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Thread: Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

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    Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

    Hi,

    I have been using the Canon 17-85 for a few years and like it...except that I would prefer to shoot at f2.8 for reasons of depth-of-field as well as easier manual focusing.

    I have a 50-D now and it's resolution is very good indeed, so I am wondering if I can give up the range of 55-85 and make up the difference by larger blow-ups.

    Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

    I have a 100-400 too as well as the 60mm f2.8 macro and 50mm f1.4.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmpress View Post
    Hi, I have been using the Canon 17-85 for a few years and like it...except that I would prefer to shoot at f2.8 for reasons of depth-of-field as well as easier manual focusing.

    I have a 50-D now and it's resolution is very good indeed, so I am wondering if I can give up the range of 55-85 and make up the difference by larger blow-ups.

    IMO the short answer is: Yes, you can make up the FoV from 55mm to 85mm, via enlargement



    But the long answer is a bit more involved. I suggest you also ask yourself, what are the “uses” for the new lens (I assume to REPLACE the 17 to 85).

    What I mean is, I note and understand you want to have Shallow DoF and you want easier MF . . . but what do you want Shallow DoF for? – Portraits? If so do you want F2.8 at 17mm to 35mm ??? perhaps not I don’t know – and you already have 50F/1.4 – if you want a longer Portrait lens the 85F/1.8 is a cracker.

    If you want a good Normal Lens for Available light work, the 35F/2 is neat – so too is the 28F1.8 (on and APS-C Body – it suffers a little at the edges on a 5D). . .


    Make no mistake, IMO the EF-S 17 to 55F2.8 IS is an amazing lens. If you buy it you will not be disappointed. The IS is astounding and the lens is very sharp and works well at F2.8, so I am not attempting to turn you off the purchase – I am just asking for more DETAIL as to what its uses will be – if it is to be your most used "walk about lens", to replace the 17 to 85 – I think that is a good choice.

    If you are thinking of buying it as a lens to use WITH the 17 to 85 and as the lens for Shallow DoF work – I think you are doubling up and perhaps wasting your money – you would be better to supplement your 17 to 85 with a couple of primes and go a stop or two faster.

    WW

  3. #3

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    Re: Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    IMO the short answer is: Yes, you can make up the FoV from 55mm to 85mm, via enlargement



    But the long answer is a bit more involved. I suggest you also ask yourself, what are the “uses” for the new lens (I assume to REPLACE the 17 to 85).

    What I mean is, I note and understand you want to have Shallow DoF and you want easier MF . . . but what do you want Shallow DoF for? – Portraits? If so do you want F2.8 at 17mm to 35mm ??? perhaps not I don’t know – and you already have 50F/1.4 – if you want a longer Portrait lens the 85F/1.8 is a cracker.

    If you want a good Normal Lens for Available light work, the 35F/2 is neat – so too is the 28F1.8 (on and APS-C Body – it suffers a little at the edges on a 5D). . .


    Make no mistake, IMO the EF-S 17 to 55F2.8 IS is an amazing lens. If you buy it you will not be disappointed. The IS is astounding and the lens is very sharp and works well at F2.8, so I am not attempting to turn you off the purchase – I am just asking for more DETAIL as to what its uses will be – if it is to be your most used "walk about lens", to replace the 17 to 85 – I think that is a good choice.

    If you are thinking of buying it as a lens to use WITH the 17 to 85 and as the lens for Shallow DoF work – I think you are doubling up and perhaps wasting your money – you would be better to supplement your 17 to 85 with a couple of primes and go a stop or two faster.

    WW
    Thanks for your comments, William. I was leaning towards selling the 17-85 and putting the money towards the 17-55 f2.8, and using it for general walkabout photography. At my age it will be a lot nicer to focus manually when needed and also clearer in composing. My 50mm f1.4 would still be used for small creature portraits, ala my Chihuahua. And my big concern is the huge gap between 55 and 100, where my 100-400 begins. After reviewing some of my previous photos, it is clear that there are many in the long end of my current lens, and that prompted me to raise the question.

    In addition, being both lazy and single-minded, I do not like to change lenses when walking about. If its birds that I want, then I keep the tele fastened for the day. And if its general snooping about, then I have been relying upon the shorter zoom lens. I don't have the mindset for switching primes on the go.

    It is quite frustrating that one can't get a high quality, light weight, 17-400 f2.8 lens. Maybe some day that will be possible using radically improved, smaller sensor technology. But seeing the quality of the best point-and-shoot cameras, that day appears far off the horizon.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmpress View Post
    And my big concern is the huge gap between 55 and 100, where my 100-400 begins. After reviewing some of my previous photos, it is clear that there are many in the long end of my current lens, and that prompted me to raise the question.

    In addition, being both lazy and single-minded, I do not like to change lenses when walking about. If its birds that I want, then I keep the tele fastened for the day. And if its general snooping about, then I have been relying upon the shorter zoom lens. I don't have the mindset for switching primes on the go.
    If you can do without the 17 to 24ish on your walk about - snooping lens:

    Consider the TAMRON 28 to 75F/2.8 or the EF 24 to 70F2.8L.

    Note: I understand the TAMRON Focus & Zoom rings are reversed in action, to the Canon.

    WW
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 22nd August 2009 at 07:41 AM. Reason: Fix schpelling tipos

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    Re: Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

    The 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens will let you do things which cannot be done with your 17-85mm. It is faster, a lot faster - both in aperture and in focus speed. Additionally, it has a later and more sophisticated IS system.

    The constant f/2.8 along with the later generation IS, make this lens a very good low light glass.

    As far as image quality, it will beat your 17-85mm hands down; both in sharpness and in contrast. The 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is a totally superb lens.

    Now, would I like a longer focal length - yes. However, I do very well with the 17-55mm,

    I combine this lens with the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on two cameras (30D and 40d hanging from an OPTECH Dual Harness). So in effect, I have a 17-200mm range available at my finger tips. I don't miss the 55-70mm gap.

    Yes, you will probably get at least equivalent quality from cropping your 55mm images to what you would get from your 85mm lens. But, the great advantage will be the increased quality of imagery and the added versatility from 17-55mm.

    If you need a longer lens; the 55-250mm IS lens might be an inexpensive fix.

  6. #6

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    Re: Can the 17-55 f2.8 Replace my 17-85 f4/5.6?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    The 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens will let you do things which cannot be done with your 17-85mm. It is faster, a lot faster - both in aperture and in focus speed. Additionally, it has a later and more sophisticated IS system.

    The constant f/2.8 along with the later generation IS, make this lens a very good low light glass.

    As far as image quality, it will beat your 17-85mm hands down; both in sharpness and in contrast. The 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is a totally superb lens.


    Now, would I like a longer focal length - yes. However, I do very well with the 17-55mm,

    I combine this lens with the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on two cameras (30D and 40d hanging from an OPTECH Dual Harness). So in effect, I have a 17-200mm range available at my finger tips. I don't miss the 55-70mm gap.

    Yes, you will probably get at least equivalent quality from cropping your 55mm images to what you would get from your 85mm lens. But, the great advantage will be the increased quality of imagery and the added versatility from 17-55mm.

    If you need a longer lens; the 55-250mm IS lens might be an inexpensive fix.
    Thanks for your comments...

    Still have not decided. But I found a review/comparison of both lenses that said the image quality was about the same in center, but not the edges. So then I tried DXO to fix a few images that required the whole frame to be in sharpest focus, and voila....the lines were straightened and the chromatic aberrations were gone.

    So now I am leaning towards keeping my 17-85, and just fixing any pictures requiring excellent edge qualities.

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