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What lens do I need?

NK78
Apprentice

Hi, I recently purchased a EOS R RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM KIT.  My other camera was pretty old and I didn't pay attention to the zoom potential.  With my old camera, it had an optical 50x zoom and I could get very close with small things far away.  But this new camera isn't capable of that.  Do I need to return this and get a different camera or is there a lens adapter that will allow me to get the close ups that I want?

Thanks. 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

amfoto1
Whiz

There are actually a number of options with your new camera (or perhaps a change of camera?).

You could get Canon RF 100-400mm lens ($599). That's a reasonably affordable, compact, lightweight lens that will get you a lot closer to those distant subjects, although still not as extreme as your old camera.

Canon also offers an RF 600mm f/11, also reasonably compact, lightweight and affordable (currently $699).

Plus there is an RF 800mm f/11, another reasonably compact, light, affordable option (currently $899}.

An alternative to those three is a more expensive, but more versatile RF 100-500mm lens ($2899). While it's larger and heavier than any one of the above lenses, it is actually pretty light and manageable at 3 lb. Add an RF 1.4X teleconverter ($499) to that and you'll have an effective 140-700mm combination.

Yet another way to "get closer" to distant subjects is with the new Canon EOS R7 that's coming to stores at the end of this month. It uses an APS-C sensor instead of the full frame that's in your R. Even so, the R7 actually has slightly higher resolution (32.5MP vs 30MP). This smaller sensor in the R7 is still much, much bigger than the one in your old camera (they use really tiny sensors in those to make lenses "act like" they reach 1200mm).

One the R7 the 100-400mm lens I mention above will "act like a 160-640mm" would on your R. The 100-500mm lens does even better "acting like 160-800mm" on full frame. And that 800mm lens would "act like 1280mm" on your R. The R7 also fires faster, has in-body image stabilization and has a more advanced AF system than your R... and the R7 costs $100 less. Your R will probably be better in low light/high ISO situations. But otherwise the R7 will likely be superior.

All the above are powerful telephoto lenses that let you get shots of distant subjects.

You say you want "close-ups", which also could mean macro photography or shots of very small subjects that are very close. For this purpose there are different lenses and accessories. The Canon RF 100mm Macro lens is specifically made for this purpose (currently on sale for $1299).

A less expensive option is accessories for the lens you already have. Your 24-105mm actually does pretty well with 0.5X magnfication on its own. If you add a close-up diopter to the front of it, you can get even higher magnification. There are cheap close-up "filters", but they are junk and will make for poor quality images. Spend the money for a quality diopter, if you want one... For example there is a Nisi brand that costs around $150. Canon used to make excellent 250D and 500D, if you can find them used (not sure they came in the 67mm size, like your lens' filter threads... so you'd need to buy the next size larger and use a step ring).

Personally I prefer to use macro extension tubes instead of close-up diopters. Macro tubes fit between the lens and the camera to make the lens focus closer and render higher magnification. They also are inexpensive. Vello makes a set for Canon RF mount cameras and lenses that includes a 12mm and a 20mm tube ($79). Fotodiox offers a single tube that's 35mm in length ($79). The more extension you add, the higher magnification with your lens. The tubes can be stacked and are quite simple, no optics... just air inside.

Note: all the prices I quoted I found on B&H Photo website. Of course you are welcome to shop around wherever you like. But I think you will find that all authorized Canon dealer prices are the same. Beware of any lower prices you're quoted!

***********


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories
FLICKR & ZENFOLIO 

View solution in original post

9 REPLIES 9

rs-eos
Whiz

Well, on your full-frame camera, there doesn't exist a single RF lens (and pretty sure no single EF lens) that could replicate your older camera's 24 to 1200mm focal range.  I'm assuming your old camera was a PowerShot SX530 HS or similar?

Anyhow, while Canon does make an RF 1200mm lens, it's $20,000 and also a prime lens (i.e. fixed at 1200mm).    Using an RF 600mm ($12,000) along with a 2x extender would be cheaper, but quality would go downhill.

At the end of the day, this is a tradeoff between cameras with tiny sensors and cameras with larger sensors.  With the larger sensors you get a dramatic increase in picture quality and far less noise.  But the cost of lenses to get such a wide range of focal lengths becomes extremely costly.

What I'd recommend... Take a look at all your favorite images you've taken with your older camera.  See if the focal length tended to be roughly the same.  maybe 200mm?  maybe 50mm?  A mixture?  That will help you see what lens or lenses would fit your needs.

If it's really the super telephoto images you're after, you may want to stick with smaller sensor cameras.  Or, perhaps look at the new mirrorless R7 or R10 cameras.  Sensors are smaller than full-frame and will give you 1.6x boost in focal range.  So a 400mm lens on such a camera would give an equivalent field of view as a 640mm on a full-frame camera.   A 600mm would give 960mm, etc.

--
Ricky

EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x

Thank you so much for explaining that.  My old camera is a Sony Cyber-shot.  It sounds like I may need a different camera with the smaller sensor that you mentioned to get the wilderness photos that I'm after.

This is one of those frustrating situations where stepping up to a more expensive camera can seem like a step backwards.

The problem is that on cheaper compact cameras, they can throw a super-zoom on there because overall quality isn't a super priority.  And of course the sensor is tiny, which also reduces quality.

But if you invest in an R-series camera, you will expect superb quality; and the lenses are engineered, overall, to deliver that, while also covering a much larger sensor.  And that isn't compatible with super-zooms.  At least not without some extreme optics -- you could get the Canon CN20x50, which is used on high-end wildlife shooting, and has a 20x zoom range.  But it's going to be well over £50k before you even start adding essential accessories, and you'll need a team of people to carry it around.

More realistically, there's the RF 24-240 f/4 - f/6.3, which is a 10x zoom, so pretty handy.  And it's well under £1,000.  It's not L-series, or IS, or USM, though.

Generally, on these cameras, it's more about having lenses with either little or no zoom, but having a range of them to suit what you're shooting and still deliver high-end quality.  Even so, to get super-telephoto shots -- i.e. to shoot tiny things from far off -- you're looking at big, expensive lenses.

amfoto1
Whiz

There are actually a number of options with your new camera (or perhaps a change of camera?).

You could get Canon RF 100-400mm lens ($599). That's a reasonably affordable, compact, lightweight lens that will get you a lot closer to those distant subjects, although still not as extreme as your old camera.

Canon also offers an RF 600mm f/11, also reasonably compact, lightweight and affordable (currently $699).

Plus there is an RF 800mm f/11, another reasonably compact, light, affordable option (currently $899}.

An alternative to those three is a more expensive, but more versatile RF 100-500mm lens ($2899). While it's larger and heavier than any one of the above lenses, it is actually pretty light and manageable at 3 lb. Add an RF 1.4X teleconverter ($499) to that and you'll have an effective 140-700mm combination.

Yet another way to "get closer" to distant subjects is with the new Canon EOS R7 that's coming to stores at the end of this month. It uses an APS-C sensor instead of the full frame that's in your R. Even so, the R7 actually has slightly higher resolution (32.5MP vs 30MP). This smaller sensor in the R7 is still much, much bigger than the one in your old camera (they use really tiny sensors in those to make lenses "act like" they reach 1200mm).

One the R7 the 100-400mm lens I mention above will "act like a 160-640mm" would on your R. The 100-500mm lens does even better "acting like 160-800mm" on full frame. And that 800mm lens would "act like 1280mm" on your R. The R7 also fires faster, has in-body image stabilization and has a more advanced AF system than your R... and the R7 costs $100 less. Your R will probably be better in low light/high ISO situations. But otherwise the R7 will likely be superior.

All the above are powerful telephoto lenses that let you get shots of distant subjects.

You say you want "close-ups", which also could mean macro photography or shots of very small subjects that are very close. For this purpose there are different lenses and accessories. The Canon RF 100mm Macro lens is specifically made for this purpose (currently on sale for $1299).

A less expensive option is accessories for the lens you already have. Your 24-105mm actually does pretty well with 0.5X magnfication on its own. If you add a close-up diopter to the front of it, you can get even higher magnification. There are cheap close-up "filters", but they are junk and will make for poor quality images. Spend the money for a quality diopter, if you want one... For example there is a Nisi brand that costs around $150. Canon used to make excellent 250D and 500D, if you can find them used (not sure they came in the 67mm size, like your lens' filter threads... so you'd need to buy the next size larger and use a step ring).

Personally I prefer to use macro extension tubes instead of close-up diopters. Macro tubes fit between the lens and the camera to make the lens focus closer and render higher magnification. They also are inexpensive. Vello makes a set for Canon RF mount cameras and lenses that includes a 12mm and a 20mm tube ($79). Fotodiox offers a single tube that's 35mm in length ($79). The more extension you add, the higher magnification with your lens. The tubes can be stacked and are quite simple, no optics... just air inside.

Note: all the prices I quoted I found on B&H Photo website. Of course you are welcome to shop around wherever you like. But I think you will find that all authorized Canon dealer prices are the same. Beware of any lower prices you're quoted!

***********


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories
FLICKR & ZENFOLIO 

I sent you a message, look on the top right of the screen for the envelope sign and open that.


cheers, TREVOR

Professional photographer, engineer and educator since 1980

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me

shadowsports
Elite

Greetings,

I'd keep your "R".  Although this was Canon's first mirrorless body, its light years above your Sony or even a Canon equivalent.  What others have said regarding glass is all true.  Lenses is what you want to invest in.

Lens Rentals dot com.

Rent one or two lenses from them and test with your use cases.  It's not expensive and will help you ensure the lens you choose will be right for you.      

~Rick
Bay Area - CA
~R5C (1.0.1.1) ~Many Lenses ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~Windows10 Pro ~EVGA RTX 3080Ti FTW3 Ultra
~ImageClass MF644Cdw ~Pixel6 
~6D2 (v1.1.1) retiring

I didn't even know that renting a lens was an option.  Thank you!

ebiggs1
Legend

"I didn't even know that renting a lens was an option."

 

IMHO, renting is not a good option. The only case where it makes sense is with ultra expensive lenses that you will only use once or twice. It is expensive and requires handling issues like shipping back and forth. It is money spent that I would rather put towards a lens purchase.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

ebiggs1
Legend

When I retired from my full time job I decided I wanted to really dabble in photography gear. In the past 17+ years I must have bought some 50 or 60 lenses. Maybe more I know I had 40 all at one time a couple years ago!   I played with them for a while and sold them on. I did keep a few that I was really impressed with. About a dozen and they are the ones I currently use now. I kept all the paperwork and the box, the packaging, exactly as it came from the manufacturer. While I did sell them on at 50% of the buying price, I lost some money but I feel it was well spent as I had a lot of fun with it.

In your case you can do something similar perhaps not on as big of scale but it will let you check out several lenses. The loss of money will be akin to you paying the rental fee. At 50% off retail, a lens will sell easily and quickly. Keep the one(s) you like.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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