I'm going crazy! OK, your best General Purpose Lens?

kevinliu4

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
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I'm going crazy reading and re-reading all the reviews, looking at pictures etc.

I am getting a new general purpose lens today! I have a long weekend and want to get out there and shoot!

I've got the Canon 350D and just bought a 50mm f/1.4. I've decided I don't want to lug around too many lenses so for the time being, I am just going to replace the kit 18-55mm. This means I will need some versatility in the lens.

I have looked at Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 but have heard while the pictures are sharp, build quality is not as good as Canon and with less features. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L looks amazing and I like that it's wider but is crazy expensive. At the same time, I want something that will last and have good resale value. The Canon 24-105mm f4 also looks great and adds some focal length but again, very expensive. The cheaper Canon models I've looked at have not received great reviews, those being the 28-135mm and others. I've decided I want quality first and am willing to pay for it. I'm even selling stuff on ebay!

What is your vote for best general purpose lens? Thanks guys. Greatly appreciate it!!
 

kevinliu4

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
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I've also heard good things about the 100mm f/2.8 but it's a macro. I need a general purpose lens.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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What about the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG MACRO? It's not HSM, but it is much cheaper than the Canon ($430 at B&H, $415 at Amazon). (I haven't tried it myself).

Review
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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You start waaaaaay too many topics about this topic. :eek:


The Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8L is probably not as sharp as the Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 Macro is, in many people's opinions (I've read reviews in many websites like at the Fred Miranda forums, and several others from when I was thinking about buying it myself). It's not Canon's sharpest lens, and people are surprised at how good it is. On the other hand, I have read and heard nothing but incredible things about the Canon 17-40 mm. It should be a fantastic lens that's sharp as a tack and rather brilliant overall. :)

And since I might be the one who told you that the Tamron 28-75 mm build quality isn't so hot, it's not complete junk. There's a chance of getting a bad lens that doesn't focus properly, but there's a chance of that happening with every lens you buy. Just return it if you get one that's dodgy.

I have the Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 macro, and it has been fantastic so far. The Tamron is supposed to be sharper, but the Sigma has higher build quality, but also much much heavier and larger in size than the Tamron. It also uses an 82 mm diameter filter size, so getting filters for it is a horrible pain in the ass (and expensive). Neither lens has something equivalent to USM built-in, but that's what you get for paying 33% of the price of an equivalent Canon. ;)

Neither the Tamron or the Sigma will have as high a resale value as a Canon 17-40 mm. I don't plan on ever selling my Sigma (not unless there's some miracle 15-90 mm f/2.8 lens with VR/IS coming), but if you think you may sell your lenses in the future, then it's something to think about.
 

kevinliu4

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
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Thanks Abstract,

You have been the most helpful. Well, I just got back from the shop...with a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8! I tried it in the store with a Canon 400D and it was fantastic. Crystal clear and sharp. I was sold.

Just to make sure, I looked at the Canon 24-70mm but I just couldn't justify the cost...and the thing was a monster. I didn't realize it was so big and heavy.

I also worked out that if I bought the Canon 400D (I was very tempted) and the Tamron lens it would still be US$180 less than if I got the Canon 24-70mm lens alone. That was insane. I wasted no more time and paid for the Tamron.

Thanks again.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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With a small sensor I wouldn't call a lens that starts at 24mm "general purpose".

Maybe the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO? It's $390 at B&H.

Review
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,386
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^^Hush!! Don't give him buyer's remorse. Three threads later and he's happy. :p

His Tamron actually starts at 28 mm, which isn't very wide, but he's got f/2.8 at 28 mm AND at 75 mm, which is useful in a general purpose sense. A lens like a 17-50/17-55/18-50/18-55 mm f2.8 is also a very good option, but the 3rd party offerings are generally for "digital sensors only", meaning if he ever bought a full-frame Canon, his new lens is worthless.

I know the Sigma works on a 35 mm full frame sensor, but I'm not sure if the Tamron works on cameras with both types of sensors.
 

kevinliu4

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
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cube said:
With a small sensor I wouldn't call a lens that starts at 24mm "general purpose".
You'd better correct Canon then...:)

Thanks, I finally decided on the Tamron 28-75mm.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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kevinliu4 said:
You'd better correct Canon then...:)
Of course I correct Canon. They make a lot of stupid "general purpose" digicams starting at 35mm equiv. (like everyone else).

Anyway, for carrying just one lens, personally I would prefer something like a Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC, even if the aperture is smaller.
 

timnosenzo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2004
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I love my 24-70 f2.8L, mine is sharp, I love the close focusing distance and its built like a tank. It's a great all around lens for me.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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cube said:
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC
At least with the 350D, the Tamron 18-200 seems to be the better choice: here

Of course, it would be better to be in the Nikon system for this kind of stuff...
 

tuartboy

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
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Abstract said:
On the other hand, I have read and heard nothing but incredible things about the Canon 17-40 mm. It should be a fantastic lens that's sharp as a tack and rather brilliant overall. :)
As an owner of the 17-40 I would have to agree with every word. I really do use it as a walk-around as it becomes a 27-64mm on a 1.6 crop body. The only caveat is the f4 as I would love to use it more for some of my event photography and it's often light-limited work.

For every other purpose, it is quite brilliant. I'd say it should be as famous as the 70-200 f4 for it's fantastic cost:performance ratio.
 

snap58

macrumors 6502
Jan 29, 2006
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somewhere in kansas
Abstract said:
You start waaaaaay too many topics about this topic. :eek:


The Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8L is probably not as sharp as the Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 Macro is, in many people's opinions (I've read reviews in many websites like at the Fred Miranda forums, and several others from when I was thinking about buying it myself). It's not Canon's sharpest lens, and people are surprised at how good it is.
The Tamron 28-75 is "a good lens for the money" it is not however sharper than the 24-70L. It is pretty good at the center but has big problems on the corners, even on a crop camera. I have to wonder if people who have the Tamron and post a review on FM have actually ever used a 24-70L?

Still considering the cost difference not a bad lens.
 

extraextra

macrumors 68000
Jun 29, 2006
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24-70mm f/2.8 L, definitely. 24mm is wide enough for me, I'm not taking serious pictures of landscapes or anything. The pictures are sharp and contrasty, it's a great lens.

I have the 50mm f/1.4 too, it's a fun lens to play around with when you "zoom with your feet" and all that.
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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extraextra said:
24-70mm f/2.8 L, definitely. 24mm is wide enough for me, I'm not taking serious pictures of landscapes or anything. The pictures are sharp and contrasty, it's a great lens.

I have the 50mm f/1.4 too, it's a fun lens to play around with when you "zoom with your feet" and all that.
I miss the reach, personally.
 

FleurDuMal

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
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Well, I guess my best general purpose lense will be the 18-200mm VR by Nikkon, when the shop I just laid down my deposit with finally gets it in store...:D
 

cube

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May 10, 2004
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iGary said:
If you had a ton of money, I'd get the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
Add 5D, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG ASPHERICAL HSM, and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS and you got your zooms covered.
 

iGary

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cube said:
Add 5D, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG ASPHERICAL HSM, and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS and you got your zooms covered.
I have both of those. :D :p

I especially love the 12-24. Damn fine lens.
 

cube

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May 10, 2004
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The 5D and the 100-400 makes me think of biting the digital bullet and switching to Canon.
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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cube said:
The 5D and the 100-400 makes me think of biting the digital bullet and switch to Canon.
I think the 5D is my next purchase, but I don't really have any reason to justify it other than lust. :D
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
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Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS just announced. Still no HSM, like Nikon.
 

Mike Teezie

macrumors 68020
Nov 20, 2002
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iGary said:
I think the 5D is my next purchase, but I don't really have any reason to justify it other than lust. :D
Gary. Listen to me. Buy it. I am blown away by the thing literally every time I shoot with it. :D

Anyway, back to the OT.

I have the 28-75 Tamron. I like it, I think it's good at what it does. It's nice to have a 2.8 fixed Aperture zoom lens in that range of focal lengths.

However, I'm just not using it at all these days. The only lenses I'm using are the 50 f/1.8 (which will be the 50mm f/1.2L before too long), and the 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

Not because the Tamron isn't a good lens, I really believe it's a nice bit of glass. You should be really happy with it.