Lense recommendation (alternative to Kit lense) for Rebel XT

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by eh, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. eh

    eh Guest


    I am getting ready to buy a digital Rebel XT. After reading
    so many negative reviews of its kit lense, I am going to just get a
    XT body and purchase a separate zoom lense.

    I am an armature photographer and the XT will be my first
    DSLR. I mostly shoot portraits, my kid (moves a lot), and some
    landscaping. At the time being, I want to get one general purpose
    zoom lense that I can carry around and produces sharp pictures.
    And I also can't afford getting one of those L lenses. :)

    Lense I am looking at now.

    - Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM
    Costs around $250; Is this lense significantly better than the kit
    lense? It appears to have good build quality.

    - Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens
    Costs $480. Do you think it is a good investment to spend $230 extra
    to get IS capability? I think it would help to shoot in low light cond
    since the lowest f stop is 3.5?

    Any other recommendations?

    eh, Oct 27, 2005
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  2. eh

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    I am an armature photographer and the XT will be my first
    Evaluate how wide of angle you want for landscaping. You may want to
    consider the 17-85 IS instead if you need the angle of view - don't forget
    the 1.6x crop factor.

    Steve Wolfe, Oct 27, 2005
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  3. eh

    Bill Guest

    If you only want one lense to cover everything, then you may want to
    stick with a good quality P&S camera with a big lense. Look at the
    Panasonic Lumix or Canon S2 IS, or other similar models.

    The main reason to buy a DSLR is the interchangeable lenses, and the
    option to use what you want. There's not much sense in buying an
    expensive DSLR and then slapping poor quality glass on the front. The
    lense does most of the work in making the image, not the camera body, so
    buy the best glass you can afford.
    To me, that depends on cost/performance ratios. A good lense that costs
    $200 more but provides a LOT higher image quality is worth it to me.

    See below. :)
    I have one of these from years ago, and it's somewhat better than the
    kit lense, has a ring USM for fast autofocus and full time manual
    focusing, plus non-rotating front element for polarizing filters. All
    good stuff.

    The problem is sharpness at f/3.5-4.5...shooting with the aperture wide
    open, it's not any better than the kit lense. You need to stop down the
    lense to f/8 to get really good sharpness out of it. That's not a
    problem in bright light or outdoors during the day, but for lots of
    conditions that you want, it's just too "slow" and not that practical.

    You can use a good external flash to fill in, but again that's more
    money and you're better off with a good lense.

    You'll also find that the wide-end at 28mm is probably not wide enough
    for landscapes or other wide-angle shots due to the field of view crop
    factor of 1.6x on the digital SLR. It turns a 28mm into a 45mm, which is
    more like a standard lense, and again, to get good detail, you need to
    stop down to f/8.

    And it has some barrel and pincushion distortion, which detracts from
    images with straight lines like a street, buildings, bridges, etc.
    Same story as above. It's a decent lense with all of the good features
    of the 28-105, but I wouldn't say it's a great lense. It adds the IS
    feature which is handy, but again wide-open it's not the sharpest. It's
    a bit better, but not the best.
    How about the kit lense for starters? It's not a great lense in any
    sense of the word, but it's actually pretty good. In fact, it's a match
    to the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 when shooting wide open, and it has the
    advantage of a much wider angle for landscapes.

    But if you're willing to spend $480 on the 28-135 lense, I'd seriously
    consider the Canon 17-40 f/4 L lense. Yes it costs more, but it's WELL
    worth it.

    On your Rebel XT it will be like a 28-64mm lense, which covers a good
    usable range, and it's very sharp (even wide open), has high resolution,
    virtually no barrel or pincushion distortion, has great colour, and high

    It really is that good...in fact it's better than the 16-35 f/2.8 at
    twice the cost at the wide end. I know, I have one for my camera and you
    couldn't pry it out of my cold dead hands!


    If you intend to get a second lense later on for longer range, look at
    the other Canon gem, the 70-200 f/4 L - it's also an excellent lense (I
    have one of these as well).

    Now having said all that, if all you want is a single lense with decent
    image quality and you don't want to spend too much, the 28-135 IS would
    be my best recommendation.

    I've been through what you're doing now, and knowing what I know now, I
    would definitely spend the extra money up front and get the better
    quality 17-40 f/4 L lense. It'll produce wonderful images for both
    landscapes and portraits, and it's one of the best lenses you can get
    from Canon.

    But how much you spend is all a matter of what you want out of your
    camera. :)
    Bill, Oct 28, 2005
  4. eh

    Anabella M. Guest

    eh, the 50 1.8 is very cheap, it is also very sharp! (for me anyway)

    You can almost say that it is as sharp as it is cheap! :)
    and like Martha would say 'that's a good thing'.

    Anabella M.
    Anabella M., Oct 28, 2005
  5. eh

    Skip M Guest

    I'd second the motion for the 28-135 IS. I have had this lens for years, it
    was the first AF lens I bought in '98 or so. I've used it on everything
    from an A2 and 1n to a D30, 20D and now a 5D. Even now, with a 24-70L in my
    bag, the 28-135 gets some use, and is a better walk around lens, lighter and
    more reach. Not as sharp, but excellent, all the same. My daughter
    inherited my wife's, now that she has a 24-70, also, and loves it on her
    The one thing I didn't like about the lens is its build quality. Very light
    weight and plastic feeling. But that was when I first got it, and I was
    used to the more substantial FD mount Canon lenses. It's no worse than the
    majority of consumer oriented zooms. It is prone to a little zoom creep,
    and that seems to get worse with age and use...
    Skip M, Oct 28, 2005
  6. eh

    Bill Funk Guest

    I just got one of those, and it's usually what goes on when the
    cameras comes out of the bag.
    Unfortunately, I do a bunch of indoor shooting in museums, and that
    40mm equilavent just isn't wide enough. So, out comes the kit lens,
    which usually is at least adequate to the job.
    Bill Funk, Oct 28, 2005
  7. eh

    eh Guest


    Thank you all very much for your replies. They will help me a great
    deal in making a selection.

    eh, Oct 28, 2005
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