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*Post Lens Comparison Photos* (Previously) I had no idea Camera (Canon DSLR) lenses were that...

post #1 of 97
Thread Starter 

Just ordered myself a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR, which was bundled with Canon 18-55 IS lens kit lens and Canon EF 75-300 mm F4-5.6 III lens.  

 

I know lens is very important and started looking around for some Canon "L" series, and holy cow are these things expensive!  Many cost twice the cost of the Canon body.

 

I think I will change my strategy and get some fixed-focus prime lenses since I really mostly will be doing portrait and house internal wide angle shots.  Shopping for a 50 mm and 20 mm (18?) and looking at the "cheap" but good choices like Canon EF 50 mm F/1.8 (1.4 is quite a bit more expensive) and Sigma 20 mm F/1.8.  Any other good choices without breaking the bank?

post #2 of 97

Just like with hi-fi, you are buying into a photographic SYSTEM, not just a body or lens...hehe...welcome to the world of photography, sorry about your wallet wink.gif

 

Canon's church of L glass has many followers, but it is certainly not necessary to have fancy lenses in order to make great photos.  I would recommend you pick up a cheap (but very good) 50mm fixed focal length lens for your new body, and then you're set...shooting a prime lens has a way of encouraging photographers to "make" rather than "take" photos.  I don't currently use Canon gear, but it should cost approx. $100, like this f/1.8 version (B&H link)...maybe someone else has a better recommendation.  Anyway, that's my $.02.  Beyond a decent 50mm prime and a versatile zoom or two, anything else you spend on lenses is really unnecessary for most photography--diminishing returns and all that.  Shoot, I use a 35mm prime and a 50mm prime for 95% of my photo work...the optical quality is exceptional, the price is right, and the fixed focal lengths are more fun!

 

That Canon f/1.2 85mm lens is drool worthy though...


Edited by Omega - 10/19/10 at 4:56pm
post #3 of 97

What does L stand for

post #4 of 97

My best lens costs about $800 on my $500 camera body. The costs add up.

 

That said, a worse body with better glass is better than an expensive body with cheap glass.

post #5 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post

Just ordered myself a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR, which was bundled with Canon 18-55 IS lens kit lens and Canon EF 75-300 mm F4-5.6 III lens.  

 

I know lens is very important and started looking around for some Canon "L" series, and holy cow are these things expensive!  Many cost twice the cost of the Canon body.

 

I think I will change my strategy and get some fixed-focus prime lenses since I really mostly will be doing portrait and house internal wide angle shots.  Shopping for a 50 mm and 20 mm (18?) and looking at the "cheap" but good choices like Canon EF 50 mm F/1.8 (1.4 is quite a bit more expensive) and Sigma 20 mm F/1.8.  Any other good choices without breaking the bank?


Remember that L lenses are generally designed for full-frame cameras, not APS-C crop format cameras like the Rebel series. They are big, heavy, and you probably don't need them to get the kind of shots you want. Primes are definitely a great way to get the best performance in terms of maximizing resolution and minimizing distortion for the money. You still want quality though, and the 50mm F1.8 really.. isn't that great, especially if you want to go wide open, as its resolution is kinda "meh" until you get into the F4 range. The 50mm F1.4 on the other hand is tack sharp at F2.8. That makes a big difference.

 

In this case, spend the money. The 1.4 is around $350, which is frankly pocket change for a high quality lens.

 

There's no other way to say it, the Sigma AF 20mm f/1.8 EX is just a piece of crap. Avoid. Canon's 20mm F2.8 is infinitely better, but depending on what kind of shots you're planning, you may be better served by replacing your 18-55mm kit lens with something like Canon's 17-55mm F2.8, which is a really nice lens, and using that at 20mm.

post #6 of 97

Your new body may be a significant investment but in the long term, it's your lenses that hold value. Bodies are worth zilch after 3 years where you can sell a great condition lens for more than 60% of cost. I would too advise on the 50mm f/1.4 as I use a 50mm f/1.2L. You want to give it some headroom because lenses are not their sharpest wide open - The 1.4@1.8 would be sharper than the 1.8@1.8.

 

If you ever plan on upgrading to prosumer or even full-frame, I would recommend saving pennies for Canon glass and start with zooms. But definitely take baby steps and sell the kit stuff and grab the 50mm f/1.4. Welcome to the other expensive hobby

post #7 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View PostPrimes are definitely a great way to get the best performance in terms of maximizing resolution and minimizing distortion for the money. You still want quality though, and the 50mm F1.8 really.. isn't that great, especially if you want to go wide open, as its resolution is kinda "meh" until you get into the F4 range. The 50mm F1.4 on the other hand is tack sharp at F2.8. That makes a big difference.

 

In this case, spend the money. The 1.4 is around $350, which is frankly pocket change for a high quality lens.

 

No doubt these recommendations are right on! However, I disagree with the value of the f/1.8...sure, it isn't tack sharp wide open, but let's be honest...most 50mm primes live in a real sweet spot anyway...great distortion, nice field of view, great resolution..there really isn't a bad lens design amongst modern 50mm primes on an SLR.  The $250 difference between the f/1.4 and the f/1.8 is a lot of cash smily_headphones1.gif....and I think the f/1.8 50mm is plenty good to get a photographer going.  When (s)he finds that the 50mm lens is getting a lot of use, it is easy to upgrade to the f/1.4 (or better)!

post #8 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega View Post

 

No doubt these recommendations are right on! However, I disagree with the value of the f/1.8...sure, it isn't tack sharp wide open, but let's be honest...most 50mm primes live in a real sweet spot anyway...great distortion, nice field of view, great resolution..there really isn't a bad lens design amongst modern 50mm primes on an SLR.  The $250 difference between the f/1.4 and the f/1.8 is a lot of cash smily_headphones1.gif....and I think the f/1.8 50mm is plenty good to get a photographer going.  When (s)he finds that the 50mm lens is getting a lot of use, it is easy to upgrade to the f/1.4 (or better)!


I guess. I don't know, to me it makes more sense to just get it right the first time - buy the lens you want, rather than the lens that can get by for awhile. The 1.8 can do the job when stopped down, but when we're talking about portraits, you're going to want the clean bokeh and resolution that the 1.4 can provide. Average glass vs. superior glass can make all the difference between shots the pop and shots that disappoint. Canon's EF-S 15-85mm lens is a perfect example. It's range is ideal for a crop format walk around lens, and it's reasonably priced, but it just doesn't quite cut it. If you really want great shots, you need the 17-55 F2.8.

post #9 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega View Post

Just like with hi-fi, you are buying into a photographic SYSTEM, not just a body or lens...hehe...welcome to the world of photography, sorry about your wallet wink.gif

 

Canon's church of L glass has many followers, but it is certainly not necessary to have fancy lenses in order to make great photos.  I would recommend you pick up a cheap (but very good) 50mm fixed focal length lens for your new body, and then you're set...shooting a prime lens has a way of encouraging photographers to "make" rather than "take" photos.  I don't currently use Canon gear, but it should cost approx. $100, like this f/1.8 version (B&H link)...maybe someone else has a better recommendation.  Anyway, that's my $.02.  Beyond a decent 50mm prime and a versatile zoom or two, anything else you spend on lenses is really unnecessary for most photography--diminishing returns and all that.  Shoot, I use a 35mm prime and a 50mm prime for 95% of my photo work...the optical quality is exceptional, the price is right, and the fixed focal lengths are more fun!

 

That Canon f/1.2 85mm lens is drool worthy though...

 

Heh my friend's got one, the thing is heavy as hell.  I almost dropped his 7D a whole bunch of times :S
 

post #10 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




Remember that L lenses are generally designed for full-frame cameras, not APS-C crop format cameras like the Rebel series. They are big, heavy, and you probably don't need them to get the kind of shots you want. Primes are definitely a great way to get the best performance in terms of maximizing resolution and minimizing distortion for the money. You still want quality though, and the 50mm F1.8 really.. isn't that great, especially if you want to go wide open, as its resolution is kinda "meh" until you get into the F4 range. The 50mm F1.4 on the other hand is tack sharp at F2.8. That makes a big difference.

 

In this case, spend the money. The 1.4 is around $350, which is frankly pocket change for a high quality lens.

 

 


An f/1.4 lens that isn't sharp until f/2.8 is worthless. I have a couple fast lenses (28/1.8 and 85/1.8) and they get used a lot wide open. I've used three different copies of Canon's 50/1.4, and all have been soft at f/1.4. The Canon 50/f/1.4 also suffers from relatively poor build quality, and does not have Canon's ring USM focusing. If you want to be able to shoot at f/1.4, look at the Sigma 50/1.4. It's pricey at $500, but is sharp wide open. Not cheap, but the Sigma is the 50 I'm buying when I finally add one to my kit.

post #11 of 97

OOH OOOH! This is my niche. I know more about Cameras that I do about anything audio related.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




I guess. I don't know, to me it makes more sense to just get it right the first time - buy the lens you want, rather than the lens that can get by for awhile. The 1.8 can do the job when stopped down, but when we're talking about portraits, you're going to want the clean bokeh and resolution that the 1.4 can provide. Average glass vs. superior glass can make all the difference between shots the pop and shots that disappoint. Canon's EF-S 15-85mm lens is a perfect example. It's range is ideal for a crop format walk around lens, and it's reasonably priced, but it just doesn't quite cut it. If you really want great shots, you need the 17-55 F2.8.



The EF 35mm f/1.4L and the EF 135 f/2L. That's ALL I have to say about portraits.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beerguy0 View Post



I've used three different copies of Canon's 50/1.4, and all have been soft at f/1.4. The Canon 50/f/1.4 also suffers from relatively poor build quality, and does not have Canon's ring USM focusing. If you want to be able to shoot at f/1.4, look at the Sigma 50/1.4. It's pricey at $500, but is sharp wide open. Not cheap, but the Sigma is the 50 I'm buying when I finally add one to my kit.


Odd. I've purchased one copy of the 50 1.4 which is treating me very well. Perhaps you need your body to be calibrated? I did have a 50D a while back that needed a microadjustment to work with my lenses. I wouldn't mind picking up a siggy as well.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patsyleung View Post

Your new body may be a significant investment but in the long term, it's your lenses that hold value.

 

If you ever plan on upgrading to prosumer or even full-frame, I would recommend saving pennies for Canon glass and start with zooms. But definitely take baby steps and sell the kit stuff and grab the 50mm f/1.4. Welcome to the other expensive hobby


smily_headphones1.gif Investment. Yes.

 

Remember that you'll sacrifice some IQ for the range with zooms. While there are people who are completely set on primes, zooms have their place and the 24-70L I use everyday is sharp enough for my purpose.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




Remember that L lenses are generally designed for full-frame cameras, not APS-C crop format cameras like the Rebel series. They are big, heavy, and you probably don't need them to get the kind of shots you want. Primes are definitely a great way to get the best performance in terms of maximizing resolution and minimizing distortion for the money. You still want quality though, and the 50mm F1.8 really.. isn't that great, especially if you want to go wide open, as its resolution is kinda "meh" until you get into the F4 range. The 50mm F1.4 on the other hand is tack sharp at F2.8. That makes a big difference.

 

In this case, spend the money. The 1.4 is around $350, which is frankly pocket change for a high quality lens.

 

There's no other way to say it, the Sigma AF 20mm f/1.8 EX is just a piece of crap. Avoid. Canon's 20mm F2.8 is infinitely better, but depending on what kind of shots you're planning, you may be better served by replacing your 18-55mm kit lens with something like Canon's 17-55mm F2.8, which is a really nice lens, and using that at 20mm.


True and not true. L lenses are built for APS-C, APS-H and full frame sensors. The EF designation allows it to be used on all of the Canon mounts. The only limitation of currently in EOS is EF-S on APS-H and FF. A majority of users use L lenses on APS-H and FF, but you'd be surprised on how many xxD and dRebel users use L lenses.

 

I really hope you're joking about the quality of the 50 1.8 until f/4. I hope for your sake that you are. I've owned the nifty-fifty before, and it's a great lens for the value. Cheap and fast, and while there are discrepancies between copies, some are surprisingly sharp AT f/1.8. Stopped down, most copies are sharp at f/2-2.8. Also, the 50 1.4 that I currently own is sharp - open at f/1.4. This whole 'idea' you have of stopping lenses down is half-true. Lenses are sharp wide open, while there are bad copies.

 

The 35L, 135L, 17-40L, 24-70L, 70-200 f/2.8L, 50 1.4, 50 1.8, and 15 2.8 are lenses that I own or have owned in the past - and they're ALL sharp wide open.


The only lens that I can recall being soft open is the 16-35 2.8L, which is the worst lens L I have owned to date.

post #12 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post

Just ordered myself a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR, which was bundled with Canon 18-55 IS lens kit lens and Canon EF 75-300 mm F4-5.6 III lens.  

 

I know lens is very important and started looking around for some Canon "L" series, and holy cow are these things expensive!  Many cost twice the cost of the Canon body.

 

I think I will change my strategy and get some fixed-focus prime lenses since I really mostly will be doing portrait and house internal wide angle shots.  Shopping for a 50 mm and 20 mm (18?) and looking at the "cheap" but good choices like Canon EF 50 mm F/1.8 (1.4 is quite a bit more expensive) and Sigma 20 mm F/1.8.  Any other good choices without breaking the bank?



I started off with the XT and the 18-55 kit lens. I switched over to the 20D and when I had enough money, I was tempted to purchase a 50D - but I held off and bought a 17-40L. Best decision I made at the time.

 

Currently shoot with a 1D Mark II N with a 70-200 2.8L, 24-70L, 50 1.4 and a 135L. I built the lenses around what I shoot and chose a body based on how I shoot. If I had a choice though, I'd choose the setup I had last year which consisted of the 5D, 35L, 135L, 24-70L and the 17-40L.

 

If you're looking for fixed-focus, I'd recommend the EF 24mm 1.4L. It's the widest with the largest aperture produced. For portraits and indoors, you'll appreciate the larger aperture. Look into the 15mm f/2.8 fisheye. You can de-fish the lens in post processing, but it's quite sharp. Dispite the fisheye, it's a decent lens in the sub $500 range.

post #13 of 97

Hehe, Canon glass is still cheaper than Nikon glass though.

 

Yup, it a good strategy for first buys, two consumer zooms too cover the whole range and fast, quality primes for critical photos (only if you don't mind changing lenses often).

Otherwise, say welcome to f2.8 zooms.

 

Don't forget the essential though, improve the photographer smily_headphones1.gif (ie. your hand-holding technique, understanding of exposure, lighting and composition).

 

Sorry about lens recs, I'm not familiar with the canon lineup, can't help you, maybe the canon 85 f1.4 or f1.8 both are excellent and standard for portrait, there're a bit long for aps-c though.

post #14 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by s30l28 View Post

I really hope you're joking about the quality of the 50 1.8 until f/4. I hope for your sake that you are. I've owned the nifty-fifty before, and it's a great lens for the value. Cheap and fast, and while there are discrepancies between copies, some are surprisingly sharp AT f/1.8. Stopped down, most copies are sharp at f/2-2.8. Also, the 50 1.4 that I currently own is sharp - open at f/1.4. This whole 'idea' you have of stopping lenses down is half-true. Lenses are sharp wide open, while there are bad copies.

 

The 50mm 1.8 is not hitting its peak performance until F4. We may be talking about two different things here, I'm not talking about "usable", I'm talking razor sharp. The F1.8 is usable at F2.8 sure, but to me it still just seems like throwing away $100. It's great for $100 no question, but just put that $100 towards the 1.4 instead. That's what I'd do. That's razor sharp at F2.8.

 

A lot of your lenses like the 135 and the 24-70 are considerably less useful on APS-C than they are full frame. They'll work, sure but 39-112mm for example is not a particularly useful zoom range.

 

Here's what I'd suggest for someone specifically shooting with a Canon APS-C camera. Zooms: Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, Canon 17-55mm F2.8, or as a more affordable alternative Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, and then try to find a Tokina 50-135mm F2.8, as I think its a much better lens than Sigma's 50-150mm 2.8. Canon's 55-250mm is surprisingly decent for $200 or so, but of course it's considerably slower than the Tokina.

 

For primes: the Canon 35mm F1.4, 50mm 1.4, 60mm F2.8 macro (a killer lens), 85mm F1.2 (just absolutely awesome, but $2000!), 85mm F1.8, 100mm F2, and 135mm F2 for telephoto.
 


Edited by DaveBSC - 10/22/10 at 2:24am
post #15 of 97


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

The 50mm 1.8 is not hitting its peak performance until F4. We may be talking about two different things here, I'm not talking about "usable", I'm talking razor sharp. The F1.8 is usable at F2.8 sure, but to me it still just seems like throwing away $100. It's great for $100 no question, but just put that $100 towards the 1.4 instead. That's what I'd do. That's razor sharp at F2.8.
 

 

I still disagree. While I haven't gotten 'razor' sharp images at 1.8 on with the 50, I have gotten VERY sharp images at f/2. There are technical reasons why I do not carry the 50 1.8, but I do think that it's a great lens for the price and the 50 1.4 isn't optically a significant upgrade from the 1.8, minus the 1/2 stop advantage.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

 

A lot of your lenses like the 135 and the 24-70 are considerably less useful on APS-C than they are full frame. They'll work, sure but 39-112mm for example is not a particularly useful zoom range.


 

 

Again, I disagree with this statement. Actually, I strongly disagree with this. What is the purpose of APS-C then? Yes, it is cheaper because of the smaller sensor size is cheaper to manufacture. BUT, it does have it's advantages. While the mm designation is given based off of the 35mm standard, it does not imply that full-frame utilizes the lenses to their optimum.

 

There will be people who will say that wider lenses suffer on a full format body, as light falloff is apparent as you shoot wider, vignetting is something that is less apparent in APS-C sensors. But the thing is, you can use the 1.6x crop to your advantage - Especially if you're shooting subjects from afar. Bird photographers, for example, prefer the 1.6x crop. Coupled with something like the 500mm f/4, it gives you the range of an 800mm focal length, without having to use a TC - without sacrificing f-stops. To say that the 24-70 is less useful on the APS-C sensor, is to say that all L lenses were designed for full format - and that is completely false.

 

Think about it. Can you think of anyone who would bring a 1Ds Mark III to a sporting event over a 1D Mark III? No. Why? The difference between 10fps and 5fps is apparent. The additional length you gain from a crop is another huge advantage. Why should I carry extra equipment - Why should I pay more for the extra range, when I can simply carry an APS-C/H body?

 

I do not know what you shoot with, but I use a 1D Mark II N. The 1D series utilizes a 1.3x APS-H sensor and with the 24-70, that gives me an effective 31.2-112mm range. For me, that suits what I shoot. What you quoted is for an APS-C sensor, but regardless, some people prefer to shoot longer. Not everyone enjoys UWA or WA, and not everyone needs it. The last time I checked, Canon doesn't make a 39-112mm f/2.8, so purchasing a 24-70 on a 1.6x makes sense if you want that range, doesn't it?

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

Here's what I'd suggest for someone specifically shooting with a Canon APS-C camera. Zooms: Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, Canon 17-55mm F2.8, or as a more affordable alternative Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, and then try to find a Tokina 50-135mm F2.8, as I think its a much better lens than Sigma's 50-150mm 2.8. Canon's 55-250mm is surprisingly decent for $200 or so, but of course it's considerably slower than the Tokina.

 

For primes: the Canon 35mm F1.4, 50mm 1.4, 60mm F2.8 macro (a killer lens), 85mm F1.2 (just absolutely awesome, but $2000!), 85mm F1.8, 100mm F2, and 135mm F2 for telephoto.
 

 

I agree that the 17-55mm 2.8 is a great lens for APS-C cameras, but it seems that you tend to lean more towards the UWA/WA range. Do you shoot FF?

Not everyone does. Not everyone enjoys FF either. To say that one sensor size is more useful than the other is complete hogwash. Each sensor size has it's purpose, and that's a fact. People shoot at different focal lengths. This is the overly simplified explanation of why Canon produces lenses in multiple ranges.

 

Also, think about this for a second now. You think that the 85 1.2 is pretty great, right? The bokeh produced with it on a FF body is pretty nice, right? Mount that on a 1.6x crop and the bokeh will improve. Why? A longer focal length will produce more bokeh. On a 1.6x, that gives you a range of 136mm. I'm sure you know what the 135mm is capable of - imagine that at 1.2. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself.

 


Edited by s30l28 - 10/22/10 at 3:21am
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