Good everyday lens for Digital Rebel -- kit lens, 17-40mm f/4L, or...?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike Kozlowski, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. I'm looking at the Digital Rebel (300D), and wondering what would be a
    good versatile-everyday lens for it. I'd want something that go from
    mild wide-angle to mild-telephoto, not too big, not too terribly
    expensive, and the higher the quality (both optically and
    mechanically) the better.

    Obviously the kit lens is one choice, but I have some reservations
    about that (which I'll expand on in a second), so I was also looking
    at the Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens. Does anyone have any experience with
    these two lenses in relation to each other (or particular comments
    about one or the other)? Are there other lenses I should be

    (Also, are there any pages comparing the kit lens to other lenses,
    preferably with images? I haven't seen any...)

    The way I see it, the pros and cons break down like so:

    Kit lens:
    * Very inexpensive ($100 over the bare body)
    * Good zoom range (28-80mm equivalent)
    * Okay optics(?)

    * EF-S mount means that -- unless Canon's current sensor size becomes
    a standard for them, and the EF-S mount with it (which seems
    unlikely to me, particularly since they haven't made any other EF-S
    lenses) -- the lens will be utterly useless if I ever buy a new
    body, which is not terribly unlikely in the digital world.
    * Un-great optics(?)
    * Mechanical cheapness(?)

    17-40mm f/4L lens:
    * Optically very good
    * Mechnically very good (USM drive)
    * EF mount means it's useful on hypothetical future bodies

    * Moderately pricy, at $699
    * Narrower zoom range (27-64mm equivalent)

    So, apart from questions about relative quality, the other important
    factor for me is the likely future of lens mount formats. If
    everything's going to move to EF-S (with EF left as a sort of legacy
    mount), the kit lens looks more attractive. If EF-S is a dead-end, it
    looks less so. And if EF in general is going to be replaced by some
    new, non-compatible format, then both are dead-ends, which makes the
    cheap one more relatively attractive. Any thoughts on the likelihood
    of these futures? How long has the EF format been used?
    Mike Kozlowski, Dec 29, 2003
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  2. [some stuff, big snip]

    Unless sharpness is really the overriding issue with you, I'd go with the
    kit lens. I, for one, wish Canon would make some serious glass in that zoom
    range. If they commit to the APS sensor size, I think they will, but if
    they decide to go full frame with their dSLRs, we may be SOL.

    Oh, and losing $100 on your lens isn't your biggest concern if (when?) your
    $900 camera becomes obsolete.

    ....and you can always pick up the L glass if the lens isn't sharp enough for


    - jz
    Jeff Zawrotny, Dec 29, 2003
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  3. Well, sure. But if I can _avoid_ doing so, I'm all for it. I'm
    basically resigned to losing value on digital stuff in the near-term,
    but I don't like throwing money away that I don't have to throw away.

    If I can spend an extra $500 now, and get a lens that will be both a)
    significantly better than what I would otherwise have gotten, and b)
    useful over a much longer timeframe, that strikes me as not a bad idea
    at all.
    Mike Kozlowski, Dec 29, 2003
  4. Mike Kozlowski

    NJH Guest

    I'm with Jeff: I'd go with the kit lens.

    If you should ever become dissatisfied with that lens you can always sell it
    on eBay, so it won't be $100 "thrown away" in any case.

    The EF-S mount may or may not become obsolete as you are concerned about.
    Canon will presumably make other models using that mount and with that size
    sensor. Anyway, I suppose ALL mounts become more or less obsolete
    eventually, including the most popular ones of their day. (Exakta mount,
    anyone? How about the Praktica-Pentax screw mount and its several

    NJH, Dec 29, 2003
  5. Mike Kozlowski

    Phil Guest

    Go to the dpreview website and the 300D forum there. You will find much
    info on the camera, the kit lens -- and many samples.

    Overall the kit lens seems to be highly regarded; I like mine.

    Not in the same league with L glass, but $700 is not "moderately" pricy
    to me

    Phil, Dec 29, 2003
  6. Mike Kozlowski

    JIM Guest

    Without doubt, the higher $$ L stuff will kick sand in the kit lens.
    However, getting the kit lens for a C note is a no brainer.

    My son has this 'kit' and I am surprised at this lens. Cheap, without a
    doubt, plastic mount, plastic about everywhere - still takes excellent
    photos. True, also, can't use this lens on about anything else, so changing
    bodies/mounts would obsolete it - on-the-other-hand, how much would you lose
    should you change systems later (to the dark side, fer instance) and have to
    unload any "L" $$ glass?

    More importantly, especially if you are moving up from the more digitalis
    (my term for non-slr type digital cameras) type of cameras, Sony 700 series
    comes to mind; the DSLR is going to require much more attention in achieving
    print ready photos. You will find that the digital Rebel produces darker
    photos in about all modes right out of the box - not to worry, the Nikon
    D100 does the same. Don't think you can "dock" this boy up to some stand
    alone printer and get ready made, acceptable prints. Until you understand
    what a somewhat correctly balanced histogram looks like, you will be
    correcting at least brightness/contrast in most anything you take in some
    photo software program before printing it out.

    Another consideration, you might not be aware of: this dslr does not give
    you a preview of the shot on the LCD screen - you have to view the scene
    through the viewfinder. The subsequent LCD preview, once the shot is taken,
    is not a good indicator of what the pic will look like in the computer - the
    histogram, as mentioned, is.

    JIM, Dec 30, 2003
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