Best 'cheap' lenses for 5D MkII?

Started Jun 19, 2010 | Discussions
ismith Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Best 'cheap' lenses for 5D MkII?

I'm sold on the 5DMkII - but with my initial budget after buying the body I'm left with around UKP(£)250-400. I'm will invest in the best glass I can afford in time, but I hope you might be able to suggest a good lens (or lenses) in this price range to start with? (I can't quite stretch to the kit lens option 24-105L just yet, and I would prefer to buy new).

I'll mainly be shooting urban & rural scenes whilst out and about, and portraits (and video) of my family & friends.

My initial thought was the Canon 50mm 1.8II + 70-300IS.
But is there a good wide/medium zoom in this price bracket to consider?

I look forward to your feedback, and thank you in advance.

Ian

Jan Madsen Senior Member • Posts: 2,398
Also started that way

ismith wrote:

I'm sold on the 5DMkII - but with my initial budget after buying the body I'm left with around UKP(£)250-400. I'm will invest in the best glass I can afford in time, but I hope you might be able to suggest a good lens (or lenses) in this price range to start with? (I can't quite stretch to the kit lens option 24-105L just yet, and I would prefer to buy new).

I'll mainly be shooting urban & rural scenes whilst out and about, and portraits (and video) of my family & friends.

My initial thought was the Canon 50mm 1.8II + 70-300IS.
But is there a good wide/medium zoom in this price bracket to consider?

I look forward to your feedback, and thank you in advance.

Ian

I also started out that way when jumping to digital. Money on the body (1DsII used), cheap lenses to start out with, and later adding good glass. I started with the 50mm f1.8 Mk. I (mechanically a good lens, not the Mk. II crap), Tamron 24-135mm f3.5-5.6 (surpricingly good, but of course limited by aperture) and Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro (60 lenses later still my sharpest lens). Quickly added a Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6.

Buy used, you can get a lot for the money. Later you can add better lenses from new, when finances catch up.

With almost any lens you are the limitation, not the equipment.

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  • Jan

digitaldog
digitaldog Senior Member • Posts: 1,026
Try Canon 28-135

I initially had this lens on my digital reb 300D and didn't like it - not wide enough and soft. I just picked up one with a used 50D I bought and put it on my 5DII and I was marveled by the sharpness. It closely matched my 24-105L. I was impressed. And on a FF camera, it's very usable as a walkaround lens.

Legion5 Senior Member • Posts: 1,047
Re: Try Canon 28-135

There's not really a lot that will satisfy at that range. I would seriously consider using primes. I'm not sure how money compares over there but I would get the 85mm 1.8 and the 28mm 1.8. Later on add a Kenko DGX MC4 1.4x teleconverter and 50mm 1.8.

This setup actually works very well for me. I'm using it now just to explore some creative options.

maiaibing Veteran Member • Posts: 5,139
Wrong priority...

...stop before you make a mistake!

Get good lenses first and a cheaper body. It will give you visible better pictures for years than the other way around. Also, lenses keep their price. Your coveted and expensive 5Dii can be had for much less or will be left in the dust by the 5Diii one day - and you can the upgraded body later in stead = better pictures now & better pictures when you have saved a little more. Clearly a much, much better way to move forward.

ismith wrote:

I'm sold on the 5DMkII - but with my initial budget after buying the body I'm left with around UKP(£)250-400. I'm will invest in the best glass I can afford in time, but I hope you might be able to suggest a good lens (or lenses) in this price range to start with? (I can't quite stretch to the kit lens option 24-105L just yet, and I would prefer to buy new).

I'll mainly be shooting urban & rural scenes whilst out and about, and portraits (and video) of my family & friends.

My initial thought was the Canon 50mm 1.8II + 70-300IS.
But is there a good wide/medium zoom in this price bracket to consider?

I look forward to your feedback, and thank you in advance.

Ian

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Legion5 Senior Member • Posts: 1,047
Re: Wrong priority...

It doesn't get much better than a set of prime lenses and the 5DII. You won't gain quality over time just convenience.

Canon doesn't have a normal zoom lens currently without significant tradeoffs, and all reports point to them releasing a new upgraded one in the near future to so it's best not to buy lenses currently unless you're looking at telephotos.

Full frame bodies also hold their value significantly better than crop bodies and have MUCH longer upgrade cycles.

Plus a set of primes with a 5DII will be a great learning tool.

  • just my opinion.

OP ismith Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Re: Also started that way

Thanks for the feedback Jan.

Jan Madsen wrote:

I also started out that way when jumping to digital. Money on the body (1DsII used), cheap lenses to start out with, and later adding good glass. I started with the 50mm f1.8 Mk. I (mechanically a good lens, not the Mk. II crap), Tamron 24-135mm f3.5-5.6 (surpricingly good, but of course limited by aperture) and Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro (60 lenses later still my sharpest lens). Quickly added a Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6.

Buy used, you can get a lot for the money. Later you can add better lenses from new, when finances catch up.

With almost any lens you are the limitation, not the equipment.

OP ismith Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Re: Try Canon 28-135

Thanks digitaldog, the reviews are quite good on this lens.

digitaldog wrote:

I initially had this lens on my digital reb 300D and didn't like it - not wide enough and soft. I just picked up one with a used 50D I bought and put it on my 5DII and I was marveled by the sharpness. It closely matched my 24-105L. I was impressed. And on a FF camera, it's very usable as a walkaround lens.

OP ismith Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Re: Try Canon 28-135

Thanks Legion5. Its certainly one to think about.

Legion5 wrote:

There's not really a lot that will satisfy at that range. I would seriously consider using primes. I'm not sure how money compares over there but I would get the 85mm 1.8 and the 28mm 1.8. Later on add a Kenko DGX MC4 1.4x teleconverter and 50mm 1.8.

This setup actually works very well for me. I'm using it now just to explore some creative options.

OP ismith Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Re: Wrong priority...

Hi maiaibing,

I really appreciate your feedback, and if I hadn't spent the last few months thinking seriously about this, I would completely agree with you - in fact, I am seriously impressed by the T2i/550D, which would allow me to invest in a couple of really good glasses... but this brings me to the reason for posting my original question, just to get suggestions on a bunch of reasonably good lenses (which I will then research and try out) for the camera that offers everything I could ask for, without the niggling thought in the back of my mind of having something my heart hasn't fallen in love with (and concluding that there is actually glass good enough in my current price bracket. If not, I will save a bit more). The T2i/550D feels like a plastic toy with my large hands, and the 7D seems is an expense for a lot of speed that suits a more demanding action photographer (offering pretty much the same IQ as the T2i/550D from what I have read).

Ian

maiaibing wrote:

...stop before you make a mistake!

Get good lenses first and a cheaper body. It will give you visible better pictures for years than the other way around. Also, lenses keep their price. Your coveted and expensive 5Dii can be had for much less or will be left in the dust by the 5Diii one day - and you can the upgraded body later in stead = better pictures now & better pictures when you have saved a little more. Clearly a much, much better way to move forward.

stelin Regular Member • Posts: 485
I agree.

I started with a 10D with 24-70 f2.8L and 70-200 f2.8L IS

I use the lenses every day with no plans to change yet (although a 24-70 f2.8L with IS would be tempting if/when Canon makes one), but have had several bodies since.

Steven

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Joe Photo Lover Veteran Member • Posts: 3,040
Re: Wrong priority...

maiaibing wrote:

...stop before you make a mistake!

Get good lenses first and a cheaper body. It will give you visible better pictures for years than the other way around. Also, lenses keep their price. Your coveted and expensive 5Dii can be had for much less or will be left in the dust by the 5Diii one day - and you can the upgraded body later in stead = better pictures now & better pictures when you have saved a little more. Clearly a much, much better way to move forward.

Hi maiaibing,

I'm not saying that you are wrong but the benefit of new bodies in the digital era is a lot more pronounced than it was during the film era. Technology is changing so rapidly that we have much better digital equipment than just a few years ago. Better ISO performance, better processors (digic 4 vs digic 1), affordable FF sensors vs. entry level crop sensors, and much more. The old dogma is not so much false as less true than it used to be.

With film bodies I used to go many years without upgrading bodies but with digital I can't get away with that as much anymore.

mattr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,532
Good plan

Three of Canon's optically absolute top "cheap" lenses for a 5D2 are:

35/2
50/1.8
85/1.8 (or 100/2)

Redteg94 Senior Member • Posts: 1,546
Re: Best 'cheap' lenses for 5D MkII?

If you want a relatively cheap standard zoom, you should look at either the Canon 28-135IS, Tamron 28-75/2.8 or maybe the Canon 28-105/3.5-4.5 USM. Either of those will give very good IQ on FF for your money.

For primes, the 28/1.8, 35/2, 50/1.8 or 1.4, 85/1.8, 100/2 or 200/2.8L are all excellent and not too expensive. Just pick and choose which FL you want.

For long zooms, the 70-300IS you mentioned is pretty good, but you might want to try out the 70-200/4; it's the same price and quite a bit nicer to use.

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KCampbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,058
Second that

The 35mm f2 is a cracking performer and will give you very good results, and the field of view feels very natural for general purpose photography. If your budget runs to that plus the 85mm f1.8 you'd be in pretty good shape.

Kevin

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masak Senior Member • Posts: 1,283
Re: Best 'cheap' lenses for 5D MkII?

ismith wrote:

My initial thought was the Canon 50mm 1.8II + 70-300IS.

I have both these. The 50 1.8 is fine on the 5d2. The 70-300 is a very good lens.

I just haven't happened to shoot it on the 5D2. I have the 100-400 too, but have kept the 70-300 for traveling light and keeping a low profile. I am sure it will be on the 5D2 sooner or later.

Another thought, 50 mm is not wide, a 17-40 and the 50 would be a wider set-up and relatively inexpensive.

Having said this the suggestions on a set of primes are good too. If you add zooms at some point you would still have uses for the primes.

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Guv Contributing Member • Posts: 779
That's what I've got...

5D, 28/1.8, 85/1.8, 28-135 IS.

I'm saving for an all L collection other than the 85/1.8, but that day's a long way off. The upgade to a 5D was a much more versatile way of making all my EF lenses look much better than they did on my 40D. The "glass first" argument only holds within a format, IMO. If you jump from crop format to FF, the argument goes off track.

You can also do 5DII + Sigma 50/1.4. That's a powerful combo that gives really stunning results for not much money in the lens. I covet my friend's combo of these two.

BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 25,636
It's still a bad idea and a waste of money

For a beginner, the 5D Mark II is a bad idea, unless that beginner is rich.

Then it is still a bad idea, but money can at least ease things a bit.

If you insist on wasting your money, leaving you withnot enough for a good lens, what can we do?

You do not have an adequate budget.

Anyway,start with a Canon 50mm f2 lens and a Canon 50mm f1.8 lens, and save up for a Canon 85mm f1.8.

Or, and this is a good idea if it hits your budget, buy a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens.

Your 50mm and 70-300mm plan leaves you with no wde angle, and that is frequently a problem.

BAK

Scales USA Veteran Member • Posts: 3,121
Re: Best 'cheap' lenses for 5D MkII?

The kit with the 5D II and 24-105mm lens is a good start. The lens is excellent, and covers from wide to telephoto.

There is nothing wrong with the lenses you suggested either, but the kit is a good deal and the lens is excellent.

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Chez Wimpy
Chez Wimpy Veteran Member • Posts: 9,072
Re: It's still a bad idea and a waste of money

BAK wrote:

For a beginner, the 5D Mark II is a bad idea, unless that beginner is rich.

Bad idea? Why? It gives you more control over DOF... and prime lenses are the fundamental tools for learning to "see" photographically.

If you have the money, a 5D2 + 35/2 + 85/1.8 is an amazing way to learn the craft.

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よしよし、今日も生きのいい魂が手に入ったな

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