Canon 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS -OR- Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MattSepeta, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #1
    SO. Either I buy a used, "Perfect Condition" Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS today for $800 even, or I buy the brand new Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for $499 from Nat Cam.

    I am leaning towards the Canon, provided that it is a sharp copy with no focus issues, as I have heard that the IQ surpasses even the famed 24-70L, depending on copy. On top of that, the IS is a feature that I adore. On top of that, its $400 off current market price.

    However, after reading reviews, the Tamron seems to be fantastic for the price.

    I am planning on using it on my xTi (Soon to be 50 or 40D, waiting for a deal) as my main walk-around lens. I also plan on using it alongside my 50 f/1.8 for available light concert photos.


    Any personal experiences with the two? Any thoughts? Regrets? Thanks guys!
     
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I've heard great things about the IQ of the Canon, but be careful with it. lensrentals.com says this is one of their most failure prone lenses. They have a 1.5% failure rate. If a lens was broken once every 100 times I pulled it out of my bag, I would go crazy (and broke).

    http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon-ef-s-17-55mm-f2.8-is/for-canon

    Many people still buy them and like them, just something to keep in mind.
     
  3. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #3
    I can't imagine what people are doing to these lenses to damage them. The build quality is way above that of the kit lens. You'd have to be pretty rough with it to do it any harm.
     
  4. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #4
    xTi

    Thanks for that link, I had not read about that problem yet.

    I don't think that the "once out of every hundred times pulled from bag" analogy is quite accurate though :rolleyes:

    After looking at the sight, it said the problems are prone to occurring in the 20D and XT, neither of which I own or will ever own.

    I figure that people must not treat a rented lens as well as an owned lens anyways...

    Thanks for the info again though, something to be weary of. As of now It looks like im picking it up tonight. Maybe I'll post some test shots tomorrow.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #5
    If you get the Tamron, you can get a second lens -- or at least put money towards a second lens. Both lenses are optically comparable, the Canon has IS -- which is not essential at these focal lengths. Especially at the wide end, I don't think you will miss it much. I would go for the Tamron.
     
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #6
    What is "essential" depends entirely on an individual photographer's needs. For me, IS is essential at all focal lengths. I often have to photograph stationary subjects in low-light areas where tripods are forbidden--a niche endeaver, perhaps, but one that requires IS, even at 17mm.
     
  7. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #7
    One other thing to consider is whether the Tamron is a full-frame capable lens. Even though you don't mention a full-frame body in your future, it's one thing to think about.

    Other than that, I think you'd find the resale value of the Canon lens to be better, especially since you're getting it at a good price. It'll probably keep more of the value of what you pay for it than the Tamron over time. It's always nice to know you've got a ready buyer if the time comes...

    Also, the best feedback you'll get comes from those who actually use the lenses you're considering - so Phrasikleia would be someone to really talk to on this subject.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #8
    I've had no problems getting sharp photos at 14~20 mm at f/4 and 1/6s~1/10 s. I'm not saying IS is useless, but (1) it's less and less useful the smaller the focal length and (2) is it worth $300+? In my opinion, it's a compromise I'd make. I'd really like to have IS on my 80-200 mm zoom, though ;)
    Both lenses are for crop bodies only. The Canon is an EF-S lens, which means that it physically will not fit on 1.3x or FF bodies without potentially damaging them. Not sure about the Tamron.
    You can always sell lenses, they retain a lot of their initial value.
     
  9. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    #9
    Hmm, Im more with Phrasikleia on this one, eventhough at such a short focal length, IS is not essential, I do think it is essential when we try to capture in low light and deliberately wants a slight movement blur without cranking up the ISO. Problem with handheld w/out IS is, sometimes we tend to add a vertical blur which ruins the image. But of course OreoCookie made a very fine point indeed and I dont find the need to elaborate on this.

    Anyway, back to the OP, if Im not mistaken, Tamron released a new 17-50 VC (which stands for Vibration Compensation; Tamron version of IS/VR), you can check that too if you want. But if you are comparing the Tamron and Canon now, I will go for the Canon just cause its from the same manufacturer of your camera body :)
     
  10. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #10
    All good points. I don't have any IS (or VR in Nikon-speak) lenses, but definitely could use it in the longer, slower lenses - even the kit 18-55 lens at the long end (a whopping f/5.6 at 55mm, causes problems in the woods in the middle of the day...) The 55-200 (non-VR,) at f/5.6 on the long end is not very useful unless in really decent light. With my faster glass (f/1.8, 2.8 and 4.0) and my wide-angle stuff, I'm not sure I'd miss it, at least not for the $300/lens difference. Maybe that's one nice thing about the Sony's and other in-camera stabilization systems - the glass doesn't need it.

    You're right, most glass retains good value as a rule, I was just thinking the Canon lens purchased used ($400 off new) would retain more of the buyer's initial investment than buying something new.

    One other thing is performance. If anyone has one or the other of these lenses and can display some of the images from them, that would say a lot. I've seen Phrasikileia's work with the Canon. I don't know if I've seen shots from the Tamron or not... but if anyone has it and would like to show their work with it, I'm sure it would help the OP, and be great information for the rest of us.
     
  11. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #11
    Going with the Canon

    If I did not find such a good deal on the Canon, I would go with the tamron.

    I think I am going to really appreciate the Canon though, I despise carrying a tripod or monopod around and having to deal with that, and I love shooting in dim/low light.

    Going to pick it up now! I'll post some photos of my cats if I have time.:D

    Thanks for the input. Great point about the resale value also. I don't think I would have any problem turning around and selling it for $800 again if It does not work out.
     
  12. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #12
    You must have arms of steel! :eek: I could not get sharp shots without IS at those shutter speeds. I often go between sites where I'm on and off a tripod, depending on what is allowed at those sites, and sometimes I forget to switch IS back on when I have to forgo the tripod. Usually what happens is that I notice while checking my photos that they're not sharp. Then I'll slap my forehead, flip the IS switch and retake my shots--at which point they will be sharp. So I'm telling you from personal experience (with and without IS) that IS really does make a difference in the 17-55mm focal lengths on an APS-C camera. You'll just have to take my word for it. :)

    My understanding is that an EF-S lens will mount on a full-frame body but will cause nasty vignetting. I don't think it will do any physical damage, though. Regardless, I wouldn't bother trying it.

    Lenses make pretty good investments in that regard.

    Yes, a great number of my photos were taken with the Canon 17-55. The Tamron 17-50 is also supposed to be superb and maybe even a bit sharper, which is amazing, since the Canon 17-55 is extraordinary as it is. Tamron has also just come out with an OS version, so you can have that lens with stabilization now too.
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #13
    I was sitting and my arms were resting on my knees. Of course, this is as far as it goes in terms of shutter speeds and my photo would have been sharper if I had used a tripod, no question about it. But at the wide-angle end of the spectrum, 1/20 s is not a big problem. Another trick is to rest against a pillar or so and to synchronize your breathing with taking shots. Also, I switch into burst mode, the second picture is usually much sharper (the camera moves since you're squeezing the camera a little to push the exposure button).
    I have no doubt it helps. But to me, it's not worth the extra money -- unless I absolutely have it.
    We're both half-right: it depends on whether the 17-55 mm is a short back focus lens (I don't know): if it is, it will cause damage to the mirror, if it isn't, it will just vignette as you've pointed out.
    Absolutely. Crop cameras are here to stay -- at least on the lower end of the spectrum. I'm not worried, I will be able to sell my crop lenses if time comes and I make the switch to full frame.
    Yup and I'm anxiously waiting for reviews. What I dislike about the Tamron is its (comparatively) cheap build quality: it sure beats any kit lens out there, but once you've got some lenses that consist mainly of metal and glass, it feels a bit flimsy ;)

    In any case, either lens is going to be very good. :)
     
  14. ricciardella macrumors newbie

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    McMurray, PA
    #14
    This is from the Tamron, no post processing: Canon 30D, ISO 100, 17mm, f/5.6, 1/125
     

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