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Author Topic: Quality Lenses  (Read 4797 times)
Bradley Proctor
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« on: January 06, 2008, 11:24:57 PM »
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I have three lenses of which none are worth more than $200.  These are also the only ones I've ever used, so I don't have a lot of experience with lenses to compare.  

Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6

90% of the shots I take are on a tripod, and of those, most of the time I use a remote shutter release, MLU, and stop down to about f/8.

My question is, given the way that I shoot, am I missing much compared to lenses such as Canon L lenses?  Spending $1000 on a lens is a huge investment for me so I go back and forth on whether I should save to replace my current lenses or spend my money on other photographic equipment.

So to help me figure out where to spend my money, I guess I'm asking, would I see a significant difference in image quality by replacing my lenses?

Thanks
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 08:13:52 AM »
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Short answer: YES!

Good lenses make a huge difference in image quality, even at f/8.
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seanw
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 01:51:57 PM »
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Quote
Short answer: YES!

Good lenses make a huge difference in image quality, even at f/8.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165611\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I agree.
But of course rarely is anything black and white. For example, depending on the camera you are using, the differences may or may not be as noticeable to you. Many of the L lenses are much better in the corners with less distortion, less vignetting, and better sharpness, but crop sensor cameras only use the center of the lens where the difference can be small. If you are using a full frame camera with higher resolution such as the 5D or 1Ds Mark II  you will definitely see the difference.
Also, you may not notice significant differences if you only make small prints.
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Farkled
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 05:51:26 PM »
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I just went to my local camera shop where they had me shoot with the f2.8 55-200 L lens and then immediately again with my 70-300 USM.  Regardless of the results, my point is that I suggest you go to a local camera store and test out the lens you might be considering on your camera.  Shoot RAW and then go home and look at the results.  Only you can tell whether or not there is a difference and whether or not that difference is worth the money to you.
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geotzo
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 01:39:45 AM »
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What camera are you using these lens on?
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Bradley Proctor
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 06:40:17 AM »
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Thanks guys

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What camera are you using these lens on?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165831\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have a Canon 400d
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 10:08:22 AM »
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My experience is that the difference between the <$200 zooms and L glass was pretty noticeable even on a 6MP 10D. I expect the difference to be even more so on a 400D.
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tgphoto
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 10:46:27 AM »
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I'd say of the 3 lenses you mention, the 50 f/1.8 is easily the best of the bunch.  I use this lens on my 10D and, provided my technique is sound (tripod, MLU, aperture, etc.) end up needing to do very little in post.

The 17-40L is a less expensive option for wide angle shots (better optically than the 18-55 kit lens).

Can't really recommend a good telephoto as my longest lens is the 100mm f/2.8 Macro - but this lens works wonders as a mid-range telephoto--on the 10D or your 400D it's 160mm focal length is great for mid-distance landscapes, architectural and natural details, and when stopped down to f/16-f/27 yields stunning results with edge-to-edge sharpness.
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GregW
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2008, 11:48:58 AM »
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With your style of shooting you need to test the lenses you are interested in because it's unlikely the difference will be night and day.  I'd go one step further than a previous poster and say rent a lens for the weekend.  Many companies will give you a discount if you subsequently purchase a lens so it might not cost you very much.    

Coming from a Nikon perspective you can generally expect better edge to edge sharpness and something not mentioned here but even more important imo contrast, when upgrading from a 'kit' lens to a top end pro 2.8 zoom.  Nikon kit lenses especially the 18-70 have always been very good in the DSLR era so it's not unusual to see a pro with one in their bag.

You might like to consider the following:

- The proprietor of this site regularly demonstrates excellent results with consumer grade lenses.

- What will you do with the images.  Print them at A2 or process them to jpg for the web.

- You may have seen it yourself but 'Why is my 2.8 pro zoom lens underperforming etc' is a common question for people on more consumer orientated forums who have just upgraded from a kit lens.  There are often two reasons:

    a.  Their tecnique has not evolved to a level where they can use the bennefits of a better lens.  

    b.  Expectations are too great.

- Consider the opportunity cost.  Would you get better images If you spent the money on a workshop with a top end photo educator or by buying a new lens?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 11:51:35 AM by GregW » Logged
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