Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What type of lens should I settle on for my DSLR?
April 26, 2007 8:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be purchasing a DSLR camera, and am looking for some input on which lens(es) to purchase.

The camera I've decided on is the Canon Digital Rebel XTi. I want to get a good quality lens, but am still quite amateur so I don't plan on spending a huge amount of money on expensive lenses. I also have more learning to do before I start dropping cash on glass.

I am going to be doing a wide range of general, day-to-day photography, such as NYC street photos, buildings, and people. I also want to do a good amount of night shooting.

I originally was drawn towards the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM because it's a good, fast lens that will work especially well in low-light and indoor shots. It seems like a good general purpose lens, but I am concerned about getting caught in a situation where I'd like to snap an acceptable landscape or quasi-distant shot, and wouldn't be able to (such as vacation scenery, or shooting down on the street from a window). Given this concern, would it be more beneficial to get a cheap prime lens like the EF 50mm f/1.8 II, and then putting the real cash towards an entry level zoom, perhaps with an image stabilizer? Or should I go with the 50mm f/1.4?

So, what do you photographers think? An experiences with the lenses I've mentioned? Any suggestions for things I haven't thought of? Am I too neurotic/uneducated about the capabilities of a general purpose prime lens.
posted by tomorama to Media & Arts (45 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I walk around with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 prime all of the time, and love it. I've taken many of my favorite pictures with it.

I would wait a while before buying more than the lens that comes with the body. Wait to see what kind of pictures you cannot currently take that a new lens would permit you to take.
posted by popechunk at 8:24 PM on April 26, 2007


Canon should have an 28mm lens at f/1.8 or 2.8. Get one of those. Use it for a few weeks. If you need more light, pick up a Sigma 30mm 1.4. A 30 or 35mm prime would be a fine starting place too.

50mm lenses are nice, but they are moderately telephoto. As such, they aren't much good indoors.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:26 PM on April 26, 2007


if you must have a 50mm, start with the inexpensive 1.8. If you like the focal length, step up to the 1.4, otherwise go wider. You may also want a Tokina 12-24 zoom (shockingly better than many prims, though not as fast).
posted by b1tr0t at 8:27 PM on April 26, 2007


Also, you need a tripod for those night shots. Get a decent but cheap one first. The expensive ones are for people who own $5000 telephoto primes.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:28 PM on April 26, 2007


The Sigma f1.8s (20mm and 30mm) are just fine, and cheap. The 50mm f1.8 is a good starting point. Don't bother with tripods or flashes yet, until you know what you want (light vs. sturdy, etc.) - or that you'll even use them as much as you want.

Wait until you say "damn, I wish I had X" a few times before you buy X. And skip the zooms. :)

The f1.4 isn't worth the $220 over the f1.8 for the Canon 50mm, though it certainly is a nicely-built lens.
posted by kcm at 8:38 PM on April 26, 2007


I went through this myself just a few months ago.

For me, the trick was to find a friend who already owned several lenses. I stood in his house, trying each lens out one by one (just looking through it - not really shooting any pictures) to get a sense of the kind of pictures I wanted to take, and the lenses I liked best.

You could do this yourself at a higher-end camera shop or even rent a camera and a few different lenses for a weekend to try them out.

For me, the seeing with my own eyes was what helped me to make my decision. I ended up with a 50mm 1.4 and a 100mm 2.8, because the types of pictures I want to take end up being more closeups/macros/portraits. YMMV.

And with all due respect to b1tr0t, I shoot indoors with my 50 all the time. Yes, they are moderately telephoto. If you're used to a point and shoot, they'll seem *very* telephoto for the first few weeks. But I learned that I actually love that feature - so it's always up to you, and what feels/looks right to you.

Good luck and enjoy!
posted by twiki at 8:44 PM on April 26, 2007


I love my Nikon 50mm f/1.8. Much better than the bundled lens. Never needed the extra stops and glad I didn't splash on the f/1.4.
posted by TrashyRambo at 8:52 PM on April 26, 2007


Though I am in the Nikon world, I will say that the 1.8 is plenty fast. I can't imagine needing a 1.4. I like to shoot with my 50mm 1.8 a lot, and I use a reversing ring to do macro with it. Lonefrontranger turned me on to the joys of the 50mm prime lens. I do shoot with it "wide open" quite a bit, but that's more for DOF rather than low light. I know nothing about the Canon zoom lenses, but I would definitely get a kit lens with this. It's a way to get a lens at a deeper discount than you'll ever get. I bought my Nikon with the 18-55 mm kit lens and couldn't be happier. For other Nikon users I added the 70-300mm "G" lens which is quite sharp as well. Between whatever kit lens you get, and the 50mm 1.8 (which was around 110 bucks for the Nikon USA version) you'll be set to start, and you can decide what you want from your shooting style from there.
posted by Eekacat at 8:55 PM on April 26, 2007


Get the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I have it and think it's a great standard zoom. Very useable at f/2.8 (cheaper zoom lenses often need to have their aperture stopped down to give you sharp pics) and a very nice range if it's going to be your only lens for a while.

My pics on Flickr taken with that Tamron: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alidarbac/tags/tamron1750mm28/

I would definitely advise getting the Tamron over the Canon 17-85IS, as I've heard quite a few negative things about the image quality about that lens. Moreover, even though the 17-85IS has image stabilization, its aperture is so much darker that the Tamron could shoot in just as low light.

I would definitely not want a 50mm prime as my only lens with the XTi; it'd be great for portraits, but it's far too long for landscapes and a lot of other general photography.

The 50mm f/1.8 is cheap enough that you could throw it in as well, I guess, but if I've found that my Tamron is good enough at f/2.8 that I often just leave the 50 f/1.8 at home. I'd save your money for the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, which is a really special lens.
posted by alidarbac at 9:04 PM on April 26, 2007


Some Sigma 30mm f/1.4 photos. (as well as other fast sigmas)
posted by b1tr0t at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2007


Dumb question: when buying a third party lens for a Canon body, is there any effect on the body's autofocus features?
posted by tomorama at 9:13 PM on April 26, 2007


50mm on a digital with an APS size sensor is about 80mm once you take the multiplier (1.6 on the Rebel 400) into account.

80mm effective is pretty long for regular shooting, but good for classical portraiture.

I shoot a lot with a 30d, and the fastest lenses I have are 2.8 - the 16-35mm USM and the 70-200mm USM/IS.

I kinda wish they were faster, but since I shoot sports and candid/photojournalism style, I need the flexibility of the zooms. And I really need another body so I can have both lenses mounted and available at the same time.

On the short end, I sometimes with I had something even wider than the 16mm (25.6mm effective) and on the long end, I wish for longer glass than the 320mm effective.

With the 16-35mm, I find myself shooting mostly around 28mm, or around 45mm effective. If I'm shooting portraiture, I'll be on the long glass and about 12-15 feet away from the subject.

As others have said, get one of the kits and a cheap 1.8 50mm and you'll be on your way to figuring out what style (and therefore glass) you are going to pursue.
posted by tomierna at 9:15 PM on April 26, 2007


Dumb question: when buying a third party lens for a Canon body, is there any effect on the body's autofocus features?

Anything designed for the EF mount should autofocus on it.

BTW, don't get the Sigma 30 first. Get some cheap lenses to learn with, then get the Sigma when you know you need it. Also, read up on the Flickr Sigma forum - most sigmas are good, but people do get bad examples from time to time that need to be returned.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:18 PM on April 26, 2007


My opinion, stick with a decent zoom lens until you figure out what your personal style is; i.e. whether you prefer wide angle, telephoto, or something in the middle. There's nothing wrong with a decent 18-120mm or whatever, and you'll develop a sense of preference over time. Plus it'll have that flexibility to be with you at all times. You won't get the shot with the lens you left at home.
posted by knave at 9:22 PM on April 26, 2007


A 50 mm lense will give you a natural perspective with a single lense reflex. However, a digital sensor will make the lense slightly telephoto, so you want somewhere between 28-35 to get the same natural perspective. Look up "natural perspective" on wikipedia.

If you are only planning on taking portraits, you might like the effect a 50mm lense will give you. It softens facial features by making things like noses appear less prominent. However, for an all-around DSLR lense I would recommend a 28mm.
posted by xammerboy at 9:41 PM on April 26, 2007


Thanks for all the helpful advice so far. I feel a bit overwhelmed, because between this thread, other places I've asked this question, and a lot of Google searches, I'm getting a wide variety of often contradicting viewpoints.

I've had a lot of people recommend not even thinking about the kit lens (an 18-55mm), saying it's cheap and worthless. Others have said I should go for the kit lens and experiment with it. Should I go for the kit lens, perhaps also pick up the 50mm f/1.8 for a mere $70, and mess around for a while before buying any kind of lens that's more expensive?

Is the kit lens with the rebel xti really that terrible, or is the the negativity of it's feedback simply a reflection of it being unsuited for professional work?
posted by tomorama at 10:08 PM on April 26, 2007


Almost everything is wrong with kit lenses. They amount to cheap and almost unusable pieces of plastic. Indoors, you'll be forced to use the dinky, built-in flash. Outdoors, you'll be far more limited in your choice of shutter speeds.

Honestly, my heart bleeds every time I see someone using a crap zoom lens on an otherwise beautiful camera.

The recommendations for 50mm prime lenses are spot on. But you might want to spend a bit more for a 35mm lens as xammerboy suggests. It'll turn into a 50mm "standard" lens on your camera because the digital sensor is a bit smaller than standard 35mm film.

I the Nikon 35mm/2.8 on my D50 and am quite happy with it.
posted by aladfar at 10:38 PM on April 26, 2007


^^^ Prime example of purist camera-gearhead BS.

My Nikon 18-70mm zoom (D70 kit lens) and the new 18-135mm zoom (D80 kit lens) are fantastic bang for the buck. You can get into specialist gear later, for now you want versatility. And I have absolutely no problem indoors without a flash, that's what ISO gain is for.
posted by knave at 11:07 PM on April 26, 2007


I can't speak for Canon lenses, but my 18-55 Nikon is a really nice lens. Certainly not a "crap zoom". Yeah, it's made out of plastic, but I'm not a professional photographer that beats the shit out of my equipment. There's very little distortion at all on mine with my D80, and for most of these lenses it's easily corrected with software. For the price you can't go wrong. The kit lens is an inexpensive lens, but it's still a Canon brand lens at a deep discount. If you hate it, sell it on ebay, you'll get your money back.

Honestly, my heart bleeds every time I see some one badmouth a kit lens because they think they are shit.

Ultimately photography is about more than your equipment. If you're into photographing brick walls and measuring distortion, then by all means get yourself a pile of prime lenses. Get the kit lens and the 50mm, and spend your time working on composition, finding color, and having fun. The 50mm will force you to compose, and the 18-55 will allow you to cheat. Bottom line is to get out and shoot a million photos.
posted by Eekacat at 11:18 PM on April 26, 2007


Should I go for the kit lens, perhaps also pick up the 50mm f/1.8 for a mere $70, and mess around for a while before buying any kind of lens that's more expensive?

The problem with the kit lens is that you're going to have to lug around a tripod for eight hours of the day. More if your shooting style tends to linger in the evening hours. Yes, you can bump your ISO, but there's only so much of a ceiling there, and then you'll find yourself scouring the internet for meditation techniques so you can hand hold longer and longer film speeds (which will all fail hopelessly, by the way). You're not just paying for extra glass, you're paying for more options. And if you've only got enough to blow on a lens or two at most, you're going to be trying to make those lenses perform under every possible scenario imaginable. Options will be nice to have.

What you absolutely don't want is a Jack-of-all-Trades, Master-of-None lens that you'll feel the need to lug around but won't actually ever use. In my experience, travel wide-zoom lenses fall into this realm. These are lenses that are cheap, so you don't mind if they get stolen, have mediocre ranges (just barely wide and just barely telephoto), and terrible apertures (so they're lightweight).

Here's the biggest problem with middle-of-the-range zoom's: people tend to think that about 3/4ths of their shots will fall into the 28-85mm range, and that maybe 4/5ths of their shots will fall in the 24-105mm range. So they go get zooms in those ranges thinking that will make them happy. They do this before they ever really look at their shooting style.

There are programs out there that will analyze your entire photo collection for lens usage and chart the statistics of what focal length and aperture you tend to shoot at. When you use programs like this, a couple of things become immediately obvious: first off, probably nearly half your shots will be at full aperture. Second, and more importantly, is that the natural distribution of your images will probably resemble a big 'U', perhaps more top- or bottom-heavy if you like shooting more wide or more tele.

What does that mean? It means you need to find out if you're more wide or more tele. It means that the 3/4ths or 4/5ths rule mentioned above is full of nonsense. If you tend to shoot wide, you'd be much better served by getting a proper wide zoom, say a slightly used 17-55mm f/2.8 or a 17-40 f/4, for example. If you tend to shoot tele, 70-200mm f/2.8's are probably out of your reach, but the f/4's are about $550 (Ultrasonics, L-glass to boot).

50mm's are highly overrated, if you ask me. The reason people love them is that it's pretty easy to find cheap, fast glass in that focal length. But it's just as easy to find 35mm f/2 in the same price range, and that's a more genuine "street shooter" perspective on a digital body.

Anyway, to make a long story short: please don't get the kit lens, not unless you've actually looked at your pictures and find that you really enjoy shooting in the ~50mm range. Use that program I linked to above to get some hard stats before shelling out hard-earned dough.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:30 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have the 17-40mm f4L, and the 50mm f1.8 (as well as the Sigma 30mm f1.8). I recommended the latter two because that's what I use 80% of the time - in fact, I just sold a 70-200mm f4L since I used it very little.

Zooms aren't everyman egalitarian lenses you can use to stick to to the purist Man, they're kind of just crap (like C_D said). My advice came from 10 or 15 years of shooting off and on, so take it as you will. I've found a lot of folks tend to start with zooms, then try for $$$ zooms thinking those will solve the accepted problems with cheaper ones, then move to primes. I think that's where the "purist" label may come from.. old folks yammering about how it's the only way to go. And with good reason. :)
posted by kcm at 11:36 PM on April 26, 2007


The best advice in this thread is: Rent lenses a bunch.

My suggestion would be get the cheap $99 50mm f/1.8 (almost as good as the 1.4 at 1/3 the price), and use that while you figure out what more you want from a lens. Then rent some lenses that you think appeal to you and try them out for a weekend.

Renting is totally where it's at.
posted by aubilenon at 12:18 AM on April 27, 2007


I have the 50mm 1.4 EF lens and it is the best single purchase decision I've made for my camera. My friends all have the 1.8 and they all really wish they had the 50.

No I'm no camera expert, but I think the 50 actually gives you natural perspective, but with a crop. If you go down to the 20s and 30s you'll find that there are no straight lines in your pics.

Anyway, I generally shoot somewhat close shots with my 50 and indoors I keep it wide open at 1.4. I like the effect quite a bit.

I used it as my only lens for more than two years, 5000 shots and I could feel the pics I couldn't take but i never ran out of pics that I could take.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/monns/122214551/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monns/34245619/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monns/155657475/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monns/10869944/
posted by n9 at 5:36 AM on April 27, 2007


The problem with the kit lens is that you're going to have to lug around a tripod for eight hours of the day.

What? You'll only need a tripod when the sun is almost gone. Unless you're jumping right to professional, bumping up the ISO is fine... it doesn't really get bad until 800. It's there to be tinkered with. Sometimes grain actually adds to the photo, too. I have the 35mm and 50mm and would probably recommend th 35mm if you avoid the kit, but, really, it's not that bad for a $100 lens. (Since you mention you'll be shooting buildings you'll want something wide angle, and the kit goes to 18mm).
posted by starman at 5:46 AM on April 27, 2007


I absolutely love my 50mm f/1.4, which is the one you said you were looking in to getting. It's a really, really fantastic lens. I asked an almost-identical question here before purchasing, and you might like to read through the answers that helped get me started.

I also got a wide-angle zoom, too, though. I haven't used the kit lens that was included, but if I hadn't bought another zoom, I probably would keep that one in my bag as well.

You are right that there will be situations that the prime simply isn't good for - but, that's simply the tradeoff you make. There will be no all-purpose lens, and looking for one is a waste of time.
posted by odinsdream at 6:28 AM on April 27, 2007


The 50 f/1.8 is so cheap I don't see why everyone doesn't own one. If you have the cash to splurge on the 1.4 do it, since the build is much nicer, the focusing better, etc, but otherwise the 1.8 will do you fine.

The next lens I bought was the Canon 17-40mm f/4 L, which i've been using as a walk around lens. It's nice well built lens. Kind of pricey perhaps, though not so bad for an L lens. (See this ask.mefi thread.)

The Sigma 30mm is well regarded, but a lot of them have issues and need to be sent off to be fixed. The Canon 28mm prime might be a good alternative. I think primes are the way to go, and that you should get a nice prime lens before anything else.

Also, don't buy the kit lens it's a waste of money.
posted by chunking express at 6:38 AM on April 27, 2007


I have the 50 /1.4 and it is a very nice lens, but it is hard to beat the "nifty fifty" for value; if you are on a budget I would go for that and put the savings toward a zoom. For street photography you will want to be able to change your focal length quickly. My favorite zoom is the 24-105L, but for your purposes and budget the EF-S 17-55 /2.8 might be a good choice; it is pricey but is often compared to L lenses in terms of build quality and optics; it could very easily outlast your camera. There a a lot of other choices out there, though.
posted by TedW at 6:41 AM on April 27, 2007


Also, people comparing the Nikon kit lens to the Canon one are comparing apples and really crappy apples.
posted by chunking express at 6:43 AM on April 27, 2007


You don't want to spend a lot of money, but you're going to drop $300 (or whatever it costs) on the 50/1.4 instead of getting the near identical (for your amateur purposes) 50/1.8 for $70?

If you really want to spend a couple of hundred on a prime, get the 28mm because of the crop factor on a DSLR. My advice is to just buy the extremely cheap kit lens and see what you like or need (do you need something longer? do you always use the 18mm end? do you hover around 50mm?) then buy a lens. No one can tell you what lens to buy because it depends on what you're going to be shooting and how you frame things, which are things only you can figure out for yourself.
posted by bradbane at 6:49 AM on April 27, 2007


If you've already chosen a camera, you're asking the question in the wrong order. The important part of photography IS the lens - any prosumer digital SLR these days will do pretty much anything you need it to, and let's face it, it will be obsolete in two years anyways - so find the lens that suits you and then get the camera that it fits on.

If you want a flexible lens that will cover 99% of everything you'll need at your level of experience, you may want to look into the Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. It has a massive zoom range, but with just about none of the negative side effects similar lenses have had in the past - you'll see a little pincushioning at the extremes, but it's minor, very well-behaved and easily correctable in during post-processing. The VR technology also means that you won't need a tripod for most of what you would have previously, even in night shots. This lens will run you about $850.

If that lens strikes your fancy, I'd recommend the Nikon D40X as a camera. Or the D200 if money is not a problem.
posted by chundo at 7:21 AM on April 27, 2007


The important part of photography IS the lens.

This is quite true, but you really should choose a body you are comfortable using. Nikon and Canon both make excellent lens. It's quite likely any Nikon lens you want to buy has an equivalent Canon version. Sigma, Tamron, etc, all make lenses for both types of bodies. Picking lens then picking a body seems backwards.
posted by chunking express at 7:29 AM on April 27, 2007


You don't want to spend a lot of money, but you're going to drop $300 (or whatever it costs) on the 50/1.4 instead of getting the near identical (for your amateur purposes) 50/1.8 for $70?

Point taken. I have been thinking about that since last night, and I've decided to get the 50/1.8 instead of the 50/1.4.

One big reason I was drawn to the 1.4 is that it has a full time manual focus, while the 1.8 requires switching between auto and manual.

I know this: I do take a lot of portrait shots, and I like all of the work I've seen done with prime lenses on Flickr. I also know I want something fast. Given this, the 50/1.8 makes sense, especially since it's the right price.

Now I am just contemplating if/what I should get to complement it. I need to decide if I want to spend a lot of money now, or put the money aside, and be patient. All of the lenses that have been suggested look great. I'm checking out the details on all of them, but at this point, I am not ready to spend $600-$800 on a lens. I think if I let the money sit, and save up a bit more, I'll be able to spend a good amount of time thinking about all these suggestions while experimenting, and then make a solid decision.

Civil_Disobedient: thanks for the link to that software. It looks great. I intend to run my entire collection through it and see what it tells me about my habits.
posted by tomorama at 7:53 AM on April 27, 2007


chunking express -

True - I didn't mean to imply that Nikon makes better lenses than Canon in general. They both make fine lenses; for the most part their lines are in parity (the only reason Canon has the highly-visible sports market is because in the 80's/90's Nikon's auto-focus was too slow for fast action photography, which has since been remedied). In this case I am recommending Nikon because I am not aware of a Canon equivalent to the 18-200mm lens, which I think is just about the most amazingly flexible general purpose lens to be produced in the last several decades. Is there a comparable Canon lens out there?

As far as the Sigma / Tamron lenses, I personally would stick with the major brands (Nikon, Canon, etc), but that's partly personal preference - they just feel more solid to me and I'm more confident in their decades of experience making optics.
posted by chundo at 8:01 AM on April 27, 2007


chunking express: The Canon 17-40mm f/4 L looks like a really nice option, and J&R has it at a great price. I may start saving for this.
posted by tomorama at 8:04 AM on April 27, 2007


I have spent the last few weeks considering very similar options, and eventually decided to get a standard zoom so I can try to figure out which prime would best suit me in the future. I'm pleased that I did this, as already my thoughts on which prime(s) would suit me have begun to change.

Rather than get the kit lens I decided to spend a bit more money and went for the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (as mentioned above by alidarbac).

FWIW I am very happy with it. It seems a good compromise that gives you very sharp pictures, can shoot in fairly low light conditions and still gives you some flexibility to zoom a bit to help you catch the shots that you want. It is a bit louder than other lenses while focusing and doesn't have Image Stabilization, but, otherwise it is excellent value. If money was no object then I would have got the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, but it is a very pricey lens and that extra money could go towards any number of other lenses.

What swayed me was that even if/when I end up buying other lenses (be they prime or zoom) I'm fairly sure that I will still have a use for the Tamron, whereas I didn't feel the same about the kit lenses.

I have a whole bunch of pages relating to the Tamron (and other lenses) bookmarked from my trawling online which I can email to you if you think they would help.
posted by urban greeting at 8:07 AM on April 27, 2007


I really like the 17-40mm f/4 L. (You should try and track it down used if you can. I think it's pretty safe to buy most camera gear used, especially rugged L lenses.) These are all my photos with that lens that I have posted to Flickr. That said, it is really probably meant for landscapes. Using it up close and wide open can give you a fair amount of distortion at times. (This is going to be true of most wide angle lenses really.)

Chundo you might be right about the lack of a ultrawide to telephoto zoom lens for Canon, but I still don't think it's enough of a reason to pick up a Nikon if you are happy with the way Canons feel. Nikon make very nice cameras. I think there is a fair amount of parity between all the prosumer level cameras right now.
posted by chunking express at 8:25 AM on April 27, 2007


Derailing my own topic:

Looking at the timeline of canon DSLR cameras, it would appear that Canon is poised to release an update to the 400D any day now. Worth waiting for?
posted by tomorama at 8:54 AM on April 27, 2007


What I did with my Rebel XT:

* Bought the body with the kit 18-55 zoom.
*Decided I needed a longer zoom because a lot of my photos were pictures of my dog at the park, so I ended up with the 70-200 f4L.
* Quickly realized how much nicer shots looked with the new lens, decided my problem wasn't just technique.
* Replaced the kit lens with a tamron 17-50 f2.8. Confirmed that the kit lens wasn't "good enough" for now. The tamron is sharper and I love that I can shoot in lower light and have a shallower depth of field. I also picked up an external flash, which has helped indoor shots a lot.

I think the kit lens isn't a bad way to figure out what's important to you, but if you are at all serious, you'll probably end up replacing it.

Personally, I'm not very interested in IS, except with long lenses. Indoors the limiting factor is often the movement of the subject. Being able to use a 2stop slower shutter speed isn't an asset.
posted by Good Brain at 9:06 AM on April 27, 2007


Tomorama, look at that time line again, it's probably 9 months before they announce a 400D successor. It looks like they release a new one every 18 months.
posted by Good Brain at 9:09 AM on April 27, 2007


Good Points, Good Brain. I think may save for the EF 17-40mm f/4L or Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8, pick up the 50mm f/1.8 now, and get the kit lens since it's monetarily insignificant.

Also, thanks for correcting my math.
posted by tomorama at 9:22 AM on April 27, 2007


The important part of photography IS the lens.

Um, no.

However the lens is certainly more important than the camera body, though that is less true now than it was in film days.

Ken Rockwell's site is a good source of information on technology comparisons. His canon reviews are not as extensive as his nikon ones but you could do a lot worse than to peruse what he has to say.
posted by phearlez at 3:24 PM on April 27, 2007


I own a (Nikon) 50mm f/1.4. If I were going to spend that money again, I'd get something wider, even though it would have a smaller maximum aperture. It's easy to "zoom in" a bit by cropping, but to "zoom out" you need to take a step backwards, which isn't always possible (walls, crowds). It's pretty rare that I need the maximum aperture. Most of my pictures in dimly lit areas end up being in the f/2-f/3 range.

That lens is on my camera most of the time I'm shooting indoors at night. The rest of the time I'm shooting with the 18-200mm VR lens chundo mentioned above. I've sold off all of my other lenses.
posted by aneel at 5:51 PM on April 27, 2007


Ken Rockwell's site is a good source of information on technology comparisons.

Ken Rockwell's site is a good source of entertainment on technology comparisons. Ken is full of interesting opinions, but his site is the last place you should go for information.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:13 PM on April 27, 2007


phearlez -

Obviously the photographer is the most important element of the equation. But the fact that equipment is a minor component of great photography does not mean that the equipment has no impact on the result. You don't see Ken Rockwell shooting with a $100 camera.
posted by chundo at 7:57 AM on April 28, 2007


The Canon 17-40mm f/4 L looks like a really nice option, and J&R has it at a great price. I may start saving for this.

You must have missed the part where I linked to that lens in my comment. That site is to an excellent source of slightly-used equipment. That link in particular was to a slightly-used 17-40 f/4 that will save you a couple of hundred bucks. They get new stuff in every day, and their rating system is very fair. They're pretty-much the best (commercial) source for reliable second-hand equipment, and their brand-spankin'-new stuff is competitive with Adorama and the like.

I don't work there, BTW, just a happy customer.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:07 PM on April 28, 2007


« Older I'm looking for a cheap device...   |  Hotels near Union Square in Sa... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.