Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    5

    Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Hi. I am a newbie here although I have dabbled in photography with my point and shoot Canon S3 IS.

    However, I can now appreciate that I need a better camera with more flexibilities. I have set my heart on the Canon 550D but have no clue about the lenses. I am unsure if 18-55 and 55-250 will be good enough or 18-135 will have sharper pictures.

    I am interested in macro photography and the occasional wildlife photography. Please help.

  2. #2
    krispix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    268
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Hi Rajiv,
    Welcome to the forum.
    You are about to embark on a big adventure. Your first SLR is a pivotal moment because this will probably set your course for the rest of your photographic career.
    I have no idea what your budget is so, for the sake of argument, we'll assume it's unlimited.
    The kit 18-55mm lens is a very capable lens. It's not the best and it's not the worst but, for the price it will give you very acceptable results. Far and away better than you're used to with your S3
    However, it is designed for use by people who want a bit of wide angle while they're on the beach, and a bit of telephoto to get a portrait without distortion. So, if you want a lens which will sit on the camera ready for the odd picture that presents itself, it'll be fine. It won't do macro and it won't do wildlife, which were the two areas you expressed interest in.
    For macro work you need a lens specifically designed to focus up close. The longer the lens the greater the distance you'll be able to keep from your subject. This can be important if you're photographing bugs, but if you're taking pictures of your stamp collection it won't be an issue. The most popular macro lenses are between 80mm and 105mm (about 2 and 3 times 'standard'). The smaller the f No. the faster the lens, which can be important with macro.
    Wildlife is just as tricky, because the spectrum is huge. Are you taking pictures in your back garden or the zoo? If so, a 150mm will probably be plenty. But if you're off to Kenya for a safari holiday you will need some serious lens because the wildlife doesn't come too close. Something around the 300mm - 400mm would be good. Again, the faster the lens the better.
    You can get lenses with a healthy zoom which claim to be 'macro' as well, but they tend to be a bit of a compromise. Not very fast and not very macro.
    To sum up I would recommend a 105mm Macro and something like a 70-300mm zoom. But this will leave you with nothing at the lower end of the scale, so for a 'walk-about' lens the 18-55mm might be a good choice.
    Probably the first thing you need to do is think very carefully about exactly where your interests lie, then go into a camera shop, or post another question up on the forum and we can give you more detailed advice.
    Good luck

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    253
    Real Name
    Pete

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    the 18-55 ? for £50 it makes sense.

    I'm a fan of the Sigma 150 macro...... for insects I think you need reach.

    if you want to photograph birds you need reach. you'd need to give some idea of budget.

    your choices? on a tightish budget a 70-300 with IS

    moving up then a zoom like a 100-400, Sigma 150-500

    Better still would be a 300 f4 with a 1.4 teleconverter. the f no will be the same BUT the lens will be smuch harper.

    and if your budget is in in the new car league.... I'm dead jealous!

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    5

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Thanks krispix and thequacksoflife ... for good advice... and no ... my budget is as tight as can be...

    I wanted to know... if i can use the 55-250 or the 18-135 for macro? sort of doubling up the uses .. or should my walkabout lens be a 18-135 or a 18-200(sigma or tamron....canon is too expensive) rather than the 18-55? Being used to 12x zooms on a point and shoot with included macro capability... I am not sure what i should get. I guess I just want a multipurpose lens (or lenses to cover some range of mm)..!!!

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,013
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    The 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses are not at the top of the Canon lens tree but, they are certainly decent general purpose lenses which are often available packaged with Canon DSLR cameras at very reasonable prices. As far as a focal range goes, the combination of 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses will cover most needs except for macro, extreme wide angle and distant wildlife but, you can do some close-up and some not so distant wildlife photography with these lenses. Both of these lenses are equipped with Canon Image Stabilization which will allow them to be hand-held in lower lght levels. The quality of the imagery produced is quite decent, especially considering the reasonable prices of these lenses.

    The 18-135mm IS lens also is not at the top of the Canon lens hierarchy but it also produces decent but not great imagery. I would estimate that the IQ of the 18-135mm lens is somewhat close to the 18-55mm + 55-250mm combination. The advantage of the 18-135mm lens over the 18-55mm + 55-250mm combination is that you can have one lens of a focal range which will cover most needs, especially most travel photography needs without the need to carry another lens or change lenses in the field. The advantage of the 18-55mm + 55-250mm combination is that the 250mm focal length is quite a bit longer and will allow you to obtain some telephoto shots which you just couldn't get with the 18-135mm lens. As far as aperture goes, these lenses are equal.

    If you have the money, I might suggest an upgrade in lenses to the Tamron 17-50mmm f/2.8 and 70-300mm f/4-5.6 VC lenses. The Tamron lenses will provide better image quality and the f/2.8 aperture of the 17-50mm f/2.8 VC lens makes it a far more versatile lens.

    You will probably shoot the majority of your images with the mid-range zoom lens. Therefore, I suggest that you purchase the best lens you can afford in this focal range. The Tamron 17-50mm VC (or even the non-VC model which is said to produce better image quality) is a better lens overall than the Canon 18-55mm IS model.

    A final less expensive combination might be the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (VC or non-VC) with the inexpensive 55-250mm IS Canon lens. This would give you a better lens in the mid focal range where most of your shots will probably be taken.

    Regarding macro capability... The Canon 18-55mm lens will provide a 1:2.9 image ratio. That means it will fill the frame an area down to about 83.23 x 55.1 mm. The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens provides a 1:4.5 image ratio which will fill your freame with an area of about 129.15 x 85.5mm. Most of my "macro" shots, even using a macro lens, are not at 1:1 image ratios because at 1:1; I would only be able to cover an area of 28.7 x 19 mm.

    However, I would not choose the 18-55mm lens over the Tamron 17-50mm just because the 18-55mm will give you a larger image ratio. The Tamron has many other plus factors which make it a better choice. The main advantage of the Tamron is its constant f/2.8 aperture which is a half stop faster than the 18-55mm at the wide and and a full two stops faster at the longer side. This will allow you to shoot in many venues in which the 18-55mm could not function. The constant f/2.8 aperture will also allow you to avhieve a more narrow depth of field which can allow you to use selective focus when desired. Here is an example of a hand-held shot which could not have been achived without a constant f/2.8 aperture...

    Lens advice for First time DSLR user...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 16th December 2011 at 05:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,920
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Some excellent advice and Richard's summary of the options and considerations to be taken into account is, I am pretty certain, as good as you will get anywhere. Excellent advice and guidance.

    Richard - You should cut and paste this, so you can use it again in the future.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,634

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Quote Originally Posted by thequacksoflife View Post
    the 18-55 ? for £50 it makes sense.

    I'm a fan of the Sigma 150 macro...... for insects I think you need reach.

    if you want to photograph birds you need reach. you'd need to give some idea of budget.

    your choices? on a tightish budget a 70-300 with IS

    moving up then a zoom like a 100-400, Sigma 150-500

    Better still would be a 300 f4 with a 1.4 teleconverter. the f no will be the same BUT the lens will be smuch harper.

    and if your budget is in in the new car league.... I'm dead jealous!
    I agree with all this and have a Sigma 180 macro lens plus the Sigma 150-500 but these are clearly beyond your existing budget. I still have my old Canon 70-300 as a spare after finally upgrading to some L lenses.

    But on a reduced budget; the 55-250 lens gets reasonable reviews with regard to image quality but it is built down to a price so the general build quality isn't as good as the stronger and more expensive alternatives.

    However, it would fit nicely with the 18-55. The minimum focusing distance is a bit long for most macro work although I suppose you could eventually add an extension tube which would bring it closer and be suitable for larger insects or flowers.

    It is also a bit short for smaller birds, etc, but anything with that sort of reach is going to be expensive.

    Alternatively, you could possibly just get one lens for now and put the remaining money towards saving up for something which exactly meets your requirement.

  8. #8
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,013
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    There are many higher grade options for 1.6x cameras but, most of them are much more expensive. The combination of Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and the 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses is probably at the top of the Canon food chain for 1.6x cameras but, is also near the top of the Canon lens price range.

    Top-line lenses are nice to use but, are often overkill for many photographer's needs. As an example, I demand the utmost in quality from my still equipment and shoot with the above lens combination. I want to have the options of making large blow-ups whenever I so fancy. However, many photographers will never need or want to produce large size prints and decent, but not the most expensive expensive equipment is fine for those uses.

    As an example of lesser gear being sufficient for some uses, I shoot all my videos using a FLIP HD video camera. All I ever do with these videos is to post them on YouTube so I can link to them from the www.petfinder.com site on which we advertise our foster Maltese dogs seeking new homes. The FLIP HD video provides sufficient quality for those uses, is a relatively inexpensive piece of gear and is small and quick to use. I don't need the quality video achieved by my Canon 7D, the little FLIP HD camera suits my needs just fine.

    The videos don't need to be top-notch but, seeing the foster dogs (like the puppies in this snippet) moving around really increases the responses we get from the petfinder postings. I am just posting this as an example of gear that doesn't need to be top-line to be effective.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ww31tPvezc

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    5

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Richard, thank you for the profound insight. As money is a problem, I intend to wait and save a bit before I go for the lenses mentioned by you. Meanwhile, I intend to stick to beginner (VFM) lenses.

    I have been reading a lot about 18-135 of Canon and the zoom it provides seems enough. Can you tell me about the 18-135 lens? Or perhaps similarly priced option ?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    253
    Real Name
    Pete

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    you will understand as a Nikon user Canon isn't my speciality

    Richard's comment about the 18-135 vs 18-55/55-250 makes sense the more you stretch the lens the more you compromise on quality - its an observation i'd certainly make in the Nikon world. BUT sometimes you need convenience.....

    I would definitely buy quality glass, if you buy lots of cheap lenses you'll eventually regret it and end up spending more.

    I've used the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (non VC) and it is excellent. It's advantages over the 18-55 are better build, more versatile - i.e much better in low light more able to blur backgrounds and a decent portrait lens f2.8 at 50mm. Whether it is sharper than the 18-55 when stopped down to f8...... what the 18-55 gives up is build quality.

    if it was me I'd consider the Canon 15-85 not as good for low light as the Tamron but you get more telephoto and a hint of wide angle.

    However after waffling on for a bit I notice that in the UK the 18-135 is £350 assuming that is your budget for that you could have

    the 18-135 http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/46...n_18135_3556is
    jack of all trades master of none won't be better than the 18-55/55-250 combo

    the 18-55 http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/40...855_3556is_50d
    and the 55-250 http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/41...5250_456is_50d
    not the last word in build quality but excellent VFM


    the 17-50 non vc http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/28...report--review
    probably the best lens but no image stabilsation.

    or the 17-50 VC http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/48...750_28vc_canon
    the second best lens includes image stabilisation

    i wouldn't buy the 18-135 if you want a jack of all trades buy a proper travel lens.

    for me its do you want a full set of focal range now ? then get the 18-55/55-250 or a lens that will be the bedrock of your system for years? then get one of the Tamron's

  11. #11
    WJT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Darwin, Australia
    Posts
    917
    Real Name
    Wayne Turner

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Hi Ravid,

    I shoot a lot of wildlife and macro, but have had to spend a fair bit to do it justice. My advice for wildlife is to look hard for a second hand pro lense rather than a new ameture lense. I picked up a Canon 70/200mm f:2.8 for AUD $700 which is great. There are a lot of bargains around with the GFC and good lenses last forever if looked after. If you cant afford a macro then you will get good value out of a 2 inch spacer. This will allow you to get closer with your existing lenses. A tripod is important with macro's as you loose depth of feild when you get in tight. I hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Wayne

  12. #12
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Freehold NJ
    Posts
    602
    Real Name
    Rob Douglas
    If I'm not mistaken, the before mentioned 18-135mm is discontinued and now replaced with the 28-135mm. You would have to find the 18-135 used. Being an older lens and of an entry level the choices might be a little rough in quality.
    I would try and find a used 17-55mm f2.8 & 70-200mm f/2.8 it might stretch the budget a bit but you will go far with that combo and the slight gap in focal length will not be missed. I was told when I first started out by a friend "the pore man pays twice" if you buy the cheaper lens you will more than likely out grow it and want/need the better lens in the future and need to make another purchase along with selling the current one to offset the price of the new one (a big hassle IMO) 3.5-5.6 lenses are good but a 2.8 will really broaden your horizon (literally) I would stick with the kit lens while saving for a 17-55 2.8/70-200 2.8 pair that you will probably never need to change out. As for the macro end. Get a cheap set of extension tubes for the kit lens (probably 18-55) and see how you like macro photography before taking the plunge for a macro lens.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Canada/Québec
    Posts
    50
    Real Name
    Mathieu

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Quote Originally Posted by thequacksoflife View Post
    you will understand as a Nikon user Canon isn't my speciality

    Richard's comment about the 18-135 vs 18-55/55-250 makes sense the more you stretch the lens the more you compromise on quality - its an observation i'd certainly make in the Nikon world. BUT sometimes you need convenience.....

    I would definitely buy quality glass, if you buy lots of cheap lenses you'll eventually regret it and end up spending more.

    I've used the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (non VC) and it is excellent. It's advantages over the 18-55 are better build, more versatile - i.e much better in low light more able to blur backgrounds and a decent portrait lens f2.8 at 50mm. Whether it is sharper than the 18-55 when stopped down to f8...... what the 18-55 gives up is build quality.

    if it was me I'd consider the Canon 15-85 not as good for low light as the Tamron but you get more telephoto and a hint of wide angle.

    However after waffling on for a bit I notice that in the UK the 18-135 is £350 assuming that is your budget for that you could have

    the 18-135 http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/46...n_18135_3556is
    jack of all trades master of none won't be better than the 18-55/55-250 combo

    the 18-55 http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/40...855_3556is_50d
    and the 55-250 http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/41...5250_456is_50d
    not the last word in build quality but excellent VFM


    the 17-50 non vc http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/28...report--review
    probably the best lens but no image stabilsation.

    or the 17-50 VC http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/48...750_28vc_canon
    the second best lens includes image stabilisation

    i wouldn't buy the 18-135 if you want a jack of all trades buy a proper travel lens.

    for me its do you want a full set of focal range now ? then get the 18-55/55-250 or a lens that will be the bedrock of your system for years? then get one of the Tamron's
    I'm still not very good with the lens review, so I might have missed something, but is it me of the IQ of the 17-55 lens kit better than the 17-50 non-vc of tamron, and the IQ around the border better than the 17-50 vc (which seems to be bad)?

    Overall the 18-55 kit lens remaion mostly sharp toward the edge, compared to the two tamron.

    So what did I miss?

  14. #14
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,895
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Lens advice for First time DSLR user...

    Frankly, I would probably stick with the kit lens (18-55) and the 55-250. True, there are better -- and much better -- alternatives in those ranges, but you won't be able to beat the quality for the price. Both are remarkably cheap for the quality of images they will give you. I would use those while you learn how to use an SLR. If you have only dabbled until now, you probably still need to learn about exposure, depth of field, proper shutter speed for moving subjects, etc., etc. That lens combination will let you do all that. Then once you have your bearings and maybe have more cash, you can decide what additional expense, or which trade, makes most sense for YOU, given what you shoot. For example, it might be a better telephoto for wildlife, or a macro lens, or a faster lens for low-light photography or shallower depth of field, or.... Only experience will tell you.

    Neither of those lenses will do macro. No zoom lenses do, although some focus closer than others. You can add a diopter to the end, or extension tubes, but extension tubes will be VERY dark with such slow lenses. If you decide that macro should be your next step, a dedicated macro lens would probably be the way to go. On a crop sensor camera like yours, something in the range of 60mm is very nice for flowers, indoor shots, etc., while a longer lens (around 100mm) is a lot easier for bugs. However: macro photography is technically very demanding. It's most of what I do, so I don't want to scare you off, but you may get discouraged if you start with that. It would make sense, I think, to get comfortable with the camera and learn the basics first, then stick your toes into the water of macro.

    And whatever you do: practice a lot, have fun, and don't get discouraged.
    Last edited by DanK; 3rd January 2012 at 10:17 PM. Reason: typo

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •