Canon Lenses

OK, now that the Canon sales are here, I have to decide what lenses I need to complement the EF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lense I have. I have to say that this lense is very nice, but that there are many times I wish for that additional stop to F2.8 that the EF24-70 F2.8L USM would have given me. The tradeoff was no stabilization and also getting an additional 35mm of zoom. Many times this means I end up shooting at ISO 800 instead of ISO 400 with the F4L. Fortunately, the Canon Digital Rebel XT that I have shoots pretty well up to ISO 800, but there are times I would pay for an additional stop:

So, what to do now, well there are two alternatives, if sticking with F4.0 being OK, then I should get:

* “EF-S 10-22mm F3.5/4.5 USM”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-10-22mm-f-3.5-4.5-USM-Lens-Review.aspx. This is a super wide lense that is great for landscapes. It is slower as noted, but has great quality even if it isn’t a L (e.g., professional) lense. “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=4205950/sort_type=bottomline has it for $660 with a $15 rebate (doubled if you buy two lenses). Also it is incompatible with a full frame camera like the Canon 5D when I get one, although at $600, that is not as big a hit as I would have thought.
* “EF 100-400 F4.5/5.6L IS USM”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-100-400mm-f-4.5-5.6-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx. This is the lense that I borrowed from Matt when we were shooting the Blue Angels. It is really an amazing focal length and we got some great photos in bright sunlight. That’s the main tradeoff. With a 1.6 lense factor, this is like having a 600mm monster of a lense for nature shots. “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=430117/sort_type=bottomline has this bad boy at $1350 so pretty breathtaking, but not as bad as the two lense below. It is a high quality lense though.

If I want to get that extra stop and go to the professional F2.8 constant aperature lenses, then I lose wide angle at the bottom (10mm vs. 16mm is a big deal) and also at the top end (200mm vs. 400mm)

* “EF 16-35MM F2.8L USM”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-16-35mm-f-2.8-L-USM-Lens-Review.aspx. This is a really amazing lense and it shows in terms of cost. “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=533991/sort_type=bottomline has it at a breathtaking $1340 which is amazing even with the $100 double rebate. Usually you use a small aperature in landscape so you don’t need a “fast”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/Canon-Landscape-Lens.aspx lense.
* “EF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-70-200mm-f-2.8-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx. This is actually not really a big zoom for nature photography but more often used in general cases. It is amazingly fast and with image stabilization, you can really take picture in low light. Or for use in sports photography in low light. I personally have found my Nikon equivalent 70-200 great for informal portraits as long as you can manage the 3-4 pound weight of the beast. It is really a general purpose lense that complements the 24-70 F2.8L really well. It is also astoundingly expensive at “$1670”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=588161/sort_type=bottomline.

So the net, net if that if I had all the dollars in the world, I’d get the 70-200, 100-400 and the 10-22, but that is enough to buy a car really. I’ll probably settle on the 10-22 and 100-400 and crank the ISO up.

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2 thoughts on “Canon Lenses

  1. i have both the 10-22 and the 100-400 and am happy with both.

    the 10-22 i used on a recent world-trip and it was more useful that i thought it would be of taking snaps in cities.

    it is also fun for taking indoor pictures – as you can fit so much in. however, it is useless with flash at night. even with the speed light, the flash simply can’t kick out enough light for the lens – so you get a weird spot-light effect.

    i like the 100-400 also, but it is my least used lens. with the 1.6 multiplier, it zooms really far, so it’s not as practicle in most situations. that said, a number of times i’ve used it – like on safari, i have been very glad to have the option.

    i have used the 70-200 also, and it has by far the best Bokeh of any lens i have ever used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh. if you want a day-day zoom i would lean towards this one – much smoother operation than the 100-400.

    my advise: get the 10-22 and the 70-200, and borrow your friends 100-400 when you need it 😉

  2. Rich,

    I agree with Brett about the 70-200L. I have the same camera as you do, and spent far more time than I’d like to admit pondering the same questions you have.

    First, in case you haven’t seen it (doubtful), the following site has great info on Canon lenses: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/

    I have a few lenses that didn’t make your list, and I thought you might consider them:

    Instead of the EF 16-35mm F/2.8L, I chose the EF 17-40mm F/4L–same L series quality at less than half the price (albeit a full-stop slower).

    I also chose the same EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM which almost never comes off the camera.

    I covet the 70-200mm L-series, but I’ll save that for when my kids are old enough to play sports.

    I also chose two fixed focal length lenses that are extremely fast and have amazing quality even without L-series glass — the EF 50mm F/1.4 USM (gen purpose) and the EF 85mm F/1.8 USM (portraits). Both take outstanding flash-free pics in almost any light.

    I did avoid the EF-S lenses with the thought that any glass I bought should be good for the next 10 years or so… and I think it’s only a matter of time before full-frame comes to the next-gen 20D or XT-series camera body. There’s also the chance I would buy a 5D or similar and be able to leverage my already substantial investment in glass.

    For what it’s worth, the 10-22 gets very positive reviews on the site above for an EF-S lens. For me 17mm is about as wide as I need to go.

    Good luck,

    Dave

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