both sharpness and contrast.
     
  3. walangij macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Like gr8tfly suggested, the 70-300 IS is a great zoom for what you are looking for, but also I'd like to suggest the 70-200 f/4. It's the same price, it does lack the extra 100mm but offers a higher L build quailty but also lacks IS. It just depends on what you are looking for, but either of these similarly priced lenses will do what you are looking for very well. Check out the-digital-picture.com and fredmiranda.com, the reviews there will help you compare.
     
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #4
    how much do you love your kids, cuz it's gets expensive!! :p

    do you have a price range in mind? That would help us narrow down some options for you.
     
  5. AndyClarke thread starter macrumors regular

    AndyClarke

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    #5
    Thanks for the advise so far. I don't have a budget just want to get the best for my needs which are family photos. I might try some nature action (birds etc!) photos if I get a chance so I would rather spend more on something that will exceed my needs at the moment and not have to buy another lens for many many years. :)
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #6
    The reason folks are asking about budget is that lenses for sports/birding run from "hundreds" to "thousands." A lot depends on lighting- if you're shooting indoors, then you need a faster, more expensive lens. If you're shooting outdoors in bright light then you can get away with a slower, cheaper model. Most sports shooters shoot around 300mm, and the pro sports lens of choice is a 300mm f/2.8 lens- that's in the thousands of dollars category. For birds, 300mm is really the minimum, and 400-500mm is a good starting point. In a Canon mount, if you've got the money and you're not trying to shoot in low light, the 100-400mm IS is a great all-around telephoto zoom. It's f/5.6 at the long end though, so it wants a good deal of light, which may be bad for fast-action sports and certainly won't be useful inside.
     
  7. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #7
    In that case, look at the 70-200mm f/2.8 (or f/4) IS lenses. The image stabilzation is a phenomenal asset - especially for sports. The 2.8 is definitely more expensive but the extra light allows for much faster shutter speeds, and you can use it inside - not as easily with the f/4. You can extra reach from adding a 1.4x extender later on.

    I owned the 70-300 (much better than the 75-300) and it was okay. Nice reach but you have to use it in bright daylight at 300mm, otherwise it is just too slow to get crisp shots with any movement.

    You'll never get rid of the 70-200 f/2.8 (really...) but it is pricey. Check out fredmiranda.com under reviews for canon zooms.
     
  8. AndyClarke thread starter macrumors regular

    AndyClarke

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    #8
    Thanks for your help. I think I will go for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM as you suggested. I will monitor the thread until Monday but it looks like this will satisfy my immediate needs.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #9
    It is without a doubt the best Canon telephoto zoom lens, amazing image quality - and I have it stuck to my camera most of the time!!
     
  10. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #10
    Andy-

    While I completely agree with Grimace that the 70-200L is one the of the best zoom lenses ever made (I have the f/2.8 non-IS), given your needs I would seriously consider the advice that compuwar gave you. There are several reasons for this. For one- the uses that you described would not be quite met by the 70-200. If you're interested in doing birding, then the equivalent focal length of 320mm (200mm X 1.6 FOV crop) will indeed be awesome for sports, but will be in the low end for birding. The 100- 400 on a 1.6FOV crop is an awesome telephoto- going from a 160 to a monsterous 640mm. That will be more than enough to cover your birding needs.

    My second reasoning is that given the recomendations for websites, you were undoubtedly dissuaded from the 100-400 by fredmiranda's website. One thing to keep in mind is that most of the people there are professional photographers, who really have all the time to measure the slight barrel distortion of that lens, versus the minute pincushion here... this is all stuff that the regular joe like us will never really care about, or notice. Fact is that on a crop-sensor camera, the 100-400 is an awesome lens. If you aren't planning on getting a 1D series, or a 5D ($4-8k, $3k, respectively), then you will likely not be bothered by the slight loss of sharpness at the corners on a full-frame camera (remember that with a crop sensor you're shooting in the sweet spot).

    My last reason is price. The 70-200 f/2.8 IS is an expensive lens. On a good day, you can find one for about $1500. The 100-400 is about $400 less than the 70-200. That $400 can be spent on a number of things. You said that you don't feel the kit lens is enough. For $300 you can get a 50mm f/1.4 lens, which will allow you to take some awesome portraits of your kids. That kind of money can also get you a nice flash- yeah, the XT has one built in, but if you're doing any sort of stuff where you're far enough away (and with a 100-400 you might be), a nice solid flash, like the 430EX ($240) would be useful.

    Just my thoughts. Someone will probably disagree with everything I've said.
     
  11. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I'm going to disagree on the IS for sports. It doesn't matter. IS won't make your sports shots sharper. Only a faster shutter speed will. IS will take care of camera shake, and if you're shooting at a speed that requires it, you have more problems than capturing the action.

    That being said, it helps if you are doing panning shots, but taking pictures of the kids sports, most likely, you want sharp, stopped action pictures.

    It also offers weather sealing which is great. That is what I think is the best feature of the lens.

    I'd look at the non-IS version as it's about $500 less new. And as was said, add either the 50 1.4 or 1.8, and maybe the 85 1.8 or a flash for the same or less money.
     
  12. Mantat macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Just a quick comment, I dont have the 70-200 2.8IS or the 100-400 IS but I have equivalent range so I can comment on usage...

    the 70-200 range is EXCELLENT for any sport shooting if you arent too far from the field. BUT it is WAY too short for birding, even on a XT you will fall short.

    The 100-400 is an excellent lens and was my first choice until I played with my 400 5.6L which I prefer now. But that lens is only used for birding or sport when I cant be close to the field. I often wish I had zoom capability on it but it was the price to pay to have super image quality and fast focusing. Dont be scared by the 5.6 aperture it will be fast enough for most shots, it is just that you will have to increase the ISO.

    So what do get? I would personaly go for a 70-200f4IS or the 2.8IS. They are much more flexible and if you even get a full frame body, they are even better as a walk around lens. I suggested the f4 because it is much smaller and lighter than the 2.8 and if you shoot outside most of the time, you can live with the smaller aperture, trust me.

    BUT if you plan to keep your number of lens to the minimum, go for the 100-400, you can later get the 24-105IS and you will have a lot of flexibility and IS in just 2 lens... That is the best trecking package you can get!

    Finaly, you can also go with a prime in the 200 range. They will have better aperture and IQ but will reduce composition flexibility...

    As you can see, there arent any perfect solution! The best bet is to plan ahead and always think about the next lens you might need to make sure you dont shoot yourself in the foot like I did! ( I have a 17-40 and would rather have a 10-20 and a 24-105 now that I moved to a 5D...)
     
  13. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #13
    It can be turned off, if you want to shoot without it. But, if you get a non-IS, you won't have any option.

    The IS on this model also has Mode 2 IS, which will help camera shake even while panning. The shoot I did the other day was of surfers, from a couple hundred feet away. I actually left it in Mode 1, as I'm used to it. The IS is noticeably more responsive than the old model's.

    As far as IS during panning - there will be many shots of the subjects when standing still, barely moving, or moving toward/away. The ability to shoot with a lower shutter speed will let you stop down, and increase your DOF. I just feel it's a great option to have, and you'll appreciate it when you need it.
     
  14. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #14
    Andy, I checked out your Flickr and .Mac pages -- very nice! You definitely have an artistic eye and a love of your family!

    Given what I saw on those sites, I reiterate my recommendation for the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS Canon lens. It is extremely versatile and given the types of shots that YOU take, it can't be beat. The image quality difference between this lens and the 100-400 is (in my view) 10/10 to 9/10 (gets worse the longer the reach). The latter lens also has a push-pull zoom, just a difference in how it works - not judging there.

    Some posters latched on to birding as the purpose of the new lens, maybe a bit too much. I think you said that "my needs which are family photos...I might try some nature action (birds etc!) photos if I get a chance ..." Birding is a very specific field for long glass (300-400mm range and you quickly hit lenses in the $4k range). You can still get great bird shots at 200mm and the low light ability of IS and f/2.8 is something you may not want to pass up if you can do it from the get go. Given that this is for sports and (non-portrait) family shots, a 70-200mm range makes far more sense than 100-400mm.

    For closeup portrait-length lenses, have a look at the 50mm f/1.8 (and f/1.4) -- it's amazingly sharp for portraits. The f/1.8 is only about $75 and ridiculously sharp. As anyone will tell you (Nikon and Canon alike) - this is a beloved lens, often called the "thrifty 50".
     
  15. Mantat macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Just to agree with the previous poster, the 50 1.8 is a great lens BUT if you are willing to add a few more $, go for the 85mm F1.8 it is as good as the 50mm but will give you a bit more range and better bokeh.
     
  16. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #16
    I almost sprung for the 70-200 f/2.8 IS L. I decided to wait and see if what they come up with in the future, as I really need a bit wider zoom range (>300mm). The price wasn't as bad as I thought - I believe I was quoted around $1700. Unless you want "all of them", there's always some compromise. ;)
     
  17. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #17
    I don't know how often you shoot birds, but it's currently ~98% of what I shoot and sell, and *if* you're somewhere that's got relatively tame Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, tame ducks, it's sitting on the table cooked or you're feeding from a blind you can "still get great bird shots at 200mm."

    Even then you'll get substantially *better* bird shots at 300mm, 400mm and up. I shoot a fair number of places where the birds are used to people and not all that shy, and I find that I still need a 1.4x TC on my 400mm (on a 1.5x crop factor body) fairly often. Even when I go to the 1.7x TC it's often not enough reach- especially for raptors, warblers, etc.
     
  18. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #18
    Agreed, I just didn't want him to think that 200mm wouldn't even get him close. Since his main objective wasn't birding, I didn't want (only) that type of shooting to color the responses as much as it did.
     
  19. AndyClarke thread starter macrumors regular

    AndyClarke

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    #19
    Thanks for all your advice and complements. I will go for the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS as 'birding' is secondary to my needs and if I get the bug for it I can splash out on another lens later in the year. I will also go for the 50mm f/1.8 for portraits. Now all I need is a Macro lens for close up shots of flowers, my daughter likes me to take a photo then she draws them. Any ideas on this???

    Once again thanks for all of your advice it's been so valuable to me.

    Andrew
     
  20. djbahdow01 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    How? I never use my VR for sports, it doesn't give you any benefit. So I would have to disaree, a high shutter speed and a steady hand will get the shot. I almost always use my monopod with my 70-200, and always use it with my 300 f2.8. The VR/IS is good for everything but sports I feel, at least in what I have been shooting.
     
  21. walangij macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I have the EF-s 60mm macro on a 350D. It is razor sharp, beautiful bokeh, really awesome for flowers, but I need to get a proper tripod to get really awesome shots b/c the DOF can be extremely shallow when you are at 1:1 ratio and I hate increasing the ISO to compensate for the loss of 2 stops at 1:1 ratio.

    The 60mm also doubles as a great portrait lens. That being said though, I'm planning on getting the 100mm macro to replace it (and a tripod), and getting a different lens solely for portraits. Since you are planning on the 70-200 f/2.8 IS and 50 f/1.8, your portraits are surely set.

    I like the working range of the 100mm macro better, and I'm sure its just as sharp as the 60mm. With my 60mm, bugs get frightened b/c I have to get close and it's fairly hard to shoot them without them moving, all my bug shots so far are OOF b/c of this and the lack of a tripod, the only bug shots I have which are ok are of bugs which are dead :(. I have no experience with the 180mm or other 3rd party macros, I hear that they all are very good though but I cannot say from experience.
     
  22. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #22
    In general, macro lenses are prime (fixed focal length) lenses and are very sharp. A few Canon samplings:

    A). 60mm Macro is $350 - but you have to be pretty darn close. For flowers, it works well, but for bugs/flowers, they tend to get spooked. Also could be used for portraits. (Note: EF-S lens which can't be used if you ever went to full-frame.)

    B). 100mm Macro is $480 - puts you further back and is very good quality. Serves as a good telephoto prime lens.

    C). 180mm Macro is $1200 - L quality but maybe a bit over the top unless you are going to be doing a lot of macro work. Because of the long focal length, you can be very far back and get a huge magnification of your subject. Also serves as a good telephoto prime lens.
     
  23. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Like I said before.

    As for macros, the Tamron 90mm gets great reviews. Supposed to be one of the best macros out there.
     
  24. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #24
    Two recommendations: the Canon 100mm macro is excellent value for money; so too is the Sigma 105mm macro. I wouldn't bother with the EF-S 60mm; it's too short (IMO), and I view EF-S as a drawback, not an advantage. (Which hasn't stopped me buying the EF-S 10-22mm and EF-S 17-85mm, but long term, I'll probably end up getting rid of them in a move to full frame. But, IMO, if there's a choice between an EF-S lens and an EF lens that will do the same job, I'll go EF, just for the future flexibility.)

    The Canon 180mm macro is a superb lens, but it's expensive, heavy, and probably massive overkill for your needs.
     

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