/ Your favourite climbing lens?

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Jordan Senior - on 01 Jun 2012
I'm looking at investing 300-400 on a new lens for my 550d.

I'm currently torn between getting a wide angle zoom for dramatic scenic shots, or a telephoto for more intimate climbing shots.

I'm finding it hard to decide on a lens that can achieve both (or close too)

Which lens stays on your camera the most for climbing photos?

Hannes on 01 Jun 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior: There's a couple of 18-125 lenses from sigma at that price point. I have an older one that I use but I'm not all that happy with it. The AF isn't great and the pictures aren't as crisp as you might want. The amount of zoom is handy though, its reasonably light and the newer ones have image stabiliser while being a reasonably priced. You basically get what you pay for
Justin T - on 01 Jun 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior:

What do you already have?

I got the Canon 18-135 in place of the 18-55 kit and quite pleased with it - enough zoom for most climbing situations. Also have a Tokina 11-16 which is great but doesn't see much action for climbing shots.
Sir Percy on 01 Jun 2012 - 94-195-177-100.zone9.bethere.co.uk
In reply to Jordan Senior:

Sigma 10-20 new, or Canon 70-200 f/4 L (non-IS) second hand.
Sir Percy on 01 Jun 2012 - 94-195-177-100.zone9.bethere.co.uk
In reply to Sir Percy:

Actually, scrub the 70-200L non-IS, get the 70-300 IS USM non-L version (300ish 2nd hand).

The IS is excellent, and it's only half a stop slower up to 200mm ish.
Jordan Senior - on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to quadmyre:
I currently have the kit lens and a canon 50mm 1.8.

how does the image quality of the 18-135mm compare to the kit lens? if its not much better maybe save up for a second hand L lens?

Are the big telephotos too big for crag use? i would like something that i can climb/abseil down with.
Skyfall - on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior:

I have to admit I don't use my dSLR at the crag very much and switch to a good compact.

However, for general use in the hills I have a 70-200L f4 which is a superb lens if you are a little distant from the action but I wouldn't have thought it was ideal if you were closer in. For a long lens the f4 non IS version is quite light and it's not too bulky. So you can carry it about but it would probably be a pain to ab with nonetheless. The f2.8L IS version is much heavier and bulkier (and v pricey).

I've also just got a canon 10-22 which I am loving but it would be too wide for general crag use - you need to get in very close to the action. Really good for some specfic dramatic shots mind.

I'd have thought a mid range zoom (with wide angle capability) would be better - also so that you don't need to be changing lenses too often in windy/dusty conditions. I currently use a Tamron 18-55 f2.8 which, for the money, was an excellent buy. The canon version is supposed to be v good but is 800 and I don't think you really need IS if you have a fairly fast mid range zoom. Probably useful for the 18-135 at the long end though.

How about a quality lens like the canon 17-40L or even the 24-105L IS? Maybe 2nd hand to bring them within your range? Both compatible if you ever change to full frame.
Skyfall - on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior:

try this thread with some posts from peopple who knoew their onions..

What Goes Up - on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior: I'd be quite tempted by a second-hand Canon 15-85 at this price point. A really good range, nice and wide at one end but still nough for a decent zoom in when you need it (especially as you've got a cropped sensor which will actually turn it into about a 24-120-ish). When I had a play with one a while back it looked like a really nice piece of kit, great image quality. Only thing you're lacking really is a wide aperture if that's important to you.
Fraser on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to What Goes Up:

That sounds a pretty good suggestion to me. Personally, it's usually the Sigma 10-20 const. f3.5 but I only go down to about 12mm, (on a cropped sensor.)
ben_xxlxxl69 on 19 Jun 2012 - cpc6-lich11-2-0-cust606.3-2.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to Jordan Senior: I love my Tamron 18-270mm, a tad pricy and weighs more than the planet itself, but 18 to 270mm with image stability, I've not taken mine off my camera since I brought it
Rhys Jones - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior: Another vote for Canon 15-85. I have one of my 500D and I never take it off. Great range, and when you're on a belay with someone you can get wide enough take a photo of more than just a slice of their helmet and shoulder. Likewise you can get just enough zoom to pick out a climber near the top of a pitch.
Max Harms on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior: if you want a good telephoto the canon 55-250 with is is very good, i got mine last week and love it.

you can usually fine good deals for it on ebay
Paul Evans - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior:
Vast majority of my climbing shots are taken with a Pentax 16-45; when I need more reach I use a Pentax 24-90, both on a cropped sensor camera. I'm aiming to take shots which show not only the climber but also give a feel of the route, so the wideangle works for me. If you were just doing closeups of figures then you'd want something less wideangle and more tele.

Kai - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior:

My favorite is my Olympus 9-18mm zoom, which I use on a m4/3 camera, so it has a field of view equivalent to a 18-36mm in 35mm/full frame.

The best thing about this lens is that it is very small and compact, so it's easily portable when climbing.
Andy S - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Jordan Senior: just been reading through and the canon 15-85 sounds ideal! I wish nikon made a 15-85 - I'd snap one up instantly!

Most climbing shots I find myself rarely using the wide end, suprisingly I think. I'm nearly always zoomed in as far as my 18-55 will allow. Occasional wide shots if you can call 18mm wide, but I don't think I've ever wanted wider than that when climbing - there would usually be too much 'clutter' in the shot.

So a 10-20 lens would see little use when climbing and a telephoto would only be useful for zooming in to capture your climbing partner's gurns.

The 15-85 I reckon would be the perfect lens for climbing with and I'm very perturbed that I can't get one for my Nikon!
David Ponting on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Andy S: You can - it's called the 16-85! (Canon use a 1.6x crop factor, whereas we use a 1.5x; 16x1.5 = 15x1.6 = 24mm). The lens I really envy is the 70-200/4, actually!

Back to the OP, I'd definitely recommend the 15-85 as an all rounder, though if Canon make a 28-200 or similar (Nikon's is a tiny little plastic thing, smaller than a 55-200), that plus a 10-22 works nicely as a two-lens pair.
Rhys Jones - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to David Ponting: canon do make an 18-200. Quite a big lump for climbing compared to the stumpy 15-85 but good nonetheless http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001E97GIA/ref=asc_df_B001E97GIA8608417?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=googl...
David Ponting on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to Rhys Jones: I wasn't thinking that - Nikon do one too, and the IQ is apparently severely compromised by the long range - but an equivalent to this: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/28200g.htm (300g, and an inch shorter than the 55-200 VR)! I find it really useful, since it goes from the wide end of normal (on APS-C/DX) to a long tele.

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