Deciding on 17-55 for walk-around

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by soLoredd, May 13, 2009.

  1. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hey guys, I'm currently having a debate with myself. I have the kit 18-55 that came with my XSi but I have been wondering for a couple weeks now whether or not the 17-55 will be of benefit as a walk-around lens? It seems like the 2.8 constant aperture plus IS will get me many more opportunities (especially while on vacation) than the kit lens. I have this tentative plan of getting the 17-55 and then the 70-200 f/4L to add to my 50 1.8.

    Money aside, is the 17-55 worth the upgrade over the 18-55?
     
  2. JosephBergdoll macrumors 6502

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    #2
    My favorite walk-around lens is my 28-105mm USM. Compact, enough reach, and wide enough on my 1D (1.3x crop). On a 1.6x crop camera, however, 28 might not be wide enough.
     
  3. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #3
    If you can swing it, I'd hop up to the 24-105L. I'm a Nikon guy, but I know that lens is well regarded. I'd have it for sure if I were a Canon shooter.
     
  4. steeveage macrumors member

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    #4
    Great lens -- I am a firm believer in fast glass, weight/size be damned.

    I took my 17-55 to Vietnam, Cambodia, and back as my only lens on the 40D. No complaints and the 17-55 performed great.
     
  5. irontony macrumors member

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    #5
    +1 for the 17-55 F2.8 IS

    Its stuck on my 40D always


    Depending on your shooting habits the 24-104 F4 IS is a great lens also if you dont need wide angle and often shoot above 55mm
     
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #6
    It's currently my favorite. The combination of stabilization plus a relatively wide aperture makes for a very versatile lens. It's certainly heavier than the kit lens, but I've long since given up on favoring convenience over quality. It's so exciting to see the color and contrast the lens can produce. It's a lens that makes me want to take pictures.
     
  7. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I was considering the 17-55mm, but the thing that definitely put me off was the price. Over $1000 for a non-L lens (plastic body, no dust sealing) that can't be put on full frame (lower resale value) is asking too much, I decided. I also knew that I'd eventually want a 70-200, and also that 17mm isn't nearly wide enough at the wide end for me. I ended up buying the kit in my signature. Getting a 17-55 would not have fit as well because there would have been overlap with the 10-22 and a gap between 55 and 70.
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #8
    Your reasoning all seems sound except for the bit about resale value. A quick search of completed listings on eBay shows that the 17-55mm retains its value as well as any L lens. Used copies are going for nearly as much as new ones, with the occasional great deal that might be 20% cheaper than new in an auction where some buyer got lucky.

    So long as there are Canon cameras with APS-C sensors in them (which will be a very long time), that lens is going to hold its value.

    By that reasoning, you shouldn't have gotten the 10-22 either, but it's another great lens that will hold its value, as I'm sure you know.
     
  9. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    The 10-22 was half the price of the 17-55, so it wasn't as hard to talk myself into buying that one ;)
     
  10. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #10
    Take a look at the Tamron 17-50 - many say just as sharp as the 17-55IS - just lacks the IS at half the price....
     
  11. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2008
    #11
    And the USM/full-time manual focusing, which is really, really nice to have. But is it ~$500 nice? Depends on who you ask (I don't think it is!) ;)

    On the subject of sharpness, here's some crops that surprised me.
     
  12. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #12
    For some it is.. for others it is not...

    Not sure that that link displayed well for me :(
     
  13. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

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    Mar 7, 2008
    #13
    The 17-55 is an excellent lens. But maybe you should start with something light....

    I mean spending that much on a lens meant to be your first ever upgrade over the kit lens is definitely something!! Not to mention that being EF-S always hinders...

    I'd try out the excellent 17-40L
     
  14. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Opinions do vary! :)

    Hmmm... the link works for me when I click on it. Go to this review, click on the ISO 12233 crops and select the EF-S 17-55 to compare.
     
  15. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #15
    That Digital Picture comparison module has produced some screwy results for the various lenses I've checked on it. Nonetheless, the Tamron is by all accounts a tack-sharp lens. If you don't need/want IS and USM, then that's the one to get for sure.
     
  16. soLoredd thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    The thing that scares me is NOT having IS, which seems important for a "walk around" lens.

    Since I have the 50 1.8, could I get away with having two other lenses at f/4? Obviously I'd have to take the 50 everywhere I go (you never know when the situation will present itself), but how much would I hamper myself by having a 17-40 f/4L with no IS compared to the 17-55?

    Apologies for all of the questions but I never thought a lens decision would be this tough! Maybe I should rent first and test...
     
  17. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #17
    Renting isn't a bad idea.

    Since I shoot in a lot of places where I can't use a tripod, IS is mandatory for me. If you think you can bring a tripod or monopod, then it won't matter so much for you. But I do love that I can take photos spontaneously at parties, in dark museums or cathedrals, etc. and be able to get sharp handheld shots at 1/4s. You definitely cannot do that with the 17-40 f/4L, no way. If you think you'll do most of your walking around in good light, then maybe a slower L lens or the Tamron would be a good choice for you.
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #18
    DOF control is the key with a 2.8 lens... IS is nice in dim spots without moving subjects with these types of lenses...
     
  19. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

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    #19
    Definitely true... but in essence I'd like to know exactly what kind of photography does the OP want to pursue. And what level of commitment, pardon such oozy words, is he ready to invest in this hobby... is it always going to remain a hobby or is he going to advance to semi-professional/enthusiast!

    I still dont think spending $1000 to upgrade your $50 kit lens is justified!

    The Tamron is an excellent alternative imho! If, as phrasikleia suggests, you're into dark photography then go for this or I strongly recommend the superb 17-40L. And as is with the excellent build qty of L series, you just cant go wrong!:)
     
  20. soLoredd thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Commitment is definitely key!

    I really love photography and am going to take it beyond just a "take camera on vacation" hobby. I think enthusiast is a good term.

    My favorite shots are landscape and when traveling I love shots that capture the setting. For instance, my wife will take a picture of a statue; I will take a picture of the area where the statue is to show personality. Of course, there's also the fact we now have a 1-month old that definitely will get attention! For immediate need, we are going to Hawaii with some friends in October. Having lived there for two years I know the shots I want to take - landscapes and scenics. But I cannot ignore the fact that will be going to luaus at night and want to get group photos. This is why I am battling between the 17-55 and the 17-40. I know f/4 is plenty for tropical/beach settings but the low-light shots that no doubt will be there scare me. (I guess I can have the wife use her P&S for those)

    I really appreciate everyone's feedback. I think I will rent and try them around the house and Yosemite for a day. But please keep the help/info coming! :)
     
  21. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #21
    Between the 17-40/4 and the Tamron 17-50/2.8 having owned both I would go with the Tamron...
     
  22. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

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    #22
    Just out of curiosity, having never owned the Tamron, do list its advantages over the 17-40L. And the 16-35 if you've used it!

    It would be beneficial for the OP too. Thanks:)
     
  23. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #23
    My Nikon 17-55 doesn't have IS and I've been fine without it. None of my Nikon lenses at the moment have IS and I've never one wished for it. My 17-55 is built very solidly, however, and if I accidently banged it on something or some other minor mishap came to it, it would probably be fine.
     
  24. soLoredd thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Thanks for everyone's help. I decided to put in a rental request for both the 17-40 f/4 and the 17-55 f/2.8. If I can get away with hand holding the 17-40 for a majority of my shots I will go with that - the price is so much more inviting.
     
  25. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #25
    read the review. also, look at slrgear and photozone.

    the 17-55 outresolves all other standard zooms available for Canon (a consequence of being designed for APS-C sensors). it's shortcomings are in flare resistance and mediocre bokeh, and its color is slightly cooler than typical "L" optics. the build is upper-midrange, so high-quality plastics and no sealing. but it's not like all "L" lenses are sealed anyway. weather-sealing is relatively new, and even then, many of them still need a front filter to complete it.

    it's a big upgrade over an 18-55, and i'd take it over a Tamron or Sigma equivalent or 17-40L any day. i don't think the 17-40 makes for a great standard zoom on an APS-C camera...it's shorter than usual, a stop slower, and isn't particularly sharp. all you get over an 18-55 is build, color, and USM.
     

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