What Lens to start with 50D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by unique1on1, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. unique1on1 macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2010
    i just started with photography. I have a 50D body on hand.(originally I want a 550d but i got a discount only for 50d for $800). And I am planning to get the prime lens 50mm to start with. and maybe a zoom lens too.
    Can anyone give me some advices on what lens I should start with?
    Sorry to ask dumb question, most ppl get their dslr with a clue what lens they shld get but i am too new to this field.
  2. AirborneAngel macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
  3. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    I would go for the standard kit lens 18-55IS and get to grips with what focal lengths you like.
  4. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    You can do very well with a 50mm f/1.8 and the kit lens. These should not cost very much. It you can afford a better lens than the "kit," then a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a very nice little lens (it should cost a tad over $400.00).

    Once you can afford some L glass, you can consider primes versus zooms. With primes you have to zoom in/out with your feet (move back, or get closer), but there are a whole bunch of excellent L and non-L primes in the Canon lens lineup.

    Also, while everybody wants IS on their lenses, this option adds to the cost of the lens. What I do is to grab non-IS L glass whenever I can, and use a tripod if I have to.

    A very nice L zoom (no IS) is the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. It costs $639.00, and Amazon does not charge for shipping. It may not be a low-light lens, but if you shoot during the day like I do, this low cost lens offers a huge bang for the money. It's am amazing zoom:

    The EF 200mm f/2.8L USM II (non-IS prime) is another lens that offers the best bang for the money. This lens is fast and sharp, and costs around $740.00 (shop around):
  5. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    start with the 18-55 IS (~$100 used) and maybe 55-250 IS (~$200 used). once you figure out what you want in a lens (or what those lack), you can look at more expensive alternatives.

    I recommend a Canon 35 f/2 over the 50 f/1.8. 50mm is a very limiting focal length on a 50D.
  6. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah the kit lens is a cheap way to understand focal length.

    People are divided as to ideal "walkaround" prime focal length. 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm are the most popular prime focal length, each optimal for different types of shots. And general rule of thumb in collecting prime lens is acquiring lenses doubling in focal length, so if you get 50mm, you will want to add 24mm and 100mm later on. Or if you get 35mm, 14mm or 15mm and 85mm later on.
  7. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???

    50mm is awkward on a 1.6x crop sensor body (80mm effective). I found that when I moved to a 1DmkII, my 50 got a whole lot more use than it ever did on my 10D.

    Plus, the 35 f/2 has much better construction than the 50 f/1.8.
  8. blockburner28 macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2009
    New Orleans
    Not high jacking or anything, but can you use this lens without a tripod? I didn't notice it having IS on it.
  9. AirborneAngel macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Absolutely, I rarely ever use my tripod with this lens and it works great.
  10. Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space
    The 17-55/2.8 USM IS is the best lens for this camera.

    It's pricey, but worth it. The kit lens got a good review at photozone.de as it was pretty good FOR A KIT LENS.

    Just make sure you get a new one, the version II, as kit lens 18-55 version I was a bad lens.
  11. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the only 18-55 worth buying is the IS version. everything before that (I, II, USM) was optically junk.
  12. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yeah a 50mm prime on a crop body is pretty limiting as it is going to be too long for most general use.

    In fact, if you're just starting out, you will probably find a prime to be very frustrating as the lack of zoom will limit the kinds of shots you will be able to take. I'd recommend starting with a kit lens perhaps an 18-55 zoom and once you get a feel for the kinds of shots you like to take (say, landscapes or portraits) then you can invest more money in a lens better suited to that specific need.

    For some reason lately it has become very catchy to slap on some fast prime and feel all hip and cool taking pictures. But really I don't think this is the best way to get into photography. Back in the 60s when the 50mm 1.4 was a standard lens, zooms were optically junk and film speeds were slow. It made sense to bundle in a prime lens for optical quality, and make it fast aperture to give more flexibility in shooting. Now, in modern times, the zoom lenses can be just as good as (and often superior to) the primes, and with DSLR sensors performing well at high ISOs, a stabilized (IS or VR) zoom is the better starting out choice.

  13. blockburner28 macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2009
    New Orleans
    Thanks for the info man! I will be picking it up soon
  14. unique1on1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2010
  15. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    While I will agree that zooms have gotten better, so have primes and they still outperform thier zoom counterparts. By a noticible margin might I add. Not to mention the additional stops of aperture they give. High ISO on a camera is no substitute for additional stops of aperture. Ignoring the additional noise higher ISOs bring, having wider apertures allow for shallower depth of field and more creative options.

    I also would disagree with the notion that primes will hamper your creativity. Just the opposite, they force you to think about your composition more. Not only that, but some very good photographers on this board and others have commented that the better they got at photography, the more they knew where to be and when, and using a prime wasnt as much of an issue. I am not saying dont buy zooms - they have a time and place - but the above quote was pretty far off base. Zooms are not miracle lenses - at any given focal length a prime will win in every category, hands down. A zoom is all about how much you give up to have the convenience to zoom in/out.

    Edit - side note, I also agree 50mm is pretty tight on a crop body unless all you do is head shots or have a lot of room to back up. I would look at something in the 30-35mm (which is 48-56mm on your camera) range. I originally had a rebel XS and bought the 50mm 1.8 everyone recommends. I used it once and returned it, not very useful at all. I ended up getting a little nuts and bought the 35 1.4L, but there are some more reasonably priced options out there, both from canon and sigma that wont break the bank if you want to start slow. I went with the 35L b/c I knew when I eventually went full frame, I could still use the lens and it would still be a great "walk around" focal length. YMMV
  16. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I used a cheap zoom for quite a while (it was easy to use but I couldn't seem to get beyond ok'ish snaps as I didn't really know what I was doing!) and then bought the Canon 50mm 1.8. It was a little cracker and a complete bargain but I found it a bit too tight on my 50d.

    I replaced it with a Sigma 30mm 1.4 and a copy of the book Understanding Exposure and it's been a great combination, especially as I mainly take people or general photos - often indoors. Sure - It could be a bit frustrating to start with but the book really helps and you do make quick progress. (It's not like you have to pay to get the films processed for all those experimental shots!) The 30mm prime has been a great learning experience for me and not too expensive!

    I'm now considering a much more expensive zoom! (Now that I know what I'm doing...)
  17. josh1231 macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    I think everyone has had some great suggestions, but I'll show you my choice and explain why I personally would pick it. I like the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) or Canon 24-70L. The Tamron is my everyday lens. It is a pretty fast lens, with image quality almost comparable to Canons similar L series lens, at a cost of $450 instead of $1200.

    I have the 50mm prime lens mentioned here, but if its your only lens, I wouldn't pick a prime lens. I personally don't like the 18-55 because of the lack of closer zoom, and the fact it's pretty slow especially in the upper ranges of the lens. It has IS, which of course is nice, but that's not going to help you much on moving scenes. It is much cheaper though, at $150. The standard lens that comes with the 50D is nice, the 28-135 IS canon lens. It would be my second choice, and can be had pretty cheap on ebay, or on amazon for $350.

    The other reason I choose this lens is for future expansion. A lot of the L series zoom lenses from canon start at 70MM, and the wide lenses go up to the 20's, so it works well as a compliment to future lenses.

    If you can afford the $1200 for the Canon 24-70 go for it, if not, I'd go with the Tamron.

    This is my very unprofessional opinion.

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