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Which Canon long zoom for a D350?
#1
Hey guys,

ok.. here's the deal. I need opinions and advice..

I have AU$2500 all-up to spend on a new DSLR, including lenses and accessories.

I have put in an order for a Canon 350D with 17-55mm kit lens (AU$1469), Canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens (AU$138) and 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens (AU$789), plus a few bits and pieces like a remote, adding up to about $2500 total.

The camera is not in stock yet (probably another week or two), but although I have placed my order, I can make changes to the order between now and when the camera comes in stock.
I could even cancel the camera and change to a D70 or 20D if I really wanted to (but I'd need some convincing to do that). For me, the 350D has everything I need for a lot less $$$ than a 20D, it addresses the things I don't like about the 300D, and produces better results than the D70 IMHO. This is a very subjective thing, but this post isn't about my camera choice, it is about lenses.

So.. given that I'll stick with the 350D (unless I can be convinced otherwise), I'm interested to hear opinions on getting a long lens with the camera and trying to stick to my budget. I am keeping the 18-55mm kit lens for everyday stuff (at least until I can afford something better), and am also getting a 50mm f1.8 for low-light stuff (unless my long lens blows the budget, in which case I can get the 50mm lens later coz it is dirt cheap).

But it is the long lens that has me over a barrel.
Here are my realistic choices with Canon EF lenses, with pro's and cons:

1) Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 (non-IS) - cheap at AU$317, but slow and pretty nasty. This would give me heaps of focal length (480mm full-frame equiv) and the price is excellent, but I know I probably wouldn't be satisfied with the results. The biggest "pro" about this lens is that it gives me a 300mm (480mm equiv) zoom to use while I save up for a better lens.

2) Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM - at $789 this lens is still cheap compared to any "L" lens, but too expensive to be considered a "temporary" lens like the choice above might be. Basically the same (ordinary) optics as the lens above, but the IS will certainly make up for the slowness of the lens when I don't have a tripod handy. I chose this lens based on the principle that it doesn't matter how good the optics of a lens are, any photo from a 300mm lens can be ruined by camera-shake. I'd rather get a sharp photo through a bad lens than get an shaky blurred one through a good lens.

3) Canon 70-200mm f4 L - This 320mm full-frame equiv lens is $1149 and actually blows my budget, but I can put-off buying the 50mm f1.8 until later to save myself $140, and probably just scrape the rest of the money together. The obvious advantage of this lens is that it's an L-series lens and so has much better optics, plus it is f4 right up to 200mm. There are also a few other things like it is rear-focusing and AF will work properly through a polarising filter. The disadvantage (apart from price) is that it cuts 100mm (160mm full-fram equiv) off the tele-end, and it doesn't have IS, so even though it is faster, camera-shake will be more of an issue. This is annoying, but the "missing" focal length is the big disadvantage to me.

My current digital camera (Olympus C750UZ) has a 38-380mm (35mm equiv) lens, and I also have a 1.7x teleconverter for it.
I often use it right at the tele end of the zoom (380mm), but strangely enough I don't use the teleconverter anywhere near as often as I thought I would. I think this is mainly because it's a PITA to fit - I have to remove filters and screw it on the end of the lens like a big filter, and then I have to remove it if I want to zoom out much (as vignetting becomes visible at about 2/3 focal length). For bird/wildlife photography, the time it takes to take the converter on and off means I miss shots. For landscape photography when I have the time to switch easily, I find I don't need to use it.

So having a single lens that zooms right into a 480mm (equiv) would just be luxurious, but if it only went into 320mm (equiv) then it wouldn't be much different to my current Oly without the converter, and I can live with that.
I guess I could also get a 1.4x teleconvter for the 200mm lens, but from the results I've seen with sample images, it degrades the image quality to be slightly worse than the 75-300mm lenses... and still with no IS.
I know the IS would be useful as I hate it when I lose shots at long focal lengths due to camera shake. But I also know that this whole issue should be less of a problem with a decent DSLR and lens compared to my current Oly, and can be reduced with a monopod or eliminated with a tripod.

Decisions decisions..

$317 for the cheap lens gets me up and running and I won't feel bad about selling the lens later, but what's the point in buying a lens if it is rubbish and I only intend to keep it for a short while?
$789 is too much to "throw away" on a lens I will want to replace in under 12 months, but will it's optical quality be good enough to keep me happy? I've heard mixed reports about this lens ranging from "quite ordinary" to "really good".
$1149 is a lot to spend on a lens if I find it doesn't reach as far as I need it to (and so would still need to buy a longer lens or teleconverter), and it doesn't have IS, but the majority of my shots would probably look best with this lens as it has great optics, and I can take a tripod to most places I photograph - I'm just currently too lazy not to. I could probably just keep an "emergency" tripod permanently in the car if necessary, and one of the important accessories I will be getting is a backpack. Plus, this is where having an 8mp camera gives me the luxury to crop the image down to 4mp if I have to and basically produce the equivalent of a 1.5x teleconverter. My Oly is proof that a 4mp image still looks great at 8x10", and 4mp of DSLR image will kick butt over 4mp of Oly image as far as noise, colour and sharpness goes.

I guess if my intention is to start building a good collection of lenses, then I should get the 70-200mm L-series lens. But I do this stuff for fun, not for a living. The only person I have to please is myself (and maybe my family). I'm sure that any of these lenses will look immesurably better than my current Oly, and I don't want to throw money away if the non-L lens will look 99.9999% as good.
If I get the 70-200 (and don't get the 50mm f1.8 for now), then I still end up $200 over-budget (with the same accessories), and don't get the lovely fast prime with the camera. I can stretch to that.. just.. but even the $2500 budget is more than I originally wanted to spend!

Advice?
Opinions?
Other options?

I haven't looked too closely at lenses from other manufacturers, but I'm happy to consider them if their quality is better than the cheap 75-300mm canon lens (and assume they'd probably be a bit cheaper).

Thanks
Adrian

ps: Ooops, I noticed after clicking "submit" that I wrote "D350" in the subject instead of "350D". It seems once a thread is created, I can't delete or rename it?
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#2
I want to please myself too;
I shoot for fun;

I also wanted a long focal length lens;
I decided to go for the L series one, as I thought that it'll be a waste to have a cheaper one, able to have the 'reach', but if it gives very soft pictures, or isn't good at that focal length, I'll avoid using it. Then if I buy the cheaper one, I won't be happy with it, and will end up going for the more expensive one (L) in the end anyway, so I'll end up spending more and should just buy the L.
So I was planning to buy the 70-200 f/4L in December.
Reasons for choosing this over the f/2.8L was that it was a lot cheaper and lighter (easier to carry around); then once again, I changed my mind and realised that I'll do a lot of stuff indoors where the lighting always the best, so having an extra stop would be an advantage, and since it's going to be a heavy lens, IS would help, especially when zoomed out to 200mm. (for places that would not allow tripod);
So now I'm wanting of 70-200 f/2.8L IS and haven't changed my mind since then (apart from that period where I was considering telephoto primes).

As you probably all know, many months have passed since I decided that, and still haven't bought! It's a lot cheaper overseas, and just waiting to go (or my father to go for me) Smile

I managed to make my decisions change just by thinking that if I buy the cheaper quality one, if I'm not satisfied, I'll go for the better one in the end, and having to end up spending more (by having to buy both); Having said that, I've seen some really good shots (in terms of sharpness) coming from those other lenses you listed above, like the 75-300 with IS.

These are just my thoughts..
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#3
Adrian, it sounds like you really want 300mm. I think ultimately you'll be disappointed not having it.

You can add a 1.4x TC to the 70-200, or for about the same price as those two combined you can consider the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 which reportedly has great optics throughout the focal range.

Or you can live with the 70-200 and zoom further with your feet ...
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Everybody got to elevate from the norm!
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#4
If I was choosing I would pick the 70-200 f4 it is a joy to use with beautiful tonality and its responsive. Plus the image quality through the zoom is very sharp even down at f4

If you wanted you could always add a 1.4x converter to get your extra reach.

If you think you can live with the image quality from the 75-300 then go for it and save yourself some money but given time I'm sure you will be disappointed.

Unfortunately I don't know of any decent alternatives in this range as the gap between cheap and expensive lenses is rather huge.
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#5
I think Mitch was suggesting the Sigma 50-500 and the Canon 100-400 in this thread...

Personally, I wouldn't agonise too much over a lens which you probably would only use 10% of the time (unless you were an avid sports shooter or bird shooter). I'd rather spend more money on a quality standard zoom which I would have on my camera 90% of the time.
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#6
Yes, those are alternatives too, but even further out of Adrian's price range. Wink
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Everybody got to elevate from the norm!
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#7
Zooming with your feet is not always possible, especially when trying to walk up a tree or through a fence (or even into someones windowBig Grin jkjk)
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#8
If you're not in a rush, can save a bit longer and get better one Smile
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#9
Thanks for the input guys, muchly appreciated. Smile

Adam, I'm glad its not just me that seems to change my mind every day over these things Wink

It's funny, but reading over these responses it feels like I really want someone to convince me to get the 70-200 L lens. Which means that I think I really want to get the 70-200 L myself.

I remember when I first got my Olympus, I thought the images were "incredible". Then, after about 6 months I genuinely started to believe something had happened to the senser, as my images seemed to all have increasing amounts of noise in them.
After checking back through my early images, I could see the noise was always there, but I was blind to the limitations of the lens initially simply because I would concentrate on all the things it does well.
I think the same will be true now. Whatever lens I get, I'll be really happy with initially... but 6 months down the track is when I'll be mumbling and grumbling about the poor image quality of the 75-300, or the poor reach of the 70-200.
The poor reach of the 200 can be fixed with a teleconverter, but the poor image quality of the 300 can't be fixed without buying a different lens.

Of the two, I think I should perhaps take note of the principle of getting the best quality lens I can afford, and switch to the 70-200 L.
Apparently there is a good Tamron 1.4x teleconverter available a lot cheaper than the cannon, which will give me the extra length if I can't live without it. Sure it will drop the quality, but at least I will have the best quality in the 70-200 range which is where I'll still use it most.

StudioJ, I'm not sure if it is just me (as I don't take a lot of portraits), but I tend to take a lot more than 10% of my shots at these kind of focal lengths (maybe even 50%?). I think I must have tunnel vision or something, coz when I look around me I tend to visualise things natrually at a long focal length (ie zoomed and flattened). It will be quite interesting for me to start taking some wide-angle shots at 17mm or smaller (I'd really like to get my hands on the EF-S 10-22mm lens, but not for a while), as I still tend to misjudge scale and perspective somewhat when I visualise these wider shots.

Adam is right that zooming with my feet is not always possible, but I can still do it more than I currently do. I'm pretty lazy really Wink

Thanks for your help guys.
Adrian
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#10
When I first got my 300D, the images were so nice, so sharp, so good!
Then it seemed to get worse (when it's probably exactly the same as when I bought it).

and also after holding/using L, it seems to have got me wanting... Tongue
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#11
I just sent through instructions to change my order from the 75-300 f4-5.6 IS USM (and 50mm f1.8 USM) and switch to the 70-200 f4 L USM lens.

I've blown my budget, but I've never heard anybody say "don't buy an L lens, the quality isn't worth it". Mind you, I've heard plenty of people say things along the lines of "DO buy an L lens, you will always appreciate the quality, and soon forget the hole it left in your wallet".

The mixed reports I've heard about the 75-300 IS USM make me think the quality varies a little from copy to copy, but nowhere have I heard that even the best copies equal an L-series lens at any length or aperture. And they are renowned for being very soft in the 200-300 range. The IS feature is really its only saving grace when compared to the 70-200 L, and that is nullified by a tripod.

Its a shame I had to drop the 50mm f1.8 prime for the moment in order to stay close to my budget, but at under AU$150 I can afford that lens any time I guess (if I can find it, seems to be getting a bit hard to get hold of these days).

Now I just have to wait.. wait.. wait..

I just hope my skills can justify the optics Wink A rubbish picture is still rubbish even if its sharp. Big Grin As the saying goes, "You can't polish a turd... But even if you try, its still a turd".

Cheers
Adrian
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#12
Wonderful Smile Surely you'll enjoy it when it comes! Luckily the 350D isn't in stock yet and it gave you some time to change your mind; What's the ETA? Hopefully it comes soon Smile Otherwise it might give you more time to change your mind againTongue

One may take a picture, which is technically perfect in terms of exposure and focus; but 'why speak when you've got nothing to say'? Having said this... I'm always talking jibberish (in terms of photographs, and some may say in real life as well)
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#13
Wooohoo! Let us know how you go, Adrian!
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#14
adam Wrote:Wonderful Smile Surely you'll enjoy it when it comes! Luckily the 350D isn't in stock yet and it gave you some time to change your mind; What's the ETA? Hopefully it comes soon Smile Otherwise it might give you more time to change your mind againTongue

One may take a picture, which is technically perfect in terms of exposure and focus; but 'why speak when you've got nothing to say'? Having said this... I'm always talking jibberish (in terms of photographs, and some may say in real life as well)

haha.. yeah I'm sure I will enjoy it Adam Smile And I'll probably change my mind 3 or 4 times before it arrives, but that's alright.. there is no "right answer" I guess.

Your "why speak when you've got nothing to say" analogy is a little less vulger than my turd metaphor. Wink

Although I say "I hope my skills justify the optics", ironically the decisive moment behind me choosing to upgrade my camera had nothing to do with me wanting to become a better photographer.
My grandfather died late last year, and as part of the funeral we arranged a photo-board with a collection of several hundred photos spanning his life.
It was simply amazing. Of course the photos didn't just tell the story of his life, but also the whole family.
While the photos were all together (we had gone through the collections of several family members to find the best ones), I took the opportunity to scan about 300 of them for safekeeping and to distribute copies to other family.
While I was going through the scanning and (still unfinished) clean-up process, I was simply amazed at the quality of some of the very old photos (50+ years) of things such as my grandparents' wedding, etc. They had faded, but I was gob-smacked by the resolution, sharpness and overall quality considering their age.
In contrast, I was equally dismayed at many of the photos taken during the 80's when point and shoot, focus-free, and cheap processing were all the rage with my family.
I decided then and there that I should try to make all my future family photos the best quality I could afford.
In 50 years time, I want to look back at photos I'm taking now and get the same feeling those photos of my grandparents gave me. I just hope the dye used in DVD-R's will last that long, and we can still view jpg's (I doubt we'll still be using RAW's, but I'm sure jpg's will be as universal as text files).
hehe.. we'll probably be blowing dust off the old PC and our grandkids will laugh and look at it in the same way we look at reel-to-reel tape recorders today.

While that is the reason I used to justify the cost, the fact is that I will get the most use and short-term enjoyment (instant gratification) out of the camera pursuring my photography hobby. <sigh> Life's tough Rolleyes

Oh, and ST, you can bet I'll let you know how the lens is... and the camera Wink

Cheers
Adrian
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#15
I was very skeptical of "L" glass until I got that lens, at which point I became an L snob.

Of course, then I got a very disappointing copy of the 17-40L and so now I'm a partial skeptic again... Big Grin

The only problem with the 70-200 f/4 is that it's a little limited for indoor use, especially with natural light. But it's great for outdoors.

[Image: 35011149.jpg]

200mm, f/5, 1/200s, ISO 200, fill flash.
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Everybody got to elevate from the norm!
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#16
ooo.. lovely slej. thanks for posting that pic. Beautiful detail and colour, and a lovely background too.
Of course, with a 640x480 image, I'd be worried if I could see major defects in even the kit lens!

I realise the limitation of using the f/4 lens indoors, but no way can I justify the extra $1000 for the 70-200 f/2.8 L (without IS), and the size/weight
The 50mm f/1.8 will be my next purchase (soon, as it is cheap), and that will be my main "indoor" lens I reckon.
I don't have a *lot* of use for a long indoor zoom - candid portraits of family/friends/cats mainly (all slow-moving). But I know it won't be good for indoor sports photography, even with a tripod. But I would prefer to photograph outdoor sports anyway (and sports photography is an area I plan to do a lot of practice in).

But if that image of yours is an indication of what I can expect in terms of image quality, then I can't wait!

Thanks
Adrian
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#17
I have a cheap 70-300 zoom.... I have permission from my better half to splurge on a Canon 100-400L IS USetc, etc.... now I just need the available funds Big Grin

That will be for wildlife mainly.
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#18
nonononono.. you don't want that lens.
What you want is a 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Mk2.. that would be heaps better for wildlife.
Unfortunately, you can't buy them by themselves, they only come bundled with the 350D body. And you aren't buying a 350D. Sad

But.. I'll do you a special deal...
You go ahead and get that 100-400 L IS, and I'll swap it for the 18-55 that comes with my 350D!!! I'll give up my special kit lens and put up with the "poverty" L-series 100-400 IS.. That's how generous I am!

Quick.. say yes before I change my mind! Big Grin

Seriously though, that lens looks awesome, and was one I was drooling over. Half yer luck!

If I ever need and can justify spending bigger bucks on a longer lens, that would be on top of my wish list. And for what it is and how flexible it is, it seems quite inexpensive for a long-reach L lens, especially one with IS. But.. as it costs basically the same as my entire budget for camera + lens, I can't see myself getting one anytime soon. Sad

But I'll happily drool over any pics you post using it when you get it.
mmmm.... 400 x 1.6 crop factor = mucho zoomo!

Cheers
Adrian
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#19
I'd love to do the swap with you...... but... I already have a 18-55 that came with my rebel Tongue
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#20
EnglishBob Wrote:I'd love to do the swap with you...... but... I already have a 18-55 that came with my rebel Tongue

ohhhhh, but you only have the ancient "mk1" version of that lens.

With the Mk2, Canon made what they call "cosmetic changes". That's techno-babble speak that means it is heaps better for wildlife photos and will totally supercede all L lenses and all IS lenses, and especially the 100-400L IS.

The offer's still open if you want it... Big Grin <- would you trust this smile?
Adrian Broughton
My Website: www.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
My Blog: blog.BroughtonPhoto.com.au
You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
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#21
I'm a car dealer, I trust noone! :x
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#22
Lol you guyz... everyone knows the Mk1 has a super-zoom mode that lets you zoom in to 1200mm by rearranging the lens elements. It's right under the f/1.0 switch. Big Grin
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#23
Kombisaurus Wrote:[
While I was going through the scanning and (still unfinished) clean-up process, I was simply amazed at the quality of some of the very old photos (50+ years) of things such as my grandparents' wedding, etc. They had faded, but I was gob-smacked by the resolution, sharpness and overall quality considering their age.
In contrast, I was equally dismayed at many of the photos taken during the 80's when point and shoot, focus-free, and cheap processing were all the rage with my family.
I decided then and there that I should try to make all my future family photos the best quality I could afford.
In 50 years time, I want to look back at photos I'm taking now and get the same feeling those photos of my grandparents gave me. I just hope the dye used in DVD-R's will last that long, and we can still view jpg's (I doubt we'll still be using RAW's, but I'm sure jpg's will be as universal as text files).

On a more serious note - what great insights there, Adrian. I too love looking at old photos, and some of them are truly amazing - especially when they used quality equipment like rangefinders and quality glass (they don't make em like they used to). Big Grin

But I agree regarding leaving a legacy and taking the best photos.... 50 years down the track - I hope no one scoffs at my technique Smile
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#24
Anyone considering the new Canon 90-300 f/4-5.6 USM? It's the replacement for the 75-300.

RRP is only 419 is Australia, so don't expect L series quality. But hey, it could be cheap and cheerful...
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#25
Peter has got a Canon 90-300 Smile
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