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  1. #1
    kimbakaye is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Default What Lens for a T3i?

    Hello all! My wonderful husband just bought me a T3i for mothers day. It came with the 18-55mm kit lens. I would like to purchase another lens for it. I was thinking of the 18-135mm IS lens. I mostly shoot landscape/animal/nature type pictures with a good sprinkling of shots of my boys thrown in. Canon makes a big fuss about their "image stabilizing" lenses. I do tend to have a slightly shaky hand so any help I can get, I take! Any veterans/pros out there that could tell me if the IS system on the canon lens is really worthwhile? I am looking to spend around $300. Any other suggestions on what would be a good lens to try? I am very new to all this and I have no clue what I am looking for.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
    ~Kim~
    My flickr

  2. #2
    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
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    Piece of unsolicited advice #1: hold off on getting a second lens, and get used to the camera and the lens you do have, first. Assuming this is your first dSLR, you're going to have a heck of a learning curve ahead of you, both in terms of using the camera/lens and post-processing, if you really want to get the most out of your camera. While you can runs out and blow some cash on a "training wheels" lens, you might actually be better off contemplating what you really need and saving up for a better lens, particularly when it comes to telephoto zooms.

    Advice #2: Consider the EF-S 55-250 IS, rather than the 18-135. You've already got the wide end covered with the 18-55. The 18-135 is another walkaround zoom, only with a wide range than your 18-55. But the 55-250 IS has a lot more reach, and will be cheaper and probably give you better image quality. SLR lenses tend to work better as special purpose tools, not general purpose ones.

    Advice #3: Save up for an EF 70-300 IS USM (non-L) or EF 70-200 f/4L USM. Both of these lenses are considerably nicer than the 55-250 or the 18-135. But they also cost about twice your budget. Or, if you get serious about the wildlife and such, save up for the EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, or the L version of the 70-300 (these cost around $1500, though).

    Advice #4. If you do go with the twin kit of the 18-55/55-250, stop down from wide open. Using f/8-f/16 apertures can make your images considerably sharper.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

  3. #3
    kimbakaye is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Thanks inkista for your thoughts. I will absolutely take into consideration everything you have said. I do know there will be a learning curve for sure. I have been shooting with a Canon Power Shot S3 IS. I hear you about maybe waiting and saving for a better lens. I guess part of me was looking for an "all around" lens while I was on that learning curve and felt that maybe the 18-55mm was limiting. That is probably my inexperience talking.

    What are your thoughts on the image stabilizing features in the canon lenses? Are they truly useful or just gimmicks?
    ~Kim~
    My flickr

  4. #4
    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimbakaye View Post
    I guess part of me was looking for an "all around" lens while I was on that learning curve and felt that maybe the 18-55mm was limiting. That is probably my inexperience talking.
    No, a lot of folks find the 18-55 zoom range to be too short, particularly if they're used to the larger one they had with a bridge camera. I actually went for a training wheels lens, first, which gave me the experience I needed to purchase my "final" lens. But I also have a little more money to spend on camera gear than the average hobbyist shooter. The most commonly seen low-cost "training wheels" triple is the 18-55 IS, 55-250 IS, and 50/1.8 II.

    The thing is the 18-135, or 18-200 lenses would be ones you'd generally use instead of the 18-55, not in addition to. The problem with these larger zoom-range lenses is that they generally are slow (small max. aperture), and they end up having image quality compromises to cover such a large range of focal lengths. They're good lenses, but there is a tradeoff. As travel lenses, though, when you don't want to carry a lot, a superzoom is a terrific idea.

    What are your thoughts on the image stabilizing features in the canon lenses? Are they truly useful or just gimmicks?
    It depends on what you're shooting, but if you're going for something that's not moving in low light, it's absolutely useful. You do, however, have to understand that IS won't replace a tripod for truly long exposures, and that you still need to learn good handholding technique. And IS won't do a thing to eliminate subject motion blur, only camera shake blur. But with IS, we can photograph at slower shutter speeds than without it.

    This was taken available light, handheld:


    Canon XT/350D. EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. @24mm iso 200, f/7.1, 1/8s
    Last edited by inkista; 05-07-2011 at 01:09 AM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

  5. #5
    RichardTaylor is offline dPS +1000 Club
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    +1 on the I.S.

    If you are shooting,hand held, static subjects in low light it can be a major help.
    It extends your shooting capabilities considerably.

  6. #6
    veritasimagery is offline I'm one of "those" people
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    I got the T3i with the EF-S 18-55, and added the EF-S 55-250. That gives me the ability to cover the range from 18mm to 250mm. I personally prefer to keep my zooms to smaller length differentials. Maybe this comes from the old days where you got better quality that way. A zooms that ranges from 18-200 just never seemed to be as good a lens, image quality wise.

    As you learn with these lenses you will find out what you really want. If you are doing more portrait work, then you'll want to look at a 50mm and/or an 85mm prime that is fast (i.e. f1.4-f1.8). If you end up doing more landscapes or wildlife you may end up want something larger, like a 400mm or bigger.

    And yes, I.S. is great.


    Kevin
    Veritas Imagery NW
    Kevin
    Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS T3i, Canon A-1, Canon AE-1 Program, Various lenses
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    kimbakaye is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Thank you everyone for your replies. I am glad to know that the IS is not just a gimmick. I know that it will not replace my tripod for long exposures, that is not what I was expecting. I do use proper hand holding techniques and always try to stabilize myself as best as possible but having the IS I hope will help in the situations you guys mentioned.

    Thank you inkista for the link to the article on max. aperture. I learned something new . You wrote, "The problem with these larger zoom-range lenses is that they generally are slow" What does that mean? Does it mean they are actually slower to take a picture?
    ~Kim~
    My flickr

  8. #8
    veritasimagery is offline I'm one of "those" people
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    When talking about "fast" and "slow" in regards to lenses it's talking about the aperture. A "fast" lens would be like f1.4, where "slow" would be like f4 or f5.6. It has nothing to do with actual speed.

    Kevin
    Veritas Imagery NW
    Kevin
    Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS T3i, Canon A-1, Canon AE-1 Program, Various lenses
    http://500px.com/VeritasImageryNW/photos
    http://veritasimagerynw.smugmug.com/

  9. #9
    Peggyjom is offline dPS Forum Member
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    I have a 18-135 lens I love it is a great little lens bought it at the same time as the 55-250 and the 55-250 did not have the same image quality.

    I then purchased a 50m 1.8 I use it seldom but hey it was 100.00 bucks no big deal good lens to have has neat bokah.

    My most favorite lens is my 70-200 2.8L is II,, it nevers leave my camera it is versatile and durable. I have a 2x converter I use with it also.

    Don't skimp on your glass even if you don't go L go with the best you can afford try a rental place they often sell lenses and you surely should compare befor you buy!

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimbakaye View Post
    ...Thank you inkista for the link to the article on max. aperture. I learned something new . You wrote, "The problem with these larger zoom-range lenses is that they generally are slow" What does that mean? Does it mean they are actually slower to take a picture?
    Quote Originally Posted by veritasimagery View Post
    When talking about "fast" and "slow" in regards to lenses it's talking about the aperture. A "fast" lens would be like f1.4, where "slow" would be like f4 or f5.6. It has nothing to do with actual speed...
    Well, it has to do with the shutter speed you can get with the max. aperture of the lens. The wider the lens opens up, the faster your shutter speed can go. When someone says they have a fast lens, it generally means the max. aperture is f/2.8 or larger.

    So, yes, a slower lens actually is slower to take a picture, if the max. aperture limit forces you to use a slower shutter speed.
    Last edited by inkista; 05-08-2011 at 01:18 AM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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