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Thread started 10 May 2010 (Monday) 21:39
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Need a standard lens...advice?

 
Pennington
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May 10, 2010 21:39 |  #1

Sorry to add yet another of these "which lens" threads, but I'm in need of some guidance.

I just sold my 28-135 IS - the range was great, but I wanted a faster aperture for better low light performance and shallow DOF. I tried out a used Tamron 28-75, but it had focus issues, so it's going back. And I'm not sure how I feel about its plasticy build.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I've considered the 24-105L, but I think I'd prefer f/2.8. I've read reviews on both the Sigma 24-70 DG HSM & DG Macro variants, but they're pretty mixed in terms of good and bad.

Then there's the Canon 24-70. It's a brick and it's expensive...but...?

I shoot portraits/commercial/n​ature. I definitely want f2.8, with a "standard" walk-around range. Under $1k would be best, even if that means a good used copy.

Ideas? Thoughts?




  
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xarqi
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May 10, 2010 21:41 |  #2

17-55/2.8 IS




  
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RetroBlader
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May 10, 2010 22:30 |  #3

Pennington wrote in post #10157923 (external link)
I just sold my 28-135 IS - the range was great, but I wanted a faster aperture for better low light performance and shallow DOF. I tried out a used Tamron 28-75, but it had focus issues, so it's going back. And I'm not sure how I feel about its plasticy build.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I've considered the 24-105L, but I think I'd prefer f/2.8. I've read reviews on both the Sigma 24-70 DG HSM & DG Macro variants, but they're pretty mixed in terms of good and bad.

Then there's the Canon 24-70. It's a brick and it's expensive...but...?

I shoot portraits/commercial/n​ature. I definitely want f2.8, with a "standard" walk-around range. Under $1k would be best, even if that means a good used copy.

Ideas? Thoughts?

I don't know if you are being rhetorical here, but basically, you've already answered your own questions:

Canon 17-55/2.8 (if you want original Canon lens)
or
Tamron 17-50/2.8 (with or without VC -- apparently the VC version is not as good IQ-wise)


P.S. The Canon 24-70 will not give you "standard walk-around range" -- the 24mm end won't be wide on your 7D/400D.

P.P.S. I didn't mention the Sigma 18-50/2.8 or the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 because traditionally, AF has been a hit-or-miss thing with Sigma lenses, not to mention the IQ isn't great:
http://www.photozone.d​e …s/517-sigma1770f284osapsc (external link)


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Pennington
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May 11, 2010 07:50 |  #4

I think I wasn't really clear in my original post - that's what I get for posting late at night :)

Let me rephrase: my issue is that without my 28-135, I'm missing what I consider to be my "standard range" walk-around lens. I have a 17-35L on the wide end, and will be getting a 70-200L for the long. But I'm trying to figure out what to do about that empty 35-70mm range. (I do have a 50mm f/1.8, but I don't think it's versatile enough to plug the hole.)

I only reach for the lens in this range about 35% of the time, so it's not a critical range for me. But I think I have to have something to fill it for when I need it. I'd like something with at least constant f/4.

The 24-70L is $1300 and I'm not sure I can justify that. So I guess what I'm looking for is a recommendation for a less-expensive alternative. Or should I just suck it up and get the 24-70L/24-105L for those times when I need it?




  
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NigelD
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May 11, 2010 07:55 |  #5

24-105 would be a good alternative but you've already got that range covered so it must be that you thought you had an issue with the 28-135. Was it not the right quality for you and you want an "L" series lens instead. If that's the case then you've answered your own question to some extent. If its another reason I'd be interested to know? If you want just something for portrait style stuff and also some flexibility then the 24-70 is great but what about another manufacturer - perhaps Sigma version, not so much cash?


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RetroBlader
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May 11, 2010 18:22 |  #6

Pennington wrote in post #10157923 (external link)
I just sold my 28-135 IS - the range was great, but I wanted a faster aperture for better low light performance and shallow DOF. I tried out a used Tamron 28-75, but it had focus issues, so it's going back. And I'm not sure how I feel about its plasticy build.

Pennington wrote in post #10159994 (external link)
Let me rephrase: my issue is that without my 28-135, I'm missing what I consider to be my "standard range" walk-around lens. I have a 17-35L on the wide end, and will be getting a 70-200L for the long. But I'm trying to figure out what to do about that empty 35-70mm range. (I do have a 50mm f/1.8, but I don't think it's versatile enough to plug the hole.)

I only reach for the lens in this range about 35% of the time, so it's not a critical range for me. But I think I have to have something to fill it for when I need it. I'd like something with at least constant f/4.

Thanks for clarifying. Let's take another crack at this.

You said you shoot "portraits/commercial/​nature". "Commercial" can be anything, so let's look at portraits and nature.

For portraits, most people shoot either "shallow-DOF-head-and-shoulder" or "whole-body environmental". For the former, the 70-200 is perfect, but you might not get enough background-blurring, depending on which of the 5 70-200Ls you get. The 50/1.8 would be perfect for that, or you can consider getting a 85/1.8. None of the "standard" zooms will be great, although the F2.8 on the 17-55 or the 24-70 can do in a pinch. For "whole-body environmental" portraits, the 17-35L should be great. In short, you don't need a standard zoom for portraits (if you are going to get anything, consider a 85/1.8 ).

For nature, again, it depends on what type of nature you shoot. Wide-angle scenery? Long-range-wildlife? Birds? Insects and flowers? Nature requires many different type of lenses. For wildlife and birds, even the 70-200 might not be long enough -- a 100-400 may be more appropriate. For insects and flowers, you might want to consider a macro lens. For wide-angle scenery, the 17-35L would be great on FF, but may not be wide enough on crop. Consider the 10-22. What's the emerging common theme? What you are missing is NOT around the 35-70mm gap.

Let's think about this from another angle.

35-70 is really NOT a big gap. By taking a few steps forward/backward and/or cropping a bit, it's not hard to fill the gap. Many people consider using 3 primes (the Holy Trinity: 35mm, 85mm, 135mm) for ALL of their photographic needs. The gaps between the Holy Trinity lenses are a lot bigger than your 35-70 gap (not to mention you actually have the 50/1.8 smack in the middle of the gap, plus the 28-75 which covered it completely).

So, ask yourself why you still feel the need to have something in the gap. I'm guessing, but I see 2 possibilities:

1. You are constantly changing between wide-angle and short-tele, and you are not fond of changing lenses with every shot. You said "I only reach for the lens in this range about 35% of the time, so it's not a critical range for me." May I remind you that 35% is more than 1/3 of the time, which is a lot? Maybe you do need a "normal" zoom. Consider the 17-55 or 24-70 if you must have F2.8. If you don't, consider the 15-85 or 24-105. (I'm not mentioning 3rd party zooms because you found fault with both Tamron and Sigma -- I'm sure you won't like Tokina either.)

2. You don't really need anything, period. You simply have lens lust for one of the lenses you mentioned.

Only you know which is which. Think about it and you'll have your answer.

Good luck.

:cool:


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toxic
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May 11, 2010 19:51 |  #7

RetroBlader wrote in post #10163763 (external link)
For portraits, most people shoot either "shallow-DOF-head-and-shoulder" or "whole-body environmental". For the former, the 70-200 is perfect, but you might not get enough background-blurring, depending on which of the 5 70-200Ls you get. The 50/1.8 would be perfect for that, or you can consider getting a 85/1.8.

Using a longer focal length can yield more blur than a shorter one at a wider aperture. 200mm at f/4 has more blur than 85mm at f/2. Of course, the perspectives are different, but the idea that the faster lens automatically equals more blur is wrong.

35-70 is really NOT a big gap. By taking a few steps forward/backward and/or cropping a bit, it's not hard to fill the gap. Many people consider using 3 primes (the Holy Trinity: 35mm, 85mm, 135mm) for ALL of their photographic needs. The gaps between the Holy Trinity lenses are a lot bigger than your 35-70 gap (not to mention you actually have the 50/1.8 smack in the middle of the gap, plus the 28-75 which covered it completely).

- Taking steps changes perspective. The only way around it is to crop, and cropping costs IQ.
- It's not always a "few steps." The number of steps depends on how far away you are in the first place.
- Sometimes you can't take any steps

35-70 can be a big gap, and not everyone likes working with primes - just because some like 35-85-135 doesn't mean everyone does.

1. You are constantly changing between wide-angle and short-tele, and you are not fond of changing lenses with every shot. You said "I only reach for the lens in this range about 35% of the time, so it's not a critical range for me." May I remind you that 35% is more than 1/3 of the time, which is a lot? Maybe you do need a "normal" zoom. Consider the 17-55 or 24-70 if you must have F2.8. If you don't, consider the 15-85 or 24-105. (I'm not mentioning 3rd party zooms because you found fault with both Tamron and Sigma -- I'm sure you won't like Tokina either.)

I agree. Get rid of the 17-35 and get a 17-55.




  
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RetroBlader
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May 11, 2010 21:01 |  #8

toxic wrote in post #10164226 (external link)
Using a longer focal length can yield more blur than a shorter one at a wider aperture. 200mm at f/4 has more blur than 85mm at f/2. Of course, the perspectives are different, but the idea that the faster lens automatically equals more blur is wrong.

I did not say faster lens automatically equals more blur. However, since you brought up the example of 85 at F2.0 vs. 200 at F4.0, let's take a closer look.

At 10 ft, 85mm and F2.0 would get you 0.31 ft of DOF.
To maintain the same framing, with the 200mm lens one would have to back up to 23 ft, at which point the DOF is 0.60 ft (at F4.0). Technically, the 85mm gives you twice as much "blur".

But let's not argue over math. If you look at my post again, I was talking about head-and-shoulder portraiture. How many people do you know shoot head-and-shoulder portraits at 200mm on a crop body?! :rolleyes:


toxic wrote in post #10164226 (external link)
- Taking steps changes perspective. The only way around it is to crop, and cropping costs IQ.
- It's not always a "few steps." The number of steps depends on how far away you are in the first place.
- Sometimes you can't take any steps

Yes, I am aware of perspective changing with "zooming by foot", hence my "and/or cropping". Keep in mind, we are not talking about extreme wide-angle perspective like with the 10-22 (or 16-35 on FF). At 35mm vs 70mm on crop, the perspective change is actually minimal.

If perspective change is that much of a concern for the OP (I highly doubt it), he/she has the 28-75 to cover the gap seamlessly.

toxic wrote in post #10164226 (external link)
not everyone likes working with primes - just because some like 35-85-135 doesn't mean everyone does.

You are preaching to the choir -- look at my gear list. :lol:


:cool:


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KenjiS
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May 12, 2010 02:01 |  #9

-stares at Retro's gear- Stop copying me ;)

Anyways...I dont think the 17-55 is what the OP wants...he sounds more along my lines of thinking where a walkaround is far more "wide ranged" than something 17-55

Have you considered the 15-85 for walkaround general purpose stuff plus a good fast prime in the 50-85 range for portraits?

I'd also look into an f/2.8 variation of the 70-200 over the f/4 for portraits...Thats just me however...

I'd also ask why do you THINK you prefer f/2.8 in that focal range? Why do you WANT f/2.8 for this lens' purpose? Is it because everyone says f/2.8 is always better or do you honestly NEED the speed?

I thought I NEEDED f/2.8 because everyone tends to say "Faster is always better" but the fact is for most subjects that lens is used on, f/2.8 is too wide or not wide enough, For portraits id rather have a 50 prime and for other subjects i want f/5.6-8 most of the time, Thus, f/2.8 is useless on that particular lens for me...

Just think about your uses, how and where the lens will be generally used and whether or not f/2.8 is REALLY that important..


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RetroBlader
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May 12, 2010 15:35 |  #10

KenjiS wrote in post #10165751 (external link)
-stares at Retro's gear- Stop copying me ;)

With the way you are going through lenses (quite a previously owned section you've got), it's pretty hard to come up with an "original" selection.... ;)

KenjiS wrote in post #10165751 (external link)
Anyways...I dont think the 17-55 is what the OP wants...he sounds more along my lines of thinking where a walkaround is far more "wide ranged" than something 17-55

Have you considered the 15-85 for walkaround general purpose stuff plus a good fast prime in the 50-85 range for portraits?

Hmm... let's see... in his own words:

Pennington wrote in post #10157923 (external link)
... I wanted a faster aperture for better low light performance and shallow DOF.

... I'd prefer f/2.8.

... I definitely want f2.8, with a "standard" walk-around range.

... I do have a 50mm f/1.8, but I don't think it's versatile enough to plug the hole.

Somehow I don't think (the 15-85 + fast prime) is what he is looking for. :rolleyes:

KenjiS wrote in post #10165751 (external link)
I thought I NEEDED f/2.8 because everyone tends to say "Faster is always better" but the fact is for most subjects that lens is used on, f/2.8 is too wide or not wide enough, For portraits id rather have a 50 prime and for other subjects i want f/5.6-8 most of the time, Thus, f/2.8 is useless on that particular lens for me...

Just think about your uses, how and where the lens will be generally used and whether or not f/2.8 is REALLY that important..

I assume you are talking to the OP. You can try, but no one is gonna convince me to part with my 17-55.  :p

(Don't worry, I love my 15-85 dearly as well.)


:cool:


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May 12, 2010 23:37 |  #11

RetroBlader wrote in post #10169154 (external link)
With the way you are going through lenses (quite a previously owned section you've got), it's pretty hard to come up with an "original" selection.... ;)

Hey I made my mistakes thats all :)

I assume you are talking to the OP. You can try, but no one is gonna convince me to part with my 17-55.  :p

(Don't worry, I love my 15-85 dearly as well.)


:cool:

Eh i agree, I did love my 17-55, theres times i miss it, its the ultimate indoor lens thats for sure, i just work outdoors a lot of the time so to me IS and a wide range trump the extra 1/3-2 stops of speed :)


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May 12, 2010 23:40 |  #12

If you're shooting nature, the 24-105L might not be wide enough on a 1.6x crop, although I am using that lens on my 5DII and I love it.


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Mk1Racer
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May 13, 2010 09:39 |  #13

Based on what you've got and what you say you need/want, seems like the 24-70 is the answer. At least until Canon releases a 17-85 f/2.8. But based on the price of the 17-55 f/2.8, gotta believe a 17-85 f/2.8 would cost as much, or more than the 24-70 f/2.8L.


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May 13, 2010 10:48 |  #14
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+1 for the 24-70. I think this would cover what you're missing. Although I agree that it'll be not wide enough in some cases, you cannot have just 1 all-around lens covering wide, medium, tele. You have to live with the notion that sooner or later you'll have to reach for another lens.
If there was 8-400, why would we even be talking about this? It's all about getting the best quality, and giving up something in the zoom range.
I really like what someone mentioned with 35/85/135 because this is where I'm personally heading eventually. But for you, I think you'd be better off with a 24-70 zoom.


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