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You know that thread, where someone asks what lens to buy next...


This is one of those threads.


Some of you are aware of my photography journey from my last few posts.


At this point, my wife's photography needs are satisfied with the new SL1 and 18-55mm STM lens. It is a massive improvement over the older XTi w/ 17-40 4L. This also involved adding new manual speedlites.


As a result of this, the next lens will be more for me than my wife's business needs.


Originally, the next lens was to be a 60mm macro, but I have been having good enough results for now using close-up diopter with the kit lens at 55mm.


My goals are:

- A lens that "replaces" the 18-55mm for me so that my wife can use that lens full time without me needing to borrow it so often.

- An inexpensive lens with a good zoom range to experiment with before buying more expensive primes or L.


Already have these other lenses:

- (as already mentioned) the 18-55mm STM lens that my wife uses with SL1

- the original 18-55mm that came with the original EOS Digital Rebel (sometimes shows errors on the Xti when taking shots rapidly)

- 17-40mm EF 4L


I will probably use the old XTi some of the time and borrow the SL1 when she isn't doing business, etc. At least until I break down and buy my own dedicated camera.


I was thinking of either

- 18-135mm STM (total replacement for all the kit lenses for me, no need to use the old 18-55 or ever borrow my wife's lens)

- 55-250mm STM (can use the 17-40 or my older 18-55 for wide angle)


I am leaning towards the 55-250mm for two reasons:

- I already have several lenses with wider angles to choose from when those situations arise.

- the 55-250mm is pretty cheap at $300ish





The 55-250 is a great lens, for the money, in my opinion.  If that focal range fits your needs, by all means.  Just be aware that it probably isn't going to focus as close as the 18-55 (I'm just guessing, didn't look up specs).


If the 18-55 STM is doing everything you need it to have you considered just getting another one?  Definitely the cheapest option.


Otherwise there's the 17-55 f/2.8.  Doesn't give you any additional focal range, but a larger constant aperture and much better image quality.


Or you have a whole slew of large range zooms that Canon makes: 15-85, 17-85, 18-135.  Each one has its supporters and detractors...  though I think the 17-85 is the least regarded of the three.  Personally I don't care for STM (18-135), but that's me. 


Or you could get an EF lens like the 24-105.  24 isn't exactly wide on a crop sensor, but it has great range, constant f/4 aperture, L quality build.


If you can find a "real" camera store, you might want to try out a 55-250mm.  


I had the non-STM version of that lens was never very happy with it.  The STM gets much better reviews and image-quality for the price is supposed to be very good (again... I have not personally tried the STM version.)


Avoid the 75-300mm USM -- that lens has the reputation for being one of the most marginal lenses (both in build quality and image quality) in the line-up.


The 70-300mm USM is MUCH MUCH better (but I think the retail price on that lens is closer to $650 -- so you'd expect it to be better, and it is.)


I will say that I gave away my 55-250 to a relative (again, not the STM version) for two reaons.  #1 I was not thrilled with the image quality and, #2 I found myself using the 55-250mm range FAR less often than I would have imagined. 


Oddly, I own the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (the original -- I bought my copy new, but before Canon introduced the II generation of that lens.)  I use that lens quite often.  But I'm not using it to shoot subjects at a distance, I'm using it because it has a fantastic look.  I'll take a portrait that I could have taken with a shorter lens, but the image looks much better when I use the 70-200 f/2.8 (although I'm usually using it nearer to f/4) and stand farther away to get approximately the same frame.  The compression and quality of the out-of-focus background has a great look to it.  So I could use it as a sports lens (and a lot of people do), but I actually tend to use more like a portrait lens.

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Good idea. There are really only two left in the Atlanta area. One is big, but their reviews are pretty terrible for customer service, particular when a warranty issue occurs. The other is a Wolf Camera Pro store. I am leaning towards Wolf if they carry the lens's in store.


"At this point, my wife's photography needs are satisfied with the new SL1 and 18-55mm STM lens."


This makes any other lens in the consumer class of Canon lenses pretty difficult to best, by very much anyway.  Focal length or larger aperture should be you next requirements if the pro level "L" series is not on the table.

It does make the  EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Telephoto Zoom a very good choice, because of a longer focal length.

Or, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM because of a larger constant aperture.  This lens is a very good choice.


If I may suggest you get a set of extension tubes instead of the 10x "filter".  Extension tubes work by increasing the extension of your lenses. An extension tube is a hollow, ring that fits between your lens and the camera. It moves your lens further from the camera. That puts the front element closer to the subject. An of course, the closer you can focus, the more magnification.

So this asks the question, which lens works well with them?  The EF 50mm f1.8 does and a lens that will serve two purposes for you.  Psuedo macro and a much faster constant aperture.


There you have it, IMHO, of course.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

I considered extension tubes, but they seemed more expensive than the close-up filters at the time I bought them. The Canon ones are priced high enough that I would rather just buy the 60mm Macro EF-S.


Can you recommend any off-brand extension tubes that are reasonable quality, but more affordable?

Yes these  but I don't reccommend much 3rd party accessories.  Some of it is OK but none of it is as good as the real deal Canon.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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