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Best Lenses for Canon Digital Rebel?

by ariel7 / April 14, 2005 7:22 AM PDT

I just bought a used Rebel and now I need to find a lens for it!

What are the best lenses to get for this that aren't too expensive? I do not know a thing about photography yet..

I'm going to need to be able to take close-ups of miniatures, but I also want to be able to take normal photos like portraits and nature shots. I have seen normal macro lenses and also small lenses/filters for close ups that attach to normal lenses (which are much cheaper)... Not sure what I should get.

So what is the best, cheapest way to go and what should I look for? Don't have too much money to spend, but need to be able to take good pictures. As of now I have no idea what 18mm or 200mm, etc. even means..

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Best and cheapest are oxymorons. What does the camera
by Kiddpeat / April 14, 2005 8:00 AM PDT

have now, and how much do you want to spend?

Which model is it?

I have found the EF-S 17-85MM f4-5.6 IS USM to be a good all around lense for my 20D. It is capable of close ups and moderate distance. Double check that it will work with your camera, but the Canon web site says it works with digital Rebels. $600 at B&H Photo.

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by ariel7 / April 14, 2005 9:17 AM PDT

"Best and cheapest are oxymorons. What does the camera have now, and how much do you want to spend?

Which model is it?"

Well, best and cheapest do not have to be oxymorons when you scour the classifieds & auctions like me..

I do not have a lot of money. If it's a lens that takes nice quality photos and will get the job done for what I need right now, I prefer to pay between $50-125 (used). For a really great lens that I really like a lot for whatever reason, I will pay up to $250.

I mainly need a good quality lens that will function well for many things, but I need a way to get good close up macro shots. If I have to buy a separate attachment lens for that, that is fine. I am just inexperienced, so not sure how they work. I have seen them on ebay for $30 (as opposed to $150 retail).

But $600 is way too extravagent for me.. lol. I envy those who have the money to blow like that on a camera lens! Then again, I am not a photographer or photography student like many people on here probably are. I am just a person who needs to be able to get great photos of dolls.

The camera I just bought is a Digital Rebel 300d and it came with everything but the flash card and the lens. I got it for $400 compared to the retail price of $700+, so I'm hoping I can get a similar deal on a quality lens!

If you recommend stuff to me in the $100-500 retail price range, it means I should be able to find a similar thing somewhere else half price. My main problem is I do not understand lenses or what all my options are in the first place.

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Canon Lenses
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / April 14, 2005 1:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Lenses

Start with a .pdf showing all of the Canon EF lenses.
You can download the .pdf here:


I am wondering if you really want or need a macro lens. The macro is great for taking photos of insects, coins, and things about that size.

You may only need a lens with close focus ability.
Something like a focus down to 1.5 feet.


There are two ways to go:
(I would do both)

Get the "kit lens" - the EF-S 18-55mm f3.5 -f5.6
This is the lens that comes with a Rebel with lens kit. Most people start with this lens. For the price (about $100) it is a great starter lens.

It comes in two versions:
...The one that comes as part of a kit.
...The one that does not.

The one that does not, has Ultrasonic focus Motor, which is quieter and faster that normal focus motor (the kit lens). You will see USM at the end of the lens description.

So you can look for both on eBay and see what the prices tell you. You should find very good deals on the kit lens.

2. Get the 50mm F1.8 II
This is a popular second lens.
This is a non zoom basic lens (primary lens).
It has a close focus of 1.5 feet.
It is a "bright" lens (f1.8), which means it is good for low light photography.

With the Rebel it will have a 35mm equivalent focal length of 80mm.
Which is perfect for portraits.

With the f1.8 rating on the lens you will be able to control depth of field. Which is needed for portraits and for close focus items.

This lens sells for about $80 new.
You should be able to beat that on eBay.



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Thank you for all your help, snapshot!
by ariel7 / April 15, 2005 10:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Canon Lenses

Thats all I wanted to say.

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Anymore advice please?
by ariel7 / April 14, 2005 12:56 PM PDT

I want to buy one tonight or tomorrow...

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by jump1127 / April 14, 2005 2:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Anymore advice please?

You can't have a SLR lense that cover every shooting aspects. You don't need to buy them all at once. Find out what you really need most. The lenses that have 28-200 mm focal length covers 95-98 % shootings. Don't rush to buy them all at once. I suggest the following lense for you:

1. Canon EF 28-135mm IS
2. Canon EFS 10-22mm
3. Canon EF 70-200mm F4L

These lenses are necessary. Don't buy them all at once even though these lense aren't too expensive. The 1st one is for the most common use. Meanwhile, the 2nd lense is for the wide-angle. In addtion, the 70-200mm lense will be good for zooming. Good luck.

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Any experience with Tamron 18-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR DI II ?
by kgoerke / April 15, 2005 1:27 AM PDT

Hi Guys,

does anyone have practical experience with picture quality of Tamron 18-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR DI II lens on Canon digital rebel?

On paper it looks good, but the zoom range sounds too large to trust the spec sheet ...

Any insight welcome,

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(NT) (NT) Thanks so much, you guys
by ariel7 / April 15, 2005 10:25 AM PDT
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Good Starting lenses
by shybull / April 15, 2005 7:10 AM PDT

I second the 18-55mm and the 50mm 1.8. Very good lenses for starting and very reasonably priced. You can always add an extension tube for macros at a good price too. Then if you know you want to get more serious buy other lenses such as the Canon 100mm macro. Here is a link to a good site that has forums that are specific to individual manufacturers. They even have a forum dedicated to the Digital Rebel.

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Forum Link
by shybull / April 15, 2005 7:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Good Starting lenses
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Hehehe.. You read my mind..
by ariel7 / April 15, 2005 10:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Good Starting lenses

"such as the Canon 100mm macro"

That's the lens I have so far fallen mad in love with.

I guess I should just get it if I like it that much, huh? ;P It will be perfect for the original purpose I bought a camera for anyway.

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Think I found it! Love at first sight?
by ariel7 / April 15, 2005 10:14 AM PDT

Ok. After looking around some more I think I might have fallen in love with this one particular lens.. the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens. From the photos I have seen taken with it, it just seems to catch all the colors so vividly and take such sparkling, sharp photos. Am I imagining it, or do so many photos taken with this lens blow other photos away?

They are so lively and atmospheric, and the colors and contrast so brilliant. This appears to be exactly the kind of lens I want and need, by the photos I have seen so far. A lens that takes detailed close ups with that kind of contrast and color, but can also take great portraits and distance shots...

(I got a camera Mainly to photograph art dolls, so this seems like the ideal lens mixing portraits with macro.)

Are there any other lenses which can compare to this one? This is kind of expensive everywhere so far. =( It's really tempting me though.. Yeah, I guess I am getting carried away! But oh well, I can use it as an excuse to take up a new hobby..

Could I get by with using this as my only lens for a while though, do you think? Or is it too limited to use in that way?

I don't know if I'm imagining the picture quality of this lens.. there may be other less expensive lenses that rival it that I just have not yet come across or something better I could get, but I've really taken a fancy to it. I just adore the way it brings out color and contrast.. B&Ws look great.. Almost every photo I have seen taken with it has this special magical, sparkling, illuminating quality where photos taken by other lenses like the 18-55mm kit lens seem so drab and mundane in comparison. Even the Sigma 105mm equivalent macro, though able to get the same detail, didn't seem to catch light and color at all like this lens.. Know what I mean, at all?

(That's a great site)

So, tell me, am I imagining things or should I just give in and buy this lens?

(Even though it will probably cost me waaay more than I was planning to spend)

The only bad thing about it is it doesn't have any way to zoom. But though that's something I wanted in a lens, its not anything I need right away.
I'd rather have sparkling photos than a zoom lens that puts out dull ones..

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It is a nice lense, and does a very good job. It is 3X on a
by Kiddpeat / April 15, 2005 10:41 AM PDT

Rebel and can be used for portrait type shots as well as macro. You may be somewhat surprised at how far away from an object you have to get with it. Also, it is a long lense and may partially obstruct the camera's built in flash. Canon does make a ring flash that fits it, but that is another high ticket item. $450 at B&H Photo and Video.

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by ariel7 / April 15, 2005 10:57 AM PDT

I noticed it is a long lense but hoped it wouldn't make too much of a difference.

I figure I will likely disable the built in flash anyway for the main purpose I will be using the camera right now.. Just try to use natural and/or good lighting around a table-top studio.

How far away from an object do you have to get with it?

Well, I am such a novice, but I will learn someday. Lol.

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How far away depends on how big the object is. The lens
by Kiddpeat / April 15, 2005 5:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes

can focus within a foot or two, but you don't see much if you get that close.

The first time I used it, I was trying to get a shot of a sword's hilt. I had to back off 3-4 feet to get the entire hilt. I finally resorted to taking small sections which were stitched back together in photoshop. I got incredible detail, but it took several shots.

To explain, a normal view (about the size your eye sees) is provided by a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera. Digital cameras have a multiplier factor because the sensor is smaller than a 35mm frame. I am assuming the Rebel has a 1.6 factor like the 20D. That makes the 100mm lense 160mm as far as the camera is concerned. Thus, the images it sees are magnified 3 times which I call 3X (160 divided by 50).

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100mm macro
by ariel7 / April 16, 2005 12:35 AM PDT

Hmm. Well, that doesn't seem too bad.. I would stand across the room for the kind of pictures that lens takes. I'm not sure I understand why you had to take the shot in sections, why you couldn't just back up more. I've heard about the 1.6 factor, but am not familiar with how it works in action. This is my first real slr.

But oh well, like I said, I would stand across the room to get photos of that quality. I do Not want to have to lace together separate shots just to get one shot, however. That would take way too long for what I'm doing, because I take dozens of shots from different angles.

Now I want a 17-40MM f4 L too.. lol. Figures! But I will wait on that! That one seems to add the same glow that I like. Almost as nice as the 100mm. Know what I mean?

Now that I look at photos taken by other lenses I am spoiled. It just seems like there is such a difference in the way the colors come out. I just don't see the point in taking photos if the end result isn't gorgeous.

Do you know of any other lenses that capture color and light like that? I'm not so sure about the kit lens.. The photos are kinda blah. I wish they'd make an 18-55mm and put whatever magic dust inside it they did the 100mm. Even the 55mm macro doesn't look quite the same to me.

If I can't find the 100mm for a decent price though, I might just settle for the 50mm 1/8 lens for now.. I don't like the way it picks up color & detail near as much as the other two, but it doesn't take bad pictures and would probably work fine. I saved a lot of money on the camera though so now I can afford to spend a little more on a lense IF it is worth it.

The main purpose I will be using it for is to photograph dolls that are 15 inch, but it's mainly their faces and features like eyes. So I need to get in good on an inch of detail, and color is Very important. Basically, mini-portraits. So it's a similar scale to what you were using with that sword hilt, but smaller on the whole.

I wish there was a closer-focus lens that took the same quality of pictures.. Ideally, I would like to get between 6 inches to 1 or 2 feet from the subject, as I like to manipulate the object as I go (change poses, etc).

But for the quality the 100mm produces, a little inconvienience is probably worth it.

On the other hand, the 3x magnification might actually work perfectly for what I am trying to do. I guess I would have to try it out to know for sure.

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I took it in sections so I could get the detail and
by Kiddpeat / April 16, 2005 1:42 AM PDT
In reply to: 100mm macro

illumination that I wanted. The result is beautiful, but the image size is huge. The 10-22 can get closer to the object and still focus than any other Canon lens. I have not tended to use it a lot. I am increasingly gravitating to the 17-85 as a working lense. The 100mm is for macro and portrait. The 70-200 f2.8L IS USM takes a beautiful shot, but is way out of your price range. It pulls in shots that the 17-85 cannot get, but still leaves me wanting more.

Good luck. You can get some gorgeous shots with these lenses.

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Ok. That makes sense.
by ariel7 / April 16, 2005 3:14 AM PDT

I don't really need huge photos for the dolls. Just want good detail and very pretty pictures.

I will research the 10-22 as well. I will use these close-up/macro lenses more than most I'm sure because of the business I'm starting. I will be shooting semi-macro practically every day. Most people probably see little use for taking those kind of shots. Though it seems this camera is going to get me interested in all kinds of photography with time and I will be wanting a lot more! I wasn't planning on spending much on a camera, but I guess no harm in taking up a new hobby. It looks like a lot of fun.

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Links to Canon Lens reviews
by netman42 / April 15, 2005 9:24 PM PDT

Ariel: You have quite a lot to learn, but with the internet there are always smart people to help.

See the following links that will tell you more than you need to know. Unfortunately, in camera lenses, you DO tend to "get what you pay for". As a beginner, you wont be as picky, so thats good - check the links and get yourself the Canon 50mm 1.8, under $80 to go with the kit zoom lens. From there you can get decent zooms from SIGMA, TAMRON and TOKINA that are less $$ than Canon, but stay away from the wide ranges (28-300).

The great thing about digital is you can take LOTS of pictures, so read the manual and start shooting!


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I read all those links already! =)
by ariel7 / April 16, 2005 12:55 AM PDT

(I was looking all over the place for info)

Not picky because I'm a beginner? Yeah right. I am picky about everything. Already I can see a huge difference in the lenses and am wanting L lens quality.. lol. I wish I wasn't picky! I didn't know it was going to be such a pain shopping for a lens!

It's like a noticable, unnoticable difference, if that makes any sense. Just seems that a few lenses add a certain glow that others don't. I want that glow in my photos. Either that, or just better photographers use certain lenses.. I've been using a lot. Good place to see what kind of pictures different lenses take.

And yes, I plan on getting the 50mm, either sooner or later, but I am drooling over other things. Honestly, I didn't much care for the quality of the kit lens. It's only redeeming trait is it's a wide angle zoom. If you look on that site and compare photos, you might see what I am talking about. The pictures just aren't all that great.

Can't start shooting until I get a lens! I got the body only from a neighbor who was upgrading. I figured I would want to pick my own lens anyway. Already read most of the manual.

I saw the Tamron 90mm, but I still think I prefer the 100mm. Also, have no clue how to make it work with the Canon.

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Precaution for non-canon lenses !
by jump1127 / April 16, 2005 9:57 PM PDT

Some non-canon lenses seem to deviate the color of the shooting picture, such as grey or red background. For instance, Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 shooting in a studio, with the same controlled lighting factor doesn't show the same correct color as that of Canon 70-200mm F2.8L. It's either too reddish or greyish.Just a precaution.

I've been sticked around with Canon EF L-series lenses. And quite happy with them. The picture quality is outstanding. You don't make a quick decision buying them all at once. Spend for what you really need. Canon 100mm Macro F2.8lense is very limited in use. But, it's a necessary for some shootings. Any way, good luck. Choose wisely !

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crossing fingers
by ariel7 / April 17, 2005 10:18 AM PDT

I might have lucked out. A relative has an old camera they don't use anymore with 3 lenses. I used it once and I remember it having a nice macro lens. If I recall right, it was also somewhat long. I'm crossing my fingers praying it's the old 100mm..

I am a little wary of non-canon lenses.

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I confess I'm not very familiar with non-Canon lenses, but,
by Kiddpeat / April 16, 2005 1:49 AM PDT

if you go that route, be sure the electronic focus is fully supported. I can't see in many cases where the optimum focus is. The Canon lenses will focus, and then allow manual adjustments if you wish. USM is also a lightening fast focus.

If the Rebel illuminates the focus point, be sure that feature still works on a non Canon lens.

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