Tele lenses for Canon 350d

I’m hoping some photographer gurus read my blog and can advise me on what lens I should be looking for if I am after a tele lens for my Canon 350d under 250 pounds. I specifically want to use it for sports and wildlife photography (wildlife is something I very rarely see over here in London, apart from the occasional park deer, and garbage-eating fox, but something I want to cater for when i get back to South Africa) so I suppose it needs a quick focus speed and good image stabilisation (without having to pay huge amounts for the “IS” feature). I’m not that fussy on Canon, Tamron or Sigma, but I am pretty clueless when it comes to my little toy SLR camera, and value any comments.

Canon tele lenses

My previous post I wrote when choosing my Digital SLR camera was very, very insightful and I was amazed at the amount of feedback I got.

So far I have found two good lens options (well I think they are good) from Jessops. The Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DG Macro (Canon AF) and the Canon EF 75-300mm f4/5.6 USM MK3.

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20 thoughts on “Tele lenses for Canon 350d”

  1. Hey Mark,

    I have a few suggestions to compliment your already two good options. From my experience the Canon EF 75-300mm is a great lens and within your price range. However, I must admit that I am a sucker for the IS feature. You do pay for the quality of the IS, as is the case with most photographic equipment, particularly lenses. So If you can push the boat out a little, go for the Canon EF 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 IS USM STABILISER. You won’t need a tripod when shooting in lowlight, you can capture crisp images on the go and it’s extremely versatile. It’s a great investment to compliment your 350D. Your bank account may hurt a little but the pleasure and satisfaction from using this lens far outweighs the moola 🙂

  2. Hey Tristan, thanks so much for the advice. It is much appreciated. I’ve already checked the price for the Canon EF 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 IS USM STABILISER and it will definitely dent the wallet! Its 399 pounds. I’ve heard from numerous people that it is worth the extra spending though, but I must just see if i can justify that cost right now.

    Are you saying that the Canon EF 75-300mm lens will blur when not on a tripod, or only in low light?

  3. Hey Mark, as with any lens, if the light is not sufficient it will blur. The IS lens just requires less light than the 75-300 to get a crisp image and works really well when you are shooting on the move (eg: in a game park). That said, the 75-300 doesn’t require a tripod by default and will not blur if the light is sufficient and provided you keep a steady hand – its not that heavy. I’ve heard great things about the IS – it may be worth the extra spend in the long run.

  4. Ok, can’t resist adding my 2c here =)

    Firstly, let me just say that “Image Stabilization” is not a substitute for a tripod if you want the best sharpness in your images.

    That said, most of us (myself included) don’t need so much sharpness (and the 8MP sensor is only so sharp anyway). SO: IS does represent a good compromise and allows you to get “acceptably” stable images in many cases where hand-held would just be too shaky. My 135mm IS lens has produced some fairly decent stabilized images, although that’s only at 135mm when you’re going to be using all the way up to 300mm which amplifies the problem considerably.

    Basically if you’re shooting at 300mm and your subject isn’t brightly lit (as in direct sunlight), you have to do one of three things:

    1) Use a tripod, a remote and mirror lock-up mode.
    2) Use IS and hope it comes out sharp (it can be a bit hit and miss)
    3) Crank your ISO sensitivity up to 800 or 1600. Down side is that this makes things grainy-looking. Like a spy photo 😉

    The last option is the simplest and the cheapest. It’s also the most convenient as you can just shoot hand-held as normal. However, a word of advice if you do turn up your ISO: shoot in raw, not JPEG. Photoshop will do an infinitely better job of cleaning up the noise from the raw image data than the processor in your camera will =) This does mean you have to run your photos thru Adobe bridge / camera raw. But you have that right?

  5. Tristan: Thanks for clearing that up.

    Peter: I was hoping you would give your 2 cents worth. It sounds like you are both very pro IS, and are both making my decision that much more difficult and expensive 🙂 It does make sense investing in a good lens now though, rather than getting another more expensive tele lens later. After all it is something I will keep for a very long time.

    I’ve never worked with Adobe bridge, but I know my way around photoshop so i’m sure i’d work it out pretty quickly.

    Can either of you recommend any other IS tele lens that are perhaps a little less expensive?

  6. From what I know, Sigma don’t offer an IS lens and I don’t think you’ll find anything cheaper for an IS. I do some work for SAcamera.co.za occasionally, if you can wait it out and want to buy something in SA, then I’m sure we can arrange a good price for you 🙂

  7. Sigh, the good lens for little money debate.

    The Canon 75-300 F4/5.6 is an alright lens, I had one for a year and a bit and it served me alright until I started playing with faster L lenses.

    Have you thought about getting a 2nd hand lens as a starting point?
    Also, do you have your heart set on a lens over 200mm?
    You could look for a Canon 70-200 F4 (the new ones come with IS and are more pricey), plus they are white.

    Check out http://www.fredmiranda.com and click on the reviews button for a look through all the options. Camera shops will also be happy to oblige if you ask them to shoot a few test frames with your camera to help you choose a lens.

    With some of the high street shops (Like Jessops and Currys) its best to do your own research and then use their stock to do proper tests.

  8. Tristan apologies about the slow reply. Thanks so much for the kind offer of arranging a good price via sacameras. I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Will keep you up to date about what I decide to go for

    Hey The Pete, thanks for popping by. I was thinking about second hand, but am hesitant about buying anything without a warranty. Do you know of any reputable second hand camera stores/sites? It might be a good option at this early stage.

    I checked out the 70-200 F4 lens on Jessops site and it looks great. Just very expensive. Love the white lens. I don’t have my heart set on over 200mm, but would prefer that for wildlife shots. One thing I’m not that clear on is what 200mm equates to in optical zoom measurements.

    The Fredmiranda site looks very resourceful, i’ll definitely spend some time there.

  9. Hey Mark,

    The FredMiranda site is great for checking out reviews and seeing pics taken by other people using the same equipment.
    Although seeing what other people can do so much better than yourself can sometimes be dis-heartening.

    A good place to look for 2nd hand stuff is London Camera Exchange http://www.lcegroup.co.uk , or join a club and go to their swap meets. The 2nd way allows you to test the stuff before you decide to buy.

    What do you mean by Optical zoom measurements?
    The focal length of the lens is 200mm, if used with a 350d (or 400d), the corresponding focal length is 320mm due to the sensor patch size (1.6 difference to a normal 35mm camera).
    The difference between optical and digital zoom is just that digital zoom uses software in the camera to zoom into the image, most of the time this causes distortion in the image so isnt highly recommended. Optical zoom is the lens capability to zoom.

  10. Hi Guys,
    I just returned from a week in the bush, and all of a sudden I had some similar questions on the lenses.
    Some background, I used to be an old school pro photographer, yes 20yrs ago after school to help pay for studies and independent living. Nowadays I work in the field of my studies and although I like the real cool equipment, I buy the best budget stuff. For example I stuck to a 350D, instead of a 20D etc etc
    I the heyday it was not uncommon to get a F1.7 50mm lens, so the best I could do was a 24-70 F2.8. For a mid sized I imagined 70-200F4 would just be up my street.
    However, I started using the small (the short one) more often, and I realised the F2.8 leaves you with little depth of field. I prefer sports, and once a year do wildlife, and somehow you need some depth of field.
    I have had the oppertunity to use the 70-200F2.8 and the 70-300 IS lense next to each other at Kyalami. The 300 IS goes for ZAR6K, while the 200F2.8L IS lense is ZAR18K. In my hands I had better shots with the 300 than the 200, plainly because the 2.8 would at times leave me too little dept of field.
    Because I am also after a versatile lense producing good quality crisp images, and also good equipment, I am not sure the 70-200F4 is THAT versatile.
    My vote thus goes to the 70-300 IS lense. I am thus going to search for a reasonably priced used example.

  11. hi guys
    my name is Hamed Taheri…and i’m from iran…
    I’ve just buy a canon 350d camera..and i wonder if you could help me about find a telephoto lens for it.
    you know these two produt (EF- 28-300 and 75-300) are so expensive for me..
    do you have any suggest for more chipper lens?
    by the way how much cost a EF 90-300 (without stabilizer model)?

  12. Hi Everyone,

    Mark, your comments were posted a year ago, by now I am sure you have doen something about your problem.

    I am hoping you never settled on the SIGMA 28-300 DG. This lens, with your camera will struggle to focus effectively and quickly in Autofocus mode in average to low light. Being in the UK I serioulsy doubt that you are going to have more available sulight than we do in SA, so your cahnces are very slim. By the tiem your camera focuses on something with this lens, the sport or nature object you were going to snap at will be long gone. So dont waste your money.

    If however you are going to take snap shots of the wild life on a very bright and sunny beach, you may have some luck…….

    Nothing will ever top the original Canon lenses, although they are expensive, you can console yourself in the fact that you wont have to buy another lens soon. Image stabilisation is great, but as mentioned above, NOTHING compares to a tripod, EVER.

    If you want cheap, check out Tamron’s 18-250mm (Makes a good all rounder and is extreamly compact – one lens does all kind of) but what you need for speed, is a low F stop number, 2,8 is brilliant. The lower the number, the faster the lens can focus etc. in low light, even better in good light. You should therefore have a look at the new Tamron SP AF70-200 F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO. This lens has a 77mm Filter Diameter, lets in enough light, so it will give you the speed you want. Combine this with Tamron’s AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF), and you cover the whole range. Another excellent choice for the lower zoom ranges is the SIGMA 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC matched with the SIGMA 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG MACRO HSM II. These two lenses cover the whole range, to 200mm, at F/2.8. What more can anyone want?? Whith any two of these combinations you will not go wrong.

    I hope you find this of some assistnce, but by now you will be a pro with an opinion of your own I suppose!!

    Kind Regards,

    Herman.

  13. Hi Guys, I left a trackback to the post which summizes what I went with in the end, but i see it is quite hidden away there at the top of the comments, so here is the link again –

    http://www.markforrester.co.za/canon-ef-70-300mm-f4-56-is-usm.htm

    I ended up getting the Canon 70-300 IS USM Lens. It cost quite a bit more than what i wanted to originally spend, but it was so worth it.

    The quality of the shots taken even at 300mm zoom, with a moving object, is outstanding. It’s the perfect solution for wildlife or sports photography. The colours are also far more vibrant than my standard, crappy kit lens. I can shoot in much lower light thanks to the IS feature.

    The only downfall is it’s minimum zoom. I find myself constantly changing lens when shooting a combination of portraits and landscapes when on holiday. 70mm is still quite a zoom and a lot of the foreground is missing, cropped tightly around a central point.

    Next purchase is definitely going to be for portrait and close up shots – and i will definitely be investing in another IS lens. Perhaps a 60mm fixed lens. It is so worth the money.

    Thanks for all the comments and keep them coming.

  14. I want to know if the canon 350D is a good buy. The canon 450D is a bit expensive, but if the 350D is not a good buy then I will save a bit longer. What is your advice?

  15. Dear Merisa,

    For the price, you can’t go wrong with CANON. The 350D was Excellent when it was released, however it lacked some critical features that were corrected in the 400D. So in short, BUY THE 400D. Forget about the 350D, and I agree that the 450D is a bit pricy, I would never buy it, but I would buy the 400D anyday.

    SO HANDS DOWN, THE BEST BUY AT THE MOMENT, WITH ALL THE FEATURES YOU COULD POSSIBLY WANT, IS THE CANON 400D!!! (The one outstanding feature that the 400D has over the 350D that makes all the difference, is that it has a vibrating, self cleaning sensor, which the 350D does not have, and the standard lens kit on the 350D is not sealed sufficiently, it’s consturcion is very cheap, so dust is a huge problem in the 350D!!!!!)

    I hope this will help U make a long term buying decision.

    Kind Regards,

    Herman

  16. Dear Herman,

    I have recently bought a Canon 450D with the standard lense it comes with. It is a brilliant camera no doubt about it. I mostly use it to shoot my children and office functions. The lense that I have is excellent for close-ups. Which lense would your recommend for good quality not close-up photos?

  17. Dear Estelle,

    Yup, you have just bought the best digital SLR on the market, value vs price…..Nothing can beat the 450D. I haev previously commented to Merisa Du Plessis that if she cant afford the 450D, that she should not purchase the 350D, but rather hunt down a 400D. The 350D lacked some vital components, dust insulation being the most prominent issue.

    About you lense question. The lens that the 450D comes with is great, as it is an original CANON. Without getting too technical about sensor size etc, as I ahev suggested before, you have to consider some issues, and prioritise them according to your needs.

    1.Light Conditions : If you are going to take pics at functions, they may be at night, or in low light conditions, so the best would be to get a lens with a low F stop number, F2,8 is brilliant. Some lenses have an increasing F stop number as the lens is zoomed in, so if you had a lens with a 70mm to 200mm zoom range, the lens may start off at 2,8 at 70mm, but as you zoom to 200mm, the f stop could end up at 5,6….or what ever (all lenses are different) You do however get lenses that offer a 2,8 F-stop right through the entire zoom range, which is the best bet, but obviously more expensive.If this is your primary concern, then I would recommend you have a look at the new Tamron SP AF70-200 F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO or the SIGMA 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG MACRO HSM II. These lens have a 77mm Filter Diameter (TAMRON), lets in enough light, so it will give you the speed you want in darker conditions. The F-stop is critical for the speed of the lens in low light conditions. The only problem with this lens is that you cant zoom in below 70mm, but that the sacrifice you have to make to get an F-stop of 2,8, RIGHT THROUGH THE LENS ZOOM RANGE!! These lenses are however not cheap, but you will be absolutely thrilled, and will NEVER regret the money you spent on it.(I personally like the look of the Sigma here.)

    2. If you are always going to take foto’s in excellent, bright light, then the F stop would be less of a problem, and you could settle on a cheaper lens with a higher overall F-stop number. This would also allow you to get a lens with a larger zoom range, including rather wide zoom ranges also, which makes for a ideal lens if you only want to fit one lens and use it for all you foto’s. Here I suggest that you have a look at the Tamron 18-250mm. Theis lens have a very wide zoom range, so you can do close up’s, macro pictures, and go all the way up to 200mm zoom range, at the sacrifice of having a higher F-stop number though. So clearly this lens will not focus fast in low light conditions, and will probably give you many out of focus pictures, if used extensively in low light conditions. The great thing is that you can always use a flash (CANON EX430 = GOOD : CANON EX580 MK2 = EXCELLENT) with this lens for photo’s where the subject is some meters away from you (Distance = Flash specific), and you will get clear pictures at any time. The downside is that no flash will be of benefit if you are trying to take pictures of an object far away, as the flash light will not reach the object and surrounding area suffciently well.

    PS : So the decision is about light, and your requirements. If you want a cheap lens that covers a very wide zoom range, but may need a flash is poor light conditions, the Tamron 18-250mm is your bet, in combination with the EX430MK2 Canon flash, which is very good and affordable, then it illiminates the poor light issue for closer subjetcs. There is however a few trick on how to use a flash correctly, if you need to know more, just ask.

    If you want a lens that will be used only for Zoom applications, above 70mm, in good light conditions(Starts at around the max range of the lens you got with the 450D, so it will be a good match!)the I suggest the SIGMA 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG MACRO HSM II, it is however pricy, but not half as pricy as the original Canon equivalent, and just as good, if not better.

    I hope this is not too confusing, and may be of some assistance to you.

    Kind Regards,

    Herman.

  18. hi..can anyone in the u.k tell me what the canons 70-300mm lenses sell for..I’m based in south africa and i am interested in buying 1 but perhaps i can get relatives to bring it down if they r cheaper there..they are based in manchester..thanx

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