Feb 17, 201870 views

Just bough my first DSLR, having some questions about the lenses...HELP!

I'm starting to get into photography, and I just bough a Canon Rebel T3I.
It came with 3 lenses:
- 50mm (EF 1:1:8 II)
- 18-55mm (EFS)
- 75-300MM (f/1.4-5.6)
My main goal here is to learn more about those lenses, and hopefully get some suggestions on what lenses should I get for my need. I want to do travel photography, and portrait of people while traveling. By travel photography, I mostly mean landscapes, mountains, wildlife, etc.
From my research, none of the lenses I own are good for landscape photography because they are not wide enough. I am on a low budget, does anyone have any idea on what wide lens should I buy?
From what I understood, the 50mm is good for low light situation and portrait. Not so sure about the 18-55mm...
And the 75-300MM is just a mega zoom. Would that be good for wildlife?
I'd really like to get more information about those lenses, and let me know if I should buy another one. Like I said I'm not willing to spend 1k on a new lens for now as I'm just learning, but I still would like to take some pretty awesome landscape pictures!
Thanks so much for the help,
Cam :-)

All super good advice here. The only thing I can add is an exercise:
Before you go traveling, pick a month to play. At the beginning of each of the first three weeks, stick a different lens on your camera and only use that lens for that week. Make a point of bringing your camera with you everywhere you go and using it every chance you get.
At the end of each day, curate your photos ruthlessly. For every 36 you make, pick one favorite. Only one. By the end of each week you'll have (at least) seven photos you picked out of everything you did. If you can, print those and hang them on your wall. Mix them around so you don't have them grouped by focal length.
On the fourth week, each day before you leave the house, look at your photo wall and soak it in. Based on what you plan to do that day, pick one lens for the day. At the end of the day, curate ruthlessly and pick one favorite. Add it to the wall and don't use that lens the next day. Pick a different one.
By the time you've finished the month, you'll be able to think in terms of each of your focal lengths and will know what the world looks like through the viewfinder when each lens is attached. Plus, you'll have a portfolio worth hanging on your wall.
With those three lenses I would say you're set. Since you're just starting out It's not worth it to buy any lenses just yet. The 18-55 kit lens is great for starters and is definitely wide enough for landscapes. As for your 50mm, that is a lens professionals use. It's the perfect lens for portraits and street photography (if that's something you'd be interested in). On top of that you also have a 75-300mm which, like you said, would be good for wildlife photography since you need that range. If I were you I'd play around with these lenses and see how it goes, then once you get more experience you can decide if you need more.
That's a good selection of lenses. I wouldn't recommend buying any more lenses until you're certain that your art is being held back by the lack of a lens.
Start with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. It's the lens that normally came with that camera body and covers a very useful range. It should work well for landscape photography. If you need to go wider, you can probably stitch multiple shots together. There are certainly better lenses available in this zoom range, but they'd be hard to justify at this point.
Next, learn about portrait photography and depth of field with the 50mm f/1.8 lens. Place yourself about 2 meters (6 feet) from your subject. Across a table works well. Switch the camera to Av (aperture priority) and dial in f/1.8. Focus on your subject's eyes, reframe, and shoot a great portrait. Notice how the small aperture number makes the background go way out of focus.
Finally, take some wildlife shots with the 75-300mm lens. This lens was originally sold as a low cost telephoto for film SLRs, so it may not be the sharpest. Many wildlife photographers want a longer focal length and wider aperture, both of which add to the size, weight, and cost of a lens.
You may want to buy some spare batteries. If the batteries you have are original to the camera, they may not hold a charge very well and it's always nice to have spares.
Thank you so much!
It makes it all clearer!
Good idea for the spare batteries! Cheers :)
I am a Nikon user so I do not have specific knowledge of any of the Canon lenses. But here is what I can tell you in a general sense.
Your camera body has an APS-C size sensor, normally called a DX size. It is about 75% the area size of a full-frame 35mm FX size. Because of this your lens' apparent focal length do not measure the same way as they do for the full 35mm frame size. You adjust for reference by multiplying your lens focal length by 1.6.
Your 50mm f1.8 is considered to be "normal" lens on FX format, meaning it is about the focal length of what your eyes see things as. However on the DX format it is 50mm x 1.6 = 80mm. That is telephoto length on your camera. The good news is that this length is pretty good for taking portraits of people, and the f1.8 aperture allows you to blur the background for pleasing results. Bad news, it does not work out so much as a "photograph what you see" kind of lens like a 30mm prime lens would.
The 18-55mm is a good range for landscapes, and can be your "normal" lens when zoomed in the 28-35mm range. It is likely the original kit lens that came with the camera. Kind of a basic lens that does not stop-down to the larger aperture sizes like that f1.8 50mm lens does. It will get the job done for outdoor landscapes I'm sure. There are wider lenses for DX format, but the prices jump up.
75-300mm is a long telephoto range, as you think it is. I believe you mis-typed the aperture and that should be f4-5.6 (checking imaging-resource.com) An f1.4 would be a very large and expensive lens. LOL. Would work very well for wildlife and even sports events from not too far away.
So as a Nikon DX format user, here is my story. I started with an 18-135mm zoom lens that was my beginner kit. I do a lot of landscape photography, and most of my shots tend to be in the 18-28mm range. I would like to have a wider lens (12mm or so) but I never made it a priority to get one. Over the last 11 years I have bought upgrades. As I worked with the kit lens, I surveyed my photos and found I seemed to take a lot of pictures in the 25mm range. So I added a 24mm f2.8 prime lens (bought used) and used that as a compact setup. I have since replaced that lens with a 35mm f1.8 prime lens to use as a "normal". I like that setup for indoors and get-togethers with family. I replaced the 18-135mm zoom later with a Tamron 18-270mm zoom, which is an upgrade in all ways from the kit lens. I also bought early on a 70-300mm lens, and have used that for wildlife and sports, as it gives better images on the long end than the Tamron 18-270mm. There are better choices than these, and I have upgraded with 2 other lenses I bought here on Massdrop in the past year. But you are just beginning in this.
The true answer here is to start practicing with what you have. You likely will develop a style different than my own. Maybe that 50mm prime becomes your favorite. Personally, I don't really work in that range much. Generally speaking, the 18-55mm should be right in your wheelhouse for landscape work, but could be disappointing with portraits. Perhaps you may find changing lenses is not so desirable while traveling and want to go the "superzoom" route like I did with my 18-270mm Tamron. Many people do. Canon, Tamron, and Sigma make some good choices there. I might hang on to that 75-300mm for a while for using with wildlife though.
Thank you so much for your insight! It really helps :)