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Thread: Oh no, not another lens question...

  1. #1
    GlenM's Avatar
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    Oh no, not another lens question...

    Being asked to shoot candids at a forthcoming wedding has given me the excuse to buy some shiny new toys.

    I have a Canon 500d with an 18-55 kit lens, and a 50mm f/1.8, a tripod and not much else.

    I reckon I could do with a longer lens and a flash.
    The aim is not to get something specifically for the wedding, but that will be useful generally.

    As I have not had a dslr for very long, it is hard for me to say exactly what I would want it for. But generally, I like landscapes, architecture and candid street photography more than wildlife. Maybe add in a bit of motor sport as well.

    My budget is not massive, I could probably get away with 400 - 500.

    Options seem to be to get a Canon 55-250 IS and have money left over for something else, or go for a superzoom Sigma 18-250 OS and blow the budget.

    The sigma would be more convenient, but I understand the IQ will be worse.
    What is the general opinion; go for a zoom which will contine from what I have, or replace with a superzoom?

    Any other viable options? Or even would I be better off waiting until I have more experience and a better idea of what my niche may be?

    So many questions!

    Glen

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    I'm not a wedding photographer Glen, but I do have collected some very nice books about wedding photography. My suggestion would be to get the Canon 55-250 IS so you can get very nice portrait shots. Then, rent another Canon 500D body so you can use the 18-55mm lens on that one. I don't think you can survive shooting a nice wedding with only one body. That is, if you would have the chance to get paid. But if it is just for some candid shots, I'd still say get the 55-250 lens and just swap it from time to time. If I am not mistaken the Canon 18-200mm with IS is on sale right now at Amazon. Now, that would be a good do it all lens for a wedding. Good luck and I hope you'll post some of your wedding shots here.

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    GlenM's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Thanks Jiro,
    The plan is just for candids. There will be a pro there to do the official ones!
    Do you think the pain of switching between 18-55 and 55-250 outweighs the IQ problems of a Sigma superzoom? Generally, and not just for weddings?
    The wedding is a few months off yet, but if anything turns out good, I 'll be sure to post them! Hopefully by then I'll have a bit more experience...

    Glen

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Quote Originally Posted by GlenM View Post
    Thanks Jiro,
    The plan is just for candids. There will be a pro there to do the official ones!
    Do you think the pain of switching between 18-55 and 55-250 outweighs the IQ problems of a Sigma superzoom? Generally, and not just for weddings?
    The wedding is a few months off yet, but if anything turns out good, I 'll be sure to post them! Hopefully by then I'll have a bit more experience...

    Glen
    For me it's always a risk to swap lenses in the field using a digital camera. My concern is dust and dirt from the air going in the lens mount area. Another point of concern is the lens mount. If it is plastic and not metal, you really have to be careful installing it in the body. I am not so familiar with the Sigma 18-250mm zoom lens. If I would have the extra cash or I can borrow some and pay later, I would definitely invest on a good lens as it will give me long years of satisfied service. Besides, Canon lenses have a higher resale value than the 3rd party brands (it depends on what the lens was). No offense to anyone.

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    For a medium priced zoom, Glen, the Canon 70-300 IS might be worth a look and is about your price range.

    But if you can afford a bit extra, the Canon 70-200 L IS F4 lens is excellent. The 2.8 version would be even better for that purpose but the price will frighten you!

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    For me it's always a risk to swap lenses in the field using a digital camera. My concern is dust and dirt from the air going in the lens mount area.
    So what? If / when it happens, clean it!

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    All the prices frighten me!
    Until a couple of months ago I thought I was being extravagent paying 200 for a point and shoot! Now I am looking at twice that for a relatively low-mid range lens..

    The general opinion seems to be stick with a Canon rather than 3rd party lens. Problem is there is still too many choices - I never thought I would have this much of a problem choosing

    I think I will have to make a list with pro/con for each.. But any hands-on-experience and advice still welcome

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    So what? If / when it happens, clean it!
    If it was that easy. LOL!

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    For a medium priced zoom, Glen, the Canon 70-300 IS might be worth a look and is about your price range.
    The Canon 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM is a great lens. Due to the 3 stops IS it's very sharp. Of course it's still a slower lens but I think that range of minimum aperture is common for that price class zoom lenses.

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    This review site might help to 'clear the fog' and point you towards a decision http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/overview

    But if decisions were easy, I would be able to make them.

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    If it was that easy. LOL!
    It gets easier with practice

    Speaking of which, mine needs doing again

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    A few weeks ago I did shoot some candid shots on a wedding and I used a Sigma 18-200 on a Nikon D40 and I got some amazing shots. A good flash is a requirement though, especially when you are shooting in the evening. I had the change to play a bit with the flash settings and got some very interesting shots (but I still need to post process them )

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    IMO, shooting with a pair of cameras and complementing lenses is the best way to get a wide focal range without the slower auto focus and IQ problems of a single extended range zoom. I shoot with a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens and a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on a pair of 1.6x cameras. The fault with that combination, although I believe it is the cream of the crop for the 1.6x format, is that it is quite expensive.

    The your 18-55mm IS kit lens combined with the 55-250mm IS lens is the least expensive pair that match perfectly and will provide a wide focal range. However, I have not researched the auto-focus and image quality difference between these two lenses and a high quality extended range zoom. The advantages of a constant f/2.8 aperture in your mid range zoom and a constant f/4 aperture in the telephoto zoom, which I enjoy with my lenses, are negated by choosing the 18-55mm + 55-250mm lenses. Having shot with neither the 18-55mm nor 55-250mm; I cannot say that there would be any specific advantage using those lenses over using an extended range zoom lens such as the 18-200mm or 18-135mm Canons...

    On the other hand, getting a good flash and learning to use it will alleviate many of the problems intrinsic with slower lenses.

    Finally - on a different note... Two really nice lenses to use for shooting a wedding as a guest are either the 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2. That way, you can be unobtrusive, shooting with available light (f/1.8 or f/2 are quite satisfactory for available light shooting with a camera that can use a relatively high ISO), and stay out of the main photographers way (because of the long focal length) to isolate informal portraits of the guests. I think that the best way to shoot a wedding as a guest is not to try to duplicate the principle photographer's work but rather, to cover the ceremony and especially the reception in a photojournalistic style.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 16th March 2011 at 04:51 PM.

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    GlenM: Don't want to muddy the water, but you could consider the 24-105mm L lens. It is in your budget range and it is a very good walk-around lens. You would have a little more reach which could get you some nice candids.

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    The 24-105 L lens may be under Glen's 500 maximum in some countries, but expect to pay at least 300 more in the UK.

    And to wander a little bit:

    When I first bought this lens, a little over a year ago, I was disappointed with it so eventually, after the guarantee had expired, I sent it to a repairer for a strip and check. He said that the rear barrel assembly seemed faulty and replaced it.

    He said, probably either a faulty unit had been fitted or it had received a serious knock before I bought it.

    From my first shots of the repaired lens it does seem a lot sharper now.

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    After much deliberation and indecisiveness, I have decided to go for a Canon 55-250.

    While it might not be the best lens avaiable, it has the benefit of being cheap! I don't want to spend too much money for now, as I am still getting to grips with everything and still not sure what would be best for me in the long run.

    When I have more experience, I'll trade up to something better quality and better suited to my needs.

    As ever, thanks all for the advice and input

    Glen

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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    Quote Originally Posted by GlenM View Post
    After much deliberation and indecisiveness, I have decided to go for a Canon 55-250.
    But the key point, Glen, is that when you've considered and pondered, you are then able to be decisive and make the decision. So well, done.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

    Next thing? We want to see some images from it on here!

  18. #18
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    Re: Oh no, not another lens question...

    As they say 'I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not too sure'.

    The problem I have is that this is all new to me, so I spend time researching, come to a conclusion, then read something that totally contradicts what I thought I had just learned!

    It's on order now, and I'm off to Cornwall for a week soon, so will try to get some decent images as long as it arrives in time.

    I'm sure it won't be too long before I get the urge to upgrade anyway

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