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Canon EOS 20D Lens Advice

Canon-Eos-20D-2One of the nice parts of running one of Australia's most visited Digital Camera sites is that manufacturers are always sending us digital cameras to review - it seems that there is always a camera on my desk (we get them for a couple of weeks at a time) so that if I have a wedding, party, trip to the beach etc to go to - I always have a way of capturing the moment.

As a result I've neglected my own digital camera collection for a couple of years.

This changed yesterday (after weeks of research and reading reviews) when I lashed out and got myself a new digital camera kit.

At the centre of the kit was a Canon EOS 20D body. I've been eyeing the 20D for a while now - the choice came out of a number of factors including a love for Canon cameras (strange how we latch onto brands isn't it) and a a good but not extravagant budget (of course I'd love a 5D, but the 20D was a good compromise between features and price). I probably could have bought a 5D - but it would have left me with no money for lenses (for the rest of my life!).

Along with the 20D body I also managed to stretch the budget to get a few nice lenses. My personal opinion is that its worth spending a little less on a body and a little more on good glass.

After a lot of reading, questioning 20D owners and thinking about the type of photography that I do I settled on three lenses (with the hope of adding another two in the near future). Here's what I ended up with:

Canon 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom - I tossed and turned on this lens for quite a while. I was also tempted by the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L but for the large jump in price I couldn't quite justify the extra speed. The 17-40mm lens is an L-Series lens and has been getting rave reviews around the web. I quite like the zoom length - it's the equivalent of a 27-64mm lens on full frame SLR. So far (and I'm just 12 hours in and yet to head out for my first real photo expedition) I'm pretty impressed with it. There's a good review comparing the 17-40mm with the 16-35mm here if you're tossing and turning over the decision also.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 - every online discussion you'll read about lenses for Canon DSLR's will recommend a 50mm lens. They come in a number of speeds with the f/1.8 being the medium one. I was very tempted to get the f/1.4 but in the end price stopped me (it was another $300 AU) and I thought I could always update later if 1.8 wasn't fast enough. I have a feeling I'm going to use this prime lens a lot as the result so far are really quite stunning. Not having a zoom is of course a little challenging at times (I think all photographers need a challenge at times - and most of us do have in built zooms (legs)) but not having a zoom brings with it some real advantages in terms of image quality. If you're tossing up between the f1.4 and the f1.8 you might like to read this comparative review.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom - this was another lens to feature in many online advice articles on Canon lenses. There was some debate over the benefits of it in comparison to it's big brothers (there are two f2.8 70-200mm lenses also - one with Image Stabilization) but in the end the decision was made again on a combination of weighing up price and quality. I don't shoot a lot in low light situations with a Telephoto Zoom and have a tripod and mono-pod so I made a calculated decision to go for the f/4 version of this L series lens. I'm not sure what I think about walking around with a white lens (seems a bit pretentious for a guy like me) but I'm sure it will grow on me. Once again - I'm pretty happy with the initial results here but can't wait to get out onto the road to really test it out.

In terms of my wish-list - I've also got my eye on a 10-22mm lens for landscape and either a 24-105/mm 4L-IS or a 24-70mm f/2.8.

There are plenty of comparative reviews and discussion threads around the web examining the question of lenses for Canon DSLRs but a great starting place is this discussion over at which might of help if you're making the same decisions.

Posted by Darren in our Tips category on October 11, 2005


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