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Thread: 'multi-purpose' lens for 600D

  1. #1
    Member Kitah's Avatar
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    'multi-purpose' lens for 600D

    Hi all,

    I've recently been looking at lenses for my 600D. I won the 600D with a twin lens kit, but switching between the 18-55 and 55-250 in the field has been resulting in me missing a lot of wildlife shots (my main photography target) and I'm concerned about contaminating the lens and camera with dust and debris, even though I'm careful with everything.

    So, I would like to get a reasonable lens if possible that has a reasonable range and is relatively versatile. I know the 'super zoom' lenses typically produce poorer quality photos, however as an amateur photographer, they would still produce better images than point-and-shoots or 'hybrid' type cameras wouldn't they? Having said this though, I'd still rather have good quality if I can, don't get me wrong. Just trying to put it into perspective if that makes sense.

    What I photograph;
    - Scenery, habitat shots, sunsets, sky, water scenes, water falls etc
    - Wildlife; predominently reptiles and birds. Things like venomous snakes I have little experience with so will not approach. Also, many reptiles and birds as you guys would know often tend to disappear rather quickly if you try to approach so as much 'reach' would be good with the lens
    - Pets; dogs, cats, birds, horses, everything both indoors and outdoors
    - Macro; but I will be getting a dedicated lens for this (probably the 100mm Canon lens)

    The lenses I was considering
    - Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    - Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM (I know this will be the best lens, quality wise. Just concerned the 'reach' is inadequate)
    - Tamron 18-270mm
    - Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM

    I'm guessing but not certain that the tamron and sigma would produce poorer quality images? But from what I've been seeing in reviews, people seem to be fairly happy with the Tamron lens. I only recently 'found' the sigma so haven't looked in depth to its quality yet.

    I know the L series lens I mentioned is the best quality glass by far out of them all, but I'm concerned that 105mm won't be adequate for what I need... Its just trying to work out whether the compromise on quality beats the reduced ability to zoom in on my 'targets'

    Anyway, does anyone have any advice regarding these lenses, and any recommendations?

    Edit: I should also specify that in the future I do plan on getting more lenses for more 'specialised' purposes

    Thanks in advance,
    Laura
    Last edited by Kitah; 18-01-2012 at 12:32am.

  2. #2
    Ausphotography Regular rene52's Avatar
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    Just a quick one from me. I had a 28-300mm Sigma (whichj I broke while out on a shoot at Girum Falls near Euroa and then puchased a 28-300 Tamron. Now both are very good and as you have found I wasn't chaning lenses at all. Now I haven't missed the 18-28 area of my photography but I have only just puchased a 50-500 sigma lens that I am very happy about (mind you I paid for it). Now with the Sigma lens I actually do lose some shots but I am getting closer shots of wildlife (I have posted some here and also on my flickr site) so you can see what I have been getting. I don't do any close ups with this lens as the filter is 96mm and I haven't found anything that will allow me to put on the end so I stick to my older Tamron.

    Both the 28-300 mm lenses need to have good lighting to get reasonable sharpness were as my new 50-500mm doesn't and therefore seems to get better sharpness in my photos.

    I haven't had the feelings to do landscape photos with the new lens yet as I just seem to like wildlife at the moment and when I am not shooting wildlife I am takeing IR photos withj my modifed camera.

    My best advice is that you get what you pay for.

  3. #3
    As smooth as hessian undies
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    I skipped the twin lens kit when I bought my 60D and went with the option of the single Canon 18-200mm
    I was in a similar situation, that I needed a multi purpose lens as I'm usually taking photos on 4wd trips where a dusty track is not the time or place to be switching lenses.
    I initially had some back focus issues with my set up, and have no idea if it was the lens or the body, but they were both sent off to Canon and came back focussing a whole lot better, and ever since then I've been a whole lot happier. Unfortunately I can't compare it to the other lenses, as I've not had any dealings with them.

    The things I miss with this lens are that I am not really able to do the wide angle landscapes I'd like to get (but can stitch several pictures together at times to almost accomplish the same thing), and I can't get really good macro shots. It works fine a bit further back and zooming in, which does a reasonable job with most stuff, it just isn't going to manage the pimple on a gnat's butt type of stuff.
    It has done me well enough while I've been learning. But is probably dearer than some of the other options you have listed.
    Last edited by Ezookiel; 18-01-2012 at 9:36am.
    Canon EOS 60D ..... EFS 18-200mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS - 430 EXII Speedlite - "eBay special" Remote Control Unit - Manfrotto 190XPROB w 804RC2 head.

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    You seem to be enjoying all sorts of photography at the moment. Sinse you want a focal range to cover both your existing kit lenses, either the Tamron or Sigma brands are great options and been around a long time. To me they are a very worthwhile choice. You can save some coin with them and buy into a filter set or dedicated flash to help you along the exploration way.

    Roy

    5D MkIII gripped; EF 17-40 f/4L; EF 24-105 f/4L; EF 50 f/1.8; EF 135 f/2L; 580EXII; Manfrotto 055XPROB & 308RC ballhead; Computrekker Plus AW
    My Photobucket / My flickr

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    I have the 18-200 on a 60d and use it regularly for most types of photography, landscapes, studio stuff etc I haven't had any problems re focusing etc. However I generally do live band photography so I don't use the zoom at all, I use a standard fast lens.
    "I press buttons and hope for the best!"
    Check out my Flickr page


  6. #6
    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    If you are after the best quality in a super zoom, Canon make a 28-300mm L lens which has very good picture quality, BUT, it is BIG and HEAVY and over $2,500 grey!

    Either the Tamron or Sigma super zooms are pretty reasonable, especialy for the price, but if you are going to use the long end of the zoom, I suggest you buy one with stabilisation.
    If you want to also do macro, you can get yourself a set of Kenko extension tubes.

    Canon also make a 30-300 zoom for their new video camera, but these are around $25K, so I guess this would be out of the question.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom, is knowing not to serve it in a fruit salad.

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    I like the EF 18-200mm as a nice all rounder
    Steve


    Equipment: A couple of Canons with some lenses and a heap of enthusiasm



  8. #8
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    24-105 would be my bet.... crop factor will come into play , but mega quick focus and great image quality you pay for what you get

    also... i had the 18-135 on my 550d great allrounder

  9. #9
    can't remember
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    Hi Kitah,

    Switching to one of the better quality superzooms (such as the Canon 18-200) will deliver at best a marginal improvement in image quality, quite possibly no improvement at all. Some of the others will probably take you slightly backwards. It seems to me that spending a fairly decent sum to gain nothing worth mentioning other than single lens convenience is a poor bargain.

    The 24-105/4 is an excellent all-round lens, but not really suited to your needs. It's not long enough to be useful for wildlife, and it is way too long at the short end to be terribly practical as a walk-around general-purpose lens unless you are using it on an FX camera like the 5D II (where it acts as if it was a very good quality 15-65mm lens on your 600D). It is quite expensive too.

    I think you need two things, and you will probably have to get just one of them to start with. (a) A good all-rounder, and the best all-rounder for a 600D is the Canon EF-S 15-85. Not fast, but fantastic range - you won't believe how much wider 15mm is than 18mm - and sharp enough to make it pretty much the equal of a superzoom at the long end - sure, it's shorter, but it is sharper so you can crop harder and you are really not that far behind. (b) A proper telephoto lens. The 55-250 is fine to learn on, but if you are after birds and wildlife, you should get something better - longer, possibly faster, sharper, and much more capable of fast, accurate focus. The perfect answer would be a Canon 100-400, but are you prepared to cop the cost and weight? Then there are the Sigma 150-500 and 50-500 twins - cheaper but very heavy. Stepping down again, we could consider the Sigma 120-400 (quite cheap, apparently not bad) and reject the Tokina 80-400 (very cheap, bad). And also in the "quite affordable" class is quite a range of different 70ish-300ish lenses, some of then not bad, some excellent but rather dear, and one or two very cheap and worse than you 55-250 in every way.

    Yes, I'm suggesting two lenses rather than one, but no single lens will do everything you want, and any lens that tries to won't do anything terribly well. In a perfect world we say "one tool, one job". I'm not suggesting that, but at least consider "two tools, three jobs each". That will give you better results than "one tool, six jobs" for sure.
    Tony

    Edit and critique at will. Tokina 10-17 fish, Canon 10-22, 24-105, 100-400, TS-E 24, 35/1.4, 60 macro, 100L macro, 500/4, Wimberley, MT-24EX, 580EX-II, 1D IV, 7D, 5D II, 50D.

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    Could the solution lie in the way you use your lenses?

    I can't understand "missing a lot of wildlife shots, which is my primary target". If it is your primary target then the 55-250 should be your default lens. It should always be on the camera. If you change to the 18-55 for a few shots, change back to the 55-250 immediately afterwards.

    See how that goes.

    Don't let your concerns about dust be an issue. Just go on using lenses normally until you are actually experiencing dust problems, THEN have a think about how to manage or avoid it. It might never arise as an issue for you. In fact, when you make the 55-250 your default lens you will have less lens changes in the field, and they will be less rushed.

    cheers

  11. #11
    can't remember
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    ^ Very good points made by Arg.

    You can take this same logic a little further, with excellent results, by carrying two camera bodies, one with your wildlife lens mounted, the other with your general-purpose wide-normal lens. This works brilliantly, provided that you can live with the cost and weight. Obviously, you'd not jump straight to this setup, but you might work towards having, one day, something like 600D & 15-85, plus a 900D and a 400ish zoom.

    But in the meantime, if you follow Ang's advice, make a point of always setting your system to the values that you are most likely to want if you are shooting in a hurry. For example, I habitually return my camera to 400i, one stop down from wide open, servo focus, fast shutter repeat - all the settings I am going to want if an interesting bird flies into view and I have only a split second to get the shot. If, instead, I want to take a picture of an interesting gum tree, it will stand around and wait while I change the settings. The bird won't.

  12. #12
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    Kitah's Avatar
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    Hi all, thankyou very much for your input! I shall ponder it carefully before I decide what to do

    Arg, I do leave the 55-250mm lens on as my 'default' lens but frequently have to switch to my 18-55mm e.g. if I find a gecko in a cramped space, I cannot use the 55-250mm lens. So I end up frequently switching between lenses. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind changing lenses, but I end up doing so much in a fairly short span of time.

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