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I have the canon 70 -300 sitting right here beside me on my XTi, it also fits my XSi and all my EOS mount film bodies. one thing about canon EOS lenses and bodies: They fit and work together. Yes there are cheaper lenses, but I just answered another question on this website from somebody who has a 3rd party lens (and a high quality lens ta-boot) that will not work on his canon. This is typical of canon. They do not release all of their codes to 3rd party manufactures. Your friend just bought a premium camera, do not let him put a lesser lens on the camera, he will not be happy and the savings will not be that significant to make up the difference...
First i would let you know that the Brand Vivitar is one of low quality cameras, it's sad but it's true.
Now regarding the issue that you have with the lens, you probably drop it because this the only way to have the lens stuck. but anyway, to repair it it will cost you more than a new one. and again i suggest to buy a branded camera like Canon,Sony,Nikon,Panasonic ... these are top quality cameras and you will not have any problem for life except if you drop it ;)
If you are talking
about canon only (not sigma/ tamron etc) lenses then there are many
different variations of the above lenses ranging from a few hundred to
over a thousand UK pounds ( I dont know your currency/country) If you
are looking at the budget market then the best value
of the 3 mentioned id the 55-250 by canon which has good optical
quality and built in IS (Image stabilistaion) and is remarkable value
for a CANON branded lens
You have named several excellent digital SLR cameras aimed at the top end of the amateur/semi professional market.
I have the Nikon D200 and have been very pleased with it.
As stated by JCDill, you must really decide what you want and can afford. The camera body you choose will commit you down one path or another. For example, if you choose Canon, only Canon or OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturers) such as Sigma lenses will fit your camera body. Canon have a good reputation for their auto-focus, while Nikon make lenses that are the envy of others.
If this is your first digital SLR then you might be best buying an entry level body with a multi-purpose zoom lens such as the Nikon D40. There is a lot to learn.
If you are converting from film SLR and already have a set of lenses, then the cameras you mentioned will probably be able to use your existing lenses (but this is less so with Canon than Nikon). I was ecstatic to disover that my old Nikon 500mm mirror lens works in manual mode (with metering displayed) on my Nikon D200 but would not work properly on my Nikon D70.
I hope this helps.
As simple as this may sound, have you cleaned the lens lately? A lot of image quality deterioration comes from a finger print or other smudge on the lens. Digital cameras are succeptable to even the smallest gunk on the lens. Because the lens element is very tiny, use a cotton swab with a drop of lens cleaner (or isopropyl alcohol) to thouroughly clean and dry the lens. If it isn't a dirty lens, check your file-size and flash settings.
Have you ever heard the expression "Good, Fast, Cheap ...pick any two" ?
Well, it's that situation. The kit lens is cheap, and it has a good zoom range (including wide-angle) but it's not very high quality. The best lens for you is probably the 17-55 EF-S -but it is $1000. It is a great lens, and it's efficient and light sensitive, along with image stabilization.
Without knowing your budget, I would also recommend the 28-135 EF IS, but it doesn't cover the wide angle range. That one is $400.
There's also the 17-85mm, which also has Image Stabization. That one is about $500.
I bought a Hama skylight filter for the express purpose of protecting the lens. I've not noticed any degradation in image quality. Of course, ultimately the filter will block some of the light that's hitting the CCD, but it's so little as to not be noticeable.
Being as the lens cap clips into the thread of the lens then yes, it does still fit perfectly into the thread of the filter, so no problem there!