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Photo Forum Everything on Travel Photography, from what kind of equipment to how to light a subject, moderated by Stuart (Reggie) Martindale, a pro English photographer
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Old 16 Sep 2009
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Originally Posted by freeflyd View Post
I have been a pro photographer for 15 years and have had many many lenses and combination and have recommended more lenses to more people than I care to remember.

The first and most important thing to remember is that "cheap" and "quality" will not ever work in the same sentence in photogrpahy. You can have either one, but not both. The second is that buying anything other than canon is like buying margarine when you need butter, but not having sugar in your turkish tea... It will simply not work as well, regardless of what the salesman may tell you.

For your applications, which incidentally is similar to my mother's, I would recommend two lenses: 28 - 135mm IS Canon and a 70- 300 Canon IS (NOT 75 - 300) The 28 - 135 has macro capabilities. Your only other possible requirement will be for a wider angle lens. Canon 10 -22 is brilliant but expensive. You can get the 18 - 55mm canon kit lens which should have shipped with the 400D for just about nothing.

Do not fall for the 28 - 300mm lenses. The only one worth wile is the Canon one and that is about $3 000. The others simply do not work properly.

If budget is no concern, I would recommend the Canon 24 -105 IS L and the Canon 100 - 400 IS L. But that'll cost you more than GBP2k

Oh yeh... Well done on getting a Canon!
canon 70/300is great lens for price..
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Old 26 Oct 2010
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14 months & 23 African countries later and the Tamron has done well, no problems with it freezing as others have had with other Tamron or Sigma lenses. It has been a good all round lense and it was only when I hit Southern Africa with animals to gawk at that I've really felt the need for a zoom lens.

Thanks for the help....

Now onto researching a zoom....
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Old 27 Oct 2010
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i do have one more. Depends on what you want. If you want to use one lens "all over" - take the Tamron 18 - 270 mm F 3,5 - 6,3 Di LD Asph. Macro. A good lense (not the best) but you do have always the right lens to do nearly everything, especially while traveling, then often you do not have the time to change the lens because of the situation - and then this lens is the best!
If you want to have better lenses, i also say the tamron 28 - 75 2,8 XR Di LD Asph. Macro - absolute great. and then maybe for really "wide things" the sigma 10 - 20 mm.
But it depends on what you want - thats it.
Good fotos on all your ways whereever you will be.
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Old 4 Nov 2010
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Focal Lenghts

I don't think there is the ONE focal length / lens that makes everyone happy. That's why it is so hard to answer the "what lens should I take" question.
It very much depends what the photographer wants to do. Some of the best photos I've seen have been shot with a simple 35mm or 50mm lens (= 24mm or 35mm on cropped sensor).
  • Landscapes and Interiors (churches, museums,...): Wide angle down to 10 or 12mm (on a cropped sensor such as the 400d).
  • Bazaars & Markets: How closely do you approach people / what's your 'comfort zone'? Some people only shoot from a longer distance (telezoom), others like to be "right in the middle" – in which case you'd want a good wide-angle.
  • Full face portraits: medium focal length with a large aperture (f2.8) – i.e. a 28-70 or 28-80. Environmental portraits, the max aperture becomes less important.
  • Wildlife: "the more the merrier" but at least 200 or 300mm on a cropped sensor I'd say. And if someone is into bird photography, focusing speed is important as well.
The second hand market has some oldies but goldies – such as the Tokina f2.6-2.8/28-70. I think it came out about 10-12 years ago, not available new anymore. It's missing the "made for digital" tag, hence should be available for a bargain – but I'm sure its optical quality is comparable to modern lenses.

Try to find a good photography shop with a nice selection of lenses, and ask them if you can leave your passport / driving license / bike parked in front of the shop & take one or two lenses for a little walk around the block to check them out (focal lengths, focusing speed, focus accuracy,...). Take test shots with YOUR camera at different focal lengths and then have a look at them on a computer. Try to detach yourself from "wow" factors & ask yourself if you'd actually USE a certain focal length on your travels. (I've got a 12-24 on my full frame body – other travellers often envy me for this amount of "wide angle", but I actually find it's very hard to use properly. If I had to do it again, I'd probably leave the 12-24mm at home and take one or two fast prime lenses instead – I just LOVE shallow depth of field / selective focus).

Unfortunately, approaching a photo store for this kind of "favour" is often difficult these days – too many people "test in the shop & buy on the web" and of course shops are aware of that. That's why I try to buy most of my gear in my local shop & build up a relationship with them.
(That said – I've heard from one traveller that he ordered 5 lenses on Amazon (Germany), tried them all out & sent 4 of them back – no problems).
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