Frequently Recommended Lenses

Started Jan 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
MOD imqqmi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,630
My lenses

I thought that I already posted this but it seems it didn't get through. Luckily I have a plugin Lazarus that keeps track of all the form data so I copy/paste it here. It would've been a pain to type all this again

Tamron 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 1:2 macro (old version)

Recommended: No, the 55-250 is much better, much sharper and has IS.

Typical uses: Stationary wildlife, macro shots, outdoors in good light

The lens is soft wide open at 300mm, it's ok at 70mm Stopped down the lens get a bit sharper but not much. AF is slow.

Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Recommended: yes, highly

Typical uses: Wildlife, birds in flight, sport, action shots

The 100-400L is a great lens, very sharp wide open, focusing is fast, it's one of the fastest long telezoom lenses out there. It's said that it's not as fast focusing or sharp as the 400mm f/5.6L prime though. Build qualirt is good, the push pull zoom design takes a bit getting used to but works well (for me). IS gives a 1.5 to 2 stop advantage shutter speed wise. It is expensive but you get what you pay for.

Canon 24-70 f/2.8L USM I

Recommended: Yes

Typical uses: Low light shoots like theater, perfect portrait range on a crop camera, some semi macro shots as it can focus really close at 70mm.

This is a classic lens with excellent color and very good back ground blur performance to near prime quality. Chromatic aberration is a bit strong though and it's not a very sharp zoom lens (probably because of the AC). The AC is also very hard to correct. It's large and heavy, also known as 'the brick'. Not recommended for rebel sized cameras as handling will be a bit uncomfortable. It is expensive and likely out of the price range of many beginners. It is a lens that serves a special use on a crop camera anyway. On a full frame it covers a walk around range.

Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 non IS

Recommended: No

Typical uses: landscape and general walkabout lens. At 55mm it can take reasonable portrait shots but at f/5.6 the background will not blur too much for good separation and the blur is a bit busy.

This is the older non IS version that's much less sharp and has no IS. The IS version is a much better choice for beginners.

Canon 50mm f/1.8

Recommended: Yes

Typical uses: low light portraits, indoor shots if you've got the space, generally good lens to learn how to use a prime lens.

This is the plastic fantastic 50mm lens. It's cheap, flimsy build and very sharp stopped down to f/2.8. Background blur disks have a pentagon shape and the blur is a bit busy. Autofocus is a bit rough or coarse as the stepper motor has no fine enough steps to focus properly sometimes. A couple of extra refocused shots are necessary to make sure you've got a good shot at wider apertures. Still recommended for beginners to learn about primes.

Canon 85mm f/1.8

Recommended: Yes, Highly

Typical uses: indoor sports, indoor low light shots, portraits, good with blurring the background completely wide open.

The 85mm f/1.8 is an excellent sharp, fast focusing lens that can be used to capture action and sports indoors. The lens has significant purple fringing wide open in contrasty situations like black against something white. It is excellent stopped down to f/2.8. Focus is fast, silent and accurate.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX HSM

Recommended: Yes

Typical uses: very low light, portraits, general walk around prime (similar to 50mm on full frame).

Focus in action shots are not always very accurate and finding a good copy can be a challenge as focus can be off by quite a margin. The lens can be used wide open which produces very good results, pretty sharp in the center and ok in the corners. The lens suffers from a curved field of view wide open, ie the focus is closer to the photographer in the corners than in the center.

Canon 10-22mm f/4-5.6 USM

Recommended: Yes, highly

Typical uses: landscapes, distorted perspective shots like buildings and portraits, interiors when keeping the lens perfectly level

The 10-22mm lens is expensive, in the range of the 17-55mm but it's an excellent lens for landscapes. It's about the sharpest 10mm lens for a crop camera. Corner sharpness is pretty good too.

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX (non HSM old version)

Recommended: Yes, depends

Typical uses: standard walk around range with low light capability. Wide enough for some excellent landscape shots.

Sigma lenses are usually slightly warmer toned than the canon equivalents. The same goes for this lens. It's not really a problem but something to be aware about, it can be easily changed using WB. It is a sharp lens. The AF is not very accurate at 18mm. It is a parfocal lens meaning that if you zoom in, AF, then zoom out the focus is still at the same spot. This is the recommended way to focus on this lens. The lens is sharp from f/4 onwards but also usable at f/2.8, though it's noticably softer and more purple fringing appears. The newer 17-50mm models are reported to be sharper and HSM focusing is faster and more silent. Haven't used them myself so can't comment on them.

Hope this helps!

 imqqmi's gear list:imqqmi's gear list
Canon EOS 40D Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM +2 more
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