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Thread: Final Canon Lens Question?

  1. #1
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Final Canon Lens Question?

    I sent this as a message to Dave H, and he told me to repost it so everyone can get the benefit of the answer. Mea Culpa.

    Hopefully with the advice I get here I can make up my mind and then get the goodies and start practicing before the Philippines.

    OK...I have narrowed this down to 2 choices for each of 2 lenses.

    Either the
    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, or the
    Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM for my general walk about lens.

    Either the
    Canon - EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM, or the
    Canon - EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

    These are all 4 in my price range right now, so either one in each category will work.

    Here's what I want to figure out. Do you use the F2.8 for telephoto? Under what circumstances would you want that. The 2.8 is not an L lens. I understand those are better quality, so would I want the 2.8 that isn't an L?

    The 17-55 does not overlap the 70-200, and the 24-105 does. The 24-105 is F4. I want at least 1 lens that goes to 2.8 for low light or other things. Just trying to figure out where I want to have that. Also the 17-55 is wide angle. There is not a huge difference in price between any of them. I know they are all good lenses. The reviews are great for each of them. Very good reviews at
    www.the-digital-picture.com...very comprehensive and even I could get much of it. I have also read the user reviews on Amazon. One thing that made me very surprised is that a buyer on Amazon said his camera and lens both came with no protective packaging...just stuck in a box...yikes!

    So...any advice about the differences between these lenses would be appreciated. B&H and Adorama are the same price, but the difference is in the extended warranty price. Adorama wins for 3 year damage warranty. They both have a 6 months buy now, pay later which would work well for me.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    Thanks Liz,

    I'm not used to people actually doing what I ask though

    Here was my answer, for what it's worth ...

    In general terms, for the 70-200mm lenses, the f/2.8 is one stop faster than the f/4, but it has no IS (image stabilisation). The f/4 does have IS and it is worth at least 3 stops, so unless you need the slim DoF, of these two, I'd go with the f/4 with IS personally.

    For the short lenses, personally again, I'd go for the wider angle ability of the 17-55mm over the 24-105mm. I use my 18mm widest setting quite often and if I was limited to 24mm, I'd find it too tight, also, at wide angles, I think the f/2.8 is worth having, especially as both have IS.

    I don't have a short, wide zoom like this and I wish I did.

    I believe the small 55-70mm gap between them is unlikely to be a huge issue.

    Do bear in mind the above advice is given without any knowledge on my part of differences in the image quality or price between them - you have said they're all similar and I have therefore ignored that completely, since it doesn't help us choose between them.

    If any Canon shooter disagrees with the above do feel free to contradict, but explain where I went wrong, eh?

    Good luck with your choices,

  3. #3

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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    Hi Liz,

    I too would go for the EF70-200 F4.0L IS USM - in terms of low light capability, it'll eat the 2.8L Non-IS version alive (unless you're shooting from a tripod).

    With regards to the other lens though, I'm afraid that I'll have to disagree with Dave on this one:

    - For starters, you have a gap in the zoom range, and I suspect that that will mean you end up doing a lot more lens changing. For a given situation you're going to find a lot of the time that ONLY one lens will do the job, whereas with a healthy overlap, you'll often find that EITHER lens will do the job.

    - The difference in the respective fields of view between the 18-55mm & 24-105mm is significant, so how often you're shooting at this end of the range also needs to be taken into consideration. If it's constantly an issue then it's a "no brainer", but I still think that people get caught up in the old "you need wide wide wide angle for landscape" mantra far too often; I've shot a lot of good landscapes at 24mm on a crop-factor camera - heck, I've even shot lots of good landscapes at over 70mm with my 70-200 lens! So with that in mind - if you only need something wider than 24mm allows for occasionally, just take several overlapping shots vertically, and stitch them together (it's very easy to do).

    - The fact that the 24-105mm is "only" F4 shouldn't really come into it; in terms of low-light capability, just bump the ISO up a stop on your camera and all is "equalised" again.

    All in all, I suggest that people make their selection based on what they're shooting over 95% of the time, and not on what they may (or may not) shoot less than 5% of the time.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    I have a lot to learn. I thank you for your comments and advice. I will take your advice. The 70-200 you both recommend is great for me, because it is the lightest and easiest to carry. I think it will be perfect for me to learn on. I had started with the 24-105 and got a lot of other lenses thrown in. Sometimes there is so much advice, that it's easy to have a brain cramp. Thanks for clearing up the confusion. Hanging out with all the Obi Juan Masters can be daunting, and I have to remember to start with the basics, and learn as I go. The best deal seems to be on B & H. and they have the 6 months no interest. Hooray...I won't have to borrow from my hubby. I want to get started and start practicing. Then there is updating my Elements and getting on some online classes to learn it. Never thought much about post processing, but now I am.

    Anyway...thanks so much for being so patient with this Grasshopper!

  5. #5
    New Member GW Greg's Avatar
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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    I'd like to bring up a point that will help on lens choices, In the old days of (dirty work) FILM in order to get the best quality we had to use SLOW film KODACOLOR ASA 25 and my preference AGFA ASA 50, if we were to maintain image quality with enlargements,
    I have only been into this digital stuff for about a year but what I've discovered is that I get the same quality with a higher ASA (faster speed) as the slower films were, therefore we don't need faster lens to duplicate the quality, It appears that 400 ASA digital is equivalent to 100 ASA film. So the only reason for a fast lens is bokeh.
    Greg

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    I have to agree with Dave but, I also hear what Colin is saying.

    The 17mm side of the 17-55mm is wide enough for most of my shooting. I am an old timer and although I own a 12-24mm f/4 Tokina for some specialty work, the 27.2mm equivalent is plenty wide for most of my shooting. I shot for years considering 28mm as UWA on a 35mm film camera. However, the 38.4mm equivalent of a 24mm lens is not quite wide enough for my general purpose shooting. I found that out when shooting with a 24-70L and 70-200mm f/4L IS combination.

    I also enjoy shooting with my 17-55mm lens because the constant f/2.8 aperture and 3-stop IS makes this a very viable low light glass. I don't usually feel the need to travel with a faster prime lens for low light shooting. Of course, I also include a flash or two in my travel kit...

    I will agree with both Colin and Dave in that the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens is a great all purpose zoom for travel and most other photography. It is light in weight and, it will shoot rings around the f/2.8L (non-IS) in lower light when you are hand holding. I can shoot at 1/60 second and can expect perfectly sharp imagery at 200mm and will achieve a respectable percentage of keepers at 1/30 second when hand holding at that focal length. The equivalent shutter speeds with the f/2.8L (non-IS) would be 1/120 and 1/60 second. I cound not achieve 100% sharp imagery at 1/120 second and could not achieve any sharp images at 1/60 second at 200mm with the f/2.8L (non-IS) lens. I shoot in all short of light conditions with my f/4L IS lens because I carry it everywhere.

    I agree with Colin that the 55-70mm gap would require quite a bit of lens changing in the field. I get around this by carrying two 1.6x cameras. This reduces the need to switch lenses in the field and with the two cameras, I have a 17-200mm focal range at my finger tips. I don't miss the 55-70mm gap when I have them on two camera but, suspect that I would if I were shooting with a single camera. The 24-105mm overlap would reduce the need for lens changing in the mid ranges. However, I would be lacking a wide angle capability.

    I can carry the 70-200mm f/4L IS LENS AND A SECOND 1.6X CAMERA at the weight of the f/2.8 (series) lens alone.

    I shot for a long while with a 30D and a 40D and was quite happy with these cameras. I would rather have a pair of older 50D cameras or even a pair of 40D cameras than to shoot with a single latest edition camera.

    There is another benefit from shooting with a pair of cameras... It is an insurance policy against missing shots because of camera failure. I often tell of breaking my 40D camera while falling on a slippery slope in Alaska but being bailed out by my second camera, a 30D. Along the same line, a friend fell in front of the City Walls of Xi'an China, breaking his camera, and did not have a back-up camera. He missed out on shots of the Terra Cotta warriors, one of the wonders of the world...

    Selecting lenses is a series on decisions and compromises... There will always be Plus Marks for some lenses along with Negative Marks. The lens combination to choose is the one that has the most plus marks and the fewest negative considerations while still in your financial comfort zone.

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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    The f4 70-200 is only 1/2 the weight of the f2.8, and 1/2 the price of the f2.8 is, so is easier to carry and hold!

  8. #8
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Final Canon Lens Question?

    Thanks Ken.that's the one I ordered and then my hubby lost his job, and I am sending it back, so I have to wait till the first of the year. Can't wait.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken MT View Post
    The f4 70-200 is only 1/2 the weight of the f2.8, and 1/2 the price of the f2.8 is, so is easier to carry and hold!

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