Yep, I'm a slacker

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Sam Posten, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I know I promised (threatened?) to post some pics from my 20d a few weeks back, but I've been jammed between learning Photoshop + Camera Raw, my B&W film class, and the absolute deluge of high quality PC and xbox games that hit within the last three weeks. =) The good news is I've been shooting, the bad news is I still need to get em uploaded.

    To recap:
    -I _LOVE_ the 20D. So much control available. I dont need 5FPS, but its nice to have the instant flip on and go capability. The on board flash is sooooo consistant too.
    -I did 2 giant sized prints at Costco, something like 16x20, you can count the threads on a pair of bluejeans at 15 feet. And still not see any pixelation.
    -I want my aperature ring back, thats one thing I like about Nikon.
    -I'm not a big fan of the 18-55 kit lens, I need wider aperature (its slooooow), but I have gotten some keepers out of it. Still, I'm dying for the 50 1.4 and 100 2.8 Macro as soon as I can afford em. L's are still a looooong way off.
    -Camera Raw and shooting Raw in general is tricky but I've learned a ton about it and I think I'll stick to it rather than jpg, it just gives so much opportunity to get the mood right on a shot.
    -I've decided to keep my high speed card in the camera and use a standard $33 512 card to transport final jpgs to Costco for printing, works great, and I just jam the good card back in and format with no worries and erase the transport when back from Costco.
    -I'm gonna need to backup to DVD, not CD.
    -I still need to learn a LOT about Unsharp Mask.
    -Colorblindness is definitly a hindrance, but is not fatal.

    Samples later this week, I promise.

    Sam
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    LoL! "-Colorblindness is definitly a hindrance, but is not fatal." [​IMG] You mean you're tweaking colors in PS while being color blind? [​IMG] Ok, maybe I shouldn't joke about that as color is really rather subjective anyway. :wink:

    But seriously, glad to hear you love it. BTW, I wouldn't worry about the aperture ring thing as my D70 doesn't actually let me use the ring anyway. Not sure about the higher end Nikon's though. But for me, I'd rather use one of the two command dials for aperture anyway. Of course, I'm not SLR vet, so maybe I'm missing something there.

    RE: flash, if you expect to use flash often, you really should get one of the EX series speedlights. Personally, I hate onboard flash. It's ok in a pinch, but never great. And w/ my D70, I'm finding a love for wireless use of my SB800 speedlight. [​IMG] Here are a couple I shot just the other day in wireless mode:

    http://www.pbase.com/mandnwong/image/36901072

    http://www.pbase.com/mandnwong/image/36901074

    RE: lenses, yeah, you really want better than *that* kit lens. But don't hesitate to try some Sigma EX-series alternatives instead of Canon L's. Sigma makes some nice pro quality lenses, and some are quite a bit more affordable than Canon/Nikon pro lenses. I use the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX myself (as do very many Canon and Nikon shooters). There's also Tamron mixed in there somewhere -- their 28-75 f/2.8 Di along w/ Sigma's 28-70 f/2.8 EX make good alternatives for the middle zooms, and Sigma recently added a nice 18-55 f/2.8 EX DG that people are comparing favorably against the popular Canon 17-40 L although that one is limited to use for APS-sized sensors.

    Yeah, PS's Camera RAW is a bit tricky and requires your own calibration to get things right. I haven't warmed up to it yet myself for handling my D70 RAW files. I still use Nikon software for that -- and for simple conversions, I can use Nikon's RAW plug-in inside PS. For me, I'm looking forward to this new 3rd party software RAWMagick being developed by a couple Nikon users who wanted something much better than Nikon's software while also taking better advantage of Nikon RAW files than PS's Camera RAW.

    For USM, you can read up at a couple web resources. Here's a good one to start out that covers all the basic PS stuff for photography uses:

    http://epaperpress.com/psphoto/

    Check under Exporting Files -> Unsharp Mask at that site. There is more about USM than it discusses, but it's a good start (and also provides additional links for more advanced stuff).

    As for photo archiving, make sure you keep multiple backups, if it's important. Optical media is not as reliable as the makers would have us believe. For me, I'm keeping 2 copies on separate HDDs and also archiving to CD. Will probably switch to DVD soon as I recently bought a new burner for that. I'm using Nero 6.6 w/ my NEC 2500 burner. Both are highly recommendable.

    And yeah, I can never keep up my processing (and uploading) w/ my shooting either. [​IMG] I'm still trying to figure out a good, efficient workflow for myself so I can make better use of the limited time I have for post work -- and it definitely starts w/ the shooting itself.

    Happy shooting...

    _Man_
     
  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yep, I'm still experimenting but its getting better each time I do it. I love all the available control, but its daunting at first!

    Sam
     
  4. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Take a look at some of the comparison photo's if you can on various forums/sites, I think you'll be pleasantly suprised at the quality that a Sigma lens can create, and in some cases it will surpass the quality of the "consumer" level Canon lenses.

    The kit lens, don't be to hard on it, and don't let other people's opinion of it sway your judgement, people often over-estimate the abilities of "great" lenses in comaprison to "good" lenses, also a lot of people make excuses for "bad" photos on their less than top of the line equipment, a 1Ds Mk2 with $4k of glass on it can take just as bad of a picture as a $600 Digital Rebel and a kit lens [​IMG]. Here's a link comparing the 18-55 kit lens with a 17-40 L lens (comparing a $100 lens to a $650+ lens) - http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...ic.php?t=50854 - There are differences obviously, but the kit lens holds it's own very well when you consider you are comparing "the very best" (in that focal length) to what is basically the cheapest (from Canon).

    50mm prime lens, take a serious look at the 50mm/1.8, it's less than 1/3 the price of the 1.4 (BH has them for $70'ish), a comparison can be viewed here - http://www.photo.net/equipment/canon/ef50/
    Again, there are differences (and that page is trying to highlight them), but if you're on a budget the 1.8 will get you VERY close for a lot less money.

    Andrew
     
  5. MikeJM

    MikeJM Extra

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    Anyone know whether Canon's A-85 is a good entry level camera? Thanks
     
  6. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    I guess that depends on what level of picture taking you want to do. If all you want to do is point and shoot it is more than enough, maybe even to much. If you want an easy and cheap way to get into doing some photography I think it's a great choice. There is enough manual control that the step up to an SLR will be fairly easy (you can control shutter speed, apeture, ISO along with the normal digital cam functions like white balance, etc), even if you never want to get into the SLR area you will have enough control to take your photo's to a much higher level than what is capable on a fully automatic P&S type camera.

    Andrew
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Here's what I dont like about the 50 1.8: Plastic shell (unless you buy the Mark1 version used); and more importantly, there is no focus ring on the lens, you need to actually twist the front of the lens itself in manual mode. The kit lens also has this and while I can live with it, I dont like it. Is another $200 to get 1 stop more speed, a metal shell, and a focus ring worth it? To me I think it is. If they were still making the mark1's it would be a lot tougher call.

    Sam
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    If I were you, I'd just get the 50 f/1.4 since there's that triple rebate thing going. I'd probably get the Nikon 50 f/1.4 too, if they had a rebate for it.

    Anyway, if you want fast glass, then just complement your kit lens w/ a couple fixed wideangle primes. Not sure what Canon's offering now, but the Sigma alternatives are quite popular: 20mm f/1.8, 24mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.8, etc. That's probably what I'd do if I went Canon. Indeed, I do plan to get the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 for my D70. I'd stick w/ a Nikon wideangle if they actually have one that fast (and reasonably affordable), but they don't.

    _Man_
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yeah, with Triple rebates the 1/4 gets close to $275.

    My 'wishlist' basically consists of the following, in order:

    50 1.4
    100 2.8 Macro
    70-200 L F4 (or 2.8 or 2.8 IS if I hit the lottery)
    17-40 L F4
    24-70 L
    85 1.8

    In that order. But thats about $3.5k worth of glass, even more if I do get the pricier 70-200s. Baby steps. =)

    I got tied up last night burning Knoppix CD's for my students, I should have a few .jpgs by this weekend. I started the cheap pbase account, we'll see how that works out.
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Why all the overlap from wideangle to 70mm?

    If you want a 50 f/1.4 *and* a 85 f/1.8 *and* a fast 70-200, the 24-70L becomes extremely redundant. For the price of the 24-70L, you could easily go from 70-200 f/4L upto the 70-200 f/2.8L IS and still have enough left for a fast wideangle prime to cover somewhere between 24-35mm -- take your pick. Everything else in between you just zoom w/ your feet or swap lenses as needed.

    Expensive zooms like the 24-70L is really just for someone who can't stand swapping lenses. [​IMG] You could even add a good (and much cheaper) alternative from Sigma or Tamron for those occasions when you really don't want to lug a few primes w/ you. And on these cropped bodies, the 24-70L doesn't even give all that much wideangle coverage.

    _Man_
     
  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hi guys-

    Cool thread! I didn't know there is a photography section here now. I just bought my first new SLR in 24 years and it's the Canon EOS 20D. I bought it with the kit lens, 18-55.

    I was looking for insights as I'm not up to date nor up to speed on lenses and usage. I bought sort of on a whim as a need to photograph the products I design and for a fun toy to do other photography, plus the digital Powershot Elph wasn't cutting it anymore.

    I've seen so many less-then-enthusiastic comments on the kit lens. Now I'm consdering exchanging the lens for the Canon 17-85 lens. My needs are at first to phtograph stills. As I said, I design stuff and I like to capture the physical models to final design products. The objects range from 3" in diameter to large appliances. Of course I'd like to be able to also use the camera for many other uses, architecture, car shows, outdoor vistas, family events, etc.

    Perhaps I keep the kit lens, it could do for now and add a longer zoom lens later. If I understand the above poster's convern it's a slow lens, then it has a small apeture and I might want a faster lens for possibly dark conditions like in a model shop with bad light. So after I check the specs on the Canon 17-85 lens, it might be a better all around usage lens?

    Look forward to comments, I would do the exchange this morning. Yes, I've got tons to learn! How to use the camera and the software for RAW images.

    Thanks! Nelson
     
  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hi, Nelson.

    Yeah, this seems to be a relatively new forum -- most of us here only found it in late summer or so -- and there's not much traffic either.

    As for your new camera, congrats! That's a very nice camera. I have the Nikon D70 myself -- and I may upgrade to the next new Nikon body come spring '05 if the improvements are significant like the 20D (over the D-Rebel/10D).

    Anyway, you should probably just keep the 18-55 EFS lens. It's actually very good for the price -- it's basically priced at $100 as part of the kit. Unless you plan to spend a lot more on lenses, you probably won't find any substantial improvements. Be careful about the 17-85 IS -- I have only heard so-so comments about that lens, which is not so good given its price tag although it does offer IS. I would go find out more in dpreview.com's Canon SLR lens forum before buying.

    Given what you've said, you probably should be using a good tripod, instead of faster lenses, for shooting products -- you probably will need a good size depth-of-field (DOF) for most of them, which means smaller apertures (besides the fact that you'll want to use the lenses at their sweetspots, usually around f/8-11). Maybe get a macro lens (and rail for tripod add-on) for some of your smaller product shots. Set up the shots and then shoot in mirror lock-up mode (to avoid camera shake from the mirror flip inside). If you don't have artificial lighting setup like strobes/flashes w/ diffusers, you should probably get some, and learn to use them well. That would work better than faster lenses for what you're talking about.

    Of course, for other kinds of indoor/low light shooting (or shallow DOF), you may still need some fast glass, but for the product shots, it's usually better to go w/ smaller apertures and some artificial light as needed.

    _Man_
     
  13. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Man-

    Thanks for the insights. Well, I went out and did the exchange to the EFS 17-85 lens before I saw your post. I bought this camera at a shop where they were having a no-tax sale for the past 4 days. I took advantage of it to exchange the lens while it was on sale. Plus I'm one of those anal ones who likes everything to match.

    While there, they had reps from Canon, Nikon and Tamron. The Tamron rep informed me of their selections over the Canon 17-85 and suggested for nearly the same price, I could get their AF28-300 F/3.5-6.3 and a wide angle in place of the Canon. It sounded like some good stuff and might have been smarter. But given my newbie status to digital photography on an SLR, I decided on the one Canon till I get familiar with the camera.

    Thanks for the link to the dpreview site. A lot of helpful info there. I may post some question here on the HTF forum as I get into this. Mostly how to work with the images in RAW format in Photoshop verse JPEG.

    Nelson

    PS- There was a guy there who took advantage of the sale and bought 2 sets of Nikon D70 bodies, lens, CF card and few other sundries!
     
  14. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    This is really excellent advice, for product shooting having an extra stop or two on the aperture is probably less important than in other situations, and as mentioned you'll probably be shooting around f8 or so (most lenses will give best performance in this range). The tripod will allow you to get that next level of sharpness in your photo's, for that use make sure you get a really good one that doesn't have any "play" in the camera/tripod area. I have an ultra-cheap tripod bought new for $20, and doing something like a night shot is impossible without a remote or timed shooting as the camera moves around on the tripod when you hit the shutter (it has since been modified).

    Andrew
     
  15. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Nelson,

    I would recommend doing the Short Courses tutorial (www.shortcourses.com) as a start since you're a newbie. There are also other helpful resources for photography basics like at www.photo.net/learn. Luminous Landscape (www.luminous-landscape.com) is a great resource also though not really a step-by-step kinda tutorial site. And of course, for Photoshop stuff, you can start off at the site I mentioned earlier (http://epaperpress/psphoto).

    For Canon RAW (and various other photography stuff w/ a Canon slant), you might want to check out Petteri's Pontifications [​IMG] (http://194.100.88.243/petteri/pont/W...t_changes.html). He offers some very nice articles, including a good argument for shooting RAW and offering suggestions for developing a good RAW-based workflow (http://194.100.88.243/petteri/pont/H..._workflow.html) -- and yes, that article reads like a rebuttal to Ken Rockwell. [​IMG] Oh, you might be wondering who Ken Rockwell is. He's a funny guy I'll say. For some comic relief in the midst of all this homework, check out this "essay" of his (http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/7.htm). :wink:

    And oh, when you start working w/ flash, you might find a need for more helpful resources as modern flash systems are tricky things. This one is the best I know of for Canon EOS flash systems although I'm not too sure if it's the best for the new E-TTL2 (http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/).

    As for the lens shopping, well, I hope that 17-85 IS works out well for you -- what I heard could've just been some disappointment amidst unrealistically high expectations. That Tamron 28-300 sounds intriguing though -- sounds like a promising new model even though it's hard to believe that such a superzoom could be all that good. Still, it doesn't have IS, which becomes more important as you move up into the telephoto focal lengths.

    Anyway, that's probably plenty of homework for you already. [​IMG] Happy shooting!

    _Man_
     
  16. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Man and Andrew!

    Yeah, I'm still wondering if I did the right thing with that lens exchange. I'll work with it for now. It is heavy. I do have a tripod and I plan to use it. Hopefully it can handle the new camera. Most of the reviews I read was that the 18-55 was a lesser quality and that the 17-85 is closer to the quality of the higher end Canon lenses.

    Thank you for the links to the photography sites, the short courses one looks great. It will refresh my college photography knowledge from ages ago. The basics is good to go over again! Stuff like the info on RAW and JPEG usage is going to be useful. Then there's this issue I read of users about using sharpening. I didn't know about that one built into the camera, I can set up 3 pre-sets for sharpness. For now I'll use the default setting in the camera.

    Nelson
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I thought you preferred to be called Man-Fai, as just Man isnt your whole name. Has that changed? I tried to respect that when you posted it cause it seemed important to you.

    Sam
     
  18. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Sam,

    RE: my name, there was probably a small misunderstanding there. I probably explained something about my name, but I never requested for people to use "Man-Fai" instead of "Man". Either one is fine although I'm actually more used to "Man". [​IMG]

    As for the 24-70L vs primes, yes, that L zoom is pretty heavy at 2.1lb. It's about as heavy as 3 primes combined ranging from 24-50mm unless you get the best prime for each focal length. And if you only need 2 primes w/in that range, then the L zoom is definitely heavier regardless while being less bright and less sharp than the primes.

    Sure, having extra options can be very nice. But is it really necessary though? Afterall, good lenses are not cheap. And also, unless you plan to lug everything w/ you regularly, you'll still have to pick and choose at home before you go out to shoot. So it's not like you get complete freedom to swap whenever you want. There's something to be said for the KISS principle and learning to make the most of what you have.

    Regards,

    _Man_
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Here are the better pictures from a wedding that I attended last weekend. Because the camera is new to me, and because the lens is pretty average, some of the pictures are soft (out of focus) and because of the low light in the room some of them display high noise (aka grain). I'm still relatively happy with how many of them came out, but I have lots of room to get better both gear wise and skill wise. Because I am color blind I struggle with tones, so I may need someone to sit with me some time soon and get them closer to reality. Pictures have all been shrunk to web friendly sizes, so they exhibit some jagginess. The originals are shocking in detail tho so I can print them up to 16"x22" with very little pixelation.

    You may note that most of the pictures center around the people I know, and not others attending the wedding. I'm an engineer not a pro photographer dammit! =)

    Sadly, they are in alphabetical order (which wont make sense to anyone but me) instead of chrono. This is one thing I like about Windows XP, it will sort photos by the time they are taken regardless of file name and last edited time, but I cant figure out how to export that list to an ascii editor to make URLs out of them once they are dropped on my web site. Any ideas?

    Thanks for any critiques you may have, I may be a newbie but I want to grow, so please be honest!

    Sam

    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/ant.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/ant2.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/antles1.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/band.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/band2.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/buds.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/cake1.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/cake2.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/cake3.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/cake4.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/cake5.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/cake6.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/carl.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/je...sdudmarcia.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/chrisedant.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/chrislorr.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/chrismark.jpg
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    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/dancin.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/dudantmarcia.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/dudmarciahat.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/dudstan.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edboys.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edchris.jpg
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    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edles.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edlesant1.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/je...hrislorhat.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edleslorhats.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edlestom.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edlorr.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/edstan.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/embarass.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/entry.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/flowergirl.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/flowergirl2.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/godfather.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/guest1.jpg
    http://zorak.monmouth.edu/~posten/jeff/guest2.jpg
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  20. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    I too went to digital: Nikon D70 from film Nikon N90s.

    I miss the aperture ring a lot. The D70 makes you use one of the command wheels when you shoot in aperture priority, and the new Nikon G lenses don't have rings just like Canon[​IMG].

    I like the kit lens that came with my camera because it zooms out to 18mm, currently my only wide angle choice for digital. (My 24mm just isn't wide enough with the digital crop factor). It's also the first silent wave (same as Canon USM) motor lens i've owned, and it focuses so fast and so quietly, it's a feature I'm going to have a hard time not wanting on any future glass I purchase, But since it's too slow, I'm going to eventually want something that covers 16mm f2.8.

    I think you should ask yourself a few questions about your wish list:
    50 f1.4
    why? the 50 1.8 is super cheap. Yea, the f1.8 is plastic and probably made at a factory in a "lesser" country. But at an equivalent 75 1.8 it's gone from my favorite normal lens to my favorite moderate telephoto / portrait lens. It's faster than anything else you probably have. And at under $100 probably the cheapest too (and you're going to need to save some money for my next suggestion).

    100 2.8 Macro
    85 1.8
    70-200 L F4 (or 2.8 or 2.8 IS if I hit the lottery)
    If the kit lens is too slow for you, you're always going to disappointed with the f4, knowing there's an f2.8 available.

    What's the 85 1.8 for? It's usually known as a portrait lens, and your 50 1.8 will make a great portrait lens because of the digital crop factor. Speaking of the crop factor, the 85mm is now a 120mm 1.8. What are you going to use it for? The 70-200 2.8 will cover that focal length.

    Instead of the 100 2.8 Macro, think about getting these extension tubes They'll make every lens in your kit a macro lens, and your 70-200 with the tubes will be able to handle the jobs you wanted the 100 Macro for. Make sure you get AF ones, you probably won't use the AF, but it will pass all of the lens cpu info to the camera, and all of the functions will work. Actually I use the smallest extension with my 80-200 2.8 and the AF remains useful.

    I like my wide angle prime lenses. so I don't have much to say about the 17-40 L F4 and the 24-70 L, except that once again, with the digital crop factor, you won't be too wide here, and the F4 isn't substantially faster than the kit lens.
     

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