Canon lense advice

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Jedi5150, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

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    Hello all, I'm ready to pull the trigger on my first lense to supplement or replace the kit lense that came with my Canon T3 Rebel.
    I've narrowed it down to two, and I could use some suggestions from the photogs out there. The first is the Canon 70-200 F/4L IS:
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-70-200mm-f-4.0-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx
    And the second is the Canon 24-105 F/4L IS:
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-24-105mm-f-4-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx
    They both have outstanding reviews, and I'm aware they fill two different roles. So here's where I'm at. My kit lense is an 18-55, and my primary photos are on motorcycling and backpacking trips. I often find myself limited in zoom, and wish I could get just that litte bit closer to the subject. It seems the 24-105 would be sort of the ideal upgrade as a general replacement for the kit lense (I know I'd lose a little bit on the wide end but I could probably make due for now).
    On the other hand, my brother explained that if I was willing to keep the kit lense for the majority of the photos I'm currently taking, the 70-200 F/4 would allow me to take landscape and people photos in a whole new way, and even encourage me to think about types of composition that I hadn't before. That sounds very cool in and of itself.
    So I'd love to hear suggestions from you guys as to what you'd do in my shoes. I'd like to know how much optical clarity and color, et.c gains I'd be getting by going to the 24-105 over what I'm currently using. Would it really be noticeable in the majority of my pics? I'll be honest that part of what is holding me back from the 24-105 is knowing in the back of my mind that Canon's 24-70 F/2.8 is en even better lense in that same range, whereas the 70-200 I'm looking at is arguably the best lense made in that range and for those uses (I know about the 70-200 F/2.8L, but allegedly the optical clarity is no better than the F/4, and unless you need the requirements of F2.8, you really gain nothing by spending twice as much).
    I guess it all comes down to, replace my kit lense with a great all-around general purpose, that I might wish to improve on even more down the road, or get a telephoto zoom that I'll be satisfied with for that type of shooting for many years.
    Just to help out, here are some examples of the types of pics I'm currently taking on trips:
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    #1
  2. Arby60

    Arby60 Bluegrass Rider

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    I'm not a professional photographer, but I have been a Canon SLR user for many, many years. I will offer an opinion based on my experiences. If your camera is a crop camera, which I believe it may be, you have to factor that in when making lens selections. In other words, on a crop camera multiply the stated focal length of the lens x 1.6 to get the effective range on your camera. Thus the effective range of a 24-70 lens will be around 38-112. You lose some on the low end and gain on the high end. I have the 70-200 F/4L IS lens; very expensive. I have used it one time. It is just too big and heavy to take on a motorcycle trip, IMO. The lens that stays on my camera most of the time is the Canon EF-S 10-22 USM. A great lens and particularly handy for landscapes. If I ever add another walk around lens it would likely be something in the range of a 24-70, 24-105. Very versatile and not too large. Good luck.
    #2
  3. Ungaro

    Ungaro n00b

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    I have been a professional photog for 30+ years. In the last 12 with Canon gear. Travelled to all continents minus Australia on the job. All L lenses are superb quality for pro applications but somewhat heavier than the consumer grade stuff. Between the two the 24-105 is smaller and more handy on a crop camera. The 70-200/4 IS L is the sharpest zoom Canon ever made and not heavy at all unlike it's big brother the 70-200/2.8. I have been using one for five years or so.... On a crop camera it is a little long for everyday applications, but great for people shots.

    The 24-70/2.8 is a good lens but it's a beast. Big, heavy and has some focusing issues at 2.8. Awesome color. On the road dust can be an issue, frequent lens changes can be a PITA in dry/windy areas. We all use it but in my opinion it is not very practical for the road.

    There is a very good wide to short telephoto for crop cameras: 17-55/2.8 USM. L quality glass, but not dust-proof and somewhat less durable than the L lenses. A very good general purpose lens on crop bodies.

    Optically all these lenses are top notch. Here you have it. For an adv rider with a crop body I would go for the 24-105 and keep the 10-22.....
    #3
  4. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

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    I appreciate the feedback gentlemen. I'm also wondering how soon I'll be upgrading my camera body itself, which is why I'm only considering lenses that will also work with a full frame camera. It sounds like it would be tough to beat the 24-105 F4L, given my intended uses.
    #4
  5. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    Yeah 24-105 can do 90% of what you need and it's compact and extremely sharp and has the image stabilization which is really nice. The 70-200 2.8 I rarely use - maybe 5% of the time if that. So infrequently that I rarely pack it. Invest in glass for the long term as its more important than the camera.

    Gregor
    #5
  6. Jotaga

    Jotaga Adventurer

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    To have just one with you: 24-105
    To keep the kit lens: 70-200

    Consider that both are optimum lenses, but you can get almost the same with a non L glass... Think about the 28-135...

    And... If you really want maximum quality, you must go to prime lenses... (one focal distance only)

    I have the 24-105 and it has some front focus...:cry A pita, even considering that my 7d has focus microadjusment...

    Keep in mind that the differences are noticeable mainly on the corners, or if you are pixel peeping... :deal
    #6
  7. flatfender

    flatfender Been here awhile

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    I could write on and on for hours but I'll spare you and just say EF-S 17-55 F2.8IS and EF 85 F1.8 :deal
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  8. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

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    L lenses are amazing but HEAVY.

    what would you pros use for a carry-around lense? one that you would use if you have to carry your camera for 10 hours?
    #8
  9. That'sLife

    That'sLife Adventurer

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    photography-on-the.net/forum/

    Great Canon photography forum. In the lense sample archive you can see photographs taken by members with any lense you are considering.

    I had a T2i and sold it for the 60d when it came out. I love shooting with primes mostly but I did buy the EF-S 15-85 and EF-S 55-250 for when I'm not using primes. The 15-85 is a great lense IMHO. The FOV will roughly the same as the 24-105. I would say that the 24-105 would be a little restrictive on the wide end for a crop body. The 55-250 is a darn good value as far as I'm concerned.

    Research all you can. Also lenses usually retain their value really well so if you buy EF-S lenses you can sell them later if you wind up going full frame later. I figured I would too at some point but honestly I'm in no rush.

    Good luck!
    #9
  10. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

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    Thanks for the suggestion on the POTN forum. Funny enough, someone on snipershide.com had also just suggested the same forum, so I registered and posed the same question to them.

    I think I could drive myself crazy figuring out which would be the best lense to get. I just keep coming back to the same thought that I've never heard a single complaint about the 70-200 F/4L IS, as far as quality is concerned. I understand some folks leave it at home because it doesn't suit the type of shooting they do, but I've only ever heard rave reviews about the actual quality of the lense.
    #10
  11. blackripley

    blackripley Been here awhile

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    +1 to everything Ungaro has said. I'm also a professional photographer (curntly shooting Hasselblad and Nikon) and he is offering great advice the only thing I can add is you can get great deals on the 24-105 if you buy "white boxed" ones that are split from the kit and are new but not in a retail box. As for the 24-70 2.8 no IS and good luck finding one the new one is just hitting the market for $2300.00 and back ordered everywhere.
    Now if you were to ask what is in my kit when I'm not working but shooting for fun 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 85mm 1.8 (all for the full frame)
    #11
  12. K0m4

    K0m4 Been here awhile

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    Of your two choices, I would probably go with the 70-200. I'm just a hobbyist and got my own kit less than a year ago, but my rationale would be to focus on completing the kit rather than upgrading it at this point. Obviously, the added lens should still be good enough quality that it itself won't be in question for an upgrade (until much) later. ymmv.
    #12
  13. nealcassady

    nealcassady Novice

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    Since you're using a crop body, the 24-105 would restrict you to 38mm on the wide end. That's not wide enough in my opinion for a general purpose, everyday lens. I think you'd want 24mm effective, so I say keep the kit lens and go for the 70-200 if you must buy one of the two because it adds capability rather than taking something away. However, I don't think f4 is fast enough, especially for a long lens where hand-hold capability will be reduced. In practical terms, the longer the lens the faster it ought to be. I much prefer fast primes, although I realize they're not so practical for compact travel and use in dusty environments. Honestly, if it were me, I'd be inclined to hold off until you can upgrade the body to a full-frame and get the 24-105 at the same time. And then I'd be targeting the 70-200 f2.8 as the next upgrade (assuming you're determined to stay with zooms rather than primes). The up side of using the crop body is that you're not pushing the limits of the lenses at the corners the way you would be with a full-frame, and therefore can get acceptable quality with lower cost lenses.
    #13
  14. Tee2

    Tee2 I SAID! Woo Hoo!

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    70-200 f4 L. Then the 17-40 f4 L. That is what I would take on the bike. I have the 70-200 2.8 and would want something lighter and cheaper. :D

    With the way new cameras handle high ISO I don't see the big need for fast lenses. Unless you want the nice smooth out of focus background that you get from fast lenses.
    #14
  15. Justav

    Justav MasterLurker

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    For situations as you are describing them, I am using the Tamron 18-270 lens (also with a Canon crop DSLR). I consider the image and build quality superior to any of the Canon kit lenses, and value the flexibility and convenience on a trip much over the incremental picture quality I could obtain from heavier, full frame Canon lenses that I also own.
    For me, it is all about missed opportunities.

    If I want additional choices and want to carry the extra weight, the next ones I end up taking are typically
    - EF-S 10-22mm
    - EF 50mm/1.4
    - EF 135mm/f2L
    #15
  16. dmason

    dmason goofball

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    First off, it's spelled "lens".

    I'm a pro photographer of 13 years and my reccomendation to you is to buy a fast prime lens, either a 50 or 85mm f1.4 or the like. Despite what Canon's marketing would have you believe, even lenses without that little red "L" are worth owning. My $400 50mm f1.4 sees as much or more use than our studio's 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 2.8L lenses.

    Ultimately you will purchase whatever you have your heart set on though, I'm sure.

    FWIW when someone is apprenticing for me I won't let them shoot with anything but the 50mm lens for quite some time. Buy at least one fast prime lens!
    #16
  17. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

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    Thanks for the advice dmason, since starting this thread, I've begun spelling it "lens", as I've been corrected on it on three different forums now. :lol3 Although as has also been pointed out, "lense" is a perfectly correct spelling of the word, just not nearly as commonly used. Kind of like "doughnut" and "donut".

    As for your fast prime advice, thanks, I'll definitely look into it. Out of curiosity, what type of professional photography do you do? I've been told that lens and camera suggestions can vary greatly depending on someone's intended uses. I only ask because you mention a studio. I really have no interest in getting into studio, portrait, etc. type photography. Similarly, I get a lot of recommendations by people who are into sports photography, which also does not appeal to me. So would your suggestion of a 50mm prime lense be the same for any photo styles across the board? Or would your advice be dependant on what the person was planning on doing with the camera?
    #17
  18. dmason

    dmason goofball

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    LOL thanks for tolerating my (unnecessary) spelling lesson!

    The 50mm is considered the standard of all lenses of the 35mm (referring to the size of the capture device - film in the old days or the CMOS sensor of my 5D MkIII) format.

    As mentioned earlier your Rebel will crop the image by a factor of 1.6, hence a 50mm lens becomes in effect a 90mm (roughly). This makes it an ideal portrait-length lens. However, the blurred background common to this scenario contributes to a dramatic still life as well as a portrait. Stop the lens down to f8 or even smaller and have plenty of depth of field for scenery shots, too. Compact, light, inexpensive and SHARP, the Canon 50mm f1.4 is an extremely versatile lens for ANY application, which is why I recommend it. It's compact and light dimensions mean it is more likely to actually make it into your motorcycle saddle bag on a regular basis, and it's low price means you won't be afraid to bring it anywhere for fear of breaking or losing it (can't say THAT about a $1k+ L series lens!).

    I insist on my apprentices training with it because by eliminating the distraction of "zooming" a lens, one is forced to create an interesting composition by really studying the subject at hand and telling the story with inspiration and emotion and not a technological solution... assuming that makes any sense.
    #18
  19. dmason

    dmason goofball

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    Tamron lenses are indeed sharp and I have owned or used a few, but they do not have Ultrasonic focusing capability as that is Canon-proprietary technology and their auto-focus performance is dismal by comparison IMO.
    #19
  20. dmason

    dmason goofball

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    If I'm being paid? The 70-200 f2.8L IS on one body and the 50 f1.4 or 24-70f2.8L on the other.

    For myself on the bike? I throw a Canon 30D with old metal-mount 50mm f1.8 into the tank bag and call it good!
    #20