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Thread: Purchasing 7D - please help with lenses!!!!

  1. #11
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    First off, my kit:
    7D, EFs15-85, EF 70-300L, Samyang 35/1.4, EF 50/1.8ii, EF 85/1.8. I got the 7D, 15-85, 70-300nonL when I was still planning on travelling a lot (the 70-300nonL was nice and light, but I didn't like the IQ at 300mm so got the L after 6 months), then I picked up the primes variously when not travelling much anymore. Personally, i'd buy this exact kit again.

    Firstly, 'normal' zoom options, as most people have said are:
    EFs 15-85 - longer and wider than the f/2.8 lenses, if I could have only one lens ever, it'd be this.
    EF 17-55 f/2.8 or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 NON-VC (IQ of the VC is not as good) - get these if you want to do indoors shots, or people at night. Tamron is a lot cheaper, but less well built.
    EF 24-105 f/4L - Only consider this in conjunction with an ultrawide-zoom. Only weather-sealed one here.
    EF 24-70 f/2.8L - It's a brick, not a travel lens.
    You mentioned taking photos at night, like architecture. For that, you want higher DOF and so f/2.8 isn't that useful, you'll be around f/5.6-11, and any of those lenses will be great there.

    'Ultrawide' zooms (lots of options, best of the bunch are):
    Sigma 8-16 (widest it gets, but slowest aperture, not that you need fast aperture for landscapes)
    Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 (better IQ than the f/3.5 version, at least at 10mm corners)
    Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 (fastest aperture, good IQ)
    EFs 10-22 (best all-round compromise of the aboves, but most expensive)
    For me with the EFs 15-85, i'm most considering the Tokina or Sigma 8-16. I can't decide (nor afford) hence I don't have an ultrawide yet, and in most cases 15mm is wide enough. If you go the 24-105 route, then the sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 and EFs 10-22 become more viable options.

    Long zoom:
    EFs 55-250 - smallest and lightest of this list, IQ isn't so bad, and great value for the price.
    EF 70-300nonL - nice and light, IQ at 300mm isn't so great.
    EF 70-300L - Great IQ, smaller than the 70-200s, longer, weather sealed, and built like a tank.
    EF 70-200L 2.8/4 IS/nonIS - non IS are about half the price of the IS version, but not sealed. f/4 are half the price of the f/2.8 versions. f/2.8 versions are not exactly travel weight/sized.
    EF 100-400L - Longest it gets in canon-brand zooms, packs shorter than the 70-200s, costs more than 70-300L, and if you get a 17-50/55 you might miss a bit of length in between. Older than the 70-300L, not as good weather sealing and IS, but IQ is still up there.

    Primes:
    TS-E 17/24 - Great IQ, and purpose-built for architecture and landscapes. Too specialist and too expensive for my tastes, I highly recommend if you can afford them, but maybe hold off for after the trip, they'll take a lot of getting used to and practising.
    Samyang/CanonL 35/1.4 - Both great IQ, Samyang better in the FF corners, canon slightly better in the centre, Samyang is manual focus only so not good for fast action, canonL costs 2-3x as much.
    Zeiss primes - They're all great IQ, they're all manual focus, they're all expensive, they're all built like a tank, they're all heavy. I'd buy if I could afford, but maybe not travel-worthy.
    Sigma 30/1.4 and canon 35/2 - Both great small travel lenses, but IQ is not the best, especially wide open.
    Canon 50/1.8ii and 50/1.4 - The 1.4 is better wider-open, but has weird problems like coma. The 1.8ii is a bit of a 'my-first-prime' for lots of people (including me), can be sharper in places than the 1.4, nice and cheap and small.
    85mm of various brands - only if you want to do portraits or indoor sports which you didn't mention. EF 85/1.8 is best value, but for travelling i'd leave it at home anyway.

    hmmm, so where does that leave us?
    the 10-20/22 + 24-105 is going to take more space and weight in your bag, but you get a weather-sealed normal zoom and biggest range. Changing lenses can get annoying, especially in adverse conditions (or in the presence of an impatient partner).
    Any of the 15-85 or 17-50/55 will do you as good as each other. I'd go the 15-85 for landscapes, only go the f/2.8s for low DOF shots like portraits/indoors/low-light shots. For me the 15mm is wide enough for landscapes, I'd recommend holding off on an ultrawide zoom for now until you really decide you need wider (you can always stitch photos together to get wider-views).

    For a long zoom, what do you want one for? Portraits, 70-200 f/2.8nonL. Walkaround 70-200 f/4 IS or nonIS. Best of everything 70-200 f/2.8 IS II with a few teleconverters (how deep are your pockets?). Birds and generally anything further away 70-300L or 100-400L.
    For my money the 70-300L is the best travel compromise of length, speed, size, weight, and price.
    But for you buying your first camera/lenses, I'd actually recommend the EFs 55-250. It's cheap, it's light, the IQ is really good for the price, it doesn't leave a gap if you get a 17-55, and unless you really really like birds or need a faster aperture it's really good value. You can always get whichever L later on, and not lose too much selling it.

    Primes, i'd go the 50/1.4 or 50/1.8ii, although on a 7D they're a bit more of a portrait length. I highly recommend the Samyang for stitching panoramic landscapes (see my thread elsewhere), but it's not really a small/light travel lens (i'd agonise for ages if I had to travel and decide whether to take this), and not so useful for action needing auto-focus.
    I'd actually just recommend holding off on anything wider than 50mm until you get to know your kit better.
    The TSE 17/24 are of course perfect, but take some learning, and I personally wouldn't travel with them if i did have them.

    Don't forget you need to budget for other things too. A good bag makes a lot of difference, I've got a Lowepro 350AW, fits a lot of gear (or some gear plus lunch/water/clothes) and a laptop/books. Tripod is highly recommended, especially for long-exposure, narrow aperture, low ISO night landscapes. My gorillapod SLR-Zoom with a simple screw-on Cullman ballhead is good for travel, but you can't always find a fence/post in the right location. Lightweight Carbon tripods are good for travel, like manfrotto 190-series (but they're not the tallest), 55-series are taller and a lot pricier.
    You absolutely must get an RC-6 remote, especially for tripod-mounted shots. Best €20 I ever spent.
    Also, a Circular Polariser, CPL, will make your photos just that much better. B+W MRC or the more expensive Hoyas are the ones to go for.
    A flash is recommended, but not mandatory. If you get an EFs 15-85 with a flash, you can take better indoor group portraits than just a 17-50/55 f/2.8 by itself. Takes some learning, but well worth it.

    also: Don't Forget Insurance!
    Last edited by Dr Croubie; 11-17-2011 at 10:20 PM.

  2. #12
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Willo, You have lots of good info and some solid recommendations from all. One comment you made seems to stand out "Regardless of price - what are my best options?" If this is truly the case then you are in a great position to make some solid choices, but you probably need to ask yourself a couple of questions first:

    1. Do you just need this equipment for some nice trip pics or is this going to be a serious hobby/passion for you in the future?

    2. Are you confidant that you are going to stick with a crop body camera or are you interested in going full frame or pro body in the near future.

    Since your here (on TDP), I am going to assume the latter is true on both accounts and base my recommendations on that. Regardless of your financial situation, there is no need to spend $1000's unless you are in this for the long haul. If you really are a serious enthusiast and you have a "very" nice checking account balance the following would be my recommendations:

    1. (and most importantly): Don't max out your credits cards on equipment, your going to need food, water and a t-shirt during this trip as well----seriously, there are less expensive options that will render some very nice travel photos.

    2. General purpose walk around lens: The 16-35 f 2.8L II, is a very highly regarded lens, Excellent IQ, good for low light, medium weight, has a very useful zoom range, will work well with the 7D and be outstanding on a full size sensor body

    3. Longer range zoom Lens: 70-200 f2.8L IS II----Hard to beat this one, even as a walk around lens---Its big, heavy, and makes a statement when you pull it out of the bag, but the IQ is again excellent and this is probably one you will use for a long time after you return from the far east. Another highly regarded lens.

    4. Normal Lens: The top two lenses will serve most of your purposes, but, as you mentioned, a solid prime is also beneficial. The Canon 50 1.4 should serve you well.

    Regardless of your lens choices, I have a couple more pieces of advice. The countries you are visiting are very poor countries---I can guarentee there is someone there that wants your equipment more than you do. Find a good bag, preferably canvas (doesn't cut as easily as nylon), that doesn't look like a camera bag--Crumpler has some nice bags that meet these requirements.

    Someone else said insurance, I agree, insurance, insurance, did I say insurance?, yes you need insurance.

    Don't forget about the little stuff, battery grip, Flash, CF Cards, batteries etc---good, solid tripod is beneficial, but difficult to carry around--monopod should work for most things except night work.

    Sounds like your going to be traveling alot and this stuff gets heavy, are you sure you don't want to go with a good point and shoot.

    Good luck with your decisions and be sure and let us know how you decide-----most importantly, share your photos when you return.

    Welcome to TDP,
    Bob

  3. #13
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    Dearest All,
    Wow - what can I say, I never expected such a great response. It is certainly plenty of information there to assist with my decision.

    I should have been a little more specific about my budget - what I meant was that I didn't want to just buy any old cheap lens as I would rather outlay the money initially as it seems that plenty of camera users always buy cheaper lenses but then upgrade within a month or two!

    There are some fantastic tips there that I never would have considered like bags / tripods etc so once again thank you.

    I have always loved photography, but for some reason or another (work / social life etc) I never really purchased a decent camera. I have an ixus point and shoot that I took all through Europe last year and looking back on my trip I really wish that I had a half decent camera for that trip. I also have more time on my hands now and I cant play rugby league anymore (getting too old - 35!!) so I need a new hobby and this is something I can do for the rest of my life!!!

    I will seriously consider all of the information that you have provided and let you know what I finally come up with. Once again, thanks a million.

    PS.......this may sound like a dumb question but remember I am only starting out here (haha) - are lens hoods and filters imperative??

    I really have no idea about filters etc!!!

    thanks again

  4. #14
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    Neither are no. A hood will help some towards avoiding lens glare, and is generally advised (also goes some way to protecting your lens (depending on the lens) so that you don't need the lens cap on all the time.

    Filters do nothing except provide you with a cheaper front surface than the lens itself. If it's likely to get dirty or come into contact with something (like a cloth to clean a direty lens) then it'd better be a £30-50 filter than the front of a £300+ lens. Adding another layer of glass, they also impact image quality a tiny fraction, as such, it's best not to buy a dirt cheap one if you do choose to use one.

    Using both, I find I rarely use my lens cap, as my lens front element is suitably protected most of the time, and I can shoot with much less time faffing.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Rocco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ham View Post
    Filters do nothing except provide you with a cheaper front surface than the lens itself.
    ..almost. They're also required to complete weather sealing for "L" lenses that have that feature. Not to mention the different types of lens filters out there.. Grad ND, ND, Polarizer, UV, etc.
    Last edited by Rocco; 11-18-2011 at 08:20 AM.
    Adobe, give us courage to edit what photos must be altered, serenity to delete what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.
    Canon EOS 7D - Canon EF-s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM - Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro - PCB Einsteins & PW Triggers

  6. #16
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    Of course. Someone slap me, or better, give me some coffee.

    That has always confused me though, why is a filter needed to complete L weather sealing? Could they not be designed to be sealed without the need for a filter?

  7. #17
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    Team,

    Just a quick one..

    Is the 15-85mm capable of capturing the same photographs as those displayed in the image gallery of the 24-105mm???

    In particular the waterfall / beaches / landscape pics??

    http://www.thedigitalpicture.com/Gal...-USM-Lens.aspx

  8. #18
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weewillo View Post
    Team,

    Is the 15-85mm capable of capturing the same photographs as those displayed in the image gallery of the 24-105mm???

    In particular the waterfall / beaches / landscape pics??
    In my opinion, yes, the same or very similar. But note that Bryan was using a 1Ds camera body to take those photos. If there is a difference in image quality, my guess is that it is much less due to the 15-85 vs the 24-105, but more due to using a FF pro body. Also, don't forget the skills of the photographer involved.

    In a post yesterday or the day before, John/Neuro commented that the quality of the direct photo uploads wasn't as good as those posted through flickr. So I am finally in the process of setting up a flickr account. All the photos I've uploaded so far were taken with a 15-85 on a 7D. Give me 10 minutes and I'll upload a few more to give you an idea of what the body-lens combo can do in the hands of a ...err...me.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayaker72/

    Edit: One of the things I do when evaluating which lens to buy, besides consulting this forum and reading online reviews, is scroll through the flickr "group" for that lens. I think it gives a sense of what a lot of different types of photographers can accomplish with the lens.
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/canon1585/ andhttp://www.flickr.com/groups/canon_17-55mm/

    Every lens I've ever looked for has a "group." I hope that helps.....
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 11-18-2011 at 01:12 PM.

  9. #19
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weewillo View Post
    Dearest All,
    I have an ixus point and shoot that I took all through Europe last year and looking back on my trip I really wish that I had a half decent camera for that trip. I also have more time on my hands now and I cant play rugby league anymore (getting too old - 35!!) so I need a new hobby and this is something I can do for the rest of my life!!!
    Sounds like a trip we took to Africa. The 10x superzoom P&S delivered some great pictures, but in hindsight, they could have been much better. But for me, what really spurred by entrée into dSLR photography was having a child - the AF and shutter lag with a P&S just became intolerable. Still, like Bob suggested, I 'tested the waters' by starting with an entry-level body (T1i/500D) in 2009. Knowing the importance of lens over body from my days shooting film (before autofocus lenses, to put it in perspective), I eschewed the kit lens and got an EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS (which I still have) for general use and an EF 85mm f/1.8 for portraits (which I subsequently replaced with an EF 85mm f/1.2L II). After a short time, I was confident that this was something I'll be doing for the rest of my life, and the gear list began to grow...

    Quote Originally Posted by weewillo View Post
    are lens hoods and filters imperative??
    I think so, yes. Granted...you can take pictures without either. But a hood does two things - offers some protection for your lens (from fingers, branches, and while changing lenses), and improves the contrast in your images (particularly outdoor shots on bright days).

    Filters can be important, too. They used to be a lot more important - in the film days, they were used to compensate for color, because film came in specific color temperatures (aka white balance), and sometimes you needed to shoot under light that didn't match your film; they were also used for effects in black-and-white photography. Today with digital, auto WB and Photoshop make those uses unnecessary. UV filters played an important role with film, too, since film is sensitive to UV light, sunny days meant hazy images and the UV filters reduced that. Again, today's digital sensors are essentially insensitive to UV light, meaning a UV filter doesn't help your images.

    Basically, there are 3-4 types of filters you'd want to consider using with a dSLR. UV/clear for protection, and the others are for effects that cannot be duplicated in post-processing.
    • UV/clear
    • Polarizing
    • Neutral density
    • Graduated neutral density
    UV/Clear - these are solely for protection. There's lots of debate over whether they help or not, and I won't bother going there. Personally, I use them. If nothing else, they are easier to clean than the front element of most lenses (which is why the very newest Canon lenses have fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements). If you do decide to use UV filters, be sure to get a good quality filter - cheap ones will degrade your image quality. Look for B+W (MRC or Nanocoat), or the high-end Hoya (SHMC or Pro1). You'll want one for every lens, and in some cases it can add upwards of $100 to the purchase (the sum cost of all of my UV filters would pay for a 24-105mm lens!).

    Polarizing - can add lots of 'pop' to your images, more saturated colors, reduce/eliminate reflections, etc. Be sure to get a circular polarizing filter (CPL; linear polarizers affect autofocus). If you'll be shooting landscapes, I'd definitely recommend a CPL.

    Neutral density - main use is to allow you to shoot at shutter speeds slower than otherwise possible for the conditions - these are how the waterfall shots that you like have the moving water blurred. I find a 3-stop filter is usually sufficient for waterfalls, though a 6-stop would work, too. I also use a 10-stop filter for architectural shots - that allows a shutter time of 30-60 seconds for a daytime shot, which 'subtracts' the people moving through the scene. Another use is when shooting with a fast lens and using fill flash in daylight (without an ND, the slow shutter speed necessitated by flash sync would mean a blown out scene, although high-speed sync is another option there if your flash supports it). For waterfalls, one of these is almost a must. Even if you can get the right exposure by stopping down, going to f/16 or f/22 on an APS-C sensor is going to have a noticeable effect on the image sharpness, due to diffraction.

    Graduated neutral density - compensates for uneven lighting of sky vs. ground in landscape photography; arguable if this is reproducible in post - not identically, certainly, but HDR photography is a substitute (and in some cases, e.g. complex horizons, superior). I'd hold off on these, and I consider them 'advanced' filters. There are circular ones that screw onto your lens - convenient, but useless IMO - they force you to place your horizon in the center of the image, which almost certainly is not where you want it. So, for grad NDs you'd want a rectangular holder and large filters, less convenient, but the way to go for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ham View Post
    That has always confused me though, why is a filter needed to complete L weather sealing? Could they not be designed to be sealed without the need for a filter?
    There have been lots of debates about this 'requirement'. The answer is that a filter is definitely required to complete the sealing of some L lenses, possibly required for others, and not required for some. The lenses that unquestionably require a filter are those lenses with exposed 'internally moving' elements, i.e. an inner barrel that moves behind the plane of the filter. That includes the UWA zooms (16-35L II, 17-40) where the zoom elements move, and the 50/1.2 where the front focus elements move. In those cases, the instruction manual specifies the need for a filter. It would probably be possible to design around that requirement, but for the UWa zooms, for example, it would mean a different lens design that would be larger and much more expensive.

    The lenses that definitely do not require a filter for sealing are the supertele lenses - their front elements are too large/don't take filters (they use drop-ins), so Canon seals them. The debatable ones are all the other L lenses that are 'sealed' - lenses like the 24-105mm, 24-70mm, 100mm Macro IS, 70-200mm IS zooms, etc. The 100-400mm is a semi-sealed lens (no mount gasket, but switches and zoom/focus rings have sealing), and Chuck Westfall recommends using a filter with that lens in wet conditions. I figure it's better to use a filter on them, just in case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    One of the things I do when evaluating which lens to buy, besides consulting this forum and reading online reviews, is scroll through the flickr "group" for that lens.

    A related option is http://www.pixel-peeper.com/adv/ where you can search for images with a specific lens on a specific camera, and even select specific apertures, etc.
    Last edited by neuroanatomist; 11-18-2011 at 12:58 PM.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by weewillo View Post
    Team,

    Just a quick one..

    Is the 15-85mm capable of capturing the same photographs as those displayed in the image gallery of the 24-105mm???

    In particular the waterfall / beaches / landscape pics??

    http://www.thedigitalpicture.com/Gallery/Canon-EF-24-105mm-f-4-L-IS-USM-Lens.aspx
    Yes it could. But like Kayaker said, they were captured using a full frame 1D III camera and of course Bryan's skill level. The full frame camera is going to give an increase in image quality. Whether the lens will or not, you can go to the review tools on this site and compare the ISO charts of each lens to determine which one you think does better.

    Yes in my opinion hoods and filters are imperative. Hoods keep stray light out, if you want the best quality you can get you should use it. Basic filters just protect your investment. Neuro gave you a description of several different filters, which if you are just starting out if you try and understand all the different types you are going to get overwhelmed. Things like polarizer’s and neutral density filters will help you do certain tasks with your camera. A basic filter is just clear glass that protects your front lens, some people use them and some do not. Personally I keep one on my lens in case it gets hit, if I want really good IQ on a particular subject I will take it off.

    As for weather sealing of your lens with a filter, I have to say people talk about this all the time but for the most part I almost never get my gear in a situation where it is an issue. If you want to take pictures in the rain, off a boat, in a rain forest take in to consideration. If you’re like some of you guard your gear like it is a baby and it will never get tested.

    You still didn't provide a budget in your response, not that were being nosey but it would help everyone give you recommendations if they knew how much you were going to lay out. Keep in mind when we can't buy new gear for ourselves, we live vicariously through others helping them spend their money....

    Good Luck

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