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View Full Version : Lens Advice Needed!



Matt Molnar
06-15-2006, 12:25 PM
I've finally purchased a DSLR, a Canon 350D. While I would have preferred the metal body, slightly better specs, and accompanying street cred of a 20D or 30D, I decided to spend less on the body so I can afford a decent spotting lens. Problem is, I've used some high end point-and-shoots and I know how to manually set f-stops and shutter speeds and that stuff, but this is my first SLR of any kind, so I don't know nearly as much about lenses as I'd like.

So I'm thinking something around a 70-300mm would be ideal for my purposes for now. There are all sorts of 300mm's that seem to have similar features, but they range in price from $150 to $2,000 and more.

- Are the cheaper lenses by third party vendors like Sigma as good as the more expensive Canon lenses?
- Are there any particular 300mm lenses for $500 or less that you would recommend?
- What differences would I see in the same photo taken by a $150 lens and a $2,000 lens?

Thanks!

PhilDernerJr
06-15-2006, 12:53 PM
First, congrats on your purchase! I rememebr when you and I were at train meeting and talking more politics than trains, now not only are you way into aviation, but you've gotten yourself a camera! That's great.

As for differences in lenses:

- Some will have IS (Image Stabilizer), and some will not. When you have a lens that is at 200mm or higher, you should get yourself something with IS, as it makes a huge difference when you're shooting anything not in perfect bright sun (thin haze, early or late late, etc.)

- Some lenses will just produce different amounts of sharpness. Good lenses that use good glass will bring you a photo that is closer to crystal clear at the end of your editing process.

A lot of it has to do with what you want to do with you aviation photos. Are you jsut trying to document shots? Are you trying to get shots on Airliners.net and JetPhotos.net? Do you just want to take some nice shots?

If you want Anet or JP, it would be in your interest to put forth a decent amount of money into a good, long lens.

Some non-Canon lenses are ok. Sigma makes some good ones, but honestly, for long glass, I'd try to stick with Canon.

If you're willing to spend the cash, go for the 100-400mm. It's about $1,400, but you'll get everything you need for the average NYC spotting experience.

If I recall correctly, there are two 70-200mm lenses. One is 2.8 and the other 4.0. If you are willing to and need time to save up for the 100-400, I'd consider maybe getting the cheaper 70-200mm 4.0, and using that until you have the dough for the 100-400.

A short lens is a good idea also, although if you bought the 350D kit, I assume it came with an 18-55mm, no? I use the Sigma 24-70mm 2.8, and I've been very pleased with the results. I think it costs $350, and is great for your average medium-range needs.

pgengler
06-15-2006, 01:33 PM
I'm shooting with an original Digital Rebel, and while I'm saving up for the 100-400L, I'm shooting with the 100-300mm USM. It was a birthday present about two months ago, and I've only recently had some chances to get some use out of it.

I'm not shooting professionally or anything, but the lens is "good enough" for most of what I'm doing. I have no complaints about the image quality in my photos, though this is the most expensive lens I've used. The main reason I want the 100-400 is for the extra range, not because of any fatal flaw with the 100-300.

Matt Molnar
06-15-2006, 02:50 PM
Thanks for your responses guys!

As for what/why I want to shoot, I'd like to be able to take a.net/jp.net-quality shots, but I'm not going to be spending tons of time shooting. I'd like to be flexible to shoot other things as well...trains, landscapes, city scenes, etc.

Yes, I did get the package with the 18-55mm lens. As sexy as it is, I don't think I want to shell out the $1400 for the 400mm quite yet.

What do you think of this one (Canon 70-300mm USM with IS for $559)?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control ... Navigation (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=397663&is=USA&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation)

JRadier
06-15-2006, 07:10 PM
- Some will have IS (Image Stabilizer), and some will not. When you have a lens that is at 200mm or higher, you should get yourself something with IS, as it makes a huge difference when you're shooting anything not in perfect bright sun (thin haze, early or late late, etc.)

It needs some training, but 500mm without IS perfectly hand-holdable.

PhilDernerJr
06-15-2006, 07:24 PM
It needs some training, but 500mm without IS perfectly hand-holdable.

Nto that it's not controllable, but not everyone has a steady hand like that, and it's in someone's best interest to have a feature like IS when investing such money....before they know how steady their hand is.

there are situations where light becomes less than perfect and your shutters are 1/125, where it's helpful for even the most seasoned of shooters.

Matt Molnar
06-16-2006, 10:47 AM
So, any opinions on that lens I linked?

whakojacko
06-17-2006, 05:44 PM
Not to thread hijack, but I have a very similar situation. Im deciding between the 70-200mm f/4L USM (the f/2.8L IS is too expensive) and the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS, which are like $10 apart on B&h. The 70-300 does zoom more and have IS, but all the reviews about the 70-200 have said its a great lens with extremely good quality. IDeas?

Bellucciman
06-19-2006, 05:29 PM
On the subject of lenses, I just picked up a 100-300 APO for my KM 7D. I'm anxious to get out there and test it! Does anyone else shoot with Konica Minolta/Minolta?

Mike

PhilDernerJr
06-19-2006, 06:37 PM
So, any opinions on that lens I linked?

I can't say I've ever used or sena nyone use that one. I would look into return policies where yu buy it and test it for a week.