Canon EOS 20D Lens Advice

Darren lists the lenses he uses on his Canon 20D. I’m very tempted by the 50mm f/1.8 as it has got some great reviews and is relatively cheap. Unfortunately with the 1.6 multiplier of the reduced size sensor in the 20D you’re left with the coverage of an equivalent 80mm lens. Maybe I should lock my lens at 50mm and shoot with that for a day to get the feel for that size.
What lenses do I own? Nothing outstanding, yet. Only consumer grade lenses so far:

  • Canon 18-55 kit lens. Perfectly usable, lovely and light.
  • Canon 75-300mm IS. Hell of a zoom at a good price. Tends to hunt when zoomed in, but manual focus fixes that.
  • Sigma 18-200mm. Great general purpose zoom lens. I miss the image stabilizer of the 75-300mm especially as it’s quite slow at f3.5-f6.3.

* Slow here means that the lens doesn’t let in much light when zoomed fully, which in turn means that you need to take a longer exposure, resulting in shaky photos. The only way to alleviate this is by using a tripod, or increasing the ISO sensitivity of the sensor, but that causes noise.
Here’s a simple rule: always be sure that the exposure time is is 1/zoom seconds.
ie. If you have zoomed to 200mm then your exposure time should be at least 1/200 sec.

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

10 replies on “Canon EOS 20D Lens Advice”

Hi Donncha,
I’ll be getting the 20D fairly soon now hopefully. I’m looking to get a reasonably good 300mm lens for taking surfing shots (I know I could do with a bit more reach but money and all that…)
Have you ever used the 300mm at full reach on a dull day? Do you think it would be acceptable for surfing shots? I don’t want to make huge prints or anything so I’m thinking it should be fine.
I’m thinking about getting the new 70-300 IS from the states also (approx. $650) it’s getting very good reviews.

You’ll love the 20D! It’s a great camera. Yes, you could possibly do with more than 300mm for surfing shots but it’s good for a starter lens! (says he implying that he can throw around $650 like dirt…)
I used the 75-300mm lens at the Red Bull Air Race. I switched it to manual because it couldn’t track the fast flying planes. The image stabilization is a God send. I’ve got better photos from it at 300mm than from my Sigma at 200mm on a bright day on occasion! The reason I don’t use it all the time is because I like to shoot a lot of wide-angle too and switching lenses got on my nerves while walking about.
The new 70-300 lens is supposed to be even better so it gets the thumbs up from me! You could toss on an extender too to give you a little more reach. Have you looked on Ebay for the lens?

Thanks, the conditions at the Air Race are basically the same as a regular day at the beach. I’ve seen the lens on ebay alright but it still looks like it’s cheaper in the states. I’ll be there in February, might buy it then, unless I find a good price.

Hi Donncha

Great site! Could you or our viewers recommend a wide angle lense for a 350D? Looking at net reviews I am getting mixed signals on the merits of the canon 10-22mm and the sigma 10-20mm (any others??). Any comments would be appreciated.
Could you also comment on where would be the best place to get one of these lenses (price, reliability etc)


I think there might be a Tamron super wide angle too but I’m not sure which is best. Try Photography Review as they have lots of reviews by users of the lenses and they’re very good.
Ryan has the Sigma super wide angle and he’s very happy with it. I still haven’t decided which one I’d like to buy yet, but it’ll be a while before I buy.
As to the question of where to buy? I recommend 3 places: pixmania, ac-foto and technik direkt. Do not, ever, buy from 7dayshop! Here’s what happened to my last order from them. I have links to the 3 online shops above in that post too.
You could also try Ebay, although if you buy from outside the EU you might be liable for VAT.


thanks for the advice. Your tale of woe on holy shmoly re delivery of your 20D reminds me that my 350D took ca. 2 months to arrive. I chose to purchase it through which is an irish link to where I could pay irish vat (I did not want my camera to get stopped at customs for not paying the appropriate VAT rate). The order was placed through amazon and I got a delivery date which kept changing and eventually extended to ca. 2 months. I did complain (after trying to find a contact number or mail address for hours!) and got a €7 gift token as compensation – only another €900 to go and I can get the canon EF-S 10-22mm

What type of filters did you get with the 20D? I am interested in getting some cokin filters. Could you explain the diference between A, P and Z type? What type of filters would you recommend?

€7 voucher? that’s mad! As they have a .ie domain they probably have an Irish office so you could have gone to the consumer affairs crowd in Dublin, or at least threatened to do so, but I’m glad you got your camera 🙂

I’m not sure about filters. The only ones I bought were UV, polarizer and ND4, but the Sigma 18-200 is a 62mm lens meaning I would have to buy new filters. I only bought a polarizer this time because filters are getting damn expensive in that size!
If you get no other filter, get a polarizer. It’ll make your sky shots much better, and cut down on glare from water.


Is your Sigma 28-300 the (1) DL aspherical IF (b) compact hyperzoom or (c) the macro.

If it is the macro version have you ever experienced the following which I found on

“However, there is one issue that really spoils my fun, and is related to the fact that my camera is a Canon digital rebel. Once in a while the autofocus will hunt like CRAZY. There is no rhyme or reason – it can happen in bright sunlight with high-contrast objects so it’s not just a matter of insufficient light or contrast. When it happens it’s very frustrating – the focus motor cycles back and forth through its full range over and over, and refuses to lock in. It may also stutter back and forth, wobbling within a short distance of the correct focus point without ever locking in. At this point, I usually switch to manual focus. This happens most often at the wide angle end (28mm) but it can happen anywhere. I’ve never had a problem with Canon lenses, and I believe this incompatibility between Canon and Sigma. If you look in various forums, you’ll find a lot about problems with Sigma lenses and Canon EOS, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised. In this respect, the Tamron 28-300 was better – it never had the crazy focus hunt problem the Sigma has.”

My interest in such a lense lies in the fact that I am now paranoid about getting dust in / on my sensor and want to get a new lense which I can keep on the body for a wider variety of situations without having to constantly change. To date I have used the canon 18-55 mm, the canon 75-300 mm (non IS stabilised – I wish it was as I need a tripod or monopod at the far end) and a Tamron 90 mm macro (my favourite lense!!! so far). I have also read about the Tamron 28-300mm DI – did you ever consider such a lense?

thanks for the advice

My Sigma lens is an 18-200, not the 28-300. Occasionally the lens will hunt but not very often. The 75-300 hunts a hell of a lot more!
I bought the 18-200 for the same reason you’re looking – I didn’t want to get dust on my sensor again. So far, I’ve only switched lens to put the 75-300 on for bird photography. I’m very happy with it 🙂
28-300 isn’t wide enough for me which is why I went for the 18-200.

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