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Author Topic: First Topic! EF-S 55-250 vs EF 70-300  (Read 15473 times)  bookmark this topic!
KeithB
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First Topic! EF-S 55-250 vs EF 70-300
« on: May 26, 2008, 09:37:42 AM »

I am looking into getting a telephoto zoom for my Digital Rebel XT.

I was set on the EF 70-300 IS (non-DO), but the now available 55 - 250 IS looks attractive.  Any thoughts as to which way I should go?

And did you try the Tamron 1.4 extender work on the 55 - 250, yet Bob?
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Bob Atkins
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Re: First Topic! EF-S 55-250 vs EF 70-300
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2008, 12:57:39 PM »

I've played around with both lenses a little (I own the 70-300IS and I had a brief loan of the 55-250) and my conclusion is that the 70-300IS is the better lens, but the 55-250IS is also very good.

The 55-250IS is an EF-S lens meaning that it's designed to cover an APS-C sesor, while the 70-300IS is a full frame lens. That means that when you use it on an APS-C camera you're using the center part of the image circle, where image quality is best.

The most noticable shortcoming of the 55-250IS is that there is clearly visible vignetting when you shoot it wide open. The vignetting goes way when you close down a stop or so, but with a telephoto that's only f5.6 wide open (at 250mm), you might want to shoot wide open when you can. I've attached a shot taken wide open (f5.6) at 250mm so you can see the effect.

With the 70-300IS on an APS-C camera, you don't see any noticable vignetting wide open at 300mm. You probably would on a full frame camera of course, but with APS-C you're cropping off the edges of that full frame image.

The 70-300IS is also longer of course, which is another advantage. It's not as wide, but with a telephoto zoom I find that I'm usually working at the long end of the range rather than the short end.

So my conclusion is that I can certainly recommend the 55-250IS as long as you're aware of the vignetting issue. It's sharp, the IS works well and the build quality is acceptable. The 70-300IS has somwhat higher build quality. I'd go for the 70-300IS if the price is acceptable to you. At half the price, the 55-250IS is quite a bargain and probably the better value, but I think the 70-300IS is the better lens. Note that the 55-250IS is still hard to find in stock at most vendors.

As far as sharpness goes, there's not a great difference between the lenses. Both are quite sharp, even at their long end.

I didn't get the chance to test the 55-250IS with the Tamron 1.4x TC, but I suspect it's not a combination you'd want to use much. You'll lose AF, which is a big loss, and you'll be at f8 wide open which is slow. Remember that the 70-300 is approximately the eqivalent of the 55-250 with a 1.2x TC on it - but with an f5.6 aperture, full autofocus and good image quality.




« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 04:33:38 PM by Bob Atkins » Logged
KeithB
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Re: First Topic! EF-S 55-250 vs EF 70-300
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 01:04:14 PM »

Thanks Bob!
The size and weight of the 55-250 is pretty attractive, too.

But as you said, even 300 is often not enough.  That extra 50mm will come in handy.
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MikeBinOK
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Re: First Topic! EF-S 55-250 vs EF 70-300
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 08:09:16 PM »

I wanted a small telephoto for a trip to Tunisia, so I went to the trouble of ordering the 55-250 from Canada before it was available in the US!  I was very pleased with the lens, and it was worth doing.  Image quality at 55mm is excellent, better than my expensive 17-55 IS.  At the long end it isn't as good (not up to my 100-400L, for instance) but is very acceptable.  And the lens is extremely compact and light.  If you step on it, it'll break of course, not as durable as most L lenses.  I recommend the 55-250 for what it is in terms of compactness, weight, and price.

No experience with the 70-300IS, but I hear positive things about it.
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