Trying to decide between two lenses...Looking for advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by smackay, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. smackay macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009

    I have a Canon Eos 20-d. I am trying to decide between the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and the EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5 IS. The latter is $50 more.

    Primarily, I would like to use this lens on my son indoors and out and for landscape / nature shots. Any advice on which would handle better. Which is better in low-light?

  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    f/5.6 is more than a stop slower than f/3.5. That alone would settle it for me. Go with the faster lens. f/5.6 is just way to slow for use indoors in low light

    Also 300mm is way to long to be of practical use. Even 200mm is pushing it for your intended use.
  3. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    I haven't owned either but from what you say, between the two I would go with the 18-200mm

    Its faster, has more range, and its a newer lens. Do you have any other lenses?
  4. smackay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    Sorry, the 18-200mm is a f/3.5 - 5.6 IS

    I currently have a Canon 50mm f/1.4 which I love and the kit lens 18-55mm which is awful.

    From what I have read, the 18-200mm could be a great indoor / outdoor carry lens. Thoughts?

    Is there something better I should be using indoors?
  5. donbadman macrumors regular

    Aug 15, 2006
    I'm looking at the Sigma 18-55 f2.8 Macro as I don't need the extra focal range at the telephoto end, it's a pretty good lens compared to the kit lenses and better than all the ef-s zooms except the L price 17-55 2.8 IS
  6. stagi macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
    Totally agree
  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    There are pros and cons to each lens.

    The 18-200 covers a more "complete" range of focal lengths, but you won't get the reach of the 70-300, but the 70-300 lacks the wide end range.

    The 18-200 is an EF-S lens, so it's lighter, but it won't work on a FF camera in case you upgrade later.

    The 18-200 doesn't have the "true" USM motor, so you don't have full time Manual Focus.

    I can't comment on IQ, since I don't have either ... but there are tons of reviews for each lens.

  8. stujmac26 macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2009
  9. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    It's been pointed out by the OP that the 18-200 is actually f/3.5-5.6 ... so the 70-300 is actually faster at the same focal lengths than the 18-200.

    Now, if stagi was agreeing to ChrisA's second point, then that's allright.

  10. osin macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    You already have a great indoor lens - 50 1.4 if it is to long for you trade it for Sigma 30mm 1.4

    I haven't see pictures from 18-200mm lens but 70-300 IS is very sharp lens. Many say that it is a hidden L lens lacking fast AF and white paint :)
    Unless you are looking for that only one lens that is wide and long so go with 18-200
  11. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    Honestly, I'd skip both of those lenses and get a used copy of the 70-200 ƒ/4L for outdoor use. WAAAY better IQ, constant max aperture, and faster at the long end.

    For indoor use, all of these lenses are too slow unless you're using a flash or intend to shoot at very high ISO. You have the 50/1.4, which is a nice fast lens, but is long indoors on a 20D. Perhaps a shorter fast prime, like the 35/2.0?

    If you're dead set on one of the two lenses you mentioned, the 18-200 got a nice review here. Frankly, for the money you're paying for a new copy of either of these lenses, the 70-200 ƒ/4L is a better choice, IMHO.
  12. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    I'm surprised that all of the responses have missed the main point here... the minimum focal length on the 70-300 on a cropped sensor is almost useless for trying to take pictures of people indoors (think 5-10 feet away)... you'd be lucky to fit someone's entire head in the frame at those distances...

    If the OP wants to use the lens indoors for any reason, he has already limited himself to the 18-200, end of story. Having said that, the 18-200 has poor image quality (as do all "superzoom" lenses). If you'll browse to the sticky at the top of the Digital Photography forum for "Lens and camera buyers", you'll find more links and research for everything you'd ever want to know about any lens you're considering
  13. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    I'd recommend the newer kit lens (with IS) over either superzoom. Either that that or the much more expensive 17-55 f/2.8 IS. You might also consider the 35mm f/2.
  14. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    neither will be useful indoors or in low light. get the 18-55 IS to replace your kit. of those two above, 70-300 IS.
  15. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    For the price of the 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 IS, you could sell your current 18-55, buy the new IS version of the lens, and the 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS lens. This combination would be optically superior to the 18-200 and less expensive. It would also be less convenient (requires changing lenses).

    Or you could get into high-quality lenses and buy the 70-200 f/4 L. That would be more likely to inspire similar love like you feel for your 50mm f/1.4 than any of the consumer-grade lenses you've mentioned. It's not IS though (unless you want the IS version, but that's over $1000).
  16. smackay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    Thanks all for your very helpful feedback. If I were to scrap the original two lenses and go with a new 18-55 IS and then a 70-200 f/4 L, would that be a good investment?

    I cant swing the IS version of the 70-200...that being said, will I still be happy with it?
  17. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    Yes. I'd still prefer a fast prime for indoor use (zoom with your feet), but the 18-55 IS isn't bad, from what I have read.

    Absolutely. The IS version of this lens is one of Canon's absolute sharpest lenses, but the non-IS isn't far behind. The non-IS is sharp wide open, and just gets better from there.
  18. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    18-200 is more flexible, but wide angle to longish zoom means lens compromises. What about a better 18-55 (like the Canon 17-55, Tamron 18-50 or Sigman 18-50) plus the Canon 55-250 (if you need longer reach). The 55-250 is a well-priced, decent performing lens that should outperform either of the lenses you mentioned (by a little bit) BUT is not as flexible (i.e. not a single lens solution like the 18-200)

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