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Canon lens advice

 
 
cc
Guest
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      12-17-2003
Canon has a rebate program going on until the end of January and I
thought I might take advantage of it, since all I have for lenses right
now are the 28-80 and 80-200 zoom lenses that came in the kit with my
film SLR, and they don't seem to produce as sharp results as I would
like. I have looked for online reviews of the lenses but there really
aren't that many. Most of the reviews are about cameras and such.

I would like to know whether zoom lenses are really inferior to non-zoom
(I'm sure there's a name for those) lenses in terms of sharpness and
colour rendition etc. The zoom lenses I have don't seem to be very sharp
but maybe I'm making some sort of mistake when I'm taking pictures. I
have read that kit lenses aren't all that good anyway.

The camera I used before I got the Canon was a manual Olympus SLR with a
few different lenses, mostly with a single focal length, and I was very
happy with the sharpness and focus of the pictures, and I got many
compliments. Unfortunately the shutters on the 2 Olympus bodies I had
failed and I got tired of taking them to get fixed. Since on any given
vacation I seem to come back with at least 1000 photos (and that's an
underestimate), I am spending a lot of film and developing and it seems
that digital is the way to go. In the new year when stores actually have
it in stock again I'm planning to buy a 10D.

I would like to be able to take high quality photos which I could
eventually perhaps sell when I get to be a good enough photographer. In
other words, I want not to be limited by my equipment. I mostly take
pictures outdoors of buildings, animals, landscapes, citiscapes,
statues, etc., pretty much anything that would seem to make a good
subject (and some abstract stuff too). My indoor shots have mostly been
limited to cute pictures of my cat, the year's Christmas tree, and the
odd.trip to a museum or fancy church when on vacation.

I would appreciate any comments anyone might have about the following
lenses and how they perform in the Canon 10D. If you would recommend
different lenses than these please tell me. Please keep in mind that I
don't want to spend more than $2000 total on lenses (before rebate) and
the first lens is more than half that.

400mm f/5.6 L USM - this is one that I'm pretty certain of getting
because I have seen some absolutely stunning images taken with this
lens, and actually I have found a few (very good) reviews of it. I'm
mostly wanting to know which lenses I should get as companions to this one.

20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - Since the 10D has the 1.6x focal ratio it seems
important to get some kind of wide angle lens. Is this zoom lens less
sharp than one with a single focal length, and should I consider a
different one, or does the larger range of focal length make up for any
decrease in sharpness?

75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM - I've read good things about this lens on this
newsgroups. I guess it would replace the 80-200 lens I already have. It
would probably be the lens that is in the camera most of the time
because of its versatility. Is this a good choice for that purpose?

135mm f/2.8 with soft focus - I thought I might like to try some outdoor
portrait photography. Is this a good lens for that or is there a better
lens for that purpose? I have read that this lens is also good for
landscapes, and it's nice and sharp at the 0 softness setting. If my
calculations are correct this lens would be equivalent to a 216mm lens.
That might be a bit long for portrait work.

I would very much appreciate any and all comments about the above lenses
or recommendations of any other lenses which I might find useful.

Thanks.

 
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Malcolm Stewart
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-17-2003
"cc" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Canon has a rebate program going on until the end of January and I
> thought I might take advantage of it, since all I have for lenses right
> now are the 28-80 and 80-200 zoom lenses that came in the kit with my
> film SLR, and they don't seem to produce as sharp results as I would


I have the 80-200, and it's quite good, but not upto top quality standards. The
28-80 was best in its 1st version, but since then it's been made cheaper, and it
shows.

> I would like to know whether zoom lenses are really inferior to non-zoom
> (I'm sure there's a name for those) lenses in terms of sharpness and
> colour rendition etc. The zoom lenses I have don't seem to be very sharp
> but maybe I'm making some sort of mistake when I'm taking pictures. I
> have read that kit lenses aren't all that good anyway.


I can show you sharp pictures from both zoom and prime lenses. See website
below.

> The camera I used before I got the Canon was a manual Olympus SLR with a
> few different lenses, mostly with a single focal length, and I was very
> happy with the sharpness and focus of the pictures, and I got many


Olympus lenses were (nearly) all built for professional use. Pity about their
cheaper bodies.

> compliments. Unfortunately the shutters on the 2 Olympus bodies I had
> failed and I got tired of taking them to get fixed. Since on any given
> vacation I seem to come back with at least 1000 photos (and that's an
> underestimate), I am spending a lot of film and developing and it seems
> that digital is the way to go. In the new year when stores actually have
> it in stock again I'm planning to buy a 10D.


I'm pleased with my 10D.

>
> 400mm f/5.6 L USM - this is one that I'm pretty certain of getting
> because I have seen some absolutely stunning images taken with this
> lens, and actually I have found a few (very good) reviews of it. I'm
> mostly wanting to know which lenses I should get as companions to this one.


This lens has a good reputation.

> 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - Since the 10D has the 1.6x focal ratio it seems
> important to get some kind of wide angle lens. Is this zoom lens less
> sharp than one with a single focal length, and should I consider a
> different one, or does the larger range of focal length make up for any
> decrease in sharpness?


I've just bought the 20 f2.8 for sort of wide-angle on the 10D. (=32mm)

> 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM - I've read good things about this lens on this
> newsgroups. I guess it would replace the 80-200 lens I already have. It
> would probably be the lens that is in the camera most of the time
> because of its versatility. Is this a good choice for that purpose?


Probably not as sharp as the 80-200. Try the old 100-300L if you can find one.

> 135mm f/2.8 with soft focus - I thought I might like to try some outdoor
> portrait photography. Is this a good lens for that or is there a better
> lens for that purpose? I have read that this lens is also good for
> landscapes, and it's nice and sharp at the 0 softness setting. If my
> calculations are correct this lens would be equivalent to a 216mm lens.
> That might be a bit long for portrait work.


Try a 50 (=80) or the 85 f1.8. (=~135 )

> I would very much appreciate any and all comments about the above lenses
> or recommendations of any other lenses which I might find useful.
>
> Thanks.


Visit the Canon SLR lens forum
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1029
at www.dpreview.com for more detailed replies to your queries.

--
M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
www.megalith.freeserve.co.uk/oddimage.htm
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/ms1938/



 
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Don Coon
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-17-2003
Point #1: Reviews of lenses

A compilation of lens quality based on reviews:
http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/easytxt.htm
Same web site but this time user reviews:
http://www.photozone.de/
Another seires of user review from PhotographyReview:
http://www.photographyreview.com/Len...C_3787crx.aspx
Finally, more user ratings from Fred Miranda's site:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/s...ery.php?cat=27

From these sites you should be able to get a pretty good assessment of the
lenses you listed. Don't trust any single source or any individual's
recommendation. People tend to rate what they own higher than what they no
little about : )

Point #1: Are zooms really inferior to primes (non-zooms)?

As a general statement, absolutely. A look at the first site will easily
confirm that. Zooms by their very nature involve compromises in design and
construction. The longer the zoom range, the worse the lens with few
exceptions. An 11X 28-300 will be significantly less sharp than say a 3X
24-70.



"cc" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Canon has a rebate program going on until the end of January and I
> thought I might take advantage of it, since all I have for lenses right
> now are the 28-80 and 80-200 zoom lenses that came in the kit with my
> film SLR, and they don't seem to produce as sharp results as I would
> like. I have looked for online reviews of the lenses but there really
> aren't that many. Most of the reviews are about cameras and such.


> I would like to know whether zoom lenses are really inferior to non-zoom
> (I'm sure there's a name for those) lenses in terms of sharpness and
> colour rendition etc. The zoom lenses I have don't seem to be very sharp
> but maybe I'm making some sort of mistake when I'm taking pictures. I
> have read that kit lenses aren't all that good anyway.

SNIP

> 400mm f/5.6 L USM - this is one that I'm pretty certain of getting
> because I have seen some absolutely stunning images taken with this
> lens, and actually I have found a few (very good) reviews of it. I'm
> mostly wanting to know which lenses I should get as companions to this

one.

Being a Prime and sporting "L" glass this lens is naturally rated "Good"
(3.56 of 5) by PhotoZone but within its category it's merely average. I
count 5 "Outstandings", 7 "Excellent", 7 "Very Goods" and 9 "Goods" ---
given this wealth of ratings I didn't bother with the rest. But at $1060US
you've shot half your budget on a f/5.6 lens. Remember that this will be a
whopping 640mm lens on a 10D! For comparison the high rated 70-200 F/4 L is
rated 4.17 "Very Good" yet costs only $560. On the 10D it's a 112-320mm
lens.

> 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - Since the 10D has the 1.6x focal ratio it seems
> important to get some kind of wide angle lens. Is this zoom lens less
> sharp than one with a single focal length, and should I consider a
> different one, or does the larger range of focal length make up for any
> decrease in sharpness?


It's an average 3.22 lens but, in quality and price it's to the 3.26 20mm
prime. A hot lens in this category is the 17-40 f4 L rated 3.74 but it runs
about twice as much at $725. Remember here that 20mm = 32mm on the 10D; 17mm
= 27mm. I own the 17-40 and it's a very sharp lens.

> 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM - I've read good things about this lens on this
> newsgroups. I guess it would replace the 80-200 lens I already have. It
> would probably be the lens that is in the camera most of the time
> because of its versatility. Is this a good choice for that purpose?


The 75-300 is a "sub-average" 2.62 lens. It's OK but just OK. If you get
one get the Image Stabizer version. I have one but just picked up a Sigma
100-300 EX rated 4.17 and it blows it away with ease. But again it's a $700
lens vs. $400 for the 75-300 USM IS.

>
> 135mm f/2.8 with soft focus - I thought I might like to try some outdoor
> portrait photography. Is this a good lens for that or is there a better
> lens for that purpose? I have read that this lens is also good for
> landscapes, and it's nice and sharp at the 0 softness setting. If my
> calculations are correct this lens would be equivalent to a 216mm lens.
> That might be a bit long for portrait work.


Can't comments much on this one.

I would recommend that you forget the rebates in making your decision and
focus (pun intended) on assembling a set of good lenses that will cover the
entire range you expect to shoot.

A popular setup:

Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS USM @ $400 rated "Good" at 3.25. This lens is
probably one of the most popular lenses with 10D owners due to its quality,
price and zoom range. It's a 45-218mm lens on the 10D ,aking it a good
"walk-around" lens.

Canon 50mm f1.8 II @ $70 is a no-brainer. It's rated 3.91 "Very Good" and
make an almost perfect portrait lens at 80mm on a 10D. Very sharp!

Add the 17-40mm f4L @ about $750 and the 70-200 f4L at $560 and you've
covered everything from 17 to 200 (27-320 on a 10D) for $1780. Use the
change to buy a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter if you still feel the need for more
range.

Best of Luck!





 
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Ed E.
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-17-2003
Non-zoom lenses are called primes. They're usually sharper than a zoom lens
at the matching focal length. The lenses you mentioned are average. Check
out http://www.photographyreview.com for some end-user lens ratings. And
don't rule out the 70-200mm f/4.0 lens (or the f/2.8 if it isn't too
expensive.)


 
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JK
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-17-2003


cc wrote:

> Canon has a rebate program going on until the end of January and I
> thought I might take advantage of it, since all I have for lenses right
> now are the 28-80 and 80-200 zoom lenses that came in the kit with my
> film SLR, and they don't seem to produce as sharp results as I would
> like. I have looked for online reviews of the lenses but there really
> aren't that many. Most of the reviews are about cameras and such.
>
> I would like to know whether zoom lenses are really inferior to non-zoom
> (I'm sure there's a name for those) lenses in terms of sharpness and
> colour rendition etc. The zoom lenses I have don't seem to be very sharp
> but maybe I'm making some sort of mistake when I'm taking pictures. I
> have read that kit lenses aren't all that good anyway.
>
> The camera I used before I got the Canon was a manual Olympus SLR with a
> few different lenses, mostly with a single focal length, and I was very
> happy with the sharpness and focus of the pictures, and I got many
> compliments. Unfortunately the shutters on the 2 Olympus bodies I had
> failed and I got tired of taking them to get fixed. Since on any given
> vacation I seem to come back with at least 1000 photos (and that's an
> underestimate), I am spending a lot of film and developing and it seems
> that digital is the way to go. In the new year when stores actually have
> it in stock again I'm planning to buy a 10D.
>
> I would like to be able to take high quality photos which I could
> eventually perhaps sell when I get to be a good enough photographer. In
> other words, I want not to be limited by my equipment. I mostly take
> pictures outdoors of buildings, animals, landscapes, citiscapes,
> statues, etc., pretty much anything that would seem to make a good
> subject (and some abstract stuff too). My indoor shots have mostly been
> limited to cute pictures of my cat, the year's Christmas tree, and the
> odd.trip to a museum or fancy church when on vacation.
>
> I would appreciate any comments anyone might have about the following
> lenses and how they perform in the Canon 10D. If you would recommend
> different lenses than these please tell me. Please keep in mind that I
> don't want to spend more than $2000 total on lenses (before rebate) and
> the first lens is more than half that.
>
> 400mm f/5.6 L USM - this is one that I'm pretty certain of getting
> because I have seen some absolutely stunning images taken with this
> lens, and actually I have found a few (very good) reviews of it. I'm
> mostly wanting to know which lenses I should get as companions to this one.
>
> 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - Since the 10D has the 1.6x focal ratio it seems
> important to get some kind of wide angle lens. Is this zoom lens less
> sharp than one with a single focal length, and should I consider a
> different one, or does the larger range of focal length make up for any
> decrease in sharpness?


The zoom ratio is quite small, so there really isn't even much of a
point getting this zoom. Why not get a 24mm f2.8 lens instead?

>
>
> 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM - I've read good things about this lens on this
> newsgroups. I guess it would replace the 80-200 lens I already have.


A slow 75mm-300 zoom seems kind of silly for the 10D(especially
due to the 1.6x factor), unless you plan to always carry a tripod.
Since you already have an 80-200 mm lens(is it an f2.8, f3.5, f4,
or slower than those?) I suggest that you use that.

> It
> would probably be the lens that is in the camera most of the time
> because of its versatility. Is this a good choice for that purpose?
>
> 135mm f/2.8 with soft focus - I thought I might like to try some outdoor
> portrait photography. Is this a good lens for that or is there a better
> lens for that purpose?


135mm on the 10D (keep in mind the 1.6x factor!) is too much of a telephoto
for portraits. A 50mm f1.8 would be a nice cheap portrait lens for the 10D.
If you want more telephoto, an 85mm f2.8 lens would be another choice
for a portrait lens using a 10D.

> I have read that this lens is also good for
> landscapes, and it's nice and sharp at the 0 softness setting. If my
> calculations are correct this lens would be equivalent to a 216mm lens.
> That might be a bit long for portrait work.


More than a bit. 80mm -135mm equivalent is the ideal range for a portrait lens.
A 50mm lens on the 10D acts like an 80mm lens.

>
>
> I would very much appreciate any and all comments about the above lenses
> or recommendations of any other lenses which I might find useful.
>
> Thanks.


 
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Randall Ainsworth
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-18-2003
I have the 20-35 and have been quite pleased with it. It was the only
affordable lens that would give close to a 28mm perspective without
breaking the bank.
 
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MarkH
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-18-2003
JK <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in news:(E-Mail Removed):

>> 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM - I've read good things about this lens on
>> this newsgroups. I guess it would replace the 80-200 lens I already
>> have.

>
> A slow 75mm-300 zoom seems kind of silly for the 10D(especially
> due to the 1.6x factor), unless you plan to always carry a tripod.
> Since you already have an 80-200 mm lens(is it an f2.8, f3.5, f4,
> or slower than those?) I suggest that you use that.


I have the 75-300 III f4-5.6 USM lens for my 10D. I don’t usually carry a
tripod to use it with. In good light like on a sunny day I have no trouble
getting 1/800sec or faster (even in the middle of winter).

Since the OP is asking about sharpness I wouldn’t recommend this lens, it’s
not too bad but most other lenses are sharper. Also it is useless on an
overcast day or any low light situation unless you use a tripod. It is
alright for good light where you want to print at only 4x6 or put the
pictures on the web, but I wouldn’t claim that it is a sharp lens.




--
Mark Heyes (New Zealand)
See my pics at http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~markh/
"There are 10 types of people, those that
understand binary and those that don't"

 
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Todd Walker
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-18-2003
In article <aB2Eb.415928$ao4.1350646@attbi_s51>,
coondw_nospam@hotmail_dot_.com says...
> Being a Prime and sporting "L" glass this lens is naturally rated "Good"
> (3.56 of 5) by PhotoZone but within its category it's merely average. I
> count 5 "Outstandings", 7 "Excellent", 7 "Very Goods" and 9 "Goods" ---
> given this wealth of ratings I didn't bother with the rest. But at $1060US
> you've shot half your budget on a f/5.6 lens. Remember that this will be a
> whopping 640mm lens on a 10D! For comparison the high rated 70-200 F/4 L is
> rated 4.17 "Very Good" yet costs only $560. On the 10D it's a 112-320mm
> lens.


I can second the recommendation of the 70-200 f/4L. I have it and it's a
fantastic lens. Most will tell you that it's slightly sharper than the
2.8 version of the 70-200 which costs twice as much. Of course you are
sacrificing one stop by going with the f/4 but the noise at high ISOs is
so low on the 10D, I don't find that this is a problem.

> It's an average 3.22 lens but, in quality and price it's to the 3.26 20mm
> prime. A hot lens in this category is the 17-40 f4 L rated 3.74 but it runs
> about twice as much at $725. Remember here that 20mm = 32mm on the 10D; 17mm
> = 27mm. I own the 17-40 and it's a very sharp lens.


Actually you can get the 17-40 for $680 from www.17photo.com -- a great
deal on a fantastic lens. This one is my next purchase.

> The 75-300 is a "sub-average" 2.62 lens. It's OK but just OK. If you get
> one get the Image Stabizer version. I have one but just picked up a Sigma
> 100-300 EX rated 4.17 and it blows it away with ease. But again it's a $700
> lens vs. $400 for the 75-300 USM IS.


Yep, the 75-300 isn't up to the standards of the 28-135 for instance. If
you need a cheap zoom with IS, it's OK but there are better lenses out
there with comparable focal lengths.

> > 135mm f/2.8 with soft focus - I thought I might like to try some outdoor
> > portrait photography. Is this a good lens for that or is there a better
> > lens for that purpose? I have read that this lens is also good for
> > landscapes, and it's nice and sharp at the 0 softness setting. If my
> > calculations are correct this lens would be equivalent to a 216mm lens.
> > That might be a bit long for portrait work.

>
> Can't comments much on this one.


Me either but IMHO a soft focus lens is pointless with digital since you
can do soft focus to YOUR liking in your image editor.

> I would recommend that you forget the rebates in making your decision and
> focus (pun intended) on assembling a set of good lenses that will cover the
> entire range you expect to shoot.


As usual, excellent advice Don.

> A popular setup:
>
> Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS USM @ $400 rated "Good" at 3.25. This lens is
> probably one of the most popular lenses with 10D owners due to its quality,
> price and zoom range. It's a 45-218mm lens on the 10D ,aking it a good
> "walk-around" lens.


My most used lens. Highly recommended and a steal at $400. Canon could
slap an L label on this lens and sell it for significantly more IMHO.

> Canon 50mm f1.8 II @ $70 is a no-brainer. It's rated 3.91 "Very Good" and
> make an almost perfect portrait lens at 80mm on a 10D. Very sharp!


Yep, every 10D owner should have the 50/1.8.

> Add the 17-40mm f4L @ about $750 and the 70-200 f4L at $560 and you've
> covered everything from 17 to 200 (27-320 on a 10D) for $1780. Use the
> change to buy a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter if you still feel the need for more
> range.


Sounds like a winner to me Don!

--
__________________________________
Todd Walker
Canon 10D
http://www.toddwalker.net
http://www.twphotography.net
__________________________________
 
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Don Coon
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-18-2003

> JK <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in news:(E-Mail Removed):
>
> >> 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM - I've read good things about this lens on
> >> this newsgroups. I guess it would replace the 80-200 lens I already
> >> have.

> >
> > A slow 75mm-300 zoom seems kind of silly for the 10D(especially
> > due to the 1.6x factor), unless you plan to always carry a tripod.
> > Since you already have an 80-200 mm lens(is it an f2.8, f3.5, f4,
> > or slower than those?) I suggest that you use that.


The Image Stabilized version of the 75-300 can easily be used hand-held.
"IS" is the eqivalent of up to 2 full stops. However, its sharpness is
below average per PhotoZone and confirmed by personal use. Sharpness is
worse at the 300mm end. It retails for $429 (less a $30 rebate); the SHARP
Canon 70-200 f4 L is relatively a steal at about $560.


 
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George Preddy
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-18-2003

"Don Coon" <coondw_nospam@hotmail_dot_.com> wrote in message
news:qTiEb.586930$Tr4.1560977@attbi_s03...

> the SHARP Canon 70-200 f4 L is relatively a steal at about $560.


A better idea is both incredibly fast and incredibly sharp...

http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_g...911932b7333cca

With the 1.4X EX teleconverter, it's the same speed as the Canon at 280mm.
And if the 1 stop difference between the Sigma and the Canon isn't a big
deal, the Sigma will go to 400mm. The Sigma is better built too.


 
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