Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 51

Thread: Going FF - need to settle on a lens-logic!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    15

    Going FF - need to settle on a lens-logic!

    Hello fellow photographers,

    I'm new here, so please don't trap my soul in your little black boxes...
    I need some help deciding on a new lens-setup after finally selling my trusty old Canon 50D with Canon's 17-55mm IS f/2.8 and Tokina's 11-16mm lenses. So, currently, I own no camera or lenses, and am thus going to start afresh with a fullframe body. I've pretty much settled on a Canon 5D mk2 or even mk1 if necessary, as I'm most keen on spending my money on good lenses. Now for the lenses, which is by far my biggest problem at the moment.

    Starting afresh, I'd like to lay down a better logic behind my lens-buying, than I did when first starting photography (that is to say no logic at all and later on trying to cover all focal lengths possible...). Going through my Lightroom statistics, I find myself using my zoom lenses in their fully extended or retracted positions the most (~90% of the time). I interpret this as a possible indicator that perhaps I should try my luck with primes instead on my next setup. I've never owned a single prime in my life, but I'm not really frightened by the idea of primes only either. They seem to offer significantly better image-quality, light-sensitivity, weight-reductions, and a more compact volume at the sole expense of being able to zoom - which it seems I'm mainly using to circumvent physically switching lenses anyway... But then again, it's always nice to have something that suits every purpose for those impulsive shots, where you just don't have the time to switch lenses.

    I'm mostly using my lenses for travel (backpacking in desolate countries), so I obviously want to keep it as light as possible and am going to limit myself to an absolute max of 3 lenses total - although I'd prefer to start out with just 2 lenses and then get the 3rd one at a later point. Apart from travel-photography, I'd like to experiment some more with light, bokeh, composition and the like in a product-photography-like-style at home, but this is not the main concern for picking lenses. While travelling I enjoy shooting landscapes, as well as documenting the culture (people-photography), but on my old 50D I found the 55mm a bit too short for 'unstaged' or 'unposed' portraits, so I'd prefer something longer for that purpose - while still keeping it subtle (so no big, white super-tele lenses for me ).

    While I really like the ultra-wide look of 11mm on crop, I also find my shots easily become very flat if I don't pay close attention to composition and lines before snapping the photo - perhaps a prime would force me to think things through more thoroughly. A prime in the wide-angle area would also offer some excellent options for night-photography, as well as the ability to play with bokeh (big plus) in the streets and for shots of groups of people. On the other hand, it's not always as easy to 'zoom with your feet' for landscape photography, since a simple 'zoom' may require me soaring into a ridge or walking miles off course to get the intended angle


    I've been juggling with the broad arsenal of Canon-lenses and picked a list of interesting candidates, but I just can't seem to settle on a logic between them:
    - Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 mk2 - decent low-light capabilities and covers a wide span of focal lengths - not quite the same play with DOF as the below contestants though.
    - Canon 24mm f/1.4 II - good low-light capabilities, but can 24mm double for landscape and street photography? Compared to the 35mm, this one has weathersealing from what I can tell.
    - Canon 35mm f/1.4 - again, good low-light capabilities, but can 35mm double for street photography and landscapes?

    - Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro IS - good bokeh, decent low-light, IS, and has macro-capabilities, but supposedly a slowish AF.
    - Canon 135mm f/2.0 - excellent bokeh, good low-light, and with an extender it can double as a proper tele-lens! I'm quite hooked on its bokeh...

    - Canon 24-105 f/4.0 IS - the swiss-knife spanning from 24mm landscapes to 105mm portraits, but never really shining at either function.
    - Canon 70-200 f/4.0 IS - lightweight, good sharpness, but only f/4.0 - perhaps a 135mm with an extender would work just as well.

    I intentionally excluded both the 24-70 f/2.8 and 85/1.2, as I found them too heavy to carry around while travelling. But again, I didn't pick the final list yet, so I'm all ears to good arguments for either of those two or other candidates.
    In general I'd be interested to hear if any of you have undergone the same thought-process of settling on a specific lens-logic, or have any ideas to a logical setup of lenses for travelling. How would you set up a travel-kit for landscapes and people?

  2. #2
    Senior Member FastGass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Beautiful Ferndale Washington.
    Posts
    154
    16-35mm, 24-70mm (II if possible), 70-200mm f/2.8 IS (II if possible). It might seam heavy but it's the closest thing to primes in a zoom package which in a travel situation is extremely important. If you want primes I get them after this kit, it's so versitile and still gets you good bokeh and lowlight capabilities.
    Amateurs worry about gear, pros about the pay, masters about the light, and I just take pictures!

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by FastGass View Post
    16-35mm, 24-70mm (II if possible), 70-200mm f/2.8 IS (II if possible). It might seam heavy but it's the closest thing to primes in a zoom package which in a travel situation is extremely important. If you want primes I get them after this kit, it's so versitile and still gets you good bokeh and lowlight capabilities.
    Do you really think the zoom-capabilities is worth the extra weight when travelling? I'm quite skeptical on especially the 70-200 f/2.8 IS - that's quite a load, when trekking in the mountains.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    East Central Illinois
    Posts
    850
    I would suggest renting one for a bit. I was ready to buy a 70-200mm F4L IS and decided to rent one first. I wasn't happy with the bulk and weight (and it's lighter than the F2.8L). I decided to go with the smaller, lighter 135mm F2 prime and a 1.4x extender. Having said that, I haven't bought either yet, so I can't tell you how well my plan worked.
    Mark - Flickr
    ************************

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    2,905
    I have owned all but two of these on the list. My first thought is this, the new 24-70mm F/2.8L II may be a very wise choice once it hits the market. I have been hoping the IQ would improve enough that I would not mind using it as a carry around vs my 24mm.

    - Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 mk2 - decent low-light capabilities and covers a wide span of focal lengths - not quite the same play with DOF as the below contestants though. An excelent choice, if you own the 24mm and 35mm this one will probably set in your closet. My way of covering this range is with both the 24mm and 35mm. But IMO the two primes give better IQ.

    - Canon 24mm f/1.4 II - good low-light capabilities, but can 24mm double for landscape and street photography? Compared to the 35mm, this one has weathersealing from what I can tell. This is my must have wide prime. In the bag I carry around I have the 70-200mm F/2.8L II and the 24mm F/1.4L II. Yes it is good for landscape and street photography, and it is wide and does take a little work to get the composition you want. It is fast but the IQ drops off significantly if you are shooting at F/1.4.

    - Canon 35mm f/1.4 - again, good low-light capabilities, but can 35mm double for street photography and landscapes? Excellent lens and if I am not using the 24mm II I am using it. Very similar lenses just, similar IQ although the 24mm might edge it only slightly. Same holds true, at F/1.4 the IQ drops. The low F lets you shoot in dark places but your IQ suffers.

    - Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro IS - good bokeh, decent low-light, IS, and has macro-capabilities, but supposedly a slowish AF. Slow AF, bah, compared to what? A super fast prime sure but it is plenty fast enough. Of the lenses you listed this one is a must have IMO.

    - Canon 135mm f/2.0 - excellent bokeh, good low-light, and with an extender it can double as a proper tele-lens! I'm quite hooked on its bokeh... I have never owned it. But many love it. I think it might be a good choice, but if it were the 100mm macro vs the 135 I would go with the macro, because I like macro.

    - Canon 24-105 f/4.0 IS - the swiss-knife spanning from 24mm landscapes to 105mm portraits, but never really shining at either function. I owned it for a bit and returned it. F/4 is a bit slow and if you own the three primes above the range is covered.

    - Canon 70-200 f/4.0 IS - lightweight, good sharpness, but only f/4.0 - perhaps a 135mm with an extender would work just as well. The 135mm doesn't have IS. My first long zoom was the 100-400mm, I wouldn't go without a longer lens. Get the best long zoom you can afford. This one would be fine, others have there benefits as well.


    You excluded the 70-200mm F/2.8L because of weight. I would suggest the 70-200mm F2.8L II and a Black Rapid strap. But honestly it is a huge lens.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by HDNitehawk; 04-08-2012 at 04:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member FastGass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Beautiful Ferndale Washington.
    Posts
    154
    At panopticon.

    Abesolutely yes, I have lost many more shots by not have the right focal length or switching lenses than not wanting to use the lens because of weight in a vacation.
    Amateurs worry about gear, pros about the pay, masters about the light, and I just take pictures!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    2,905
    Quote Originally Posted by panopticon View Post
    Do you really think the zoom-capabilities is worth the extra weight when travelling? I'm quite skeptical on especially the 70-200 f/2.8 IS - that's quite a load, when trekking in the mountains.
    The 70-200mm F/2.8 II would be a good compromise instead of primes. I wouldn't agree with any of the other zooms as I wouldn't be happy with the IQ.

    Really you are comparing two different points of logic.;
    Some people would rather have all the range covered with the best zoom they can get, and deal with the IQ being slightly less than a primes at a paticular length.
    Some people would rather have the best prime that can give the best IQ at a paticular length. That way when they have the chance at a properly framed picture it has the chance of having the quality only a great prime would give , and then they deal with lower IQ because of cropping all other framings if they have to.

    I fall in to the second category. Weight really isn't an issue because to get coverage you are going to have 4 or 5 primes compared to 2 zooms.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    15
    Thanks for all the comments!

    Quote Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
    I would suggest renting one for a bit. I was ready to buy a 70-200mm F4L IS and decided to rent one first. I wasn't happy with the bulk and weight (and it's lighter than the F2.8L). I decided to go with the smaller, lighter 135mm F2 prime and a 1.4x extender. Having said that, I haven't bought either yet, so I can't tell you how well my plan worked.
    I think that might be a good compromise weight-wise, even though I'll miss IS as HDNitehawk notes. Nonetheless I'd be very interested in hearing your experiences with the kit if you plan on executing the plan
    But yes, I'd probably better rent it all before the final buy - just to make sure.

    HDNitehawk:
    Very interesting thoughts! It sounds to me like you prefer the 24mm f/1.4 II over the other wide-angles. As you seem to own both the 24mm and 35mm, I'd like to hear if there are any specific kinds of photos you only use the 35 for and of those shots could essentially be solved with the 24? You definitely got me leaning towards the 24
    I'll give the 100mm macro another look, even though I'm currently quite keen on the 135. As to the longer lenses, I think I'll save those for the third lens-slot, but it's definitely worth checking the options beforehand to make sure it suits the rest of my setup.

    Fastgass:
    Hmm, that comes a bit like a punch to the kidney
    Perhaps I should reconsider the whole primes thing and get an all-round zoom as well. But then I'm afraid I'd just resort to that all the time, and leave my primes on the shelf. Decisions, decisions... Appreciate the input though

    Edit: HDNitehawk managed to sneak another post in before me. Interesting points, I'll have to think about which side I'm leaning more towards.
    Last edited by panopticon; 04-08-2012 at 05:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    2,905
    @panopticon;

    I would use the 35mm if I were inside, taking pictures of the family around the christmas tree. I would use it outside as a walk around when I wanted closer framings of people in street views. I would use it for body shots of people close up.

    I would use the 24mm out and about on the street when I wanted larger views, or with landscapes. The 24mm can do people shots as well but you have to be close. I almost always prefer the 24mm over the 35mm for landscapes.

    Any more when I go out, it has gotten to be more of a feeling of which I would prefer. I find myself thinking, the 24mm is going to be to wide, or the 35mm would be to narrow for what I want to do. Keep in mind that together they replaced my 16-35mm F/28L II, individually there would be a gap.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    15
    You guys are really getting the inside of my skull spinning - it's good to know the machinery still works

    As to the previous discussion about the logic behind primes vs zooms: I believe I am essentially moving towards the "best possible IQ under good conditions and below-par results at the remaining conditions"-end of the scale rather than the "optimum IQ under all possible conditions"-end. Especially considering how my kit is going to be centered around travelling, I just dont think the other option would work. I'd probably leave lenses behind due to weight and miss shots under any circumstances. Well, unless I got a superzoom to avoid missing anything, but the quality of the shots would simply keep me from bothering with the kit altogether...

    HDNitehawk:
    It's an incredibly helpful comment, I'll think about it. An idea would be to start with the 24mm and expand to the 35mm down the road, if I find a need for it. Alternatively I can always resort to the 16-35 and sell the 24 if I miss the 35, but can't overcome the weight of both lenses (and assuming I won't miss the extra light).

    Edit: Out of curiosity, what do you (HDNitehawk) use to cover the remaining focal lengths in the spectrum?
    Last edited by panopticon; 04-08-2012 at 06:05 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •