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Which good all around lens to buy?

Jenn Truelson , Apr 11, 2008; 11:19 a.m.

Hello, I am looking for your opinions on what is a good "all around lens" to keep on my camera for most shots. I have the Rebel XTi, with the kit 18-55 lens that does not get alot of good PR. I would like a bit more working distance than 55mm. I am on a limited budget, and I am hoping to get the 100mm macro lens, as macro is my passion. My other interests are shooting landscapes and wildlife. So that said, what do you think is the right lens? Do I need to get one with IS? Thanks in Advance!


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Tommy DiGiovanni , Apr 11, 2008; 11:26 a.m.

I am sure a lot of people will ask how limited is your budget? When I think limited I am guessing around $400 - $500. For that I would suggest the Tamron 17-50 or a 28-75.

Jon Worth , Apr 11, 2008; 11:28 a.m.

Jenn, you are covering quite a range.

Macro -- ultra close, using a tripod Landscape -- wide/ultrawide, tripod optional but recommended Wildlife -- telephoto, using a tripod

You're not going to find one lens that does all this.

IS is geat for handheld shots, particularly in low light.

What is your budget?


David Bowens , Apr 11, 2008; 12:03 p.m.

You mentioned macro is your passion.... quick story.

I convinced my mom to get more into photography and upgrade from her 6 year old olympus 3.0mp digital camera to a Rebel XTi a year and a half ago. She got really into it almost right away, and took to the macro side of things as well. After about a year, I convinced her to pick up a macro 100 f2.8.

Ever since then, she's been taking about 8,000 - 10,000 pictures per month, about 95% macro.

Based on that, if macro photography is your passion, you cannot go wrong with the Macro 100 2.8 for around $500 or so (I think, check B+H). Great quality, easy to use, and versatile (for macro that is).

Tommy DiGiovanni , Apr 11, 2008; 12:04 p.m.

The Tamron does say its Macro but its, I believe 3/1. more like close up then macro.

T.P. Lyons , Apr 11, 2008; 12:05 p.m.

Bueh B. , Apr 11, 2008; 12:14 p.m.

For inexpensive macro photography try an manual focus macro lens (like the Tokina AT-X 90mm f/2.5 and many others from Pentax, Nikon, Vivitar etc) and use it with an adapter on your camera.

And the kit lens may have its flaws, but the photographers here on photo.net realize its a exceptionally fine kit zoom. The new IS version is even better and highly recommended.

And well, with subjects ranging from landscape (wide angle) to wildlife (longe tele) you are very mistaken if you think you can find one lens that will cover these applications and gives you good image quality, is inexpensive and will not be a waste of money.

Steve Crist , Apr 11, 2008; 12:17 p.m.

A true upgrade from your present lens would be the canon 28-105 lens. It's the better "gold ring" series while your lens is the white ring series. It gives you twice the reach, is a stop faster, has macro capability and it has the faster focussing USM motor. Around $219 at B&H Photo. It's a decent all around performer for the price. My person choice would be the L series 24-70 which has all the above capabilities plus outstanding performance. However it's well over $1000 and I don't know if you wanted to spend that much.

JDM von Weinberg , Apr 11, 2008; 12:34 p.m.

The kit lens 'ain't all bad' considering its price. For a telephoto, consider the 'kit' lens 75-300mm telephoto at around $100-150, depending on the kind of autofocus on it.

Another lens that is better than its reputation is the 17-85mm IS lens. It covers a broad range (the equivalent of the 28-105 lens mentioned above on a full-frame camera). Although many don't like it for its barrel distortion at the wide end, this can be fixed in software, and most reviewers after listing its faults, say that somehow they still use it more than most other lenses. It's around $500. It has close-focus, but is not a true macro (few zooms are).

If true macro (1:1 ratio) is really important, also consider the Tamron 90mm macro--it's cheaper and it's really as sharp as any macro out there.

Janusz Mrozek , Apr 11, 2008; 12:47 p.m.

I am a bit surprised by the fact that no one has mentioned the lens I am about to mention. But that's the way it is sometimes, or maybe my suggestion is not as good as I think it is. :)

Longer than 55: check Limited budget: check (I think) Macro: check (well, near macro, 1:2.3, but hey it's an all around lens!) Improved quality over kit lens: CHECK (huge improvement in sharpness!)

Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5, at Amazon $370


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