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Customer Discussions > Photography forum

Help me pick another lens for my 5D mk3 (Please?)

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Showing 1-13 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 19, 2012, 10:09:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012, 10:13:12 PM PST
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras or Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

I have a 5D mk3, not a pro photographer. I own the Canon 50mm f/1.4, and the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS Macro (which is amazing).

I'm considering a zoom lens for versatility. Not sure what I'll be using it for (again, I'm not a pro). The 28-135mm seems like a great general purpose range, but my other two lenses fall within it (so perhaps not entirely necessary). Then the 70-200mm (f/4L) seems like a great deal. Price difference is about $200. Just not sure which lens would be better to have.

Or... to throw a wrench into the thing, should I pass on both of those and save up for the 24-105mm f/4 L instead? Again though, my other lenses are within the range. (But I'm kicking myself for not buying the 5D kit which included it for a discount.)

Bottom line is -- I don't need this new lens, I just want one. Farting around on a walk, taking it on a hike, using it for a video... I dunno what I'll be using it for. Do these sound like good choices? Favor one over another? Some other lens suggestion? (I'm not opposed to third party brands) What's your advice?
(Thanks for the time...)

Posted on Nov 19, 2012, 11:04:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012, 11:10:57 PM PST
Michael C says:
The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS stays on my 5DII most of the time. I do have a 70-200 f/2.8L IS II which is attached to a 7D most of the time as well.

The 24-105 is an excellent "walk around" lens. Gaining twice as much angle of view as the 50mm prime will expand your possibilities immensely. It also has a reputation as a workhorse that can stand up to heavy use. One thing to consider is that the lens is getting a little long in the tooth and may be due for a version II soon. Canon has been revamping their line of "L" zooms over the last 4-5 years. The other thing to consider is that the version II lenses are a lot pricier than their predecessors. For example, the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L jumped from $1.4K to $2.3K in version II, but most reviewers say the increased sharpness is worth it if you can afford it. So you may want to take advantage of the lower price now, or wait for higher performance at a higher price later.

Any of the lenses in the 70-200 L series are VERY good. Which one is best for you depends on what you shoot with them. The 70-200 f/2.8LIS II is a cut above the rest in terms of sharpness throughout the entire range of focal lengths and apertures, but it is also 3X the price of the non-IS f/4 version. It gives me virtual prime lens image quality all the way from 70-200mm and all the way down to f/2.8. If you're going for action in bright light, the non-IS f/4 will work. If you need to shoot in low light, the f/2.8 makes a difference, as does the IS (up to four stops vs. the non-IS) if you need to hand hold and your subject isn't moving very fast. Because the MFD is a little long on the 70-200 L series, they don't make particularly good macro lenses, but you have that covered already with the EF 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro.
The 24-105 would double your wide angle capability. The 70-200 would double your telephoto range. It all depends on which you want to shoot more. Unless you need the telephoto of the 70-200 more than the wide angle, I would go for the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS.

One thing you might also want to consider is buying a refurbished lens from Canon USA's direct online store. They have frequent promotions. I've seem the 70-200 f/4 for less than $600 and the 24-105 for about $750 in the last couple of months. They usually give you free shipping on items above $200 but they do charge sales tax based on the shipping address. Many lenses go fast so you have to keep an eye on it when they announce a promotion. They update the inventory about every 2-3 weeks on average and you can request an email notification when a lens you are interested in becomes available.

I have an EF 28-135mm f/3.5-56 IS that came in a 50D kit several years ago and I never use it, even when light isn't an issue. I tried to like it because it is a nice focal range and relatively small and light. It is just too soft everywhere except at center, especially at left center and on the corners even when stopped down a little. Maybe mine is a poor copy, but the general opinion at the time was that it was a good enough lens for 10MP, but the increased resolution of the 15MP+ newer bodies like the 50D and 5D mkII exposed the flaws. The main reason I bought the kit at the time was I needed the body quickly and couldn't find a body only that would reach me fast enough.

I have found the reviews of Canon lenses at to be very informative. He is very good at the end of most reviews to sum up the type of shooting the lens will do well at and what it won't. My experience with lenses he has reviewed has been spot on with his reviews for the most part.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012, 11:33:02 PM PST
The 70-200 f/4L is a peach of a lens. I was physically unable to give the IS version back to the kind man at the camera shop where I was trying it out. If you have a real camera shop anywhere within 60 miles, I'd set aside an afternoon and go play with lenses. Just don't except to escape the shop cheaply. Maybe check out the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD too - seems like you could use a good standard zoom.

Posted on Nov 20, 2012, 12:33:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012, 12:42:00 AM PST
Michael C says:
You might want to read this if considering the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD:
I'm not saying I wouldn't consider the lens if I didn't already have the Canon EF 24-70mm F/2.8L (which has its own design issues when handled roughly), but I would do a little more research first, and avoid any 00xxx serial numbers, as the ones reported were all from early production runs.

Posted on Nov 20, 2012, 10:21:56 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012, 10:24:28 AM PST
Yeah that article about the Tamron is pretty scary.
I'm open to third party lenses, but if the savings is negligible I suppose I'd rather stick with Canon. Sigma lenses look nice (I've never used one personally), but again the cost savings doesn't seem too great.

So it sounds like the canon 24-105mm f/4L IS may be the way to go?
I've just seen that it's sold listed as refurbished, but noted as "new, from kit" for about $850. That's about the kit price (had I selected it instead of buying my 5D body only).
Thoughts on this? (Do you think they're really "new"?)

And if the price were better, I'd also be open to the EF24-70mm f/4L IS. But currently it's more than the 24-105mm, so it doesn't make sense (seems to be reviewed about equally, so the larger range/lower price seems a better deal).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012, 1:50:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2012, 1:33:12 PM PST
brad-man says:
I have the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD and it is an incredibly usefull and sharp lens. The problem mentioned on LR's website appears to have been an isolated occurance on an initial shipment. It is irrelevant anyway. Tamron has a six year warranty on their pro series of lenses (SP), and if the front element is going to come loose, it will surely do so within that time frame. Its only rival is the Canon EF24-70 f/2.8L II which costs $2300, does not have IS and apparently has great variability of sharpness between copies. Oh yes, and only a one year warranty. The only negative that can possibly be made against the Tamron would be that third party lenses historically have a lower resale value than Canon or Nikon lenses. Well, that, and it's also big and heavy and 82mm filters are pretty damn expensive:)
While the EF70-200 f/4L is absolutely a fantastic lens, your present lenses @ 50mm & 100mm are way too limiting. The Tamron is the only reasonably priced lens that should be attached to your very fine camera. The EF 24-105 f/4L IS is an excellent lens which I also own, but that was purchased before the Tamron was invented. If you want to shoot indoors without a flash, you will appreciate the light gathering ability of the 2.8. When you are ready for the longer zoom, keep in mind that if you are going to be shooting portraits on a tripod or sports, the regular version will be fine. If you want a general purpose zoom, do put out the extra $ for the IS version.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012, 6:50:58 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
Save up for the 70-200 f/2.8 IS if you do videos. IS will drain the battery faster but stabilized hand-held footage gets much easier to watch than the unstabilized.

Posted on Nov 20, 2012, 10:48:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012, 10:50:00 PM PST
Michael C says:
Brad-Man - If the price for the new EF 24-70mm f/4 is higher than Anonymous Coward wants to spend on his next lens, then the price for the new Tamron 24-70mm probably is as well. Also, see Roger's (the author of the article) reply to Glenn on 11/7 in the comments of the following linked article. And look at the ISO charts in the article to see what that variation really means. Although the new Cannon has a little wider variation, the variation is centered around a higher level of sharpness to begin with. Wouldn't you consider a lens where the copies average 820 and range from a score of 740-900 better than a lens that averages 675 where every copy is between 650 and 700?

AC - The primary advantage of the new EF 24-70mm f/4L over the EF 24-105mm f/4L is the shorter minimum focus distance. Since you already own a better lens for macro work, it would not seem to be a compelling reason for you. The new lens is also a little sharper at the edges wide open on the wide end than the older one, but the older one has 50% more reach on the long end.

If you are willing to wait a while Canon periodically runs specials in the refurbished section of their online direct store. The best deals are usually 20% off the normal refurbished price. They also run $100 discounts when spending more than $500 fairly regularly. The trick is to watch the site close enough to catch the good deals before the inventory disappears. They just had a fall promotion in September and they extended the original end date from October into November, so inventory is a little low for the most popular lenses right now. I would expect another promotion shortly after the first of the year, which is less than a couple of months away. The inventory should be replenished a bit by then as well. They do come with a warranty, but it is only 90 days. That is still more than no warranty for a used one.

Posted on Nov 21, 2012, 11:09:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2012, 11:09:56 AM PST
So theoretically, refurbished (at least if done by the manufacturer) is supposed to mean "used, restored to like new condition"... right?
Any opinions on those "white box" deals where people are selling them as "new, removed from kit" ?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2012, 1:31:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2012, 2:22:32 PM PST
brad-man says:
Actually, many believe (myself included) that factory refurbs are better than new. This is due to the fact that the QC on the new lenses is likely to be lower due to the sheer volume. On a refurb, the Canon techs have the time to make sure the elements are centered properly, etc, so that the lens actually is within spec. I recently purchased my first EF-S lens from the last Canon refurb sale they had several weeks ago. I picked up an EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS to leave on my T2i which stays in my car for unexpected photo ops. The lens appears new and is very sharp at all but the longest focal length. The IS is a generation or two newer than my EF 24-105 f/4L, and it is a very suprisingly excellent lens. As far as I'm concerned, it is an L lens (albiet with a variable aperature and not weather sealed).

Michael: I did not mean to imply that the Tamron is optically superior to the 24-70 2.8L II, just that it is definitly in the ballpark. The fact that it costs a full $1000 less AND has IS makes it a far better value IMHO. I presume that AC purchased the 5dIII for a reason. If he now chooses to purchase a slower f/4 lens, I believe he will experience buyer's remorse later, and end up buying a faster zoom down the road anyway. I feel (and obviously it is just my opinion) that he would be better served to buy a lens that is commensurate with his camera. I still have my 24-105, it's built like a tank and has served me well, but it rarely gets used anymore...

Posted on Nov 21, 2012, 4:32:51 PM PST
Michael C says:
AC - Lenses get labeled "Refurbished" in several ways. If they fail QC at the original factory, they are usually sent to a Canon repair center and then sold as refurbished. If a lens is sent in under warranty and the service center can not repair the lens in the required time frame (maybe it is a parts availability issue, maybe their backlog is just too big, or maybe an event like the recent hurricane Sandy shuts down the repair center in NJ), they may send the owner a new or refurbished lens, then classify the one sent in as refurbished once it has been repaired. It is my understanding most refurbished lenses are those that were returned shortly after they were purchased for whatever reason. Canon does not allow authorized dealers to resale such lenses. Rather they exchange them for a new lens and send the returned one to a service center to be refurbished. Most of the time the issue is probably a calibration adjustment that was not done properly at the factory to begin with, or somebody just didn't like the lens for whatever reason. I bought a refurbished EF 17-40 f/4L from Canon USA recently and it appeared brand new, other than a small fingerprint on the outer surface of the lens hood that was easy to wipe off. The date code indicated it was manufactured in 2012. It came in a generic Canon box with all the same accessories as a new lens would have. What limited work I've done with it so far is on par with the performance I expected based on the reviews I have read for it.
I'd be a little wary of the "white box lenses" for a couple of reasons. If the buyer didn't want the lens when they bought the camera, why didn't they just buy a body? Maybe they thought they could sell it for more than the difference between the body only and the kit. During Canon's recent body/lens combo promotions I have seen kits with this lens that are only about $700 more than the body alone. Or maybe the lens has a problem and they'd rather sell it than deal with Canon's warranty and repair centers. Even though they may have a blank warranty card with them, Canon's policy is to only honor a warranty if you are the original purchaser and they may require a sales receipt as documentation of such. If you buy a white box lens from an authorized Canon dealer, they may honor it or they may not. I would think they would know from the serial number if it was originally a kit lens or sold by itself. Other than B&H or Adorama, who have good reputations, I'd be careful in dealing with most of the NY/NJ based camera dealers. There is also the possibility the white box lens is a "gray market" lens which means Canon intended it for sale in a country other than the USA. If such a lens is purchased in the USA it is not covered by a Canon warranty. Sometimes the seller will offer some type of warranty of their own. B&H and Adorama do sell grey market lenses, but they clearly market them as such and use a different SKU number than their USA version. Some of the other online sellers are not as scrupulous.

Posted on Nov 22, 2012, 5:37:08 AM PST
Michael C says:
The refurbished EF 24-105mm f/4L is showing in stock this morning at the Canon Direct store for $919.20. They do charge sales tax based on the shipping address. It is not clear if shipping is free right now or not. You would find out during the checkout process. By the time you pay sales tax for most localities you are getting close to the current $1,050 price at B&H or Adorama if you live in a state that they don't charge sales tax for. Amazon's price is currently $1,091. I think you would only pay sales tax there if shipped to CA.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012, 4:20:34 AM PST
Michael C says:
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras is showing in stock for $735.36 at the Canon Refurb store. They won't last long at that price.
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Initial post:  Nov 19, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 26, 2012

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