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Thread: which canon lens?

  1. #1

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    which canon lens?

    I have a 400D body and the kit 18-55 EF-S zoom. I'd like comments on the merits of replacing the kit lens with either the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS or the EF 17-40 f/4L.

    Ken

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: which canon lens?

    I suppose the first question is - What job do you want it to do?

    2nd question - What opinions has your research so far led you to?
    Last edited by Donald; 11th February 2012 at 05:18 PM.

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    Re: which canon lens?

    As Donald says the lens should really be bought with a shooting style in mind. However since it is to replace the kit lens I am assuming it will be a general lens.

    If you think you will be moving to a full frame camera then it makes sense to pick the 17-40L. The 17-40L is also lighter, is weather sealed and should be cheaper. However in most circumstances the more modern, sharper, faster, image stabilised EF-S lens will be better.

    As an alternative I use the 15-85mm EF-S lens as a walkaround lens because I value the extra reach and wide angle over the 17-55. It does not have a constant aperture of the 17-55 though which is a very useful feature when shooting people inside. You can set your exposure controls and then zoom to any point in the focal range with the same settings. It also allows in more light for shooting indoors. (I use a flash instead.)

    For full-frame upgrade path: 17-40
    For general shooting and indoors: 17-55
    For general shooting outdoors: 15-85

    Let us know what you plan to do with the lens and we can be more specific.

    Alex

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: which canon lens?

    I can't offer any useful advice either not knowing what the OP shoots. But I will say this: Even though I'm primarily now using a 5DII, I'm keeping my 30D because the 17-55 f/2.8 is such a great lens.

    In time I will upgrade the 30D to something newer - but again it's because the 17-55 is so good.

    There is a new version of the 17-40 but no IS. Initial reports are that the IQ is exceptional; perhaps even as good as or better than the 17-55 (which is remarkable).

    Although I have never used a 17-40, there are countless very mixed reviews about the current edition of the 17-40. Some swear by it, other swear at it.

    Glenn

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    Re: which canon lens?

    The jobs I'd like a new lens to do are:
    a) be an improvement on the kit lens
    b) be an everyday general use lens
    c) allow me capture great landscapes (I'm off on a blow out holiday to New Zealand in July & Aug)

    My research has not lead anywhere really. For a crop camera the EF-S looks good but it would be no use for a FF body and I have a long term goal to upgrade from the 400D to a FF body at some point (but not before the trip to NZ). Glenn's comment about swearing by or at the 17-40 chimes with stuff I've read.

    Ken

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: which canon lens?

    Ken

    I'm not sure I's make my decision primarily based on the knowledge that you have a wish to upgrade to FF at some point in the future, unless that is fairly imminent.

    If it's a more medium to long-term goal, and the 17-55 seems to better option at this stage, all things considered (f2.8; IS, etc) then I think the temptation would be to go for that, in the knowledge that you'd be able to re-sell at the time of the upgrade.

    Just one other thought to factor in.

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    As Donald says the lens should really be bought with a shooting style in mind.... ...The 17-40L is also lighter, is weather sealed... Alex
    I know a New Zealand winter is different to a UK one but I suspect it will involve rain and I will be in Queenstown and I'm expecting snow on the peaks around there. Does that sort of consideration have any weight over Donald's comment about consider the EF-S if a FF body is still some time away.

    ?

    Ken

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    I know a New Zealand winter is different to a UK one but I suspect it will involve rain and I will be in Queenstown and I'm expecting snow on the peaks around there. Does that sort of consideration have any weight over Donald's comment about consider the EF-S if a FF body is still some time away.
    For us amateur shooters, I don't think so. If you're a pro and you have to get out there and not goign out is not an option and you're really wanting to to do wet weather images, then, okay, it's a bigger factor.

    But I've had my kit lens, Tokina 11-16 as well as my 70-200f4L out in all sorts of weather aboard by 40D. Buy a rain jacket. Get a nice simple one that easily put over the body and lens (otherwise it is too much hassle to fit, people don't and you defeat the object of the exercise). Mine are from the Storm Jacket range. And then take care not tpo lay it down in snow (on snow is okay for a moment), or in a river!!

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    Re: which canon lens?

    After previously owning the 17-40L and currently the 17-55IS, my advice would be the grab a 17-55 and don't look back. It is an amazing lens. The 15-85 would also be a nice general use lens. It is very sharp. If it had a constant f/4 aperture, I would have bought one the day it hit the dealer shelves.

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Another thought, search for cheapest price on-line or go to local shop and get personal service?

    Ken

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Virtually every forum I follow (nine regularly), I see the statement to the effect, "I'll be upgrading to FF".

    They are different, like apples and oranges are different and they serve different requirements. Birders often use a crop body to get the lens down to a manageable size and cost.

    A 300 mm lens on either of my 30D or 5DII, and set up the same distance from the subject (so as not to scare the bird), I have to crop the FF image to get the same framing. The resulting two images have almost the same number of MP. The FF body hasn't gained me anything - might as well use the crop body. If I had a 7D, it would be better than the 5DII for this purpose.

    Don't be so sure that FF is nirvana.

    Glenn

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    Another thought, search for cheapest price on-line or go to local shop and get personal service?

    Ken
    Not sure where you live Ken, but for US customers B&H Photo is tough to beat. They have great prices and customer service.

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
    Not sure where you live Ken, but for US customers B&H Photo is tough to beat. They have great prices and customer service.
    I'm in the UK.

  14. #14
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    I love my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS but...

    I am madly in love with the capabilities of my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. The image quality and autofocus are super. The combination of constant f/2.8 aperture and the great IS capability makes this a very viable low light lens. In fact, I no longer carry my 50mm f/1.8 Mark-I because I consider the 17-55mm a better low light performer.

    The wide side at 17mm (27.2mm equivalent) is plenty wide enough for my needs. I seldom carry a wider lens, although I own a 12-24mm f/4 Tokina. I will admit, however, that I am not a great fan of shooting with an UWA lens nor do I usually like the results when most other photographers use one. There are, of course, always exceptions to this such as the wonderful work done by Roman Johnson with a 12-24mm Tokina on his Nikon.
    http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos/image/51136599
    In fact, Roman's work was the main reason why I opted for a 12-24mm Tokina.

    The one place in which the 17-55mm is, IMO, lacking is in the long side of the lens. I am not happy with 55mm as the maximum focal length but am aware that present technology precludes a zoom with a constant f/stop of f/2.8 having more than a 3x ratio.

    I do like working with longer focal lengths and I solve the long side lacking problem of the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens by carrying a pair of 1.6x cameras: one with the 17-55mm and the other with a 70-200mm f/4L IS. While this combination is a bit weighty, it doesn't weigh anymore than a single camera with 17-55mm and 70-200mm f/2.8L (series) lenses. And, the cost (considering that my second camera is an older 40D) can be less than some single camera 17-55mm + 70-200mm f/2.8L (series) combinations...

    Note, I do not mind the gap between 55mm and 70mm but, if that were a problem, then shooting with a 1.6x camera wearing the 17-55mm and a 5D (series) camera wearing the 70-200mm lens would be appropriate.

    I carry my two camera outfit using an OPTECH Dual harness and the weight is equalized across ny shoulders rather than hanging around my neck.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7zWH9qkiYs

    If I were bound and determined to carry a single lens, I would have to opt for the 15-85mm lens and bite the bullet as far as a constant f/2.8 aperture goes because I am just not happy with 55mm being my longest focal length. However, why have an interchangeble lens camera and restrict oneself to a single lens?

    My China galleries at http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/ were all shot with the 17-55mm and the 70-200mm f/4L IS on a 30D and a 40D...

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    I have a 400D body and the kit 18-55 EF-S zoom. I'd like comments on the merits of replacing the kit lens with either the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS or the EF 17-40 f/4L. . . .
    The jobs I'd like a new lens to do are:
    a) be an improvement on the kit lens
    b) be an everyday general use lens
    c) allow me capture great landscapes (I'm off on a blow out holiday to New Zealand in July & Aug)

    For a crop camera the EF-S looks good but it would be no use for a FF body and I have a long term goal to upgrade from the 400D to a FF body at some point (but not before the trip to NZ).
    I’ve used both lenses extensively with APS-C Bodies. (and also a few of the EF-S 18 to 55 variants)
    1. For use with a 400D, the EF-S17 to 55F/2.8 IS USM is clearly the better choice in respect of Points (a) and (b).
    2. Either lens will be suitable for (c) with an advantage being found in the EF-S17 to 55 especially if you are not taking a Tripod.

    The major points of rationale are the advantages of:
    a) One stop faster lens speed.
    b) Image Stabilization.

    I suggest you do not predicate the choice of lens for use with a 400D now, on the thought of buying a “Full Frame” Camera “at some point time”.

    ***

    You do not mention if you have any other lenses than the 18 to 55 . . . some food for thought

    Considering ONLY your trip to NZ, your passion for the Landscape imagery available there and assuming the expense involved for that trip and the likelihood that such journeys are not a common occurrence: you might consider that the money which is available to be spent on lenses, would be better spent on something like an EF-S 10 to 22 and to take that lens to NZ, in combination with the EF-S 18 – 55 kit lens and a tripod.

    WW

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I'm not sure I's make my decision primarily based on the knowledge that you have a wish to upgrade to FF at some point in the future, unless that is fairly imminent.
    I agree with this. Unless you already have a FF camera then stick to the top quality EF-S lenses. Currently these are the 17-55 or the 15-85. The lenses will hold their value very well on the resale market. Buy what you need now. You will probably be able to sell the lens in two years for less than a 10% loss, perhaps even a gain.

    I see the purchase of lenses as a long term lens rental. If you look after it for a few years then you will be able to get most of your money back on those two EF-S lenses and nearly any modern L lens (designed in the last 3-4 years).

    Alex

  17. #17

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    I know a New Zealand winter is different to a UK one but I suspect it will involve rain and I will be in Queenstown and I'm expecting snow on the peaks around there.
    Hi Ken,

    I'm at the other end of the South Island, in NZ. With regards to rain, it really just depends on the day -- winters here aren't particularly wet though. With regards to snow - yes - Queenstown will look very spectacular with snow covered mountains.

    I wouldn't be giving much weight to weather sealing per sec though - the 400D isn't weather sealed - and shooting in the rain isn't going to get you great photos anyway, as a rule.

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    I'm in the UK.
    I'm in New Zealand - and I still buy a lot of stuff from B&H.

  19. #19

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Thank you one and all. I think you've sold me the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS but before I part with my money I'll start another thread.

    Ken

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    Re: which canon lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    You do not mention if you have any other lenses than the 18 to 55
    I have a Tamron 55-200 F4-5.6 but I've not used it much. Having only recently moved from film to digital I'm still getting the hang of the 'extra' zoom of the crop factor so I've got quite a few shakey shots because I've over stretched my hand held capabilities at the top end of the zoom.

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