What's the best no-compromise upgrade from the 18-55 IS II kit lens?

Started Sep 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Alex Notpro
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What's the best no-compromise upgrade from the 18-55 IS II kit lens?
Sep 2, 2011

I'm an experienced amateur family/travel photographer coming from 35mm film SLR and digital compacts to my first DSLR.

I'm already getting a little frustrated with the kit lens on my recently purchased T3i. I would like a little longer range on the focal length, at both ends if possible, but without any loss of Image Quality.

I don't need a larger aperture (I just bought a 50mm f/1.4 for those situations). I also don't need a true super-zoom, if it comes at the cost of a loss in IQ in the normal non-superzoom ranges.

I just want more range for creative control at full quality (or at least no worse than the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens), with good Image Stabilization and without any crazy quirky issues. I'm ok with some lost IQ at the long end, with the thought that a less-than-full IQ shot is always better than a missed shot.

When it comes to IQ, I'm particularly annoyed by distortion and softness. Usually, vignetting, flaring, and bad bokeh don't bother me, and I can work around it. I love fast, accurate auto-focus.

My head is spinning from reading all the reviews and forums. There are so many choices in the 18-1XX and 18-2XX range at so many price points, it's really overwhelming.

My budget is "flexible", meaning, I have the cash but it has to compete with my other hobbies, so, the purchase has to be smartly justified in my own mind.

The key requirement, I guess, is that I need a lens that can do everything the kit lens does, and then some.

Any suggestions?


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