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Thread: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

  1. #1
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    I'm about to pull the trigger on a lens to cover the wide end of the focal range. At present, my widest lens is a 20mm f2.8 prime (32mm on my 1.6x crop Canon 60D), and I need to go wider for some interiors, crowd shots, and added drama. For crowd work, something that zooms for fast framing would be a welcome change from my usual primes. For fast work, autofocus is a must (I realize very wide lenses can be often be manually focused from very close to infinity and "taped down"). The lens must be full-frame compatible, since I don't want to leave it in the dust when/if I go FF. I'm casting the widest possible net to try and figure out the best fit. As I see it, I have three options. They're listed below according to how well I think they fit.

    • Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM ($850): Current leader. Good focal range (19-38mm at 1.6x), excellent price. Only concern is the relatively tight aperture. If used in low light at ISO3200, f4.5 probably means I'll be shooting at 1/20-1/50sec. Manageable, but borderline. Image quality based on comparison charts from The Digital Picture looks good, but less than Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II. Borrowed one in Germany for a few minutes and enjoyed mucking about with it.
    • Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 ($820): Essentially the same focal range as the Sigma, and slightly wider, but without FF compatibility. Would probably replace this lens after going FF, so if I want to avoid spending money twice, it's not the right choice.
    • Canon EF 8-15mm f4L ($1,300): Not sure if I need to go this wide. Seems like 180deg (on full frame) is an extreme, and rarely useful, field of view, and that 15mm might still be too wide for my applications. To my mind, this lens could be easily replaced with a Samyang 8mm fisheye.
    • Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II ($1,460): Focal range probably too long for my application. Expensive, but wide. Not sure going to f2.8 is worth double the cost of the Sigma.


    Did I miss anything? Any comments from users of these lenses? Pitfalls? Technical input? Keen to hear all opinions before I ante up for my most expensive lens yet.

  2. #2
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    This is just me, but I don't think it's worth trying to get a full-frame compatible ultrawide for crop. Most of the ultrawide zooms for crop are better-suited, and will hold value decently so selling when you end up switching over to full frame makes more sense. If you get a third-party one, you can probably still mount it onto a full-frame camera and use it, and just crop the vignetting until you can replace it with a "proper" full-frame ultrawide, like the EF 17-40/4L or 16-35/2.8L.

    The EF-S 10-22 is probably the right starting place, but frankly, I don't think there's a whole lot to choose between the Tokina 11-16/2.8, the 10-22, the Sigma 10-20 or the Tamron 10-24. They're all good, you're liable to be happy with any of them. If you want to shoot ultrawide interiors, then the Tokina is probably the best choice with f/2.8, but they're all about equally good.

    The 8-15/4L is a fisheye zoom. NOT a rectilinear ultrawide lens. Straight lines are rendered as curves. If distortion drives you nuts, don't go there. If you jones for the weird, or know you love fisheyes (I do), then it's a great lens. But understand, too, that it's a circular fisheye at 8mm. So @8mm, you get a circular image inside the frame--you do not get diagonal corner-to-corner coverage as you would at the 15mm end. The Samyang could replace it, but is not as nice, flexible, and doesn't autofocus or communicate with the camera. And also maps stereographically, not equisolid (I.e., it's a little less fishy).

    The 16-35 is only an ultrawide on a full frame, not on a crop. On a crop, it's just a slightly-wider-than-average walkaround (say, 25mm vs. 28mm)--the EF-S 15-85 IS USM is not considered an ultrawide on crop and it goes wider. The crop factor pretty much guarantees you cannot find a full-frame compatible ultrawide lens for a crop body. The only exception I know has wave distortion and is a prime and isn't THAT wide (as ultrawides go) on a crop body: the Samyang 14mm f/2.8.

  3. #3
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Lex I'm sort of in the same situation as you and am considering an ultra-wide although I have a slightly wider lens (Sigma 17-70mm) on my 600D. It would only be on a few occasions that I need anything wider. I am interested to see what comments you get. Kathy has, I think, made some good points. I've been looking on Ebay recently and there does seem to be good demand for these ultra-wides developed for crop cameras. Selling one if you moved to FF could be an option.

    The other thing I have thought about is going to FF now, probably a 6D which is more expensive than a new lens but with that my 17-70mm should be quite wide enough.

    One other thing to consider, and I'm open to correction here, is that I think most of these ultra-wides don't have image stabilisation. Admittedly it's not as important for these short focal lengths but nevertheless it would be worth considering how it may effect what you are going to be shooting.

    Dave

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Kathy, the only reason I'm hesitant about an APS-C ultra-wide is the economics of reselling it. I will definitely take a loss (though probably slight) from the resale, so why not buy the lens that's my ultimate destination anyway? That said, the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 is very tempting. Wide in more ways than one. I was dead set on the Sigma 12-24 until you brought that lens to my attention. Thanks for pointing out the fisheye nature of the Canon 8-15mm and Samyang 8mm. I know those are fisheyes, but apparently had a brain drain when I made the OP. To clarify, I'm looking for a rectilinear ultra-wide.

    Assuming I take a $100 loss from reselling any APS-C ultra-wide lens, and upgrade to the Sigma 12-24mm, I wind up with the Sigma for $950 instead of just buying it in the first place for $850. That said, having f2.8 available until I upgrade (which probably won't happen for a few years) is rather tempting. Lenses whose bottom end is narrower than f2.8 are iffy considering how often I shoot in low light.

    I'm going to test f4.5 with my 20mm in low light this afternoon to see if I can deal with that as the widest aperture on whichever ultra-wide I get. I'll definitely push the ISO above my comfort zone (ISO2000 and below). If it drives me nuts, then I'll go with the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. If not, the Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 is my answer.

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    Lex I'm sort of in the same situation as you and am considering an ultra-wide although I have a slightly wider lens (Sigma 17-70mm) on my 600D. ... I have thought about is going to FF now, probably a 6D which is more expensive than a new lens but with that my 17-70mm should be quite wide enough.
    Just as long as you understand that the 17-70 is DC (a crop lens) not DG (full-frame) and will vignette on full frame. Being a Sigma, you can mount it on a 6D, but the image circle will not cover the sensor. If you use the 17-70 on a 6D, you'll have to crop images.

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    Kathy, the only reason I'm hesitant about an APS-C ultra-wide is the economics of reselling it.
    Yes, but the problem is that you simply can't get an ultrawide for both formats in a single lens, other than the Sigma 12-24, and the performance and lack of speed of the 12-24 are the issue. It's your only choice, and it might not be good enough. How far are you willing to compromise on IQ to get crop and full-frame compatibility in a single lens? Admittedly the fact that the 12-24 will give you on FF what a 7-15 would give you on crop FoV wise makes it tempting for the wide angle nut, but consider if it might be too much. It's really an ultra-ultra-wide on FF.

    ... Assuming I take a $100 loss from reselling any APS-C ultra-wide lens, and upgrade to the Sigma 12-24mm, I wind up with the Sigma for $950 instead of just buying it in the first place for $850. That said, having f2.8 available until I upgrade (which probably won't happen for a few years) is rather tempting. Lenses whose bottom end is narrower than f2.8 are iffy considering how often I shoot in low light.
    You can also look at it this way. If you can live with f/4, you could sell the Sigma, and get a EF 17-40/4L USM for your $800 instead, and have an L ultrawide on full frame that would be more equivalent to what you have with the 12-24 on crop (17-40/1.6 => 10-25). If you wanted to blow more for f/2.8 but not as much as the 16-35L II, then you could try and hunt up a used copy of its predecessors, the 17-35/2.8L and 16-35L MkI. The 16-35L II isn't the only full-frame ultrawide L choice for Canon.

    The way I look at it is that that $100 loss can be seen as your two-year rental fee for having the right ultrawide zoom for crop until you get the full-frame ultrawide of your dreams. The longer it is until you transition to full frame, the cheaper that rental is going to look.
    Last edited by inkista; 13th April 2013 at 06:28 PM.

  6. #6
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Just as long as you understand that the 17-70 is DC (a crop lens) not DG (full-frame) and will vignette on full frame. Being a Sigma, you can mount it on a 6D, but the image circle will not cover the sensor. If you use the 17-70 on a 6D, you'll have to crop images.
    Thanks Kathy, I didn't realise that. Ah well, another bright idea bites the dust !

    Dave

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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    I'm about to pull the trigger on a lens to cover the wide end of the focal range. At present, my widest lens is a 20mm f2.8 prime (32mm on my 1.6x crop Canon 60D), and I need to go wider for some interiors, crowd shots, and added drama. . . etc

    Did I miss anything?
    You could look at the question the other way about.
    Pony up about $1500 (only 100 more than the 16 to 35) and buy a 6D.
    You then have the wide at 20mm . . . and a spare camera.

    WW

  8. #8
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    You could look at the question the other way about.
    Pony up about $1500 (only 100 more than the 16 to 35) and buy a 6D.
    You then have the wide at 20mm . . . and a spare camera.

    WW
    That's... surprisingly tempting. But dang it, the whole point of this exercise was to be frugal!

    The Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 is starting to look like the best option. Kathy, it sounds like you have some image quality reservations with respect to the Sigma 12-24mm. All I know comes from B&H reviews, resolution comparison charts, and five minutes of hands-on time. Care to elaborate?

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    By a fortuitous twist of fate, one of my fellow derby photogs owns a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, so I had a brief hands-on test tonight. Between that and my test shots with my 20mm at f4.5, I think the Tokina's the answer. I clearly work wide open a lot, because f4.5 feels a little like shooting through the eye of a needle. Lack of full-frame compatibility has been trumped by a wider aperture. So Kathy, the drinks are on me next time you're in Detroit. Thanks for your level-headed advice in the face of my stubborness.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 15th April 2013 at 02:44 AM.

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    ... Kathy, it sounds like you have some image quality reservations with respect to the Sigma 12-24mm. All I know comes from B&H reviews, resolution comparison charts, and five minutes of hands-on time. Care to elaborate?
    That's more than I'm going on. I have a friend who shot with one on a D700 who basically lamented that he preferred his Nikkor 10-24 on the D300.

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    By a fortuitous twist of fate, one of my fellow derby photogs owns a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, so I had a brief hands-on test tonight. Between that and my test shots with my 20mm at f4.5, I think the Tokina's the answer. I clearly work wide open a lot, because f4.5 feels a little like shooting through the eye of a needle. Lack of full-frame compatibility has been trumped by a wider aperture. So Kathy, the drinks are on me next time you're in Detroit. Thanks for your level-headed advice in the face of my stubborness.
    [grin] Glad my hypothetical reasonings were useful to you. I've been trying to make an ultrawide decision for my 5DII, but since I've never used one (owning fisheyes makes everything look only kinda-wide ), and then I added m4/3, I'm still debating on what to get: 17-40L for the 5DII; 11-16/2.8 for the 50D, or the 7-14 or 9-18 for the G3.

    Happy you figured out what's gonna work for you!

  11. #11
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    [grin] Glad my hypothetical reasonings were useful to you. I've been trying to make an ultrawide decision for my 5DII, but since I've never used one (owning fisheyes makes everything look only kinda-wide ), and then I added m4/3, I'm still debating on what to get: 17-40L for the 5DII; 11-16/2.8 for the 50D, or the 7-14 or 9-18 for the G3.

    Happy you figured out what's gonna work for you!
    For what it's worth, I can now recommend the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 (but future readers should note that, contrary to the thread's title, this lens is not full-frame compatible). I really like the manual/autofocus switch mechanism, especially for an ultra-wide. 11mm is wide, and distortion can be pretty crazy if your subject's too close. Expected, but still a bit of a shock. The only slight problem is that I keep accidentally taking photos of my own feet.

    The one surprise is that the difference between 11 and 16mm isn't as great as I expected. It feels like the zoom ring is more of a distortion-reduction knob. On that basis, I probably could have gone with a wide prime, but I'm still pleased with the purchase. Solid bit of glass so far.

  12. #12
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Lex:

    Sorry I did not get a chance to post to your original question, but I have the Tokina 11-16mm lens and my observations are the same as yours. Great lens, takes a bit of getting use to, some distortions at 11mm and you do take some shots of your shoes if you are not careful. I need to get out and use it more to better understand where it performs best, but I do find it an excellent lens.

    Dr Bob

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    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    ... The only slight problem is that I keep accidentally taking photos of my own feet.
    I shoot with a circular fisheye that has a 180-degree FoV. I have to watch out for both my feet AND my hat brim. Happy new glass!

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options

    EOS Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Options
    “My Noisy Fishbowl”

    Feet can add personality – and also ownership.

    WW

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