NFR: Suggestions on buying a SLR Camera Lens (Christmas present content).

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by Chris Puma, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. Chris Puma hates waking up early

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    I bought my g/f a Canon XTi for Christmas last year (body only) with a 50 mm Canon lens.

    I thought I would buy her another lens for Christmas this year.

    She likes taking pictures of our dog, city scape, etc.. (wants a wide angle but i don't know if i can swing that for the $$$ this x-mas)

    It'd probably do her good to have an all around lens...

    Anyone have suggestions for $200-$400 price range?

    I was thinking of:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-18-200mm-3-5-6-3-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0007U0GYS/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

    I know I don't have that much to spend but I'm trying to live within my means. Plus, she's a beginner! :D
  2. yuhina Tropical member

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    If your friend already use to the quality of the 50mm lens, she might get dispointed about the lens you going to buy... The 50/1.8 or 1.4 are superb in the image quality.

    It is a hard decision... and it all depends the user's habit. I can just use the 50mm and no need other lens... for shooting friends and dog.

    Do you think about other accessories? flash light, memory cards or camera bag? if you have $600 to spend, I would suggest the 70-200/4 good quality lens, good lens for people, pet and landscape.
  3. mozart Chris

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    Wait for Josh to chime in. He's the camera whore :D
  4. Josh Smestad aka Mtnwkr

    Posts: 620
    Bremerton, Wa
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    iagree
    A used 70-200f4L might be your best option, They can be had on Craigslist for ~$400
  5. Josh dead in the water

    Posts: 2,973
    NW Washington
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    Ugh, isn't that the truth?

    To the original question:

    I would stay away from the 18-200 style lenses. They are okay and have their uses, but like many things in the world they fall into the "you can have quality, price, or usability...pick two" category. "Usability" in this case meaning a large zoom range.

    I would look for a lens in the 18-55 range of some sort. They will be wide enough to give your g/f a feel for that end of the lens spectrum without spending the cash that really wide lenses require. Your price range is going to limit your ability to get a 2.8 constant zoom lens (meaning that the lens you buy will require a slower shutter speed for a given scene than an f/2.8 lens would). But that is okay for most uses. And your g/f has the f/1.8 50mm to use in low light.

    This lens is well regarded, but is slightly over your price range. though it does have IS (internal stabilization) which is a godsend for slow shutter speeds:

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-17-85mm...5?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1197957714&sr=8-5

    I wouldn't be afraid to look at a company like Sigma for a lens either, I have had a couple sigmas that have served me well. In fact this lens might be the best bet for you. It's not a constant f/2.8, it's f/2.8-4 is a lot better than the f/4-5.6 that the other lenses have. And the price is cheaper:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-17-35mm...9?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1197957913&sr=1-9

    If any of this doesn't make sense, just let me know and I'll explain a bit more.
  6. Todd123 New Member

    Posts: 39
    Santa Rosa, Ca
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    Like Yuhina said the 50mm is a very good people/animal portrait lens and maybe buying add ons, like accesories and such isnt a bad idea either if you can't find one that suits your price range and her taste....tripod, ball head, polorizer, color filters, neutral density filters, strobes, and all those little but sometimes exspensive nick nacks if she doesn't have them already. Sometimes its best to wait it out and master the hell out of one lens and when the time is right and the money is blooming buy a really reeeally nice one, as the lens is probably the most important peice on your camera. Then again a all around lens does serve its purpose. As much as I would like to be of more help, im very indeciscive when it comes to buying new glass for my camera, as for someone else it makes it even tougher to think of what they may wan't versus the more wide angle lenses. I have never used Sigma and would love to hear more about comparisons between them and other name brand lenses, seems like Josh may know a good deal about various lenses...all the pros and cons and such. But the more I sit here wondering what lens would fit her and your budget best I keep thinking about your avatar Chris, that dog is feaking huge! Wow. Whats the story behind that one?
  7. elroostere Member

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  8. Josh dead in the water

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    Everyone should keep in mind that on a digital camera like a Canon XTi, the classic "normal" 50mm lens becomes a 75mm lens dues to the "field of view magnification" of an imaging sensor that is smaller than a 35mm frame of film. 75mm is a great length, but it is a short tele length best suited for things like 3/4 portraits and such and not the "must have" focal length that everyone views the 50mm as being.

    To get that classic 50mm length on an XTi, you would need to get a 30mm lens.

    More info on what I just said:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_factor
  9. seatownbrock Still in the 206.....

    Posts: 128
    Burien, WA
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    No brainer on this one.

    Canon 28-135

    Great quality lens at about $400. If you want to cover the full range you would also want a wide angle and a 70-200mm. But the 28-135 is the place to start. I have lenses covering from 17mm up to 300mm and the 28-135 is my go to lens.

    I would also try and stay away from the 18-200 type zooms because you will loose a lot of image quality. Also be careful with stigma... I have a 17-35 stigma which is good,(not comparable to the $99 50mm 1.8 quality wise) but some of them are total garbage. The sigma 70-200 is also a fantastic lens at a great price. I would check out the reviews on anything before you buy.
  10. elroostere Member

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    Great point, Josh.
  11. Josh dead in the water

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    The 28-135 is a fine lens with image stabilization. But I did not suggest it because the OP said his g/f wanted a wide-angle lens. And a 45-210 (aprox effective) lens is not wide angle by any means.

    Regarding sigma lens quality. I have had plenty of images run in national magazines that were taken with various Sigma lenses. When I was shooting BMX and skateboarding, I used to only use Sigma fisheye lenses due to the chance of them getting broken. Much cheaper to replace than the Canon fisheye.

    You can buy junk lenses from Canon/Nikon and you can buy junk lenses from 3rd party companies. It's more about price range than it is about who made the lens. You just need to look into the lens that you are wanting to buy no matter where it comes from.
  12. Chris Puma hates waking up early

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    information overload!!!! hahaha. thanks everyone for your advice.

    i was thinking about how much to spend last night. while i'm tempted to spend $400 on a lens for her, she hasn't demonstrated that she uses the damn camera enough to justify an expensive lense.

    josh, your advise definitely sounds good about buying an all around lens. i think one of the problems is that she doesn't use the camera enough because the 50 mm inhibits her from a lot of situations. do you think the sigma 17-35 will put her in a similar situation as it's a wide angle lense (even though she expressed interest in it). maybe i should stick with the 18-55mm range?

    i am still considering both of the following:

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-EF-S-18-55mm-3-5-5-6-Lens/dp/B000V5K3FG/ref=pd_bbs_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1197963833&sr=8-4


    http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-17-35mm-2-8-4-Aspherical-Cameras/dp/B0001E7PEE/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1197957913&sr=1-9


    is that canon any better than the stock lense that came with the outfit?

    anymore suggestions for 17-85mm or 28-55mm?

    i'm going to buy something cheap for her this year and if she sticks with it get a nice lens next year. ;)
  13. Chris Puma hates waking up early

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    ugh also, any suggestions for filters? damn, i don't know anything about this stuff.
  14. Josh dead in the water

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    That 18-55 "kit" lens is actually a fine value at $100 (or less since they are all over ebay used). It's not the lens I would suggest, but it wouldn't be wasted money considering the price-to-value ratio. The newer version that you link to above has image stabilization and is supposed to be a slightly better lens in terms of sharpness if I am remembering correctly.

    Anything in the range of lenses mentioned will be fine. None of them are overly "wide". The difference is that the 17-35 goes from wide to normal and the 18-55 goes from wide to short tele. Neither are bad choices.

    I don't use any protective filters on my lenses. But I'm trying for maximum image quality and I have a good insurance policy on all of my gear. Many people will buy a "UV" filter to protect the front element. This can be money well spent if you are the type who has a history of closing rod tips in car doors and whatnot. Anything from Cokin will probably be a fine filter. Stay away from the cheapest filter brands.
  15. Chris Puma hates waking up early

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    i hate making decisions! ha


    december is the worst month. i have to buy for my anniversary, x-mas and her birthday. that's 3 rounds of presents.
  16. Josh dead in the water

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    People can get as deep into nitpicking about lenses as they can about nitpicking fly rods. And the answer to both issues is usually the same, buy something in your price range and get out there to shoot/fish. Over thinking just wastes your time.
  17. fredaevans Active Member

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  18. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,439
    Wolf Bay
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    Ditto what Fred said. Have used BH and Adorama several times each with no problems.

    Just 2 cents from the peanut gallery. Many years back I got into camera gear (Nikon & Nikkors) because I had had so much fun with an old Praktica with a fixed 35mm lens. I had an opportunity to get gear at store costs so I developed a modest collection of lenses (5). Some years later I realized the joy was gone because everything somehow got too complicated. Seemed like I spent most of my time wishing I had a different lens on. All I'm saying is there's something to be said for limiting yourself. And you don't have to lug around XX pounds of gear. (My favorites were a 28 and the 85. The 28 because it works well indoors and doesn't distort much. The 85 for candid shots of people and it was fast. My vote would be to find a fast/modest/compact zoom in that range and stick with it. Or just the 50.) KISS
    Obviously that doesn't work if your really at the pro level.
    out
  19. seatownbrock Still in the 206.....

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    Ain't that the truth... not to mention the Nikon vs Canon debate.
    But we all know that Canon won that one a few years ago....:rofl:
  20. David Loy Senior Moment

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    Chris - Another thought would be to find a B&W developing class somewhere. That was thoroughly enjoyable for me. Darkroom time seemed to fly by.
    Oops, sorry, realize now you're digital. Maybe there's something there though.
    Happy HoHo