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Need help buying Canon 20D what lenses


New Member
I am ready to purchase my first DSLR, a 20D, need help with what lenses I need to purchase. I will be spending the next three months in Alaska, planning on doing alot of nature shots. I am considering a EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 IS USM. Is this lens okay, I also would like to purchase a second lens, I have no idea what I need.

I am planning on waiting awhile before I purchase a flash. I am on a waiting list at Wolf Camera for the 20D, does anyone know where a can purchase the 20D now, I am leaving in three weeks.

Any and all help will be appreciated.

Thank you
My personal opinion is that using a 20D with a lens like EF75-300 is like putting Trabi wheels on a jeep (if anybody does not know what Trabi is: it is an old East-German car, made of cardboard, with a 2 cylinder motor making big noise). I had a EF75-300 non-USM non-IS as beginner and I would not recommend it to anybody unless he/she does not afford a better lens. The great advantage of EF75-300 was that it was very cheap. But AF was slow and extremely unprecise, especially in low-light conditions. It might be that the same lens equipped with USM performs better, I don't know. See opinions at www.photographyreview.com, might be usefull.

Choosing a lens is allways a matter of many issues: how serious you are about photography, what you plan to do with it (portrait, landscape, wildlife, etc.), how much money you intend to invest in this hobby, how much weight you are willing / able to carry. One SLR + 3 lenses + accessories can reach easily 5-10 Kg! All these things makes the choice very personal. If you are in hurry consult reviews on Internet, if you can spend some time then you may read John Shaws "Nature Photography Field Guide".

Regarding 20D, since this camera has a 1,6x elongation factor on lenses (35mm-equivalent focal length is equal to approx. 1.6 times the marked focal length) my guess is that you will need a very short lens for landscapes, like EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM or EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM. These would be equivalent to f=16..35mm, respectively to f=27..136mm (original focal lenght multiplied with 1,6). On telephoto domain things are nicer because a f=300mm becomes a f=480mm with 20D :)) At this focal length you shoul have IS or a tripod. What tripod? - this is another long discussion.
Patty, what type of nature photos are you planning on taking? wild animals and such would require long glass 400mm and up. plants and landscapes, shorter focal lengths. two lenses i would suggest would be one of canon's 70-200 zooms, either of the 2.8's or the 4.0 L. the other lens would be the short 50mm macro - excellent lens w/o the huge price tag. I would stick w/canon's prime "L" lenses, for supeior resolution and quality of build. Not to say the zoom you're suggesting isn't a great lens, I just like the extra speed of the 2.8's - they provide such excellent control over your depth of field.

also, are you taking a laptop or some other type of storage device for your images? and how many CF cards? roberts in Indy has great deal on 2gig cards, now less than $ 200.

hope these comments help, have a great trip cheers, thd
I would second Todd's suggestion of the 50mm/2.5 macro and 70-200 ... f4.0 if you think the f2.8 IS is too expensive. If you want to get the f2.8 I would suggest you get the IS version so you can use it without your tripod.

Additionally, I would recommend the 1.4x TC and the 17-40/4.0L lens, so you will have a wider range.

The 20D I ordered from Amazon.com should arrive on Monday, if not today! The 17-40/4.0L is my main lens, but I also have the 50/2.5, 85/1.8 and 135/2.0L along with both the 1.4x and 2x TC.
Let me add something else here. I don't know what your level of expertise is, but do be aware that with long lenses, you need to use a higher shutter speed.

The rule of thumb is your shutter speed should be the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens you are using. So if you are shooting with say a 70-200 at 200mm, you need to shoot at 1/320 second because of the 1.6x conversion factor of the 20D.

With the 1.4x TC at 200mm, you would need to shoot at 1/500 second ... unless you have an IS lens which means that you gain 2-3 stops.
I'm considering purchasing the 14mm f2.8L. I do a reasonable amount of tight indoor shooting. I'm using the 1d & 1dMkII. The lens is pricey so I've also considered (and tried) the Sigma 14mm. I have not been able to try Canon's version of this lens, but found the Sigma to be soft relative to my other L lenses. Can anyone share their experience with the Canon 14mm lens?

I don't own this lens, but those who do do not rate it highly at all. This lens received only 3 out of 5 stars in the FM users reviews, a very poor score. Here's the link:


Also check the Photodo.com ratings.

I had the 15mm fisheye and didn't like it one bit because of the severe barrel distortion.

The Canon wide-angle lenses are not very good at all, unfortunately.
I just purchased a Lexar 512mb compact flash card from ecost.com for $49 less a $20 rebate! My original CF card was a Lexar 1 gb and cost over $100. If anyone is in the market for an extra CF card take a look at ecost.com. Mary Lou
Prices of CF memory cards are dropping like crazy. You can pick up a 1GB Lexar Pro 80x or a Sandisk Ultra II for under $100 and 2GB card for under $200.

Check prices at Amazon.com, KEH.com, Buy.com, MyDigital.com and places like that before you buy, or check the forums like DP Review, Fred Miranda, PhotoNet, etc for notices about these deals.