Recommend Camera Lenses!

Discussion in 'Product Recommendations/Reviews' started by el greenerino, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. el greenerino macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003
    What do you use or what do you with you used?

    I'm on Canon EOS and have a 50mm f/1.4 and a 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 (kit lens). The 50mm is sharp as a tack and the other lens is well...lacking

    Nikon, Minolta, Pentax, Ziess, Lieca, etc recommendations are welcome!
  2. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    Canon EOS what? 35mm or DSLR....

    The Sigma lenses are great and a little cheaper than the Canon.

  3. Benj macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2004
    Ones that see any decent level of use:

    Canon 50m 1.8 (at £80 how could any Canon EOS owner not have this one).

    Canon 24-85 USM (decent - pretty sharp, good colours)

    Sigma 12-24 (until Canon's new 10-20mm the only real wide option for 1.6 crop factor cameras)
  4. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Sounds like you are using 35mm.

    If you like the range of the kit lens, you might want to look at the Tamron 28-75 2.8. Very decent lens. The 24-85 from Canon is also very good, and provides a wider angle of view to boot.
  5. kettle macrumors 65816


    May 12, 2002
    England, Great Britain (Airstrip One)
    sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO HSM

    next one for my canon 300D

    how good is the canon 50 1.8?
  6. el greenerino thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003
    I don't have that one because i have the 50mm 1.4 ($315 on Amazon after rebate) :D

    I'm on 35mm and probably wont go digital until a 35mm cmos camera cost less than $8000. I'm just starting out and would rather spend my money on the glass instead of the body.

    I just don't trust 3rd parties when it comes to Canon EOS. I would if i was another system but i dont want to deal with firmware issues down the road.
  7. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    First I work for a camera dealer, and shoot digital SLR's; so I hope that I can be of help.

    Let me address this in order of your post.

    1) The 50mm 1.4 is a great lens. No reason to change.

    2) The future of full frame digital sensors is cloudy. I say cloudy since Nikon so far seems to be sticking with the APS-C sized sensors. Canon and Kodak are the only ones really doing anything with full frame in the EOS format right now. That being said Kodak offers a full frame sensor EOS mount 12MP camera at $4500 right now (

    Keep in mind that in photographic history larger formats were always felt to king over the smaller formats. We say it from 8x10 and 4x5 view cameras when medium format came about. And it went on to when we saw 35mm come into its own.

    Investing in good glass is a good way of going if you want the best from what you do. This leads to:

    3) For us Canon users the firmware issue is of a long term concern for lenses. From my 10+ years experience in the field, this seems to be an issue more for Sigma lenses than Tamron or even Tokina (I have more experience with Tamron than Tokina in this respect). The only issue I know of with (other than Sigma lenses) is the back/front focus issue that affected even Canon lenses.

    Third party lenses offer great value. In the case of the 28-75 2.8 Tamron; this lens offers a price/value combo that makes it hard to go the Canon route IMO. The USM can not be under sold IMO. But with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM being about $1100, and the Tamron 28-75 being about $370 - you have to try and decide if the wider angle of view and "faster" focusing is worth the extra cost.

    What is important is to find a dealer that allows a decent return privilege, or one that allows you to test some of the lenses that you are interested in. The best lens is not always the one that pay the most for. Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina can offer lower cost options due to the fact they build their mounts for many companies.

    In the end, I would not say buy just Canon branded lenses. You may find yourself closer to that DSLR of your dreams than you think.
  8. Benj macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2004
    I'm using it on a 300D right now. I think it is an excellent lens. Bit soft wide open. (But then soft shots in very little light are (a) quite cool and (b) better than no shot.)

    Like all primes it knocks the socks off all but the most expensive zooms.

    You'd be nuts not to buy it (£80 - surely a no-brainer). Only problem is that of course it translates into an 80mm with the 1.6 crop factor.

    Having said that the discipline of using a non "normal" length prime can lead to some great (unusual) pictures.
  9. DanTheMan macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    I guess it depends on what you want to shoot...

    Here is what I use (all are Canon Lenses):

    EF 17-40mm f/4L - Great for landscapes
    EF 70-200mm f/4L - Great all around zoom
    EF 85mm f/1.8 - Awesome for portraits and close-ups
    EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS - Great for sports

    I use these lenses with a Canon 10D digital so I do have the 1.6 crop factor on it. I have shot with Canon camera bodies for over 10 years and still have two EOS film bodies. For standard 35mm I think the 50mm you have is great and the above lenses would be good too, but it all depends on what you shoot the most.

    Except for the 85mm, these are all "L" lenses which can be pretty expensive, but it is not like I purchased these all at the same time. Another lens to consider is the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, I haven't personally used this lens but I hear all kinds of good things about it.

    Hope that helps.
  10. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Canon lenses

    The 50mm 1.4 is an excellent price / performance lens.

    I would tend to slowly buy nice L series lenses (or top of the line third party ones) as you can afford them - these will outlast your cameras, and good glass will move with you as you upgrade bodies or switch to digital. Not to mention hold their resale value.

    I'm a pro that shoots location photography on the streets, so my bag is geared towards that style. I usually shoot with two cameras (one over each shoulder) with a 17-35mm f2.8L on one, and a 100-400 mm IS f5.6L on the other. Other lenses are in the bag and used a needed.

    The 100-400 has IS (Image Stabalization) - this is one SWEET lens. It allows about 2 stops less light for a given amount of vibration. For me, this allows more "reach" with a telephoto lens given bad lighting conditions, which seems to be my norm. It's not cheap, at $1400, but over 15-20 years it'll be a bargain when compared to the shots you'll waste by not having it.
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Unless they change mounts again :D
  12. el greenerino thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003
    I've found this thread very informative, glad to hear someone has the opinion that 3rd lenses aren't all bad, I'll for sure reconsider them, after all I don't want to pay over a thousand for every lens in my bag.

    From a consumer POV full-frame would be mostly a good thing and I hope the body makers follow through. But if they don't then I guess we'll all have wider lenses we can use with our 35mm bodies!
  13. w.p.shagnasty macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2004
    Critical about Images?

    If you are as critical about image quality as I am you would do best to invest Canon "L" series lenses. 3rd party lenses often test well but there is a reason they don't cost nearly as much. Canon designs and builds the L's for the professional market. They need to hold up to hundreds of exposures a day, day in and day out. Canon's reputation hinges on quality and reliability.
    I have just returned from 6 months photographing in China, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand. Before the trek I decided to convert from film to digital. I have been editing and printing my work digitally since the late 1980's. I exhibit in museums and art galleries and have received many awards and grants for my images. My film cameras are the Leica M4 with their legendary Summilux lenses and the Hasselblad C501 with the equally legendary Zeiss lenses. Realizing I would need over 1000 rolls of film on such an extended trip I decided to take the plunge and convert my image capture to digital.
    Photographic images are created by the action of light on photosensitive material. Put your money in the best lenses you can afford, just like audio put your money in the best speakers you can afford. The lens collects light and forms the image. Minor aberrations are visible when you enlarge your images as greatly as I do. I chose Canon digital bodies because of the CMOS sensor: low current draw and ultra low noise at 100 ISO rating and somewhat acceptable noise at 800 ISO. Kodak DCS was ruled out (even with more mega-pixels) because of unacceptable noise.
    My Digital Workflow:
    Camera: Canon 10d
    • 16-35 f.2.8 L USM- (25.4- 56 equivalent)
    • 50 f.1.4 (80 equivalent)
    • 70- 200mm f.2.8 L IS USM. (112- 320 equivalent) (Image Stabilization is worth the extra cost)
    Image Capture:
    • Lowest ISO setting for acceptable camera setting (a tripod a big plus)
    • Capture Mode: RAW (always, never JPEG)
    • Color correction filters and or Polarizing filter are important
    File Storage:
    • I carried (2) 1 GB Lexar Extreme CF cards (fast transfers in a ruggedized case) they held about 150 exposures before transfer.
    • SanDisk FlashTrax 80GB card reader
    • LaCie 80GB FW Pocket Drive
    • Every week I would burn DVD’s of the current week’s exposures and ship them home. My archivist transferred them to a RAID, confirmed that the files were intact and emailed me. I could, then, delete them from my local HD’s.
    • If I was traveling for less time I could have relied on the FlashTrax only and left the laptop and secondary HD home.
    Cataloging and storage:
    • Extensis Portfolio 7
    • Dual LaCie 500GB FW Hard Drives
    Image editing:
    • Open in PhotoShop CS RAW converter. (does an adequate job)
    • Color Correction manually or Extensis
    Image construction:
    • My final prints are built from 20 to 200 individual exposures.
    • When shooting I scan the scene from multiple vantage points and times of day.
    • The finals are built manually because no “stitch” software can keep up with me, though I welcome suggestions.
    • Final prints are 35” x 45”
    • Epson 9600 Ultra Chrome pigmented ink set.
    • Hahnemulhe Rag watercolor paper
    • Alpha Mat or Museum Rag board
    • Clear Maple molding, pine stringers, archival board spacers, UV Plexiglas.

    Please note: I am a professional artist/ photographer. If your interest in photography is more casual you will find the above information excessive.
  14. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Don't scare the newbies! ;)

    Canon, like everyone else, had to change the mounts when they shifted from mechanical to electronic methods of passing info between the lens and camera body.

    I don't think they did this carelessly, but realized that the pain and frustration was offset by the features they could add with new electronic information flows. (Not to mention the flexibility - you can now add new features with software, as long as the data channels are there).

    So while one can't guarantee that the mount won't change, I don;t see any reason why it has to anytime soon. Wasn't the standard Ethernet plug just "stolen" from commercial phone setups? So the "connector" isn't so important as the fact that it is now electronic rather than mechanical.
  15. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Don't forget to "ammortize" the lenses over their life ...

    As I stated earlier, pro lenses are expensive, but you get what you pay for. Better quality optics, and MUCH better durability. These are built to take a beating, and might actually be cheaper factoring in their longer life and high resale value.

    If you're shooting slide film (as you seemed to imply), factor in the cost of each roll in your photographic costs - buying, processing, mounting. It's probably 30-50 cents per image. Shoot even a couple of thousand images per year, these costs add up.

    If you buy $4000 in lenses (over a couple of years), they'll last 20 years. So you're really only spending the same as an additional 10-20 rolls of slides per year. So would you shoot a few more rolls of film if you could get much better images?
  16. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003
    Wrong NIKON didn't... Still the same F-Mount, but there can be issues on using the old lenses on newer camera's since Nikon changed the concept of F settings from using the ring to a wheel when going from the F90/70/50 series to the new ones...

    35mm lenses are still lower in quality than mid-large format lenses...

    best lenses Leitz (Leica) Zeiss (Contax) but since you're using Canon, go for the better range lenses, ok mostly more expensive... but you'll be glad you did that once you'll transfer to digital, because for digital you need better lenses than for analog use... (hence the NIKON DX series...)

    there are rumors about a NIKON D3 wich would be fullframe (as the Canon 1Ds, 1DsII (best ones round for now), Kodak DSLR (wich sucks)) so then they will probably design Digital Lenses for fullframe

    even tough I'm not a fan of SIGMA you might look at them because they design some of them now to use with their DSLR body... so coated for digital...

    and stay away from Superzooms like 28-300 or so... yes flexible and so on, but poor quality...

    when I find the funding for it I guess I will transfer to Canon for my digital work, because I work a lot in the studio and Nikon is for now designing good reportage camera's and canon does both :p

    my dream for now: Canon 1DsII + the three Schift lenses they make (Nikon only has one... so no can do to replace minor adjustments without going to 4"x5"...
  17. Lobo macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2004
    That was a great, informative post. I'm an architectural student who's minoring in photography, and I dream one day of being able to take off and go on some photographic excursions much like the one you described.

    Is there anyplace online where you exhibit your work? I'd love to take a look.

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