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Thread: Another lens question: first purchase after kit lens?

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    Another lens question: first purchase after kit lens?

    Just when I think I've got it figured out I read some more great info on these boards.
    I'm in a bit of a quandry about which lens to pick as my first investment for my Canon
    50D. (I only have the kit lens at the moment.)

    I had pretty much decided on the 50mm f 1.2 for kind of an all around first prime lens. I also wanted to get a 60mm macro lens because the thought of shooting "bug faces" intrigued me. I'm wondering though are the two lenses too similiar in nature? I mean will the 60mm do pretty much what the 50mm can do?

    Then after reading Colins opinion on the 24-70, I'm thinking the extra versatility would be a big plus. Is this lens as sharp as the 50mm? I know it's cheaper. $1200 as opposed to $1400. Perhaps the 24-70 and then a 100mm macro.

    At this point I'm sure anything will far surpass the kit lens. I value the opinions on these boards and look forward to any input, advice, and suggestions.

    Thanks in advance,
    Colin

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    Re: Another lens question

    Hi Colin,

    A couple of suggestions ...

    1. Try not to get caught up in the "primes are sharper than zooms" mantra - correct capture sharpening makes a far bigger difference than the inherant differences between a quality prime and a quality zoom. Zooms like the EF24-70mm F2.8L USM and EF70-200 series are so sharp you need to be careful you don't cut yourself handling the resultant images! So it's not so much a case of "primes being sharper than zooms" as it is "both being vastly more than adequate in the sharpness department".

    2. Biggest advantage of primes is their speed and resultant shallow DoF, if that's what you're after - but if your lens selection is limited then the BIG drawback is you're limited to just 1 focal length. For general shooting - in terms of DoF - there's little to be gained by going less than F2.8 (when I say "little to be gained" I don't mean that you won't get a much narrower DoF; the problem is that it becomes so narrow you just can't use it for general shooting a lot of the time). In terms of the ability of the lens to allow higher shutter speeds it's great - but unfortunately it comes part and parcel with the shallow DoF - so using a higher ISO or flash is the better option.

    Re: Macro ...

    Macro 60mm Macro is the same focal length as a "conventional" 60mm lens - the difference is that the macro lens can focus much closer to the subject, thus allowing the image to cover more of the sensor area. The downside is that often macro lenses are slower (F3.5 etc).

    For a general purpose lens my suggestion would be to look very closely at the EF24-70/2.8; some argue that it's a bit long on a crop factor camera, but I never found it to be a problem (and if you ever go FF then you're still OK).

    Does this help?

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    Re: Another lens question

    It sure does Colin thank you very much.
    However, what do you mean by "a bit long" on a crop factor camera.

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    Re: Another lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin O'Regan View Post
    It sure does Colin thank you very much.
    However, what do you mean by "a bit long" on a crop factor camera.
    You're welcome.

    On a crop-factor camera like the 50D a 24-70mm lens effectively becomes a 38-112mm lens (or put another way, if you put a 24-70 on a 50D and I put a "38 to 112mm lens" on my FF camera, we'll have the same field of view (ie the view will look the same).

    You can get EF-S lenses that cover what some will argue is a better range, but you can't use them with FF cameras (which may or may not be an issue). Lenses like the EF24-70mm/2.8L aren't cheap - but they're professional quality (both optically and build construction) and should last many many years (far longer than than the camera that they're attached to is likely to be around).

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    Re: Another lens question

    Got it, thank you sir.

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    Re: Another lens question

    You're welcome sir!

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    Re: Another lens question

    To Colin O as opposed to Colin S.

    When you get up in to the quality range of zoom lenses, read "the high priced ones", I don't think it's too broad a statement to say that they, like most of the high quality primes, will out resolve the camera they are attached to.
    That is, they have better sharpness than the camera can even show.

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    Re: Another lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    To Colin O as opposed to Colin S.

    When you get up in to the quality range of zoom lenses, read "the high priced ones", I don't think it's too broad a statement to say that they, like most of the high quality primes, will out resolve the camera they are attached to.
    That is, they have better sharpness than the camera can even show.
    The irony I find in a lot of "lens sharpness" discussions is that people can only compare one to the other when looking at 100% magnification - and yet when we're looking at the printed result we don't do it with a magnifying glass (or at least I don't).

    I just work on the assumption that "if it looks OK at 100% then it'll look OK no matter what size I print it" - and yet still so many get so concerned about something that's not sharp as a tack under the microscope. Just doesn't make much sense to me!

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    Re: Another lens question

    Good deal Bill, thanks for the reply. That's exactly what I'm gathering from people in the business. It also seems that post picture tweaking software is equally important. That probably where I'll turn my focus to next. (I think I just made photo joke)
    I'm well aware that the equipment i'm getting is a bit over my head at the moment, but I have no doubt I will grow into it. I'm thinking if I buy quality now, it will be cheaper in the long run. At any rate, I'm really enjoying the hobby and perhaps making a bit of money later on. If not, I'll at least have a bunch or cool pictures on the wall.

    Later,
    Colin

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    Re: Another lens question

    Hi Colin,

    What do you think about Canon 200mm 1.2 L. What kind of creature is that one. Pictures are razor sharp, it is super expensive, and huge but most of the pictures I have seen are taken with an extender. I do not understand the how this 200mm focal length work on a prime lens like this.

    As I understand it, with the prime lens, depending on the focal length, you have a minimum distance between lens and the subject. If you want to attach an extender to this lens, it means you are extending the focal length. Why would you do that on this lens and why would you buy a lens like this, a prime lens, to achieve that kind of focal length. I guess use of the extender is the confusing issue here

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    Re: Another lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by sedali View Post
    What do you think about Canon 200mm 1.2 L. What kind of creature is that one.
    Ummmm ...

    Canon don't make a 200mm/1.2L - so not sure which one you're thinking of!

    As I understand it, with the prime lens, depending on the focal length, you have a minimum distance between lens and the subject.
    Sorry, not sure what you're meaning here - all lenses have a minimum focusing distance (distance from lens to subject), which varies depending on the lens - is this what you're meaning?

    If you want to attach an extender to this lens, it means you are extending the focal length.
    Yes.

    Why would you do that on this lens and why would you buy a lens like this, a prime lens, to achieve that kind of focal length.
    Tele-extenders allow you to effectively increase the focal length of a lens by 1.4 or 2.0 - at the expense of 1 or 2 stops of light. They're used so that things appear closer.

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    Re: Another lens question: first purchase after kit lens?

    My mistake, it is 200 f/2.0. My main question is, what do you gain from a pirme lens like this that you can't gain from let's say 70-200mm 2.8. If it is a shallow depth of field, doesn't that go away as the focal length increases. I don't understand the reason for using a prime lens and not a zoom lens in this case, specially if you want to extend the range by using an extender.

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    Re: Another lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The irony I find in a lot of "lens sharpness" discussions is that people can only compare one to the other when looking at 100% magnification - and yet when we're looking at the printed result we don't do it with a magnifying glass (or at least I don't).

    I just work on the assumption that "if it looks OK at 100% then it'll look OK no matter what size I print it" - and yet still so many get so concerned about something that's not sharp as a tack under the microscope. Just doesn't make much sense to me!
    Totally agree, if I'd taken heed of the "Expert Reviews" instead of the many happy user opinions and user photos, I wouldn't have my totally satisfactory 70-300VR lens.

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    Re: Another lens question: first purchase after kit lens?

    “What do you think about Canon 200mm 1.2 L.”


    Do you mean the EF200F2.0L IS USM. ?

    Canon also made an EF200mmF1.8L, which has long been discontinued, and for which spare parts are very scarce.

    One advantage of having F2.0 as a maximum aperture on this 200mm lens, is that when the EF1.4MkII extender is used, the lens becomes effectively a 280F2.8 IS lens.

    When the EFx2.0 extender is used, the lens effectively becomes a 400F4.0 IS lens.

    I understand that AF and IS remain active when used with all EOS bodies, when either extender is used.

    I expect with the use of either extender, though there would be IQ degradation, with good post production sharpening, the images would still be very acceptable.

    Extenders work more efficiently on Prime lenses, rather than zooms.

    WW
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 21st February 2009 at 06:25 AM. Reason: Insert quote tags

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    Re: Another lens question: first purchase after kit lens?

    “what do you gain from a prime lens like this that you can't gain from let's say 70-200mm 2.8.”


    IMO very little, if you are directly comparing the EF200F2.0L IS USM to the EF 70 to 200F2.8L IS USM.

    You gain 1 stop, basically. And better IQ when using extenders.

    I think it is important to realize that the 200/F2L is a very special lens, and will be employed under very special conditions and you are comparing it to a cracker and fanatically purchased and talked about tele-zoom, in Canon’s lens stable.

    So when would one stop be important? for one example for indoor sports – Gymnastics and Swimming come to mind.

    I mentioned on another thread that I need 1/640s the adequately freeze a Backstroke Start. I often use a 70 to 200F2.8L. If, at a particular pool, I had light which gave me F2.8 @ 1/640 @ ISO6400, the 200/F2.0L would be very handy.

    Last time I was presented with that lighting scenario I used my 85/F1.8 got as close as I was allowed, shot F2 @ 1/640s @ ISO3200 and I needed to crop the image a little closer, later, in Post Production.

    Theatre, Plays etc would be another use. Often an 85, 100 is just not close enough, and F2.8 is too slow under stage lighting to freeze the subject motion.

    Would I buy the 200F2.0L IS USM.? No, it would not get enough use from me to warrant purchase. The 135/F2L is was a lot less costly: I will chop to get closer, if need be.

    WW
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 21st February 2009 at 06:25 AM. Reason: Insert Quote Tags

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