Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?

Started Mar 16, 2012 | Discussions
diveganesh
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Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
Mar 16, 2012

I have a Canon Rebel XT with the 18-55 f3.5-5.6 II kit lens that came with it in 2005, most of the pictures are of family and friends - indoors, in the park, around town and on vacations.

The only addition is a 430 exII flash (only recommendation from folks here) which has been great. I shoot mostly in Manual mode, in JPEG and do a small amount of corrections using Aperture 3. I like the manual mode because I get to take multiple versions (with various apertures/shutter speeds) and learn from what works and what does not.

I'm looking to improve the quality of my pictures. Besides becoming a better photographer by educating myself (I'm trying!), I'm wondering whether I should upgrade the camera body or the lens?

I like the small form factor of the Rebel XT (one of the reasons for choosing this), would a better lens give me significantly better pictures? I don't think I'm going to carry multiple lenses around so wouldn't want to supplement the lens I have but just replace it. I would like to get one that is better in low light situations and better with fast moving objects (children!). I realize that the better lenses will be larger and that will change the form factor some but I'm willing to do it.

At some point I expect I will replace the camera body (unless you recommend doing that now) and would like the lens to be one that works with a upgrade. I clearly don't know enough about full and crop frame cameras, so unsure if I should go plain EF or EF-S.

Hoping this gives you enough information, appreciate your comments/recommendations.

bigdaddave
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 16, 2012

Tamron 17-50 Non-VC.

Simply the best value standard zoom there has ever been for EF-S cameras

diveganesh wrote:

I have a Canon Rebel XT with the 18-55 f3.5-5.6 II kit lens that came with it in 2005, most of the pictures are of family and friends - indoors, in the park, around town and on vacations.

The only addition is a 430 exII flash (only recommendation from folks here) which has been great. I shoot mostly in Manual mode, in JPEG and do a small amount of corrections using Aperture 3. I like the manual mode because I get to take multiple versions (with various apertures/shutter speeds) and learn from what works and what does not.

I'm looking to improve the quality of my pictures. Besides becoming a better photographer by educating myself (I'm trying!), I'm wondering whether I should upgrade the camera body or the lens?

I like the small form factor of the Rebel XT (one of the reasons for choosing this), would a better lens give me significantly better pictures? I don't think I'm going to carry multiple lenses around so wouldn't want to supplement the lens I have but just replace it. I would like to get one that is better in low light situations and better with fast moving objects (children!). I realize that the better lenses will be larger and that will change the form factor some but I'm willing to do it.

At some point I expect I will replace the camera body (unless you recommend doing that now) and would like the lens to be one that works with a upgrade. I clearly don't know enough about full and crop frame cameras, so unsure if I should go plain EF or EF-S.

Hoping this gives you enough information, appreciate your comments/recommendations.

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victorian squid
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to bigdaddave, Mar 16, 2012

Good choice, and better than the VR version!

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victorian squid
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body or lens...
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 16, 2012

Unless you feel you're absolutely flogging the XT and it's coming up short, I'd stick with it. It makes wonderful images (I have one). You'll know when you're not getting what you want out of it.

Are you using the creative modes? AV (aperture priority) or TV (shutter priority) and manual? Once you're comfortable with these and feeling limited, then you can think about the next step in a body.

The Tamron suggested by bigdaddave is a good one, and quite inexpensive. You might start at a very good Canon based site that reviews most all lenses in very easy terms:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/
Take a look at the EF-S lenses, Canon zooms and Tamron and Sigma as well.
This should be a good primer on how to move forward!

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jitteringjr
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

If you start buying better glass with larger apertures allowing thinner depth of field, you are going to quickly run into the auto focus limitations of the XT. Even the XTi was a significant upgrade in AF.

Also if you start adding better heavier glass to the XT, you are going to quickly grow to dislike the tiny grip.

As a XT owner that upgraded to a 7D, upgrade the body. Also even the cheap 18-55 IS is a significant jump in quality over the non IS kit lens that came with the XT.

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jrkliny
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

So you are thinking about an upgrade and you really want to keep with a smaller camera and you don't want to carry or change multiple lenses? I would say it is time for an upgrade but not for another lens or another DSLR camera body. There are some really great "bridge" cameras that will be convenient, low cost, with lots of flexibility and they will greatly outperform your old camera.
--
Jim, AKA camperjim, formerly from liny, Long Island New York

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diveganesh
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to bigdaddave, Mar 17, 2012

Thanks for your reply, after reading this I read up a little on this lens and certainly reviews well.

bigdaddave wrote:

Tamron 17-50 Non-VC.

Simply the best value standard zoom there has ever been for EF-S cameras

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diveganesh
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Re: body or lens...
In reply to victorian squid, Mar 17, 2012

I usually shoot in Manual mode. I suppose some folks here would be able to wring more from this camera, but I've seen much crisper photos (in similar conditions) from much more expensive cameras and lenses and rather than upgrade everything now, I was hoping to be able to upgrade to a better lens first.

That link is great, thanks!

victorian squid wrote:

Unless you feel you're absolutely flogging the XT and it's coming up short, I'd stick with it. It makes wonderful images (I have one). You'll know when you're not getting what you want out of it.

Are you using the creative modes? AV (aperture priority) or TV (shutter priority) and manual? Once you're comfortable with these and feeling limited, then you can think about the next step in a body.

The Tamron suggested by bigdaddave is a good one, and quite inexpensive. You might start at a very good Canon based site that reviews most all lenses in very easy terms:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/
Take a look at the EF-S lenses, Canon zooms and Tamron and Sigma as well.
This should be a good primer on how to move forward!

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jitteringjr
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Re: body or lens...
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

What is your budget for this upgrade?

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diveganesh
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to jitteringjr, Mar 17, 2012

Could you please elaborate on the AF limitations I would run into?

I have large hands and not in love with that tiny grip and when I have the ex 420 flash mounted it's makes it more difficult to handle but I've found overall the small form factor means we take it around much more than we would a larger camera.

jitteringjr wrote:

If you start buying better glass with larger apertures allowing thinner depth of field, you are going to quickly run into the auto focus limitations of the XT. Even the XTi was a significant upgrade in AF.

Also if you start adding better heavier glass to the XT, you are going to quickly grow to dislike the tiny grip.

As a XT owner that upgraded to a 7D, upgrade the body. Also even the cheap 18-55 IS is a significant jump in quality over the non IS kit lens that came with the XT.

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diveganesh
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to jrkliny, Mar 17, 2012

Could you give me an example of these bridge cameras?

jrkliny wrote:

So you are thinking about an upgrade and you really want to keep with a smaller camera and you don't want to carry or change multiple lenses? I would say it is time for an upgrade but not for another lens or another DSLR camera body. There are some really great "bridge" cameras that will be convenient, low cost, with lots of flexibility and they will greatly outperform your old camera.
--
Jim, AKA camperjim, formerly from liny, Long Island New York

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diveganesh
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Re: body or lens...
In reply to jitteringjr, Mar 17, 2012

Ideally about $500. I could go to $1000 or thereabouts if it's an upgrade that I could build on down the road. I guess it also depends on how big an upgrade it is (in my hands of course).

jitteringjr wrote:

What is your budget for this upgrade?

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jitteringjr
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

The XT only has 7 points instead of 9 in later xxxD models and the center

Cross point AF sensor is only rated for f5.6 where as the later xxxD models have a 2.8 center point.

If you upgrade to a xxD or xD model, all of you AF points become cross point which can see horizontal and vertical lines of contrast. In your XT this is only available on the center AF point. The other 6 points only have line sensors.

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theatrus
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Lens
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

Lenses are NEVER a bad investment (unless its a bad lens :)).

The real question is, where do you normally compose your pictures - closer to the 18mm (and wished you could go wider) or more toward the 55mm (and wished you could go tighter)? For instance, at the wide, an EF-S 10-20/10-22 is a fantastic lens for crop cameras. Even simply upgrading the kit lens with a similar focal length would be an improvement.

Lenses, unlike camera bodies (which drop in desirability with age), have great resale value.
--
Warning: The internet is filled with one sided views. Stay objective.

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jitteringjr
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Re: body or lens...
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

I hate to tell you but I think you need to upgrade both body and lens. A used 50D and a used Tammy 17-50/2.8 non VC would fit the upper end of the budget and give you significant quality improvement. XxDbodies will feel much more comfortable in your hands too. Even the smaller 600D and 60D feel much nicer than the XT in my hands.

diveganesh wrote:

Ideally about $500. I could go to $1000 or thereabouts if it's an upgrade that I could build on down the road. I guess it also depends on how big an upgrade it is (in my hands of course).

jitteringjr wrote:

What is your budget for this upgrade?

 jitteringjr's gear list:jitteringjr's gear list
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Monviso View
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

Get the 50mm 1.8. It isn't perfect (the bokeh is harsh) but it's great for dim light and portraits and above all it's tiny and weighs absolutely nothing.

Upgrading to the 18-55 IS would also be inexpensive (buy it second hand) and quite a jump in quality and ease of use: the IS is great to have. It's also a very light lens. Otherwise consider the Tammy 17-50 2.8 NON VR as suggested, or the new Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS EX HSM

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Kitacanon
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, Mar 17, 2012

Keep in mind that you can sell the XT and lens for $250 or so...add THAT to your budget and you can get a NEW body and 18-55IS kit lens

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diveganesh
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to Kitacanon, Mar 19, 2012

A new camera and lens? That's so much more to research. How much of an upgrade to shoot for? Canon or Nikon? How about them mirror-less ones? Oh well...I'll get on it.

Thanks for all your responses.

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diveganesh
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, May 10, 2012

I'd like to thank everyone for their replies, I thought I'd post an update. After some reading and tryouts, I decided to bite the bullet and get a new setup.

I bought a refurbished 60D from Canon (using their loyalty program) and found a used Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 (non VC) lens on the net.

I forst just got the Tamron lens and spent some time with it on the Rebel XT. Then got the 60D and did some lens swapping which quickly convinced me to keep the new camera.

I'm amazed how much better this new camera & lens makes me look! So much to learn....

I will now offload my rebel XT & kit lens (thanks for that suggestion as well!).

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Kitacanon
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Re: Upgrade lens for rebel xt w/ kit lens?
In reply to diveganesh, May 10, 2012

Glad it all worked out...enjoy!

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