March 11, 2018 at 8:52 pm #29821
I’m considering the addition of another lens for my Canon 60D. I currently shoot with one of (I think) the best kit lenses available, the EF-S 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS. I love this lens, and as it is an all-purpose lens, it serves all my purposes quite well. I never have to change lenses during a shoot, and I never really am itching for a different focal length.
However, as with most zoom lenses, it’s a bit lackluster in minimum aperture, and I’ve heard kit lenses are generally poor quality. I’d like to experiment with lower apertures and see the difference in image quality, but I’m not really sure if purchasing another lens is a good choice for my photography situations.
I’ve been taking photos with the Canon 60D and 18-200mm lens for about two years. As for what I find myself shooting the most, I shoot everything: landscapes, events, weddings, portraits, macros—you name it. Most of the time, I take pictures of my many little siblings; I especially love shooting landscapes; the idea of night photography intrigues me… I like to experiment.
Here’s my main question: am I really missing something that would be gained with a higher quality lens?
And if so, which lens would be the best “next lens” to go into my camera bag?
–LoganMarch 12, 2018 at 6:30 am #29833
Nathanael & Samantha FrazerModerator
If you don’t feel limited by your current equipment, don’t buy just for the sake of having more stuff. Buy stuff that fills a hole or answers to a need. That being said, you can’t really know the advantages
Here are a few advantages to higher class lenses:
Build quality. Canon’s L lenses for example are built like tanks making them very reliable, harder to break, more resistant to weather.
AF speed. the advantages to that are obvious.
Better AF in low light. A higher quality, larger aperture lens will lock into a subject more easily even when the light is iffy.
Aperture. This is a big deal. You don’t appreciate it until you try it. It gives you more light for when there’s not much light, and allows for a shallow depth of field, which is handy for blurring backgrounds.
Better image quality. There are thousands of ways to quantify IQ, some helpful, some not. Things like sharpness, latitudinal chromatic aberration, longitudinal chromatic aberration, corner sharpness, vignetting, flaring, etc. You can use tools like LensTip or The Digital Picture to get info on the IQ of lenses. Stay away from DXO for lenses as their databases are full of mistakes and there results are sometimes… fishy.
I dont know what your budget is, but my suggestion is a 50mm 1.8 STM. (Don’t get the older versions, the stm is worth it.) it checks most of the boxes with medium build quality, decent AF, good IQ, and an f/1.8 aperture. At ~$100, it’s also one of the cheapest lenses you can buy. It will be great for weddings, events, portraits, etc.
For landscapes and night photography you could look at getting something wide and large aperture. Canon has a fantastic little 10-18 IS, which would be great for expanding your landscape possibilities. But they have no wide aperture wide angle lenses for Crop cameras like the 60D. For that I’d look at the Tokina 11-20 f/2.8 or 14-24 f/2.0. The latter has a much wide aperture, but doesn’t expand on your focal range much. They run around 450 and 600 respectively.March 21, 2018 at 4:34 pm #30033
For landscapes and night photography you could look at getting something wide and large aperture.
I would second this recommendation. It’s ok if it’s an off brand lens for starters, as long as it does have a nice wide aperture in the ballpark of 1.8 to 2.8. I found that 50mm is not good for star photography because it isn’t wide enough at all.April 8, 2018 at 12:09 pm #30320
Thanks so much for all of your input!
So… the Canon 50mm 1.8 is in my shopping cart right now (couldn’t beat the price!), but I was given some more money for my birthday to add to my photo budget.
I’m now looking for an ultra-wide. I already have an 18mm (at f/3.5) option on my 18-200mm.
So far, I’ve come across two different options.
Option 1: The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II
Pros that I can see:
-Versatility (it zooms a bit)
-Nice wide Aperture (beats my f/3.5 by 2/3 stop)
Cons that I can see:
-Glass quality might be a bit compromised
-I hear this lens isn’t super great with Chromatic Aberration :/ (https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tokina-11-16mm-f-2.8-AT-X-Pro-DX-II-Lens.aspx)
-Autofocus is a bit slow—I don’t really care about that though
Option 2: Rokinon 16M-C 16mm f/2.0
-SHARP througout the whole lens (even in the corners)
-Lovely Aperture (f/2.0)
-Especially recommended for astrophotography
-Price is about the same as the Tokina, but fewer features might imply better glass quality
-Manual Aperture lens—don’t know that I’d be too concerned about that (I shoot in Aperture Priority mode all the time), though I’d miss the EXIF data.
-No Autofocus—is this a big deal on an ultrawide?
-No zoom… I could probably live with that though
-Is 16mm that much different than 18mm? This lens isn’t a lot wider than the lens I already own.
So… what say y’all? Is there a third option you’d recommend?
April 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm #30322
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Logan Lamar.
I have no experience with either of those lenses so I am not even going to attempt to speak to the issue of the comparisons in their quality. But if you’re looking for a wide angle for landscapes I think you would find that 16mm isn’t going to be much better than the 18mm that you currently have. I use a 12-24mm quite a bit for landscapes and I find myself either at or close to 12mm a lot of the time. So if all you’re looking for is an improvement in image quality over your current lens, the prime 16mm may or may not fit the bill. But if you’re looking for greater flexibility in being able to improve your compositions with the use of a wider angle then I think you’d be better off with the 11-16mmApril 8, 2018 at 4:43 pm #30323
Hi Logan! From the pros and cons that you’ve listed, I think the Rokinon seems better. From my limited experience with lenses, I know that a fixed-focal length lens (no zoom), usually is sharper and has a wider aperture. As to autofocus, from my point of view, if you’re only shooting landscapes, you don’t need it, but you do need autofocus if you’re shooting pretty much anything else.
Might I ask what you are going to be using an ultra-wide for?April 8, 2018 at 7:19 pm #30324
I mostly just plan to get the ultra-wide to expand the focal length range I already have. I would use it 90% of the time for landscapes, but pull it out sparingly for event photography.
The reason I’m liking the Tokina is because it would expand my range beautifully (from a 28.8mm equivalent to a 17.6mm equivalent) and would open up my possibilities for any specific situation.
The reason the Rokinon interests is because I’d like to give star/night photography a try, and the image sharpness and f/2 minimum aperture appealed to me.
As I haven’t tried much star/night photography (and I’ve heard people have gotten nice results with the Tokina anyway), I’m leaning towards the Tokina. Also, the fact that I’d have to go through the trouble of taking off my 18-200mm for a mere 2mm focal length change isn’t looking that great.
April 8, 2018 at 11:47 pm #30326
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Logan Lamar.
I don’t know much about these lenses, but I use manual focus like, all the time (because the auto focus in my camera doesn’t work). While it would be nice to have auto focus sometimes, you can get to where you are pretty good at focusing manually. Hope this helps!April 9, 2018 at 9:49 am #30330
@loganlamar, if you are to be using it for astrophotography, I think the expanding focal length and the large aperture would be a great asset. Also, the 2mm difference between the 18-200 and the Rokinon is so tiny that probably the only reason from my point of view to get the Rokinon would be for the sharpness throughout the lens. From my point of view, you don’t need autofocus if you’re doing astrophotography, because you can’t see anything to focus on.May 27, 2018 at 7:44 pm #31048
All right everyone, thank you so much for your input.
After much more research, I discovered that there is a newer version of the Tokina. It’s a 11-20mm f/2.8, and it handles ghosting much better than the 11-16mm. I also discovered that Tokina also makes a 14-20mm f/2 (and I think it’s a step up from the 11-20mm).
However, I did not get either of these. I eventually decided to go with the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 for a couple of reasons. First, it didn’t have much of an issue with chromatic aberration or ghosting—which are the two biggest complaints with the Tokina 11-16mm and 11-20mm. Secondly, I could not, could not beat the price. I was able to get it in Canon’s “Power to Create” kit, which came with the EF 50mm 1.8 (my first prime lens) for $350 (I saved about $50 by buying them in the kit instead of seperately), as opposed to the Tokina lenses each costing around $400-600. I then used part of the rest of my budget to purchase some quality B&W UV filters (I even replaced the $10 Zomei filter on my 18-200mm… I haven’t seen a difference much yet) and some third-party lens hoods.
So far, I am impressed with my new lens’s 10mm focal length and the fact that I can’t hear the autofocus motor work unless I put my ear to the lens! I might have also noticed a little boost in sharpness from my 18-200mm, but I haven’t used it much to really tell.
Thanks for your input again!
—LoganJune 16, 2018 at 4:21 pm #31410
Awesome! Looking forward to seeing some of your ultra-wide shots @loganlamar!June 16, 2018 at 4:28 pm #31413
@jamesstaddon, I can’t wait to show you some. Ten millimeters is definitely a different focal length to play with. However, I can’t tell you all how much I’m falling in love with the 50mm 1.8! I leave it on my camera now more than my 18-200mm. I don’t shoot it wide open very often, but the sharpness and clarity that it comes up with is superb!June 20, 2018 at 8:21 am #31471
That’s exactly how I felt when I upgraded from a 75-300mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens to the 70-200mm f/4 L!
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