lens choice - canon 20-35 or sigma 17-70

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by zebbz, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. zebbz macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2008
    ive got a canon 450d
    and have been using SLR's for about a year
    so i know a bit, but not thaaaaat much
    which is why ive come here asking for some advice

    i was planning to buy a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro
    mainly because it can take pictures with a wide angle
    as well claiming to be good at macro which would be nice

    now for about the same price
    ive seen a Canon EF 20-35mm f3.5-4.5 USM and am just wondering if the canon could be worth considering instead

    ive been looking at pictures taken using the sigma 17-70 on flickr and have been quite satisfied with the kind of pictures people have taken with

    having a look at images taken with the canon 20-35 on flickr, im not too impressed, this could be down to the types of pictures taken though
    i dont know..

    as i say im not that knowledgable
    so my assumption is the extra 3mm on the sigma will get better wide angle pictures
    but i could be wrong

    the pictures i plan to take arent really limited to a certain thing i would say i like to experiment and take pictures of a variety of things
    portraits, landscapes, architecture, close ups/macro
    i study graphic design and take photos as a hobby/side interest to compliment graphic design

    any help would be much appreciated

    thank you
  2. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    I prefer a 17-50mm f/2.8 made by Tamron. The macro capability is not bad with the Sigma, which the Tamron does not have, but f/2.8 all the way through is very nice with the Tamron. For macro it's best to use a macro lens such as Canon's 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, or any of the other macro lenses.

    In reality, 17mm is OK, but not wide enough all the time with a cropped sensor, specially for taking photos of buildings, automobiles, and such. For that I would prefer a Canon 10-20mm, Sigma 10-20mm, or my favorite Tokina 12-24mm.
  3. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    The Canon lens has a very limited focal range -- you might as well have a fast prime lens. That would have far superior optical quality.
  4. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Agree with both Grimace and AlaskaMoose. Faster lens is better, and 20-35mm is a pretty limited range. If you want that kind of range look at the Canon 35mm/f2 prime, and get better low light performance, or the Sigma 30mm/f1.4 prime.
  5. zebbz thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2008
    ah yes
    i didnt really think about that

    it would be a pretty limited range

    thought i'd just add i have the kit lens from a 400d
    getting a 50mm in a couple of days

    i dont reaally like the kit lens
    as i just sold my nikon d40x and gear i was quite dissapointed with the two kit lenses compared

    so if i bought the 35mm
    my lenses would be a 35, 50 and 18-55kit lens

    would that be adequete?
    im thinking i might need the range of the sigma??

    like i said im not too knowledgable in this department, as im still learning and really appareciate other peoples' opinions
  6. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    It all depends on what you shoot. 55mm (even on a cropped body) is not all that far away, but if you don't need the distance, then you'll be fine.

    Prime lenses are almost always sharper than zooms, so you should be very happy with that lineup. They also help (some) people master their technique, as you need to zoom with your feet to get the best shot - which can encourage new vantage points.
  7. GT41 macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ontario, Canada

    If you aren't all that experienced with the DSLR bit... Use what you have, take all the pictures you'd like and see what you are missing. What can you "NOT LIVE WITHOUT"... I find it silly that people stock up on lenses before they even know if they need it or not.
    Also other people's opinion of what range you need isn't always a good indicator, for I might tell you that you can't live without a 300mm or 400mm lens but then it turns out you only shoot wide angle landscapes... Really... see what YOU NEED with practice and then go for the next lens. :)
  8. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Is the kit lens image stabilized or not? If not, dump it -- it's not a good lens. The newer 18-55 kit lens with IS is a much better lens, but still I'd prefer the 35mm over that (you can get the 35mm for about $240). If you want the 18-55 IS lens, look at www.bandhphoto.com, they often have the lens refurbished for about $130. That's a pretty good price.

    Is the 50mm the 1.8 or the 1.4? You might get frustrated with the 50mm/1.8 from Canon -- it sometimes struggles in low light to focus. The 50/1.4 is reportedly a good lens (I've never had it) but is a bit more money.

    If you want one lens that's affordable in these focal lengths, look at the Tamron 17-50/f2.8 (around $350-$450). It doesn't have IS, but it's a pretty fast lens. To get IS on a quality zoom you'd have to get something like the Canon 17-55mm/2.8IS which is at the cheapest $750.

    I agree, though I don't like the non-IS kit lens.

    I got a prime as a starter lens, because of low light abilities, but I like it, because it has forced me to realize what I do more of -- stepping back or stepping forward, and it's helping me concentrate on what kind of focal length I need, so I invest wisely in good lenses, rather than a bunch of random FLs.
  9. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    I used to own the Sigma 17-70 and it was great for the money.

    It is very sharp at 17mm but loses sharpness at 70mm. You can get quite close but you won't get that 1:1 ratio you would from a true macro lens.

    Don't forget the aperture isn't constant either f/2.8 is handy at 17mm though so not too limiting.

    I would give it the thumbs up for a budget lens.
  10. zebbz thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2008
    i wouldnt say im that inexperienced
    and i also believe ive personally waited quite long before considering to buy lenses as opposed to stocking up on them regardless of whether or not i need them
    thats why i made this post even pointing out the kind of pictures i usually take, even though quite broad, i pointed it out so that peoples opinion could be that more relevant..

    i feel like i 'need' a lens with wider capabilities than what i already have instead of say a zoom lens

    no as i mentioned its the one from the 400d (as i got it for free)
    so it isnt the IS one
    it is pretty terrible

    i plan on getting the 1.8 50mm as funds wont allow me to spend that much extra for the 1.4

    thanks for your experience with the lens

    and thanks everyone for posting their opinions

    i think im going to purchase the 50mm 1.8 and the sigma 17-70
    ive also coincidentially been able to get my hands on the 35mm 2.0 which i look forward to playing about with and considering whether or not to purchase it after that
  11. stevod macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2009

    I agree. I have the Canon 10-22 on a 450D and it's great, very W - I - D - E!

    The 50mm/f1.8 is fantastic, as mentioned above, and a lot of fun, but it can be a bit close on a cropped sensor.

    I was going to get a 50mm/f1.4, but am considering the 28mm/f1.8 which I'm thinking is going to be a bit more flexible, but still with all the fun of the 50.

    Hope this helps,

  12. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    I realise this thread is a bit old but I didn't notice it the first time around. I use the 17-70 as my normal lens and it's fine (on Nikon mount). I got it very cheap, £80, when Jessops in the UK had it on offer. I find it very useful, and like the macro. There's some distortion at 17mm but I kind of enjoy it. If its price was similar to one of the constant f/2.8 lenses I would probably go with that instead. Otherwise, this is 'plenty nice'.
  13. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    Grab a Canon 24mm f1.4L series prime lens if you're looking for wide and worried about picture quality. I got that when I wanted to go wide on my old 400D, and wanted to have the awesome photo quality of an L series lens (I also have a Canon 135mm f2.0L lens). It was well worth it! There's also a 35mm version of it as well.

    I've recently converted over to a full-frame camera (Canon 5D Mark II), and it's even wider. :D Puts my old 400D to shame. And to be honest, I wouldn't waste my time and money buying a cheaper lens, because you'll eventually end up buying a much better lens later anyway. So why not just pop the extra money on an awesome lens and never buy a new lens again?
  14. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Considering the two lenses the OP is considering are about $300 on amazon, and the one you suggest is $1700, I don't really know how constructive this advise is. It's like someone asking "Should I get a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla" and telling them to get a BMW 5-series because it's a much better car than the two being considered and he would enjoy a 5-series more. ;) I'm sure if the OP had $1700 to spend on lenses right now, he wouldn't be considering those two lenses
  15. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I bought the 17-70. MUCH more usable than a 18-55.
  16. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    scratch the 50/1.8 and go for 35/2, unless you specifically want a portrait or outdoor lens. the 1.6 equivalent of ~85mm is too long for general purpose prime.

    as for the original question, yeah, 20-35 is pretty useless. i suggest the 18-55 IS (unless you really want macro) until you can afford a constant aperture lens, like the Sigma 18-50 or Tamron 17-50.
  17. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
    Get the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. It will change your (photographic) life.
  18. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    Did I say the Canon 24mm f1.4L or the Canon 24mm f1.4L II? :rolleyes:

    I think your analogy is silly. It's more like, "should I get Geo Metro, or a Honda Civic?" HAHA. ;) You either get something that works (but has mediocre quality), or you get something that works MUCH better and will last you a long time.

    The original 24mm f1.4L is actually a little under $1100 now. Still over 3 times more, but still MUCH better than the one he wants to get. Just wanted to give him another option. :p

Share This Page