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Recommend good multi-purpose lens for Canon EOS 400D (new SLR user)?

 
 
4NGs
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      08-01-2008
Hi,

This is my first SLR camera, and I've read that the lens it comes with
may not be the best for what I want to use it for. I do a lot of
walking and I'd like to be able to take v. clear pictures of small
things like flowers and insects. That's my priority, but I'd also like
the lens to be able to take a decent pictures of views (mountains
etc).

In a shop today I was told that something like 18-200 or 18-250 would
be good, because I'd get pictures of small things much better than
those I can currently get from my digital point-and-shoot, but I'm not
likely to have to keep swapping lenses over (risking dirt in the
camera, damage etc).

Money is an issue, but at the same time I'd like to get something
that's likely to last and serve my purposes well.

Any recommendations gratefully received. TIA.

 
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Jürgen Exner
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      08-01-2008
4NGs <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>This is my first SLR camera, and I've read that the lens it comes with
>may not be the best for what I want to use it for.


Mabye. Apparently you already have that "lens that comes with it". Why
don't you just give it a try? It may not be the best possible lens but
considering that you are new to SLR cameras it likely outperforms your
current expectations nevertheless. Once you have more experience and
know better where the shortcomings of that lens are _for_you(!)_ then
you will have a much better idea what to get as a second or third lens.

>I do a lot of
>walking and I'd like to be able to take v. clear pictures of small
>things like flowers and insects. That's my priority,


Ok, macro photography is indeed an area where those kit lenses don't
excell. You probably want to get a dedicated macro lens right away.
Macro lenses are optimized for high reproduction ratios of 1:1 or 1:2
and kit lenses just don't go there.

>but I'd also like
>the lens to be able to take a decent pictures of views (mountains
>etc).


Any standard lens should be able to give you that.

>In a shop today I was told that something like 18-200 or 18-250 would
>be good,


No. A long focal lenght doesn't necessarily translate into macro. There
are a few macro lenses with a long focal length, but shorter focal
lengths of somewhere between 30 and 100mm are much more common. And more
affordable!

Another problem is the large zoom factor or 11x or even 14x of such a
lens. Zoom lenses are always a compromise of convenience over picture
quality. Lenses with a small zoom factor are resonably easy to design
and picture quality can be quite good. But a 11x or 14x zoom factor is
pushing the limit very much. With today's technology it is just not
possible to get good picture quality at all focal lengths and all
appertures for such a large zoom range.

>because I'd get pictures of small things much better than
>those I can currently get from my digital point-and-shoot, but I'm not


Well, that should be a no-brainer with any dedicated macro lens.

>likely to have to keep swapping lenses over (risking dirt in the
>camera, damage etc).


If you are afraid of that then a SLR is the wrong camera for you. Being
able to swap lenses and use the best lens for a given job is the main
reason for a SLR.

jue
 
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Robert Coe
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      08-02-2008
On Fri, 01 Aug 2008 16:29:00 -0600, "Russell D." <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: 4NGs wrote:
: > Hi,
: >
: > This is my first SLR camera, and I've read that the lens it comes with
: > may not be the best for what I want to use it for. I do a lot of
: > walking and I'd like to be able to take v. clear pictures of small
: > things like flowers and insects. That's my priority, but I'd also like
: > the lens to be able to take a decent pictures of views (mountains
: > etc).
: >
: > In a shop today I was told that something like 18-200 or 18-250 would
: > be good, because I'd get pictures of small things much better than
: > those I can currently get from my digital point-and-shoot, but I'm not
: > likely to have to keep swapping lenses over (risking dirt in the
: > camera, damage etc).
: >
: > Money is an issue, but at the same time I'd like to get something
: > that's likely to last and serve my purposes well.
: >
: > Any recommendations gratefully received. TIA.
: >
:
: I had the same dilemma as you when I recently purchased my 40D. I had
: the read that the kit lenses were OK but not great. After a lot of
: research I decided on the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Macro. It does very
: well, the things that you mention. It is a true Macro. I've had it about
: 2 months and so far I have been very happy with it.

My wife has a 400D, and her favorite lens is the Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro. It
wasn't too expensive (under $500, IIRC), and she's gotten some very nice
pictures with it.

Bob
 
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Paul Furman
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      08-03-2008
Russell D. wrote:
> 4NGs wrote:
>>
>> This is my first SLR camera, and I've read that the lens it comes with
>> may not be the best for what I want to use it for. I do a lot of
>> walking and I'd like to be able to take v. clear pictures of small
>> things like flowers and insects. That's my priority, but I'd also like
>> the lens to be able to take a decent pictures of views (mountains
>> etc).
>>
>> In a shop today I was told that something like 18-200 or 18-250 would
>> be good, because I'd get pictures of small things much better than
>> those I can currently get from my digital point-and-shoot, but I'm not
>> likely to have to keep swapping lenses over (risking dirt in the
>> camera, damage etc).
>>
>> Money is an issue, but at the same time I'd like to get something
>> that's likely to last and serve my purposes well.

>
> I had the same dilemma as you when I recently purchased my 40D. I had
> the read that the kit lenses were OK but not great. After a lot of
> research I decided on the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Macro. It does very
> well, the things that you mention. It is a true Macro. I've had it about
> 2 months and so far I have been very happy with it.


That's probably a good suggestion. Choosing a lens always involves
trade-offs, I don't recommend a lens that does everything like an 18-200
which will probably perform more poorly in most measurable factors.This
lens makes reasonable compromises like not trying to zoom too long & not
trying to achieve extreme macro. It is a fast f/2.8 at wide angle for
indoor candids without ugly flash, or sunsets, brighter viewfinder,
faster focusing, etc. It seems to perform quite well:
http://www.photodo.com/topic_65.html
-look up the kit lens there & compare.


--
Paul Furman
www.edgehill.net
www.baynatives.com

all google groups messages filtered due to spam
 
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jmeehan@columbus.rr.com
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      08-04-2008
On Aug 1, 8:36*pm, "Jake" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "Russell D." <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>

...

>
> Are you sure it's a true macro. *I make it a 1:2.3, whereas a true macro is
> 1:1.


While the term "Macro" does have a specific meaning, few people
know what it really is. In the world of digital photography it is
beginning to loose it's meaning. Over the years I have done true
macro with cameras from 20"X24" inch to 35 mm film cameras. I don't
think we are going to win the fight to use it term only in the correct
sense. It still has a meaning, but for most people that meaning is
more like (takes photos of very small objects).
 
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jmeehan@columbus.rr.com
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      08-04-2008
On Aug 1, 5:04*pm, 4NGs <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> This is my first SLR camera, and I've read that the lens it comes with
> may not be the best for what I want to use it for. I do a lot of
> walking and I'd like to be able to take v. clear pictures of small
> things like flowers and insects. That's my priority, but I'd also like
> the lens to be able to take a decent pictures of views (mountains
> etc).
>



I suggest you start with the kit lens. Frankly I would ignore
those reports about the kit lens quality. Most kit lenses are very
good quality. They may not be as high as the best of the line, but
they really are very good and most often they are very good values.
Many of those people who dislike them base a large part of their
dislike on how the lens feels. That is all well and good, but should
not the results of the lens be the important factor?

Most kit lenses are great for everything you are talking about.
Even if you decide that this or for this or that kind of photography
you may want a different lens, then you can chose a lens that will
handle those needs better, but I suspect you will keep your kit lens.
I have a number of lenses, but for most of my work, I use the kit
lens.

One more thing. Don't get suckered into the line that you need a
telephoto lens for those mountain photos. You don't chose a lens for
the distance, in fact usually the best photos of mountains are made
with wide angle. That was true when I was using an 8"X10" camera and
today with a digital SLR.
 
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