IS vs USM - is it worth the money?

Started Feb 21, 2013 | Questions thread
Don Daugherty
Contributing MemberPosts: 641
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Re: IS vs USM - is it worth the money?
In reply to Guidenet, Feb 21, 2013

This is really good advice.  Put the wallet away, grab your camera and go shoot.  When you hit a wall, seek an answer by learning new skills.  When you run out of new skills to learn, look for an equipment solution.  You'll learn all of the hard lessons for much less money than if you lead out with your wallet and look for gear before you even know what does what...

Also, as for taking expensive lenses into harsh environments.  Treat them with respect and common sense.  I carried a 100-400L through some nasty places (race tracks) for almost ten years only had one issue (knock on wood).  Don't be afraid to break out your gear and shoot.  Accidents happen, but immerse yourself in photography, not gear protection.

Guidenet wrote:

bronjr wrote:

Just received my first SLR for Christmas (T4i). I have been shopping around for lenses and unfortunately I am so lost at what everything means. I am looking for a good outdoor lens for taking photos at my son's dirt bike races this summer. I currently have two IS lenses. The standard kit 18-55 and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II Telephoto Zoom lens. I worry these won't be fast enough in focusing for what I need it for. But I also worry that it may be a mistake taking an expensive lens to a place where dirt and dust are flying everywhere. Any help would be appreciated.

I don't mean to be mean spirited, but think about it. You've got a brand new entry level Canon SLR with two lenses. You really don't know much on how to use them yet. You don't know if they are fast focusing or slow focusing. I'm not sure if you understand when people say a lens is "fast" they do not mean fast focusing. They mean a fast maximum aperture.

It's not summer so you have not shot any dirt bike races yet here you are out shopping for a new lens for some strange reason. Why? How do you know whether or not what you have will or will not work well? What's an expensive lens and how could it help at your level of knowledge?

If you intend to do better than point and shoot level snapshots, put your wallet away and learn the camera and two lenses you own. First of all read the manual and then read it again. Make sure you understand the camera and various modes of operation. Don't bother asking others for "settings." There are no magic settings. It doesn't work that way. Learn your gear.

Then, learn phtography. Learn exposure and the craft or science part of photography. Learn how f/stops, shutter stops, ISO stops and scene zones (stops) interplay. It's not rocket science. Look at the rest of us knuckle draggers. We learned it. So can you.

Practice in locations where it's about the same as the venues your son will be racing. Take shots of him practicing using your new found photographic education. Learn how to process your images by bringing them alive on your computer. Get critiques from others. Keep practicing. Initially you will probably create a fiew washed out looking snapshots. Keep working at it and keep learning the after-shot processing side of it as well. You will get better.

If after all this, you decide neither of your two lenses are adequate, then but something that will help you more. By then, you'll know what it is if anything. You'll know exactly what you want or need. Personally, that kit 55-250 is probably just fine for the job and the camera you have. You'd have to spend several times as much to move up enough to make any big difference.

By that time, if you're still interested and passionate enough, you'll probably be ready to also move out of the entry level models to a full frame Canon or Nikon. Who knows?

For now, keep your wallet in your back pocket and do the free part. You have to get that done before any more purchasing or looking. Have fun and take care.

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Cheers, Craig
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