After my Tamron 70-300mm macro lens broke(probably down to being thrown around in my back pack too much). I had to source another mid range zoom. Now as I commented earlier, I don’t use mid range zoom that much so I have elected to stay in the budget range but didn’t want to risk another rather plastic feeling lens that might fail again under reasonable use.
Enter the SIGMA 70-300 mm F4-5.6 DG APO MACRO lens. Not new, but second hand again.
Whilst I am here mentioning “second hand” for the third time, I would like to say that I have had four “second hand” lenses now and all of them have behaved flawlessly and without fault. So please do not be adverse to “second hand” lenses. Most people do actually look after their glass and usually sell to upgrade.
So this time I was out of Country but knew I was having a visitor from home arriving in 2-3 months. This gave me sometime to peruse the offers on Ebay and find a suitable condition item at a suitable price. Enter my nearly new SIGMA 70-300 mm F4-5.6, for the princely sum of £49. A steal! especially when I didn’t have to pay postage. When it arrived it looked like it had never been used.
I have since used it and I love it even more than the Tamron 70-300mm, it may not be as fast at focussing, but the images are so much crisper and sharper. The colours are spot on and there is little noticeable distortion anywhere along the range.
Not as heavy as I imagined it would be either. the one drawback is the end part does rotate when focussing, so this does make filters a no no, but honestly for the type of photography and the amount I use it I think this was an amazing bargain
This Lens was the second in the kit lenses that came with my Canon 1100D, i actually think it was a better lens than the 18-55mm short kit lens, but again not practical to have on the camera all the time due to it’s range.
I got some amazing shots out of this lens and it was quick despite what some of the on line reviews will have you believe. Along with the great Macro (which isn’t quite a true 1:1 macro), it was really good enough for a budget option.
Any budget zoom of this range will struggle with very long distance photography but it does give you the distance(say shooting butterflies) or other crawlies and give you a beautiful crisp sharp image. I even managed to get decent bokeh with it too!
Sadly this wonderfully cheap lens broke on me early 2016 and I had to source another budget zoom as they are not my preferred type of lens to shoot with. That’s where the Sigma 70-300 DG APO comes in and is I think next on my review of lenses.
After my trip on the Silk Route in 2012/13 I decided that I did need to upgrade my basic kit lens.
This is where the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF comes in. Another second-hand acquisition from a trusted on-line retailer opened up a whole new World of sharp, kit lens properties. 2.8!? oh yes and very crispy and sharp it is too. I used this lens continuously before acquiring my Canon 18-135mm STM.
I did a lot of research on reviews on this one against the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM, at the time I wasn’t so keen on Sigma and felt there was still a little too much distortion at the wide end for me.
It is heavy and I mean HEAVY!at 569.1g thats just over half a Kilo it does sit heavy on the 1100d, but even more so on the 70d, and I don’t know about you but as you do more and more photography reducing weight becomes an ever growing priority.
So i still have it but it’s one of those lenses that I have grown out of if you get my meaning.
Great sharp lens, great IQ very rugged to the touch and solid feel to it. Another great budget lens
This is my favourite lens next to the Canon 18-135mm STM.
A great non image stabilisation lens for all those super wide angles for Architecture and city scape.
on my 1100d and 70d this lens distance actually comes in at an Ultra-wide angle 15-36mm equivalent focal length range. A very useful size and one that I lament not having on the silk route in 2012/13.
I bought this second hand from from Camera World for a shade under £300 in 2014. It still holds it’s price well.
It’s quite a heavy piece of glass for it’s short range and I do/have found as time goes on that the corners suffer from bad distortion at the widest end, but hey! that will teach me to push it to it’s limits on too many images. It does however do what it says on the tin, and remarkably well.
The front of the lens is a 77mm screw fitting, which does make it expensive if you want to buy filters to fit. The bonus of this is that it doesn’t rotate which does make a bit more user friendly.
I know that Canon have brought out a super STM 10-18mm wide angle lens and surely if I ever have the opportunity I will swap this Tamron out for the Canon version which reportedly has some stunning IQ. Food for thought for the future methinks!?
so the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, well what an excellent lens.
I got this one when a small inheritance meant I could upgrade my camera from the Canon 1100D to the 70D. I was able to fit into the budget this beautifully quite and quick focussing lens.
Being the STM designation means that unlike the basic Canon kit lenses this lens will not buzz and whirr like a asthmatic dinosaur!! Well this one doesn’t, in fact it took me a little while to realise that this lens was indeed working as it should. It is so quite you think that it hasn’t moved at all!
The range is great 18-135 and this makes it a great walkabout lens. It covers most of your travellers needs quite easily and again in hindsight I wish I had had this when I travelled the silk route.
Personally it is my go to lens on my current Canon 70d and would be for any APSC camera I would happen to own. It rarely leaves my camera except when i need to use my Tamron 10-24mm or my Sigm DG APO 70-300mm for longer distance shots It’s a great lens covering a good range and fast enough for most people. Oh and it’s silent!
i would say it’s a must have for most travellers
The Canon 50mm f/1.8 MKii was a later edition, it didn’t actually get to go along the Silk route with me.
I know plenty of people rave about these little lenses and i personally think you either love them or hate them. Yes, it’s small, yes, it’s light, yes it’s a f/1.8, yes, it’s cheap (compared to other lenses), and yes, it is a very decent lens….if you want to stand 2 miles away from something just to get it in the frame!!! OK I exaggerate.
This lens really does lend itself more in my personal experience to either macro or close up work. Or as a lot of people do a Portrait lens. Did I say it also has amazing bokeh?? well yes, it has amazing bokeh!!
When taking people images with the head near filling the frame it gives the most amazing background blur any photographer could wish for! Just not the sort of lens for Architecture.
Interestingly I was given my first one as a gift from my late mother in law, and I sold it because I never actually used it once I had tried it out and seen it’s limitations to my style of photography.
Even more interestingly I then when and bought another one second hand some two years later…what was I thinking? I still haven’t used it as much as I know I could do. It just doesn’t work for me!
Again absolutely nothing wrong with this lens, but for me I would be better investing in the 24mm version for my crop camera.
This was the basic kit lens that came with my Canon 1100D camera. Note it is the image stabilisation version. It was going to have to do as my budget didn’t stretch far enough for any wider or more specialist lenses. It was a Canon so it had to be OK right?
Suffice to say that paired with the 1100D it worked very well. I did feel a bit limited by its 18-55mm zoom range especially at the short end. when trying to fit in all those tall buildings(mosques and temples as well as some very tall spires I kept losing the tops or the corners. I found myself constantly fighting to get the whole thing in without standing forty yards away and losing the details. Not forgetting of course the Dvarza Craters in Turkmenistan. In hindsight I wish I had gone for a super wide angle lens when I did this trip.
Not just because I was unable to repeat the journey again, but for all the amazing angles of view I now know I would have got. I guess you live and learn.
Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with this lens at all, it’s light weight, smooth and reasonably sharp in the kinds of situations (bright daylight) I was using it. I would have just liked something wider and sharper.