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  1. #1
    didymus's Avatar
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    What lenses to buy

    I am planning to upgrade my lens collection to better quality lenses. I have a Canon 450D with the following lenses:

    EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (kit lens)
    EF 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 A
    EF 50mm f/1.8
    EF 70-210mm f/4


    The first lens came with the camera. I am not displeased with this lens, although it is not too sharp beyond f11. The other lenses I purchased back in 1989/90 for my Canon EOS 750. They were inexpensive then and money was tight, and I want to replace them with better quality glass.



    First on my wish list is the Sigma 120-400mm f4.5-5.6 APO HSM, as reviewed by Darwin Wiggett. Next on the list is the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM. Then something to fill in the wider angles below 70mm. Maybe even as wide as the Sigma AF 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 DC HSM.

    I photograph a variety of subjects, primarily landscapes and wildlife, with some sports and portraits thrown in.

    Your thoughts or opinions (positive or negative), greatly appreciated.

    Gary

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Hi Gary,

    The standard "trilogy" of lenses that I recommend is the EF16-36mm F2.8L USM II, EF24-70mm F2.8L USM, and EF70-200 F2.8L IS USM II. If you have those three then it's unlikely that you'll need anything else for landscape or portraiture.

    The EF70-200 F2.8L IS USM II works well with both the EF1.4x II and EF2.0x II Teleconverters, and Canon have recently announced vIII editions of both which should be sharper again, so one of these combination on a crop-factor camera (or more accurately, a crop-factor camera on one of these!) should give you good reach for wildlife.

    Personally, not a big fan of Sigma lenses due to having heard too many horror stories regarding sample-to-sample variations, poor build quality, and incompatabilities, but that's just my opinion. Some members here use them and are very happy with the results.

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Regarding Sigma lenses... They may have changed things around but, I purchased (used) a 28mm f/1.8 Sigma to use as a low light lens on my 10D. At that time, I was using the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS as my main lens. I figured that a combination of the 28mm f/1.8 Sigma and 50mm f/1.8 mark-I Canon would be a nice pair of low light lenses... and they were.

    The problem is that Sigma discontinued my model of 28mm f/1.8. Sigma reverse engineered their lenses for Canon cameras and my 28mm would not work on my later version cameras (40D and 30D). Sigma would have rechipped the 28mm to adapt it to later cameras but, since the model was discontinued, no longer provides that service.

    So I have a low light lens which I cannot use on my later cameras which provide better high ISO capability. I am going to put it on ebay for a couple of bucks.

    Once bitten, twice shy. I just don't trust Sigma...

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    The problem is that Sigma discontinued my model of 28mm f/1.8. Sigma reverse engineered their lenses for Canon cameras and my 28mm would not work on my later version cameras (40D and 30D). Sigma would have rechipped the 28mm to adapt it to later cameras but, since the model was discontinued, no longer provides that service.
    I think that this is the crux of the problem. At the end of the day, Sigma take $$$ out of Canon's pockets, and I suspect that if Canon can find a way to make a new model of camera incompatible with an existing Sigma lens then they'd probably do it without hesitation (whilst at the same time apologising at how "necessary changes to improve something caused this to occur".

    And with lenses generally lasting a lot longer than cameras, you just don't know if the Sigma lens you buy today will work with the Canon camera you upgrade to tomorrow.

    Do you feel lucky today?

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Thank you both!

    I have been looking at those wider lenses, but they are nearer the bottom of the list as I am happy with the 18-55mm kit lens for now. I would rather spend the money on the larger lens(s) first. Obviously, the Canon
    EF70-200 F2.8L IS USM II, is at, or next to, the top of the list. I am still interested in the Sigma 120-400mm f4.5-5.6 APO HSM though, but time will tell. I am not rushing out to spend my money... yet!

    How much slower is the Canon 70-200 with the 1.4x or 2.0x converters? With the 2.0x I would get the 400mm that I am looking for. More money but you get what you pay for...

    As always, comments from people with personal experience with lenses holds a bit more credability.

    Again, thank you both!

    Gary

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by didymus View Post
    [SIZE=2]
    How much slower is the Canon 70-200 with the 1.4x or 2.0x converters? With the 2.0x I would get the 400mm that I am looking for.
    Hi Gary,

    In terms of effective aperture, it drops to F4.0 with the EF1.4x, and to F5.6 with the EF2.0x. In terms of AF speed, "about 1/2".

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    didymus's Avatar
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    Re: What lenses to buy

    I feel the tug towards the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM with the EF 2x III. Effectively making a 140-400 with a constant aperture.

    You guys drive a hard bargain


    Gary

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    However... not all 3rd party lenses become obsolete. Tona and Tamron seem to last over several models. I wonder if they purchased the "secrets" from Canon...

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    However... not all 3rd party lenses become obsolete. Tona and Tamron seem to last over several models. I wonder if they purchased the "secrets" from Canon...
    I vaguely recall - somewhere in the back of my mind - that Tamron DID have some kind of licencing tie-up with Canon, but that thought goes back many years.

    EDIT: I could well be wrong. Just did a quick Goolge, and found an interesting discussion here.

    Personally I can state that I've never bought a Sigma / Tamron / What-ever lens for my camera ... and never will. I just don't see the point. Canon lenses are always on-par performance wise & build quality wise (if not considerably better), and guaranteed to be compatible.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 8th October 2010 at 04:53 AM.

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Well, I have both the Sigma 10-20 (older version) and Sigma 150-500. They're both outstanding pieces of hardware.

    Naturally Canon, Nikon & Pentax would prefer you to purchase their own lenses, but I would strongly suggest going to a friend or shop, doing research online, checking out the other variants as well if you're on a budget. They're typically only a fraction of the cost for very near the performance.

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Personally I can state that I've never bought a Sigma / Tamron / What-ever lens for my camera ... and never will. I just don't see the point. Canon lenses are always on-par performance wise & build quality wise (if not considerably better), and guaranteed to be compatible.
    The factor you don't include in this, Colin, is price. The argument that the Canon will be of much better quality and will last longer and, therefore in the long run, will provide better value-for-money is valid.

    However, you will agree that not everyone can lay out the money up-front to purchase the absolute best. I think that is the point.

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    >>Canon lenses are always on-par performance wise & build quality wise (if not considerably better), and guaranteed to be compatible.

    Not always. I have a bunch of Canon FD lenses for a film camera that I bought in the early 1980's. Sometime between then and now Canon changed the mount or something so they are not compatible with today's digital Canon's. Not so with Nikon lenses! So you really never know.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by didymus View Post

    The first lens came with the camera. [i.e, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (kit lens)] I am not displeased with this lens, although it is not too sharp beyond f11.
    Correct.
    That is diffraction.
    Although I would have thought it noticeable at F/13 – you might be doing a bit of pixel peeping or only noticing this at the extremes of the zoom and or confusing the CA at the WA of the lens with “sharpness”. Yes is a very good value for money lens.

    My suggestion is to keep this lens and use it between F/7 and F/11.








    Quote Originally Posted by didymus View Post
    The other lenses I purchased back in 1989/90 for my Canon EOS 750. They were inexpensive then and money was tight, and I want to replace them with better quality glass.
    [/FONT]


    First on my wish list is the Sigma 120-400mm f4.5-5.6 APO HSM, as reviewed by Darwin Wiggett. Next on the list is the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM. Then something to fill in the wider angles below 70mm. Maybe even as wide as the Sigma AF 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 DC HSM.

    I photograph a variety of subjects, primarily landscapes and wildlife, with some sports and portraits thrown in.

    Your thoughts or opinions (positive or negative), greatly appreciated.

    Gary
    IMO there are better options for the 200 to 400mm range.

    Two I would consider before outlaying money on the 120 to 400 Sigma Lens would be the 70 to 200MkII IS USM + x1.4MkIII and see if that reach is long enough for you. If you only occasionally need the 400mm and it is in reasonable light then buy the x2.0MkIII as well.

    The second (mainly for the wildlife use) would be buy the 300/4IS USM (and you would have the x1.4 tele-converter).

    I am guessing that “for wildlife” it would be a known event and therefore you would take the longer lens out for that purpose – I don’t see the need to lug around a 120 to 400 all the time – but that’s just me.

    I didn’t buy and I am not a fan of the EF100 to 400L either.

    Disclosure: I don’t own any Sigma lenses and that decision is based on the Sigma lenses I have used – so I have a latent bias, anyway.

    Another option (if you are not passionate about the Fastest Aperture and if 300mm is long enough) is buy one lens only, the new: EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM.

    For the wide I think the ravings about the EF-S 10 to 22 should be taken note of, though I have not used this lens.

    If your 50/1.8 is the “original’ version, then that lens is quite sought after, by many – I would keep and use it.


    WW

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by benm View Post
    >>Canon lenses are always on-par performance wise & build quality wise (if not considerably better), and guaranteed to be compatible.

    Not always. I have a bunch of Canon FD lenses for a film camera that I bought in the early 1980's. Sometime between then and now Canon changed the mount or something so they are not compatible with today's digital Canon's. Not so with Nikon lenses! So you really never know.
    Well you are talking different lens SERIES.
    I think of you go back to earlier NIKON lens SERIES, there might be similar issues - that would be a more fair comparison IMO.

    WW

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    didymus's Avatar
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    Re: What lenses to buy

    William,

    The 18-55 has CA that begins after f11, depending on the zoom setting. I tend to use it most often between f6.3 and f13, and not always zoomed all the way in or out. The 70-200 IS version is a bit steep for my pockets. The non-IS version fits in though, with the 1.4x. I think that is the way I will procede: EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
    with either the 1.4x or 2.0x converter, (I am leaning toward the 2.0x). The 70-210 f4.0 lens I have does not reach all the time, and the light is not always the best (shade from trees and/or mountains). Adding a converter to that lens slows it down too much I think.

    Thanks,

    Gary



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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    However, you will agree that not everyone can lay out the money up-front to purchase the absolute best. I think that is the point.
    Hi Donald,

    I hear what you're saying - and I don't disagree. Personally though, I always prefer to take a long position to avoid having to pay for things twice.

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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by benm View Post
    [I]Not always. I have a bunch of Canon FD lenses for a film camera that I bought in the early 1980's. Sometime between then and now Canon changed the mount or something so they are not compatible with today's digital Canon's. Not so with Nikon lenses! So you really never know.
    They didn't just change the mount, they changed the whole interface (for the better too I might add).

    As Bill kindly pointed out though, we're talking about different series; in my opinion, trying to mount an FD lens on an EOS camera is like trying to mount an Apollo command module on the space shuttle ... it could probably be done, but why would anyone really want to. Nikon doesn't completely come up smelling of roses here either - there are many lenses that won't physically mount, and others that lose AF or metering or both on many Nikon cameras. I'm not trying to knock Nikon, it's really just a case of the world having moved on in the past 30 years.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    trying to mount an FD lens on an EOS camera is like trying to mount an Apollo command module on the space shuttle ...
    When I was a kid I wanted to put Tractor Tires on my Dad’s Lamborghini . . . he wouldn’t let me.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by didymus View Post
    The 18-55 has CA that begins after f11, depending on the zoom setting. I tend to use it most often between f6.3 and f13, and not always zoomed all the way in or out. The 70-200 IS version is a bit steep for my pockets. The non-IS version fits in though, with the 1.4x. I think that is the way I will procede: EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM with either the 1.4x or 2.0x converter, (I am leaning toward the 2.0x). The 70-210 f4.0 lens I have does not reach all the time, and the light is not always the best (shade from trees and/or mountains). Adding a converter to that lens slows it down too much I think.
    A couple of comments – that’s interesting that you pick up the CA only at f/13 and beyond. I can make CA at 18mm at F/3.5 on both the original and the IS version, but it is worst (i.e. noticeable) at the corners and not all the time – lighting and subjects make a difference. But the CA can be mostly all cleaned up in PP.
    But you might have misunderstood my previous comment – I was not lecturing but sharing information – anyway the point is I think the kit lens is great value for money – we have two - the original and the IS version and both are indispensible for my “sailing” adventures, just as one example – try trimming the headsail and shooting at the same time . . . in a 12 knot wind, I ain’t getting any younger each day.

    On the EF70 to 200F2.8L USM: I also own and know this lens well. I have unlimited access to the EF70 to 200F2.8L IS USM, also. I have both the x1.4MkII and the X2.0MkII tele-converters. I bought my 70 to 200 to use on APS-C cameras, ostensibly for Sports Photography on a reasonable budget (meaning I did not want to go full hog and buy 1 Series cameras).

    I cut over my 135 format film gear to digital around 2004; and with that change I also changed Camera Brands. My first thought when I bought the 70 to 200 was to get the x2.0MkII only – I did and the following week I bought the x1.4MkII also. My mistake was not thinking at the 70mm end. When driving a rig: APS-C + 70 to 200 + x2.0 you are sitting at an effective (135 format) FoV of a 196mm lens, at the short end and I found I did often did not have enough room to back up.

    So I suggest you consider the 70mm lens of the zoom if you plan to buy only ONE tele-converter: obviously this depends a lot on what you are shooting and how you intend to use the lens – for example if you only want the x2.0MkII to make the 70 to 200 a 400mm prime and will use it that way most of the time, that is a different kettle of kippers.

    On the other hand if you only need a little more reach out of the 70 200 + x1.4 – then for the sake of the loss of one stop and the loss of some IQ - it might be more prudent just to use the x1.4 and crop in post production.

    There is no doubt that the x2.0MkII has more image loss than the x1.4MkII when used on the 70 to 200 - but I have spent a few hours arguing exactly how much and IMO with good technique, in reasonable light you can get good to very good images printable to 11 x 14 – well I have so I am not talking through my hat.

    PP and correct sharpening techniques are very important. I have not made this combination with a 450D, but I expect if you keep ISO400 and nail the exposure correctly you will do fine. (I know and have used a 400D and 450D)

    Another comment is the “IS” – I will only say that it is only in special conditions that I ever recommend the NON IS version over the IS version: and I suggest you think this through with due consideration. 200mm is a long way on an APS-C camera – and whilst I play the game how slow can I go – and I play that game often – it is really annoying to stuff up some really nice shots because you didn’t have the Tv available. In short I have the NON IS version because it is used 99% of the time in situations where the slowest Tv is 1/800s – sometimes 1/640s in really bad light. Now I have played the game with the x2.0MkII added and hand held at 1/500s – and I know I can pull about 80% success with that rig – but that is for just for fun – and as mentioned I have access to an IS version if I want it.

    I am not sure if the Tele-converters MkIII will have any better effect on the 70 to 200/2.8L as the literature seems to be geared towards their use for the new range of lenses – so pending investigating that issue - I would expect that the MkII versions will be less expensive in the next few months – possibly allowing you to buy both.

    It’s interesting you mention the EF70 to 210 F/4 – I think that is the push pull lens and the NON USM version? – anyway I was discussing this lens the other day as I saw one in a second hand shop and I researched it – I don’t think you have very many options regarding a tele-converter on that lens – third party only will fit – and I think that fact combined with an f/4 lens and also the native IQ of the lens would result in big disappointment.

    WW

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    didymus's Avatar
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    Re: What lenses to buy

    Bill,

    Great advise! Thank you. I am not purchasing any lens(es) until next spring. More than enough time to hear the arguments one way or the other.

    Gary

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