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Thread: New to photography Need help

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    Member Bushguide's Avatar
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    New to photography Need help

    I'm just starting to get into photography and just purchased a Canon 7D (hope it's a good camera) but haven't any lenses yet! I was hoping someone might be able to recommend a lens to start out with. I have a little money left over but not alot so please don't tell me I need one of those big lenses thanks everyone
    Last edited by Bushguide; 20-07-2011 at 3:11pm.

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    A camera kit isn't a camera kit without one of those "big Lenses"
    Greg Bartle,
    I have a Pentax and I'm not afraid to use it.
    Pentax K5
    Sigma 10-20 | Tamron 17-50 F:2.8 | Sigma 50 F:1.4 | Sigma 70-200 F:2.8 Plus a bunch of Ye Olde lenses


    Would you like to see more?
    http://flickr.com/photosbygreg

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    what sort of photography ?

    How much money you got ?

    Maybe start with a Tamron 18-270 do everything but not that well lens
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
    Website : http://www.peakactionimages.com
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Hi Bushguide, and welcome!

    The 7D is a superb camera. Some possibilities:
    • Canon EF-S 18-55 IS - about $200 (at a guess). Very cheap, remarkably sharp, quite limited, but in many ways ideal to learn on, and you can delayt spending serious money on a lent till you know what you are looking for
    • Canon EF-S 15-85 IS - about $900ish. (Which is medium-high for a lens.) Very versatile, very good quality, should last you for many years. Do you really weant to spend this much right now?

    I can think of a host of other lenses you m,ight consider, but it's hard to see why you wouldn't end up with one of those two.
    Tony

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    I've posted this before in another thread, but it's worth posting again, I think.

    • (i) superzooms .....
    • ....... All lens designs are compromises. Superzooms achieve a huge focal length range by compromising speed and image quality. An SLR with a superzoom produces better pictures than a point & shoot ... but what doesn't? Bottom line: superzooms are designed to do everything, and they do. They just don't do it very well.
    • Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. $790 For: incredibly wide zoom range; said to be quite sharp for a super-zoom. Against: the non-USM focus motor is not really acceptable on an $800 product. Sum-up: better than most superzooms but flawed; pity you can't buy the Nikon one in a Canon mount.
    • Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM About $550.00. Cheaper than the Canon one; even slower; apparently has a proper focus motor. Don't know anything else about it - or care, to be honest. The image quality price you pay to gain the extra range over a standard general-purpose zoom design (beyond about 100mm) is always too high. The only reason I can think of to buy any of these superzooms is that you need a cheap(ish) do-everything lens to travel with.
    • Canon 28-300/3.5-5.6L IS USM. Not really relevant here but included for interest, as this is a superzoom for full frame, and it actually works very well .... but it costs $3000, weighs 1.7kg, and still can't match the image quality delivered by a decent 70-200 or 24-105.
    • Various other 18-200ish and 18-270ish models. Who cares?
    • (ii) full-frame general-purpose lenses .....
    • ....... Generally excellent lenses, though rather expensive, but these suffer from one major problem: they are far too long at the short end for general-purpose use on a standard APS-C camera. Some people don't seem to mind not having any wide-angle; many are driven nuts by all that tedious lens swapping; others again carry two cameras so that they have an ultra-wide option ready for use. Obviously, you also need something wide, the Canon 10-22 is one of several good choices.
    • Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG, About $750. Cheap; fast. Not very sharp. You get what you pay for.
    • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. About $1700. Fast; very sharp; quite expensive; quite heavy; old model; no IS.
    • * Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Around $1370. 24mm is not nearly wide enough; the barrel distortion below 28mm may or may not bother you, but otherwise vice-free and an excellent choice.
    • Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. About $550. Way too wide for general-purpose use on APS-C, but quite cheap, quite sharp, and excellent build.
    • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM. About $1100. Actually designed as a wide-angle zoom for full-frame, but acts as a wide-normal zoom on 1.6 crop. Cheap for an L Series lens, viceless and well-regarded, but very short at 40mm, only f/4, and lacks IS.
    • (iii) short, fast zooms .....
    • ....... If you can live with a shortish long end and speed is important to you, one of these would make an excellent choice. If you like working with a shallow depth of field or in low light, f/2.8 is a big bonus. You will probably also want something longer: sensible choices might be a 70-200, pretty much any macro lens (all macros are quite fast, and can happily be used for all sorts of things besides macro), or a portrait-length prime such as an 85/1.8.
    • Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical. Around $630. Fast but a bit short at 50mm; no IS.
    • Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC. About $550. Very similar to the Tamron 17-50. I don't know which is better. Same strengths and weaknesses.
    • Tokina AT-X 165 Pro DX AF 16-50mm f/2.8. Around $1230. No IS; a bit short at 50mm; 16mm is a lot wider than 18mm; but very expensive! Actually a Pentax design. I assume that it offers better build and image quality than the Tamron or the Sigma, but it would need to at that price!
    • * Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS. $1400. The best lens in class, but a bit short and quite expensive. If you can live with 55mm at the long end and spending $1400-odd, and if f/2.8 is important to you, easily the best all-rounder on the market. Nothing else offers the tempting combination of f/2.8 speed, outstanding optical quality, and IS.
    • (iv) genuine all-rounders .....
    • ....... Where the short, fast lenses sacrifice the long end of the focal length range to achieve speed, and the full-frame lenses sacrifice the short end, this class of lens sacrifices speed to achieve a wide focal length range. Useful for many purposes, they are particularly suited to landscape work where a fast aperture is hardly ever needed. No lens can do everything, but these come pretty close. Nevertheless, be prepared to buy something fast to compliment your choice - a 50mm prime, for example, or any macro lens.
    • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. About $200, often less when bundled with a camera. Remarkably good optics for the money, and the IS is very useful. But very flimsy; horrible concrete-mixer focus motor; can't really use filters because of rotating front element. Just the same, a decent starting point because it is so cheap you can simply throw it away later when you decide what lens is right for you and upgrade.
    • Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. About $580. Better than any superzooom, but still a cheap lens which lacks a proper USM focus motor but is otherwise said to be very good, particularly considering the huge focal length range.
    • * Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC OS HSM. About $600. A very usable focal length range and excellent value for money. This new image stabilised version is the one to have. Generally quite well regarded, but some negative reports.
    • Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 USM IS $800. Canon's ugly duckling, now more-or-less discontinued. Useful focal length range, excellent build quality, but had some quite significant distortion problems and was never popular.
    • * Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM about $1000. Much improved new replacement for the 17-85 IS. Not fast, but excellent in every other way: build quality, USM focus motor, image quality, latest IS. All things considered, probably the best single choice for an all-round general-purpose lens on crop, provided only that you don't need f/2.8.

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    Thanks guys and gals to be honest I just don't know where to begin, I sort of want to photograph the world (don't we all) but I realise that isn't going to happen in the near future. On a more serious note, we are going on a holiday to Botswana in November and doing the safari thing and I just want to be able tophotograph everything possible. Is that a tall order?

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Yes!

    Are you doing the safari thing? Are the animals important to you?

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    I'm confused Tannin!!! Yes my boyfriend and I are going on safari and of course the animals are important to us, hence why we are doing the trip

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    Thankyou Bushguide. That's important.

    If you are doing the safari thing for the animals, then you are going to want pictures of those animals.

    You want to see them enough to be spending several thousands of dollars to get there and back, accommodation, and all the rest of it. None of my business what the all-up cost is, but lots will do for our purposes.

    I'm also going to guess that this isn't something you will be able to easily repeat anytime soon - time off your work, his work, family commitments, where are you going to find the money for another trip anyway .... the way I'm looking at it, this is a rare opportunity for you, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

    This is NOT the time to penny-pinch! You owe it to yourself to get value for your hard-earned trip, and that tells me that buying a cheap-as-possible len kit to get started with isn't rational, not in your case. You'd actually be wasting money by buying cheap 'n nasty lenses, 'cause you won't get full value on your expensive trip!

    Between now and November you won't become an expert photographer, but you do have time to master a few of the basics. For your general-purpose lens(s) I'm not too fussed what you get - there is even a case for a does-everything-badly but at least does-everything 18-200 or 18-270, 'cause these are at least easy to cart around. Bit of a waste of a nice 7D, but them's the breaks. Really, pick anything you like off my list above, I don't know that it will make a lot of difference in your first 6 months.

    But if the animals matter to you you need a longer lens, and in longer lenses, quality is essential. You can take a great picture with a very, very ordinary lens at 35mm, or even 18mm (which is harder), but you can't take good pictures with cheap glass at 300mm or 400mm. Whgat you need to do is bite the bullet and get a good long lens. (Even if you sell it in your return - you won't lose all that much overall - you'll get maybe 75-80% of your cost back again so long as you are going for a quality lens with good resale.) Best choice with a bullet is the Canon 100-400 zoom. This is the perfect safari lens. Next best choices would be one of the various good Canon 70-300 models, the Sigma 150-500 (poor resale and very heavy, but quite cheap as these things go) or, at a pinch, a 70-200.

    This will cost you a couple of thousand up front, minus about fifteen hundred if you decide to sell it later. But what are your memories worth? How long before you are able to repeat this trip?

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    Thanks Tannin for clarifing my confusion The safari company suggested the Canon 100-400 zoom and I'm happy to pay for quality not just 10K for a lens just yet. They also recommend a beanbag as tripods or monopods aren't allowed in the vehicle because of space.

    I realise I won't get beyond the basics before we leave but yes it is a once in a lifetime trip for us and I want to have something to remember for years to come and show family and friends.

    Thanks

    PS anything else I should think about with camera gear?

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    Hello again Tony (am I allowed to use your real name?) I just looked at your website and if I could get 1% of the same type of photos I would be very pleased. Thanks again for you help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushguide View Post
    .... PS anything else I should think about with camera gear?
    An extra battery perhaps. Some bushcamps will only recharge them for you over night.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Chers Bushguide, glad to be of assistance, and thankyou for your very kind words. Some good thoughts are emerging:
    • 7D (tick)
    • 100-400
    • a shorter, general-purpose lens. I suppose my first choice would be a nice Canon 15-85, but (within reason) anything will do. You won't have the skills to benefit a great deal from a top-drawer lens before you've had it for a while. But (of course) it won't do any harm, and will last a long time, so do as you prefer. (But long lenses are different - cheap short glass is perfectly usable with a little care care, but cheap long glass is hopeless.)
    • Extra battery. Yes, for sure! Get a couple. Don't buy the Canon-branded ones, they are no better and 3-4 times the price of third-party ones. Some kind soul might care to provide a good link for them.
    • Beanbag. Yes, good idea.
    • Several lens cleaning cloths, and a couple of packets of tissues. A puffer brush is good too, though we have to mind out for how much stuff we are starting to cart around.
    • Plenty of storage (flash cards or etc)
    Last edited by Tannin; 20-07-2011 at 7:07pm.

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    Maybe consider how you might backup images too while travelling, otherwise good advice from Tony here re lenses etc

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    Depending on how long you will be on safari for, you might think about hiring the lens. You'll have to do your sums and weigh up the costs/benefits (and listen to your heart/head) when making your decision though! Hiring the lens may not give you a great deal of time to get used to the lens before the big trip so factor that into your decision as well. Oh, and don't forget to ensure that your gear, and any hired equipment, is covered by insurance!
    5D MkII Gripped | EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II | EF 24-70mm f/2.8L | EF 50mm f/1.4 USM | EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro | Extender 2x II | 580EX II & 430EX II Speedlites
    Wanted: The list is long.......so very long........(sighs)
    Oldies but still goodies: AE-1+Program | FD 28mm f/2.8 | FD 50mm f/1.4 | FD 70-210 f/4

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    Some good advice above. the 7D is a fantastic camera (wish I had one) and you will need a good lens to match. A 100-400 is a good choice for wildlife shots, but is likely to be too long for day to day pics (of your boy friend etc). A 15-85 IS lens would help for those shots.

    You should remember that no matter how good the camera and lens are - technique is more important. So I'd advise lots of practise before you go on getting proper exposure, sharpness, depth of field etc. Don't forget the 7D has a high FPS shoot rate, so getting a good pic of a fast moving animal will be very possible.

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    I am far from an expert when I brought my camera It came in a kit I got the 18mm 55mm lens it has auto focus or manual focus mine is a Nikon and has VR that is Vibration Reduction I love this lens but it was my first lens and the only one I had for awhile since getting my other 2 lens I have not been able to use due to operation on my arm so a little unfair statement I guess If you get something that is big you will also have to use a tripod so keep that in mind but if your going on safari I would take the advice of others also do your research shop around for the best price and keeping in mind other things you may find you will also need I found out very fast that photography and cheap just don't go together and just owning a camera is never enough there is always more and more things to buy but I would go on more on what the others are saying but I am just telling you as a learner this is what I have learnt good luck and enjoy your safari
    All experts were once beginners

    Nikon D3100 18 55 kit lens Nikon 35 mm Nikon 70 300mm optex tripod



    MWAH! Sandy

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    Perhaps a 16/32gb(fast) card and a laptop back at camp to save your photo's each day...

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    70-200 f2.8L + 2x TC
    I know it's a lot of money, but will be much more versatile that a 100-400.
    The 100-400 may not be the best choice in a dusty environment either, the push/pull zoom mechanism has been reported to be problem with dust.
    Mark

    Canon 70D w/Grip l Canon 60D w/Grip l EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM l EF 70-200 f4L IS USM l EF-S 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM l EF 100 f2.8 USM Macro l EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS STM l EF 50 f1.8 II l Canon EF-S 10-22 f3.5-4.5 USM l 430 EX II Flash l Rode Stereo VideoMic l Manfrotto 055XPROB + 498RC2 Tripod l Benro MP-96 M8 Monopod l Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack l Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW Backpack l PS CS5 Extended l Lightroom 4.3

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    Thanks everyone, all excellent advice (I am sure). Tannin, you have been extreamely helpful so a special thank you.
    I had looked into hiring equipment but the pricing with insurance became very restrictive compared with buying and owning for a later date.
    Another question? Do I need any filters given the harsh light during the day when out and about?

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