Cheap lens - Advice please

dav-e's picture
dav-e started the topic in Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 1:26pm

I am going to trade up form my dodgy point and shoot Olympus to a Canon 650D. I shoot a lot of video and photos.

What is a good cheap lens for taking photos from the beach. Would the Canon 55-250mm IS that comes with the Twin lens Kit be good enough?
I am assuming that the standard 18-55mm IS STM lens is not enough, is that correct?
Thanks for any advice.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 26 Oct 2013 at 8:03am

This is one of those 'how long is a piece of string' questions. I'm absolutely in no way qualified to comment on the merit of various lenses, but I'll throw in my 2c anyway will say that the standard 18-55mm stock lens isn't very good. It'll get you up and running but you'll soon realise that it's just a cheap lens used in package deals. I'd always recommend buying the body on its own and then adding lenses as you need.

I reckon the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM (about $645) is probably your best bet - it's the main lens Craig Brokensha uses (so do I, but Craig takes much better photos then me!) and it's probably the best value for money lens for surf photogs. And you can easily throw an extender on it to get some more distance.

But, you'll need a smaller lens to accompany this - the f4 17-40mm is a great all-rounder without bursting the bank.

Be warned though.. lens envy is a terrifying addiction. Once you're hooked there's no turning back.

brian_cooney's picture
brian_cooney's picture
brian_cooney commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 1:29pm

Ive got that 55-250mm lense in a similar kit and its good enough for what I like to do. Take decent shots from the shore of a non professional, but ok standard.

MDL's picture
MDL's picture
MDL commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 4:31pm

I've got the 650d and do a bit of "weekend photography" from portraits to landscape and video (mainly with my 30mm Sigma 1.4).

I agree with thermalben that the 70-200 would be a great lens. Not sure what your budget is though??

I have a 18-250 tamron which does an ok job of general purpose shooting and could suit your needs for a general shooting but at the long end its not that sharp. I've compared it to my fathers' kit 55-250 and the 55-250 is surprisingly sharper at the long end. I took it to the Bells classic this year and took some nice shots from the shore.

I wouldn't get the 18-55 as that is truly an average lens but the 55-250 in bright conditions could be ok if you're tight on the spend.

lolo's picture
lolo's picture
lolo commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 at 1:34pm

The 70-200 is a great lens no doubt. Just be aware that its designed for a camera with a full frame sensor not the APS-C sensor that the 650D has.

Will still work fine but there will be a bit of cropping of the images due to the sensor size.

The 55-250 is reasonable but not great. The 18-135 is probably the best of the Canon lenses for the APS-C cameras but you miss out on a bit of zoom range at the top end.

dav-e's picture
dav-e's picture
dav-e commented Wednesday, 6 Nov 2013 at 11:53am

Thanks guys. Now I have to see how long I can survive on Weet-Bix to see what lens I can afford.

ukwaterman's picture
ukwaterman's picture
ukwaterman commented Wednesday, 8 Apr 2015 at 9:19pm

This is a great topic. I am on the other half of this I have been using a 650D for all of my videos but am looking to up again. i can show you all of the footage i have got with aa canon 650 170-500mm sigma lens

for the most part invest in the lens more than the camera, if you stick with the same brand then you will be OK.
all shot with a canon 650D 170 -500mm sigma lense
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb9dmm7WOug
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQCdgIrTeeA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WD_fUku8js
you get the ideal
or alternatively all pictures on www.sbsboards.com are shot with a similar if not same set up 650D with some variation of big lense

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Wednesday, 8 Apr 2015 at 10:13pm

I'd suggest looking or asking pro surf photogs for their advice or secondhand lenses..i have a nikond7000 (i think) and it had a package lense and it was sik. We snapped it though and looking to upgrade also

YonderMatt's picture
YonderMatt's picture
YonderMatt commented Friday, 6 Nov 2015 at 11:15am

Sounds like most of your questions have been answered. But as an alternative, I worked as a motorsport photographer for some time and found the Sigma 70-200 2.8 a really solid piece of glass to work with.

I actually picked my first one up 2nd hand with a broken MF and had it rebuilt. So there are definitively deals out there if you're happy with 2nd hand options. Just do your due diligence.

Why the 70-200 though? It's just super versatile and a great to have piece of equipment . It wont cover the wider stuff, but you could always scoop up a nifty 50 (50mm 1.8) for a hundy and an extender for the 70-200

I agree with the points earlier about investing in good glass. It makes all the difference. But figure out what you can afford and work back from there, photographers are always offloading glass!