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Thread: Another What Lens Would You Buy (for a Canon) Thread :)

  1. #1
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Another What Lens Would You Buy (for a Canon) Thread :)

    I know I know it's all about what fits my wants/needs best.
    Here's what I have for my Canon 60D:
    18-135 IS - not happy with sharpness though the zoom range is nice
    50 1.8 II - sharpness good, but front focuses consistently
    Sigma 70-300 APO (~5 years old) sharpness color and contrast bleh

    Here's what I shoot most:
    Portraits of my family, mostly my daughter
    Pictures of my kids playing sports (hockey and softball right now)
    Occasionally do some landscape type stuff

    I have a decent amount of cash on hand, though I really don't relish the thought of buying a $2200 70-200 2.8. I have been looking mostly at the efs 15-85 and the 70-200 f4 IS. Both of these appear to be awesome lenses (especially considering the ones I already have ). I don't know much about other lenses. I do like the DOF choices of the 50 1.8 and I'm not against buying fixed focal lengths, though I do prefer zooms in most cases. I'm not crazy about the 'white' L lenses - I don't want to appear too snobbish

    What other lenses would you recommend I consider?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 28th June 2011 at 10:26 PM.

  2. #2
    rob marshall

    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    Do you really want a new lens. Think how much more you could benefit from other things with the money? A cruise around the Med, taking in the cultural delights on offer? A trip to Antartica to see the penguins... no, that's no good, you would need a long lens. What about a road trip across America in a 1965 Chevy with a Kodak Instamatic film camera? You could always stay at home and paint the house... no, can't recommend that one having just done it.

    Have you thought about Sigma?

  3. #3
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    Wild & crazy idea, probably not to be seriously considered, but if what you really want is a 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM II, but you don't want to pay that much moolah, you could also consider either the EF 135mm f/2L USM or the EF 200mm f/2.8L USM. No, they don't zoom, and they're not stabilized. But they're a lot smaller/lighter, black, just as sharp, and fast on the autofocus. The 135L is quite possibly the best portrait lens Canon makes, it's the center of the 70-200 zoom range, a stop faster, razor sharp, and renders beautiful creamy smooth bokeh. You could also consider upgrading the 50/1.8 II to the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM.

    You may also want to consider the 70-300L as well as the 70-200/4L IS.

  4. #4
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    What happened to your kit lens, if you ever had it, if not I would at least get this lens to replace some of the lenses you are not happy with. I bet you could easily get someone (not me of course) to trade you for one of the ones you have in your collection.

  5. #5
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    The 70-300 is an interesting option. As far as I can tell, there are about 4 canon varieties? No I'm not stuck on canon at all. The cAnon 55-250 is pretty darn cheap for an IS lens though I don't know if I would be satisfied with it's sharpness (mostly shooting wide open at kids games).
    The lens that came with the 60d is the 18-135, which isn't.... Horrible - just frustratingly not sharp at times. I suppose is if I used it as a fixed focal length 85mm f8 lens it would be great
    After shooting some at my daughter's game tonight, I just don't think I can do without zoom.
    I am so limited on positioning that a zoom is very very helpful.

  6. #6
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    The best advice I can give you is to stretch yourself and buy the Canon 70 to 200 2.8L II. The 17 to 85 EFS is ok but not in the same league as the others. I use the 70 - 200 for all the things you want to do. It is one of the best lenses Canon have ever made.

  7. #7
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    I am afraid of its 3 lb weight. How bulky is it to carry around?

  8. #8
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    I know sigma used to make a 50-150. That would be pretty nice for my son's hockey games.

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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    Two lenses spring to mind.

    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8L IS
    Canon EF 70-200mm f4L IS

    Both are significantly sharper than your current lenses. Both have larger max apertures to help in lower light and give you shorter depth of field - the portrait shots will benefit from this. Both have image stabilisation which makes them great every day choices and while the long one is white it's a dinky little thing so shouldn't make you self conscious.

    The f4 lens is by far the best choice for the majority of people - yes the 2.8 is an epic lens but it's an epic size, an epic weight and the cost is......well epic. A set of primes is a nice thing to own - but - only if you have some reliable zooms for everything else you're going to shoot. You don't at present so not an ideal way to spend your cash.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 28th June 2011 at 08:51 AM.

  10. #10
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    Is IS it, the new must have? Where in sports is IS useful? I use is at night and indoors on static subjects but if you have a steady hand can't think of a single use in good light or fast moving subjects.

    I wouldn't describe the 70-200mm f4L as dinky, but it is a good quality lens with potential for 280mm @ f5.6. Only professionals will be sticking their noses up at you with the 'he hasn't even got IS attitude' but then who cares.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 28th June 2011 at 08:52 AM.

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    Re: Another What Lens Would You Buy Thread :)

    The 55-250 has Excellent review for its price. I mean, amazing.

    You might wana check it on (Sorry if I'm pointing to a similar site than this one, if it is one, but that's the only place I found they make these comparison of lens).

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...2#.TgnbG0deOqk

  12. #12
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    My travel and general photography duo of lenses...

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    Two lenses spring to mind.

    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8L IS
    Canon EF 70-200mm f4L IS

    Both are significantly sharper than your current lenses. Both have larger max apertures to help in lower light and give you shorter depth of field - the portrait shots will benefit from this. Both have image stabilisation which makes them great every day choices and while the long one is white it's a dinky little thing so shouldn't make you self conscious.

    The f4 lens is by far the best choice for the majority of people - yes the 2.8 is an epic lens but it's an epic size, an epic weight and the cost is......well epic. A set of primes is a nice thing to own - but - only if you have some reliable zooms for everything else you're going to shoot. You don't at present so not an ideal way to spend your cash.
    I TOTALLY AGREE... The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS (this is not an L lens although I sometimes mistakenly add the L because of the great IQ of this lens) and Canon EF 70-200mm f4L IS are my two favorite lenses and, IMO, the very best combination of lenses for general and travel photography on 1.6x equipment. I presently use them on a 40D and a 7D. I previously used a 30D and 40D as my pair of bodies.

    The 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens is a great general purpose mid-range zoom with absolutely wonderful IQ. Its constant f/2.8 aperture and great IS make it a very viable low light lens. The 17mm side is wide enough for th vast majority of my needs. The 55mm side is not quite long enough for my needs but, that is where the 70-200mm f/4L IS on the second camera comes in very handy. I don't seem to miss the 55-70mm gap at all.

    The 70-200mm f/4L IS is relatively light in weight compared to the f/2.8L ii IS lens. In fact I can carry the f/4L IS lens WITH the second camera at the SAME WEIGHT as the f/2.8 ii IS lens alone. I will never say anything against the f/2.8L ii IS lens because it is a totally remarkable glass. But, I can guarantee one fact... YOU WILL NEVER GET A GOOD PICTURE FROM THIS LENS IF YOU LEAVE IT HOME BECAUSE IT IS TOO HEAVY. I have carried my 300mm f/4L IS lens around on my second camera for a day of shooting. The weight of the 300mm f/4L IS lens is very close to the 70-200mm f/2.8L ii IS AND IT IS TOO HEAVY FOR ME TO ENJOY CARRYING AROUND. Can I carry it? Sure I can, but it is not comfortable for me to do that.

    I carried the f/4L IS all around the USA and many parts of the world. The constant f/4 aperture and great IS free me from being a slave to bright light and the weight is quite reasonable.

    This lens is my favorite portrait glass...

    Another What Lens Would You Buy (for a Canon) Thread :)

    It is great for isolating portions of the scene and is quite good as a landscape lens...

    Another What Lens Would You Buy (for a Canon) Thread :)

    And it is wonderful for compressing distances to make a mundane scene interesting...

    Another What Lens Would You Buy (for a Canon) Thread :)

    The cost of the f/4L IS lens was not the deciding factor in my choosing that lens over an f/2.8L (series) model but, I am glad that the f/4L IS is cheaper than an f/2.8L (series) lens. It it were the other way around, I would have an agonizing decision but, would still probably elect to carry the f/4L IS because of the considerably lighter weight...

    See my China galleries which were totally shot with the above lenses: http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/

  13. #13
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: My travel and general photography duo of lenses...

    Thanks for the input Robin, Steve, Mathieu, and Richard.
    From what I have read the 70-200 f4 and the 17-55 f2.8 are great lenses. At this point I am leaning toward the 70-200 f4 because I think it would be most useful for what I do most - take pictures of my children!
    I don't think the 17-55 has enough range for the vast majority of what I shoot. An interesting and cheap option is the 55-250, though if I'm not satisfied with the sharpness of the 18-135, would I be happy with it's sharpness? As for the wide end, I still find the 15-85 an interesting option, though the smaller aperture makes me wonder if I would regret that. The nifty 50 is OK for most shots where I'm trying to reduce dof, though the pesky front focusing is most annoying when going for shallow DOF!

  14. #14
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: My travel and general photography duo of lenses...

    By the way Richard, I really like all of the photos you posted, thank you.

  15. #15
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!

    Contrary to what is often posted, IS does have a place in sports photography! Sure, it doesn't stop a moving subject but, it does make the surrounding area sharp and often a blurred subject provides a feeling of movement. Additionally, all sports photographs are not of moving subjects and even when the subjects are moving, you can pan with the IS in Mode 2 and get a nice shot of the subject with a blurred background. Then there is shooting at the peak of action which will allow a slower shutter speed. A subject advancing to or away from the camera can be stopped at a slower shutter speed than the action which is moving across the frame. Finally, a lot of action can be stopped at 1/250 of a second which is borderline acceptable when hand-holding with a 200mm lens, especially on a 1.6x camera.

    Finally... I doubt that many of us are professional sports photographers who will devote 100% of their shooting with any lens to sports. I use my 70-200mm lens for many, many more activities than just sports. AND YOU JUST CANNOT BEAT IS WHEN YOU ARE SHOOTING GENERAL SUBJECTS HANDHELD.

    I owned a non-IS 70-200mm f/4L and always felt enslaved to bright light. I use my IS lens four to five times more often than I was ever able to use the non-IS model.

    BYW: I can hand hold a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in lower light levels than I can hand hold a 70-200mm f/2.8L non-IS lens.

  16. #16
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!

    Cheers Richard;

    I'm disabled so can't afford IS, but I can get down to 1/160 handheld easy on 200mm and 1/80 easy with a monopod on 200mm, plus I can expose to the right and bump my iso up to 400 without even showing it, which on 1/80 is equivalent to 1/20 on 200mm using a monopod.

    Is is nice but at £500 more it is way out of my league. By the way, I used to know somebody who was a cameraman/special effects in Hollywood but a bit before your time. He did 633 squadron, Mutiny on the Bounty and that sort of stuff.

  17. #17
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!

    Steve...

    The 1/FL x crop factor shutter speed is not carved in granite. It is just a general recommendation for a shutter speed to ensure sharp imagery. There are folks who can shoot at a lot slower speeds and get good results and old geezers like me who need a considerably faster speed to get a sharp image. This was not always the case but as I grow older, my hold is not as steady as it once was. I need a faster shutter speed than the suggested formula or IS in order to be sure of a sharp image. Of course, a tripod or monopod will help but, they are not always feasible to use. Before Canon introduced the 70-300mm f/4L IS lens; I was seriously considering switching from the 70-200mm f/4L lens to the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens just for the IS capability.

    You posted, "By the way, I used to know somebody who was a cameraman/special effects in Hollywood but a bit before your time." Actually, it wasn't really before my time. I was studying Cinematography at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) in 1964 and Walter Grauman, the director of 633 Squadron, was one of our guest lecturers. The Cinematography Department of USC was intimately connected to the motion picture industry. We were invited to a pre-release showing of "Sound of Music" with most of the cast attending. It was really neat, just like a stage play because everytime a song was completed on the screen, the audience would applaud the performer. The Navy sent me to USC and it was a heady time for me. I met a lot of motion picture people from both sides of the camera and really achieved a great basic cinema education. I went from USC to the Navy Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group and spent the next six years or so documenting Navy action in Southeast Asia, mostly in-country Vietnam. Funny thing, it seems like yesterday. But that's the way memory works as you get old...

    BTW: I had forgotten Walter Grauman's name but remembered the film he directed "633 Squadron" because I am a military history buff. If you want to learn just about anything important (and a lot of unimportant stuff) about any motion picture; the "Internet Movie Database" will provide that information. Here is what the Database says about the film, "633 Squadron": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057811/

  18. #18

    Re: I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!

    Do you really want a new lens. Think how much more you could benefit from other things with the money?
    Thats what I thought. If you do not know what lens you need leave the cash in the bank When you really 'need' a lens it will jump up and bite in the bum. Or go with the flow and get a 70-200 f/2.8 IS (or its derivatives) you really can't loose with that and its big, shiny and you can delude yourself into thinking that everyone is saying "oooh a real photographer - I simply must jump into bed with him" - Am I cynical - yes - will I buy a white lens - yes

    I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!


    He's been using a Sigma 5-3000mm APO or whatever. I do think that he would notice a massive difference IS or not

  19. #19
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!

    BTW: I had forgotten Walter Grauman's name but remembered the film he directed "633 Squadron" because I am a military history buff. If you want to learn just about anything important (and a lot of unimportant stuff) about any motion picture; the "Internet Movie Database" will provide that information. Here is what the Database says about the film, "633 Squadron": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057811/
    Brings back memories of my lab assistant days where the head chemist shared photo's of stars in their time off stage. and stories of three day binges drinking, no eating just drinking, and the girls; this bloke had no shame and a harem of 20 year old girls his wife knew about, even though he was 70. crikey

  20. #20

    Re: I would not have a 70-200mm lens without IS!

    Still wondering about the EF-S 15-85mm USM IS lens. Any opinions?

    Thanks

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