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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Image quality/'better' lens...I have been thinking about getting a replacement for my Sigma 18-125 lens [Canon 20D body] for a wee while ...
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Old 30-12-2007, 23:27   #1 (permalink)
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Image quality/'better' lens

I have been thinking about getting a replacement for my Sigma 18-125 lens [Canon 20D body] for a wee while now.Trouble is,though it has its weaknesses, I am pretty happy with the images/prints it delivers!!.But then i don't have anything to compare it with and only print to A4 so my question is,to those who have 'upgraded' from a kit type lens to a better one,is there in fact a noticeable difference in print quality at A4/A3 ?.
Cheers,
John.

PS: I was thinking of upgrading to either:
Canon 17-85is
Canon 17-40L
Tamron17-502.8
Sigma 17-70 macro [with small m !]
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Last edited by water; 30-12-2007 at 23:36. Reason: more info
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Old 30-12-2007, 23:40   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Image quality/'better' lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by water View Post
Trouble is,though it has its weaknesses, I am pretty happy with the images/prints it delivers!!.
I'd stop considering a replacement right there
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Old 31-12-2007, 02:42   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Image quality/'better' lens

I think you're going to want to figure out what you're expecting from a new lens before you go dumping money into one. I wanted good low light performance, so the 50mm f/1.8 was my first lens after the 18-55 kit. Then came the 75-300 for reach. Picked up a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4.0 which I used for my walkaround until finding a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. Sold the sigma. Latest buy was a 70-200mm f/4.. gonna sell my 75-300. After that, I want wide angle, so likely the 10-22 or 12-24 range.

I needed faster, I bought constant aperture. I needed reach, so I bought the telephoto. Now I want wide, so that's next. Your next lens (if you're happy with what you have now) should complement your current kit. Overlap is good, since most lenses are a bit soft at the long and short extremes. If 18-125 has been working and giving you the speed you want, think about maybe a 100-300 lens or a super wide to expand your coverage. If you want a faster lens for lower light shooting or for faster subjects, look at an f/2.8 telephoto or a faster prime.

Figure out what you're always disappointed the most in, and fill that void. If 18-125 is all you want, consider a battery grip or a decent flash.
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Old 31-12-2007, 10:08   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Image quality/'better' lens

Thanks for the replies,and maybe I never made myself clear.
As stated,I am 'happy enough' with the quality of print I am getting but will a 'better' lens [wide angle in this instance @ around the 18-70mm range] give a better print.Willl it resolve detail better,be sharper etc and actually be noticeably/measureably better on the print?.To those that have upgraded,did it give your prints that extra 'something'?.The Sigma 18-125 is the only lens I have ever used on Digital so have nothing to compare it against.I am happy to pay if I would see a worthwhile improvement on the print.
At some point I will probably get the new 55-250is lens but the vast majority of my photography will be/is taken in the wider end of 18-70mm range and I'd rather spend money here first if there were benefits to be had.
To recap-will the prints be noticeably of better quality?

John.
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Old 31-12-2007, 12:00   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Image quality/'better' lens

Contrast, sharpness, smoothness of out of focus areas, character of highlights - these all improve with better lenses. In my case I had a lot of 3rd party lenses that while not necessarily cheap, were not the top quality stuff. I noticed barrel distortion, nasty pentagonal out of focus highlights and especially on digital, the sensor outresolving the lens, picking up all sorts of mottling and the like.

I invested in better quality lenses because my existing lenses were not giving me the results on digital derived prints that they were on film derived prints which is a different situation to yours. I've no direct experience of the 18-125 but think if you do want to test the water, getting something like a 50mm f1.8 or a 35mm f2 would be a good place to start on good quality lenses. 50-100 quid and quality of lenses 3 or 4 times that price.
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Old 31-12-2007, 16:07   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Image quality/'better' lens

May I suggest "water", you take your 20D and the Sigma 18-125 lens to a decent camera shop and take some pictures in the store and try a few Canon lens that you find a useful focal length and take enough pictures of the same shot with each lens as you did with the Sigma. Return home with your stored pictures and print them. If you can't see any difference between the lenses you tried and your Sigma then stick with your original. Its a bit like HiFi, if you can't hear the difference between a 500 kit and a 5000 kit then its not worth the high spend for your own use.
Remenber though someone else may notice the difference and if this is important to you then you have a decision to make.

Although no one likes Jessops they are falling over backwards in my Maidenhead store to give me service and trials if it gives them a sale.
If you haggle the price they will reduce it significanly if not buy the item from Park Cameras ,Digital depot etc.
I hope this helps all the best for 2008.
Brian

Last edited by brian wright22; 31-12-2007 at 16:14.
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Old 03-01-2008, 20:59   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Image quality/'better' lens

Without any question Water, you WILL see a difference between a photo taken with a top quality lens like some of the L series lenses you listed compared with a less expensive lens. The best lenses have greater accuracy, they resolve points of light better (that's what makes up a picture at the end of the day), they reproduce more natural colour, they have better correction of chromatic aberation....

But take a photo with a top quality lens on a top quality camera and don't hold the camera properly, don't focus properly, etc and all of that is lost so you gain zip, zilch, nada!

My point being this: are you getting the very best possible reproduction from the lens you are using? You say you are perfectly happy with it so what parts of the image do you think could be improved upon? If you can't see specific things you would like improvement on, it is likely you won't see those improvements when you put the new lens on.

Do as Brian suggested, get the chance to take some clear and well focused shots on your camera using a tripod and in good lighting. Take the same shot with both lenses and print them on the same printer. Only then can you look at them and really decide for yourself whether the difference is one worth paying a lot of money for.

From my own experience, I started off with all standard EF lenses, some USM and some not (doesn't affect the lens quality). I got good pictures and was 'perfectly happy' with them. I then bought my first L series lens and almost fell through the floor! The picture quality was stunning. I then slowly and as the wallet allowed, replaced the lenses I had with L series lenses. I got bargains on Ebay where possible and it was over a period of time. But the difference is very evident and I am simply not happy when using 'ordinary' lenses anymore.

But that is ME and I can't promise you that YOU will so those same differences. You'll never be disappointed with an L series lens, no way. Whether you will be so much happier than what you have already got, I cannot be sure. I just think you would be

Cheers,
Rob
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