Which telephoto zoom lens for Canon 400D?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Blue Velvet, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Our work camera is a 400D with a stock 18-55mm EF-S 1:3.5-5.6 II on it. The lens is nothing great but it's OK for general photography i.e. work portraits, publicity shots etc.

    I need to buy a new lens, a longer one, for conference coverage, a lens that can do something like a torso and head shot at about 60 feet or so, one that can zoom and yet with a decent aperture for stage lighting but it wouldn't be used for anything as demanding as sports or serious pro photography... I'd prefer a Canon lens, as I'm not paying for it. ;)

    Which range should I look at? And if anyone can also recommend a good, but not ultra-pro, flash camera-mounted adjustable-head flash unit that can be used with it, that would be fab, too. :)

    Thanks in advance
  2. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Here's the Canon telephoto zoom lineup (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=150). None of them have the reach & aperture you really want for indoors work, unless the company wants to shell out for the 70-200 f/2.8. Also, if this is going to be predominately handheld, an IS lens is highly recommended, and a lot more expensive. Figure $1200 or better for a long-reach, fast(er) lens.

    You may also want to consider Tamron - they make some perfectly acceptable glass.

    A good flash that works perfectly with the EOS line would be the 430EX, about $250 or so. the 580 is about twice that. A flash won't be much use at 60 feet, though.

    UPDATE: Tamron's got a nice-looking 18-250 f/3.5 (http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/18250_diII.asp) for about $500 online. Might be worth a closer look...

    Attached Files:

  3. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    Any thoughts on the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM? It's got Image Stabilization, an Ultra-Sonic Motor and is slightly faster than some other zoom lenses. It's about $550.
  4. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    At that price, you're better off getting the 70-200 f/4.

    The difference between "pro" lenses and "consumer" lenses is not in that red ring that L lenses have, but rather in their better built, and their ability to get the pictures in lighting conditions where consumer lenses would struggle. Your needs are pretty harsh- you're looking for a telephoto lens in the 100-200mm range, which will be used indoors, at a distance where your flash will be useless. You will need to have a "fast" lens, unless you want your pictures to come out blurry, or riddled with noise (yes, I shoot a 5D, noise still shows up slightly at ISO3200). The question is how much you're looking to spend. For about $1100, you can have the 70-200 f/2.8, which I own and love- probably the best zoom lens I've ever used. If you're unwilling to shell out that much cash (yeah, I know it's the company's money, but I don't know thew size of the company), then look into a prime. The 200mm prime can be had for about $650, and will provide you with the aperture you need, and the length you're looking for.
  5. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    F5.6 is only "slightly faster" than molasses outside today in January.

    I would never buy a lens that slow personally. 2.8 or faster - pay once cry once or pay many times and cry many times.....

    Buy the 70-200/2.8IS and move on.

    Edit: Oh, and if you really want head shots at 60 feet, you're up to the 300mm F2.8 and that's about 5 grand.
  6. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    Telephoto lenses have a really huge price spread. I know you said you're not paying for it, but in order to get good suggestions, you'd have to narrow down the price range. I'm guessing the budget isn't too big, based on the camera you'll be mounting it on. 300mm is sort of the de facto portable zoom lens, but I think 200mm will fit your needs and will cost a lot less. If you're going to be shooting in doors, you need at least f/4 at 200mm. Naturally, 2.8 would be just that much better, but f/2.8 lenses can be pretty expensive.
  7. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    If the goal really is head and shoulders from 60 feet, the 200mm f/2.8 prime really is about as good as you're going to get. The problem is this lens obviously isn't as versatile as a zoom, and if you want to take pictures of anything other than the person on the stage, that might be a problem.

    If you want to go cheaper and zoom, this lens might be a good one (Canon 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS):

  8. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks for replies, they're very helpful.

    I'll look at them again in detail tomorrow and match them up against UK prices and availability... when I said head and torso, I guess I meant portrait framing, not landscape... from waist up, not head and shoulders. With a tripod at ISO 800 or so.

    I'm guessing at the range — the distance I need to shoot from — as I haven't been back to the venue for almost a year. I may have overestimated the size of the hall... but will be back there for lighting and staging setups in about three weeks time.
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    You should also consider the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You have just described the 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens. That is what yo want.
    When your needs are well defined buying a lens is easy.

    Don't buy a slower lens. the f-number effects not just the exposure spees and ISO you will need but the viewfinder brigtness. You want to be able to see the subject clearly and also the faster lens will auto-focus faster and in lower light. AF speed is important unless you want posed shots where the subject has to stand still

    If cost is an issue don't go for a lower spec'd lens go for a used example
  11. Cybix macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    Canon 70-200 F2.8 ! or the F4 with IS?

    The 70-200 F2.8 is such a nice lens. I believe less glass inside than an IS lens too? I'm in love with it :)
  12. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    The 2.8 lens would be better, no doubt about it. However, there's a thousand dollar price difference between the f/2.8 and the f/4 IS.
  13. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2006
    Wenonah, NJ
    No there isn't. The f/2.8 is $1140, the f/4 IS is $984, and for good measure the f/2.8IS is $1569 from B&H right now, in case you were thinking the IS version.
  14. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    I was actually looking at Amazon, and mistakingly didn't realize that there were two different f/4 lenses available (the only difference is one seems to be older, but it is only $538). I was also looking at the f/2.8 IS, that is correct; I must have been half asleep.

    As far as the f/2.8 goes, I'd sooner pay the extra $115 over the f/4 IS, especially if I was intending to use a tripod. If I were planning on shooting outdoors without a tripod, I'd spring for the IS on the f/2.8, but for short exposures on a tripod it shouldn't be necessary, and for long exposures on a tripod IS can actually cause blurring.
  15. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    The IS can be disabled if you don't want it, and the IS lens detects tripod use and modifies itself automatically.

    Personally for most folks I think it foolish to buy the non IS version, when you need it, it's invaluable.

    I've owned both (I owned the 70-200/2.8 before the IS version was released). I think my non-IS version was a TAD sharper, but I think that's likely due to lens variation rather than an inherent design issue. I think my IS version is actually not a great copy and have had it on my list for some time to send it in to canon to have them check it out. Once I get my 1dMark3 fixed, it's next on the list....

    Sigh, I've been rather disgusted with canon recently, did I mention I've thought about going Nikon, but wife says "no way!." :(
  16. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    There are two different versions of the 70-200 f/4L; one with IS, one without, thus the price differential.
  17. Shaduu macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2007
    If you're on a budget check out the Sigma 70-300mm. Jessops currently have it for £100 in their sale.

    If price isn't really a problem, definitely go for the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.
  18. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    Looks fine, but you're overlooking the fact that it's a 3.5-6.3, not a constant f/3.5. f/6.3 isn't very useful indoors.
    Everything about this post is true, although I'm not sure she'd need the IS. After all, if with newer versions of IS (which adapt to/detect tripod use), a tripod is still a tripod and you still need 1/200-ish to freeze non-sports motion.

    BV, I actually wonder if you'd do best to buy something cheap like a 70-300 and then rent a 70-200 f/2.8 IS with a monopod once a year for this specific event. However, if your company does a lot of these sort of conferences, you might as well just invest in a nice f/2.8 (non-IS) L and a sturdy tripod.
  19. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Probably explains the great price!

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