Which Lens To Buy?

I found out the other day that I have been paying FAR too much tax for the past 5 years and am due a large tax rebate :thumbsup: The majority of it is going to go on things for the house, maybe a new bathroom, but I also want to treat myself to a new 'toy' but not sure which to go for.

I currently have:
Canon 17-40 f/4 L
Sigma 24-70 f/2.8
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L
Canon 2x TC


The kind of photography I do I suppose can best be described as anything and everything with City Landscapes, portraits, wildlife being my main subjects. What I would like to do is to either buy a new lens that will improve the gear I already have or buy a new lens that will allow me to take photographs I perhaps wouldnt be able to take as well with my existing kit.

The choices are:

Canon 300mm f/4 IS L USM
Reason For Buying:
I love my 70-200 f/2.8 but for some wildlife stuff 200mm isnt enough.
I'm thinking of building some things to attract the birds in our garden to get some birdie shots for which the 300mm would be superb
It has IS. My 70-200 doesnt have IS and there are times that I miss it.


Reason Not To Buy It:
I have a 2x TC which I use on the 70-200 to give me 140-400 with AF. If I use the 2x TC on the 300mm it will give me 600mm but will it still auto focus?
It's not that heavy but it is a big lens so it's not going to be a lens I lug around all the time and would restrict it's use to only wildlife/zoo days (plus any day where I know I will need a long reach) so it may spend a lot of time in the bag without seeing the light of day.



Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L USM
Reason For Buying:
I already have the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 and really like the lens and it has become my 'everyday lens'. However I'm not that big a fan of the zoom on the sigma which isnt anywhere near as smooth as on the Canon.
The AF on the Sigma is generally very good but it can get a little confused at times which is a bit annoying.
I would sell the Sigma to part fund the Canon which would mean I wouldnt have to spend as much.

Reason Not To Buy:
I already have the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8



Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM
Reason To Buy:
I already have the non IS version which I adore but there are times I miss not having IS
I would sell my non IS version to part fund it so it wouldnt cost as much
The non IS version is by far the best lens I have ever used so adding IS to it will just make it even better

Reason Not To Buy:
I already have the non IS version
The IS adds more weight to the lens



Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM
Reason To Buy:
This will give an equivalent of 50mm on my camera so a great everyday lens.
It will force me to use my feet rather than the zoom to get close to my subject
It's bloody sharp
It's f/1.4!

Reason Not To Buy:
I already own a 24-70 f/2.8 so have the 30mm focal range covered
How often am I really going to need f/1.4 considering the limited dof it will give



Canon MP-E 65mm f2.8 1-5x
Reason To Buy:
It's the dogs bo11ocks when it comes to Macro
My Sigma only gives me 1:1.5 magnification, this lens can give me 5x magnification!!

Reason Not To Buy:
It's an absolute sod of a lens to use well and may also require the purchase of other equipment like macro flash that will push the budget up quite a bit
How often am I really likely to use it? This isnt a lens you can really take with you into the field to do macro, instead you bring the field to your studio.
I'm never going to REALLY get into Macro so it will just be something I dabble at now and again. There again with this lens maybe I would?



Canon EF100mm f2.8 USM Macro
Reason To Buy:
My sigma only gives me 1:1.5 magnification whereas the Canon will give me 1:1
At 100mm I won't have to get as close to my subject as I do with the Sigma
The Canon is considered to be one of the best Macro lenses on the market.

Reason Not To Buy:
I would only use this lens for macro work so as such I either have to plan on doing macro photography on a day out, which I currently don't do, or it means lugging yet another lens around on the off chance that I might see something I want to use it for.
I don't do a lot of Macro work anyway but that's partly because I'm not that happy with the Sigma for macro work.
I'm never going to REALLY get into Macro so it will just be something I dabble at now and again.



Tamron AF 180mm f3.5 Di 1:1 Macro
Reason To Buy:
My sigma only gives me 1:1.5 magnification whereas the Tamron will give me 1:1
At 180mm I won't have to get as close to my subject as I do with the Sigma or as close as I would with the Canon

Reason Not To Buy:
I would only use this lens for macro work as such I either have to plan on doing macro photography on a day out, which I currently don't do, or it means lugging yet another lens around on the off chance that I might see something I want to use it for.
I don't do a lot of Macro work anyway but that's partly because I'm not that happy with the Sigma for macro work.
I'm never going to REALLY get into Macro so it will just be something I dabble at now and again.


Now for a complete curve ball!

Canon 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM
Reason To Buy:
One of things that really irritates me is that I constantly have to change lenses or I have to lug two cameras with me. This lens would mean I could sell the 24-70 and 70-200 to part fund it.
It goes to 300mm, 100mm more than I currently can
It would mean a lot less gear to lug around with me which could be good for the old bad back

Reason Not To Buy:
It would mean selling my beloved 70-200 f/2.8
It's not f/2.8 straight through and is f/5.6 at the long end that said there haven't been many times I've needed f/2.8 at 200mm due to the limited dof
I probably couldnt use it with my 2x TC and even if I could it wouldnt auto focus
It's a heavy lens but the IS will help with that to a certain extent.
In my home studio I use my 24-70 and sometimes I need the 24mm which I would loose with this lens. I do also have a 17-40 which I could use in these situations but it would mean changing lenses (or have two cameras set-up)



Decisions, Decisions. Like I say I don't NEED any of them but would like to buy myself a new toy. Which would you go for
 

Radiohead

Well-known Member
Great post - it's good to see your thoughts posted rather than another "what lens for £300" thread.

The 17-40 and the 70-200's are superb lenses - my money would go on the 24-70/2.8. Your Sigma is good, but the Canon is on another level. The AF and build alone are worth the entrance price. 17-40/24-70/70-200 makes an immensely capable trio that would cover just about everything. My feeling is that money is best invested where you shoot the most, and as you've said that's currently the 24-70 range - so get the best you can in that range, the Canon.

Reasons why I discount the others:

300/4 - you say you want to attract birds to your garden but that's going to get pretty boring I'd say. IF, however, you intend to get into wildlife or sports more seriously then look at it. Otherwise it's something of a niche buy.

70-200/2.8 IS - a quite stunning lens and one of my main money-makers along with the 24-70. It's shatteringly good - but if you don't need the IS you've already got the optical ability with yours.

30/1.4 - great lens for low-light and street shooting but some see the normal field of view as a bit boring. Not me, it has to be said. Primes are lovely but for most people, most of the time, something like a 24-70 will get more use, more often.

The macros - the MP-E is very specialist and it's a lens to buy because you're serious about macro, not to maybe get you into macro. For that get the 100mm - far more versatile and easy to learn with. The 180 is very long and less versatile than the 100 IMO.

28-300 - a bit slow albeit with a great range. IMO you'd be mad to give up the excellence of the 24-70 & 70-200/2.8 for it.

So, the 24-70mm for me.
 
Cheers for that mate.

I think I've boiled it down now to a choice of three

Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L
Sigma 30mm f/1.4

The 24-70 is very appealing and probably where I am leaning the most at the moment because, as you say, it's is better than the Sigma and would match very nicely my other lenses and is also the lens I would use more than any other so would get value for money.

However

The 70-200 f/2.8 IS is very tempting. I absolutely adore my non IS version and can't rate it hight enough and just the thought of parting with it brings me out in a cold sweat :D. There have been a number of times I've missed shots due to camera shake which the IS would have saved. That said I now own a 30D which has much better ISO performance compared to my 10D so upping the ISO to get higher shutter speeds isnt as much of a problem as it used to be.

However

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a lens I've wanted for ages and I know that this is one hell of a lens and will also, I think, help me to take some of the kinds of photos that I want to take like candid street photography etc where keeping the field of view of the human eye is something I want to preserve. The only reason I haven't bought this lens before is because I keep going back to the fact that I already have the 24-70.

Ahh!!! :rotfl:
 

Radiohead

Well-known Member
Street photography is a fair point - but here's a curveball - get a Ricoh GR Digital for that. Tiny, high quality fixed 28mm lens, beautiful build and handling and a superb snap mode that allows you to be truly discreet.

You'll quite possibly end up with a 70-200/2.8 IS anyway in the end though as well ;)
 

h4rri

Active Member
I'd say the Sigma 30 is the best bet, I personally wouldn't be happy paying the extra £400 odd for the IS version of the 70-200 and the 24-70 although faster would duplicate the focal lengths already in the bag. The Sigma [or Canon variant] is the best option for my £'s.

Have you considered that with the 24-70 and the 70-200 though you could offload the 24-105 and not lose focal lengths? Might help strengthen the budget to a point where you are looking at two lenses :)
 

Radiohead

Well-known Member
Have you considered that with the 24-70 and the 70-200 though you could offload the 24-105 and not lose focal lengths? Might help strengthen the budget to a point where you are looking at two lenses :)

Good point - I forgot about the 24-105. That offers the best of both worlds then.
 

Tobers

Well-known Member
I'd love the 70-200 L F2.8 IS, and with your teleconverter you'll have v.good range.

The teleconverter wont autofocus on a 70-200 F4, but it should do you the F2.8. You can check with your existing 2.8. I'm sure the IS will add a lot to those long shots which are so hard to keep steady without really good light & fast shutter.

I'm sure you'd sell the non-IS lens no probs on eBay.
 

h4rri

Active Member
I thought PO had one hence the 'duplication of focal lengths' comments :(

At times like this a meet of those with the lenses would be invaluable, you get to try out the differing lenses for a couple of hours in a real environment [not just point it out of a shop door] and see how you would use it.

Just need to find willing members around your area :)
 
I thought PO had one hence the 'duplication of focal lengths' comments :(

At times like this a meet of those with the lenses would be invaluable, you get to try out the differing lenses for a couple of hours in a real environment [not just point it out of a shop door] and see how you would use it.

Just need to find willing members around your area :)

This is very true as I'm know what I want (all three) but there is no way I can afford them and to settle on just one makes me want the other two more!

Your mention of the 24-105 did get me thinking though. There is no way I could ditch the 70-200 (unless it's to replace it with the IS version) but I am now wondering about selling my Sigma 24-70 and buying the 24-105. My only concern over this lens is that I'll be loosing 1 stop and going from f/2.8 to f/4. That said the 24-105 is £100 cheaper than the Canon 24-70 f/2.8, has a longer focal range which will reduce the amount of lens changes I need to do, is arguably the ultimate 'everyday lens' and has IS. :suicide::suicide::suicide: If it were f/2.8 it would be not contest. I assume, and from what I've seen (although not seen any full size photos) the 24-105 is as sharp as my Sigma 24-70, if it wasnt as sharp I'd discount it.

Oh I really hate this! I am utterly confused now.
 

Radiohead

Well-known Member
I just went the other way - bought a 24-70 and traded the 24-105 for a 16-35/2.8 giving me f2.8 from 16-200mm. That said, if I wasn't shooting weddings I'd probably have stuck with the 24-105. The 24-70 is a little sharper, has much nicer bokeh and uses the high precision AF sensor on the 5D. It's a trade-off against the loss of 35mm and IS.
 

h4rri

Active Member
This is very true as I'm know what I want (all three) but there is no way I can afford them and to settle on just one makes me want the other two more!

Your mention of the 24-105 did get me thinking though. There is no way I could ditch the 70-200 (unless it's to replace it with the IS version) but I am now wondering about selling my Sigma 24-70 and buying the 24-105. My only concern over this lens is that I'll be loosing 1 stop and going from f/2.8 to f/4. That said the 24-105 is £100 cheaper than the Canon 24-70 f/2.8, has a longer focal range which will reduce the amount of lens changes I need to do, is arguably the ultimate 'everyday lens' and has IS. :suicide::suicide::suicide: If it were f/2.8 it would be not contest. I assume, and from what I've seen (although not seen any full size photos) the 24-105 is as sharp as my Sigma 24-70, if it wasnt as sharp I'd discount it.

Oh I really hate this! I am utterly confused now.

I too am looking at losing the 24-105 in favour of the 24-70 for the extra stops, as you say if the 24-105 were f/2.8 :)

If you want some full size shots taken with the lense let me know, not the greatest shooter out there but will give you idea. Hell if you are local to me then come strap the thing on and shoot for yourself ;)
 
I too am looking at losing the 24-105 in favour of the 24-70 for the extra stops, as you say if the 24-105 were f/2.8 :)

If you want some full size shots taken with the lense let me know, not the greatest shooter out there but will give you idea. Hell if you are local to me then come strap the thing on and shoot for yourself ;)

Thanks for the offer but I think I've made a decision.

I'm going to buy the Sigma 30mm f/1.4

BUT

I think I'll have enough money to also buy the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L :smashin:

The more I thought about the more uncomfortable I felt with dropping down to f/4 and more importantly I also realised that the 24-105 would probably make me use my 70-200 less so ultimately I think the Canon 24-70 will fit in best of all with my existing gear.

Just got to get the cheque now!
 

petrolhead

Well-known Member
If you going to buy the 30 f/1.4 Sigma in a shop try it first as some can be poor copies
 

Radiohead

Well-known Member
So I've read, but of the 6 or so people I know (including me) who've had one they've all been fine. I do wonder if it's more a case of poor technique, expecting an f1.4 lens to be pin-sharp at f1.4 and not realising that DOF is tiny wide open that leads many to blame lenses and label them soft copies.

I've had 1 lens in three years (out of maybe 20 bought) that was duff and it was a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 - it was so duff it was funny and the entire left hand of a frame looked like it was smeared in vaseline. Other than that I've yet to return a lens due to it being soft. I did return the new Canon 50mm f1.2 as it appears to have a fundamental design flaw with 5D bodies but that's not sample specific.
 

petrolhead

Well-known Member
I am only going on what I see on the POTN forum.

I also tried one in my local shop and it back focused somit rotten
 

petrolhead

Well-known Member
Indeed - going by what you can read on POTN you'd be excused if you were to think that every camera & lens ever made was flawed in one way or another.
Point taken, in fact no different to any forum including this one then ;)
 

The latest video from AVForums

Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED TV Review
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom