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Thread: Which Lens?

  1. #1
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    Which Lens?

    I'm thinking of adding a lens to my current collection and would like an opinion on which would be most useful. I currently have a Canon 7D with the following lenses:-

    EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM standard zoom
    EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
    EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L IS USM

    I was thinking of adding the Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX to cover the wide angle area but then someone suggested I get a EF 50mm f/1.4 USM prime lens. I use the camera for a wide variety of situations so either lens would get used, but I was wondering if the EF 50 would produce significantly better quality shots than the EF-S 15-85 I already have (at the same focal length)? Any opinions on this would be welcome, as would comments on the quality of the Tokina.

    Thanks in advance for replies,
    Mark.

  2. #2
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Zooms are always a compromise. Prime still rule in general. They tend to be faster as well so helpful in low-light.

    But remember that 50mm converts to 75mm in terms of 35mm film view on a 7D.

    So it more a portrait lens than standard lens.

    I would think the 11-16mm would be more useful in alot of situation especially if you like landscapes and cityscapes shooting for example.

    Used a Tokina 24mm (long time ago) it was my favourite lens. But I don't know if the brand has held their performance.

  3. #3
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Performance wise any of the Canon lenses shouldn't disappoint. However those you have listed are very different from each other. In this instance I consider that you need to really think about what you most want to do at this stage, before making a purchase. The 50mm f1.4 USM is, unless you get a bad 'un, a superb performer, it will be sharper than a zoom at 50mm, but being a faster lens will be usable when a zoom is on the limits of it's performance. If you are looking for out and out performance, this is what a good prime lens can deliver, incidentally the cheap 28mm f2.8 is amazingly good.

    With regard to Tokina lenses, my own view is that they are underrated by many and tend to be overlooked, Sigma and Tamron certainly outsell them, but Tokina don't have such a large choice in their range, nor are they as widely stocked.

  4. #4
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Hi Mark..

    I can vouch for the canon 15-85 and say its a good lens on my 60 D.. well pleased with it and I have been using it alot at 85mm doing close ups, which leads me to want a macro lens my self.. but I could have a conflicting thread thread going as I want a 50mm prime as well.
    So can I join this thread with you or should I start another, because apart from the 15-85 lens I'm looking for the same info..

    Cheers.

  5. #5
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markgixer6 View Post
    I'm thinking of adding a lens to my current collection and would like an opinion on which would be most useful. I currently have a Canon 7D with the following lenses:-

    EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM standard zoom
    EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
    EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L IS USM

    I was thinking of adding the Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX to cover the wide angle area but then someone suggested I get a EF 50mm f/1.4 USM prime lens. I use the camera for a wide variety of situations so either lens would get used, but I was wondering if the EF 50 would produce significantly better quality shots than the EF-S 15-85 I already have (at the same focal length)? Any opinions on this would be welcome, as would comments on the quality of the Tokina.

    Thanks in advance for replies,
    Mark.
    I'll be honest, I hardly ever use my 50mm f1.4 on full frame, and even less on my APS-C cameras. Wideangles, however, I use all the time. All I would say is that you have a gap at the wide end, but not at 50mm. In terms of quality, yes, the 50mm is better than the 15-85, but not by a massive amount if you're stopped down to f8-f11, and there's not a lot of distortion on the zoom at that focal length - so I personally wouldn't bother at this point unless you really need the wide aperture.
    Nick

    "Photography is lies" - Bailey
    "Few artists are much more than halfway sane" - Roger Hicks

    The Blog is (coming) back http://www.nbrphoto.net/blog/

  6. #6
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    Re: Which Lens?

    I'll be honest, I hardly ever use my 50mm f1.4 on full frame, and even less on my APS-C cameras. Wideangles, however, I use all the time. All I would say is that you have a gap at the wide end, but not at 50mm. In terms of quality, yes, the 50mm is better than the 15-85, but not by a massive amount if you're stopped down to f8-f11, and there's not a lot of distortion on the zoom at that focal length - so I personally wouldn't bother at this point unless you really need the wide aperture.
    It so happens that a good proportion (more than half) the images I take with my DSLRs are with my 50mm f/1.4 mounted on a 40D ... set at f/2 & with an exposure of 5 sec, the green layer image is excellent for wide field "V band" photometry of some of the brighter variable stars.

    For general photography, I agree with Nick, with few caveats. I never carry the 50/1.4 when out in daylight with my cameras ... it's not exactly heavy or bulky, but the range is adequately covered by the "standard" zoom & I don't need the aperture. If I was shooting portraits in a studio, I'd far prefer to have the 50/1.4 than a case full of wide angle & tele lenses, but again that's specialist stuff.
    If you're not living on the edge, you're wasting space

  7. #7
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by beejaybee View Post
    If I was shooting portraits in a studio, I'd far prefer to have the 50/1.4 than a case full of wide angle & tele lenses
    Quite right. That's where this lens really comes into it's own, and where I do use it on APS-C - if that's a major part of your work, it's a great option.
    Nick

    "Photography is lies" - Bailey
    "Few artists are much more than halfway sane" - Roger Hicks

    The Blog is (coming) back http://www.nbrphoto.net/blog/

  8. #8
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markgixer6 View Post
    I use the camera for a wide variety of situations.
    Er, wouldn't it be useful to know what?

  9. #9
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by beejaybee View Post
    If I was shooting portraits in a studio, I'd far prefer to have the 50/1.4 than a case full of wide angle & tele lenses, but again that's specialist stuff.
    I sometimes use my 50/1.4 for sports. For personal work I tend to prefer it over far bulkier, heavier and expensive f/2.8 zooms which can rarely match it for quality.

    Also, one of my most popular landscape shots was shot with my 50mm on APS-C....and at f/20 which I wouldn't touch on a standard zoom but I reckon it's alot more useable on a lens that was higher quality to start with. With zooms I tend to find myself sticking to the sweet spot or the quality appears to suffer more.
    Andrew

    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  10. #10
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toast View Post
    Hi Mark..

    I can vouch for the canon 15-85 and say its a good lens on my 60 D.. well pleased with it and I have been using it alot at 85mm doing close ups, which leads me to want a macro lens my self.. but I could have a conflicting thread thread going as I want a 50mm prime as well.
    So can I join this thread with you or should I start another, because apart from the 15-85 lens I'm looking for the same info..

    Cheers.
    Hey Toast, no problem, feel free to jump on this thread!

  11. #11
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Thanks for all the advice. LargeFormat - Yes you're absolutely correct, but I was really looking for the technical merits of those two lens more than anything else so I could decide which would be most useful, but I did ask for opinion on which would be most useful, so here you are in order of predominant usage (although priority may change seasonally):-

    1. Landscape.
    2. Wildlife.
    3. Macro.
    4. Portrait.
    5. Travel.
    6. Sport.
    7. Architechture.

    Given the advice I'm thinking the Tokina would be a good move and the online reviews I've read suggest it's a good lens, just wanted some 'real' appraisals...

  12. #12
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markgixer6 View Post
    Hey Toast, no problem, feel free to jump on this thread!
    Thanks... so reading you last post.

    What I started out thinking I wanted in the way of lens has changed somewhat in the few months I've been into photography.. I now have a Canon 15-85 with a Sigma 10-20 plus a Sigma 30mm prime and I'm now on the look out for a 50mm prime and a marco.
    The choices for the macro for me seem to be a Tamron 90mm or the Sigma 105mm and the 50mm a Canon 1.4 or Sigma 1.4 but a lot of good remarks about a nifty fifty..

    PS.. Had a couple of gixers myself great bikes..
    Last edited by Toast; 26-04-2012 at 20:27.

  13. #13
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markgixer6 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. LargeFormat - Yes you're absolutely correct, but I was really looking for the technical merits of those two lens more than anything else so I could decide which would be most useful, but I did ask for opinion on which would be most useful, so here you are in order of predominant usage (although priority may change seasonally):-

    1. Landscape.
    2. Wildlife.
    3. Macro.
    4. Portrait.
    5. Travel.
    6. Sport.
    7. Architechture.

    Given the advice I'm thinking the Tokina would be a good move and the online reviews I've read suggest it's a good lens, just wanted some 'real' appraisals...
    Comparing this with yr post. Then 2 and 6 are not fully covered so I'd suggest a 300 mm F4 and a 1.4 converter. Lenses discussed so far pretty much fit within what you have. If landscape is much more important to you then go full frame.

  14. #14
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    Re: Which Lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteRob View Post
    Comparing this with yr post. Then 2 and 6 are not fully covered so I'd suggest a 300 mm F4 and a 1.4 converter. Lenses discussed so far pretty much fit within what you have. If landscape is much more important to you then go full frame.
    You're right, but my current budget won't run to that lens right now, but I do already have the 1.4x convertor. I'll have to make do with the 70-200 for that area, but it would be great to get better close up shots. You could equally argue for getting the EF 400 f/5.6 which would presumeably do a better job than the 300, for not much extra cost. Anyway, can't afford either of those at present :-)


    Have deceided to go for the 11-16 as I think I'll have more fun with that. Thanks for the advise people, much appreciated!

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