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Thread: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

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    Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    I've been out the Canon game for a little over 2 years now. I was looking for a pretty good performing wide angle or super wide angle and telephoto lens that will work on a Canon 7D and a Canon Rebel T1i. They are gifts for my significant other for Christmas (may be pre-Christmas gifts though.) I would prefer they have autofocus so the Zeiss ZE line is probably out for now. I looked at the Canon L series and that may be more than she needs right now... Any suggestions?
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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Since getting my 7D, I have been struggling with the same sort of decisions. I am used to shooting FF or 1.3x crop on the 1-series, so most of that is not an issue. With the 1.6x crop on the 7D (and your planned T1i or T2i or 60D or all of the other APS-C bodies), it has been hard to settle on glass for it. The 24-70mm f2.8L is a great lens, but not wide enough with the crop. The 16-35mm f2.8L II would be a good choice, but it is heavy and feels very unbalanced on the smaller body cameras, even when using a battery grip. I did not want to think about EF-S glass, but may have to start considering those options. If you can find a good copy, the EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 is pretty close to "L" glass, has some good speed and is not too big for a smaller body camera. Most of the rest are too slow for my tastes (f4 and up), but the ISO handling can help you there. Some folks like the EF 17-40mm f4L lens, but I have never been able to find a nice copy, though I know they are out there. The EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 is pretty wide, and more of a specialized application lens, I think, but could be a lot of fun to shoot.

    As you go longer, things get a bit easier. The 70-200 f4L IS is actually a very nice lens, and would be something like a 100-300mm FF equivalent, which is a nice range for most shooting, and that lens has been getting outstanding marks from folks. I cannot say, as I use the f2.8L IS variety, which is a bit faster, but also a lot heavier. Again, think about the camera balance with some of these.

    Finally, a very interesting third party brand that some folks have found to be really nice on things like the 7D or T2i, is a Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD....all that mumbo jumbo means it is for APS-C sized sensors and has image stabilization (Tamron calls it Vibration Control). I was not really attracted to this option, as it is too slow for most of what I like to shoot, but folks using it for casual shooting and even video on the 7D and T2i find it to be really good, with extraordinary range and a rather decent image. I cannot attest to that, but some stills and video I have seen shot with it was impressive. And for less than $600, it can be a great all-around starter lens that essentially covers a FF equivalent of 28-430mm or so, everything one might need for most shooting. My big concern is speed, but it is light, balances well and covers a huge range fairly decently.

    Personally, I gravitate toward better glass whenever I can, but honestly, now using a 1.6x crop sensor has thrown a bit of a wrench into things for me. I did not want APS-C only glass, as I still shoot a lot with the 1-series bodies, and I want good lens speed. Unless you start going to fixed focal length, those things become a bit tougher, especially for the wide angle. Just some of my thoughts on this.

    LJ

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Have to apologize....I read past your "primes" wording in your question, and jumped right into the zooms, figuring the primes are off limits. So feel free to discard the above writing ;-)

    Now if you do want to go prime, not too many choices and you have to think hard about which wide and which telephoto really fits the kind of shooting you may want to do most often. Since you are not looking for "L" glass yet, you really do not have much choice for the Canon glass....a 20mm f2.8 and the 24mm f2.8. Neither are bad, nor great, and really not all that wide on the 1.6x crop. Folks have gone third party there also, with the Sigma 20mm f1.8 EX being among the most popular, but you need to find a good copy there also.

    As you go longer, things get much better, but again, you really need to think about the most popular focal length you want. I use the Canon 85mm f1.8, and love it. It is fast, light, has great AF, translates to about a 135mm equivalent, and is as close to "L" glass as anything in their line, but a steal at under $400. A little CA wide open, but easily corrected if it hits you.

    Next there is the 135mm f2.8 Soft Focus. Do not let that last part scare you. It is an option to soften if you choose, but it is a very sharp lens with excellent color. From there, there are not bad choices, but most stuff is "L" and costs a bit more. Sigma makes some very nice macro lenses at 105mm f2.8 and 150mm f2.8 which are really very good. I have the 150mm f2.8 macro and use it a fair bit, as it yields a very sharp 240mm equivalent that focuses very quickly and does go to 1:1 also. Very nice lens.

    Again, sorry for the zoom post, but some folks may find it worth reading.

    LJ

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    No problem. I was leaning toward the 85/1.8 for a telephoto portrait lens for her. The wide end is the part I hate about cropped sensors. Most of the primes on the EOS mount seem to be of the Fisheye variety which isn't what I'm looking for. A decent 8-16 (yielding a 12-24mm equivalent) is more of what I'm looking for honestly. I saw Sigma has a 10-20 wide zoom so I may look into that as well.

    *I was under the impression that the 7D had a 1.3x crop factor... Is that not true?
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    tokengirl
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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    The 7D has a 1.6x crop factor. So on the wide end, primes are going to be a challenge. The Canon EF-S 10-22mm is probably your best bet for a wide angle lens, as the effective focal length is 16-35mm. The 85mm f1.8 is a great choice for a portrait lens.

    The 7D is a beefier body than the Rebels, so you can put L glass on it and it won't feel unbalanced. So on the wide end, you could do the Canon 14mm L, which would give you an effective focal length of about 22mm, great for landscapes. But due to the protruding front element, you can't use filters with it, and a great deal of care is required when using it. Then on the longer end, go with the 24-105mm L, which would cover 38-168mm. It's a terrific walk around lens and a good value for an L zoom.

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    My other option would be to switch systems since she's not THAT invested into Canon gear. Personally the Sony A55 looks really good to me.
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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Still an APS-C (crop sensor) camera, but now you have a different set of lenses to consider from their line and others. Math is a bit easier with a 1.5x factor, but the problem of finding good wides remains, though now there are more choices ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Yeah I agree. Wide primes are sparse with Sony but then I'd probably get her the A55 with the ZA 16-80mm and be covered with a good range for 95% of the shooting. I'd just add a portrait lens on top of that and be set for pretty much anything - if I can get her to convert.

    The crop sensor isn't as much a huge factor with the Sony system as Canon it seems and she doesn't really need specialty lenses yet (fisheye, tilt/shift, etc.) That's the main advantage in Canon/ Nikon systems.
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    meilicke
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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    If you are going Sony, there are a number of semi-wides, 20, 24, 28, 30, that are inexpensive. I think there is a 14 as well. Pentax has an interesting prime lineup, 14, 15, 21. But that is a whole other ball of wax.

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Yeah I agree. Wide primes are sparse with Sony but then I'd probably get her the A55 with the ZA 16-80mm and be covered with a good range for 95% of the shooting. I'd just add a portrait lens on top of that and be set for pretty much anything - if I can get her to convert.

    The crop sensor isn't as much a huge factor with the Sony system as Canon it seems and she doesn't really need specialty lenses yet (fisheye, tilt/shift, etc.) That's the main advantage in Canon/ Nikon systems.
    And Canon throws a bit more of wrench into things with its three different sensor sizes: Full Frame on the 1Ds and 5D cameras, APS-H (1.3x crop) on the 1D series of cameras, and APS-C (1.6x crop) on the 7D and everything else. That is why my comments about struggling to find things to work, as I have all three different sized sensors in different bodies. The FF and 1.3x are not so far apart that selecting stuff for them is "normal" to my thinking, though the 1.3x does cut my wides a bit. The 7D, with the 1.6x crop is a fantastic camera, but everything in my kit is very "long" on it, except a Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6, which actually looks good, but needs to be stopped down to f8-11 or more for best results, as it remains soft and a bit smeary at the corners....at least on the less cropped sensors.

    The Canon EF 14mm f2.8L II is a very nice lens, but as mentioned, needs to be handled a bit differently for shooting due to the protruding front element.

    Good luck with your choices, regardless of which system you settle upon.

    LJ

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    I'm pretty aware of the Pentax too and I've looked at those for myself. The upcoming K5 looks like it will be a winner IMO. Sony would work well because I already have a NEX-5 (and I inconveniently sold all my Canon stuff before we began dating.) She really likes the NEX look and what it can do in low light compared to her 2 year old Rebel.

    I guess to back it up a bit. She started an event and party planning business on the side. Sometimes she will do photography at the events to show off her work and she is considering offering it as a service once she's more comfortable with her work. She already had the Rebel and it gives decent results but I insisted on better glass than the 2 lens "kit" sold at Best Buy. So that's where this all started.

    She isn't quite sold onto the idea of primes... yet. She's coming from the general consumer opinion of "why would I take 3 lenses instead of one zoom" though. I took her through metadata of some of my shots to kinda explain lens traits and how each lens gives a certain look. I believe she's kind of getting it now that she's seeing the limitations of what she has when trying to recreate a certain look in her head before the shot. Oh and lastly I've finally convinced her that large JPEG's aren't "good enough" and to always shoot RAW.
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    meilicke
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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Event shooting - maybe the 16-80, with flash, is the best choice to allow for quickly changing situations. Often there is no time to change lenses to get the best focal length.

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Sounds interesting, but also a bit challenging....trying to do event shooting and being part of the event at the same time. Also sounds like a good faster zoom may be a better option. Though I agree with you about the look one gets from a fixed focal length of good glass, and some of the compromises one had to endure with zooms (usually on both the long and short end), they are extremely versatile for event type shooting, where you may not be able to back up or move in enough for best framing and composition, and handling lots of different glass can become tricky.

    As you note, she is tiring of the Rebel a bit. Well, if she gets a look through the 7D, it will be a major viewing change for her, even though it is the same sized sensor. The 7D really has a much, much improved viewfinder over all of the APS-C cameras from Canon, and its Live View onto that 3" LCD is also quite impressive, plus it does excellent HD video, but that is an entirely different ball of wax with respect to shooting, editing, etc., compared to the move from JPEG to RAW.....but it is there on all the newer DSLRs now, so it will be tempting to play with it ;-)

    That Tamron lens I mentioned above actually turns out to be a very nice compromise for all of the things you mention. One lens that covers almost everything one could need to cover near and far, plus macro, not to big and heavy, and not too pricey. A bit slower than the primes you are thinking about, but maybe better than any of the "kit" glass she is shooting with now. Just have to test it out to see how things work.

    Good luck with your choices and efforts. As you know, the big thing is that she has to feel comfortable shooting with things so that she can focus her efforts on the creative side of the shooting more than the mechanics. A good, sharp zoom can be a friend to cover a lot of situations. So it may be worth looking at both that Tamron and the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 lens, as they could deliver in many situations....if you stay with Canon. If you go to Sony or whatever, I cannot offer much help, as I just am not as familiar with their gear.

    LJ

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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    Agreed and thanks for all the responses. I also looked at the 60D last night as it seems to have most of the 7D features but shoots fewer fps (not a huge factor to her.) It does offer the addition of an articulating screen and I think that's of great worth. As for the 7D I agree it's outstanding. My cousin (who shoots professionally) owns one. He bought it as a backup to the 5D mkII but I talked to him earlier this week and he says he actually prefers it over the 5D except when he NEEDS to go Full Frame.

    I agree that a wide range good quality zoom may be in order along with a portrait lens in the 75-135mm effective focal length range.
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    Re: Wide Angle and Telephot Primes for APS-C and 7D

    The 60D is an impressive little camera also. I was originally thinking about it for my HD video needs, and still may get one as a b-roll camera, but after looking through the 7D, there was not a lot of choice after that ;-) The articulating screen on the 60D is a very nice addition to that camera. In Live View or video mode, it essentially allows for creative holding and viewing. We may see something like that on future Canon cameras also, but it does create a bit of problem for ruggedness on something like a 1-series. Too easy to snap off, I think. The other thing that had me going with the 7D over the 60D was the fact that its HDMI output from Live View is actually 1080, while the same HDMI output from the 5DMkII, the 60D and the T2i is reduced to 480. This only impacts things like external monitors when being used while filming or in Live Mode for focus and comp, but I did find it strange that only the 7D was providing full 1080 output through the HDMI port.

    The 60D is a nice step up from the 50D, but they sort of made it more "Rebel-like" in its appearance and function, versus the boxier, edgier style of the 50D and even the 7D and 5D cameras. It still looks good, weighs a bit less, and does have a bit of an improved viewfinder, but still not as nice a view as the 7D, IMHO. I shoot professionally also, and as your colleague commented, I too am very impressed with the 7D, enough that I am working it into my heavy duty pro-use kit at this time. It is simply a very good camera, and the image files are both huge, but can take some work as needed without breaking up. The ISO is maybe not as high as the 5DMkII, but I have shot pretty cleanly with it at ISO 3200 and even 6400 with good exposure care. Also have shot video with it at ISO 6400 that was amazing, considering almost no other video camera, and even most video capable DSLRs cannot do as well. Impressive camera all the way around. If it had just a bit more weather sealing, I would think it is every bit a match for Canon's 1-series pro rigs.

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 24th October 2010 at 12:06.

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