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Lens recommendations for Canon EOS Rebel T2i

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Showing 1-22 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 4, 2012 6:21:47 AM PST
Corrine says:
I've had the Canon EOS Rebel T2i for almost a year and am ready to upgrade the lenses I currently own. I have been shooting with the EFS 18-55mm and the EFS 55-250mm. After taking the camera on my honeymoon and shooting at home I feel like I'm ready for a better lens with better capabilities/quality. I'd also like a lens that I feel I can use A LOT. I'm itching to get a ultra wide angle lens for landscape photos (which I'm most in love with) but feel that a medium telephoto lens will get more use in my immediate future (a lens that is good for taking indoor family shots as well as newborn/child photos). I keep seeing that the Canon EF 50/1.4 USM and the Canon EF 85/1.8 USM are both highly rated. I've also seen some stunning photos taken with the 35mm f/2. I'm leaning towards the 85/1.8 since I feel it may have more practical uses but would love recommendations from those more experienced than myself. I do plan on renting lenses before buying so that I can be certain it's the right lens. I'm also worried that the lens won't seem that different from what I already own. I'm also planning to rent the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 for an upcoming vacation to San Diego to take landscape photos. Please help!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 7:14:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 7:18:07 AM PST
Neo Lee says:
A prime lens is the next logical upgrade considering that you never shoot with a prime before.

85mm is gonna be tricky for indoor shots, because you're gonna need a ton of space to pull it off, but homes have walls and you can't walk through wall. You've seen the 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/1.4. Either of which will do fine. The $150 40mm f/2.8 STM is a new lens this year, and its pancake design makes it pocketable. Pocketable here means you can go out with a DSLR with a zoom lens attached and then this little thing in your pocket is ready to be swapped.

Ultra-wide is great for landscapes. I own the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8. 11mm is so much wider than 18mm that once you've gone 11mm, you won't feel like using the 18mm on the kit lens. So get the Canon 10-22mm? Maybe. You should look at the Sigma 8-16mm. Here, 8mm is significantly wider than 10mm. When you feel like chasing the focal length, you will want to upgrade to 8mm. This... I don't mean that 10mm was less practical than 8mm or anything. Sometimes shooting 10mm focal length is the better choice, but then again 8-16mm covers 10mm in the range.

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 11:32:13 AM PST
S. Owens says:
If you can "try before you buy" you're already on your way.

Indoors I believe the 85mm will be too long for a lot of close up work; I have a 50mm 1.4 and often find myself backing up with it to frame what I want. I just got the 40mm f2.8 pancake and while it isn't as silent as I though it would be I do like it because of its small size (it weighs 1.5 lbs. ready to go on my T3), fast focus, and good images; the fact that it's about as inexpensive as lenses go right now probably make it something to at least consider even though it lacks IS and isn't the fastest of lenses.

I can't help much with wide angle lens as that isn't my style. I will say I could see the difference between the kit lens's 18mm and my Sigma 17-70 at 17mm. I'm guessing 15mm isn't wide enough for you but I believe canon makes a 15-85 although that is a lot of overlap with the kit lens.

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 5:42:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 12:59:29 PM PST
brad-man says:
I'm hoping the EFS15-85 IS is a large improvement over the kit lenses. Many reviews I've read say it approaches L quality, but for the variable apurture. I say I'm hoping because this afternoon I ordered a refurb from Canon. They have another instant rebate going on right now so I got $100 off. It's funny, because out of around 15 lenses I have, this will be the first EFS I have ever bought. I'm going to leave it on my T2i and keep it in the car...

Sorry. Was that off topic?

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 7:31:56 AM PST
Corrine says:
After looking into them all a little more I'm wondering if I shouldn't start with getting both the 50mm 1.8 AND the 35mm 2.0 since I could afford both if I decide on the 50mm 1.8 instead of the higher quality 1.4. Any thoughts about this?? I've looked on pixel peeper to see the photos others take with both lenses and it appears most people use the 35mm as more of a walk around lens and the 50mm for more portraits. Again I'd love feedback!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 12:26:46 PM PST
S. Owens says:
The 35mm and 50mm are so close to the same focal length and both also happen to be within the range covered by your kit lens. Neither has IS so while the kit lens is a good bit slower it's IS should let you hand hold on the same non-moving targets. If the target is moving the faster primes will be better and as primes should have much better IQ. Looking at these two lens I'm again thinking the 40mm f2.8 may be a good compromise.

What is your lens budget? It ignores with wide angle originally mentioned (not that 35mm is wide on a T2i) and is a little more costly then the 35mm 2.0 and 50mm 1.8 but I wonder if the 40mm combined with the 85mm 1.8 would be better pair.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 1:07:32 PM PST
i agree with S Owens, the 35mm and 50mm are too close in focal length. i have three primes, the nikon 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm 1.8, and i must say if i only had one, it would be the 50mm, it's the best compromise focal length of the set. but if you have the $ the 35 and 85 combo is tough to beat. the 35 focal length is great for general photography, it's a very versatile length, and the 85 excels at portrait work. since i'm not a canon shooter i cannot comment on the quality of the optics in the lenses you're considering, i can only offer my experience with the focal lengths your considering.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 1:16:48 PM PST
Les Schmader says:
If you just turn the zoom on the 18-55 to the 35 and 50mm points you can see what the field of view will be.

The 35mm would be what most feel is a "normal" field of view on the T2i. It's a lot like what you normally see if you close one eye. If you want shots of what you normally see with the naked eye, the 35 is close.

The 50mm will be more zoomed then the 35. Your close-ups and background blurr can be more exaggerated and you won't have to get as close to fill the frame with a subject.

If you've never used a prime lens before, it makes more sense to go with the 50mm f/1.8 to start and learn how they are used. You'll be able to see what a "bright" lens can do indoors, experience depth of field control, and get a grasp of what it's like to have a single focal length in a prime.

For the $100 price of the 50mm f/1.8, it's the best experience you can get. It will save you more than that from what you can learn by using it.

You can always add a cheap wide angle converter to the 18-55 and get an idea of what you might want for a true wide angle lens. A few days outdoors with a .5x converter and you should know exactly what wide angle lens you need.

For nature landscapes, you'll never know what your gear is capable of without a good tripod.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 1:53:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2012 2:26:47 PM PST
brad-man says:
Since you seem to be turning into an "enthusiast" (not that there's anything wrong with that), we really need to know your present budget and your future expectations. The EF50mm f/1.8 is a no brainer as it costs between $90-110 and is a real bargain for your low light indoor shooting. After that it gets tricky and is dependant on your budget/goals. The EFS 15-85 IS I mentioned above should (I hope) be an excellent "do everything" lens. It has the effective focal length of 24-136mm on an APS-C camera (T2i). 24mm is as wide as you're going to get without buying an ultrawide lens, such as the EFS10-22mm you are planning to rent. Of coarse it's not cheap, and if you decide in the future to buy a large sensor camera (full frame), EFS lenses are not compatable.

A usefull site for pricing/comparing lenses is

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 4:16:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 4:19:12 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
Problem with 35mm f/2 and the 50mm f/1.8 is the lack of USM AF motor. Why buy both while you can just go for 50mm f/1.4 USM? You'll get almost a stop better and the fast/silent USM. Besides, the bokeh on 50mm f/1.4 looks more round and pleasantly smoother (that is only when stopped down).

Like others pointed out that 35mm and 50mm offer not too different angle of view, so if I've got a 50mm, I would get the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM instead of the 35mm f/2. If you're not sure what focal length is right for you, why not just zoom on your kit lens to 28/35/50 like others have suggested?

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 8:11:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 8:12:22 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
Okay, so Canon just announced 35mm f/2 IS USM about ten minutes ago. IS + USM. "It will be in on sale early December for £799.99 / €849." That may be a grand.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 4:30:58 AM PST
Corrine says:
I honestly don't see myself needing to upgrade to FF so that really isn't a present concern. Also, I own a tripod and have used it for long exposures.

My budget right now is somewhere around $600, whether I decide on one lens or two. I plan on continually adding more lenses in the future though. My expectations are just that I'd like to take family photos from now on (group posed shots, holidays, child portraits) and capture vacations. I bought the camera originally for my honeymoon (Africa) and the only thing I felt I couldn't capture was the landscapes. The more important thing to me is getting lenses I feel I will use a lot and will keep for a long time. I think whichever way I go with the ones I'm considering I'll be happy since there will be so much improvement over the kit lenses and I know after this purchase I'll have another new one in mind.

---btw, thanks for everybody's input!! It does help even though there are many differing opinions!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 9:02:17 AM PST
EdM says:

This is an expectations article for the lens. ~ $849 here in the US.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 3:53:24 PM PST
S. Owens says:
You know something, maybe you should consider getting a dedicated flash unit for your camera. It is one of the things I'm now looking to add because while the on camera flash is functional it isn't all the conductive of making great pictures. Adding a flash may do wonders for certain types of pictures even with the lenses you already own especially indoors or with lower light. I know I'm looking at the 430EX II which moves the flash a little further away from the lens, allows you to direct it, and with my 60D can be used off camera. I know there are places you can't use a flash and I also like "natural" light but getting more control of the lighting should enable you to take better pictures.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 5:43:14 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
For a budget of $600, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS makes a lot of sense when you want both landscape and portrait. 17mm is good enough for landscapes. f/2.8 is good enough for portraits. One thing you should beware of is that there is higher-than-usual number of bad copies perhaps due to poor quality control, so if you get this lens, first thing first is to check for blur in the corners, wrong focus and slow focus.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 11:31:47 AM PST
Michael C says:
Along with the Sigma is the Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras and Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras. I have the non-VC (Tamron's equivalent of IS) version and got some great results on my Rebel XTi & 50D. They are both Di-II lenses which mean they will only work on Canon's crop bodies. (I can actually mount the Tamron lens on my 5DII, but the light circle does not fill the frame). As long as you are not planning on a full frame body, the EF-S type lenses are the way to go for zooms. Because they only need to throw a light circle about 45% the size of a lens designed for a full frame camera, there is a lot of savings in terms of size and weight. This also translates into less material for each lens element which means they can use higher quality materials while keeping the cost of producing the lens lower.

A good place to see reviews of practically every Canon lens made in the last decade or so is at
His reviews are very detailed and informative, discuss what each lens is best for and compares them to other options for the same type of lens. The site also includes a page for comparing the ISO charts of any two lenses he has tested at various focal lengths and apertures. He has reviewed practically every Canon lens I have owned and his reviews match my experience with them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 11:54:02 AM PST
Michael C says:
The other option for $600 is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras and Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras These would work very well together for the newborn/child photos, especially with the flash off camera. Vello TTL-Off-Camera Flash Cord for Canon EOS - 3 feet 1 m

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 8:20:34 AM PST
Amol Kolhe says:
Sorry for posting really long. I've been in the same boat as the OP and have a lot to share.

I have the following in my kit now:
50mm f/1.8
55-250mm (my least used lens)
Fuji X100 (23mm or full frame equivalent of 35mm)

I like to think of myself as primarily a landscape photographer. The aim is to shoot memorable photos of family and friends and to shoot great landscapes when on vacation or traveling around.

Before you go and buy a bunch of primes, I recommend trying out or buying (because its so cheap and so good) the 50mm f/1.8, never hurts to keep it in your camera bag. That will realistically give you an idea of what you can and cannot do with primes. I own the 50 f/1.8 and is my go to lens for portraits. I probably use this lens 10% of the time, but when I do, the results come out awesome 90% of the time. For me personally 85mm is too long to be of any use on crop. 50mm is the longest I need to go. If I were to live on 2 primes they would be 50mm and 20 or 24 mm on crop body. But the prime limits you in terms of focal range, I much prefer having the 18-55 range over primes.

If 18-55 is your most used range, I recommend going with canon 17-55 or Tamron 17-50, based on your budget. If you wanna keep using 18-55, but need wider angle, you can get the canon 10-22 or sigma 10-20 depending on your budget.

I love and hate the 18-55. Its good in some ways, but it has its limits. There's only so much you can achieve with that lens. I tried the Tamron 17-50 non-vc version. Its better than kit lens in some ways, but worse in others. Solid lens, f/2.8 very sharp, but focuses slower, noisier (which doesn't really bother me), is heavier. In low light its better than kit, but at all other times, I felt its a downgrade because of its weird focussing issues: slower focussing and sometimes back focuses. I'm sure if you learn to use the lens properly, you'll be able to handle these issues. But I find it too expensive at $500 and returned it. In retrospection, I feel its a great lens and I won't mind buying it used and I wouldn't spend more than $350-400 on this lens. I have a feeling canon 17-55 is what would really satisfy me, but then its super expensive. So, I'm settling with kit for now.

I needed to go wider for my vacation landscape needs, so I went with Canon 10-22 and am really pleased with my decision. Its an awesome lens, really sharp. Compared to 18-55, I feel this lens is sharper around edges and smoother in between which gives very pleasing results.

Also have the Fuji X100 which works better in low light (even at f/11) compared to canon, however only at 23mm (ff equivalent 35mm). We use this as a P&S when we don't wanna carry DSLR, or my wife uses it when I'm on the DSLR and wise-versa. If I lose this camera, I'd get a 20mm f/1.8 prime to go with my DSLR.

Here's how I break down my usage:
Portraits / head shots (including at night or in low light): 50mm f/1.8
People shots (General use at gatherings, at a party or in a restaurant or at home): Fuji X100 23mm f/2
Landscape use: 10-22mm
In small space or to shoot very large group: 10-22mm
Telephoto range or Portrait in well lit conditions at day time: 55-250mm
Everything else (Jack of all trades, master of none): 18-55 kit

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 6:35:25 AM PST
Corrine says:
Thanks for your thoughts Amol!! It sounds like you use your camera for exactly what I'd like to do with mine. Family photos, close ups of children and capturing beautiful vacation scenery. I ended up buying the Tamron 17-50 non-VC version and so far I'm happy with it. It is noisy but I could care less about that aspect. Thanks for your thoughts and in the future I'll look to some of the other lenses you recommended!

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 11:04:57 AM PST
Michael C says:
The Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras has a history of some quality control issues. There seemed to be good and bad copies. Amol probably got one of the lesser ones that needed calibration. And if your body doesn't have AF micro adjust, back or front focusing issues require a trip, with your camera as well, to a service center. If you get a good one, as I did, it focuses accurately and reasonably fast. I think the noise generated when focusing makes it seem like it is slower to focus than it is. Mine focuses faster than my EF 50mm f/1.8, but a little slower than my EF 50mm f/1.4 or any of my "L" zooms. It was always in my camera bag until I acquired the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, which can be used for wide angle on a full frame body. Although I've done no comprehensive testing, I think the Tamron is a little sharper than the 17-40. Of course the edges, where most of the softness is on the 17-40, would not be visible if mounted on a crop body.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 4:52:42 AM PST
T. Labadie says:
I have a T2i as well and and also purchased the 15-85 refurbished Lens from Canon. I did not get the $100 rebate. The lens is and excellant lens for our camera. However, it is made specifically for the crop sensor cameras. If you decide to upgrade to a full frame camera in the future, this lens will not work. It is my main lens on my camera for indoor and outdoor shooting.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 4:59:02 PM PST
Michael C says:
The 15-85 has more reach, but the slow, variable aperture limits it in low light. For indoors one of the faster f/2.8 lenses opens up many more possibilities.
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Initial post:  Nov 4, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 2, 2012

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