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I am a beginner wanting to start learning photography. Which of the following EOS 1300D kits is better for a beginner?

Both include the same first lens. For one kit the second lens is the Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II. The other kit includes the Tamron 70-300mm (complete spec mentioned in brackets below) instead. The price of both these combinations is nearly same.

I don't understand many of the terms related to lenses. I guess the Canon lens is a telephoto zoom lens but the Tamron says Macro. I need zoom. So please guide which one is better.

Canon EOS 1300D with EF-S 18-55mm IS II plus either a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II or a Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro.

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    They're both telephoto zooms, but the Tamron has a switch to allow closer focus over 180mm, giving it a macro functionality too. – Tetsujin Dec 10 '17 at 11:03
  • Thanks. This tamron lens has better zoom than canon 55-250 ? – Vijendra Parashar Dec 10 '17 at 14:12
  • You'd have to define what you mean by 'better'. – Tetsujin Dec 10 '17 at 14:47
  • By better I mean which of the two can zoom to a larger distance. Or if you could just tell me which one is a better supplement to the kit lens of above mentioned 1300d. Or if ypu can just have a look at this link and tell me which one should I buy. dpreview.com/products/compare/… – Vijendra Parashar Dec 10 '17 at 16:25
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This really comes down to which you will find more useful, the features of the Canon EF 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II or of the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro. Both lenses have advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other. It's up to you to decide which are more important for you.

Advantages of the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II

  • The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II has image stabilization good for about 3 stops. The Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro has no image stabilization.
  • Picks up right where the 55m longest focal length of the 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the EOS 1300D ends. This gives you continuous coverage from 18-250mm in a two lens combination. When combined with the 18-55mm kit lens the Tamron leaves you with a 'gap' between 55-70mm.
  • As a lens manufactured by Canon, it will be compatible with all APS-C format Canon EOS cameras made to date and into the foreseeable future. Third party lenses are reverse engineered and can sometimes be incompatible with newer models. Such lenses can often be brought back up-to-date with a firmware update if the third party lensmakers makes such an update available.1
  • Canon lenses tend to AF more consistently than third party lenses used on Canon bodies.
  • The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II is a newer design introduced in 2011, although it is optically identical to the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS introduced in 2007. The "II" version has improved IS as well as cosmetic updates. This compares to the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD that was introduced in 2006 but was based on the older Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD introduced in the mid-1990s.

  • The Canon 55-250mm lens is a bit smaller and lighter than the Tamron 70-300mm lens. The 55-250mm is 70x108 mm (diameter x length) and weighs 390g. The 70-300mm is 77x117mm and weighs 435g.

Advantages of the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD:

  • Longest focal length is 300mm, compared to 250mm for the Canon lens.
  • Maximum magnification at minimum focus distance (macro) is 0.5X, compared to 0.31X for the Canon lens. With the 'Macro' switch set to 'Normal' on the Tamron lens the MM is 0.25X.
  • The Tamron 70-300mm lens projects a larger full frame sized image circle and can be used on either Canon APS-C or FF camera bodies. The Canon 55-250mm is an APS-C only lens and can not be used on FF bodies. This makes absolutely no difference when using either lens with the APS-C Canon EOS 1300D.

First, let's get some definitions out of the way. Both of these lenses are telephoto zoom lenses. The Canon zooms from a focal length of 55mm to a focal length of 250mm. The Tamron zooms from a focal length of 70mm to a focal length of 300mm. Neither is a 'true' Macro lens, but the Tamron gets a bit closer in that respect than the Canon does.

The Canon gives you a slightly wider field of view on the short end that segues nicely from the longest focal length of the 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the EOS 1300D. In two lenses you have every focal length from 18mm to 250mm covered. The 55mm minimum focal length of the Canon EF-S 55-250mm is about 25% wider than the 70mm minimum focal length of the Tamron 70-300mm.

The Tamron leaves you with a gap between 55m and 70mm. You may or may not find focal lengths between 55-70mm useful. Some of us do, others don't. In return, the Tamron zooms all the way to 300mm compared to 250mm for the Canon. That's 20% further on the long end. At non-macro distances if you zoom all the way to 300mm and can fill the frame with your subject using the Tamron, using the Canon lens at 250mm from the same shooting position would leave your subject filling only 80% of the frame.

Just because a manufacturer puts the word 'Macro' in the model name of a telephoto zoom lens doesn't mean it is a true Macro lens.² The Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro only has a maximum magnification of 0.50X. That's significantly more than the MM of most 70-300mm f/4-5.6 zooms that top out at about 0.20X-0.30X. But it is still only half of the 1.0X that we typically expect from true Macro lenses which also tend to be single focal length (prime) lenses. The Canon EF 55-250mm f/-5.6 IS II has a MM of 0.31X. Due to the way the Tamron is designed, using that extra magnification can be kind of a hassle and more than a bit confusing to some users. To get into the lens' minimum focus distance/maximum magnification range, the lens needs to already be zoomed beyond 180mm and then the 'Macro' switch must be moved from "Normal' to 'Macro'. When the switch is in the 'Macro' position, the lens can not be physically zoomed back out past 180mm. To move the switch back to 'Normal' the lens can not be focused closer than 1.5m (closest focus in 'Macro' mode is at 0.95m).³ Sigma makes a similarly designed 70-200mm 'Macro' zoom that operates in much the same way. Both of these basic designs are at least a couple of decades old. I bought the Sigma version back in the 1990s and it had been around a while then.

So what does that mean? It means at the closest focusing distance for each lens the 70-300mm can project an image onto the camera's sensor that is 0.5X as large as the actual size of the object being imaged. The 55-250mm can only project an image 0.31X as large. If you are taking a picture of a 20mm (3/4 inch) tall object, you can make the image of it projected onto the sensor 10mm tall using the 70-300mm lens and 6.2mm tall using the 55-250mm lens. If you enlarge both of those images 10X to be viewed at a size of about 9x6 inches (22.3x14.9 centimeters) the object would be 4 inches/10 cm tall vs. 2.5 inches/6.2 cm tall for the Tamron and Canon lenses, respectively.

Using the '1/effective focal length' rule of thumb, the Canon 55-250mm lens can be used handheld at 250mm down to shutter speeds of about 1/100 second before blur from camera shake becomes a concern. With no image stabilization, the Tamron 70-300mm lens would be limited to about 1/500 second or faster when handheld using the 300mm focal length. To use shutter speeds longer/slower than 1/500 second at 300mm with the Tamron lens necessitates the use of a tripod or other form of stable support. The same threshold is not reached using the Canon 55-250mm lens at 250mm until 1/100 second. At the other end of the focal lengths, the threshold for the image stabilized Canon lens at 55mm would be about 1/10 second. For the non-stabilized Tamron lens at 70mm the same threshold is about 1/100 second.

Outdoors in bright sunlight either camera can be handheld without worrying about blur caused by camera motion. Indoors in very low light neither can be used handheld without risking camera motion induced blur. But in medium light levels, such as a very cloudy day or in well lit indoor areas, the Canon lens can still be used handheld without fear of blur from camera shake while the Tamron lens probably can't.

Finally, it should be noted that both Canon and Tamron have introduced newer lens models comparable to these two lenses. The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is a completely new and improved optical design with improved IS and an STM AF motor that allows for full-time manual focusing, even when the MF/AF switch is set to 'Autofocus'. The Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC is also a completely new optical design that offers image stabilization and FT manual focusing.

¹ The Sigma 70-300mm I bought back in the 1990s works fine with older film EOS cameras but is not fully compatible with Digital EOS bodies. Setting the aperture value to anything other than wide open causes the body to lock up on digital EOS bodies. This is not at all uncommon when using older third party lenses on newer camera bodies.
² Macro lenses typically have a maximum magnification ratio of 1:1 or 1.0X. They also tend to be very well corrected for field curvature and are usually tuned to be at their best optically at the lens' minimum focus distance.
³ Stories abound of owners of such lenses bringing them into repair shops as "broken" because they can't get the 'Macro' switch to move to the 'Normal' position when the lens is focused at the MFD.

  • Sir while answering the question, you made a lot of concepts clearer to me. I wasn't even expecting an answer seeing the downvotes it was getting. People should explain in comments why they downvoted. I am new to stack exchange and I'd love to know what's wrong with the question. Thank you sir for one of the most amazing comparisons I have ever read. I would go with canon 55-250. :) – Vijendra Parashar Dec 11 '17 at 16:47
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    The reasons for the downvotes was likely related to the way you asked the question. "What should I buy" is specifically off topic here. "What are the differences between lens A and lens B for doing x type of photography" is more acceptable, which is how I chose to answer the question. – Michael C Dec 11 '17 at 17:02
  • Good to know. Also, earlier I included the two screenshots(you could probably see in the edit history of the question) of the camera and its lens kits. I later deleted these. Should these type of screenshots from e-commerce platforms be aaded or not? – Vijendra Parashar Dec 11 '17 at 17:13
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    @VijendraParashar They should definitely not be included. Just tell us what are the different models you are considering, what type of photography you want to use them for, and ask how using each will be different from the other. Such questions are usually tolerated, even if they are not outright embraced by everyone. – Michael C Dec 11 '17 at 18:25
  • Its been almost an year. Just to let u know, I've finally purchased Eos 1500d with 18-55 and 55-250 kit lens. One month of usage. I've learnt a lot. Excited for the journey ahead. – Vijendra Parashar Oct 26 '18 at 18:33

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