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best lens for travel

cathy green , May 25, 2007; 08:32 a.m.

I have a rebel xti. I want the best lens for travelling (scenery and people pictures). I dont want to carry multiple lenses, and i want the camera to be as compact as possible as well as light weight. I have a 70/300 telephoto, which is great but too big for what i want. Any suggestions for a great all around canon lens? Thanks


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Jay Lang , May 25, 2007; 08:57 a.m.

I recently bought a canon 50mm f1.4 and i have to admit i love it. was out playing with it last weekend and am very impressed with the image quality. Plus its pretty compact and light weight.

Another option might be the sigma 30mm f1.4 which i hear is good and is next on my purchase list. Both lenses are about ?250 each.

I have the canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS which is great, but a bit pricey and larger & heavier than I thought it was going to be.

Larry Cooper , May 25, 2007; 09:12 a.m.

I think it depends. It depends on what you like to photograph, and how you like to photograph it.

I tend to be a telephoto kind of guy. I like to take pieces out of the landscape and create images that often become almost abstract. Occasionally, I like the big picture, but it is often for "documenting" more than my personal photography.

So I tend to ignore the extreme wide angle, and carry a combination of lenses that lets me go from "normal" to "long". I own a 17mm for special projects, but that's as wide as I ever go.

So you need to think about what you want and carry what will work. Size and weight count a lot too for long carrying sessions. If you are not sure of your style yet, then the logical solution is a mid range zoom of about 20mm to 135mm or so. I advise you to avoid the "super zooms" simply because it is very difficult to build a good zoom that covers more than about 3x its shortest length. They exist, but are very expensive.

M Barbu , May 25, 2007; 09:12 a.m.

If the 70-300 is too big for you, I think you're going to be limited to primes (assuming you care about image quality, and low light performance). 50mm on the XTi will act as a telephoto lens (not particularly good for scenery or groups of people, unless you can stand a large distance away from them).

I would suggest either a 35mm, 28mm, or 24mm lens for you. Which one, depends mostly on your budget, and if you want the photos to be "wide angle"-ish or "standard".

Beau Hooker , May 25, 2007; 10:03 a.m.

Hi Cathy, I feel like a broken record, having just suggested it in another thread but you might want to check out the 24-105mm f/4L IS. It's a relatively light lens that covers a useful focal length. It's an "L" lens, which means decent weather sealing and the Image Stabilization is very useful in low-light. IMHO, it's a great "walk around" lens. I own one and it's quite sharp and contrasty, even wide-open. Good luck!

Ron Hartman , May 25, 2007; 10:07 a.m.

Sigma is releasing an 18-200mm OS (IS) lens in June in the Canon mount. There are always optical compromises in these wide range zooms. But it does have the convenience of not having to change lenses. And size and weight will be a good bit smaller then the 70-300.

Ian . , May 25, 2007; 10:14 a.m.

This has been discussed here to death and back, but you probably want one fast prime (i.e. 50/1.4) and a zoom.

Dan Mitchell , May 25, 2007; 10:18 a.m.

If you are satisfied with its quality, the EFS 17-85 provides a nice all-in-one lens for many people. It is a fine lens if you aren't going to make really big prints and aren't bothered by the pincushion/barrel distortion issues, etc. You would probably like it just fine.

A better lens, but one that has a shorter focal length range and a higher price, is the EFS17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. I understand that it is quite a fine lens.

If you need more telephoto you might look at a prime that is not as heavy or expensive as the zooms or take a look at the 70-200 f/4 L - a truly fine lens at a decent price that is relatively inexpensive and not too large or heavy.

I'll join the "broken record" chorus and sing the praises of the somewhat expensive buy very excellent 24-105 f/4 IS L - though I'll point out that you would probaby want to augment this lens with something providing a wider angle view as well.


Mars C , May 25, 2007; 10:36 a.m.

"broken record" Too, I love the 24-105, just add the efs 10-22, then you're set :)

Bueh B. , May 25, 2007; 10:40 a.m.

If compact and lightweight are the most important factors, I'd recommend the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II) or the EF 50mm f/1.8 prime. The kit lens is pretty good actually, especially stopped down, and offers a decent zoom range. The 50mm is a lot faster, takes excellent photos even wide open, and saves you time thinking about which focal length to use. I'd stay away from all those IS/USM/L zooms as they are pretty heavy and large for a walkaround lens, which makes taking pictures less enjoyable.

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