Coaster photos

I recently bought a Canon Digital Rebel SLR camera. I'm looking to upgrade the standard 18-55mm lens that comes with the camera. I'm torn between the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6($410) and the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6($550). Both lenses have image stabilization and an ultra-sonic motor. I'm mostly interested in taking coaster photos and scenic photos. So, experienced photographers, what would be the better lens?
A lot of it depends on what type of pictrures you intend to take. But, as a starting point, I would go with the 70-300mm lens (assuming you are not trading in the standard lens). By carrying both lenses in your bag, you effectivly have the capability to shoot between a 18 and a 300mm shot. With the 28-135 lens, you only are gaining from 55 to 135 mm. You may notice a speed difference between lenses, as I'm not sure of the of stop on the standard lens.
Jeff's avatar
If you get the 70-300mm with the body, you might as well forget doing any kind of portrait photos. You won't be able to get far enough away.

Those lenses kind of both suck, honestly, but if you're on a budget I guess you have to go with what you can afford. If I were buying new, I'd buy the body by itself and lenses I really want.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I wouldn't say they suck... Good job buying a Canon btw, did you you get the XT or the XTi? It's not bad for portraits, (I work at Circuit City in the cam. dept. so I literally right now walked over and put our 75-300 lens on) you have to be 5-6 feet away at minimum to get a clear picture.. but we all know for coasters more zoom is better- you have the std. lens for macro and such.. Go with the 75-300. The one you were quoting is twice as expensive as the one we have but that one is better. Hopefully i'll be buying one in the near future as well =)

*Cara Marissa*
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The two lenses I use the most are my 18-70mm and my 70-300mm. It really comes down to what types of photos you want to take. I haven't found my 70-300 to be very useful for anything within 15-20 feet. I'd say go with the 70-300mm if you're planning on taking very tight, close pictures of your subject; riders for example. Otherwise, I use my 18-70mm a lot more. You might want to check to see if you can find an 18-200mm. It might be a little bit more expensive, but it'd give you a fairly good zoom, with the ability to take some nice portraits/scenic shots as well. This will also help to keep you from changing lenses outside as often; something that'll be a common occurrence if you're going back and forth between close shots and scenic shots, as most people would at an amusement park.

Jeff's avatar
I just don't like the cheap lenses because having to shoot at f/5.6 on close-ups just sucks. I know you're going to pay money for the fixed f/4 or f/2.8 lenses, but it's worth it if you want the versatility and light.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Personally, some of the best shots I've taken have been with my standard 50mm lense on my old SLR Pentax.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Pentax rocked...until the world went digital.

I still do all of my shooting with a Canon AE1 and the standard 55mm lens.
I've considered a full SLR but to be honest I don't think it's practical for park photography unless you've either a) got someone else to carry the camera for you, or b) don't want to ride anything.

I've been through a few cameras in my time, some good, some bad. My current one is a PowerShot G7, which is quite frankly superb. Stunning pictures, and SLR-like flexibility in manual mode.

Jeff said:
I just don't like the cheap lenses because having to shoot at f/5.6 on close-ups just sucks. I know you're going to pay money for the fixed f/4 or f/2.8 lenses, but it's worth it if you want the versatility and light.

Agreed. The f-stops always wind up being a downside with such lenses.

*** Edited 2/19/2007 9:54:53 PM UTC by DBCP***

Lord Gonchar's avatar
I've never really had an issue with the slower lenses - especially given the context the original poster is asking about - amusement parks. On a sunny day there should be no problem getting the shot at f/5.6 even with the lens fully extended and a low ISO.

I usually find myself having to go to a higher f-stop at the parks.

The 18-55 kit lens that comes with the XT is useable. Nothing great. But it does do f/3.5 which for really close shots offers nice DOF. The catch is that at the parks, you're usually not close enough to anything to take any real advantage of the DOF that a fast lens offers.

But for other things, I agree with these guys totally.

Back to the original question, both those lenses are pathetically average - and that's fine. I'm a cheap lens guy myself. I feel better about replacing a $150 lens than a $1000 lens. I'm not sure I could justify the extra cost for the image stabilization.

Jeff's avatar
I guess it depends on what you shoot. Being able to blow that aperture way open can allow for some really short depth of field and flexibility in darker environments (such as concerts or zoo habitats).

The thing I don't like about $100 lenses is that they tend to lose sharpness in the corners, even with the field crop that all but the more expensive DSLR's do. As they get to be higher and higher resolution, it matters more. I bought my first "L" lens last year, and I kick myself for not doing it sooner. (This was one of the first shots I took with it, and you should see how great it looks as a big print.)

Of course, if you're just going to post the pictures on the Web at 450x600, who cares. :)

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Lord Gonchar's avatar
No doubt the "L" glass destroys all others. But in the range the original post speaks of, I'd be inclined to just cut the losses and go with the basic version of whichever lens. The photo quality will not be better on the $550 70-300mm than it would be on the $150 70-300mm without it. All you're buying with that extra cash is an extra stop or so.

I use my camera mostly for coasterimage and I abuse the hell out of my stuff. The bottom end lenses get the job done.

(and I post all my pics at 760 wide, thank you ;) )

You want a cookie? Or a Credit?

J/K :)


I went with the Sony A100 simply because of the built in image stabilization. The Canon is of course a better camera but I'm going to save a ton on lenses that don't require image stabilization in each lens.

And everything that I've seen out of the Sony so far is plenty impressive IMO.

I just picked up a Sigma (old Minolta mount) 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for under $200.

Most of the shots I would likely be taking are of action shots of coasters but want the flexbility of being able to take night shots. I definitely want image stabilization to steady my amateurish shaky hand. I would definitely love to get an "L" series lens if the right price comes along. I'm relatively new to not just pointing and shooting but is there a noticable performance difference between f/2.8 and f/4?
Gonch, do you use a tripod when you shoot?
So as to not start another topic, I have thought about replacing my Olympus Zoom 80 Deluxe film camera this summer. It was working fine up until last June. That's when I found out that the camera was leaking some light, so I have an occasional red streak here and there on my pictures.

In addition to the film shots, I was augmenting them with my camera phone and I definitely liked the instant results and ability to edit and crop (great time-waster in queues). The only problem I had was that in blinding sunlight, it was impossible to see the screen to know if I had a good shot or not.

I looked at some of the cameras that are around the same compact size, and they all seem to have large LCD-panels in the back for review. This obviously does me no good if I'm trying to review the photos as I shoot and it's bright outside. How do you guys handle this problem who shoot digitally?

Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
All you're buying with that extra cash is an extra stop or so.
Dude... that is so not even remotely true. I have the 70-200mm f/4 L (under $600), and the sharpness is several orders of magnitude better than it is on a cheap lens. You aren't just buying an extra stop, you're buying better glass.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

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