Does it make sense to switch from the 24-105 to the 17-55?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by victor_oyarzun, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. I have the Canon 24-105 L as my walk-around lens but, never satisfied with its image quality, particularly sharpness.
    Probably because I always compare it with my 100mm 2.8L IS macro which is regarded as one of the sharpness Canon lenses and the one I use the most (nature, flowers, macro). I realize the
    comparison is not fair as it is zoom against a good prime but, not happy anyway. My 24-105 copy is supposed to be a good copy, checked by a Canon technician who work privately calibrating
    lenses here in Toronto.

    I am thinking to sell the 24-105 and buy the Canon 17-55. I am willing to lose the 50mm in focal length
    if I gain sharpness and I would fill the gap with other lens. Is this a reasonable move? Is there anyone who has owned both, considers the 17-5 to have a better image quality or the other way around?
  2. Unless your 24-105 is out of adjustment, it should provide very sharp images. I've used mine on both cropped sensor and full frame cameras. At one point I did have an adjustment issue with it that required me to send it to Canon for some work, but it came back in great shape.
    The 24-105 and the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 are quite different lenses, so their functionality doesn't exactly map. That said, if you are looking for a typical "normal" zoom, it is hard to beat the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS for cropped sensor bodies.
  3. The 24-105mm f/4L is a superb lens; like most zooms, its sharpness drops off a bit toward the long end (beyond 70mm), and it suffers from fairly severe barrel distortion at the wide end, but those points aside, it's probably the sharpest standard-length zoom in Canon's line-up. I've been out in the field with one pro landscape shooter who brought the 24-105mm f/4L as the only lens for his 5D. He didn't see a need for anything else.
    The main reason to switch to the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 would be if you don't feel the 24-105mm goes wide enough for you and you plan on staying with APS-C bodies for the foreseeable future. The 17-55mm f/2.8 is a very good lens too, but I wouldn't trade the 24-105mm for it.
    Comparing any zoom to the 100mm f/2.8 IS macro is, as you say, not really fair; more to the point, it can't help but make the zoom (any zoom) look bad. If that is your standard for sharpness and anything less than that will fail to satisfy you, you may as well give up on zoom lenses.
  4. How can I contact this Toronto technician. He can calibrate my lenses too.
  5. The 24-105mmL is a superb lens that is used by professional photographers the world over. Calibration, of course, is a must if you are not getting very sharp images. Also, comparing to a macro lens is truly apples vs oranges. By their very nature, a macros optics are quite different and is used for totally different purposes.
    My advice is to keep your 24-105, have it calibrated, and enjoy the extra 50mm reach!
  6. My 24-105 has always given me sharp, beautifully colored images. And a tad soft @ 90+mm. I'm looking for wider too, but can't seem to part with my fav walkaround. Just today I have borrowed my friends 17-40 [the most reasonable priced L lens. It really did well, but I found myself wanting to shoot 20-24 quite often. So here again, do I need a 17mm? [for MKIV].
    I can only suggest that you try before you buy. That usually helps to make decisions that you can be happy with. I don't know if the 17-55 has the wider distortions that most wide lenses have either. If you think you'd be happy with a max 55mm lens then go for it. Have you compared sharpness and performance? You could probably find some lens review-comparisons if you google it. [I've been looking at a ton of them lately in the ultra-wides, and like you want the sharpest one]
    Heres a guy who took the time to review many:
    this one may be of use to you:
  7. Thanks for the encoragment to keep my 24-105, I will give second thoughts.
    Peter, I have the technician business card in my office, I will reply tomorrow evening with the information. He checks the lens in your precense and charge only if it needs adjustment, at least those were the terms last time I went to see him around four months ago. It is interesting to see the results and compare them to a well aligned lens. Mine did not need adjustment.
  8. I would suggest the opposite as most have. I would at least try the 17-55/2.8 on your camera, and try to get good comparison shots between the two. I would expect a local shop would have it in stock, and would let you mount and try the two side by side (especially if you explain the context), shooting at similar aperture and focal lengths (for where that is possible) will give you a good idea if you indeed are setting your sights to high for a zoom (even an L ;-) ), or if you would perhaps benefit from changing lenses.
    While the 24-105 is a great zoom lens, it's neither the best available, nor the 'ideal' length on the crop. I know that mine was in fine condition, yet never really satisfied me, and when I switched to a 24-70/2.8, I saw an immediate improvement in IQ (especially @ f2.8-3.5 ;-) ). None of us can tell you with any certainty that your copy is the bees knees, or total trash -- despite our personal experience. And with that lens in particular, I've seen considerable sample variation. You've nothing to lose by trying out another lens.
  9. Victor, if you're shooting with a crop body, a crop lens has a native advantage over a full frame lens. The 17-55 might be your ticket.
  10. The 17-55 is my most-used lens, and the 24-105 is probably second, previously on a 20D and now on a 7D. I have not tried doing any formal comparison between the two to see if one has higher image quality than the other, because in my real-world usage, I have found that both of them meet my needs.
    You say that the 24-105 is your walkaround lens, which makes me ask how often you use the 56-105 range. Yes, you can cover that range with other lenses if you get the 17-55, but that means swapping lenses. Before I had these two lenses, I had the 17-40/4L USM and 28-135/3.5-5.6 IS USM, and even with 12 mm of overlap between them, I often found it frustrating how frequently I had to swap between them. I also ended up having to carry both lenses, even when trying to minimize how much gear I carried, because neither one could fulfill the need for a walkaround lens. So even though you say you're willing to use other lenses to cover the long end of the 24-105's range, make sure you've really thought about how many shots you'll potentially miss, either because you only brought the 17-55 with you or because you had to spend time juggling lenses (and, in some cases, looking for a sheltered place to do the swap so you don't get rain or dust or whatever in your camera while changing lenses).
  11. Wider, and one stop faster vs. Longer, more wide end distortion, and 1 stop slower. That was the comparison decision I faced when first purchasing the 24-105F4. I feel this would be the primary pivot for any decision comparing these two lenses (provided you are and plan to keep on using a "crop" body of course). It boils down to what you're using it for and which would suit your style, as I don't think overall IQ will be any better in the range of comparison (24-55). I have no complaints with the IQ on my 24-105 in real world use though there are times when I wish it was wider.
    As an aside, it may not be your lens. If it has been calibrated to your body-the body may be the culprit. My 60D had front/back focus issues that would pop up sporadically. When I finally sent the body to Canon, they determined the intermittent issue was being caused by a faulty processor.
  12. Marcus, I initially wanted to rent a 17-55 and see by myself but unfortunately here in Toronto they do not rent EF-S lenses. I tried three diferent places.
    Steve, thanks for your input. I did a search in Lightroom and 80% of my photos with the 24-105 are whithin the 17-55 range but, yes there is a 20% at higher phocal lenghts that I would miss unless I move around but, sometimes it is not possible.
    Peter, the technician E-mail is: he lives in the Markham area.
    Now, I have a split field of four for the 17-55 and four for the 24-105 uhmmm.. Probbaly I am going to follow Randall suggestion of checking the calibration of my 7D and the 24-105 before going forward.
    Thanks all for your time in answering my post!
  13. How about selling the 24-105 and buying a 15-85. It would give you wideangle, and it'll pair nicely with the 100/2.8L.
  14. I want to make sure my comments near the start of this thread are not misunderstood.
    In general, when a cropped sensor camera owner asks me whether the 24-105 or the EFS 17-55 would be the better lens for their camera, I lean strongly toward recommending the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS unless the shooter's needs are a bit unusual. The EFS lens has excellent image quality, more "normal" focal length range the better covers wide angles yet goes to portrait length, gives you f/2.8, and includes image stabilization.
    Note that I'm not saying anything bad about the 24-105 - heck, I own one and it is one of my most used lenses. So, purely in terms of "quality," both are excellent lenses, and if the OP isn't getting sharp images it is quite possible that something is simply out of adjustment.
  15. Dan, agree, and if his 24-105 doesn't please him, then maybe the 17-55 or 15-85 may be the ticket! Can't be used though on a 1D, right?
  16. Regarding image quality the difference seems to be marginal:
  17. It depends on what you plan to use the lens for. There is a huge difference between the maximum 55mm and 105mm. If you prefer razor sharp images then go for the 17-55mm but in my experience you will miss the extra range you get with the 24-105mm even on a cropped camera. The 24-105mm is weather sealed an is also more versatile in that you can use it both on full frame and cropped cameras. This is one of the main reasons why I opted out of purchasing the 17-55 rather purchasing the Sigma 17-70mm at half the price and which offers better range.
  18. Matthias, thnx for the link. I had not thought to do comparing there for wides. I did a few @24mm and it made me glad I have the 24-105IS. It beat out primes and even one zeiss.
    I sure wish canon would just make a 16mm prime that wasn't a fisheye. I'd be happy with that, because it would be a specialty lens, and not used near as often as my 24-105. It even looked better than the 17-40 @24, so I guess I will live without a ultrawide for now.
    True though, rarely used the 24-105 past 85mm. many times wishing it was a 17-70 IS instead. I remember when canon produced it and people were scratching their heads wondering why canon had gambled on that instead of a 17mm-85 LIS. But with a 12-24 I'd be changing lenses alot. Nothing is perfect as yet.
  19. I have both lenses. Usually the 24-105 is on my 5D II and the 17 - 55 switches on and off the 7D so take what I say with the usual grain of salt... but I generally prefer the images I get with 24 - 105.
    It has little to do with sharpness, though I am as fixated on that as most, but essentially the whole color balance and range is often more compelling for me. I have put the 24 - 105 on the 7D, but only on a few occasions, and it still seems to hold up for me eyes.
    If you could swing it financially, why not buy the 17 -55 if you can't rent it, try them for awhile and sell the one you don't use. You'll probably lose less than the price of renting if you keep it for awhile and will really know for sure which one works best for you.
  20. Jeff, if you have both and prefer the 24-105 it is a good feedback for me. However, do you think that both lenses have same level of sharpness as most said in this post?
  21. Victor,
    Your post made me feel better: I had a 24-105 that I loved shooting with, but IQ did not look sharp to me. I compared it with a 28-135 and a 17-85 that I borrowed and saw no difference. I thought I was nuts!
    I probably should have had the 24-105 calibrated, but I sold it.
    Thanks for your post.
  22. Victor, I think you should also seriously consider the 15-85. I went from a 28-135 to a 24-105 on my 7D, and stuck with the 24-105 until I purchased the 15-85. The image quality is excellent (the build quality is also quite good!) and the focal range is perfect for me, with a 35mm equivalent of 24-136mm. It also has the latest generation of IS and is silent in its operation. I had considered the 17-55/2.8 but preferred the longer reach of the 15-85. I still have the 24-105 and use it on my 7D occasionally (it mostly stays on my 1v now) but primarily use the 15-85. Give it some serious consideration.
  23. I was ready to send my 24-105mm into Canon for adjustment, then I started using DxO Optics Pro. Lightroom, DPP, DxO and others correct for the lens' softness at each aperture and focal length. Make certain that you've got that function installed and turned on in you RAW conversion software, before you reject a lens. It's amazing how improved the lens is after running it through DxO.

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