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Best One Lens for 550d

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Showing 1-18 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Dec 2012 11:45:01 GMT
HP says:
Ok, as a student my budget is not so great. I was looking for basically one lens for my 550d body, I have a camera body but no lens due to the sheer cost of these dslrs.

I'm looking for something with a big aperture and price is really important, say nothing over 300.

Thank you

Posted on 3 Dec 2012 13:36:50 GMT
You don't state anything about intended use, or experience, so I'm going to just assume you want a decent lens for "general" use.

Depends what you're definition of "big aperture" is, and whether this is your most important need. The 50mm f1.8 prime lens (not a zoom) is available for about 75, and for than price gives image quality which won't be matched in your price range. if you really wanted flexibility with a big aperture, try a tamron 17-50 f2.8 which combines a "kit lens" level of zoom, with a large aperture. This is available in VC or non VC versions, if you will be shooting handheld with slow (approx down to 1/60th sec) shutter speeds, I'd say go for the VC. But equally, the image quality is better on the non-VC lens. Non-VC is about 220 and VC closer to 300.

If both of the above aren't ideal, you could always try a canon 18-55 f3.5-5.6 (the standard Kit lens) which should be available second hand for easily less than 100, which gives a lens that is flexible, and adequate to learn how a DSLR works, and provide room for growth.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2012 14:48:50 GMT
I'd concur mr Oliver, but however good 50mm lenses are they are 80mm equivalent view compared with 35mm film cameras and a more "standard" lens would be about 30mm focal length.
I have a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 and have been well impressed (see the Tamron 17-50 group on Flickr for examples).

Posted on 3 Dec 2012 21:11:42 GMT
HP says:
Thanks for the advise,

I was recently looking at going for the canon 35 mm f 2 lens, any advise on that one?

Posted on 4 Dec 2012 00:32:36 GMT
Ben Basing says:
I know nothing about Canon lenses specifically, but a 35mm f2 with a 1.6 multilplier as implied above would give a long ish standard lens and I think it would be a fair guess that a Canon f2 would be significantly above average quality

Posted on 4 Dec 2012 11:21:49 GMT
N. Gratton says:
The answer would have to be "it depends" - on what type of photography you need to do.

My personal choice for one lens to put on a crop-sensor Canon, with your budget, would be as a few people have suggested a prime lens in the range of 28-35mm. The below are good choices:
Canon EF 35mm f/2 Wide Angle AF Lens
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Lens (I have 8 lenses for my Canon, but this is the one that spends most time on it as a "walk-around" lens. The f/1.8 alternative is still just about in your budget, but arguably no better)
Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM Digital Lens For Canon Mount (Reported to have front-focus issues - if you buy one and it does, don't be afraid to exchange it til you get a good copy)

The 50mm f/1.8 mentioned above is VERY good value for money, but also as mentioned on the long-ish side on a crop sensor, so somewhat limiting. That said, the first year I had my D-SLR, my nifty fifty rarely left the camera. (300 pounds may just about cover the 50mm f/1.8 AND the 28mm f/2.8 - though you may need to shop around).

Posted on 4 Dec 2012 16:30:21 GMT
N. Gratton says:
Also, from what I've read (I've not tried it yet personally) the new Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens is worth considering.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2012 20:15:31 GMT
You could try second hand from somebody reputable like Ffordes. They will allow returns if not satisfiied. If you want to live a little more dangerously there is Ebay. I have bought all my lenses off Ebay including my f1.4 Sigma 30mm, f1.7 Minolta 50mm and constant f2.8 Tamron 17-50. The latter is always on the camera. I also like my Tamron 55-200 which doesn't have a wide aperture but is a great lens for the peanuts I paid. Since I have a Sony I don't have to worry about anti shake because it works on the sensor not the lens so maybe I have less to fear from Ebay. On the other hand I have always found sellers to be pretty honourable.

Posted on 10 Dec 2012 15:44:28 GMT
Mr. K. Kerry says:
I also have a Canon 550D, which i bought second hand to upgrade from a Olympus E-PM1. The first lens i purchased was a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens as i love shooting macro, plus i got it second hand for about 280. I'm also going to purchase the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens later on today as my walk about lens as its good for portrait and general shots, also opens your creative side more. Also, in regards to people mentioning Ebay; Ebay is great if you have a little bit of trust, but if you don't i strongly suggest visiting your local (or website) CeX shop as they sometimes under price their items, especially lenses. I bought both my Macro lens and 550D body from them. Either way, good luck!

Posted on 10 Dec 2012 19:34:52 GMT
As someone who also owns a 550d and who works under a tight budget, I've never owned more than one lens. I'll preface this by just saying that I'm not a lens expert and I only have about 2 years worth of experience with DSLRs. I certainly wouldn't call myself a lens snob, tho ;)

I prefer using a wide prime lens, mainly because they're sharper and faster than their similar-priced lens counterparts - I don't do any wildlife or sports photography so have little use for a telephoto zoom anyway. If you're on a budget and want the best quality photos for your money, a prime is probably the best option.

Many people would recommend a "nifty fifty" 50mm lens. Having used both the popular Canon 1.8 and 1.4 lenses I can say these are extremely competent lenses, but would not recommend them over a wider option, something like my current Canon 28mm 1.8. The reason is you're already losing a lot of range of the image from the crop-sensor, so a 50mm can feel a little too close in most circumstances. The advantage of having something wider is you can always crop it afterwards if you need to.

I recommend the underrated 28mm, but that may be a little over your budget, even used (I definitely worked up towards it). Some general advice would be to get something wide and fixed for the reasons stated above. Also, watch out for anything without a USM powered focus (that is, if you appreciate good auto-focus). Good luck!

Posted on 11 Dec 2012 11:00:55 GMT
Straight to the point GET A 50mm 1.8 it will improve your technique and photography. I own a 550d and it had a kit lens with it, (Avoid) I own a 70-200mm L F4.0 and this is amazing but a little pricey. The 50mm is a brilliant lens, sharp and great at low light due to the 1.8. Best of all its less than 100

Posted on 11 Dec 2012 15:53:22 GMT
G. E. Hearn says:
Agreed. I use a 50mm F/1.8 (Nikon and Olympus) for probably 80% of the pictures I take. You have to work a little for composition and such, but the results are well worth the extra bother. You can instantly tell what was shot with the '50 and what wasn't.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2012 16:09:58 GMT
My 50mm f1.7 is a great lens but I prefer something a little wider.

Posted on 14 Dec 2012 20:42:51 GMT
HP says:
Thank you for all your advise guys and girls. I'm probably leaning towards either the 35 mm f2 or the 28 mm 1.8, just so I can get that extra wider shot. I feel that indoors the 50 mm is a bit tight with the crop factor and if out in restaurants/parties the indoor shots may be a bit difficult.
I sometimes feel I made the wrong choice getting the 550d, I would have been a lot more happy with the 5d mark ii. I would have got full frame and not have to worry about this crop factor business and a body that I would keep for a very very long time. :/ But I guess price is an issue unfortunately.

Posted on 17 Dec 2012 18:18:50 GMT
5d mark ii is very nice - but it also costs a small fortune and weighs a ton (I tried one out last weekend). Full frame (with good lenses) provides very nice pictures but I am not sure I would want to lug all that weight around all day. Academic in any case as way beyond my budget. :)

Posted on 28 Dec 2012 08:06:31 GMT
Haha, don't worry about full frame. 550D is great camera and it is much better to have cheap body with decent lens, rather than 5D with some budget full frame lens (keep in mind that most good cheaper lenses are made for crop sensors and wouldn't suit full frame cameras).

Actually if you will have spare 25 after buying your first lens, go to ebay and get an old Olympus 50 1.7 and an adapter. It will be manual focus and manual aperture, but that will teach you a lot about photography and will reward you with great images. Add some chinese macro tubes - and you've got a superb macro lens. So its quite a lot of fun for such a little cost.

Posted on 28 Dec 2012 17:47:26 GMT
Steve B says:

Let me first say that the Canon 550d, like the other APS-C cameras can, and usually do produce very good pictures, the limitations being the lenses and the person pressing the shutter. As for the 5Ds, I have a Mk II and a Mk III, which I do not think are very heavy when linked to a medium focal length zoom lens although the Mk III costs over a ton in sterling.

If I were you I would consider both the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] Lens and the Sigma 17-70 mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM optical stabilisation lens, both of which should allow you to crop the scene for optimum results. I obtained some very good results with my old Sigma 17-70 mm lens on my Canon 20D when photographing the model Katy Green many years ago. The lens that I use most with my full frame cameras is my Canon F4 24-105 mm, which roughly equates to the Sigma 17-70 mm. Don't forget that you cannot use an EF-S bayonet lens on a full frame camera.

You can obtain reviews of the Sigma and Tamron lenses on

Posted on 6 Jan 2013 13:23:01 GMT
Neill says:
I agree with Steve.

I have a 450d and bought a Sigma 17-70mm with it rather than one of the Tamrons - budget is tight for most of us. It's a fantastic lens. Shoots macro, wide angle and mild zoom very well.

But look up the reviews so you can buy one you'll be happy with.
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Total posts:  18
Initial post:  3 Dec 2012
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