Travel lens dilemma: help me decide

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by earthbound, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. earthbound macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    I'm going on a 2-week Japan trip soon and I will be bringing my camera with me (of course). I currently have a T2i, 18-55mm, 50mm 1.8, and 85mm 1.8. I have money for one more lens, and what better timing to buy than now so I can bring it for my trip.

    Right now I'm torn between these 3 lenses:
    • Canon 10-22mm
    • Canon 15-85mm
    • Sigma 17-50mm OS 2.8

    I tend to shoot more on the wide end hence my choices above. They're all very different, with the 10-22mm giving me the wide angle, 15-85 a wider and longer range than my kit lens, and the 17-50mm the fast constant aperture.

    I was hoping that I can get opinions from you guys, especially if you've done a lot of travel photography. What ends up being the most important to you - the extreme wide angle, the flexible range, or the speed of the lens?

    Image quality is also very important to me. Which of these three lenses will give me the best IQ or are they pretty comparable?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    I wouldn't recommend the Sigma. It's soft in the corners (wide open) and doesn't have the most reliable autofocus. The 15-85 is a great lens with a great focal range, image quality, stabilization, and a fast and reliable autofocus. What I would HIGHLY recommend is spending a bit more and get the Canon 17-55IS f2.8. It's a beautiful lens that will probably end up being your "go to" lens for a long time. I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you're able to stretch it a bit you won't be disappointed.
  3. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    the 15-85 is an absolutely amazing lens... Its my primary lens when I've traveled. The glass and build is actually considered 'L' lens caliber but since EF-S lenses have never gotten that designation, it can't be called that.

    Speed hasn't been an issue for me at all but if you find that it could be a defining factor... the Canon 17-55 f2.8 may be another really good option. You'll probably find yourself limited too much with the 10-22 for sure though.
  4. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    I have the Tamron 17-50 (non VC) and I love it. It is my go-to lens that is on the camera probably 90% of the time. There are a few times I would want wider, but it is rare (for me, of course) and I love the flexibility the fast aperture allows in low light and DOF.
  5. Mito macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2012
    Why not Canon EF-S 17-50mm f2.8? It does look pretty good, some says that it has performance of L lens. The only disadvantage is EF-S (no Full Frame upgrade with this lens)
  6. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Feb 15, 2006
    Kent. UK
    There is an awful lot of duplication in the lenses you have and the lenses you are looking at. I would ask if you really need another lens at all, and if you are certain you do, do you really need any of the lenses you have identified?

    I am only familiar with the 10-22. A great lens, very wide. I like photojournalist style shots, so was great for me, but it is very wide.

    I would suggest selling the 18-55 you already have and replacing it with the Canon 17-55 2.8. This will give you a relatively fast fixed aperture standard zoom, over the variable aperture and slow lens you have. The 17-55 is a very well respected lens, great image quality, and another one of the Canon EF-s lenses that everyone says is really an L lens, just held back because of the EF-S designation.

    You definitely don't need 18-55 and 15-85, or 18-55 and 17-55 (or 50 in the case of the Sigma).

    I don't know what style of photography you like, but in Japan there is plenty of opportunity for street shots/people shots, and the Japanese are not too phased by people taking shots of them, close up! Google for the work of Charlie Kirk (also posts under the name of Two Cute Dogs), he is a photographer that started out doing street photography in Tokyo, there is even a short video of him working. It will give you some idea of what is possible.
  7. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    This. You could sell your 18-55 to help pay the additional money that the 17-55mm would cost. Also, if you're absoultey set on your budget, you could also rent the 17-55 as well. It would probably be cheaper than buying it.

    However, if you're really set on the 3 lenses you listed, I would go with the 10-22mm. Especially if you're walking around the city, you will need a UWA lens in your bag.
  8. shashin macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2011
    I would second the idea of an UWA (Ultra Wide Lens) here in Tokyo. Things are crowded here and an ultrawide can open up the perspective a bit for you. Have you considered buying your lens here? The 10 to 22mm sounds like it may be a good idea to me. Map Camera in Shinjuku has a used one for about ¥49,000. These lenses are usually not beaten up. They are often the result of someone stepping up to full frame cameras. Just a thought....
  9. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    For me , flexibility of range is most important , so my advice is to go with the 15-85 . It's been around a while , has L or near L quality optics , solid 3 stop IS and good build quality . The only drawback , for some , is that the variable maximum aperture is kinda slow on the long end (5.6) . Never been a problem for me , though . You can always bump the ISO up a notch or use flash. I'd take the 50 1.8 along , just in case you need to shoot in really low light . Leave the others home ... What you don't have you won't miss . Whatever you get , don't forget the appropriate hood .
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Tamron 18-270 PZD. Try one at the local camera store.
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    For most things, 17 mm (~28 mm equivalent) is alright, unless you want to be able to capture the »canyon«-like atmosphere of some of the streets. A 17-50 mm f/2.8 is much more versatile. I think the Sigma is a fine choice. Canon's lens is definitely better, but if you can't afford it, then you can't afford it.

    BTW, if you're interested in lenses, make sure to check out Akihabara, they have everything from very reputable retailers which also sell used equipment to shops that look a little shady and where you should check the lens thoroughly before buying. (I was there last weekend and I almost bought a 60 mm macro, but the aperture would no longer fully open and the controls were a little stiff.)
  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    From the choices you've listed, I would definitely choose the 15-85. I understand it's a great quality lens and has a nice broad focal length range. While it's not the fastest glass, I think you have that covered with your two primes, so a nice zoom like that is probably a really nice upgrade from your kit lens.
  13. earthbound thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Thanks guys for all of your advice :)

    The reason why I put the 15-85 and 17-50 as my choices despite duplicating my current 18-55 lens range is because I want an upgrade to the kit lens. That, or go with more extreme wide angle. But I'm leaning more towards the 15-85. The extra range will definitely come in handy.

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