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Best standard-zoom constant aperture lens?

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Thread started 29 Dec 2010 (Wednesday) 11:02   
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nepali
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I can only recommend Tamron because I have one. :) To be honest, it has been one sharp lens. If I ever upgrade, it will be to an L-series lens. You can get the Tamron and use the remainder of the money for other accessories.

Post #31, Dec 29, 2010 11:38:31



[Current Gears: Fuji X-T1 | Fuji XF 23mm ƒ/1.4 | YN-560 III]
[Past Gears: 7D | Sigma 30 ƒ/1.4 | Canon 85 ƒ/1.8 | 430EX ]
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nepali
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richardfox wrote in post #11535018external link
"Good" and "cheap" don't come in the same box.

Tamron is more like "good" and "reasonable". I would certainly not call it cheap.

Post #32, Dec 29, 2010 11:40:54



[Current Gears: Fuji X-T1 | Fuji XF 23mm ƒ/1.4 | YN-560 III]
[Past Gears: 7D | Sigma 30 ƒ/1.4 | Canon 85 ƒ/1.8 | 430EX ]
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Mystery
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Appreciate the help so far. The non VC Tamron is looking quite tempting at around $400.

I can't justify paying $1000 for my first lens when I'm just getting in to photography. I could spend that money on gas, pizza, a new laptop, 5 hookers, or a months supply of beer.

The sacrifice I made was going for the 7D. If I was buying the 550D, sure I'd easily go for the Canon 17-55. But since I decided that I want the best body I can have to start my photography journey, I have to compromise on lenses (for now :P)

Post #33, Dec 29, 2010 11:43:00


Canon EOS T2i / 550D
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L (I)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon EFS 55-250mm f/4-5.6

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ShadowCaver
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Mystery wrote in post #11535065external link
...but you'll be taking great pictures while you're there :D

lol, just because I've good equipment don't mean that the images that I capture will be that great! :oops: Still, waaaaaay too much to learn. But, am having fun killing bunches of bits and bytes exploring this world. :cool:

Post #34, Dec 29, 2010 11:43:50


50D | 70-200 f4 L IS | 100 f2.8 L IS | Tokina 11-16 AT-X Pro | 17-55 | B&W 67mm CPL
 iMac |  MacBook

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Mystery
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Stamp wrote in post #11534927external link
That's nice. Although you must've missed the posts claiming that a lens that was tack sharp on a rebel, needed MA'ing on a 7D. Anyhow, I fail to see how your camera not requiring MA'ing and me having to MA my 2 lenses helps the OP.

Another sample of the Sigma.
NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
http://stampphotograph​ics.com ...s/photos/IMG_2066_1​00.jpgexternal link
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


The full size image can be found here. Focus is on older man's left eye (picture right) http://stampphotograph​ics.com .../highres/IMG_2066_1​00.jpgexternal link

Thanks for the samples, appreciate the help :)

Post #35, Dec 29, 2010 11:43:57


Canon EOS T2i / 550D
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L (I)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon EFS 55-250mm f/4-5.6

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ShadowCaver
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Mystery wrote in post #11535102external link
Appreciate the help so far. The non VC Tamron is looking quite tempting at around $400.

I can't justify paying $1000 for my first lens when I'm just getting in to photography. I could spend that money on gas, pizza, a new laptop, 5 hookers, or a months supply of beer.

+1 bw! I like the way you think... :cool:

Post #36, Dec 29, 2010 11:45:08


50D | 70-200 f4 L IS | 100 f2.8 L IS | Tokina 11-16 AT-X Pro | 17-55 | B&W 67mm CPL
 iMac |  MacBook

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Stamp
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If it were me on a budget, and I had hookers on the mind, I'd get a 50mm 1.8, and go grab the hookers. BUT, since you want a standard zoom, you're going to have to give something up ;)

Post #37, Dec 29, 2010 11:45:13


1Ds Mark II, 5D Mark III, Canon AE1, Yashica Electro 35, Mamiya RB67, Yashica 124, some lenses with red rings on them, and some flashey things
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LightRules
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Canon 17-55 IS USM: I've used over 30 copies (and have owned 2) since its release in the summer of 2006. Its main strength over the current competition is in the area of AF (and having FTM focusing). Lightning quick AF is this lens' main perk. Optically, depending on copy to copy variation, it can be very good right from f2.8. But it isn't necessarily superior to the 3rd party options in this regard. Flare is the worst of all the standard zooms, and the build-feel and build-quality could be better. It lacks the zoom tension/dampening that I like. If you zoom lenses like the Tokina 11-16 or the 17-40L, just for example, you'll feel a nice smooth tension that makes for a higher-end "feel"; this the 17-55 completely lacks. It just zooms in and out almost like a plastic toy, and with most copies suffering from zoom creep because of it. Dust is also a real issue, though it can be remedied fairly easily (see my removal procedure here http://www.pbase.com/l​ightrules/drpexternal link ). The 1 year warranty is also not something very reassuring, especially since the lens has had problems with IS mechanism failure (although the latest report from LensRentals says this issue has diminished significantly). I actually recommend turning the IS "off" when you don't need it (e.g., outside/daytime) just to extend the IS unit's life as long as possible; use the IS when you need it only. If your main priority is lightning quick AF with FTM override, then the Canon needs to be your choice. I've said before that I think the 17-55 might be Canon's fastest focusing lens ever made (and I've own/used the 85 f1.8, 100 f2, 135 f2, 200 f2.8, and 300 f2.8 IS). If its speed is a 10, the Sigma OS HSM is an 8, the Tamron VC is a 6, and the Tamron non-VC is a 5. But don't pick it simply because it has the best optics because that isn't necessarily true. In reality, all these f2.8 lenses can deliver amazing IQ (just see the lens photo archive). Another nice perk of this lens is that it gives you a little more reach at 55mm vis-a-vis the others that give you 50mm. However, it's MFD is not really close at 14" resulting in a magnification of a little over 1:6. The Sigma 17-50, for example, has the shortest MFD at 11" (very nice) and a slightly higher magnification of 1:5. The Canon 17-55 is still a great APS-C lens, and you can get amazing imaging quality from it.

Sigma 17-50 OS HSM: Let me first say this is now my standard zoom of choice and is now in my bag. I recently moved away from the Canon (after owning 2 of them over the past 4 years). I posted my results in another thread recently, but after comparing it with the Canon, I found it optically better while being only slightly inferior in AF speed. Center sharpness from 17 through 50 from wide open and on is better, while edge sharpness the two lenses are very similar with negligible differences. Micro-contrast on the Sigma is the best of all of them, IMO. Now one copy of the Sigma I had was horribly decentered. Flare control is significantly better on the Sigma, CA and distortions similar, and I prefer the bokeh on the EX just slightly better. I like that the Sigma not only has a zoom lock switch, but also that you really don't need it since there is a zoom tension/dampening almost like the L or ATX Pro lenses (though not quite as nice still); the lens does not exhibit any zoom creep anyway. With 4 years warranty, that is a nice perk. And as mentioned above, the Sigma 17-50 has the shortest MFD of all the APS-C standard zooms at 11" (get up close!) and a magnification of 1:5. While it would be nice to have FTM and a non-rotating focus ring during AF, it doesn't affect me a whole lot in my shooting. And the AF speed is pretty quick still (and very quiet), and is inferior only to the Canon in the standard zoom category. One reason why I was willing to give up the AF speed of the Canon was that, in reality, I have not missed a shot with the Sigma (eg, AI Servo mode chasing kids around the park); it's simply fast enough for everything I've thrown at it. Priced anywhere from $610-$670, it's quite a deal. My own opinion is that this is currently the standard zoom to get based on optics, build-feel and build quality, good AF speed, and warranty. The price is just a real nice bonus. Quick comparison http://www.pbase.com/l​ightrules/1755isv1750o​sexternal link .

Tamron 17-50 VC: If this lens had their new USD AF (which would include FTM), I would snatch this lens. I love the Tamron's build. I like it the most of all the standard zooms. I love the 6 years warranty, and the USD with FTM (on their new 70-300) is fantastic. Alas, it doesn't have USD and FTM, and the AF speed is slower and noisier than the Canon and Sigma. Optically, having used 3 copies in the past 2 months, it can be right there with the others. 1 copy had a decentering issue, but otherwise, the lens can deliver the goods in terms of sharpness and micro-contrast (though I think the Sigma is the best here). Flare control is better than the Canon, but not quite as good as the Sigma. The VC unit, IMO, is the best of all the makers, though the Canon and Sigma units are right behind. The VC might be able to squeek out an extra stop of handholding over the others. The Canon and Sigma are good for about 4 stops, at least for me. The Tamron I thought I had some nice keepers around 5 stops. Overall, the Tamron offers a great optic with a solid stabilization unit, but the AF is slower and noisier.

Tamron 17-50 non-VC: Easily the most popular 3rd party standard zoom since it has good optics, priced the lowest, and has been out so long. But having stabilization is always better than not having it, and the VC unit is not inferior optically, at least not in my own usage of various copies. AF speed on the non-VC is the slowest and noisiest of all these lenses, but the perk for this lens is the price and bang for buck IQ. AF can be erratic though, and it can easily hunt/oscillate, especially in low light, whereas the Canon and Sigma lenses will usually snap right into focus. My own take is that people should buy this lens if they want very good IQ at the lowest f2.8 price; otherwise, if you can up your budget, go with at least the VC model. Stabilization is very useful in a standard zoom, contrary to what some might say. There's a reason why every lens maker has come out with their stabilized models. So the non-VC offers nice IQ at the lowest price.

At day's end, all these lenses will deliver excellent and amazing IQ, especially as you put the images through your workflow and process them. Get the basics down, your exposures right in the camera, with good composition, and you won't tell the difference between any of the output of these lenses, all things being equal. Most of all, have fun! :D

Post #38, Dec 29, 2010 11:52:05




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hieu1004
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Wow - awesome post/review LightRules. OP - listen to his advice. ;)

Post #39, Dec 29, 2010 11:54:39


-Hieu
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tkbslc
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Man that needs to be posted in it's own thread and made a sticky or something. Thanks for the detailed write up.

Post #40, Dec 29, 2010 11:54:48


Taylor
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60D | ELPH 330 | iPhone 5s

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digital_AM
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Thanks so much for that post LightRules. I've been wracking my brain trying to pick my first lens. Your input is much appreciated.

Post #41, Dec 29, 2010 11:59:23


- Alfredo -
Sony a7R | Sony FE 55 f1.8 | 5D Mark III | 7D | 70-200L II f2.8 | 17-55 f2.8 IS | 35L f1.4 | 400L f5.6 | Canon 16-35L II | My Photo Galleryexternal link

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watt100
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Stamp wrote in post #11534853external link
+1 for the Sigma. I had to micro adjust +8 with mine, nothing too bad.

Sample
http://stampphotograph​ics.com ...g%202/photos/IMG_21​08.jpgexternal link


Stamp wrote in post #11534927external link
That's nice. Although you must've missed the posts claiming that a lens that was tack sharp on a rebel, needed MA'ing on a 7D. Anyhow, I fail to see how your camera not requiring MA'ing and me having to MA my 2 lenses helps the OP.

Another sample of the Sigma.
NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
http://stampphotograph​ics.com ...s/photos/IMG_2066_1​00.jpgexternal link
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

Maybe it's just me but those pics don't look that sharp, and having to "MA" a lens +8 .... I don't know ...

for me the Tamron 17-50 2.8 is the best - "value leader" !

XSi (450D) and Tamron 17-50 2.8 non-vc

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5241/5297671881_6405baeac9_z.jpg

Post #42, Dec 29, 2010 12:15:50




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Stamp
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Cute kid..

I'm looking at the 100% photo right now, and it seems pretty sharp to me.. maybe you didn't notice the link underneath the photo?

Post #43, Dec 29, 2010 12:18:47


1Ds Mark II, 5D Mark III, Canon AE1, Yashica Electro 35, Mamiya RB67, Yashica 124, some lenses with red rings on them, and some flashey things
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- Like It On Facebookexternal link -

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amfoto1
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Mystery wrote in post #11535102external link
The sacrifice I made was going for the 7D. If I was buying the 550D, sure I'd easily go for the Canon 17-55. But since I decided that I want the best body I can have to start my photography journey, I have to compromise on lenses (for now :P)

Well, there's your problem. Buy a cheaper camera so that you can afford better lenses. You really don't need 7D to learn photography. In fact it's got so many bells and whistles (which you really don't need) you might find it confusing or perhaps even downright frustrating.

Although you aren't taking it to the extreme we somtimes see, your approach (best body poss., compromise on lenses) is exactly opposite what I'd recommend....

Get the best glass for the best results. Any current Canon camera model can produce great images with good lenses on it. The lens(es) you use will have much greater effect on your images than the camera will. And the 7D will be superceded by another "latest & greatest" model in a year or two, at which time you will be more experienced and might consider an upgrade.

I can't really advise or compare the various lenses you're considering. LightRules has done a good job outlining the lenses' pros and cons. I've never used any of them so can only observe that the Canon and the Sigma have USM and HSM, which are similar and generally are better/faster/more accurate focusing than lenses from any manufacturer that lack it.

I also don't see myself getting a DSLR with just a single lens. The whole idea of the camera is to have interchangeable lenses, so that you set it up most appropriately for a wide variety of different situations.

Have fun shopping!

Post #44, Dec 29, 2010 12:26:11


Alan Myers
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5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3) & other cameras, various lenses/access. - FLICKRexternal link - PRINTROOMexternal link

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watt100
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Stamp wrote in post #11535334external link
Cute kid..

I'm looking at the 100% photo right now, and it seems pretty sharp to me.. maybe you didn't notice the link underneath the photo?


maybe it's me and my old eyes (or my monitor!)

Tamron 17-50

at f 2.8 ISO 800

XSi (450D)

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4078/4872500040_b5c09ea12e_b.jpg

Post #45, Dec 29, 2010 12:30:10




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