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Thread: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

  1. #1

    Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Hello,

    I am new to photography, having just invested in a Rebel XSi recently.

    I currently have only the kit lens and the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. I am trying to decide on the next lens to buy, especially for my upcoming trip to Costa Rica where I intend to capture mostly wildlife but also anticipate great wide angle shots of beaches/sunsets.

    My question is: should I get an 18-250mm so I can leave the kit lens at home and have the ability to shoot mostly with that lens OR is it better to get the 55-250mm lens and carry the kit lens with me for normal shooting?

    I appreciate any feedback/advice!

    Thanks,
    Tharsan

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    I am not that familiar with Canon lenses, but I presume that your kit lens is an 18-55 mm lens. Generally, the image quality of zoom lenses with large focal length ranges is not as good as for lenses with smaller ranges. On the other hand, an 18-250 mm lens avoids the need for lens changes which in the Costa Rica jungle is a definite plus.

    I have travelled several times to South America and have tried both the one-lens and the two-lens solution. For me the two-lens approach works better.

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    I think we really need some more details before anybody can give any firm recommendations here.

    What is your budget? Which brand of lenses are you currently considering (ie Canon, Sigma, Tamron, etc.)? Exactly what do you want to want to photograph?

    Wildlife can mean tiny bugs, flying birds or large mammals. How close do you expect to get to your subject? What sort of landscapes, sweeping panoramas or tighter shots of more specific locations?

    As a general rule, I find that lenses with too large a size range can have quality problems somewhere along the range, unless you are prepared to spend a considerable amount of money.

    For general wildlife work, I have found the Canon 70-300 IS to be a useful lens but even 300 mm can be a bit short for smaller birds, so I prefer around 400-500 mm for them; but we are getting around the £1000 area now, and heavyweight as well. Although I haven't used it myself, the Canon 55-250 does get reasonable reviews for a budget lens, but it is obviously a budget construction so needs some care in use.

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    How about one of these?

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    My budget is around the $500 for this lens. I'm definitely not looking at the Canon L series because they are well out of my price range and because I'd still consider myself an amateur casual photographer at the moment (I've had my DSLR for less than a month and had only a passing interest in photography before.)

    I'm open to any brand of lens, especially the Sigma/Tamron since they seem to be somewhat cheaper and the general understanding I've gained is that there is little to no difference in image quality.

    For my immediate needs, I'm intending to shoot small animals from about 10-20m away but I don't want to carry many lenses around so I ideally wanted a lens (such as the 18-250mm) with a large focal length range to cover my bases. However, if there are quality problems somewhere throughout the range, I'd be willing to buy a different wide-angle and telephoto lens to go along with my kit (18-55mm) lens and carry all of them around.

    The Canon 70-300mm IS lens looks like it's about in price range.

    Also, if I were to get an EF mount lens, what math would I need to do to figure out the corresponding focal length range when mounted on my APS-C sensor camera? Do I multiply by 1.6? i.e. the 70-300mm EF lens would effectively be 112-480mm?

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    So in summary, you're after a wide-angle to telephoto zoom - that has excellent image quality, but doesn't cost much?

    Also, if I were to get an EF mount lens, what math would I need to do to figure out the corresponding focal length range when mounted on my APS-C sensor camera? Do I multiply by 1.6? i.e. the 70-300mm EF lens would effectively be 112-480mm?
    If you're using a camera with an APS-C size sensor then you need to multiply the folcal length of ALL lenses (ie EF and EF-S) to get your apparent focal length (even EF-S lenses are states in FF equivalent lengths).

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Tharsan

    As Colin's last post makes us realise, unless you have unlimited funds then the choices you make are going to have to involve compromises.

    You started this thread by saying that you wanted something that would do both wide-angle AND telephoto. I think many people would be responding that you cannot cover the range you want to cover and achieve excellent quality in one lens, within the budget that you have. Others, I'm sure, will answer that we're not all trying to produce the sort of images that require the highest-end lenses and therefore the quality from a lens within your budget range will be perfectly acceptable.

    There is no doubt that you get what you pay for. You write of different brands, "the general understanding I've gained is that there is little to no difference in image quality". I think you will find that that is not the case. There is a difference. The question that you have to address in making a purchasing decision is whether the differences are within tolerable limits for whatever outcome you wish to achieve.

    These are the 'pros' and 'cons' that you have to weigh up and make a decision that is right for you. There is no general 'right' or 'wrong'. It is what is 'right' or 'wrong' for you in your circumstances. Colin provides a link to one of the lens review sites. There are others. Some have comments by 'experts'. Others include comments by 'everyday users'. Study them. Read what they say about their experiences. Compare what they are doing with the lens alongside what you want to do with it.

    But, unless money is an irrelevant matter to you, your final decision will include compromises of one kind or another.

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by thizzle View Post
    ~ My question is: should I get an 18-250mm so I can leave the kit lens at home and have the ability to shoot mostly with that lens OR is it better to get the 55-250mm lens and carry the kit lens with me for normal shooting?
    Hi Tharson,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    Donald's post is packed full of common sense and is a very balanced between the ultimate quality vs best price viewpoints.

    I was in a similar position to yours last May; I went for the Nikon D5000 (no kit lens) and a Sigma 18-250mm for exactly the reasons you state. Now while it took some reasonable shots, I fould the AF very "miss. miss, miss and hit", in fact the ratio was worse than that

    MF? Well, I found I was unable to Manually Focus (on say, birds in flight) and frame and expose, etc. Besides, I was expecting the AF to do its job!

    Long story short; I now have a Nikon 18-200mm, it is much better at AF, but it is still a compromise on image quality (IQ) compared to the way more expensive zoom lenses or primes, it's good enough for me though. So you can see where I fall within the range of IQ vs cheapness.

    I would love a longer lens, but having a "200mm" reach (which as Colin says, equates to 300mm in 35mm terms), the problem is, I find I have sufficient pixels that I regularly crop to what a 300mm would give anyway, so now I'm looking for something even longer, with more expense, especially if I want to avoid "third party" manufacturers Photography isn't cheap!

    I have some secondhand completely manual prime macro lenses I am experimenting with now, so that's taken my mind off it, for a while anyway

    Cheers,

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    You may find this lens review site useful http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/overview most Canon, Sigma and Tamron lenses are here.

    If a Canon lens is white - don't even bother to ask the price!

    But I suppose your decision really comes down to getting a Canon 55-250 plus another smaller lens or the Canon 70-300 and keeping your current 18-55 for now; then upgrading it when funds allow.

    Personally, I know that the Canon 70-300 is a better build than the 55-250, which I would regard as a 'stop gap' purchase which works out dearer in the long run. And that extra 50 mm in length will probably prove useful.

    Don't get tempted by the cheaper Canon 75-300 non IS which is an older lens.

    Sigma do make a lens around this size but I don't have any personal experience here. Another lens that I would not recommend is the very cheap Sigma 28-300 which is another ultra budget lens with matching quality!

  10. #10

    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Thanks for all your advice. My primary concern was any loss of quality using a full-range 18-200mm lens over a shorter-range telephoto lens (such as the 55-250mm).

    I've decided to go with a telephoto-only lens and carry my kit lens with me.
    I'm looking at the Canon EF-S 55-250mm for now and plan to spring for the 70-200mm f/4 L when I can.

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    i currently have 55-250mm canon ef-s lens along with the kit lens 18-55mm and prime 50mm f/1.8.
    i am just a beginner in photography and i acquired this lenses for me to grow with it, i find the 55-250mm af performs no problem with me. in my experience i never find it difficult to lock in focus . i think its a great value for the money!
    for reference regarding the shots of this lens, i have a few shots in my flickr account:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gravs/

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by belong View Post
    i currently have 55-250mm canon ef-s lens along with the kit lens 18-55mm and prime 50mm f/1.8.
    i am just a beginner in photography and i acquired this lenses for me to grow with it, i find the 55-250mm af performs no problem with me. in my experience i never find it difficult to lock in focus . i think its a great value for the money!
    for reference regarding the shots of this lens, i have a few shots in my flickr account:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gravs/
    Thanks for the link. I enjoyed viewing your shots. You do great work.

    I am also in the decision making process between a few lenses. The two lenses I am looking at, because of price, are the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 (no VC). I'm nervous about getting a lens without vibration compensation. With a longer zoom range, wouldn't there be a higher risk of camera shake? I like the f/2.8 through out the entire zoom, but looking at belong/Isabelo's flicker photos, it seems that you can get great bokeh even at f/5.6 when entirely zoomed out. I'm new to photography and want what most people want - awesome bokeh - sharp detail - fast shutter speed - inexpensive price. The other lens option in my price range is the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VC. One I would choose a "fixed" f/2.8 is that my house has poor lighting and I will be taking shots of family gatherings inside and the f/2.8 will give me a faster shutter speed for less subject motion - (i.e an extremely active toddler).

    I also wonder what matters most in making sparp images. I have a Canon XS and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. I can't seem to get super sharp detail in my photos. Is the camera the problem or is my lens (or maybe it's operator error)? Can I put a lens on my camera that will give me the detail I want or will I have to upgrade my camera in order to accomplish this? I'm hoping that one of the Tamron lenses I mentioned will be the answer.

    Thanks-
    Heather

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Hopefully I'm not hijacking a thread here, but Heather? I have a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF). I am a rank beginner, so you can take my opinion and a dollar and buy a cup of coffee with it... just not at Starbucks!

    What struck me is that you are considering a setup similar to what I have. Brilliant minds and all? I pulled the trigger on a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) for the lower end. The reviews I read were all good. I donít notice anything too disturbing with it, i.e. optical/chromatic, curvature, distortion aberrations. I posted a shot I took with it in the Nature & Architecture Thread @ 17mm. for some c&c and no one mentioned any of these if they noticed them. Seems to get a good and quick focus lock and relatively reasonably priced. While I have not yet had a chance to put it to use in all its combinations, what I have done seems pretty good. Certainly acceptable for the likes of me! For your other choice I have no idea. I have a Canon midrange zoom. Again, my opinion on this subject isnít worth much, Heather, but I hoped it might be helpful to hear from someone who has one of the lenses you are considering. And at least maybe see a photo taken with it in the field. I know I would have liked that before I purchased it if I could. My shootin' iron is a 50D.

    For me, and at the stage I am at, VC, IS, or whatever any particular company calls it is an absolute must. And for sure with a longer range any shake, rattle, & roll will be magnified. Not to mention my nerves are shot! But thatís another story!

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Thanks for your experienced input, Terry. I've been reading up on Tamron and Canon lenses since I posted earlier today. I think I will be extremely happy with the lens you have and the 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 with VC. I don't know why, but it bothers me that I would be getting 2 lenses that start at about the same zoom range, but I really do want the f/2.8 in at least one zoom lens. It's a shame that he 70-200mm f/2.8 doesn't have VC.

    I checked out the photo you posted . . . It's beautiful! I didn't realize that we could post photos on the forum (new to forums as well as photogrpahy).

    Thanks-
    Heather

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by 13dayzee View Post
    I also wonder what matters most in making sparp images. I have a Canon XS and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. I can't seem to get super sharp detail in my photos. Is the camera the problem or is my lens (or maybe it's operator error)? Can I put a lens on my camera that will give me the detail I want or will I have to upgrade my camera in order to accomplish this?
    Hi Heather,

    In respect of the softer pics you get with the XS + 50/1.8, if you post one or two images here (with EXIF data, e.g. shutter speed, aperture, iso), we can hopefully advise you.

    I didn't realize that we could post photos on the forum (new to forums as well as photogrpahy).
    If you need some guidance here, I'd suggest have a read of this method:
    How to post pictures inline using TinyPic

    Cheers,

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    So, as I look back at my photos I realize that I'm the reason my images that are not sharp. As I said in my last post, I have a 50mm f/1.8 lens . . . I use 1.8(or close to it) on everything! I'm posting my images anyway, but I probably need to work in a different aperture until I'm better at photography.

    Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    I ended up getting the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 VC and an external flash. I messed with the flash yesterday and today. I don't know much about the external flash yet, except for turning it on, but I love what it does for my indoor photos so far! I just got my new lens earlier this evening and only took a few shots inside. I can't wait to use it tomorrow!

    I also purchased a Promaster Close-Up Lens Set for my 50mm, maybe my next butterfly will be better.

    Thanks-
    Heather

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by 13dayzee View Post
    I ended up getting the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 VC and an external flash. I messed with the flash yesterday and today. I don't know much about the external flash yet, except for turning it on, but I love what it does for my indoor photos so far! I just got my new lens earlier this evening and only took a few shots inside. I can't wait to use it tomorrow!
    You're up and running! Congratulations. It is about getting out there (or inside, as the case may be) and practising, practising, practising. Shoot everyone and everything, just to start getting used to the equipment. You WILL reach the point where turning things, pushing things, etc becomes second nature and you'll do it without having to break into your artisitic thinking processes about composition, lighting etc. And, of course, keep coming on here with all the questions you have. I'm sure you've worked out already that there's so much knowledge and experience on here, it's frightening!!

    You will experience those moments of sheer frustration and wonder why you ever got into this photography thing and why you wasted money on all this stupid equipment. But that's all part of the learning process. Just go out into a wide open space ... and scream. It gets better after that.

    So, as I look back at my photos I realize that I'm the reason my images that are not sharp. As I said in my last post, I have a 50mm f/1.8 lens . . . I use 1.8(or close to it) on everything! I'm posting my images anyway, but I probably need to work in a different aperture until I'm better at photography.
    You're certainly setting yourself a big test. If you're using f1.8 (or at that end of the range) then you have to get your focusing spot-on. There's not a lot of room for error. The other point though is that although we all love to be able to create that dramatic impact with backgrounds way out of focus, don't close off your thinking to the artistic merits of larger depths-of-field. And that's also a part of learning your new equipment. Shoot lots of things at different apertures to learn how your lens performs and what you can achieve with it.

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I guess I was so sick of the entire photo being in focus with my point and shoot that I got carried away with making sure my subject pops off the background. Photography is complex, but I think all the frustration will be worth it eventually.

    -Heather

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    Re: Telelphoto + Wide-angle lens vs. Telephoto lens question

    Congratulations on your new lens and flash. I suggest that you incorporate a diffuser/reflector for that flash and gain experience bouncing flash whenever possible. IMO, bounce flash using a diffuser/reflector provides excellent and natural looking (which is my aim) lighting.

    A diffuser/reflector can be as simple as an index or business card taped to the rear of the flash. In this case, the card reflects some of the light from the flash forward to fill in the dark shadows under a persons eyebrows, nose and chin caused by the light bouncing off the ceiling.

    A somewhat more sophisticated (however still basically no or low-cost) diffuser/reflector can be fabricated from cardboard, poster-board or foam-core board or the plastic from a milk jug. Here are the plans for two types of DIY diffuser/reflectors:

    http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

    or

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=10645209

    There are multitudes of commercially made products such as the Stofen and Gary Fong's various difusers. However, my all-time favorite is the Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro ( www.dembflashproducts.com ). The reason I like this product is its versatility. The Flip-It portion of the Flash Diffuser Pro is adjustable and can be angled up or down depending in what type of venue in which you are shooting. The unit can even be angled so as to facilitate using bounce flash outdoors and in churches where the ceiling is too high to bounce off.

    Taking your flash photography up a notch, you could use a bracket. Using a bracket with an off camera flash cord (cord not needed with a Canon 7D) will give you the optimum in single flash photography. However, the increase in quality from straight flash to bounce with a diffuser/reflector is far greater than from working with bounce flash and diffuser/reflector on camera and using a bracket.

    Here is an excellent tutorial regarding the effective and creative use of flash.

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=10645209

    I am incorporating this line since recently I have been losing the last line of my posts...

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