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scottishmark

Turbo Monkey
May 20, 2002
2,123
20
Somewhere dark, cold & wet....
Evening all,

I've got a Canon 350D with the bog standard kit lens, so was looking to get something with a larger zoom so that I dont need to get quite so close to the action when at Ft. Bill and the like (seriously, Kovarik and Rennie scared the sh*t out of me!).

So I've been looking at something along the lines of a Canon 55-250mm lens, as ideally it will be a jack of all trades type setup (i'm hardly what you'd call a commited photographer).

Would I be best to stick with a Canon lens or are Sigmas also worth a look? All I know as that they ted to be cheaper and not quite the same quality, but would I really be missing out??

Any advice/experiences/recommendation appreciated!

Cheers,

Mark
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
If you're not what you'd call a "Commited Photographer", I'd go with a cheaper lens. Maybe not too much cheaper or lower in quality, but enough that you save some money and essentially get the same shot regardless.

Any lack of quality from the original photo can probably be touched up in PS if you're that anal about it.

so if it were me (I am an amateur photographer as well, but I have a normal lense (I forget the mm ranges) and a really good zoom lens already), I'd go with the cheaper one and save the money/spend it on something else.

EDIT:

I've got a 35-70 Lens and a 70-210 lens. Both are Minolta, though (as my camera is a Minolta Maxxum 400si, film SLR ftw). The 70-210 works very well for good distance shots.

What are you photographing? DH races or something?
 
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binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,644
397
NC
I don't know a whole lot about the lower end - but Sigma makes some good lenses in all of the price ranges. Whether or not the particular one you're looking at is good... well, do you have a local photo place that will let you bring the camera in and shoot a few frames to test it out?
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,658
25
behind the viewfinder
i'm not sure how well/fast the 55-255 lens focuses. can you rent one or otherwise try it out?

i've had good luck w/ my sigmas but they were both primes and not tele-zooms (15mm fisheye, 30mm f/1.4).

have you looked into the canon 70-200 f/4 lens? that's a great lens, and you might be able to get one fairly cheap via a US buyer (check fredmiranda or POTN classifieds); new they are about $550 US.
 

mobius

Turbo Monkey
Jan 25, 2003
2,160
0
Around DC
I'd look at the Sigma's over Tamrons. I find the quality of glass and body build of the lens is nicer in a Sigma. If you have any kind of budget, or just don't want to spend obscene amounts of money on lenses sigma is a great route to go. I've been very satisfied with my 28-200 f2.8 from them. Be careful though because as with most companies some lenses are hit or miss.
 

dante

Unabomber
Feb 13, 2004
8,815
8
looking for classic NE singletrack
I'd look at the Sigma's over Tamrons. I find the quality of glass and body build of the lens is nicer in a Sigma. If you have any kind of budget, or just don't want to spend obscene amounts of money on lenses sigma is a great route to go. I've been very satisfied with my 28-200 f2.8 from them. Be careful though because as with most companies some lenses are hit or miss.
Damn, that lens must be HUGE!!!! :cheers:

I usually trust the-digital-picture, as the reviews are pretty straightforward and seem relatively accurate: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/

I'd second the 70-200mm f4 from Canon, it's the cheapest pro-level optics you can get from them, and is noticeably better/sharper than anything in the sub-$500 range.
 

maddog17

Turbo Monkey
Jan 20, 2008
2,777
86
Methuen, Mass. U.S.A.
i used to be in the photo business and have sold a lot of stuff. between Sigma and Canon the quality can differ. but if your not a serious shutterbug, then go with the aftermarket brands. Sigma makes a nice lens, and between them and Tamron i'd go with the Sigma. the body has a nice sturdy feel to it. now i'll also add that i got out of photo sales just as digital was starting to gain momentum, and dslr's weren't even around yet, and film was still the norm. that being said, i'm speaking from what i remember. lens quality today may not be as big of a deal as it was when i shot. now you can retouch everything in the computer where before, you needed a sharp lens to ensure the photo came out as perfect as possible. does anyone know if Sigma still makes their APO lenses? if so those were nice, better glass used, better lens coatings. another plus for Sigma is they offer (or at least they did) a really wide range of lenses, so for the causal photog you could get 2 maybe 3 lenses and that would cover a WIDE range of focal lengths. and their prices were reasonable.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,965
4
lens quality today may not be as big of a deal as it was when i shot. now you can retouch everything in the computer where before, you needed a sharp lens to ensure the photo came out as perfect as possible.
It still matters.

Sharpness from a nice lens cannot be duplicated via crap lens + software.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
lens quality today may not be as big of a deal as it was when i shot. now you can retouch everything in the computer where before, you needed a sharp lens to ensure the photo came out as perfect as possible.
WHAT? No.

Sharpness, color saturation and contrast can be adjusted, but you will never attain the same quality as with a good lens. This is particularly true for sharpness. Adjusting local contrast is not the same as having a nice sharp image to work with.
 

maddog17

Turbo Monkey
Jan 20, 2008
2,777
86
Methuen, Mass. U.S.A.
that's good to know. i haven't shot in years since i sold off my EOS stuff. i've never used any digital software so i was just assuming you could do a lot more with it.
 

blue

boob hater
Jan 24, 2004
10,165
0
california
WHAT? No.

Sharpness, color saturation and contrast can be adjusted, but you will never attain the same quality as with a good lens. This is particularly true for sharpness. Adjusting local contrast is not the same as having a nice sharp image to work with.
Seriously. All the grizzled old guys who refuse to accept digital as a photographic medium say sh!t like this all the time...Always along the lines of "it doesn't matter if the shot sucks, you whippersnappers just change it in the newfangley computer!" It's a very irritating attitude, especially when they bring it up after inquiring what I shoot with at a gallery I have work in and such.

I think they're just insecure. Digital has made photography much more accessible, and photographers far better than those of yesteryear have come out of the woodwork.

Good luck with your new lens! I have the Canon version, it's not bad for outdoor telephoto stuff.
 
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Bldr_DH

Monkey
Aug 8, 2003
767
0
NO BO CO
Damn, that lens must be HUGE!!!! :cheers:

I usually trust the-digital-picture, as the reviews are pretty straightforward and seem relatively accurate: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/

I'd second the 70-200mm f4 from Canon, it's the cheapest pro-level optics you can get from them, and is noticeably better/sharper than anything in the sub-$500 range.

I'll third the 70-200mm. It is by far my most favorite and most used lens.
 

maddog17

Turbo Monkey
Jan 20, 2008
2,777
86
Methuen, Mass. U.S.A.
Seriously. All the grizzled old guys who refuse to accept digital as a photographic medium say sh!t like this all the time...Always along the lines of "it doesn't matter if the shot sucks, you whippersnappers just change it in the newfangley computer!" It's a very irritating attitude, especially when they bring it up after inquiring what I shoot with at a gallery I have work in and such.

I think they're just insecure. Digital has made photography much more accessible, and photographers far better than those of yesteryear have come out of the woodwork.

Good luck with your new lens! I have the Canon version, it's not bad for outdoor telephoto stuff.
i dont think that's necessarily true for all of us "grizzled old guys". it's not such a bad statement to make since now most photo's are retouched with the computer in some fashion and i think that fashion photography or model shoots are a big culprit. i'll say that digital does open a new door for creativity that was never available for film or really really difficult to do on film. my orginal statement was made with me not really knowing the degree for which digital can be retouched and i admitted it. but on the other hand, it does take away some of the skill needed to make a shot when you can use a computer to fix what you screwed up (to a degree). as much as some shots today are great, for me, looking at it i will have that thought going thru my mind about how much was the shot retouched in the comp. where as, i look at an Ansel Adams shot and know that any retouching he did, was by hand, hard work, lots of practice, lots of paper and many long hours in a darkroom. i have more respect for his work than someone from today based on that amount of work he had to do in a darkroom. and just like anyone, some people have a hard time accepting new technology so that plays into it also. we today accept changes in technology more readily because its changing faster for us than it did for them.
 

blue

boob hater
Jan 24, 2004
10,165
0
california
i dont think that's necessarily true for all of us "grizzled old guys". it's not such a bad statement to make since now most photo's are retouched with the computer in some fashion and i think that fashion photography or model shoots are a big culprit. i'll say that digital does open a new door for creativity that was never available for film or really really difficult to do on film. my orginal statement was made with me not really knowing the degree for which digital can be retouched and i admitted it. but on the other hand, it does take away some of the skill needed to make a shot when you can use a computer to fix what you screwed up (to a degree). as much as some shots today are great, for me, looking at it i will have that thought going thru my mind about how much was the shot retouched in the comp. where as, i look at an Ansel Adams shot and know that any retouching he did, was by hand, hard work, lots of practice, lots of paper and many long hours in a darkroom. i have more respect for his work than someone from today based on that amount of work he had to do in a darkroom. and just like anyone, some people have a hard time accepting new technology so that plays into it also. we today accept changes in technology more readily because its changing faster for us than it did for them.
The photograph is created when that shutter is popped, not in the darkroom/on a computer. A crappy shot is always going to be a crappy shot, post-process is just the finishing touch on a photo, and no amount of post is going to make it great. If you can't see past that, you've missed the point.

When I said digital has made photography more accessible to the masses, I was speaking about the monetary benefits. Film is expensive. Processing is expensive. You need a darkroom or have good access to one in order to gain full control of your work. With digital, all I need is my camera equipment, a $1000 computer, and a good print shop.

FYI, I shoot medium format (and large when I can borrow setups) as well.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,965
4
A crappy shot is always going to be a crappy shot, post-process is just the finishing touch on a photo, and no amount of post is going to make it great.
In multi track recording and mixing this is referred to as "polishing a turd".

If the sound going to tape is played crappy on crap gear through crap mics, the final result will be crap. Studio tricks and effects, filters etc will turn it into an artificial piece, but at heart, it will be crap.


All my best pics have had just about zero post processing. If it's a crap pic, I don't even bother with it.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,644
397
NC
since now most photo's are retouched with the computer in some fashion and i think that fashion photography or model shoots are a big culprit.
Just like they did in a darkroom.

you can use a computer to fix what you screwed up (to a degree).
Just like you could in a darkroom.

i will have that thought going thru my mind about how much was the shot retouched in the comp.
Did you have the same negative thoughts about someone retouching photos with a darkroom?

where as, i look at an Ansel Adams shot and know that any retouching he did, was by hand, hard work, lots of practice, lots of paper and many long hours in a darkroom. i have more respect for his work than someone from today based on that amount of work he had to do in a darkroom.
Wait, so it's okay to learn a craft if it's done in a room, but it's not okay to have learned a craft on a computer? You think people don't spend long tedious hours carefully retouching great photos to make them into something spectacular? Or read books, practice and experiment to learn their retouching techniques? Just because anyone can pop some excess saturation into their images doesn't mean they can properly and carefully process a photo to be anything other than a hypersaturated mediocre shot.

Photo retouching is part of the craft, whether it's in a darkroom or the "darkroom" of a PC. Great shots are great shots, and mediocre shots will not be magically transformed because you can use a clone tool to remove an inconveniently placed twig.