Thursday, December 4, 2008

Buying a dSLR Lens choice

ISO: 200 @ f/8, 1/60 second, 32mm [Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8] with off-camera flash using a sync cord. 

In previous posts we discussed the purchase of a camera body.  I quickly learned that camera bodies are like computers [which they are when you think about it] and they go down in value very fast.  Today's latest and greatest camera body which sells for [pick a price range] and in 12-18 months will be selling for a fraction of its original release cost.  Why? Because camera companies continue to 'inovate' the way cameras are built.  What does it mean for the consumer?  As I stated in previous post; my suggestion is to purchase slightly used camera bodies.

This philosophy is based upon the principal that buying good quality lenses is where the consumer should put their money [concerning camera equipment].  If you buy slightly used lenses, you will be able to sell the lens for nearly the same price you bought if for years later.  Why?  Camera/lens manufacturers do not 'update' their lenses each year.  Yes, there are new lenses being released on a regular basis but there are many great lenses on the market which were released many years ago.

In a previous post we briefly discussed the 50mm f/1.8 lens for both the Canon and Nikon. Today we will briefly discuss my workhorse lens.  The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is on my camera as my general walk-around lens.  It is wide enough to capture nice group shots without the need to get very far back from the subject and it is long enough to do a nice portrait [although I like the 85mm for great head shot portraits].

I purchased the Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 used in the spring of 07 [after selling some other gear to cover the purchase] for $350 and more than 50% of the images in my Lightroom collection indicates they were taken with the Tamron 17-50mm lens.  My suggestion is to look for this lens slightly used to save money.  A new one will cost appriximately $100 more but you will get a six year warranty for the money.

As of this writing the Canon version of this lens  Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 for Canon Digital SLR Cameras is selling for ~$350.

Both Nikon and Canon makes their own version of this focal range but new or used sells for at least twice the cost of the Tamron. The Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens sells for $1139 [as of this writing] new and the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens sells for $879.

Sigma makes a lens in the same range but I do not have any experience with the lens and cannot comment on its performance.  If you combine this with a used camera body for $500 and your budget is in the $1000 range you will have money left over for a memory card and small camera bag.  This range will not cover the 'long' focal distance [which we will cover in future post] but it will cover most shots needed for day to day photojournalistic style shooting. 

I highly recommend this lens.  Keep in mind a few 'thoughts'.  This lens is plastic compared to the Nikon version of the lens which is more metal. However, the lens mount is metal which reduces wear on the mount when you attach and detach the lens from the camera.  Since the lens is plastic it is much lighter than the Nikon version of the lens and it is not as 'large' which reduces the 'wow' from indiviudals you are taking their picture.  It is not an obtrusive lens and even with the lens hood mounted.

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