First time FF, lost in lenses

Started Apr 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Jorrit Regular Member • Posts: 148
First time FF, lost in lenses

I am new to FF, and got myself a 5D Mark III. So far I only have the 16-35 2.8L II USM, it's the only lens I knew I had to have.

I am an amateur/hobbyist. I love the technology, I love pictures, but to say my skills require all this FF violence would be a stretch (but I love the results so far). Truth is, I need this camera for work reasons (compatibility testing), and if I need to have it lying around anyways, might as well use it for fun too (and I can partially deduct the lenses).

I come from a 50D and 550D where I used mostly these lenses:

  • Canon EF 50 1.8 II

  • Canon EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM

  • Canon EF-S 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM

  • Tamron 18-270 3.5-6.3 Di II VC B003

With the 17-55 being my clear favorite lens. Somehow, I always need the speed due to light conditions. On vacation it's often replaced with the Tamron 18-270 due to its versatility, but I'm not at all impressed by it's IQ - they do say the B008 model is much improved, though.

As much as I've looked around, I've ended up completely at a loss as to which lenses to get for my FF. There are the ranges I'm looking at, in any combination:


  • Canon EF 50 1.4

  • Sigma 50 1.4 EX DG HSM ("Sigmalux")


  • Canon 24-70 2.8L USM

  • Canon 24-70 2.8L II USM

  • Canon 24-105 4.0L IS USM


  • Canon EF 70-200 L (all variants)

  • Canon EF 70-300 4-5.6 IS USM

  • Canon EF 70-300 4-5.6L IS USM

  • Canon EF 70-300 4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

  • Canon EF 100-400 4.5-5.6L IS USM


  • Canon 28-300 3.5-5.6L IS USM

  • Tamron 28-300 3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD

  • Sigma 50-500 4.5-6.3 APO DG OS USM ("Bigma OS")


While I will often be in a position to switch lenses and play around, I also tend to go on holidays to places where you really don't want to be switching lenses that much. Aside from that, I go to zoo's a lot, as well as shoot relative's kids in my family on outings.


I'm not sure I'm even getting this one, as I have not been particularly fond of the 50 1.8. I'm not sure if it's the lack of zoom altogether or because it hunts around so much. Either way, IF I would get another 50mm, it seems many prefer the Sigmalux over the Canon. What I'm wondering is if the Sigmalux is still as "pocketable" as the 50 1.8 ? It appears to be significantly bigger.


The well known dilemma. I'm afraid the range of the 70 is going to annoy me (it's even less than the range of the 17-55 on cropped, correct ?). On the other hand, I also think I'll be annoyed by the f/4 on the 105. And if going for the 70, would it be wise to wait for the II ? It is a lot more expensive after all.

With these lenses I also have the issue of resale if I don't like them. Isn't the 24-105 hard to resell due to the market being flooded with them? And few people will want to buy the 24-70 due to the II coming out soon?


I have used the EF 70-200 2.8L IS II USM a few times (on a crop), and loved it despite it's weight. I have not walked around with it for a full day though!

Again, I am partial to the 2.8's if going for the 70-200, but the choice between 4.0 IS , 2.8 non-IS , and 2.8 IS double price is a tough one. I have some concern that the range on this one is too short for my regular use.

I like the added range of the 300's, and the non-L's being black (don't stand out as much), but then again, the non-L's seem to have serious problems (halo/bullseye for the DO, rotating front and lack of FTM on the non-DO, but cheap).

Both the 300's and 400 are slow compared to the 200 2.8, but how problematic is this in reality on a big zoom ?

The 100-400 seems like a good range to complement the 24-105, but would the 70-100 range not be missed in case of it complementing a 24-70?

Is this a good zoo/safari lens on the 5Dm3 ? Or could I better mount it on my 550D for that purpose ?


Regularly I will also be in places where I don't want to be switching lenses, I'm wondering if I need one of these zooms for these situations, as the longer zooms miss too much of the wide angle, and the shorter ones miss the tele range. I have a sneaking suspicion that 70-100 is exactly the spot around which you'll take most pictures, and thus keep wanting to switch lenses. (Yes, no ?)

The Canon 28-300 seems like a good lens, but it's very expensive and the reviews don't seem to be that great compared to the Tamron 28-300. On the other hand, the 28-300 is reportedly lower quality than the Tamron 18-270 I use on crop, of which I have never been that impressed.

The Bigma OS seems like a dream in range, but it appears to be very slow even at 50mm, and I'm not sure I've lifted enough weights to survive carrying it around all day.

The end

Any advise is welcome, as you can see my mind has gone completely blank as to what to get. I'm fully aware you can't tell me what I will be happy with, but hopefully some of my concerns may be familiar to you, and you have already solved that dilemma. Especially opinions from those who have recently come from crop would be interesting.

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