Magic Lantern Forum

Using Magic Lantern => Hardware and Accessories => Topic started by: weldroid on July 10, 2012, 08:56:04 PM

Title: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 10, 2012, 08:56:04 PM
I did not want to hijack the other (very similar thread):
http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=1144.0 (http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=1144.0)

I'm currently shooting videos (primarily) with my 600D. I did not listen to good advice and got the 18-55 ISII kit lens with my camera. I would like to upgrade (mainly to improve low-light performance), budget is around 1K, and - as I do a lot of handeld stuff - I need optical stabilization.

I see two routes:
Plan A: get ONE ~1/2.9 constant aperture EF-S zoom lens with a range similar to the kit lens. Sigma, Tamron, maybe even the Canon (but I really suspect I'm going to be ripped off if I get the Canon).

Pros:
- I got used to being able to zoom, I'm not sure if I can live without
- Stabilization
- no swapping lenses, one compact package

Cons:
- not sure if this will be a huge improvement over the kit lens (people's opinion are so different in this regard)
- EF-S means less future compatible if I ever upgrade to something that doesn't work with EF-S
 
Plan B:
Keep the kit lens as a basis, and get a fast 20-30 mm-ish fast prime for low light and maybe a Tokina 11-16 for wider-angle timelapses, etc...

Pros:
- better low-light performance when using the prime (one stop)
- better optical performance when using the prime
- at least the prime can be future compatible (and the Tokina a bit maybe)

Cons:
- lens swapping slowing me down: I don't do any scripted work, so fast response time is essential
- more gear, more to carry around (and I can not carry around much due to some back problems)
- I have tried to set my kit lens to 30mm to see if I can live with a fixed focal length and it felt rather "claustrophobic"

If I put all this together, I actually lean towards plan A. Not being a seasoned photo/video veteran (my primary art form is music), I have tried to educate myself from the net and the general feeling is that zooms are looked down and real men uses primes and swaps lenses or just sticks to a standard lens. :D But still the engineer in me assesses and comes back with plan A.

I would appreciate any comments, suggestions. I was looking around the place I live, and it is very expensive and almost impossible to rent these kind of lenses for just a weekend.

(This is the kind of thing I usually do: https://vimeo.com/weldroid)
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: Datadogie on July 10, 2012, 10:08:04 PM
I would get a monopod for stabilization then you can look at getting a zoom with f2.5.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: lucas on July 11, 2012, 12:07:01 AM
A f/2.8 Zoom is a good base for many applications.
My flatmate owns the 17-50mm f/2.8 from Tamron (non-stabilized) and I like it, a good friend of mine swears by the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 (Stabilized Version), stating it is very sharp and a good Lens. The Canon-one is a bit too expansive for my taste. Anyway, each of them is an improvement to the Kit (even a Lens made of plastic by my 10yr old nephew is an improvement to the Kit)
For myself, I'm more of a friend of using primes, but I understand that speed while working is much for some.

Of course you are not able to use it on a Fullformat later, but "that's live" - you could head for the 24-70mm f/2.8 L, but it's more expensive and lacks in wide-angle.
If you head for Primes/Tokina, you might spend a lot more Money (even if this is my preferred route). I own the Tokina, great Lens, but only usable at 16mm on the Fullformat afterwards. The Rokinon/Samyang/Walimex/Bowers (so many Brands...) 35mm f/1.4 is a very good Lens for decent price (MF only) that would fit in that set. Also, two stops faster then these Zooms. Or a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 if you need AF (then again, no Fullformat).
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: coutts on July 11, 2012, 12:44:09 AM
I've had a lot of good luck with sigma lenses. For a crop body like the 600D, I suggest the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. I posted this same response in that other thread, so refer there to see sample pictures to see how it looks on a crop body :)
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: n8ben on July 11, 2012, 03:55:20 PM
I like to use zooms most of the time for convenience, but also love to shoot with primes if I can make a fixed focal length work for a given situation.

Zooms are convenient as you've pointed out, but sometimes you have to trade something (image quality) to get that convenience. If you are shooting primarily video than your resolutions are far lower than photography, so you won't be pushing the lenses you use as hard. If you buy quality zooms with good reputations you won't notice much difference in image quality. Primes have the advantage of providing larger apertures for much less than a comparable zoom. I tend to pair zooms with smaller apertures with primes that have larger apertures, but that's just preference.

You've already discovered why a cheap lens isn't all that great. The fixed aperture lenses you listed all seem like good choices if they cover the focal range you need. They are certainly going to be a huge step up from the kit lens. I haven't used any of them though, and if I were in your shoes I would look into renting them for a shoot to get a chance to compare and play with them.

You say your main issue right now is low light shooting. Just keep DOF in mind. I don't know what you shoot, but consider how deep you need your in focus region to be (maybe even use an online DOF calculator). Make sure that you will be able to get the DOF you need at the focal length, aperture, and distance to subject you will shoot. You may need more light rather than larger apertures. Just something to consider, and to use some of that 1k budget for.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: mSpider on July 11, 2012, 05:34:02 PM
The kit lens is fine for video--learn to use it to its full potential before you go out and buy glass that is better than you are.
Besides, you won't be able to get any money from selling it.
Its a sharp lens and i wouldn't get rid of it--its quite good in a lot of situations...
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: 1% on July 11, 2012, 07:20:23 PM
You're going to get a surprise when you go to use an un-stabilized lens. Closest to an "all in one" solution is something like a Sigma 50-150 or Tokina 50-135. You'll still lose the wide end. I think best you can do is 2 lenses.

A prime 30mm will be more like a 50mm. Don't forget the crop factor. 17-50 is a decent compromise... like a 28-80... but you lose the big zoom. Can always get a 70-200 for that.

You have $1k, you can probably get 2 decent used lenses for that. From your videos, I don't really see anything you need another lens for.

You're usually wide and f/3.5 to f/2.8 isn't going to be earth shattering.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 12, 2012, 03:37:07 PM
Well, first and foremost: thank you for all the great insight and suggestions!

Some of the answers were - to some extent - a surprise to me, which is exactly why I wrote my post in the first place: I'm in a learning process, and a reality check sometimes can help putting things back to the right perspective.

The monopod is an excellent suggestion: to some extent I already use my lightweight tripod as a monopod sometimes to save time when moving from place to place (having the legs extended but keeping them together one thick "leg")... this is not optimal, and a real monopod would be much more comfortable. One thing I have noticed is that having a collapsed/locked tripod attached to the camera tends to smooth out camera shake quite a bit in a handheld-scenario, due to the added weight, and the ergonomics of the handle.

Thanks for the tips on those primes, I am looking into both the Samyang and the Sigma... in fact based on all of your responses I am starting to realise that if I want really splendid low-light performance, those 1/2.8 fixed aperture lens will probably not give the kind of improvement I am looking for. Also, the zooms (17-50 Sigma and Tokina) seem to have rather short throws on their focus ring (40-50 degrees), in fact even shorter than on my kit lens (60+ degrees).

So my revised plan is:
- stick with the kit lens as a zoom for now, it's a cheap piece of plastic lens, but it seem to have everything I need today: suitable range, good-enough IS and sharpness (at least for video), the only thing missing (at this point) is the low-light performance, and so:

- I'll get a fast prime with good ergonomics: the Samyang 35mm or the Sigma 30mm... which brings up a more specific question regarding these: do you happen to know if any of these lenses can trigger the magic zoom function in ML? I use manual focus 99% of the time, and magic zoom is a very handy feature for me to be able to get a good focus on an LCD screen with just grabbing the zoom wheel and turning it.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: 1% on July 12, 2012, 08:10:30 PM
Anything that isn't electrically connected won't trigger magic zoom. Won't work with an adapter either.

Quote
I have noticed is that having a collapsed/locked tripod attached to the camera tends to smooth out camera shake quite a bit in a handheld-scenario, due to the added weight, and the ergonomics of the handle.

Yup... poor man's steadicam.

Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: calypsob on July 17, 2012, 12:13:22 AM
I have the same camera and a tokina 11-16, its great for wide stuff.  In terms of a replacement for the 18-55 you have a few options, which I have considered myself lately.  There is the sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 which is a pretty good lens, under $400.  Tamron makes a 28-70mm f/2.8 again under 400.  Tokina makes the 16-50mm which is also fast f/2.8 but comes with a bigger price take at around $800.  finally there is the canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L which runs in at $1,200 and is overbudget but very freaking nice however it does not have image stabilization.  Finally dont over look carl zeiss lens.  They are manual but they are superb.  The only one in your budget is their nifty fifty, the planar T 50mm.  It is wicked fast at f/1.8 but you wont get your ultra wides or teles with this guy none the less it would make a great go to lens.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: rainless on July 17, 2012, 01:04:02 AM
Ok here´s the deal:

You got used to zooming... now it´s time for you to get used to NOT zooming.

If you haven´t experienced the awe-inspiring pleasure of walking around with a 50mm 1.4 lens (or a 30mm 1.4 Sigma like mine...) then you're truly missing 3/4 of the fun of being a photographer.

I have the exact same camera as you do. I kept the 18-55 lens for when the going got tough... until I could afford an army of other lenses (which I can as of TOMORROW.)

I got the 30mm Sigma primarily to shoot concert footage in low light and I couldn't be happier. At 1600 ISO and F2 I get crisp... warm video in low light. And in daylight I get video so lean it would make you cry with your 18-55.

And you're talking about having to lug around extra gear? These prime lenses are TINY. (The Canon 50mm 1.8 is even smaller than the sigma 30mm... and much much cheaper.)

At your price range I recommend the Sigma 30mm and a decent 55-250 zoom since you're shooting video. And you might even have enough left over for a wide angle... which would cover all bases... with GOOD glass... and not just long glass.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 18, 2012, 01:13:41 PM
I have the same camera and a tokina 11-16, its great for wide stuff.  In terms of a replacement for the 18-55 you have a few options, which I have considered myself lately.  There is the sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 which is a pretty good lens, under $400.  Tamron makes a 28-70mm f/2.8 again under 400.  Tokina makes the 16-50mm which is also fast f/2.8 but comes with a bigger price take at around $800.  finally there is the canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L which runs in at $1,200 and is overbudget but very freaking nice however it does not have image stabilization.  Finally dont over look carl zeiss lens.  They are manual but they are superb.  The only one in your budget is their nifty fifty, the planar T 50mm.  It is wicked fast at f/1.8 but you wont get your ultra wides or teles with this guy none the less it would make a great go to lens.

Thanks fo rthe suggestions! I was looking at the Sigma and the Tokina very hard for a week, and noticed the thing about them that put me off (and this I could have easily pointed out if I had the chance to rent/borrow them): focus throw is around 40 degrees on the Sigma, and only  a little bit better on the Tokina. In both cases worse than my kit lens, which can be quite fiddly to do manual focus with. So in terms of a zoom lens, that leaves me with either the EF 24-70 or the EF-S 17-55 IS. I have tried to shoot handheld with IS switched off, and it really was a disaster in terms of image quality, I guess I have too shaky hands...
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 18, 2012, 01:19:31 PM
Ok here´s the deal:

You got used to zooming... now it´s time for you to get used to NOT zooming.

If you haven´t experienced the awe-inspiring pleasure of walking around with a 50mm 1.4 lens (or a 30mm 1.4 Sigma like mine...) then you're truly missing 3/4 of the fun of being a photographer.

I have the exact same camera as you do. I kept the 18-55 lens for when the going got tough... until I could afford an army of other lenses (which I can as of TOMORROW.)

I got the 30mm Sigma primarily to shoot concert footage in low light and I couldn't be happier. At 1600 ISO and F2 I get crisp... warm video in low light. And in daylight I get video so lean it would make you cry with your 18-55.

And you're talking about having to lug around extra gear? These prime lenses are TINY. (The Canon 50mm 1.8 is even smaller than the sigma 30mm... and much much cheaper.)

At your price range I recommend the Sigma 30mm and a decent 55-250 zoom since you're shooting video. And you might even have enough left over for a wide angle... which would cover all bases... with GOOD glass... and not just long glass.

I know, I have been spoiled... I did try though putting a piece of tape on my zoom playing around with a fixed focal range, it just didn't feel good.  On the other hand I love the shallow DOF and visual quality of the Samyang 35mm / Sigma 30mm (judging from the examples). And I know I won't get a zoom with F1.4...
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: Malcolm Debono on July 18, 2012, 01:22:07 PM
The problem is mainly coming from the DSLR form factor rather than your shaky hands.  ;)

I find IS essential when shooting handheld. I had originally purchased the 24-70L for my 5D2, but had to replace it with a 24-105L due to the lack of IS. The Canon 17-55 is an excellent zoom for crop-sensor bodies since it has both an f/2.8 aperture and IS.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: mediabakery on July 22, 2012, 12:05:15 PM
I use 50mm 1.4, and its a life saver in low light. Stabilization is a bit of an issue when filming handheld so i use a mini tripod or a monopod to make the camera more stable. Anyways for 600d (and other crop sensors) i would recommend 35 or even 28mm 1.4 or 1.8, as 50 looks a little to zoomed in, also wider angle would minimize the shakiness. Talking about zooming more and more i'm getting used to having no zoom on the lens :] and with 600d you can use 3x digital zoom, which is a great option, of course handheld it gets really wobbly.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: Marfre on July 24, 2012, 03:57:45 AM
I normally recommend the fast prime set for all cinematographers and a lens kit to fill any missing focal lengths.

50mm f/1.4
28mm f/1.8
35mm f/2
85mm f/1.8
all these together will run you a bit over 1.5k (euro)

this however is far from what you want if you're shoting live events. I know what a headache they can be if you are not prepared with the proper equipment

Canon offer a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM which I was looking to buy to replace the kind lens, unfortunatly this is a EF-S but at least it's well around your budget

If you want a lens that is considered fast do not look at anything with a value higher than f/2.8

Also you need to decide what you need it for specifically, how you do this is to film with the kit lens, where is fails is where you need to improve by upgrade, if it works fine you dont need to upgrade and kit lenses dont shot any different in video over l series lenses (in photography its another story)

I hear sigma also make some good lenses but I can't recommend something I do not own. My friend owns a sigma and his only con is the focus ring is very poor
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: Chungdha on July 24, 2012, 06:23:28 PM
Recommend Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 atleast can also be used on a full frame later on. As the newest version has a very extreme image stabilization and also lately been amping to use f2.8 on most of my shoots as I feel anything lower the DOF is too thin making it to easy for people to get out of focus and have to refocus too much during the shot while f2.8 still have a nice DOF but everything is also much sharper.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: he56ys5ysu7w4 on July 25, 2012, 09:13:24 PM
weldroid, I'm in sync with your thoughts (got a 600D with a Canon EF-S 15-85/3,5-5,6 IS USM and the cheap 50mm). I made the same conclusions regarding the focus throw. So only lens that's left is the expensive Canon.
But man, look at the size and weight of that lens!? I don't know anymore. I might just go for a fast prime wider than my 50mm.
Haven't decided yet.

Regarding IS I've actually read that it can reduce sharpness a bit and that you get better IQ without it (but with a mono/tripod of course). But that might have been for stills and not video. Myself I prefer IS as I only do family shots and don't wanna bring a truck with shoulder rigs, sliders, lights, external sound, reflectors and catering). :-)

Keep us updated.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 27, 2012, 02:27:19 PM
Recommend Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 atleast can also be used on a full frame later on. As the newest version has a very extreme image stabilization and also lately been amping to use f2.8 on most of my shoots as I feel anything lower the DOF is too thin making it to easy for people to get out of focus and have to refocus too much during the shot while f2.8 still have a nice DOF but everything is also much sharper.

Cheers Chungdha! I thought the Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 was APS-C only. Tamron website says it will heavily vignette on a full frame sensor.

How does the zoom ring feel? Is there enough precision (throw) for manual zooming?
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 27, 2012, 02:31:26 PM
I normally recommend the fast prime set for all cinematographers and a lens kit to fill any missing focal lengths.

50mm f/1.4
28mm f/1.8
35mm f/2
85mm f/1.8
all these together will run you a bit over 1.5k (euro)

this however is far from what you want if you're shoting live events. I know what a headache they can be if you are not prepared with the proper equipment

Canon offer a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM which I was looking to buy to replace the kind lens, unfortunatly this is a EF-S but at least it's well around your budget

If you want a lens that is considered fast do not look at anything with a value higher than f/2.8

Also you need to decide what you need it for specifically, how you do this is to film with the kit lens, where is fails is where you need to improve by upgrade, if it works fine you dont need to upgrade and kit lenses dont shot any different in video over l series lenses (in photography its another story)

I hear sigma also make some good lenses but I can't recommend something I do not own. My friend owns a sigma and his only con is the focus ring is very poor

Thanks for the suggestion! Exactly, I would go for the Sigma if it did had a better focus ring.

When it comes to the shortcomings of the kit lens, my only gripe is it being F/3.5-5.6, and of course I could use a more precise zoom wheel. Build quality is what it is, but at least I don't go out shooting like "oh my god, I got a thousand buck lens on, I don't wanna break this thing..."  ;)
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 31, 2012, 07:02:32 PM
I went to a shop today to try things out in real life. In terms of build quality and feel the Canon 17-55 F/2.8 is almost a world apart from the Sigma and the Tamron (17-50). Sigma's focus throw is really short, I'm sure I could learn to live with it, but I learnt to live with the kit lens as well. Tamron is a bit better in terms of manual focusing, but clearly it offers some challenges at wide open, especially zoomed in.

TBH both the Sigma and the Tamron felt closer to the kit lens than the Canon 17-55 F/2.8, and they not exactly sell for peanuts either, also they are a tiny bit shorter (50 instead of 55).

The only downside of the Canon - in my opinion - is its size and weight. You turn the zoom ring, and you can feel you're moving a lot of glass inside. Sigma and Tamron is a bit toy-ish, this one's heavy like a grenade launcher, felt a little disproportionate with the 600D body stuck at the end of it  ;) Also, zooming is smooth, but at the short end gets heavier, with a "hump" at the end. Focus throw is very nice compared to the 3rd parties, as expected.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: he56ys5ysu7w4 on July 31, 2012, 08:58:09 PM
Good info. There's no shop around here who has all three.
I've come to the same conclusion as you (no hands-on exp though) - the Canon is perfect...except for its size and weight.

I bought a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 prime today. Sweet with the DoF. However f/2.8 would be enough for me as I film people most of the time and the DoF when close to the subject is only 0.36 inches (at f/1.4). Try filming a kid at f/1.4. :-)
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on July 31, 2012, 09:40:02 PM
I bought a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 prime today. Sweet with the DoF. However f/2.8 would be enough for me as I film people most of the time and the DoF when close to the subject is only 0.36 inches (at f/1.4). Try filming a kid at f/1.4. :-)

Yeah, it really looked smaller on the photos, hell it even looked smaller in that glass cabinet they've kept all the precious L glass  ;) mind you, it didn't LOOK very different from those, apart from the obvious difference in paint job.

At this point I am starting to admire my cheap plastic kit lens more and more... I mean it has decent IS, auto-focus that beats the Tamron (according to my limited experience in the shop), perfectly usable range and image quality that is more than enough for video. It is shocking how much more plastic, metal and precision glass is needed to get that F/2.8 constant max aperture.

At this point I am not sure that the pro's really justify the price tag, and it is clear that - for me at least - none of the 3rd party alternatives would bring enough gain in usability to bother.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: johndb on July 31, 2012, 10:09:17 PM
I replaced my kit lens with a Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens about a year ago and I have never regretted it. The lens is solid and yes, the lens is heavy. I prefer to use the 600D with the battery grip in order to get a "grip" on the camera ;) One drawback to the lens is that it is a dust sucker when the focus motor operates. I would recommend installing a UV protection filter on the lens right from the outset. Much of my work is with a tripod so the overall weight isn't a major drawback. The constant f/2.8 from 17 to 55 is a great feature and super for low light although a prime f/1.4 would  be obliviously better in low light but it doesn't have the flexibility.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: he56ys5ysu7w4 on August 01, 2012, 12:21:52 AM
Weldroid, just noticed...you're from Sthlm. :-)
[SWE]Trevligt! Samma här. F'resten, vilken affär hittade du alla objektiven? Har letat efter en foto supermarket typ men bara hittat små butiker...förutom Mediamarkt o liknande.[/SWE]
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: he56ys5ysu7w4 on August 01, 2012, 10:23:06 AM
Yeah, it really looked smaller on the photos, hell it even looked smaller in that glass cabinet they've kept all the precious L glass  ;) mind you, it didn't LOOK very different from those, apart from the obvious difference in paint job.

At this point I am starting to admire my cheap plastic kit lens more and more... I mean it has decent IS, auto-focus that beats the Tamron (according to my limited experience in the shop), perfectly usable range and image quality that is more than enough for video. It is shocking how much more plastic, metal and precision glass is needed to get that F/2.8 constant max aperture.

At this point I am not sure that the pro's really justify the price tag, and it is clear that - for me at least - none of the 3rd party alternatives would bring enough gain in usability to bother.
Right!
Buying the Sigma 30mm prime has made me appreciate my zoom with IS/USM much more.

The way I shoot video is mostly handheld so IS is a must. Then I prefer the Quick Focus over manual cause the Focus Peak and small LCD doesn't work 100% for me, so a good HSM/USM is a must. I also want to be able to change focal length without swapping lenses or filming 40cm from the object so a zoom it is. Finally, f2.8 is the lowest I need to go as the shallow DoF and focusing becomes an issue with bigger apertures.
So the Canon 17-55 is perfect...except for its weight and size which really is a dealbreaker for me. If it was the size of my current Canon 15-85 (unfortunately with variabel aperture) then I'd sell all my other lenses and buy it instantly.
Ohh, well. Some day perhaps.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on August 01, 2012, 12:33:54 PM
[SWE] Japan Foto på Fleminggatan. [/SWE]

http://support.japanphoto.se/butiker/stockholm-fleminggatan/

They have everything locked behind glass, but the guy was very nice and showed me everything. They have Samyangs, Tokinas, Sigmas, Canons, even Rode video mikes.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: HCFilms on August 03, 2012, 10:51:07 PM
Primes, primes, primes, it's all about primes.  I used to have a $100 50mm 1.8 that I sold to my friend.  I then but a $500 17-85mm.  It continues to drive me INSANE.  The difference in sharpness is astounding and that wide aperture is a blessing.  I can recommend the 50mm 1.8, with a Sigma 30mm. Don't buy the Canon 28mm.  It's just NOT good according to stuff I've heard.  If you're going for a wide angle the Canon 20mm is apparently really good.  Also maybe add an 85mm in there.  You don't need that immediatly though because you're using an APS-C camera.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on August 21, 2012, 07:09:45 PM
Well, after (too) much thinking  :) today I pressed "order" on the 17-55 F/2.8. Should have done some weeks ago really, because now I have to endure that 5-6 days before it arrives....
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: he56ys5ysu7w4 on August 22, 2012, 01:54:57 PM
Well, after (too) much thinking  :) today I pressed "order" on the 17-55 F/2.8. Should have done some weeks ago really, because now I have to endure that 5-6 days before it arrives....
Thanks for the feedback. Myself I'm currently looking at 24-70's as I'm used to 15-85 but don't need the wider end.
But again the size. The Sigma 24-70 looks nice. :-)
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on August 22, 2012, 04:39:27 PM
No IS I'm afraid, but apart from that it looks very nice indeed!  ;)
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on August 28, 2012, 01:31:47 PM
17-55 F2.8 came yesterday. I only had a few hours to play around with it (basically indoors, under less-than-ideal lightning conditions).
My initial impressions are somewhat mixed: build quality is OK I guess, definitely not "great" (lots of plastic, little bit of play on the focus ring, even more play on the zoom ring). 

Usability: heavy as f/ck, this helps with the micro-shakes though (also, the IS feels to be a tad better than the kit lenses IS).

F2.8 - as indicated earlier - is not a world apart from the 3.5 on the kit lens, under these lightning conditions both need noise reduction in post, which is a pity. Of course there is a LOT more noise with the kit lens, but after NR there is very little difference. Of course less noise also means better utilization of the available bandwith for the codec, but it's a 10% difference, not a 30%.

Sharpness: need to test with some ISO charts I have printed, but in practice the difference in sharpness is only visible when looked at at 1:1 on a computer screen: pretty much identical when it comes to video.

AF is again a bit better than the kit lens, but in low light it hunts too. Ultrasonic motor is a bit better (faster, more quiet) than the regular micro-motor on the kit lens, but it makes too little difference.

At this point I am trying to come up with a good reason why not send it back and so far I have not found one.  Maybe my expectations were a bit unrealistic, or I got a lemon (or a very good copy of the kit lens who knows).
 ???
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: eikerir on September 06, 2012, 05:18:59 AM
we recently did a review of the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8, here it is in case it helps anybody in this thread. We show a lot of examples of its performance for video in low light, different focal lengths, different productions, etc. Hope it helps.




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Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: weldroid on September 06, 2012, 07:06:59 PM
Thanks, that is a very nice review!  ;)

After sending the 17-55 back I'm not sure if I really want an upgrade any more, the kit lens is so cheap and so cheerful, and the mighty Canon 17-55 F2.8 was around 5% better for stills and 10% better for video especially that the only difference was the little bit less depth of field (not worth the pricetag) and the little bit less noise (but under low light conditions it needed extra lights / noise reduction just like the kit lens).

One thing about the Sigma 17-50 I wanted to ask: are you doing much manual focusing with it? The range is half of the kit lenses range (30 degrees vs. 60 degrees) so it must be  pretty hard, innit?
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: 1% on September 06, 2012, 07:17:38 PM
Reading amazon reviews and from what you say I wouldn't have bought this lens. Especially at the less than useful focal length (not wide enough, not enough reach). HSM and OS are only redeeming factors.

My tokina was worth every cent. Need to get the wide one to complement it. I have a sigma 70-200mm and hsm broke when lens fell, tried to fix it but ripped a cable. Sigma doesn't want to touch it and instead tried to upsell me. Sigma 28-105, too soft... I'm pretty much done with them except maybe for the prime 1.4 they have for video. They can't fuck up a prime, right?
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: eikerir on September 07, 2012, 07:37:48 AM
One thing about the Sigma 17-50 I wanted to ask: are you doing much manual focusing with it? The range is half of the kit lenses range (30 degrees vs. 60 degrees) so it must be  pretty hard, innit?


yeah we actually mention that in the video, it can be difficult for very subtle focus changes, of course after using it for a  while we got used to it but it can be a bit tough in the beginning.

Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: Chungdha on September 07, 2012, 06:29:10 PM
I worked with the Sigma 18-55mm f2.8 build for EF-S and my friend bought it for really cheap. The lens worked quite well on the 550D, only for photography the lens is horrible in focussing at the wide end. Filming wise not much of a problem. However reading several review the Canon 17-55mm be what you want to buy as it better than others out there. However for me I wouldn't get any EFS lenses as they are only useable for crop sensors and I would like to upgrade to the 5D or a Full frame it would not be possible, so I rather only buy EF lenses.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: funkysound on September 09, 2012, 03:48:52 PM
I used tons of different lenses since I bought the 550d and today the 600d.
Now my set is perfect for my usage which is most filming (also professional use). You can see down here what lenses did stay with me at the end. There are some "better" ones if you invest much more money but to tell the truth - non of my clients ever realized a difference when I was using the canon ums department for example.
Really good lenses are the Tamron ones - both of them. But especial the 17-50mm for normal use and on top because of the 3x zoom function in the 600d if you use the film modus.
Most of the lenses have their good and their bad sides - the sigma 30mm 1:1,4 for example isn´t very good (sharp) in the corners but this doesn´t matter at all if the (sharp) object you want to film is in the center - which means 99% of all pictures I make with it. And so on ...
You can read interesting informations about all lenses and more here:
http://www.traumflieger.de/objektivtest/open_test/sigma_30/overview.php   or here:
http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: n8ben on September 12, 2012, 02:59:27 PM
At this point I am trying to come up with a good reason why not send it back and so far I have not found one.  Maybe my expectations were a bit unrealistic, or I got a lemon (or a very good copy of the kit lens who knows).
 ???

The kit lens you have is already a great lens optically, I'm not surprised you aren't finding a large difference in optical quality. The difference between f2.8 and f3.5-5.6 is only 2/3-2 stop, not drastic at the wide end. Unless you have decided that one stop or so is worth paying for than you aren't likely to be impressed. Although the long end's two stops should be noticeable as you're letting in 4 times the amount of light at f2.8. Every lens is a trade off. Very few lenses are perfect, and the lenses you'll fall in love with are the ones that are perfect for your style and application, not necessarily perfect for everyone.

I think we all start out reading pixel peeper reviews. They can be misleading, and I believe they get people thinking about lenses in unproductive ways. They may feel that they need to shoot test charts to see how good their lens is :D. These lens reviews have their place, just as MTF charts can be useful. However, most of us aren't printing poster size so the actual gains in sharpness usually aren't that dramatic or useful.

I find contrast, color, flare (I shoot outdoors in bright light with off camera flash a lot), and Bokeh more useful factors, so long as the lens offers the resolution I need (the kit lens does). Think of the many great shots you've seen. What was it that drew you to those images (or videos)? was your first thought "I like that images sharpness?". At least for me, it is typically contrast, color, shape, and texture that grab my attention and make an image stand out.

I will add that I tend to think about lens ergonomics as well when I look to buy a new tool. That is one thing that the kit lens lacks in several areas, although the trade off is that it is very small and light. Also, for someone like me that shoots a lot in manual mode with off camera flash a fixed aperture lens is usually preferable. If the aperture changes than my exposure changes, and the relationship between ambient light and flash is changed. It is just a bit easier to use a fixed aperture zoom in that scenario.
Title: Re: Lens upgrade for 18-55 (600D)
Post by: 1% on September 12, 2012, 04:27:46 PM
Only thing is the kit lens I have has serious CA and other problems... it comes out in HDRS and wide shots (only place its useful) most. Maybe the newest IS one is better.

35-135 - very sharp
50-135 - even sharper
sigma 28-105 - super soft
kit lens - weak sauce

You can tell w/MTF more than with just F/2.8. At 2.8 you're also getting a very shallow DOF whcih is good or bad depending on what you're doing. Really the lower apertures are for people doing hand-held and indoor stuff or selective focus. F/4 gets pretty limiting pretty fast at an event where they dim the lights.