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What Lens to get?

I've been doing some reading around some sites. I'm looking for an upgrade for y 18-55mm kit lens. I'm looking for a lens that gives a better image quality but is also cheap ($500-$600) range. I've got my eyes on canon's 55-250mm IS and the 18-135mm IS. What can you say about these lenses? 18-135 seems to have some promising reviews.

I'm also considering Tamron/Sigma lenses because I heard they are cheaper. (Are they really cheaper? Prices in the mall seems to be the same. I have a cheaper source though.) What would you suggest from these brands? Do they give the same Image quality?

I know I can get info by googling but mostly I get mixed reviews. I want to know what people here say about these stuff.

Thanks in advance.
Canon EOS 550D and a Mutant Calculator
Posted: 11/12/2012, 07:49:23 AM
I've been using Sigma for years, and yes, they are way cheaper, usually 2/3 Canon price with the same quality.

I'm running:
10-20mm f/4-5.6 $479.00
24-70mm f/2.8 $824.00
85mm f/1.4 $894.00
70-200 f/2.8 $1249.00
150-500mm f/5-6.3 $1069.00
$4515.00 total.
Price that out in Canon! lol You'll need a home loan.
I shop http://www.bhphotovideo.com
Canon Body, Sigma Glass, Canon Strobes, Adobe Creative Cloud
Posted: 11/12/2012, 08:28:21 AM
16-35mm f/2.8 $1499.00
24-70mm f/2.8 $2299.00
85mm f/1.2 $1999.00
70-200mm f/2.8 $2099.00
100-400mm $1699.00

That's a $5080.00 difference in price.
So, I was wrong in my first post. Sigma is half the price of Canon. lol :D
Canon Body, Sigma Glass, Canon Strobes, Adobe Creative Cloud
Posted: 11/12/2012, 09:16:02 AM
For table-top photos and general walk-around I use the 24-105L IS ($900 used) on full-frame. Great generalist lens.
Canon 5DmkII, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, Nikon D90,18-200mm,12-24mm,105...
Posted: 11/12/2012, 12:42:47 PM
Thanks for the replies. The price comparison is really helpful. Darn, lenses are really expensive.
Canon EOS 550D and a Mutant Calculator
Posted: 11/12/2012, 18:08:36 PM
I think third party lenses are usually fine OPTICALY...the only thing they lack is a fast focus motor and comparable VR/IS technology...and stuff like weather sealing and such I guess....so if you can work without all those and just need the glasses, I guess Tamron and Sigma will do just fine =)

if you're a pixel peeper, you will notice differences though, in performance between canon original lenses and third party lenses. But I think the performance difference is minute compared to the price gap XD
Posted: 11/12/2012, 19:01:59 PM
I have not used these lenses... but see very good reviews...

Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS

Tamron seems to have constant wide aperture and the sigma has 20mm longer and a closer focus distance, which may be an advantage for close ups...

Canon EOS 1100D, 18-55mm III, 50mm f/1.8 II, Canon 80-200mm
Posted: 11/12/2012, 20:13:44 PM
For what I`ve heard the Canon 18-135 is a great lens.

I used a 10-22 and 24-105 when I had an APS-C, but I had to switch lenses all the time.
f/4L Canon EF 70-300mm IS/USM f/4-5.6 Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM/Macro ...
Posted: 11/12/2012, 20:30:19 PM
EF 24-105 F4.0 IS L
EF 17-40 F4.0 L
EF 70-200 F4.0 L
EF 100mm Macro f2.8 IS L
EF 100mm F2.0 USM
EF 50mm 1.8 first edition
EF 75-300 USM IS (not good lens!)
EF-S 60mm F2.8 USM macro
Tokina ATX 12-24 f4.0
Tokina ATX PRO 28-70mm F2.6-2.8
old Sigma 24mm F2.8
first Canon EOS 650 - CAMBO 4x5" and 6x9cm, Linhof Technika 6x9 ...
Posted: 01/21/2013, 03:59:15 AM
After a quick look at your portfolio, I'd suggest a prime lens, either the 50mm macro or the 100mm macro, if you want absolute image quality. The Tamron 17-50mm, the older one without VC was pretty sharp in my opinion, I used that until I went full frame. The 28-135mm I used was great in the center, but soft, soft, soft at the edges and the CA was pretty bad. I don't know if the newer version is any better. Good luck!
50mm macro, Tamron SP 17-50mm f2.8 Xr DiII, Tamron SP 70-300 f4-5.6 D...
Posted: 01/22/2013, 14:43:52 PM
When choosing the new lens I always check the resolution tests (ISO crops) of the lens on thedigitalpicture(dot)com - I consider it a good comparison tool, cause the scene/target is the same, camera is the same and only lens is different so you can compare the lenses. In ISO crops you can see overall sharpens, chromatic aberration, vignetting...

So choose the desired focal range of your next lens (the wider the focal range the worse the image quality. The "crispiest" are the prime lenses). Than compare the ISO crops of lenses that fit your desired focal range (compare Canons vs Sigmas vs Tamrons...) in the above-mentioned database... You will see the differences and it is easier to make decision.
I believe I have avoided some serious disappointments thanks to those tests :)
and editing images :)...
Edited: 01/23/2013, 05:22:32 AM
I can't make a suggestion, because it's been a lot of time since I got my last lens, Tamron 17-50.

But I'm using;

Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro
Tamron 17-50 f2.8
Nikon 50mm f1.8

I'm extremely happy with all of them. Actually Nikon 50mm is the "worst" of my set at the moment.
Nikkor 35mm f2.8 - Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Nikkor 50mm f1.8 - Tam...
Posted: 01/23/2013, 08:02:12 AM
Don't be afraid to shoot with an off brand lens. I do weddings and my 2 main lenses are both SIGMA.
2.8, Sigma 24-135. Nikon SB800 SB600 Dell Studio17 Laptop...
Posted: 01/29/2013, 15:16:25 PM