Canon EF 17-40 4L vs. Tamron 17-50 2.8L?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by michaelsmiller, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. I am looking at 2 somewhat similar lenses around the same price point( $750 vs. $650). I know the main difference in speed between the f-stops, but which lens would you buy for the same amount of money?
    For some background, I shoot candid portraits and headshots(editorial, commercial, and families, 65% of which is outdoors, 35% in studio), landscapes, cityscapes, and some products. I do shoot an occasional wedding but it isn't my main business focus. I own Canon 7d and 40d bodies and have no immediate desire to go to a FF body.
    I am looking for a wide to moderate telephoto lens and I have it narrowed down to: Canon EF 17-40 f/4 for $750 and Tamron SP AF 17-50 f/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical IF for $650. I have never used any other lenses than Canon so I am wondering if this Tamron lens has the same quality, durability, and functionality as Canon glass? I don't know enough about Tamron so I am hoping you can weigh in with your experiences with these lenses or just in general.
    Thanks in advance!
    Miller
     
  2. The 17-40L is really designed to work exclusively for FF. Given its short tele end(40 is not good for portraits), slow speed(F4 is really not usable indoors) and no IS makes this lens pretty useless for APS-C. The tammy is better but I would stick to canon and go with the 17-55 IS.
     
  3. I have the 17-40 that I use on both full frame and crop bodies. It works well within its limitations. The thing that has turned me off to the several third party lenses I have owned is the AF. Canon has been clearly better. If I were you I would demo the Tamron to see if you can live with the AF.
     
  4. I have the 17-40 that I use on both full frame and crop bodies. It works well within its limitations. The thing that has turned me off to the several third party lenses I have owned is the AF. Canon has been clearly better. If I were you I would demo the Tamron to see if you can live with the AF.
     
  5. I am wondering if this Tamron lens has the same quality, durability, and functionality as Canon glass​
    No. the Tamron is not built as well and does not auto focus as well as the Canon but its still a very good lens. Its more about do you value the extra stop and the added range over the build.
    You may want to look at the Canon 15-85 as an alternative.
     
  6. The 17-40L is really designed to work exclusively for FF. Given its short tele end(40 is not good for portraits), slow speed(F4 is really not usable indoors) and no IS makes this lens pretty useless for APS-C.​
    What? The first statement is not true and the second is debatable, to put it mildly (and kindly).
     
  7. Take a look at the Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens. It is spectacular in every way, fast, and has IS as a bonus. It is also a very rugged lens, and mine has survived commercial service in fine fashion for several years. I only use the 17-40 on my FF cameras, as it just can't compare to the utility of the 17-55 f/2.8 on a crop camera. Even exposed to drizzle and snow, the 17-55 has never failed me on APS-C bodies from the 30D through the 7D. You should give it a look, and even though they hold their value extremely well, you can still save a reasonable sum buying a used copy.
    It's takes anything I throw at it, it's sharp, silent, snaps into focus, and I wouldn't dream of being without one..
    [​IMG]
     
  8. These are pretty different lenses. I use the 17-40mm 4.0 L on my full frame. It worked okay on my 40D but it wasn't optimal, short range and slow. I use the 17-55mm 2.8 on my APS-C 40D similar to the Tamron 17-50mm. My take is that if I went out to get the Tamron lens which I have been tempted by I would get the older non-VC version because it is cheaper, lighter and sharper than the VC version. I really liked the Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 when I tried it, and a lot of people swear by the VC version. JMNHO of course. Good luck!
     
  9. I liked the 17-50/2.8 non-VC a whole lot better than the 17-40. You give up some dubious "weather sealing" and USM focus, but the extra stop is very, very useful. Image quality is fairly equivalent with the 17-50/2.8 being a tad sharper out to about f/8 or so. If you do get the Tamron, get it from some place with a nice return policy as there are some dodgy copies out there. I had to try three before I found a winner, but it was worth it in the end.
    I imagine the 17-50/2.8 VC is an even better lens, but haven't had the chance to play with one.
     
  10. The single biggest downside to the Tamrons is their AF speed. sometimes they can feel positively glacial (especially when compared w/ USM). plus, since you have no manual overide to focus, you are stuck either watching the fuzziness or switching the AF off in bad lighting.
    OTOH, you get a full stop in extra speed (and light to the AF sensors), plus the VC (tamron's IS), which means that if you are shooting static subjects, it's functional at a much lower ISO then the 17-40. Plus of course the extra 10mm, which can be critical when doing portraiture... especially w/ the benefit of the crop.
    ... oh, wait! never mind... you can't buy the Tamron! it's got no red stripe!... fail!
     
  11. the tamron 17-50 2.8 (non-vc) is a lot sharper than the Canon 17-40 on crop models - and a lot cheaper!)
     
  12. I have the Tamron 17-50 and had the Canon 17-40L, both very good lens, I am now considering the Tamron VC to go and primarily stay on 7D, the Tamron is one awesome lens, did I mention that it has six years warranty.
     
  13. Thanks for the tips everyone. I buy almost all of my equipment through B & H, so I have always felt comfortable with the quality of product, return and exchange policy. Based on your comments, I think the Tamron lens might be a better fit for my needs but I am going to do some more research before I buy.
    I heard several people mention the Tamron Non-VC model as what they used and I am refering to the VC model which I am assuming will be a much crisper and sharper lens. At least I am hoping.
    Thanks again for all the help and suggestions!
     
  14. Unless you really need F2.8 I'd widen the choice and include the EF-s 15-85/IS which has a great range, nice build, great
    sharpness and Canon USM focusing.

    It does distort at the wide end but so do the others.

    Finally: try before you buy!
     
  15. Check here for a test report on the Tamron 17-50 with VC.http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/482-tamron_1750_28vc_canon
    Seems like the performance is nowhere near the non-VC version which I have. Its a fantastic lens. Excellent IQ, extremely sharp, AF performance is fine, both speed and accuracy have never been an issue for me. Go get one, its a great lens!
     
  16. Thanks for the info Matthijs, David, and Richard. I was somewhat surpised to read this review and realize that the Non-VC version seems like the better of the two Tamron versions. I think I will need to check the Non-VC version out to see if that is a better fit for me.
    Matthijs, what are the rules for testing out a lens?
     
  17. I'm no expert on lab testing.

    In real life I shoot detailed subjects at different focal lengths and distances while remembering where I focussed. After that
    I'll pixel peep a little. Then I'm either happy or sad...
     
  18. >>> For some background, I shoot candid portraits and headshots(editorial, commercial, and families, 65% of which is outdoors, 35% in studio), landscapes, cityscapes, and some products.
    I also shoot a lot of street portraits and candids (many here). The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is a superb lens for that use. Smaller, lighter, less expensive than the 17-55 IS. And it't within your listed budget. That lens is one of the reasons I'm keeping my crop camera - even though I have a 5DII with 24-70 f/2.8.
    The extra stop over the 17-40 is great for portraits when you want more creative control over DOF, or shoot in lower light.
     

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