I would like to purchase a DSLR. Please note that this is my first DSLR camera and I am a poor graduate student so I am foregoing almost 6 months of warm dinner to purchase this.

I have decided to buy the Canon EOS 60D (body only) as my first camera. However I am a little confused about the lens I should buy as I get a lot of suggestions.

I know I want to get a prime lens (more specifically Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens) for my close range and portrait mode photography. But I will also like to buy a zoom lens for capturing natural scenes and group photos and maybe the occasional Buckeye football game.

Can anyone suggest a good lens that will serve all around without substantially overdrawing my bank account ? Something in the $250-$300 range will be fine.

Or should I just go for the stock 18-55mm Lens that Canon gives with a lot of its camera.

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    \$\begingroup\$ At this price range, go for a stock lens. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ which one ? The Canon 18-135mm Kit lens?? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what you mean by natural scenes but the 50mm f1.8 will do just fine for group portraits, just take a few steps back. It sounds like you want a "do everything" lens, which isn't practical unless you either want to greatly sacrifice image quality or your price range. At that price range you are better off buying a prosumer "super zoom" camera and not a DSLR. Try the Canon PowerShot SX510 or similar. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 2:27
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ No lens about 50-55 mm is going to do a good job of shooting a football game, even if you have a sideline press pass. If your budget is that tight, just give up on that idea. the kit or 50 prime will do fine at taking shots of the fans tailgating at the game, but you'll need a lot more length to capture exciting shots of the game's play. For a tight budget, buy the kit lens with the body, they often are thrown in for zero. I bought a T4i as a gift, and with the kit lens was cheaper than the body only. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 3:32

2 Answers 2


Stick with the thrifty-fifty until you have enough money to get good food and the lens. Your health is more valuable than getting the shots you want, plus the 50mm should be enough for now. If you're set on getting a zoom, I'd go used especially at your budget.

You mentioned Buckeye football, so I'll assume you go to OSU. There's a good used photography place up near Clintonville called Columbus Camera Group that has some pretty good gear, plus they cut good deals for students. Midwest Photo Exchange up on High also has some really nice used gear (I bought my D300 there, got a very good deal), plus the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you thats a great suggestion. Plus I didn't know about the great used camera places. I will definitely take a look there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 14:01

The 50mm f/1.8 is a nice lens for the price but it has it's limitations.

The problems I have with my 50mm f/1.8 are:

  1. It has extremely slow auto-focus, especially in low-ish light (like indoors) - to the point it's hard to catch kids running around, not a problem for portraits but it's difficult to use it on anything that is moving unexpectedly (if you can't prepare and pre-focus).

  2. 50mm on an APS-C camera (like the 60D) is a little too tight for general indoor use for my taste, great for head and shoulders portraits but you will find yourself limited by room size for full length and group shots (meaning you are limited in where you stand and where you put your subject, you lose a lot of control if you always need to place the subjects right next to a wall), also, it's practically useless to capture the atmosphere of the entire room (unless you can stage everything or you are very good at framing your shots).

  3. 50mm is also too wide for things that are traditionally shot with a tele lens - forget sports, forget wildlife (also forget animals at the zoo unless the poor animals are in a bad zoo with really small cages), etc.

I recommend getting a kit zoom at well as the 50mm, they aren't the best lenses ever made but they are good enough for a hobbyist and are very versatile, you can get the 18-55 for cheap with the camera or for next to nothing used, the 18-135 is better if you have the budget.

If I want to take a staged portrait I go for the 50mm, but as a general walkabout lens I use the 18-135 and most days the 50mm stays in the bag (I know preferring a consumer zoom over a prime makes me an horrible person or something but the fast auto-focus and extra reach of the zoom lets me easily take pictures I wouldn't be able to take with the 50mm).

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a 60D + 18-135mm Kit lens bundle that sells for $1000. I think thats a good option. What do you use as a substitute for the 50mm f/1.8 ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rajaditya_m 60D+18-135 for $1000 sounds good (its cheaper than I got my 550D+18-135 a few years ago), I have the 50mm f/1.8 but rarely use it, I just don't like 50mm (on APS-C) that much, it's a taste/style thing, I like the 30mm-35mm range and when I have some free cash I'm going to buy a prime in that range (and the 70-200 f/4L for the tele end) \$\endgroup\$
    – Nir
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 14:15

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