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Buying A New Lens And Seeking Advice

6D lens canon

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#1 reibee


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Posted 03 July 2016 - 01:38 AM

I would describe myself as a serious, but still amateur photographer. I bought my first full frame camera, a Canon 6D, about a year ago. Along with the camera body, I bought a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens, which I love and use most of the time. Later I bought a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens, which has been fun, but has not overly impressed me. Using these two lenses, I've dabbled with everything; landscapes, architecture, portraits, wildlife, etc., and while I do love wildlife photography, what I enjoy most, is just walking around the city, snapping pictures of interesting things, people, and places, and this is the sort of photography I want to pursue right now. I guess I'd call it urban photography. . . I've also been enlisting friends to use as portrait models, and have really enjoying that.


So recently, through my job, I've had the opportunity to take home and use a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens, which is everything Tony and Chelsea said it was, and more. I love the quality of the photos I get from this lens. It's a fast lens, the sharpness is amazing, the colors are incredible, and of course the bokeh is beautiful. I've been so impressed with the quality of this lens, that I've decided I want to add a lens of comparable quality to my kit.


I have some budget set aside for new equipment, and I could spend as much as $2000, but I'd rather spend around $1000. Also even though I could afford to buy a 70-200 for myself, it's too heavy, and bulky for what I like to do. When I go out for a day of shooting I pack light, and take just my camera, an extra battery maybe, and a cleaning cloth. Also I find I feel a little too intrusive snapping pictures of people on the street with this large white lens out in front of me. So, as I said, I am looking for some alternative, that has the same, or similar quality, but is lighter and smaller.


I am almost sure I will go with a prime, but have not yet decided on a focal length. I've researched lenses on DxOmark, and looked at reviews by other photographers. I've been considering 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, or (maybe)135mm, primes. I thought at first I'd want a 35mm, for it's versatility, but am not sure I want the distortion from an angle that wide. I enjoy shooting my 50mm, and am comfortable with it. Though, at the moment I am leaning towards an 85mm, because It's close to that 50mm I am used to, but could be a little better for portraits. Of course sharpness, color, and bokeh, are what I am really looking for, so if there is a particular lens, weather it be zoom or prime, or in any of these focal lengths, that has those qualities, and fits my budget, I would choose it.


I've researched pretty heavily the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II USM which seems promising, but I did notice that the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM, even though it's older, has better DXO scores.


I've also researched the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens, which also looks promising.


Anyhow, to wrap up, it's been easy enough to compare stats on dxomark, but I know the stats don't tell the whole story, so I am eager for any advice anyone is willing to give.


I've attached a few photo's I took with the 70-200, to show the kind of quality I am looking for. I know I said urban photography, and two of these are of birds, but I just like the photos and I did take them in a city park. ;)


Thank You!

Attached Files

#2 TrailEx



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Posted 03 July 2016 - 03:00 AM

You seem to have done a lot of research already. However, there is one lens that you haven't mentioned that ​might ​be what you're looking for: the 70-200 F/4 IS. It has the focal range you're interested in, its considerably lighter than the F/2.8 version, it compromises very little sharpness (second-hand information, as I don't own this lens), and it's around $1000 new. Main downside for you is that its only slightly shorter than the F2.8, so if the length of that lens bothered you, this one likely will too. Good luck with whatever you do decide to run with.

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#3 David Pavlich

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 10:11 AM

I agree about the 70-200 f4L.  There's not that much difference between the two zooms unless you really do need that last bit of light. 


The 50mm Art has been declared the sharpest lens tested by several reviewers under field conditions.  It is a brilliant lens as is their 35mm. 


The 85 f1.2 is also a brilliant lens, but you're compromised a bit if you get into a tighter situation with spacing. 


I have the Tamron 35 f1.8 (it rarely leaves my camera) and their 85mm f1.8.  Both image stabilized and hard to beat at their price point.


An alternative if you shoot outdoor portraits and you wish to stay with a prime is the venerable Canon 135 f2L.  It's an older design, but it is razor sharp, focuses lightning fast and is just a very good lens.  It gets my vote for Canon's bang for the buck lens.  About the only way Canon could make it better would be to stabilize it.


In the end, though, I'd narrow your choice to either the 50mm Art or the 70-200 f4L considering your comments about the f2.8 version.



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#4 PeterPP


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Posted 03 July 2016 - 04:34 PM

If not a prime then I've been pleased with a 24-105 as a reasonable range for urban, and Sigma makes a really nice one.Canons is OK too.

It is not so large as to be obtrusive or stand out on a full frame body, thought a FF body tends to stand out on its own :)


I've lately been playing with a crop body and the new stm pancake prime lenses,

almost looks like you have no lens attached or some kind of toy when the 24mm is in use, it's a f/2.8 lens and gives an effective focal length of about 38mm.

Which works out as slightly wide and works well if you don't mind getting fairly close to your subjects.


#5 reibee


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Posted 05 July 2016 - 02:59 PM

Thanks, everyone for your responses. I have a couple follow up questions as well.

First, has anyone experienced, first hand, any problems with any of the Sigma Art lenses, as they are not weather sealed?

Second, does anyone know the difference between the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II and the older version, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L ? The older version has better DXOmark scores, and though I would think there should have been some imporvement made by the second version, it seems (by the DXO scores) that the older version it a better lens?


#6 ebit


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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:01 AM

the 85L II focuses faster.  


even then, its a super slow focusing lens.  Really great for portraits but other usage is quite limited.  I would easily recommend the 85mm f1.8 for a fraction of the cost, but 90% of the functionality (and more.. since it is Canon's fastest focusing lens)


have you considered the 24-70 f2.8L II?  it covers your 35/50mm needs and you could get an 85mm f1.8 for your portraiture 

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