What's a good normal lens for a Canon Rebel T4i?
February 26, 2013 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm used to working with a Nikon film camera and a 50mm f/1.8 lens. What normal or close to normal lens would you recommend for a camera with a 1.6x crop factor like the Canon Rebel T4i? The kit lens is an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, which works, but I miss being able to take photos in low light without a flash.
posted by topoisomerase to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't want to make a big investment, start with the 50mm f/1.8 II, which is only around $100. (The linked article says it's "Canon's biggest secret," but with about 2,500 Amazon reviews, I think the secret's out.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 2:06 PM on February 26, 2013

I have the Canon 35mm F/2 lens. I found this easier to use than the nifty 50 with a crop factor.
posted by xmts at 2:08 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

35mm just a tad longer than you're used to (you can just multiply the numbers together: 35 x 1.6 say it's roughly equivalent to 56mm lens on a full frame camera). There's a f/2 (half a stop slower) for $320 and an f/1.4 (half a stop faster) for $1400.

Personally I loved the $400 50mm f/1.4 when I had a 1.6x DSLRs - but I tend to favor tight crops and fiddly little details more than most people.

The 50mm f/1.8 is cheap and light but it's not very durable, and it's pretty bad for manual focus. It's probably the best lens you can get for so little money, but if you can afford to spring for the 1.4 (or that 35mm lens), I would recommend doing so.
posted by aubilenon at 2:22 PM on February 26, 2013

Best answer: A 50mm on a T4i is more like 80mm on a 35mm camera. I use my 50/1.8 all the time though.

I have the canon 28mm/1.8 lens and I like it just fine. It's not cheap though (500ish)
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:27 PM on February 26, 2013

By the way, the IS on modern canon lenses is *superb* and you can take hand held photos at several stops slower speed than you'd think. Of course, this only applies if your subject doesn't move, but if you are used to the requirement of having like a 1/50th or so shutter speed to get a sharp pic, that's no longer true. I've gotten quite good pictures at 1/4 of a sec.
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:29 PM on February 26, 2013

I have a pile of lenses but really only use a Sigma 30m f1.4 on my Rebel. 30mm on a crop sensor is almost exactly the same as 50mm on a full frame and f1.4 is a full f-stop faster than the 1.8 lens you've been using...
posted by foodgeek at 2:47 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

seconding the sigma 30/1.4 ex for canon. looks like its around $300 online. f/1.4 is great, and i love mine. The hsm focusing is pretty nice too.

I haven't used it, but ive heard decent things about the canon 40mm/2.8. But its going to be a lot slower lens due to the f/2.8.
posted by TheAdamist at 2:58 PM on February 26, 2013

The Sigma 30 is an easy choice.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:38 PM on February 26, 2013

I was looking at the 30mm sigma, and a friend picked one up for super cheap on craigslist($200~ ish). i've been completely blown away by the photos he's taken with it, and the actual build quality of the lens itself is solid too.

when the weather gets nicer it's one of the first things i'm picking up. the price-performance on it just can't be beat compared to the canon lenses, and i'd argue it's probably better quality than the super chintzy feeling 35/2.0 and 28/2.8, whereas the 28/1.8 is in another price bracket entirely from what you probably want to spend...

i'd avoid the 40mm/2.8 as well for the same reason i'd avoid the 50: too narrow. if anything you're going to be wishing you had something wider than 30 after a while.
posted by emptythought at 3:41 PM on February 26, 2013

Nthing the Sigma 30. I used one almost exclusively back before I got into all of the full frame and L glass goodness.
posted by hamandcheese at 4:46 PM on February 26, 2013

Back when I shot crop Canon, the Sigma 30 1.4 was my favorite. It's a fine lens.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:36 PM on February 26, 2013

All of the above is great advice for primes. If you need a zoom lens Tamron makes a 17-50mm f2.8 zoom lens that is an excellent replacement for the kit lens for about $500.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 7:03 PM on February 26, 2013

My "walking around" lens of choice is the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. (Not that it's my favorite lens, that would be my 85mm, but that's not quite as practical.)
posted by pyjammy at 11:35 AM on February 27, 2013

Response by poster: I ended up trying the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, 35mm f/2, and 28mm f/1.8. The 50mm was too cropped and the 35mm was too loud (seriously, the autofocus mechanism made it sound like the lens was in pain). The 28mm is the best thing ever. Totally worth it.

If any Internet people find this question, it's a little cheaper at B&H or Adorama.

Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by topoisomerase at 11:52 AM on April 1, 2013

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