DSLR filter: Help me pick my first non-kit lens!
June 5, 2012 2:46 PM Subscribe
Several years ago, I purchased a Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D) with the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm). I've gotten a bit better since the early days, and I have a good eye, but I'm still not well-versed in the really technical stuff. In any case, I'll be taking a trip to Scotland later this year, and I'd really like to use my first overseas trip in over ten years as an excuse to upgrade my lens to something nicer. Complications: I'm also getting married soon and of course paying for said overseas trip, so my budget is pretty low, at least in terms of lenses—no more than $500, and preferably below $400.
posted by divisjm to Technology (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I tend to take a fairly even mix of macro, portrait, and landscape/architecture shots, so I'm essentially looking for a solid, general-purpose lens upgrade. (I'm usually not shooting action, so that's lower priority.) I'm guessing that all of this means I should only be looking at zoom lenses, but if I'm being an idiot, please feel free to (gently!) let me know.
Note: I'd prefer not to bring the kit lens along with me on my vacation (the less I have to carry with me when I'm walking around all day, the better), so recommendations should be limited to true replacement lenses rather than supplements. I can supplement with niche lenses a few years down the line, when I'm more skilled than I am now.
So far, after some research, the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is at the top of my list. Is this a good choice? Is it wide enough for a decent landscape shot, considering the 350D's sensor? Or is there something else in the same price range that I should consider instead?
The review I've linked suggests that background burring might leave a bit to be desired, so if there's something else in this range that improves in this area without sacrificing elsewhere, I'd be interested to know what it is. (Or, perhaps the reviewer is being picky enough that at my skill level I'll never know the difference. Fine with me!)
Bokeh (foreground and background blur quality) is fine, but the 6-blade aperture is not going to deliver excellence with OOF (out-of-focus) highlights when stopped down. And, creating a diffusely-blurred background is not one of this lens' specialties due to an only moderately wide aperture. At 135mm, the background is magnified/compressed enough to create some blur if the subject is relatively close and/or the background is distant from the subject.
As a side note, before my trip I'll also be getting Custom SLR's C-Loop mount and Glide Strap (comfort ahoy!), and I plan on purchasing the recommended hood for whatever lens I end up with (let's skip the hood vs. UV-filter debate). But, if you have any other off-hand camera/photography travel tips/suggestions you'd like to share, please do!