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Xaqtly
2009-10-01, 11:44
Can you guys recommend a good wide angle lens? This is for a Canon (Rebel XT), and I don't really know what to look for in a good wide angle.

I don't mean brand so much as type; what sort of f stop, lens length, prime or zoom? I'm slowly figuring out what all the numbers mean in context but have no experience with wide angle lenses. Help a nub out. :lol: Living near the mountains in N. Las Vegas, I have some really good opportunities to get good wide angle shots.

And might as well use this thread for whatever other lens advice or recommendations people have too.

ezkcdude
2009-10-01, 12:06
For Canon, I would recommend the f/2.8 24 mm (~$300), or if you want to spend the big bucks, the really fast f/1.4 24 mm (~$1600). In general, 24 mm is the most useful wide-angle lens you can have. If I only could carry around two focal lengths, it would be 24 mm and 105 mm. That would meet 95% of my needs. If I was stranded on a desert island, and could only take one lens, it would be my 24 mm.

torifile
2009-10-01, 12:16
Do you really want a fixed focus lens or would something like the 24-105 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-24-105mm-USM-Lens-Cameras/dp/B000AZ57M6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1254417148&sr=8-1) work? Granted, that lens is not as fast as a prime would be, but if you're shooting outdoors, you're more than likely going to have better light (or a tripod).

But I don't know if 24mm is going to be wide enough for the types of things you're looking for. On a digital back like you've got (and most people have), you're dealing with a 1.6 crop factor meaning that a 24mm lens is more like a 38mm lens. I'd go for a 17mm lens (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-EF-S-17-55mm-Lens-Cameras/dp/B000EW8074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1254417324&sr=8-1) with some zoom capability. You'll cover a lot of ground with that lens.

Lenses are hella expensive, though, so I'd recommend renting one or 2 before deciding. I used lensrentals.com for my Hawaii trip and it was a great experience. I'm definitely going to use them again when I need some expensive glass.

ezkcdude
2009-10-01, 12:20
But I don't know if 24mm is going to be wide enough for the types of things you're looking for. On a digital back like you've got (and most people have), you're dealing with a 1.6 crop factor meaning that a 24mm lens is more like a 38mm lens. I'd go for a 17mm lens (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-EF-S-17-55mm-Lens-Cameras/dp/B000EW8074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1254417324&sr=8-1) with some zoom capability. You'll cover a lot of ground with that lens.



Yeah, if you have a cropped frame, then you need something that is equivalent to 24-mm. 17mm for a 1.6 crop sounds right. For a zoom, I would recommend the EF-S 17-85 mm f/4-5.6 zoom (~$400):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/images345x345/351548.jpg

That type of lens would probably suit most of your photography needs.

BuonRotto
2009-10-01, 12:28
Bah. You ain't cookin' with gas until you get down to 18mm (equiv.)!

Dorian Gray
2009-10-01, 12:38
This one (http://www.zeiss.com/c12567a8003b58b9/Contents-Frame/47dee3114ec54fa2c12574bf0034c8c1) is pretty good. :) Probably (http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/2009-09-blog.html#_20090928CarlZeissAnnounces21Distagon) the best wide-angle lens ever made for Canon EF or Nikon F mount. But on a crop-sensor camera you lose much of the wide-angle effect, as mentioned above.

Ezkcdude: with Canon's 1.6x crop factor, a 17 mm lens is equivalent to a 27.2 mm lens on full-frame. Is even that wide enough?

Generally speaking, wide-angle lenses are the most difficult of all lenses to make, which means good ones are expensive. They have to accept light over a wide angle (duh), yet focus it rectilinearly on a plane. Many difficulties arise in doing that. Wide-angle lenses for SLR cameras have the additional hurdle of clearing the camera's mirror box, which compounds most optical problems but mitigates one: illumination fall-off in the corners due to natural vignetting (http://toothwalker.org/optics/vignetting.html#natural).

I mention this so you don't expect a wide-angle lens to be optically "perfect" the way that a telephoto lens or a stopped-down 50 mm lens might be, unless you fork out a fortune for it (and even then...).

That said, you don't need an absolutely best-in-class lens to make great wide-angle photos. Canon make the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=148&modelid=10510), which is better than it has any right to be. It also takes advantage of Canon's EF-S mount to put the last element closer to the sensor - something which in theory should lead to less chromatic aberration and lower distortion (because the design doesn't need to be as aggressively retrofocus). Guess what? This lens has less chromatic aberration and lower geometric distortion that third-party competitors, which don't take advantage of the relaxed EF-S mount specifications.

Here's a review (http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/174-canon-ef-s-10-22mm-f35-45-usm-test-report--review) of this lens (on your camera model, no less!). See what you think.

Xaqtly
2009-10-01, 12:39
Just to add fuel to the fire, what do you think of this one? Tamron 10-24 f3.5-4.5 (http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=TM1024EOS) I have an 85mm 1.8 prime that I love and will probably use for most of my shooting, but I really wanted something to capture some nice big vistas. Mountains, the red hills in Utah, that sort of thing.

Edit - the Tamron is about $300 cheaper than the EF-S 10-22 which is why I mentioned the Tamron but if the quality difference is that noticable I'm open to spending more to get more.

BuonRotto
2009-10-01, 13:49
The Tamron will likely (I don't know about it personally) have more distortion, chromatic abberation and loss of sharpness across the frame than the EF lens. It may not be very noticeable at typical print sizes, or may also be easily corrected in post-process.

Alas, you have to be the judge over whether improvement on those three things is worth the money to you. The biggest mistake and intimidation factor when it comes to choosing lenses is placing too much importance on the pixel peeping of review sites. Most of the time, the differences in these things are only relevant for very serious pros. A lot of them are just fine with so-called "prosumer" bodies and lenses much of the time anyway.

torifile
2009-10-01, 14:12
The only thing I'd keep in mind that hasn't already been mentioned is that if you do get an EF-S mount lens, it's not going to work on a full frame camera, if you ever go that route. That may not be an issue for you and since Canon seems intent on keeping the full frame bodies for professionals, it probably won't ever become one.

But I could easily see myself in a couple of years time moving up to a full frame and I'm sure I'm not the only one in that position, especially as prices on full frame cameras continue to come down. It would suck to have dumped a bunch of money into a lens that you can't use any more.

ezkcdude
2009-10-01, 14:39
The only thing I'd keep in mind that hasn't already been mentioned is that if you do get an EF-S mount lens, it's not going to work on a full frame camera, if you ever go that route. That may not be an issue for you and since Canon seems intent on keeping the full frame bodies for professionals, it probably won't ever become one.

But I could easily see myself in a couple of years time moving up to a full frame and I'm sure I'm not the only one in that position, especially as prices on full frame cameras continue to come down. It would suck to have dumped a bunch of money into a lens that you can't use any more.

That's a good point. I don't know anything about Canon really, so take my recs with a grain of salt. I wouldn't buy a lens that would not work on a full frame SLR. What I'd really love to play around with (on my Nikon F4) is this bad boy:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/largeimages/545664.jpg

PB PM
2009-10-01, 15:19
I'll recommend the Tokina 12-24mm F4. I have the Nikon mount version, but optically they are the same, it really is a great lens. I did a mini review of the lens on my blog a few weeks ago. I'm not worried about it not being full frame because I already have some wide FF primes, but I wanted a nice crop, wide angel lens.

http://robdphotos.blogspot.com/2009/09/thoughts-on-lenses-tokina-12-24-at-x.html


But I could easily see myself in a couple of years time moving up to a full frame and I'm sure I'm not the only one in that position, especially as prices on full frame cameras continue to come down. It would suck to have dumped a bunch of money into a lens that you can't use any more.
One thing to keep in mind is that unlike camera bodies, lenses hold their value extremely well, kit lenses aside. I would rather buy a crop lens now, and buy a more modern full frame lens when I make the move up a few years down the road.

Dorian Gray
2009-10-03, 11:16
Just to add fuel to the fire, what do you think of this one? Tamron 10-24 f3.5-4.5 (http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=TM1024EOS)
I don't keep track of all these lenses, but DPReview reviewed that one (http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/tamron_10-24_3p5-5p6_n15/). As you can see from their test results, the lens has good control of distortion, but is otherwise thoroughly mediocre. It's a hazy, blurry mess at full aperture, the corners aren't sharp at any aperture setting, there's plenty of lateral chromatic aberration, and flare control is poor. In this case the Canon would be easily worth the extra to me. (Sometimes third-party lenses are very good for the money; sometimes they're even better than the camera brand lenses, despite being cheaper. Not so in this case.)

That's a good point. I don't know anything about Canon really, so take my recs with a grain of salt. I wouldn't buy a lens that would not work on a full frame SLR.
For a properly wide perspective on a Canon APS-C camera, you'd need to get a 14 mm lens. The Canon one costs an absolute fortune and isn't fantastic optically. The Nikon 14-24 mm is optically superb, but costs about the same, is ridiculously large and heavy, can't take filters, etc. So if you want something close to a 20 or 21 mm field of view (ultra-wide) at a sensible price, you simply have no choice but to buy a dedicated crop-sensor lens.

NosferaDrew
2009-10-03, 12:06
That said, you don't need an absolutely best-in-class lens to make great wide-angle photos. Canon make the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=148&modelid=10510), which is better than it has any right to be. It also takes advantage of Canon's EF-S mount to put the last element closer to the sensor - something which in theory should lead to less chromatic aberration and lower distortion (because the design doesn't need to be as aggressively retrofocus). Guess what? This lens has less chromatic aberration and lower geometric distortion that third-party competitors, which don't take advantage of the relaxed EF-S mount specifications.

Here's a review (http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/174-canon-ef-s-10-22mm-f35-45-usm-test-report--review) of this lens (on your camera model, no less!). See what you think.

I've got the 10-22mm and I absolutely love it. It's the lens I have the most fun with by far.

Kyros
2009-10-04, 18:04
Sigma has a 12-24mm lens that works on full-frame cameras. I have no idea about its quality, though.

Other than that, like others have said, you will be either paying large sums of money for a 14mm lens, or you will have to get a lens that only works on crop cameras.

Xaqtly
2009-10-09, 15:11
Thanks for all the advice, fellas. I need to save some more money first but now I have a much better idea of what I need to look for.