Sub-$250 telephotos?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by soco, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. soco macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    So here we go, my first question about lenses lol Yay! Confetti!

    I have my little kit 18-55mm lens that came with my Canon T3, but I'm feeling and experiencing quite often the need for a telephoto.

    Unfortunately for me, I'm saving for both a wedding AND a downpayment on a house, so I don't want to break the bank.

    For under or around $250, I've found this Sigma 50-200mm and this Canon 55-250mm. They get great reviews and seem like good deals. Alas, I am completely lens-stupid and don't know for myself.

    I've been discussing, in another thread, advancing my photography.
    Will lenses like these just be a waste of money? Any suggestions if these two in particular are bad choices?
  2. nburwell macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2008
    If you're looking to keep your budget at $250 or below, you might as well throw in the Tamron 70-300mm (I provided a link to B&H below). The glass isn't the greatest on the lens below or the two lenses you mentioned. However, they will do the job for casual photography. As long as you're not planning to shoot in low light, you should be good with either choices. I'm more partial to OEM, so I would go with the Canon 55-250mm.
  3. emtrey macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2006
    For what it's worth, a Canon T3 was my first DSLR and I was given the Canon EF-S 55-250mm along with the kit lens. It's a great lens that I still use quite a bit, even after upgrading bodies. It's a good budget zoom. I can't speak to the Sigma since I've personally stuck with Canon lenses so far.

    This is a sample picture I took with the T3/55-250mm combo. There are a few more on my Flickr (and some more recent ones with the 55-250mm paired with my 7D). I believe ijohn.8.80 has also posted several shots with the T3/55-250mm combo, so you might try searching for his shots in the Photo of the Day threads.
  4. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2012
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    Regarding the 55-250mm IS II, I'm guilty as charged and it's a stellar little lens for this price range! ;)

    It obviously can't compete with an L series, but for the price it's great. I don't notice any problems throughout the length of this lens and even had a recently shared shot of a pair of Mandarin Ducks posted here printed on canvas for one of my sons, which arrived yesterday and it's great at 45x30cm. My first ever picture to be printed! He chose it as he wants to become an Ornithologist.

    I think as a first telephoto lens, it's the way to go.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    With your budget you should be looking for a USED lens. Any EOS mount lens will get.

    With a "crop boby" (aka APS-C) a 300mm lens is way to long to be used very much. There is not much reason to go past 200mm.

    Will it be a waste of money? Yes unless you find yourself taking photos behind some physical barrier like a fence, cliff or river that does ot allow you to simply walk up closer to your subject. That should ALWAYS be the first thing you try. But some times you hit that barrier.

    All of the cheap, lower cost lenses will for f/5.6 These are slow so make sure you have the light or can bump up the ISO or use a powerful flash. Remember with a non IS lens you must keep the shutter speed under 1/(focal length) with in this case means faster than 1/250. Mostly the lens would work outdoors in daylight

    If you only have the kit lens and need a second lens you might find a 50mm f/1.8 would get more use especially of you shoot people mostly. and that goes double for indoors work. The 50-200 f/5.6 is not a good indoor lens.

    Make a list of shots you wanted to get but missed or could have done better and see which lens gives you the most of those. You may find that lighting equipment woud help, maybe a reflector or a light tent. I don't know what kind of photos you like to do
  6. soco thread starter macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    I'm mostly looking to do street photography, but I also want better shots during family outings at places like the Bronx Zoo, NYC, road trips, etc. where a lot of my composition is distant (the animals, buildings, landmarks, etc.)

    I feel like I'll go with the Canon telephoto as suggested.

    Thanks all!
  7. equilibrium17 macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Totally depends on your photography interests. If you're even casually interested in wildlife photography, 200mm is not enough on a crop body, and even with 300mm, you'll find yourself wishing for more at times.

    This said, I think the 55-250 is a perfectly reasonable place to start for someone on a budget. No, it won't perform well in low light, and it's also kind of slow to focus, but it's a remarkably good lens for the price, and it will give you something to play with and learn. It also has the advantage if being very light and portable -- the best L lens in the world is worthless if you leave it at home all the time because it's so darn heavy.

    If you find yourself really enjoying something like wildlife or sport photography, you can save up for an upgrade down the road.
  8. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland
    IMHO, forget the Sigma.
    Have had it once, have not missed it for a second.
    The Canon alternative is (for that price range) quite nice. and at the tele-end, the IS will be handy...

    But do not expect miracles ... All really good telezooms are characterized by a lot of glass (weight) and a price tag to match.


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