Next lens - Suggestions Please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BOOSTD, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. BOOSTD macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2007
    Hello all, when I bought my Canon 30D, I opted to buy the body only and instead bought the Canon ef 85mm f/1.8 USM lens with it. It has proven to be an excellent lens and I am very happy with it. However, the fixed focal length is limiting, so I am looking into more lens options. Here is my dilemma, I would like a larger variety of focal lengths, but the image quality of the consumer variable focus lenses is not really what I want. I have looked at the L series lenses and I really like the 24 - 70mm f/2.8, but when compared to prime lenses (ie. 50mm f/1.4 at $300), the image quality doesn't compare. This seems to be the trend with any variable focal length lens, even L series lenses. So I have come up with two options:

    Budget $1500

    Option 1 - image quality over versatility
    EF 28mm f/1.8 USM ~$400
    EF 50mm f/1.4 USM ~$290
    EF 85mm f/1.8 USM - already purchased
    EF 70 - 200mm f/4L USM ~$550

    Total: $1240

    Option 2 - versatility and less lenses
    EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM ~ $1200
    EF 85mm f/1.8 USM - already purchased and superfluous with this setup.
    EF 70 - 200mm f/4L USM ~$550

    Total: $1750

    Obviously option two is over budget, but is the only combination that I found which would be comparable to option one. So the question is, which option is better? I dont mind carrying around multiple lenses and image quality is the most important to me. Heck, even if I cant get in close with the normal lens Im using, at least I will be able to crop it and still have a good quality pic. Are there other possible options that I have not considered?

  2. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Primes will always be sharper, but you can find good zooms. The 24-70mm you mentioned is top-notch, one of my favorites. If you go the route of the 70-200 -- get either of the versions that come with IS -- longer lenses really need that. If you want to arm yourself with great zooms that hold their own, check out:

    10-22mm: $600
    24-70mm: $1050
    70-200mm: $1000 (f/4) and $1600 (f/2.8) - both with IS

    It all depends on the type of shooting you do. If you can move around a lot in close range, you wouldn't need to consider the 24-70mm very much. A good 70-200 was the first lens I picked up (with my 50 f/1.8) -- that was the kind of shooting I did. Figure out what types of shots you want, then break out the credit card!

    p.s. To answer your question, I would spend $1675 and get the 70-200mm IS f/2.8 ($1600) + the 50mm f/1.8 ($75). Those are two TOP lenses that you would always keep - you can always add more in 6 months.
  3. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    I was in the same position as you are and managed to go with a simple three-lens setup:
    - EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
    - EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
    - EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

    The 17-85/70-300 combo is a good balance, IMO, of versatility, weight, price, and image quality. mid-zoom L lenses just weren't wide enough and the wide-zoom L lenses just weren't long enough. :(

    I have the 50/1.8, but decided to upgrade to the 50/1.4 for the extra 2/3 stop (even f/1.8 doesn't cut it for me sometimes), the distance meter (which I find myself needing, from time to time), and the USM focus motor. I'll be selling my 50/1.8 soon, probably, but the upgrade is worth every penny.

    Overall, I'm happy with the setup. I've got a Cumpler bag (7 Million Dollar Home) with plenty of room to spare and the entire kit is light enough that I won't mind carrying it around all day when I need to.

    I ordered everything from Amazon and came in right at $1500.
  4. walangij macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007

    I agree with this, excellent advice. Option 1, while it looks nice, I think you'd probably be disappointed in the long run. The 28mm isn't that stellar from my experience, certainly not worth the cash. The 50mm f/1.4 is great, more good than bad. The 70-200mm f/4L, I'd say to save up for the 2.8 IS, its worth the money and the wait.

    I'm using the "holy trinity" in canon primes, the 35mm f/1.4L, the 135mm f/2.0L, and the 85mm f/1.2L (not mine yet :p) though. It is the "holy trinity", the 135mm is amazing, as is the 35mm, they seem to create light in low light situations and give amazing IQ as well (haven't gotten used to using the 85mm f/1.2 so can't say much yet except it also is great).

    Option 2 is a nice combo, I know a lot of fellow amatuers that have that setup in my area, but they aren't ultimately happy with their choices (are we ever haha) and are looking to upgrade to the 70-200 f/2.8 IS as soon as they can, I'd suggest just waiting and saving up for it if you decide to.

    Also to note, the "holy trinity" of canon zooms are the :

    24-70mm f/2.8L
    70-200mm f/2.8L IS
    16-35mm f/2.8L MKII ( or 10-22mm for crop)

    In the long run, I'd suggest just getting the right equipment for the shooting you do by spreading out purchases instead of purchasing and reselling equipment as you upgrade unless there's a range you really need and then you make do with something.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes like not using a DSLR.

    One selects a DSLR because of the instant feed back and fast digital workflow not because it gives the best possible image quality. I think medium format film still wins if quality is the #1 deciding factor.
    And a Hasselblad would fit into your budget.

    OK, I assume you don't want to switch camera systems. I think the pro-quality zooms are good. Good enough that in real life photography the end result is actually better because you can "crop in the camera". In even high end DSLRs the sensor is still the weak link. With today's technology I think the only reason to pull out a prime lens is because your zoom does not have a wide enough f-stop. You do not pull out the prime for a sharper image. Sensors only record so many pixels. I own primes that overlap my zooms. If you are shooting at f/5.6 you can't tell but if I want f/1.8 I have no choice but to use a prime

    My next camera will shoot 4x5 film. I have some ideas for large size prints and I'll need some big files to make four foot wide prints. I'm looking at spending under $500. But what I'm discovering is that I'll need large computer to handle the large files.)

    If you think about it, if the sensor on your DSLR has 3000 pixels across there is no way on Earth, no matter what lens you buy you are going to record more than 1500 lines per frame of resolution. Likely the sensor can record only 1000 lines due to the "anti-alias" filter that is on the sensor. That means my Nikon D50 is stuck forever at about 40 lines per millimeter no matter how much I spend on a lens. My 70's vintage film based Nikon F2 can do better.
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    How about the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 and the Canon 70-200 f/4 IS? Thatd be about $1500. Obviously, the Sigma 24-70 isnt the Canon, but you could eventually then find whatever critical focal length in that range you want to prioritize and buy, say, the 50mm f/1.4 or the 35.

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