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Thread: Which Zoom lens to go for?

  1. #1

    Default Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Hi guys, I'm caught in another dilemma again, hope I can get some opinions. I was pretty much decided on the 55-250mm IS, but just today I bought a 70-300 Sigma on my friend's behalf and found it pretty nice too.

    So, as you might have expected, I started weighing the pros and cons and found very little differences that I currently know, hoping someone could come by and push me off the fence.

    55-250mm - IS, better CA control, (1:3 magnification), bit lighter (150g or so)
    70-300mm - Longer, better build, 1:2 marco, cheaper by $100-140(?), comes with hood ($).

    AF on the Sigma seems really sharp, however I haven't tried the Canon, so I can't say.

    I was under the impression that this should be a daylight lens, IS should be a non-issue at around 200-400 ISO. The things I wanna take should also be living things, so, do I really need the IS? I can't seem to convince myself.

    Reviews seem to stand in favor of the 55-250mm, but I really don't see why is there such a big difference.

    Thanks for reading! Please comment if you own either of the lenses.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    For light lenses that stretch above 200mm, you will need IS unless you're only going to be shooting from 9 to 5 with extremely bright light.

    55-250IS
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  3. #3

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ombre View Post
    Hi guys, I'm caught in another dilemma again, hope I can get some opinions. I was pretty much decided on the 55-250mm IS, but just today I bought a 70-300 Sigma on my friend's behalf and found it pretty nice too.

    So, as you might have expected, I started weighing the pros and cons and found very little differences that I currently know, hoping someone could come by and push me off the fence.

    55-250mm - IS, better CA control, (1:3 magnification), bit lighter (150g or so)
    70-300mm - Longer, better build, 1:2 marco, cheaper by $100-140(?), comes with hood ($).

    AF on the Sigma seems really sharp, however I haven't tried the Canon, so I can't say.

    I was under the impression that this should be a daylight lens, IS should be a non-issue at around 200-400 ISO. The things I wanna take should also be living things, so, do I really need the IS? I can't seem to convince myself.

    Reviews seem to stand in favor of the 55-250mm, but I really don't see why is there such a big difference.

    Thanks for reading! Please comment if you own either of the lenses.
    think of it this way, IS is handy to have if you are using the 200mm end of the lens and have somewhat shaky hands. If you have time to deploy tripod whenever you need to take a long distance shot then no need the IS loh just that its good to have.
    I photograph the dead.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    yup, i second tt. the advantage of IS really gets accentuated for telephoto lenses, esp. when shooting at the tele end.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    i have also done a researched on both lens...it seems that sigma IQ gets soft after 200mm. Have u tried taking a pix at the tele end of 300mm?
    i personally find the macro function valuable for the sigma lens...not to mention u have a customised carrier and a hood and its also 100 bucks cheaper.
    Tried 55-250mm...the IS realli works well but i find IQ at 250mm abit soft as well.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Thanks for all your replies, I see that most of you are in support of IS. Including myself, I like the idea of having IS. At the 300mm tele end, the viewfinder does shake profusely, however, I tried taking many shots at 300mm, all the shots are fine at 1/400s. And I challenged myself, and I was able to get desirable pictures at 1/50s, just by resting both elbows on the table. And my target is actually a building 2km away. So I really wondered if I need the IS but there's like this devil in me saying "go for the IS!".

    Alright, besides that, if we were to strip the IS out of the debate, which lens will be better? 55-250 seems to have Vignette, and Sigma seems to have CA, thats according to reviews, but I haven't really seen CA in my pic, until I zoom to 200% that is.

    Anyway about the marco question, I don't really understand the 1:2 and 1:3 part. Does it mean that with 1:2, at 300mm, I have to be at least 600mm away from the subject? And for 1:3, at 250mm, I'll need to be 750mm away from the subject?
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ombre View Post
    Anyway about the marco question, I don't really understand the 1:2 and 1:3 part. Does it mean that with 1:2, at 300mm, I have to be at least 600mm away from the subject? And for 1:3, at 250mm, I'll need to be 750mm away from the subject?
    Size of object: Size of image on sensor/negative

    1:1 Life size (This is the traditional yardstick of a true macro lens)

    2:1 Image size twice the size of the real object

    1:3 Image size one third of the size of real object

    PS: It macro not marco
    Last edited by ahbian; 2nd November 2008 at 09:58 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    Size of object: Size of image on sensor/negative

    1:1 Life size (This is the traditional yardstick of a true macro lens)

    2:1 Image size twice the size of the real object

    1:3 Image size one third of the size of real object

    PS: It macro not marco
    If an insect is 3cm, it will appear as 6cm if 2:1? How does it work? Is it able to zoom into the insect nearer or what? Okay not sure what I'm asking. But if you do, please explain more, otherwise ignore me if I'm not making sense.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    Size of object: Size of image on sensor/negative

    1:1 Life size (This is the traditional yardstick of a true macro lens)

    2:1 Image size twice the size of the real object

    1:3 Image size one third of the size of real object

    PS: It macro not marco
    In this case, a 1:2 macro magnifies 50% more than a 1:3? Taking the proportion of 3/2 = 1.5?


    Anyway still thinking about the IS part. Very similar to many other threads started in the forum, but I think its quite different in a big sense. I understand the use of IS and the limitations of it. But I'm just wondering, if I plan to shoot at 1/200s and above almost all the time, most probably even 1/500 and above, should I still get IS there to give me that "assurance"? Or save the money for a.....dry cabinet? Another "assurance" issue. Hah.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    well, u can think of IS as an insurance policy.. u'll never know when u'll need it, esp. when it comes to opportune moments which only happen once. in the midst of trying to capture tt perfect shot in a jiffy, i suppose IS may have a significant part to play in stabilizing every vibrational shake the camera possibly experiences, yea?

    if u're given the choice to reduce tt possibility of missing precious moments, y not?
    Last edited by wiLLy-LucifeR; 2nd November 2008 at 11:43 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Are you kidding? Trust me, IS plays a huge difference in telephoto lenses. Not to mention the Sigma isn't good at all, had one, sold it. 50 mm on the telephoto end is barely noticeable! The build for the 55-250 is light. I have it now and it's a great lens, though I don't use it all that much. Inexpensive too, you can get a great deal 2nd hand cos people think they will use it but never do.

    If you think you're always going to shoot at 1/200, you are probably going to bump up ISO a lot. What if it suddenly turns cloudy? What if you need to shoot in the shade or evening? If you've tried the IS on 55-250, you won't even consider the Sigma. I was truly shocked when I upgraded, at the power of IS.
    Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts - Riuva.com

  12. #12

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Hm, okay, still more in support of IS. Good, I shall take that IS is worth the money. I still have doubts somewhat.

    What about the plastic mount? Also I also want to do some Macro sometime, how should I work about it? Is the 55-250 enough to take birds and butterflies at like 2-3meters range?

    Anyhow the 2nd prices seems to be going up eh... Last time when I couldn't afford it yet, people used to offer 240-280, now its like 340?! I rather get brand new if thats the case.

    By the way how's the AF on the 55-250? Fast and sharp?
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ombre View Post
    Hm, okay, still more in support of IS. Good, I shall take that IS is worth the money. I still have doubts somewhat.

    What about the plastic mount? Also I also want to do some Macro sometime, how should I work about it? Is the 55-250 enough to take birds and butterflies at like 2-3meters range?

    Anyhow the 2nd prices seems to be going up eh... Last time when I couldn't afford it yet, people used to offer 240-280, now its like 340?! I rather get brand new if thats the case.

    By the way how's the AF on the 55-250? Fast and sharp?
    55-250 not really meant for macro but you could use the reverse lens technique or extension pipes but prime lens does give a sharper image imo.

    by all means get brand new. Those $300-ish usually means may have few months warranty left.
    I photograph the dead.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    if you can consider 70-200 F2.8 Canon then is diff category vs those 2 you mentioned. I owned a 55-250IS, good to have tele lens.
    Olympus EP3, OMD-EM5, 14-42mm, 12-50mm, 9-18mm, 14-150mm

  15. #15

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by kodeiko View Post
    If an insect is 3cm, it will appear as 6cm if 2:1? How does it work? Is it able to zoom into the insect nearer or what? Okay not sure what I'm asking. But if you do, please explain more, otherwise ignore me if I'm not making sense.
    The key idea is the image projected on the sensor.

    Example
    1:1 reproduction ratio means that if you take a photo of a string with a length of 5mm, the string will occupy 5 mm of the space on the cameras sensor.

    1:2 reproduction ratio means that if you take a photo of a string with a length of 5mm, the string will occupy 2.5 mm of the space on the cameras sensor.

    2:1 reproduction ratio means that if you take a photo of a string with a length of 5mm, the string will occupy 10 mm of the space on the cameras sensor.

    How big the string is on your printed photo, of course depends on how large you want your prints to be.
    Last edited by ahbian; 3rd November 2008 at 09:04 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ombre View Post
    In this case, a 1:2 macro magnifies 50% more than a 1:3? Taking the proportion of 3/2 = 1.5?


    Anyway still thinking about the IS part. Very similar to many other threads started in the forum, but I think its quite different in a big sense. I understand the use of IS and the limitations of it. But I'm just wondering, if I plan to shoot at 1/200s and above almost all the time, most probably even 1/500 and above, should I still get IS there to give me that "assurance"? Or save the money for a.....dry cabinet? Another "assurance" issue. Hah.
    Without going too much into maths, the percentage difference depends on if your are comparing area or length.

    Imagine a real object square of 6mm by 6mm.
    On the 1:2 , the image captured on the senor is 3mm by 3mm.
    On the 1:3, the image captured on the senor is 2mm by 2mm.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Which Zoom lens to go for?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    Without going too much into maths, the percentage difference depends on if your are comparing area or length.

    Imagine a real object square of 6mm by 6mm.
    On the 1:2 , the image captured on the senor is 3mm by 3mm.
    On the 1:3, the image captured on the senor is 2mm by 2mm.
    I think go by length is more accurate. Same with the Megapixels concept. Alot of people think 10mp vs 8mp is a whole 25% more. Actually its only like some 200pixels in each direction? (sorry lazy to do math now haha).

    Thanks for clarifying the Magnification concept everyone! I understand now.

    Anyway I brought this lens out to test today, Seems like I will settle for the 55-250 when I'm richer haha. I do quite like the 70-300mm nonetheless.


    Haven't heard anything bad about the 55-250, I'm sure there are, anyone care to share? By the way how's the AF on the 55-250?

    Also I got lots of stiffness in the zoomrings of 70-300, is it the same for 55-250?
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

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