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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Need Some Help with Lens Line-up...Hi friendly photographers of pixalo, I'm new to this hobby, I just got my 400D a few weeks ago, choosing ...
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:31   #1 (permalink)
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Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

Hi friendly photographers of pixalo, I'm new to this hobby, I just got my 400D a few weeks ago, choosing it over the 1000D. I want to expand my lenses one at a time. I have been interested in portraiture and macro. But will still shoot almost everything that I find interesting

Can anyone help me with a basic lens set-up for this type of photography?
With basic I mean, very affordable and entry-level like lenses (No L Lenses).
Or am I not saying it right?

I have been thinking about a three lens line-up:
1. Sigma APO 70-300mm DG Macro
2. Canon EF 50mm 1.8
3. Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM

As you can see these lenses are very affordable. That is all that my budget permits. Am I going the rigth direction with this proposed line-up (I think the 17-85mm can be dropped for something more appropriate?)? I'm planning to get number 1 on the weekend..
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:17   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

You have a good selection there. You mention portraiture and macro, so two lenses to consider for this are the Sigma 105mm f2.8 and 150mm f2.8. At about 300 and 440 respectively, they might well be over your budget, but are very suited to both of your stated areas of interest.

If you also want lenses to cover a more general range you do need to go down to 18mm at the wide end, and most people find wider angles more useful than long telephotos.

So, although your choices will do what you want, unless you also want to cover sport and wildlife, an alternative selection might be a Sigma 105mm f2.8 and a Sigma 18-200. The 105 will be very good for macro and portraiture, the 18-200 is a very good general purpose lens.

One thing that will have a bearing on your lens choice is where you are going to do the portraits. If you have restricted space indoors, the 50mm f1.8 might well be the way to go. If space is not so much of a problem, or if you are going to take them outside, the longer lenses are a better bet.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:22   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

That sounds a very versatile kit. If you could stretch your budget for a Sigma 105 2.8 or a Tamron 90mm 2.8 instead of the 50mm 1.8 then either of these lenses would do double duty pretty well as portrait lenses and Macro. Whilst the 70-300 has the Macro name in it's title it's not a true Macro lens. The 50 1.8 is a really useful bit of kit and can be used as a portrait lens espeically for full height portraits and small groups. But for a tight crop a slightly longer focal length of 85 upwards works better.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:24   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

I have the same set up of what you have discribed above ,except i have the none APO version of the 70/300 and 40d .
For me it's a start and you will always get reasonable results from all the lenses mentioned, from here you have the grounding to further your skills, but i must say this ,if i had the choice and on hindsight and ofcourse the budget i may have chosen different lenses for example the 28/135mm lens instead of the 17/85mm.
hope this helpls
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:34   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

Thanks for wonderful inputs Graham and Vinny.. Can't drop the 70-300 from the list, will be needing it for "spying" on the birds here in the Philippine mountains... I could drop the 50mm 1.8... I wouldn't buy them all at once after all, so maybe I can save up for the 105 or 90... I have a little question though, I thought that the two lenses you guys mentioned may be too long for portraiture on a cropped sensor of the 400D? I usually take portraits outdoors so it won't actually matter there, but I also take pictures at home..

bain, I would love to drop the 17-85mm from my list, I found so many nagative feedbacks about that lens but there's just no other descent choices out there... I will be missing a lot on the wide end if i get the 28-135 so that won't do either..

I have also been looking at the Sigma 18-200 and 18-125 I just don't know which one is optically better.
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:42   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

Aha! You did not mention the bird photography! You might - depending on where you are going to shoot them - find that 300mm is a bit short. However, the 70-300 APO is an excellent lens and great value for money.

For portraits, the generally accepted ideal focal length (in 35mm equivalent) is around 85-135. Some pros with large studios will use 70-200 f2.8 or 300mm for portraits. The 85-135 focal lengths (and above) are flattering to the subject and the Sigmas, and as Vinny said the Tamron, are in the ideal range, and will do macro too. The 50mm comes right in at the bottom of the scale giving a 75/80mm 35mm equivalent, and would be a good choice if you have restricted space. It is also fantastic value, but it won't do macro (and nor will the 70-300 in truth), so if you are really keen on macro the Tamron or either of the Sigmas will do macro and portraits well. That then leaves you with covering a good general range. If you opt for the 70-300, you will need to have something that will go down to 18mm as well, whereas an 18-200 will give you a good coverage in one lens. Snag with that is it is not so good for wildlife.

If tyou are going to do portraits outside, I guess you are thinking that the 70-300 could be used, and you would not be wrong, but the f2.8 lenses will allow much better control of the depth of field which will give you much better portraits, and did I mention that they can also do macro?

Maybe the one lens answer would be the Tamron 18-280 or the Sigma 18-250 - but niether of these will be good for birds unless you can get fairly close, and the cost goes up too.

Decisions, decisions.......
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Old 13-02-2009, 00:47   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

Oh I see... hmm..:-)
I'll just drop the 50mm and the 17-85 to get the 105mm and then get a nice Sigma 18-125mm lens..:-)
Or maybe an IS kit lens instead of the 18-125...

Would that be a better idea?
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Old 13-02-2009, 01:05   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

If you consider portraits and macro to be your priorities, the Tamron 90 or Sigma 105 are a good starting point.

For a general purpose 'do anything' lens the 18-200 is a good all-rounder. The 18-250 Sigma or 18-280 Tamron have a greater range, but are more expensive.

Wildlife does need longer reach still and the Sigma 70-300 APO is great value, but if you go for the Tamron 90 or Sigma 105 and the 70-300, you have nothing from 18mm.

I think you need to try to estimate the percentage of use you will do of each type of photography and buy the lenses that will get the most use. You could do worse than going for either of the Tamron 90 or Sigma 105 and either a 18-55 kit lens, or the 18-200 (as they are cheaper than the 18-250/280). You can then add a longer lens for wildlife later. This way you will have a lens for general purpose use as well as a good portrait/macro lens.

Only you will know if this will suit what you are going to be doing.
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Old 13-02-2009, 02:46   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

Hmm.. I see..:-) Thanks for the help Graham..:-)

I'll probably take your advice and get the 105 or 90, whichever is cheaper. In the mean time, I'll settle with my kit lens as a general purpose lens and the 70-300 for a telephoto.. Maybe a bit too short for wildlife but It's a good starting point.:-)

This is such a great community...
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Old 13-02-2009, 12:27   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Need Some Help with Lens Line-up

You could also look for "extension tubes" as a cheap start to macro photography. That's what I did at first, then save up and get a good macro lens. You'd be able to use the extension tubes with the 50 or the other zooms you've mentioned.
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