Lens advice (My next lens)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Puckman, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Puckman, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

    Puckman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    #1
    For those who read and replied to my "Should I go FF?" thread: I decided to stick to the Canon T3i for the time being and focus on practicing (I'm quite the newbie still), improving my photography itself, and spend my money on better lenses, rather than upgrading the body to FF (or even to a better crop frame body).

    With that in mind, I currently have the kit 18-55 EF-S lens, and a couple of excellent prime lenses (28mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.4).
    The primes are great, but not the most versatile for a "carrying around" lens.
    The kit lens has served me well and continues to do so. But I'm considering upgrading in that department (meaning, a versatile lens that would be on the camera 90% of the time).

    I've read some (including opinions here) on the following lenses:

    EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 USM
    EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 USM
    EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 USM
    EF 17-40 f/4L USM

    I like taking photos of landscapes, but that is not exclusive. I also like having something versatile for things like : Street photography, Backyard photography (birds, pool, dog, plants and bugs) and some portraiture (but not much).

    I have also considered trying out macro (never tried it before), in which case I have read great things about the Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM.

    I am fully aware of the crop sensor vs. FF (ie EF-S vs. EF) dilemma. I have considered upgrading to FF down the road, but am also content, I think, for the time being (and even possibly for the long run) to sticking with the crop format. And I feel I can always resell my EF-S lenses if I ever upgrade to FF. I say this so as to avoid the advice of "don't bother with EF-S lenses" that is bound to be given me here :)
    With that variable out of the equation, I'm interested in your thoughts on the various lenses listed above, purely in terms of versatility, image quality, and general ease of use (weight, etc.)
    They're all priced in the same general ballpark (ie under $1000 USD), as I am not keen on spending astronomical sums on the more professional lenses.

    So, thoughts and comments?
     
  2. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    #2
    The 17-55 f/2.8 IS is a good lens (albeit not very weather sealed at all), but it's duplicate focal range to your existing 18-55. So unless you love the 18-55 range, then I wouldn't get the 17-55 as a replacement.

    For street photography and what not, the 24-105 f/4L IS is a good walkaround, on either FF or crop. It's fairly inexpensive if you buy it used, too. There's so many on the market right now. I actually picked one up last year for under $700 in pristine condition.

    I had the 100 f/2.8L IS Macro but returned it. The only reason is because I didn't think 100mm was long enough for macro on a FF sensor, at least for how I was trying to use it to full frames. It'll work great on APS-C, though.
     
  3. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    PHL
    #3
    I think for your stated uses, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 would be an excellent lens for your needs. It's a great landscape lens, but it's also versatile enough to take low light photos due to the f/2.8 aperture.

    Since your EF-S 18-55mm covers the same range, I would definitely sell that to help fund the purchase of whatever lens you do end up choosing.
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #4
    Might be worth looking at extension tubes as a cheap way to try macro.

    Also have you had a look at tele-convertors for you're existing lenses? I've only got the kit lens at the moment, and I'm looking at getting some extension tubes for macro. Bryan Peterson swears by them.
     
  5. Puckman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    #5
    Good advice, guys. Keep it coming.

    Apple Fanboy. I have not looked at extension tubes. Will have to look into that, if only to try my hand at Macro and decide if I even like it.
     
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #6
    I would recommend either a 17-50 mm f/2.8 (Canon's is very good, but you can also get a Tamron if you want to save money) or perhaps Sigma's new 18-35 mm f/1.8. According to dpreview, Sigma has hit it out of the park with this one.

    Especially the 17-50 mm (which corresponds to 28-80 mm on full frame) will be what most consider the bread and butter lens, so it's the best place to start IMO.
     
  7. Puckman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
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    Yorba Linda, CA
    #7
    Agreed on the 17-50. Just wondering the pros and cons of the other 2 Canons in the same range (17-85 and 15-85).

    As for the Tamron/Sigma, wouldn't those be more limited in range? 18-35 seems a bit lacking on the telephoto end compared to the 50 or 85. Specially when talking about the everyday, bread and butter lens.
     
  8. someoldguy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    Location:
    usa
    #8
    Can't give any advice on the 17-55 and 17-85 as I don't own either , but maybe I can help out with the 15-85 and 17-40 .
    I use the 15-85 on a 50D as a walk around lens . Equates to around 24-135 full frame so there's a bunch of range . It's kinda slow , 3.5-5.6 , but that's never bothered me , if I have to I'll bump up the ISO . Figure on a solid 3 stops with IS . No problems with flare , though I always have the hood on.Vignettes some at 15mm.
    I use the 17-40 as my wide angle on a 5D2 . It's just a solid , good performing lens . On a crop sensor it equates to around 28-60 so it's got less range than the others , plus its' not particularly fast at f4 , and no IS.Use it wide open with no problems.
    The 100 macro (non IS) is gold . Find a good used one . You want the one with the 58mm filter treads .
     
  9. MrGIS macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #9
    For several years I used a 17-40L as my everyday lens, and it was excellent. But I wanted better range on my crop body. I elected to sell the L and get the 15-85 EFS and have not regretted the move. Image quality is on par with the 17-40 and the focal range is just what I was looking for. It's not the tank (superior build quality) the L is, but by no means is it cheap feeling. Simply the difference between all metal L and mostly plastic EFS. I say go with the 15-85 EFS.
     
  10. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Big Sky country
    #10
    I'd go with an L lens so that when and if you do go full frame it'll be available for you to use. I have the 17-40 f/4L as my wide angle landscape lens but also use it close up on some occasions. I love it and I bought it refurbished and don't regret it one bit.
     
  11. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #11
    I don't shoot Canon so not quite familiar with the lenses you are considering, but I don't see you mentioning exactly what you find lacking or would like to explore that your current kit does not provide. The lenses you were reading about do overlap with what you already have, so what are you looking to improve on? A stop or two of light? Better build quality? A bit more reach in the zoom? Elaborate on that and perhaps the advice would become more targeted.

    My 90% lens is an 18-200mm superzoom. The image quality is of course not as good as a more moderate zoom would provide, but it fits my shooting style and I have been loving it for the last 5 years. I like shooting nature and wildlife, particularly in provincial and national parks, and one thing I learned about wildlife, they don't wait for you to change lenses ;).

    If you'd like to try something fun and very different, perhaps a fisheye lens can add a touch of quirkiness to some shots.

    Overall, if you get your lenses used at a good price, you may find yourself able to re-sell them when you're bored of them with little to no financial loss. So experiment away!
     
  12. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #12
    I buy "as fast as possible" ... so in your case

    EF 17-40 f/4L USM
    EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 USM

    I actually have the 17-40 and quite happy with; when I use it. Mostly I have the 24-70/2.8 on the body which covers most of my shooting. EF-S I can't use as they don't fit my body (multiplier 1.3).
     
  13. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #13
    The 17-40mm f4 L is kind of optically terrible relative to the 18-55mm IS, which is superb and averages out to be as fast over the same zoom range, the addition of IS making it effectively faster for most purposes. I would much rather have an 18-55mm IS on my APS-C camera than the L zoom unless weather sealing was the issue, which it wouldn't be on a non-weather sealed body.

    FF is another story. The L is nice and wide on FF and has better image quality on FF.

    I own the 17-55mm f2.8 IS, 18-35mm f1.8 Sigma, and 17-40mm f4 L, and have used the 17-50mm Sigma and Tamron. All are ok for what they're made for, but the L is by far the worst on APS-C.

    It all depends on what you want, but the 17-55mm f2.8 IS from Canon just went down in price and is the best general purpose lens with the fastest and most accurate autofocus. Optically the Sigma is by far the best (18-35mm f1.8) but autofocus is sketchier and it's too wide for portraiture.

    It all depends on what you need. The 100mm f2.8 L macro is AMAZING and you'll get immediately stunning results from it quite easily, but it's special purpose. Good for portraiture, too, though. The 85mm f1.8 is a good cheap portrait lens on APS-C. The 11-16mm f2.8 Tokina is a great UWA for cheap. General purpose will replace the kit lens and do everything better, but nothing great.

    The Sigma 18-35mm and a macro would be a cool kit; both are great at what they do, and they do very different things.
     
  14. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #14
    I think you should resist the urge to buy anything, and just work with what you already have.
     
  15. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #15
    If you ever plan to upgrade to full frame, don't waste your time and money on EF-S lenses.
     
  16. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #16
    Here is a thought. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, instead of buying gear consider going someplace new. Travel does wonders to your self development in more ways than just improving photography skills. Now that I think about it, I think it was a turning point in my personal buying decisions. Once I started venturing away from home a lot, it became a lot harder to justify buying gear, now I try taking at least 3 vacations a year of 1 week+ in length.

    I must warn you though, it's addictive and I think it would have been cheaper to buy gear, but I don't regret it one bit ;).
     
  17. MrGIS macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #17
    Full frame is not the be all and end all.. Further to that, lenses tend to hold their value quite well on the used market, particularly the well review models such as the 15-85mm, are are NOT a waste of money.
     
  18. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Columbus, OH
    #18
    If you shoot high ISO, you want full frame. Anything less is going to give half assed results.
     
  19. MrGIS macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #19
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #20
    That's just plain wrong.
     
  21. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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  22. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #22
    Full frame is a stop and a third cleaner at any given aperture. Depth of field is... unsurprisingly... a stop and a third shallower (for an equivalent field of view, not a given focal length).

    It's pretty easy to quantify to what extent this matters to you, based on your lenses and how you shoot.

    The new Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 zoom will make your APS-C camera as "fast" as a FF camera with a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom, with a bit less contrast/resolution (negligible) and a bit less zoom range (not so negligible). But a FF camera with an f1.2 prime is equivalent to an APS-C camera with an f0.7 prime.

    You can get the zoom. Good luck finding the f0.7 prime.

    Likewise there's no replacement for the 135mm or 200mm f2 L lenses on FF, nor for the 70-200mm f2.8 IS II zoom... So for high end fashion and photojournalism you might want to save up for the Mark III or 1DX.

    So the gap is still there, but anyone who knows the first thing about photography knows exactly to what extent it is, and knows what focal lengths he or she uses and at what shutter speed he or she feels comfortable using them for a given subject, and what ISO he or she considers acceptable.
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #23
    You mistook my comment, Policar, I was refuting just the trollish statement that »Anything less is going to give half assed results.«
     
  24. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #24
    Fair enough, and I agree that FF isn't necessary for shooting in subdued light.

    For the most part, if you've got enough stop to shoot with a zoom on FF, you can sacrifice that flexibility and shoot just as well with primes on crop, as fast primes are generally about two stops faster than fast zooms. But there are specific circumstances, some relating to low light shooting (anywhere you'd use a 50mm f1.2 or 24mm f1.4), for which FF is worth it and not easily replaced. Of course the real expense, then, is the lenses, and if you can afford those lenses just get the 5D!
     
  25. LongSticks macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #25
    Chipping in late here!

    I've always found this site to be excellent for lens reviews on Canon. Link is to the sites recommendation for General purpose lens and from it I bought no 2 as best quality/price trade off and wasn't disappointed.
    What I particularly like about the site is when you look at the actual lens review, there are loads of test shots etc as well as photos taken across the focal range to get an idea of what can be achieved in the real world.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/Canon-General-Purpose-Lens.aspx

    Having said all that, as a little aside, I'm moving from Canon to Fuji XE-1 which arrived yesterday with 18-55 kit lens.....a few test shots and I'm blown away with the quality of this "kit" lens!

    Hope the link helps - it did for me!
     

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