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Lens Advice


I have a EOS Rebel T3i with both the 18-55mm lens and the 55-250mm lens. I take photos mostly of nature and am an avid hiker and traveler.  I have rarely used (probably only 2x) the 55-250 lens because I don't like carrying an extra lens and I don't like the idea of switching out lenses when I am hiking, etc. I am considering purchasing the 18-200mm lens. The cost makes me want to be very careful in making this decision. Please advise me.  Thank you.



You're going to get many opinions on the idea of using a superzoom instead of a selection of lenses covering the same range the superzoom will cover. Superzooms are a compromise retavily speaking but frankly they've gotten better over the years & I depend on them for my primary interest, but I'm using high end versions. I have NOT shot the Canon 18-200 but have owned both the Sigma 18-200 & 18-200 OS & I was very happy with their performance; I have also owned & shot the Tamron 18-270 VC and again was happy with what it delivered but admit it wasn't as good (none of the lenses I mentioned were) as the much more expensive Canon L series superzooms I have. If you think you'd like a 1 lens solution do your homework & buy the one you think fits your needs (price / user reviews) & go for it.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

I would echo what Ciccopo says about super zooms covering a big range having to sacrifice image quality to do so, but the reviews on this one are actually better than one might expect.

You say your interest in the lens is that it allows you to have one, not two lenses. You will be limiting your potential in this hobby if you try to stick to just one do-it-all lens. No one lens can give great image quality at all focal lengths.

What kind of photography do you do? What do you take pictures of? How serious would you like to get?

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Thanks for your opinion. I mostly like to photograph nature. I do a lot of hiking and traveling where I find it difficult to change lenses. For this reason, I wanted just one lens as a solution for when I am in these situation, not that I would always be using this particular lens. I am an amateur, trying to get better; learning a lot and I am still learning all the benefits of my camera.....

Well if you're interested this entire album was shot with a 7D and the older version of the Tamron 18-270 VC. The newer version is supposed to be better but I don't know by how much. If you look carefully at the shots inside the hangar you can see a few minor issues with the lens at the very wide end but otherwise I was happy with it relative to cost & the range it covered.


Now this is a much older album which was shot with a 20D & Sigma 18-200 without OS (or as Canon calls it IS)


Sigma was the first to introduce an 18-200 & I bought one immediately & my daughter still uses it & that 20D.


"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Thanks for sharing your photos and your advice.


Well, the 18-200mm is probably a nice lens, but you already have the 18-55mm and 55-250mm.


* There is a benefit to having a lens you use almost all of the time ... less lens changing means the sensor is much less likely to get dirty. Every time you change lenses, the sensor is exposed to the elements. That is especially an issue outside.


* The 18-55mm and 55-250mm really are great values. The reviews I've seen are that they are surprisingly good. As you mentioned, the 18-200mm is quite a bit more expensive.


* I'd be inclined to be intentional about using the 55-250mm a lot more, rather than grumbling about it. A good piece of advice is to make the most of what you already have.


* "Lens lust" for something besides what you have can get very expensive.

"less lens changing means the sensor is much less likely to get dirty. Every time you change lenses, the sensor is exposed to the elements. That is especially an issue outside."


I'm sorry, but that just is not true. When you change lenses the camera's shutter is completely closed, effectively sealing off the sensor from dust.


It is possible that you'll get a little dust inside the mirror box, and that eventually might find it's way onto the sensor. But, even if that does happen, the OP's T3i has an automatic sensor cleaning cycle that runs every time the camera is powered up or powered down.


I use different cameras, but with essentially the same sensor and automatic cleaning feature as the T3i... Have shot a couple hundred thousand images with the two of them, often in very dusty conditions. An example....


I don't hesitate to change lenses when needed, just take reasonable care doing so. I've only had to do a sensor cleaning on one of the cameras in four years hard use. The other hasn't been cleaned yet. The automatic sensor cleaning works quite well (older models without it that I used in the past, had to be cleaned every 3 to 6 months at least).


But I do agree with you... OP has a couple optically decent lenses. If they were wanting larger aperture lenses for lower light shooting or shallow depth of field effects... Or if they wanted wider or longer focal lengths... Or if they needed faster, more responsive focus for action shooting... Those might be some good reasons to look at an "upgrade". But not just to replace two lenses with one, with little difference in overall performance to be expected.


All that aside, if they wanted a single "walk-around" lens, I think I'd recommend the EF-S 15-85mm as a good candidate.... Image quality, AF speed and performance, build quality would all be a step up from the "kit" lenses they have now. Still, might miss the reach of that 55-250, so might keep it... or plan on shopping for, say, a 70-200 or 70-300 in the future.


Or, as suggested, switch to a one of the compact digitals with a non-interchangeable lens.



Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories





You may be going at this from the wrong end! Smiley Surprised

Possibly a better solution is a new camera. Check out the Canon G15.


The idea of people saying, "The 18-55mm and 55-250mm really are great values."  And, "... they are surprisingly good..." should cause some areas of concern. In all likelihood the G15 will equal their performance and in a much smaller, "hiker"  friendly package.

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