Canon Lens? Which one to buy?

Nate B.

So I want to upgrade from my kit lens 18-55, to an all-around lens that I can use as of temporary till I can afford another lens. I am on a budget of 300$ so I can't buy anything "new" but I would like to grab something off of ebay or amazon relatively cheap. I am looking to buy a lens that can do some decent wide angles but can zoom as well and with a decent f/, IF I CAN GET LUCKY wideanglezoom lens with a constant f-stop. Here are the lens, that if I can get lucky with a price, I can possibly snatch.

Canon EF IS USM 28-135mm 3.5-5.6 280$ (I heard a lot about this lens and how it is the "greatest" overall lens to get)
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (really like that it has the constant f-stop)
Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4
Sigma 17-35mmf/2.8-4 Ashp. (like because of the wide shots I can get)

I don't honestly know where to go and get good updated advice on lens' and which ones to get. Personal preference, etc. is appreciated. Please help me out, I am just on the prowl to get a new lens until I can save up another 1-2k to blow. So anything that helps me towards a good temporary lense is much appreciated!
Good and high quality glass for Canon will cost you about $1200. You could get three primes to cover your basic wide, standard and long range and they would cost about 400 each. Or you could get an L series zoom like the 24-70 which would cost you around $1200 as well.

However, with your budget, we're looking for a way to have you cover your wide to long range with something that is just decent enough.

Im assuming you've got a 1.6 crop Canon body?

There are plenty of different combinations through which you could cover your range (including avoiding Canon lenses and getting into vintage glass) and im sure different ppl will recommend different packages.

Here's what i would recommend, assuming that you are interested in film making and not documentary work and want only Canon lenses. Keep the 18-55. Buy the 50mm 1.8. And save the $200 left for saving up towards buying better lenses with a higher budget.

On a 1.6 crop, your 18-55mm will cover your wide end and deep dof shots. The 50mm 1.8 will give you your closeups with the shallow dof which is often preferred.

There is no sense in wasting the $300 on a Canon lens, especially not on the 28-135. It is about 400 not 280 and is far from the greatest overall lens for Canon. It is decent enough though for a first lens.

However, if you're open to used vintage glass then you have more options... ive typed way too much and ill let someone else continue this...

EDIT: the vintage info has preceded me ^
The Canon 50mm f/1.4 will last you a lifetime. Or as long as there's an EF mount camera I guess. It's a fantastic lens, but it's fixed focal length so not super versatile.

I have the Tamron, and it's a nice little lens. Not a huge fan of it for photos, the AF is a little slow. That doesn't matter for video.

I have an 18-135mm Canon 3.5-5.6 and it's my jack of all trades photo lens. Thought about sellog it for something faster but it's really crisp and and so versatile (I mean, 18-135) and ylucan find a brand new one pulled out of a 7D kit for $300 all day long. Use it a bit for video, but 3.5 is pretty stinkin slow once you're indoors and have to use 180* shutter and a lower ISO than stills.

I'd avoid the variable aperture Sigmas. I generally like Sigma better than Tamron, but not those. The Sigma I'd get is the 24-70 (or is it 28-75?) f/2.8. Pretty decent image, not quite as sharp as the Canon with the same specs bit you can pick one up for $500ish.

Vintage primes are nice, not for everything. Not for photos. I have a few and I pull them out from time to time.

Again, not super versatile but it will last you a while. The Rokinon lenses are FANTASTIC. No frills, manual everything, pretty glass and fast apertures. The 85 1.4 is $280 brand new, the 35 1.4 is $500.

Off that list, if you need versatility and do a lot of photos I'd say the Canon. Need to go wide indoors, the Tamron. If you can live with a fixed 50mm then Def get the Canon 50 1.4. It's the EST quality lens on that list.

Nate B.

Thanks a bunch for all the answers. Definitely a lot of reading up and searching I must do. I have heard the 50mm f/1.4 is a quality little bugger. I can pick one up from a friend for a fairly good price as he no longer does film, got lucky with that one.

And to answer questions, I am using a t3i, all for shooting videos. Everything I buy I want to use for videos in film making and documenting. I will be getting into a mixture of both. I plan on getting some L lens' in the future, but for now I plan on getting the best bang for my buck to make it last somewhat. I have looked into a lot of vintages but my inexperience, just doesn't know which ones to get for what shooting situations. As I have to read up more on them. There's a lot of reviews out there, but most of the time they are so mixed, I can't tell what's good versus what's bad. Keep the information coming guys, I really appreciate it and it is helping me make smarter choices.

Btw, I was able to snatch a canon 28-135 for 280$ tonight, but I think I am going to hold off for a little and continue my research on most lens'. I just want to make sure I get a good buy before blowing it on something I ended up not needing the most. And I do have a 70-300mm Canon lens' for the tele, but the front protector plastic/glass (not sure what it is called) broke off so I am skeptical in using it in some situations. Any info on to where to send in a lens to get repairs that does good work, recommend please. Thanks!


P.S found a local who can sell a canon 28-135 for 200$ worth it?
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P.S found a local who can sell a canon 28-135 for 200$ worth it?
It's a good price, but if you're only going to buy one lens I'd find something faster. The worst aspect of the kit lens is the slow speed; I'd want a fast lens for situations where the kit lens isn't fast enough.