Just got my Canon Digital Rebel


Quick question. I just got my Canon Digital Rebel and want to get a good lens for the camera. I will primarily be taking nature/weather pics in Arizona and Idaho (ie. mountains with lightening, etc). Any suggestions and examples of pics you have taken with that lens would be pretty helpful!!! Thanks to all that post replies in advance...
Quick question: how much $$ are you willing to spend? The all around most versatile lens would be the 17-40mm f/4 L, but it runs around $700.

If you reallllly wanna go all out you could pick up a 16-35mm f/2.8 L, but that will set you back $1400 or so.

Otherwise, you could pick up a sharp prime (like 14/15/20) Those run a few hundred. For the best bang for the buck, the 50mm/f1.8 is a no brainer. It is an extremely sharp lens (will make the most of your 6mp cmos sensor) and only costs around $70 or so. Be careful of generic lenses... you can really start to see the difference in quality on DSLRs.


Only looking at spending less than $250... My camera came with an extra Sigma lens as well... Is that a decent lens?
Depends, I have a sigma 20mm prime that is wonderful for the price. Just use the lens and see how the pictures look. If they work for your eye thats all that matters. Things to watch out for: softness in the corners, chromatic abberations, and lack of "punch".

If you decide to get a Canon lens, you may find the following table helpful:


I'd try buying a used lens to improve the quality that you can afford. B&H cost a bit more, but are very reliable in my experience, or if you are more adventurous try ebay. Also, with the Digital Rebel, you aren't getting a full frame CMOS, so you'll need to 'adjust' accordingly. Perhaps that is why Aaron is suggesting such wide angles. Since you aren't in the market for expensive glass, I'd also plan to stop down heavily and use a tripod to get maximum sharpness from your lenses. You'll have problems in low-light and/or fast motion shots, and I'm not sure how grainy the digital cam images will get when it starts adjusting the ISO to high values. Maybe you could post links to some samples.

Just a few tips that will greatly improve the image quaility:

1. Use a tripod whever possible

2. Use the lowest ISO setting that is feasible, higher ISO means more grain/noise

3. Unless you are shooting for the media and need quick pictures shoot in RAW mode. And get a better RAW converter than the one that came with the camera. At a minimum use Breezebrowser. I recommend Capture One DSLR LE (or C1 DSLR Rebel for you)

4. Read this article, it's short and essential:


If you don't understand what is going on in that article I encourage you to play around on the Luminous Landscape site, they have excellent tutorials and information.

5. Buy the best lens you can afford. You've got a great camera to record pictures but they are only as good as your lens. I agree with Aaron, the Canon 17-40mm L lens is a great choice because it gives you a wide angle for landscapes. L lenses are the best Canon knows how to make and B&H has it for about $650. I am hoping to buy that lens soon, currently I use the Canon 28-135 IS lens, it's a good starter but I need a wider angle for my DSLR.

Hope this helps.
I have used a Canon Rebel G for 5 years still like slides for my lightning, but I have a Tamron lens that I love and for the type of photos you want to take this lens might be the one you need. I need a lens that got wide and had some telephoto aspects. Anyways you can check my site and look at the photo of lightning and see the out come. The Tamron lens is 24mm-70mm.
More Help

Okay, again- I'm a newbie with a digital camera. I went out to take pictures of some lightening last night and all my pictures (over 100) except for one actually captured a bolt. There was plenty of lightening, so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I had the exposer set anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 seconds, and the apiture set to f8 I believe. It was dark out and all my pictures were just black with some lights from the houses that were out in the distance... Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong besides everything :roll:
How far was away was the lightning? I keep the camera at ISO 100, and adjust the f-stop based on how far the lightning is. If it is really far, anywhere from f/2.8-f/4 to realllly close f/11ish. I use bulb exposure and adjust based on how long it takes for lights in the foreground to wash out the picture. (Use the Histogram/image review!)

The lightening was pretty far away, so I'm taking it that f/8 was to high of a setting. :oops:
I have the Digital Rebel too ... you'll love it ...

For lenses, my absolute favorite is my Canon 100mm, f/2 ... it is amazingly fast and sharp. Plus with f/2 you can really get neat DOF on your shots. It is more of a portrait lens, but I use it for some outdoor stuff too.

Other than that, go for fixed lenses over zooms when practical ... I have a 24mm, f/1.8 and a 50mm, f/1.8 fixed lenses that work very well. The 24mm is still not as wide of an angle as I would like for digital (which has a smaller imaging area than 35mm film, thus having the affect of increasing the magnification in your photos) ... my next lens will probably be the Tamron SP AF17-35mm Di LD, which was designed with the digital size limitations in mind. Got a great review in this month's Shutterbug, and it is around $450. For chasing I use a Sigma 24-70mm zoom quite a bit that turns out nicely for the most part.
For lightning (what little I've done with the Dig Reb), I've used f/5.6 with an 8-10 second exposure, which seems to work out well. I'm going to try Aaron's bulb setting method next time, though - - - sounds good.
Hey Mike. Just to make sure I'm on the same page since you have a rebel as well. You are using the Manual Mode and setting the f/5.6 and then the shutter to about 8-10 seconds or use the bulb setting... Right? We had another lightning storm tonight but it was in the distance again. I am using either my Canon 18/55 that came with the rebel or my Sigma 70/300 zoom lens. No succuss with either one. I'm just getting black everything except for lights of houses in the distance... I know this camera can take great pics, so it has to be something I'm doing. It doesn't take a high IQ to do this, so I don't know what the deal is!!! :x
Yes - I use the manual setting and manually set the aperature/shutter speed. As for the distance issue ... you're probably going to have to start going on a mini chase to catch up with the storms. Zoom usually works okay if properly tripoded, but it is really best to get a bit closer and back off on the zoom to avoid camera shake with such long shutter speeds. Try to get about five miles or so from the lightning, in a safe location to set up. Also - it's always best to trip the shutter on the camera remotely just as a further precaution against shake. As for the dark pictures ... you've just got to be patient with lightning ... you'll take tons of frames before you get the good shots. This is really the only decent CG I've gotten with the 300D so far, but I haven't been trying much (been doing video) ... it was an 8 second exposure at f/5.6 (and I probably took 20 shots before getting this one):

Something I noticed on Aaron's middle shot (awesome, by the way), is that he set his drive mode on continuous, which I had never thought of doing for some reason. That would be a great way of increasing your chances of getting a bolt in the shot -

Great shots, Aaron ...
... my next lens will probably be the Tamron SP AF17-35mm Di LD, which was designed with the digital size limitations in mind.

Do you think this makes sense in the long haul though? These lenses are just much smaller and hence cheaper for better quality now, but wouldn't you expect that full frame CMOS is coming down the pipeline, and then you won't be able to use any of your smaller frame lenses? I think I'd still recommend getting regular size lenses with the hopes of still using them 10 years from now and replacing the body as better technology comes along.

I encourage you to make an investment in good lenses. Your lenses should last a long time and you want the best you can afford. Camera body technology will come and go but lenses haven't really changed in centuries. Ok, they have changed a lot...but they still use glass...just like Galileo used.
Lenses are of equal - and possibly even greater at times - value as the body, in my mind. It works the same as astronomy for those of you into that ... you learn in time that aperature is much more important to you than magnification. Camera lenses work similarly ... having a fast lens is more important to me than zoom (even with digital) any day of the week. I'm only just now realizing how true this is -

As for the digitally-optimized lenses ... here's what Shutterbug said:

Optimized for digital SLRs, the Di-series is just as desirable for use with 35mm cameras ... ultra-wide angle lenses particularly benefit from special optical designs in order to produce the best possible results with digital SLR cameras.

Was a cool article because it fits the lens on both film SLR and digital to demonstrate the differences between the smaller cmos sensor and a frame of 35mm film.

When it comes to lenses, I am just way more interested in things like sharpness, contrast, color and resolution. All of the lenses I use are perfectly interchangeable with film SLR cameras. That was one of the reasons I wasn't really interested in the kit lens that comes with the 300D ... it's made only for the digital rebel and has a special collar that fits the lens closer to the chip for better results ... but I want to be able to interchange lenses between film and digital, so I didn't go for the D300 kit.