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rockwings 05-15-2012 11:04 PM

Beginner zoom lens
 
Just starting to get into photography and using all manual :). Currently I have the 18-55mm kit lens with a canon XSi. I would like a decent telephoto lens that won't break the bank. Please don't say 70-200mm as those are around a grand! Thanks.

Mike Deep 05-15-2012 11:52 PM

Really the only options worth considering are:
  • EF 70-200 f4L USM ($700 new, $500-675 used)
  • EF 70-300 IS USM ($450-600 new, $350 used)
  • EF-S 55-250 IS ($240-300 new, $150-200 used)
  • Sigma 70-300 APO ($210-240 new, $140-150 used)
  • Discontinued EF 70-210 USM ($150-200 used)

Each is a tradeoff:
  • The 70-200 f4L has the best image quality and ring USM, but no IS and is the most expensive.
  • The 70-300 has IS and more reach, but uses micromotor "fake" USM and is expensive.
  • The 55-250 has IS, but no USM.
  • The Sigma 70-300 has neither IS or USM, but ties for the most reach at half the cost of the Canon 70-300.
  • The 70-210 has ring USM and is the cheapest, but has no IS.
For clarity: IS = Image Stabilization. USM = Ultra Sonic Motor (Fast focusing mechanism).

Most importantly, avoid the EF 75-300, it's spectacularly bad.

rockwings 05-16-2012 07:01 AM

Thanks. I was looking at the 55-250. Quiet and fast autofocusing doesn't mean much to me because I will be mainly taking landscape photos.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Deep (Post 2345274)
Really the only options worth considering are:
  • EF 70-200 f4L USM ($700 new, $500-675 used)
  • EF 70-300 IS USM ($450-600 new, $350 used)
  • EF-S 55-250 IS ($240-300 new, $150-200 used)
  • Sigma 70-300 APO ($210-240 new, $140-150 used)
  • Discontinued EF 70-210 USM ($150-200 used)

Each is a tradeoff:
  • The 70-200 f4L has the best image quality and ring USM, but no IS and is the most expensive.
  • The 70-300 has IS and more reach, but uses micromotor "fake" USM and is expensive.
  • The 55-250 has IS, but no USM.
  • The Sigma 70-300 has neither IS or USM, but ties for the most reach at half the cost of the Canon 70-300.
  • The 70-210 has ring USM and is the cheapest, but has no IS.
For clarity: IS = Image Stabilization. USM = Ultra Sonic Motor (Fast focusing mechanism).

Most importantly, avoid the EF 75-300, it's spectacularly bad.


baader 05-16-2012 07:21 AM

If you can find a decent price sigma 70-200 2.8, the old one without stabilizer, itīs gonna be all you want and more.

Non IS 70-200 f4 L is around the same price, but Sigma kills with the 2.8

Kermit 05-16-2012 10:34 AM

I agree, I got to shoot an older Sigma 70-200 a while back and I really liked it.

I personally have a Canon 70-300 f4-f5.6 with IS and USM and I really like it. Quick, sharp, and it has plenty of reach. Only thing is the aperture, but that's why you pay up for the f2.8.

2SIC4U 05-16-2012 10:39 AM

the 55-250 is very good for the money. you can get a like new version for $160 or new for $200. id get that one if i was in your situation.

wolf13 05-16-2012 11:21 AM

not a pro, haven't tried a lot of lenses, but I have a canon EF 70-300 IS USM. So far, I've mostly used it for wildlife and some longe range shooting. its not a bad lens at all, but it has a few things I don't like, and I am now horribly spoiled by my 15-85. Image quality is decent through most of the range, better then the stock 18-55. approaching the 300mm mark, there is a bit more of a drop off in quality, and throughout the range there is a certain softness (starting to play with aperture seeing if that helps). I don't know if its just me, but I wish the manual focus ring was a little larger. besides the image softness, my one big complaint is that this lens likes to hunt and gets confused easily on AF. Usually its no big deal, but it can be a real problem if you are trying to snap fast moving wildlife. I have been using the MF more, and am starting to do pretty decent with it, the biggest issue being more with my eye/viewfinder.

Now that I have said the bad, heres the good. IS is excellent on it, and is a HUGE factor for me. This is a midrange lense, its not L glass, but it also doesn't have the L glass price and you get IS and USM. It does have an extension lock on it, which is good, I wish my other lenses had it. Although I complained about image quality above, its NOT horrible. I have a decent back yard shot I took of a squarril I can count hairs on after I sharpened it up, so yeah it will do the job. Build quality feels pretty solid, its not as flimsey feeling as the 18-55. My feeling is this is a total toss up between this and the 70-200 F4L. The L has the sharper image, weatherproofing and better F, but you give up a little quality top range, some mid quality top range (~250-300mm) and the killer to me, it lacks IS. IIRC, the 70-300 also can not accept the canon extenders. I would still take the 70-300 over the 70-200 non IS, but that is my opinion. I do plan to upgrade in the future (year or two), but it will be to a canon 70-200 F4L IS or a sigma 70-200 F2.8 OS or something else that may come out in that range and I will probably get an extender to go with it then.

I would not go for cheaper glass, I really am learning the differnce between good glass and so-so glass and it didn't take long for little deficiancies to start irritating me. its an investment that will likely outlive your camera body.

Arson24 05-16-2012 02:36 PM

55-250mm works well and you can find for a decent price
its what i use atm for paintball

Mike Deep 05-16-2012 03:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baader (Post 2345474)
If you can find a decent price sigma 70-200 2.8, the old one without stabilizer, itīs gonna be all you want and more.

Not bad advice at all, but a word of caution for the OP: There are many, many versions of the Sigma 70-200/2.8, and the oldest ones may not function on newer bodies.

gremlin75 05-18-2012 10:52 PM

The simga 70-200's are great lenses. Personally I love the newer OS version but that will be a bit out of your price range

The canon 70-300 IS (non-L), Canon 55-250 IS, and Tamron 70-300 VC are all good lenses and won't break the bank.

later
gremlin


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