Yet another lens advice thread

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by uplusd, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. uplusd macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Hi all,

    I'm building my list of lenses I would like to purchase in the next 3 months. This list is intended to be built from the ground up (meaning I have no lenses in my current arsenal). For telephoto I would like the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM. For macro and portrait I would like the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. Given these two lenses, I am having trouble deciding on a standard zoom lens. My two choices are the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM vs. the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. I feel like the 24-70 is the better lens and would fit into the lineup with the first two lenses better. However, the lack of IS turns me off. What do you guys recommend?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    70mm really isn't that long and doesn't really need IS as much as the longer focal lengths do, in my opinion. I owned the Canon 28-70mm ƒ/2.8L in the past and I didn't feel like it really needed IS. I thought that the faster aperture made up for the IS tradeoff, the reasoning behind that is two fold.

    One is that if you use the common 1/focal length as the basis to get sharp images, even at the maximum focal length you'll only need 1/80 second and the faster aperture will help you achieve this. The second is that if you go a lot slower than 1/80 second you'll start to run into subject movement unless they are stationary. Because IS cannot help with subject movement, only camera shake.
  3. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    What's your camera? 5D II? Edit, OK, so you've got the rebel XSi? Perhaps something wider would be a better idea, like the 17-40L or whatever the good Canon is (I have only nikon stuff).
  4. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I have the 28-75 f2.8 from Tamron and it's a good lens. It's not IS, but that hasn't proved to be the issue I expected it to be. Nice and sharp hand held, and I'm in my 60's. Good compromise with the L lens that is similar.

  5. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Buy one lens, take thousands of shots, figure out what you like and don't like, buy the next one. You are setting yourself up for a bag full of expensive glass that may not work for what you shoot. The 100 2.8 will not be significantly better for portraits than the 70-200 (slightly better, but not $1000 better). 100 on a crop body is really long for portraits, you will need a giant space to take the shots. Are macro shots worth $1000 to you? My the L and not the $500 version? If you don't have a good reason other than, it's L so it must be better, for god sakes slow down before you waste a fortune. For macro you will likely be on a tripod so IS isn't a giant issue (yes it can help, but it is the exception, not the rule).

    What are you shooting with your 70-200? Do you need the 2.8 to get the shots? For what I shoot, I would have a lot more keeper shots with the 2.8 instead of the 4 IS (for roughly the same price).

    On a crop body (somebody mentioned XSi) you would probably be better served by the 17-55 than the 24-70.

    Post up what camera you have and what you like to (or want to) shoot and people will try to help you. Currently you have basically just asked, 'what is the best car for me'. Nobody knows or can possibly provide much helpful advice.
  6. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    Ahh, the old debate; 24-70 vs. 24-105.

    My $0.02...

    The 24-70 is a good lens; not great, but good (though my standards are high). If you get a good copy, it's sharp at f/2.8. The main drawback is that the lens is VERY heavy (and I regularly shoot with a 70-200 f/2.8 IS and a 1DmkII, so I know what heavy is). I think of the 24-70 as a great compromise lens; it's not as good as a good prime, but it will get the job done, day in, day out, in a variety of situations. That's why it is the event/wedding photographer's staple lens.

    The 24-105 is also a good lens. Optically, it's about the same as the 24-70, maybe slightly lower in the IQ department. BUT...the IS is a huge benefit, depending on what you're shooting; stationary subjects work best. However, the old adage that IS is useless if you're shooting people is not exactly true; IS is useful if, and only if, the main source of blur in your images is camera shake. So if you're shooting a speaker at a podium, or a portrait, or something where the subject is not moving quickly relative to the shutter speed, then IS can be a life saver. The 24-105 is also much lighter than the 24-70. f/4 can be a bit limiting, but again, IS may compensate for this depending on what you're shooting.

    If you're shooting a 1.6x crop body, then I would skip both of these lenses and go for either the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 or the EF 17-40 f/4L, which will be a more appropriate focal length. I used the 17-40 on my old 10D for years with great results; that lens gets much less use now on my 1DmkII and 5D.

    If I had to choose ONE of these lenses, it would be the 24-105, but that's only because I have fast primes for low light work, and I don't shoot objects that require very fast shutter speeds to stop motion.

    Buy the lens that suits your needs; both are very good optical performers.
  7. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    Why do you need the IS version of both those lenses?
    Now if you are on a FF camera, I would get these:
    16-35 2.8 MK1 ($850) MKII ($1200)
    24-70 2.8 ($1100)
    70-200 f/4 ($475)
    85 1.8 ($330)

    The prices i put up are an average used rate.

    You cannot substitute IS for faster glass. It helps, but faster glass is better.
    Remember, if you are shooting on a tripod or whatnot, IS is useless, and when shot with IS on, your images will turn out blurry. I learned that the hard way with the 24-105L.

    I have a 40D with a 17-40. When i upgrade to a 1Ds2, i will sell my 17-40 and buy a 24-70L.
  8. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    The 70-200 f/4 IS is the sharpest zoom Canon makes; it's not just the regular 70-200 with IS bolted on; it's a different lens altogether.

    Good selection, there.

    Generalizations are always wrong. ;)

    There are many occasions where I'd much rather have 3 stops of IS than one f/stop. For stationary or very slow moving objects (like speakers at a podium, for instance), I would definitely take IS over increased f/stop. Why? Because if the light is ISO3200, f/2.8, 1/200 and I'm shooting at 200mm, there's a good chance the shot will not be as sharp as I want, and it will definitely be a bit noisy. But at at ISO1600, f/4, 1/50 (the same exposure) but with IS, I know the shot will be sharp, less noisy, and will have more DoF (not every shot needs super shallow DoF).

    Good suggestion; the 17-40 is great, but on a 1.3x or FF body, it becomes a bit more of a "niche" lens than it is on a 1.6x.
  9. uplusd thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Thanks for the responses so far. I'm shooting on a 1.6x crop body (for now). Perhaps a 17-40, 70-200 and a 50 or 60mm macro would cover the ranges better.
  10. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Why not consider the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM?

    It's considered L glass, super sharp, constant f2.8, IS, and covers 27-88mm equivalent. It also holds its value incredibly well and is highly sought after, making it easy to recover your investment if you ever move to FF. As you've noticed, there is no EF lens that offers all of this.

    I use it with my 7D and people are regularly stunned with the quality of photos it can produce.
  11. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    So, you just got a crop camera, and you've obviously got some money to spend. I was in your shoes 7 years ago.

    My personal opinion:

    - 70-200 f/4L IS is fantastic. Just get it.

    - Don't bother with a dedicated macro lens for now, unless you're studying very small things for school or something. The new 100L macro is amazing, but an inexpensive set of Kenko macro rings will make any of your lenses into a decent macro lens. Maybe we'll see an IS version of the 60mm EF-s macro at Photokina this year...

    - Get some good primes for low-light & portraits. The 50mm f/1.8 II and 85mm f/1.8 USM can both be had together for small money. The 85 in particular is a real gem, and it works very well with the Kenko macro rings.

    - Wide-angle wise, I find the Canon 10-22 overpriced. I love my Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 (had a 12-24 f/4 before that, also very good), and if you ever move up to full-frame it can actually be used as a 16mm f/2.8, unlike the Canon EF-s ultrawide.

    - The standard lens debate is trickier. Personally, I find the 24-70 f/2.8 just too heavy for use on anything less that a 1-series body; it just doesn't feel right or balance properly, to the point of hurting my wrist (borrowed one from a friend for a while before making a decision). I started out with the 17-40L as my "standard" lens 7 years ago, but it was kind of a snoozer. Great optical quality, but just not very flexible (an equiv. 64mm doesn't really feel "telephoto" when there are 58mm "standard" lenses out there...). It was awesome on my EOS 1n though :).

    One lens I think you're overlooking is Canon's 17-55 f/2.8 IS, which really is optically as good as an L, even if the build quality isn't quite there. The new 15-85 IS also seems to be quite a fine lens, and would certainly mitigate the need for an ultrawide such as the aforementioned Tokina. I have the 24-105L IS but I got a really good deal on it & I bought it after I already owned an ultrawide, so your decision process may be different.

    Frankly, given what it costs, the 18-55 IS kit lens is really not bad compared to most other mfr's offerings. The 55-250 IS has pretty good bang for the buck as well.

    - If you don't like the plasticity and age of Canon's 50mm f/1.8 II, consider Voigtländer's new 40mm f/2 Ultron in native EF mount. It's smaller than the Canon 50, built like a tank & made in the same factory as the Zeiss ZE series, and comes with lens hood & macro close-up ring. I've had their 20mm Color Skopar for a couple of months & I couldn't be more pleased.
  12. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I find that the 17-40 is wide enough on my 40D 99.4% of the time. I had a 10-20mm Sigma, and a 10-22 EF-S as well. They are just too wide and specialized for my needs. I think i would be happy with a 24-70 added to my collection.

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