Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I have just received for Xmas a Canon 650d kit with an 18 - 55 mm IS II and a 55-250 mm IS II lens. Always had an interest so I feel very blessed and luckily my fiance also included a one day DSLR course so I can learn the basics.

Will these two lenses be adequate enough to cover my honeymoon in Amsterdam, France and Italy for 6 weeks? I am very interested in travel photography and felt quite frustrated in Vietnam due to the limitations I experienced with my instant camera, hence the upgrade (yipee!). I imagine that landscapes and architecture will play a big theme but I especially love capturing every day life in people and the surroundings so I will need to cover all with these two. I am a little nervous whether either of these will be good enough in low light conditions such as inside churches where a flash may not be used etc.

I am happy to play with my camera and get used to it and see what it produces with these lenses but if I need to add another lens, happy to do so but will not have a huge budget to do it.

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Related: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/22285/… –  Bart Arondson Dec 25 '12 at 21:55
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These "kit lenses" are a great start. You'll eventually want more, but at that point, you'll know what you want. –  mattdm Dec 25 '12 at 22:04
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You'll enjoy them, they are a great start. After a year or two, don't be surprised if you want to spend $1000 per lens on things like the 17-55 F2.8. But don't worry for now. use them and enjoy. You can take great photos with them. Just remember, they are fairly slow, so they may not work inside some dark places. If the church has good windows, you'll be fine. –  Pat Farrell Dec 25 '12 at 23:05
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I will add another 50mm f1.8, its a great lens and don't cost much but it will take great shots for your honeymoon which you definitely will want to have :D –  jonleech Dec 26 '12 at 2:51
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4 Answers 4

Given this is your first time with a DSLR, and given what you want to do, these 2 lenses will be plenty enough.

Now, when you will have experience with this setup, you may feel limited by your lenses, but this will greatly depend on how you will use them and what you want to do. So wait for when you will feel limited, this time will come and you'll know what you want.

Too many lenses will confuse you, and also slow you from improving. You don't start learning to play music by learning every instrument that exist. You don't even buy every kind of guitar that exist at first, and you don't learn every music style too, because that would discourage you and confuse you. But using a lens extensively you'll know it very well, and when trying a friends' lens (for example) you'll see immediately what you are missing (or not).

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Thank you Matthieu for you honest feedback. I am aiming to get as much experience with my new lenses as often over the next 4 months for this very reason so if I feel adding another lense will be to much, I will certainly consider your advice. And of course I will be going to a workshop or two to learn the more technical aspects as well as going out on my own excursions. Really good advice around testing friend's lenses and I have just the person for that :D –  Stacey Dec 28 '12 at 3:13
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I had those sames lenses with a 1000d while traveling throughout Europe almost two years ago and the pictures I got were good for looking at and remember what were there, but not fantastic show off your photographic skill type pictures (because I was new and my skill were limited to pressing the shutter button). The range you have is good and the IS helps with the low light. However, I would recommend you get a monopod to help stabilize your shots (a tripod would be better, but they're heavier and more cumbersome and probably not allowed in most places). Don't ever use your pop up flash in a church (it's obnoxious and it won't help) and I'd recommend that you get a dedicated flash (430ex II or better) and even an ETTL cord (though still don't use flashes in churches) because that will really propel your photographs more than a lens upgrade will (in my opinion).

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I'm going to get directly to the point

No, I think that both EF-S 18-55 and EF-S 55-250 are not ideal for architecture photography.

But you didn't mention anything about your budget, how much is not too much for you? basically you gonna need a wide lens for architecture photography, wider than 18mm. however they may be good/acceptable for street and landscape photography.

It seems that you're willing to learn, so I don't see why you don't start with a good lens, there is no reason to stick to those lenses for your start, well of course if you're willing to pay a little extra.

So here what I would do if that was my camera:

I would sell those two lenses, add something to it and get one wider lens, maybe brighter too!

Here are my choices:

But I'm not in your place! you really should decide based on your budget, if you can afford a good lens now, there is no reason to wait until you learn more about your camera.

Now just forget everything I said!!!

Do your own research!

A very good way to learn about photography and your camera is to start researching about it.

Take a look at these reviews:

And don't forget to search these lenses on Flickr or pbase.com to see some sample photos.

Good luck!

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Wow! Great site for reviews so thank you so much Omne! I have done some research but not understanding the technical aspects of photography has kind of limited me. I have now just spent over an hour reading about the 3 pillars of photography after seeing the reviews you provided as the authors are quite technical (which is great). Am now going to go and read some more so much appreciated and I appreciate your feedback too :D –  Stacey Dec 28 '12 at 4:25
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You did not mention the apertures of the lenses, but as far as I can tell they are 3.5-5.6 and 4.0-5.6. This is a bit narrow, but as both has image stabilization built in you should be able to get usable shots, at least as long as you stay on the wide end.

You can pay more for wider aperture, but as long as you are shooting things that do not move (such as insides of churches) the stabilization features of your current lenses may be just as useful.

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