View Full Version : Help in choosing the right lens

17-01-2011, 12:06pm
I would love some help & any advice please on what lens to choose. I have a canon 500D with the twin lens kit.

I was beginning to lean towards bird photography however due to a few problems that may have to wait for a while.

What I really would like is a nice little lens that will take nice sharp pics. I did read on here recently that someone else was after similar but i cannot find the thread. I would like to be able to use it for some portraits & general purpose. I would like to say I want to specialize in just one type of photography but for now I will have to lean towards some nice landscapes & portraits. I have a new Grandson & thought maybe this was the right time to really try & get serious but I am unsure about what lens? My budget is not an open cheque book....Oh how I wish.

Thank you so much for your time.:):th3:

17-01-2011, 12:46pm
Hi Chinook, There are so many choices, I went for the 18-50mm Sigma on my 50D, There're are some great reviews on the 17-50 and 17-70 Sigma and Tamron lenses, also, The Canon 17-55mm F2.8 is a very good lens great IQ, but the price tends to lead people toward the third party lenses. I think I mentioned to you the shop in North Perth last time, They will probally have all above mentioned lenses, so you could take your body down there and try a few.

Good luck. P.S. If going for a Third party lens read this. SIGMA AUSTRALIAN WARRANTY ON GREY IMPORTS (See link Attached about price matching)


I got my Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 for $399.00 brand new price matched, If you've seen the sunset shots i've posted, they have all been shot with the 50D and Sigma lens.

P.S. For birding, most not all AP regs seem to recommend above 300mm at better/faster than F5.6, so it's not a cheap outlay. I use my 70-200mm L F2.8 + 1.4 Teleconvertor and find it lacking most of the time, this gives me 280mm equivalant.

Have fun.

Here is another site that you can do some great research. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/

17-01-2011, 1:13pm
Unlimited chequebook with the new grandson would be the Canon 17-55 f2.8. However, a good starting point for a general purpose Canon lens may be the 15-85 f3.5-5.6. Whilst it may need help from your flash inside it does give a reasonable wide angle for close ups, plus has a good reach at 85mm for outdoors chasing him around. There are many that have a longer zoom for an all in one lens, but they don't have the IQ this lens offers on a crop camera. If you don't mind 3rd party lenses the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 non VC is also well regarded and about $300 cheaper than the Canon 15-85. It doesn't have the focal range, but has the price advantage - just be sure to get the NON VC version because reports say the newer VC version is nowhere near as sharp..

17-01-2011, 5:06pm
Roosta & Lloyd, Thank you for your help & advise. Much appreciated.:)

17-01-2011, 5:40pm
I've been going through the same issues as to what lenses to get for my old Canon 450D. It was the early twin lens kit with the 18-55 and 70-300mm lenses. Since then I've purchased a Sigma 70-300 DG OS lens (the Canon was not an IS), Canon 50mm prime, and Canon 100mm macro

Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I'd have upgraded the 18-55mm first. Price being a pain point, I'd look at the Sigma or Tamron. If you have a little more go Tokina, but price wise it is getting close to the Canon. Try to go with f2.8 or better if you can, so they handle low light well. Then you need to consider the type of pictures you want to take. If it is landscape, go the Tokina 11-16mm (which I was about to buy, but I've decided to get a 5D). If looking more at bird photography, the Sigma 50-500mm has good reviews, or for a cheaper option the Sigma 150-500mm. I cheated and went the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and get a 2x extender, but I want to take my camera to sporting events where there is a limit on the size of the lens. The 70-200mm f2.8 is a more expensive option than the 50-500mm.

I hope that helps. Best advise I can really give though, is think about the type of pictures you want to take, and where possible get an f2.8 lens to suit, and that fits in with your budget

Mick B
17-01-2011, 8:32pm
G'day Chinook, Santa came good for me and I received my Canon 15 - 85 mm for my 500D. So far it has proved a much sharper lens than my kit lenses and I have no regrets.


17-01-2011, 8:47pm
I've seen this sort of question asked quite a few times on AP, mostly the MODS have answered with something like "keep shooting with what you already have until you are proficient with the kit lenses".....something like that anyway. I've always thought this was pretty good advice myself. I hate to think of the money I have wasted on lenses (trying to chase sharper images) which I no longer use because it was my own personal technique that was at fault originally. I have seen some absolutely stunning images right here on AP which were taken with both Canon and Nikon "kit" lenses.
Probably this isn't much use to you now if you have your heart set on a new lens, but beware....spending more cash doesn't always produce sharper images....trust me I know$$$$$$$:(

18-01-2011, 11:17am
As you are not a very experienced photographer, if you really want to get sharp pictures, may I suggest that you only look at lenses that have stabilisation in them.
I often use a Sigma 24-70 F2.8 lens on my Pentax, and while it has no IS in it, the sharpness is amazing, but for 99% of the time, it is used on a tripod.

On my Canon, the 24-105 IS L lens is fantastic. Expensive, but such a great and very useful lens and the IS is worth around 3F stops so for hand holding, your pictures will probably turn out sharper than any lens without IS.

18-01-2011, 12:41pm
Thank you all very much for your very useful advise. Richard I must say I do agree with you about learning & getting better with the kit lens.
Edavid, Mick and Bennymiata thank you also. I will have to have a good hard think & work out exactly what I want to do.

For now I think I will have to settle on a lens that is good for portraits. I never in a million years thought this was the way I would head in my photography dreams.
I have to also think of why for now I am heading this way. So until my husband quits work soon & I can get back our & about to take some pics of our beautiful country.
Thank you all so much you have helped a lot.:)

18-01-2011, 1:19pm
If your kit lenses are the non-IS versions, you need an upgrade, get the Canon 15-85mm. Like Bennymiata says, the IS alone will be very helpful. It will do landscapes and portraits very nicely.

If you have the IS twin lens kit, they are pretty darn good. In that case I tend to back Richard. If you are not getting 'nice sharp pics' with the 18-55mm IS kit lens, you are doing something wrong and the LAST thing you want to do is spend on a new lens.

18-01-2011, 3:01pm
if you want a zoom lens and money isn't an issue, canon 17-55mm f2.8 is my fave zoom lens for my 7D ($1,000+).

as far as portraits go, if you don't need a zoom lens, the 50mm f1.8 is cheap and the photo quality is awesome for the money (around $100).

18-01-2011, 7:19pm
Thanks everyone for your help :-)

18-01-2011, 7:35pm
I like the Tamron 17-50 non IS version. It's highly regarded and a nice price. Supposedly the new IS version has some image quality issues but I've not had any experience with it. It's f2.8 through the whole zoom range as well which is nice for portraits.

18-01-2011, 8:33pm
What about considering the old lenses - the everything manual ones...?
Camera electronics has a good selection...
they are not too expensive too...
I just got a 28mm nikkor lens and that's really sharp... for $145
Oops, i just realised you shoot Canon... :rolleyes:

23-01-2011, 4:45pm
Hi Lillian,
There could be a huge range of lenses you can choose. The comments you made on the photos of my grand daughter were taken with the 24-105mm f4 L. They have come down in price too. Around the $1,300 but like in the PM I sent back to you, a 50mm f1.8 is a awesome little lens to have in your kit. You always hear from people how sharp it is for the price and being a f1.8 is great in low light situations. I sent you links in the PM so you can look at them.
Good luck with the decision.

24-01-2011, 10:33am
Thanks everyone. I am going to grab a 50mm f1.8. Then have a good hard think what else I will lean towards but at this price I can't go wrong. :):th3: It is great to get other people on the groups advice & help. I have a lot of things to get but while I am making up my mind I am happy with this little lens. Jas thanks for the PM:)