Free Shipping on ALL Products
camera reviewsbest cameraslens reviewsphotography tipscamera forumvideo toursphotography bookssupport me
It is currently Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:55 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:20 pm 
Hi guys,

I need a bit of help deciding which lenses I should buy.

I have a current setup of a 550D with the 18-55mm IS kit lens, a 55-200mm USM Canon, and a 55mm f/1.8 Canon prime. Looking for a replacement for the kit lens, last year I bought a 18-200mm Sigma OS lens in the hope of solving all of my general photography needs with one allrounder.

Boy, I was wrong. I guess I had to make this mistake. While this Sigma is not a bad lens, I really wasn't satisfied with it. First of all, it's way heavier than the kit lens (my buddy had the non-IS version of the same lens, and it's much smaller/lighter) and while you'd think that this much glass would deliver great results, the photos it takes are soft, lack contrast and have a low-quality feel to them. The construction feels solid but the zoom ring is imprecise, catches around 40mm and again around 130mm, the barrel creeps at pretty much any point in its zoom range. Manual focusing is quite unpleasant as well and I just don't use it (even though I would for portraits at longer focal lengths and such).

My biggest issue with it though is that I can't really use it indoors/at night. I didn't realize this until lately but I tend to use my camera a lot indoors and the Sigma's max aperture is above f/5.0 starting from around 45mm (so basically throughout most of it's zoom range) so it's been a real pain using it in these kind of situations.

I obviously needed something else. Oh, I forgot to mention that I hate swapping lenses on the road but rather choose a lens at the beginning of a trip/hike/event/whatever and leave the rest of the camera bag in the car, etc. After a bit of contemplating I realized that 80% of the time I shoot in one of these two conditions, which may very well be solved with two lenses without the need to swap mid-action:
1. Low light situations: at the pub, at birthdays, random family events, weddings and parties, conferences and tech events and even the occasional photo-shoots at night in the city. So I need a wide aperture and some zoom range (preferably including a good wide angle).
2. Vacations, trips, city breaks, cycling and hiking and other situations where light is aplenty. I also like to take portraits (I'm including this into this same category as I think I can solve it with the same lens). I actually realized I don't need more than 135mm for this and the lens doesn't have to be bright. It should be sharp though and able to handle high-contrast situations and as light as possible without compromising image quality.

After due research I think I've found the lens for the first category. Still unsure about the second.

1. Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS. Everyone seems to consider this the no-brainer for low-light photography. I don't seem to find any fault in this lens (except the price). I'm fine even with its weight since most of the low-light situations are pretty static so I don't have to carry the camera around my neck all day. I don't mind about the focal length being the same as the kit lens; I rarely felt I needed more than 55mm with my prime lens but I surely missed the ability to zoom out as most of these situations are indoors and you can't fit in too much with a 55 on a crop body. I'm pretty much set on this lens so tell me if I'm making a mistake.

2. I have a bunch of options here without a clear winner. So far this is the list, from most to least likely:
a. 24-105mm f/4.0L USM IS: obviously, this one is a performer and has no obvious weaknesses but the only thing I'm worried about is the wide end. I tried to take a bunch of shots at 24mm with the kit lens and so far it seems that it's wide enough in most cases. Obviously I take a lot of city shots which need a wide end; I'm not sure if you can fit a tall building if you only have a 38mm equiv. lens with you.
b. 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS: I really like the fact that it produces really sharp images (seems to be one of the sharpest EF-S lenses in the cameralabs reviews). I don't like that it has heavy vignetting (I wouldn't mind otherwise but it's going to be quite visible in landscapes and city shots - blue sky and all) and I'm not convinced about the build quality either. The short telephoto is kind of on the limit but the wide end makes up for it I guess.
c. 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS: while this has the ideal focal range (although a 7.5x zoom is probably too much for good IQ), it lacks USM and FTM (all the above, including the 17-55 have this) and both optically and construction-wise seems to be the same (or just slightly better) as the 18-55 kit. I want something better than that if I am to pay more and carry more. Maybe the STM version?
d. keep my current Sigma for city shooting and try and live with it.

I'm curious about what you think and let me know if I made any mistakes in my reasoning.

Oh, and really sorry about the long post but I wanted to give you as much detail as possible.

Thanks!


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:31 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9805
Location: UK
Hi szabi4.

May I wish you a warm welcome to the CameraLabs forum.

Sounds like category 1/ is well sorted. I won't comment on the relative merits of the various lenses for category 2/ as you can read the various reviews but I did own a 24-105mm f/4L for a number of years which saw service on a 400D, a 40D and finally a 5D2. When I sold my Canon gear earlier in the year all my "L" lenses, including the 24-105mm, sold for very nearly what I paid for them making total cost of ownership virtually zero. Just a thought and I haven't researched resale values for Canon's non "L" glass so you might want to scan the ebay or Amazon listings for used examples of your candidate lenses to see how well they might hold value.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 10:34 pm
Posts: 1417
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Personally, I'd recommend for the first lens that you buy the one you are considering, right now I can't think of any other options. For the second lens, I think you'd be best with the 18-135mm, it covers a wide range of focal lengths and I don't think you will be needing USM for what you're going to use it. The only downside I can think of is image quality, you won't be getting anything awesome with this lens, so if your priority is image quality, go for the 24-105mm. You might also consider buying the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, it isn't too bad if you really want more zoom range.

_________________
Gear: Canon SX20 IS, Canon Rebel T3i, Canon EF-S 18-55mm, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Wishlist: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L
Visit me and leave me a comment in My Flickr :)


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:25 pm 
Bob Andersson wrote:
... When I sold my Canon gear earlier in the year all my "L" lenses, including the 24-105mm, sold for very nearly what I paid for them making total cost of ownership virtually zero. Just a thought and I haven't researched resale values for Canon's non "L" glass so you might want to scan the ebay or Amazon listings for used examples of your candidate lenses to see how well they might hold value. ...

Bob.


Hey Bob,

Thanks for the warm welcome! Indeed, looking at new vs. used lenses it seems that most of these hold their value well. I tend to take very good care of my gadgets so I guess I have a good chance of getting a good chunk of the initial investment back if I change my mind later on.

Have you by any chance used the 24-105 on a crop body without carrying with you a 10-22mm or something similar?

Thanks!


Last edited by szabi4 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:30 pm 
pierovera wrote:
Personally, I'd recommend for the first lens that you buy the one you are considering, right now I can't think of any other options. For the second lens, I think you'd be best with the 18-135mm, it covers a wide range of focal lengths and I don't think you will be needing USM for what you're going to use it. The only downside I can think of is image quality, you won't be getting anything awesome with this lens, so if your priority is image quality, go for the 24-105mm. You might also consider buying the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, it isn't too bad if you really want more zoom range.


I probably won't need USM but I'd like to have manual focusing, especially for portraits.

Having used the Sigma 18-200mm, I realized I don't need that tele end. More than that, I don't want a lens that has a zoom range that's more than 5-6x as it became clear over the years (from my and other people's experience) that you can't have a long zoom and good IQ at the same time.

Do you think I'll be well served by the 18-135 ergonomically (even if it only has mediocre IQ)?

Thanks!


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:43 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9805
Location: UK
Hi szabi4,

The 24-105mm worked fine for me on two cropped bodies but in the end I did find the field of view at the wide end a little restrictive and ended up buying a 16-35mm lens, but by that time I knew I was going full-frame sooner rather than later so an EF-S 10-22mm was never a consideration. But you've done your own testing so you'll know whether 24mm is short enough for day to day use.

By the way, if you do think you may sell something later on remember this from day one. Open all the packaging in such a way that you can repackage the box contents almost as though they were still "as new" and lose nothing, not even the wire ties and little plastic bags. It does make a difference when you come to sell as, if the lens, camera body etc. is still pristine then you can fairly describe the item as "As New" and your prospective buyer will be reassured when he or she receives the item that you described it fairly. :idea:

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:22 pm
Posts: 498
Location: 1 AU from the nearest star
I got an inexpensive Sigma 10-20mm to complement my Canon 24-105L.
I got the older f/4.5-5.6 as it was less expensive and I could still upgrade to full frame later on without any issues.
It worked well, but there were certain situations where I wanted more light.

If I had a newer camera, I would have been fine for the most part as I could have used higher ISO settings.
I can admit I got 'L' blind a bit when I bought the 16-35mmL.

That said, there are still times I leave the 16-35 at home in favor of the Sigma 10-20, but not all the time.

_________________
Canon 5DIII, Rebel XTi/400D
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DO, 85mm f/1.8
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX Macro

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Canon 430EX II
Opteka 13mm, 21mm, and 31mm extension tubes
Vivitar 50mm f/1.8 for OM System


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:11 am 
Bob Andersson wrote:
Hi szabi4,

The 24-105mm worked fine for me on two cropped bodies but in the end I did find the field of view at the wide end a little restrictive and ended up buying a 16-35mm lens, but by that time I knew I was going full-frame sooner rather than later so an EF-S 10-22mm was never a consideration. But you've done your own testing so you'll know whether 24mm is short enough for day to day use.

Bob.


Got it. I don't plan on going full-frame anytime soon (but I might be tempted to get the 7D Mk2 if they up the low-light performance) but it's definitely a plus in case I do.

Thanks!


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:13 am 
BleuDragon wrote:
I got an inexpensive Sigma 10-20mm to complement my Canon 24-105L.
I got the older f/4.5-5.6 as it was less expensive and I could still upgrade to full frame later on without any issues.
It worked well, but there were certain situations where I wanted more light.


The kind of setup I'm after involves not carrying a second lens with me during the day and especially not having to swap lenses whenever I run out of zoom. But otherwise, the 10-22 would be a great way to complement the 24-105L.

Thanks!


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:22 pm
Posts: 498
Location: 1 AU from the nearest star
szabi4 wrote:
Got it. I don't plan on going full-frame anytime soon (but I might be tempted to get the 7D Mk2 if they up the low-light performance) but it's definitely a plus in case I do.
Thanks!


Just to be clear, the 7D series is currently a crop frame, not a full frame solution.
Also, what I am understanding of what you want is a one lens solution that will give you a wide of a coverage as possible while delivering excellent optical performance for as little money as possible.
If this lens existed, every photographer would have it and there would be no other options for people to start off with.

Generally speaking, if you want the best optical performance or letting the most light, you need a prime lens.
A zoom is a compromise lens. It is a generalist. The more it does, the less well it will do any of those functions.
The prime is the specialist. It may not do a lot of things, but what it does, it will do really well.

If you want a zoom (generalist) to do what a prime (specialist) better than what the prime can do, you will generally pay a lot more for that zoom.

The EF 24-70mmL II is just starting to be delivered to people. It is lighter than the previous model, a little shorter, and delivers optical performance unseen in a zoom in this range before. One of the main surprises in this lens is that it give a higher resolution of images than the best prime lenses. It is also over $2,000 and it is less than a 3x zoom.

The 18-200mm lens you have right now is a great example of a compromise lens. It is great at what it does. The job of that lens is to be able to do a lot of things decently and allow you to have a one lens solution that is not as heavy as a lot of other options. It weighs 470.0 grams.
The EF 24-70mmL II I mentioned earlier is 805 grams. And people are praising that it weighs less than its predecessor.

So all that said, how about we start by prioritizing what you want.
Please list the following in what order you feel are important.
* Single-lens solution
* Cost (What is your budget?)
* Weight
* Range (Do you want as wide a range as possible? Do you want to prioritize going closer or further away?)
* Focus speed
* Low light performance
* Optical performance (Sharpness)

_________________
Canon 5DIII, Rebel XTi/400D
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DO, 85mm f/1.8
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX Macro

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Canon 430EX II
Opteka 13mm, 21mm, and 31mm extension tubes
Vivitar 50mm f/1.8 for OM System


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:11 am
Posts: 78
Location: locust grove, GA
szabi4 wrote:
[quote="

Do you think I'll be well served by the 18-135 ergonomically (even if it only has mediocre IQ)?

Thanks!


18-135mm is pretty good ergonomically. It produces decent. IQ even though nothing too exciting.

I have noticed the autofocus is slower than USM, you don't usually notice the difference in most cases. (Compared to 28-135 usm)

I think used one goes for around $200 usd.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic GF-3, Canon SX40HS

Panasonic Pancake 14mm f2.5, Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4, Olympus Zuiko 75mm f1.8
Panasonic 14-42mm


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:09 am 
BleuDragon wrote:
szabi4 wrote:
Got it. I don't plan on going full-frame anytime soon (but I might be tempted to get the 7D Mk2 if they up the low-light performance) but it's definitely a plus in case I do.
Thanks!


Just to be clear, the 7D series is currently a crop frame, not a full frame solution.
Also, what I am understanding of what you want is a one lens solution that will give you a wide of a coverage as possible while delivering excellent optical performance for as little money as possible.
If this lens existed, every photographer would have it and there would be no other options for people to start off with.


I know which is which, I only meant that I don't plan to go full-frame but I might upgrade to a better crop camera if they come up with something worth upgrading to.

I'm also aware of the limitations of zoom lenses and the advantages/disadvantages of prime lenses. I don't want a one-lens setup, instead I'm trying to find out if I can get away with having only one lens with me during the day. That's why I outlined the two scenarios I often encounter and it seems the 17-55 solution for the 1st situation will work. Now I'm trying to figure out what's the best option for scenario no. 2 with the constraint of using only one lens. Obviously, if I could carry 10 prime lenses and switching between them would be acceptable, I would be set.

If I had to reorder your list, this is how it would look like (although things are more complicated hence my long initial post). Note that this is for the second scenario, the first one is covered by the EF-S 17-55:
* Single-lens solution
* Optical performance (Sharpness)
* Weight
* Range (Do you want as wide a range as possible? Do you want to prioritize going closer or further away?)
* Focus speed
* Low light performance
* Cost (What is your budget?)


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2012 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.
/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs

Webdesign by Alphabase IT
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group