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What is a good all-around zoom lens?

edited May 2012 Posted in » Canon T2i Forum
I just got my T2i with the 18-55mm kit lens a couple of days ago. What would be a good all-purpose zoom lens? I would love to be able capture subjects at a fair distance and would like the budget to stay under $300.

Comments

  • edited May 2012
    I have the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM IS and just recently became an owner of the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM IS lens and both of them are great for all around shooting.

    I usually have my 24-70mm attached to my body for everyday use unless I plan on taking photos that need a certain zoom length. Then I'll go with the 70-200mm.

    Lenses are manufactured to each desired use. For example, the 70-200mm can zoom farther than the 24-70mm, but you can only take pictures (clear pictures) at a minimum of 3 feet away from you due to it's minimum focus distance.

    In choosing a lens, I would go with lens that sports a large aperture (low f-number) like both of the lenses I mentioned above. They're amazing for daylight and great for low light situations.

    My advice...I would stick to the 18-55mm for the time being. Practice with it and save up for a Canon 'L' lens. They are a great investment.

    I stuck to my 18-55mm for a long time until I had enough money saved up for the 24-70mm f/2.8L.

    I wouldn't get too excited and purchase a bunch of low end lenses, because you might regret it in the long run. Keep the $300 and wait until you have enough to purchase a better lens.

    I have a couple of friends (actually friends that got me into photography) that bought lenses manufactured by a third party (like Tamron, Sigma and Tokina). These lenses are great, but they don't match the sharpness of Canon 'L' lenses.

    Now, both of my friends regret purchasing the third party lenses after having experimented with both of my lenses.

    I will say though, that lenses don't automatically make you a better photographer. This is only my opinion which is based through my experiences.

    - Tom L
  • edited May 2012
    I have the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM which I think is a good walk around lens. Not in the price range you're looking for, but defintely worth the upgrade.

    Like @forHIScoz mentioned, you might be better off saving your money and purchasing 'L' glass with a bright f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. FYI...I also have the 50mm f/1.4 for low light.
  • edited August 2013
    Howdy @crfj72211 - If you simply want a lens to compliment your 18-55mm kit lens and give you the ability to zoom in on distant subjects, I would take a look at the Canon 55-250mm IS (see here).

    This is an affordable telephoto lens, equipped with image stabilization and good sharpness. It's meant to be used outdoors in bright light, so if you have intentions on using indoors or in low light I would steer you in a different direction.

    As for Canon 'L' lenses (like those mentioned by @forHIScoz), they are the best lenses you can buy for your T2i. They have unbelievable image sharpness, fast focusing and generally large apertures (low f-numbers) that improve low light ability.

    The caveat is that they're extremely expensive. For some beginners, the price point is way beyond what they're willing to spend. If you can afford it, by all means go with an 'L' lens. However, in my opinion you're creativity shouldn't be limited by budget.

    If your budget is limited to $300 for the foreseeable future, choose a lens that is best suited for the types of photography that you're interested in.

    For example, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II (see my visual guide here) is fantastic for portraits. It's not an 'L' lens, but it does have amazing sharpness, a large aperture (great for low light) and is priced close to $100 bucks. It won't excel in every department, but if you love taking portraits then this will be your go to lens and it will get plenty of use.

    Hope that all makes sense and happy shooting! :)
  • I'm looking for a zoom lens for shooting pictures of my kids playing sports, in school musicals, etc. I'll be using it indoors as well as outdoors so it will need to be able to perform well in low light and with action shots (indoor basketball and plays, outdoor soccer). I'd like to get a good amount of zoom, because sometimes I can't help but be sitting far from the action. Am I going to need to spend an arm and a leg to get all that on one lens? Any recommendations? What is the most important feature - aperture, image stabilization, both?
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