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What's the best lens to choose for zoom, telephoto and wide angle?

Carolynn Kimberly , Jul 22, 2012; 02:06 p.m.

Hi, I live in New York City and have an interest photographing objects (everything is up for grabs) that are up close, far away, moving, landscape, ball games, and shots of people in various neighborhoods. Of course, I will be using it while travelling anywhere I go like Morocco. I'm planning on purchasing a Canon Mark II and was wondering about the lenses that could help me capture my desired images. Since the Mark II is already expensive for me can anyone recommend a lens that combines zoom with telephoto or is that not a reality? If those are sold separately, then what are good choices for the three lenses I could use that are below $800.


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Gil Pruitt , Jul 22, 2012; 02:14 p.m.

Two great lenses in your price range are the Tamron 28-75mm and the Tamron 70-300mm. If your camera is full frame which the mark II seems to imply these two lenses will give you quality coverage from 28mm wide angle up through 300mm telephoto with the two lenses together costing less than $1000. Good luck!

Daniel Charette , Jul 22, 2012; 02:40 p.m.

If you can get the 5D MK II kit, this one comes with the 24-105 at a cost of around $2,699.00 for the kit and $2,079.00 for the body only, the lens itself is about $1,149.00. That kit would be a good saving. The 24-105 is a good walk around lens for a Full Frame body and this is one of my preferred lens for that type of photography when I go out and need a light kit.

Carolynn Kimberly , Jul 22, 2012; 02:42 p.m.

Thanks Gil. I looked up the Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Lens and it said it was for Nikon. Will it fit a Canon camera?

Carolynn Kimberly , Jul 22, 2012; 02:45 p.m.

Thanks Daniel for your help!

Larry West , Jul 22, 2012; 04:21 p.m.

I looked up the Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Lens and it said it was for Nikon. Will it fit a Canon camera?

The one with a Nikon mount will not, but the one with the Canon mount will. Tamron makes that lens for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. I have one for my 7D, though it doesn't see much use lately.

Marcus Ian , Jul 22, 2012; 05:37 p.m.

If you want a one lens solution for your 5D2, Tamron offers a 28-300, as well, Canon offers a 28-300L w/ better IQ, but of considerable size (plus, it's glaringly white - and will stand out in Moroccan streets)

JDM von Weinberg , Jul 22, 2012; 07:02 p.m.

Another recommendation for the really super EF 24-105mm IS. It's even an L lens (for luxus?). It's a big bargain in the kit with the camera body. I also think the mark ii is a very good option if you don't need the more sophisticated, but much more expensive, mark iii.

Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina - the big three of the independent lens makers, make versions in most of the major lens mounts. Just be sure that you get the one in the mount you need.

Also remember that Canon "digital only" lenses (EF-S) will not mount on a 5D body. The independent 'digital only' lenses will mount, but they produce image fields that are too small for the "full frame" sensor on the 5D models.

Carolynn Kimberly , Jul 22, 2012; 09:00 p.m.

All of the information has been so helpful to me. Thank you so much for the responses!

Sarah Fox , Jul 23, 2012; 01:14 a.m.

Carolynn, I should mention to you that you're using the word "zoom" in a strange manner that suggests you might not know its real meaning. (Many people misuse this term.) I only mention this because understanding the meaning of the term might help you in understanding discussions of these lenses. A "zoom" lens is simply a lens with adjustable focal length. There are wide angle zooms, normal zooms, telephoto zooms, etc. (for example the 24mm-105mm f/4 L IS). In contrast, a "prime" lens is simply a lens with a single focal length (for example the 50mm f/1.4).

I, too, would recommend the 24-105 as a "normal" zoom for your 5D MkII. That would fit within the $800 budget if you get it as a kit lens with the 5DII (a very good bargain). For a telephoto zoom, consider the 70-200 f/4 L. The non-IS version is (or at least was) in your price range. Either that, or consider the 70-300 IS non-L lens. It's well within budget and a pretty good lens -- quite a bargain.

If your combined lens budget is less than 800, I would suggest the 28-135 IS and the 70-300 IS (non-L version). That said, it would really be a pity not to put a better normal zoom lens on a 5DII.

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