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As a hobbyist-level photographer, will I be ok with somewhat older lenses?

Hey all, I've been meaning to get around to shooting more lately and have been realizing that one of the restrictions I face is that I only have a single lens, which is my 50mm 1.8. I have a 5DII, an aging, but still perfectly functional body for what I use it for, and I can't help but think that I need a more functional lens to start exploring different styles as well as for the sake of all around versatility when it comes to shooting.

I suppose my question is as such: will lenses that are a generation or two older than the most recent iterations work well, as in, will I be able to produce quality images with them? I know a lot of this comes down to conditions in which the images are shot, but generally speaking, will older lenses perform well for casual photography? I am thinking on the premise that if they used to be considered high enough quality for professional or semi-professional use when they were new, certainly they should be hobbyist-grade as they have been proceeded once or twice. As I mentioned, this is mainly a smaller hobby for me so I don't really care to spend tons of money on it, so I figured if I could pick up used past-generation glass for good prices, then I'd enjoy going out and shooting more, as I'd have a more versatile range in the things I can shoot because as you can probably imagine, 50mm gets rather restrictive in quite a few scenarios.

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it really depends, there's some good old glass and some not so good old glass.
I wouldn't look at the age or generation of the lens, but the performance. It could be that some third party offerings from tamron, sigma and co will be better while newer and at the sime price point than older canon glass.
Just pick a desired lens and plow through reviews.

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2 minutes ago, 19_blackie_73 said:

it really depends, there's some good old glass and some not so good old glass.
I wouldn't look at the age or generation of the lens, but the performance. It could be that some third party offerings from tamron, sigma and co will be better while newer and at the sime price point than older canon glass.
Just pick a desired lens and plow through reviews.

Funnily enough, this is what I just started doing after I made this post. I came across a 24-70 2.8 from Tamron. I'm going to look around and see if there is a place near me where I can hopefully get my hands on one in order to see how it performs and whether or not I like shooting with it. In terms of fast 24-70 lenses, would you happen to have any recommendations to look at further?

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1 minute ago, Swndlr said:

Funnily enough, this is what I just started doing after I made this post. I came across a 24-70 2.8 from Tamron. I'm going to look around and see if there is a place near me where I can hopefully get my hands on one in order to see how it performs and whether or not I like shooting with it. In terms of fast 24-70 lenses, would you happen to have any recommendations to look at further?

no particular lens as I'm not a canon and fullframe shooter, but the youtube channel christopher frost photography tests a lot of lenses for canon, so this might be a good ressource.

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Just now, 19_blackie_73 said:

no particular lens as I'm not a canon and fullframe shooter, but the youtube channel christopher frost photography tests a lot of lenses for canon, so this might be a good ressource.

I just watched his video on the lens lol. He seems to give it a positive review and he reviewed it from a more technical perspective. I want to believe the categories that he harped on it for would be less critical in a casual scenario. Will continue my research. Thank you for the help!

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2 minutes ago, Swndlr said:

I just watched his video on the lens lol. He seems to give it a positive review and he reviewed it from a more technical perspective. I want to believe the categories that he harped on it for would be less critical in a casual scenario. Will continue my research. Thank you for the help!

no problem :) If you find one, have fun with the new one :)

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Christopher Frost is great if you concentrate on the facts of the review and disregard the opinions, simply because he is too nice, I've never seen him give a bad review, he just likes everything;P

 

The tamron you are talking about, is it the SP 24-70mm  f/2.8 VC? Those were considered quite good and I do have the 70-200mm of that series myself. 

 

The truth is, ti depends on the particular lens and what you'll use it for, on what body etc. For instance imperfections may not be visible on a 20mp body for a particular lens, but may be way too visible on a 50mp 5dsr. Or the 85mm for instance, the 1.2 is amazingly sharp and a 1.2, but was always plagued by the frustratingly slow AF. so many would use the 85mm 1.8 for concert photography or faster moving action because it could keep up, even though it obviously was less sharp than the 1.2. 

 

It might also be useful to look at the dxomark page to compare, but those stats are way too technical and sometimes inconsequential. 

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2 hours ago, cc143 said:

Christopher Frost is great if you concentrate on the facts of the review and disregard the opinions, simply because he is too nice, I've never seen him give a bad review, he just likes everything;P

 

The tamron you are talking about, is it the SP 24-70mm  f/2.8 VC? Those were considered quite good and I do have the 70-200mm of that series myself. 

 

The truth is, ti depends on the particular lens and what you'll use it for, on what body etc. For instance imperfections may not be visible on a 20mp body for a particular lens, but may be way too visible on a 50mp 5dsr. Or the 85mm for instance, the 1.2 is amazingly sharp and a 1.2, but was always plagued by the frustratingly slow AF. so many would use the 85mm 1.8 for concert photography or faster moving action because it could keep up, even though it obviously was less sharp than the 1.2. 

 

It might also be useful to look at the dxomark page to compare, but those stats are way too technical and sometimes inconsequential. 

Thank you for the input. I didn't get a chance to do a ton of research last night beyond the Tamron but it really is looking like a great package for what I'd use it for (again, very casual street and friend use) and I do really wanna search one down for the right price assuming I don't find a better package for a similar price.

I forgot about dxomark too, I'll definitely use it as a resource.

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I think you'll be fine. Two of my best lenses are a Tamron 300/2.8 60B (1984-1992) and an old Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestor 135/2.8 "bokeh monster" made East Germany back in the 50s/60s.

 

I had a 300/4 L non-IS for a while. This boat anchor Tamron 300/2.8 is just as sharp when "pixel peeping".

 

Granted, there are some real turds out there. But as long as you do you're research first, you'll be fine. Once you have your eye's set on something, go look at KEH and see if they have one. Between KEH, Adorama and BH, KEH has the most conservative ratings when it comes to used lenses.

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On 11/19/2018 at 4:39 PM, Swndlr said:

Thank you for the input. I didn't get a chance to do a ton of research last night beyond the Tamron but it really is looking like a great package for what I'd use it for (again, very casual street and friend use) and I do really wanna search one down for the right price assuming I don't find a better package for a similar price.

I forgot about dxomark too, I'll definitely use it as a resource.

Another solution, which may even be preferrable in your case, is picking up a couple of primes. I find that the combination of a 35mm and 85mm cover most situations on full frame. Sure the zoom will be more versatile, but the primes will mostly end up being sharper and have a wider aperture. They may even end up being lighter overall, so if you have no issue with changing lenses, an 85 1.8 and 28mm 1.8 or 35 f/2 may be a better choice overall. 

 

When travelling I find that the 35mm 1.4 spends most time on my camera, and the 24-105 or 17-40mm is used in rare situations where I need the extra reach or a wider angle. I have also travelled with the 24-105 and 50mm 1.4. I find that the IS and extra 35mm on the 24-105 are mostly more useful than the extra stop on the 24-70, although I usually carry a prime anyway for environmental portraits and street stuff. Especially for street photography, if you eliminate zooming from the mix it changes the experience and may even get you better results.  

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If you're shooting Canon, I'd say these are the two best approaches

1) Go for older L series glass. I shot with the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (Mk I) for years and loved it. Same with the 17-40mm f/4 L USM. I currently shoot with the 70-200mm f/4 L USM (non-IS) and it's a fantastic lens. All of these can be had for a decent price.

 

2) Go for newer third party glass like Sigma art/sport/contemporary and the newer Tamrons. They're both doing really well these days in terms of image quality, build quality, and price.

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