Lens Dilemma for Two Body System

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by lindsay_dobson, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. I've read a lot of helpful information on the forum regarding the lenses I'm considering, and other people's choices, but despite that I am still having problems deciding on which would be most suitable (I suspect it's the thought of the expenditure) and so I would welcome your opinions.
    The core to my wedding/portrait system is a two body, two lens setup, which I find convenient and this minimizes lens changes. I like the flexibility of a full frame and a crop sensor arrangement. Initially, this consisted of a 24-105 f4L on the 5D and the 70-200 f2.8 L IS on my 40D. The problem is that an f4 lens is not always adequate in the dark situations we encounter in the UK, especially where there is some subject movment. (Incidentally, I prefer the flexibility of zooms, although I always carry a couple of primes as backups). Therefore, I'm not considering any f4 lenses (much as I love the attributes of the 24-105). My choices for a new lens are as follows:
    1) Buy a 24-70 f2.8L for the 5D (and the 70-200 f2.8 then lives on the 40D). Cons: bulky heavy lens, no IS, slight gap between the two focal lengths, lacking on the ultra wide end should I need it
    2) Buy the 17-55 f2.8 for the 40D giving me 27- 88 (putting my 70-200 f2.8 on the 5D). Cons: I'm worried that crop sensors will be phased out and I will be left with a very expensive bit of glass which I will be unable to sell or use; lacking on the ultra wide end should I find myself in a tight spot
    3) Get a 16-35 f2.8L for the 40D giving me 26-56 (70-200 f2.8 on the 5D). Cons: not sure, feelings seem to be mixed on this one
    Your views would be greatly appreciated.
  2. l_e


    Here are my thoughts...
    1) 24-70 2.8L - I don't mind the size or weight, the lack of IS doesn't bother me, the slight gap between focal lengths should be easy to over come. How often do you need an ultra-wide lens? I have this lens, but I am not wild about it. It results in an image quality that I don't like.
    2) 17-55 2.8 - Why wouldn't you be able to use the 17-55 on a full frame sensor? Have you heard anything definite about crop sensors being phased out? I have one of these lenses as well and prefer it over the 24-70. It is a more limited lens but it does give the ultra-wide capability.
    BTW, if you are worried about losing the ultra-wide capability by putting the 24-70 on the 5D, wouldn't you lose even more by putting the 17-55 on the 40D?
    3) 16-35 2.8L - it seems like this would be the most limiting giving you the most gap between focal lengths, no ultra-wide capability, etc
    Also, with your 2 current 'favorite' lenses you don't have ultra-wide capabilty. I am not sure why would list it as a con for lenses you are considering.
    We also have different shooting tastes so take that into consideration. I use 2 5D bodies with mostly prime lenses. Your statement about the flexibilty of use a full and crop sensor baffles me because I find crop sensor extremely frustrating to use.
    If I had your setup I would go for the 17-55.
  3. LE, thank you very much for your response. The 17-55 is, I believe, an EF-S mount, so cannot be used on my 5D, which does limit its usage somewhat. The 16-35 on the other hand, would give me true wide capability on the 5D (and approximately 26-56 on the 40D) so in that sense it is versatile.
  4. Get another 5D and make the 40D a back up or when you need speed shooting, like air shows and sports. Your currentl lens setup is very ideal. v/r Raz
  5. Buffdr, thank you for the reply, but I'm not looking to buy another body. As I mentioned, I enjoy having the choice of sensor format, it works well for me. My current lens setup has proved problematic because f4 is not ideal in the situations in which I find myself, hence the need for an additional fast zoom.
  6. The 5D has lower noise at higher ISOs than the 40D. Not by a full stop. But it is ever so slightly better.
    f/2.8 doesn't gain you as much over f/4 as f/1.4 does. Yes, I know you said you prefer zooms. Zooms are great. Until the light drops. I'd urge you to consider the 35/1.4 on your 5D. You'll be able to take pictures in light that makes it difficult to focus in. Zooms are great. I use a 24-105/4 on a 5D for most of my wedding photography. Until the light drops. Then I switch to a 35/1.4.
    If you absolutely, positively want to stick with a zoom, I'd go with the 17-55/2.8 IS on the 40D over the 24-70/2.8 on the 5D. Why? IS. I'll take IS over non-IS any day, especially if the apertures are equal. I said earlier that the 5D is slightly better then the 40D with noise. Not quite a full stop. If you're shooting 1600 on the 5D, you'll get about the same noise if you shoot 1000 on the 40D. All things being equal, you'll do better in low light with the 35/1.4 on the 5D. But if you're totally against a prime, I'd go with the IS zoom on the 40D.
    Don't worry about crop sensors being phased out. Canon isn't going to want to cut into its 5D or 1Ds sales with full frame sensors on consumer bodies. Even if the price of full frame sensors comes down, smaller sensors will always be even cheaper.
  7. I'd get the 16-35.

    1) Put 16-35 on the 5D and 70-200 on the 40D. Now you have ultra wide to slightly wide and lots of tele. In full frame speak you have 16-35mm and 112-320mm. If you don't need that much tele I would just put a 50mm on the 40D (and I'm sure you already own one) and you'll have 16-35 and 80mm.
    2) Swap lenses when you need more midrange focal lengths. Now you have 26-56mm and 70-200mm (equivalent full frame). If you have a prime in the 100-135mm range that would also work as a good alternative to the 70-200.
    If your next camera update will be a full frame then you're already set to go with the 16-35 on one and the 70-200 on the other. Complement with a 1.4 extender if/when you focal lengths in the 300mm range.
  8. Haha, its such a personal thing IMO.
    I mostly gravitate to primes (FF equivalents of 24/28 and 85) from the perspective of aesthetic concerns. However, zooms hold their own in many if not most cases as they offer quality glass these days. Some of that glass rivals primes and the 17-55 is one of those close lenses for a zoom. I am confident in the continuance of the crop sensor too. I have three crop bodies in use and a 4th that has officially been on the shelf (D1) for a while now. I would not base your choice on the continued existence/support of crop sensor bodies. At least not in the next 6-8 years or so. 80%+ of DSLR's will stay in this category and there is continued commitment from the big guys to this format.
    All that said:
    My two body system in generally this:
    For the getting ready/bridal portraits/before shots/details I will typically use a D300 + 14-24 (would be the 40D and 16-35 if Canon) and the D700 and 85 prime (like a 5D and 85 in Canon).
    For the ceremony (church/venue dependent) and following formals etc.: The D3 (recently added for this purpose) and 24-70, and the D300 + Tokina 50-135 (or if relegated to the back, a 70-200Vr).
    For the reception; The D300 + either the Tokina 16-50 or Nikon 14-24. Then the other body is either the D700 + 85 (if its a larger venue) or Sigma 50 HSM.
    Sounds like a lot of swapping, but it just suits me that way.
    If you really want a two body system for the full day and can accept the crop body as your main/primary coverage body, then I would do this:
    40D + 16-35 + 580EXII
    5D(2 if you can swing it, its better in most cases than the MkI) + 85 (1.8 would be fine on the Mk2 body, or the 1.2MkII version if staying with the 5d1). You would be best covered to have the 70-200 IS for the back of the church stuff and long shots when needed.
    So, if you shoot just like me, that is my answer. Otherwise, do what you feel best about and be sure of what suits your style.
  9. Eric and Pete, thank you, your suggestions are very helpful. Eric, I agree that there are times when a fast prime is essential.
  10. Lindsay, I also live in the UK so I understand what you're saying about poor light, especially in hunfreds of years old dark venues.... Oh well, we like a challenge, don't we. I would like to suggest that you consider the Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 for the 5D. At least give it a bit of thought, it is a pretty good lens and a lot cheaper. Whilst it is not Canon, it not that far either.
    Just a comment to say that you have one of the very best portfolios I've seen on photo.net, or anywhere else for that matter. Absolutely fantastic images! Very nice site design too. All the best.
  11. David, thank you so much for the kind words. I don't know what to say. I'm not sure I deserve the compliments (I make a meal of every shoot I do) but they are greatly appreciated. Funny you should mention the Tamron - I looked at it just hours ago in Park Cameras - nice and light and compact - I've been reading some very good reviews. I'm careful with my equipment so 'L' build quality is not a pre-requisite. And it would leave enough in the kitty to put towards a wide lens - I'm a little fixated on that at the moment, given how sprawling and grand some of our country house venues are, as you will know only too well.
    I thought your site was rather nice, too.
  12. Hi Lindsay, just looked at a few websites, and Park Cameras have a pretty good price on the Tamron 28-75mm now. Much better than a few of the other usual suspects. In fact it is the same price now as I paid about a year ago, wheras some of the other places are selling it for aquite a bit more. So if you're keen, then you may have found a good source for the purchase!
  13. BTW Lindsay,
    I looked at your site (which has some beautiful work) and see a portraiture style as your main thing. If you don't already have an 85, you will find that to be a great asset/compliment to your shooting style.
    I don't see too much in the way of wide/vista work. Is that omission by design or simply a lens shortfall? If its just your style, I would not worry too much about the wides as your work does not miss it. OTOH, if you're missing it due to spending the cash, then the 28mm end of the Tamron (which is a pretty decent lens) will not afford you really wide shots without sufficient distance to back away from the scene. It is wide, just not very wide. The difference between 28mm and 24mm is fairly significant.
    Hope that helps the thinking process.
  14. David - thank you, you raised some excellent points. I really like the 85 and it would be great to own it one day. As you realised, most of the stuff was shot with the 70-200 f2.8 (my workhorse) since I have developed a preference for tighter shots. You are also correct in that I have not really missed having an ultra wide lens, until I recently found myself in a tight (and rather dark) venue. When I tried the Canon 24-70 I found it quite heavy and I struggled with the lack of IS at times (I'm small and female). I'm thinking if I add the Tamron, plus the 16-35L (which I recently had a need for), would cover me for most situations at weddings.
  15. What I find interesting is that you don't place any weight on what is shot with the full frame and what is shot with the crop frame. That is an important factor for me. In any case, let me add my recommendation for the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. I use it on my 5D a lot. I do like fast primes though, and I agree that the extra stop isn't all that much to work with, over f4. However, the Tamron doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Just be sure you test rigorously when you first buy it, because it is known to have variable quality control. When you get a sharp one, it is almost as good as the Canon 24-70mm, if not equal, in image quality. At f2.8 on the long end, you do have a bit of softness. However, nothing that sharpening in Photoshop can't handle nicely. Tamron has a 6 year warranty.
    In addition, you should be aware of several other things. First, the zoom ring rotates in the opposite direction from Canon zooms--it did trip me up at first, but I don't use a tele zoom, so I don't have to go back and forth that often. Second, the focus isn't as fast as a Canon USM lens, or as quiet. This doesn't bother me at all, though.
    I can't really make any kind of recommendation beyond that because to me, it would depend on how you shoot. However, if you are leaning toward the 17-55mm, consider the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I have it too, and it if a great lens. Same comments apply as for the 28-75mm. Thing is, it costs about $400. Way less than the 17-55mm, and holds it's resale value well. And, the slight gap between a 24-70 and 70-200 would not bother me either. I also don't have much use for IS, but then, that's me. Do you really use the 'missing' focal lengths a lot?
    As for the 16-35mm f2.8--I have that lens and it is fine. Would work well for the times you need a really wide angle on the 5D. Don't know of any cons... Again, re-analyze how you shoot and what you'd prefer.
  16. Nice and well-phrased question, Lindsay.
    My feeling is that (1) and (2) are great choices.
    I'd say that, if you'd like 24mm, go with (1). If you'd like IS, go with (2).
    That said, I have the 17-55mm f/2.8, and I can reassure you it is an awesome lens. I use it on a 40D and find it absolutely exquisite. I would not worry so much about APS-C obsolescence. Even if it happens, you can keep your 40D + 17-55mm as a wonderful backup, or sell them with some loss, but not a total one.
  17. Thank you everybody for the replies - I've found the responses extremely helpful.
    Nadine, thank you, I saw your earlier recommendation for the Tamron and I found it very reassuring. I do make a conscious decision as to which body to use in a given situation, on the day, and I agree that in my question I was speaking rather generally. I know what you mean about inconsistencies between lenses - when I tested the Canon 24-70 I was unlucky with both the copies I tried, which put me off a bit, although I can understand that it is a fantastic lens if you get a good one. I will certainly test several of the Tamrons as you advised. I hadn't thought about the Tamron 17-50, a good suggestion.
  18. it


    I have 2 bodies with me, usually one with the 24-70, the other with the 35/1.4. This seems to work for 80% of the day.
  19. I use the 24-70 2.8 for 90% of the day.
    For the close up's I use the 135 L sometimes with 1.4 TC
    Carrie two 5D bodies with me.
  20. I shoot weddings as well with a 2 bodie system, I too appreciate 2 different crop factors and I use the following.
    24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8IS, 24mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 and 100 f2, + extention tubes
    When the pace is slow, I prefer 2 bodies (mounted with 24 and 50, FOV varies with body its mounted on.)
    This is on a 5D and 1dmk3 setup.
    Lack of the IS on the 24-70 has never been an issue for me.
  21. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  22. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I (personally) and the studio I work for have dual formats. Your question is a cut and dried answer for me now, but after much process. My choice is the 16 to 35MkII and the 70 to 200F2.8IS.
    With an APS-C and 135 format, dual system kit, using only those two F2.8 zooms; the EF 24 to 70F2.8 becomes (almost) superfluous, in terms of FL coverage.
    The EF-S 17 to 55F2.8IS is completely out of my thinking, even though it is a cracker lens, and one I would recommend as the main lens for an APS-C system. But for dual body system it does not add to, but substantially subtracts from the System's Redundancy.
    BTW, your concern about APS-C bodies, becoming a “Dinosaur”, is a non-worry, IMO.
    A comment on Nadine's suggestion (28 to 75) as I have been through that choice too - we did consider this lens. The two reasons we eventually said no:
    1. rotation direction of the Zoom ring (and from memory the Focus ring also) - already mentioned.
    2. 28mm being a little too narrow as the limit of zoom - 24mm is nice to have.
    That said, the Tamron is considerably better value for money as a business decision, than the 16 to 35Mkii, (and we thought a long time about that). I think the Tamron 28 to 75 is a worth while consideration, if 28mm is wide enough for you, and the (different) rotation factors are OK.
    But the main reason why I chimed in . . . I prioritize System Redundancy very high.
    It seems to me, you are thinking two "separate" cameras each with their “own” working lens. I bring this point up, as it is likely you will have the Standard Zoom on the 40D. Consider the case where where the 40D body fails - I would like to quickly mount the xx to xx lens from the 40D on the 5D and continue - you cannot mount the EF-S 17 to 55F2.8IS on the 5D and although I believe you can mount the Tamron 17 to 50F2.8, you would continue shooting, with limitations.
    I only scan read the answers – I do not think this has been mentioned.
  23. Thank you very much indeed to everyone who has contributed, there is some great information here and several things for me to think about.
    William - I was hoping for your opinion, thank you . (-: Indeed, the 17-55 f2.8 is a brilliant lens, but as you said limited to the 40D, so not really the best choice in my dual format system, so I will not consider it further. I've been told that the Tamron 17-50 will not work on the 5D either, so that one is out of the running too.
    So, I am concluding that the 16-35 would give real flexibility in that I would have ultra-wide on the 5D if that need arose (although I've heard it said it's not a particularly sharp lens). Or else the Tamron 28-75 could sit mostly on the 5D, with my 70-200 'mostly' on the 40D. I will get the Tamron 28-70 for now, and the 16-35 will go on the wish list.
    I do wish there were more IS versions of these lenses. Despite working on my technique, I'm not the best at hand holding.
  24. The 16-35mm that I have is sharp. It is true that there is some variability in various copies. I have the original version, not the II version. By sharp, I mean that, true to it's reputation, the center is L lens sharp but the corners are somewhat soft. Remember, though, what we wedding photographers shoot. For most any subject matter at a wedding, soft corners don't make any difference, since rarely are important subjects in the corners. I might be more worried if I was shooting landscapes.
    I have the Tamron 17-50mm in addition to the 16-35mm just so I can photograph complete receptions with the Tamron (which covers more on the longer end) and my 20D. In addition, if my 5D went down, I could switch over to the 20D with that lens and still have the 28-80mm focal lengths covered in a zoom. So it is entirely redundant but is still worth the $350 I spent on it just for these purposes. The advantage to photographing receptions with the 20D is the fact that a crop sensor camera has about a stop (actually 1.3 stops) 'more' DOF than full frame, so I can use f4 when I use f5.6 on the 5D, and so forth. Makes a difference in large halls where you are pushing your flash by bouncing. Also, most reception candids are not enlarged much, and the smaller file size is nice.
  25. Nadine, as always I find your responses extremely helpful, and I am now a lot more comfortable about purchasing another lens (always seems like such a big step on the early days of one's career). It's good to know there are some (affordable) gems as far as third party lenses go. One of your points hit home - my 5D did go down once on a (portrait) shoot, so I can appreciate what you were saying about the value of the Tamron on the crop body, should the failure happen at a wedding. I had barely considered that before now.
  26. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    It is important to understand that my answers stem from the perspective of least number of lenses for greatest coverage, maximum redundancy, and best value for money, within a limited but largish budget, drawn from existing business capital. Specifically, I cut my (film) gear over (from a different manufacture) to Canon DSLR meaning a whole new camera kit. Then a couple of years later, I converted studio kits to Canon DSLR. In both instances, whilst there was a budget, it came from working capital, and in that regard the difference between the cost of Canon and Tamron (as an example only) was not in consideration. At the outset on both occasions, we decided to have Canon only lenses.
    Perhaps the MOST important consideration is to firstly define two things very clearly:
    1. what is the kit one wants to eventually have to do the job(s) the customers require.
    2. how that kit will be used to address the job(s) in one's own style
    And then making that kit: Redundant in all aspects; efficient in regards to weight and size, and within budget.
    I think these two issues are so closely intertwined, that often neither is really addressed fully - it actually takes some nuts and bolts thinking to isolate what is really going on (or what is going to go on) - and obvioulsy part of that whole thinking process, is made easier with experience.
    If the whole kit cannot be purchased up front, one can make a timeline of purchases, this requires a prioritization at each purchasing point, according the two aspects above, and always addressing redundancy.
    An example is: I have a 400D now but only can afford 1 new body at this time. I have three Weddings over the next two months I will purchase a 5D now, and use those two cameras as a dual format kit for two months, then I will be able to purchase a 50D, then I will have the 5D /50D kit I want. I need to allocate $xxx per week, for eight weeks to make the 50D purchase on time. At that two month point I will keep the 400D as a spare because I will only get $xxx for it and I have decided that I need two working cameras and one back up / I will not keep the 400D as a spare because I can get $xxx for it and that will buy LLLL, which is the next purchase I have outlined on my list and I have decided that I only want two working cameras, I feel comfortable with that amount of System Redundancy in regard to Digital Camera Bodies.
    A clear example of how experience dictates usage is above, where Nadine expands on her previous answer and explains HOW she uses the 20D at the Receptions and some of the reasons as to WHY she does so.
    I believe that information like that (which basically is taking other’s experience) is very important to: collect; digest; and understand . . . and then ask, "Does that apply to me - and if so, how will that influence the design and components of my kit?"
    The application of this type of information, asking oneself “does or will this apply to me?”, is much more important than being supplied a simple list of cameras and lenses.
    Asking someone, “What gear do you use?”; without asking why, is a meaningless exercise, IMO.
    Let me provide another scenario, taking Nadine's information above as a base: Suppose there is another photographer who has a 20D and a 5D but uses Flash quite sparingly at the reception, but rather their style involves a lot of available light work, they work quite close, maximum usually two people in shot, mostly half shots, the issue of the extension of the flash penetration immediately vanishes, and likely this photographer would have two three or four very fast primes handy - most likely two mounted, one on each camera and two in a bum bag or in coat pockets. Also the output of the 5D is nicer at 1600ISO than the 20D at 1600ISO, even for small prints, so it is likely this Photographer would use the 5D the most at the reception, not the 20D.
    Also, for this Photographer, having two, three or even four fast zooms (F2.8 is fast for a zoom), is quite silly, as the money would be better spent (initially) on fast Primes. This Photographer might only have one, or at the most two zooms, likely just a standard zoom for the convenience outside, at the home and for the general coverage, both with and without Flash. The Lens' System Redundancy for this Photographer’s kit, would be in the cache of Prime Lenses which could cover every shooting scenario.
    Note that I wrote "initially spent". Speaking for myself, it is important to remember that I have four other kits: four film 135SLRs, with an array of lenses; two 645 bodies and a set of lenses; two 6x7 and four lenses and a 5x4 and three lenses a couple of boxes of accessories from copy stands, various bellows, rings filters and a range of gadgets that I have made or modified, and two enlargers (the enlargers last used 2004 – I think - Ha!, note to self must do more B&W D&P) – my guess is that I am not that different to some others here.
    This is just an indication that importantly, as one’s kit grows it is likely that an “extra lens” (or two) will be purchased but used rarely for the main business purpose at a Wedding. A recent DSLR “extra lens purchase” was my EF15mmF2.8 Fisheye. I have used that lens once in six months for a professional shot, i.e. an image I sold, so as a business purchase the 15mm fisheye was quite ridiculous. I would never encourage someone starting their Wedding kit to buy a Fisheye, before all the other aspects of “to do the job(s) the customers require, in one's own style” had been addressed.
    My sincere suggestion is to get a piece of blank paper, have a think about all this and start making a few lists –which address your statements of:
    “My kit to do the job(s) the customers require, in my own style, having my kit Redundant in all aspects; efficient in regards to weight and size, and within my budget.”
    As an example, to begin the contents of your list:
    I do not like making lens changes.
    I am not comfortable hand holding at less than 1/x secs with a lens longer than X mm.
    So that leads on to: Am I going to improve my hand holding technique? - do I need to? - have I taken into consideration a "No Flash Policy" at the Church? If there is a "No Flash Policy" at the Church have I considered that IS will not save my butt when I have a nervous Bride swaying a bit at the Altar?
    Which then develops this, as an example for the nervous Bride at the Altar, one solution might be: I need a good monopod and one fast prime.
    Then the next question is: What is the best fast Prime to get for a two format kit to address most of the venues I will be Photographing in the next year - what do I have to consider?
    The first consideration is the size of the venue and the second consideration is whether you will have the ability to roam, or will you be set a position at the back or at the side - so based on that you answer might be a 35mm lens or an 85mm lens (giving you a FoV = 35 and 56 OR 85 and 136 respectively)
    Alternatively most of your jobs might be in environs where there Ceremonies will be held in modern buildings with lots of glass, hence lots of light, so if there is a "No Flash Rule" an F2.8 zoom will suffice, and for the odd occasion when you get an old Sandstone Church, you decide you will rent a fast prime to suit - our you might decide to get the EF50F1.8 as an inexpensive 50 / 80 for your dual format kit.
    But note all the thinking and writing down comes from what your customer needs, within your own style.
    Your question is well phrased and your processes thus far are logical. I think you are well directed already in the process, I hope the deeper analysis, examples and the suggestion to define your outcome first, and then work backwards, assists you to make a decision which will specifically suit you.

  27. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    PS: I wrote and posted mine above, before I read your post (Lindsay) which clearly indicates you are already applying other's experiences to your own situations and experiences.
    (Lndsay's post: Feb 18, 2009; 04:34 p.m.)

    Doing this type of thinking & application is exactly what I was getting at . . .


  28. you use a 70-200 f2.8 IS as your main lens but find the 24-70 too heavy? which model 70-200 do you own because my copy is much heavier than the 24-70
    Dont what ever you do think a 16-35 will be ok on the 40d the zoom range is awful so dont think about it. Most of my stuff is shot with my 24-70 but for small venues that gets moved over to the 40d and the 16-35 goes on the 5d
  29. Martyn, yes, I find my 70-200 f2.8 IS very heavy, but I use the lens a lot and I benefit hugely from the IS. Another heavy lens to carry about (the 24-70) all day would be tiring, and a heavy lens without IS is a big issue for me, hence the Tamron equivalent being a good alternative. But I see your point.
    I'm feeling that the 16-35 is 'very useful and desirable to have' but should not be my first choice in this dilemma.
    William, I shall have a good attempt at the list you mentioned. I wish I weren't so dithery (lack of experience and possibly confidence issues - both are being worked on).
  30. Completing the equpment-assessment list William suggested has been one of the most useful things I've done this year. I recommend anyone struggling with a lens decision to try this. It was interesting and actually quite revealing. Here is the summary.
    AIM: to gain faster aperture coverage at the wider end; to allow for failure/redundancy, within my currently quite limited budget, and on my preferred dual format system. Weight is a factor in my choices.
    It is clear that it is not a simple matter of me just purchasing one lens since I have identified further needs based on what I've learned in this thread.
    My style is unobtrusive and I prefer to stand back a little. I like to minimize lens changes. Zooms are perfect for my 'basic kit'.
    Churches in the UK tend to have a no flash policy (aside from the recessional and processional, generally). f2.8 zooms are often alright but some churches are very dark indeed. My 50 f1.8 has proved useful on these occasions However, I now see that a wider fast prime would be a necessity (not that I can afford a 35L, much as I'd like to) for the 5D, with my 50mm going on the 40D. Sometimes I can roam around, sometimes I can't.
    * I will cover the shorter focal length on the 40D. Tamron 17-50 f2.8 will do this nicely and will provide protection for that range should the 5D fail (excellent point, Nadine). I have chosen this lens because it is an excellent (and cheap) alternative to the Canon equivalent.
    * I should cover the same range (Tamron 28-75 f2.8) for the 5D, should the opposite happen. I have chosen this lens because the Canon equivalent is too heavy for my tastes.
    * I need to consider dark churches where the f2.8 zooms will be limited. An accompaniment to my 50mm f1.8 should be sought for low light situations. In the UK it's often quite dark from mid afternoon onwards, through Autumn and Winter.
    Thank you everyone for your help. I have a better understanding of my true needs as a result, and a plan for resolving them.
  31. Lindsay,
    Yeah, those UK C of E type churches will suck the light right out of your camera...
  32. David, yes that can be a real problem on occasion. The worst case I encountered was last summer. Despite it being light until 9pm on most days in our summertime, it was 2.30 in the afternoon and some dark clouds came over at the exact time the ceremony took place (in a small country church). I could barely see my camera, let alone anything else. I have fantasized about owning a couple of ultra-fast 'L' primes ever since. It will be some time before I can afford them, but they are on my wish list.
  33. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I now see that a wider fast prime would be a necessity (not that I can afford a 35L, much as I'd like to) for the 5D, with my 50mm going on the 40D
    . . .
    “I need to consider dark churches where the f2.8 zooms will be limited. An accompaniment to my 50mm f1.8 should be sought for low light situations. In the UK it's often quite dark from mid afternoon onwards, through Autumn and Winter."

    EF35/F2, would be one to consider - is one more stop enough?

    EF28/F1.8 is a bit soft at the edges on a 5D, good on the APS-C, IMO, Also, are the edges all that important, if you need F1.8?

    Sigma have a range of "DG" / F1.8 primes (20, 24, 28) - Note the suffix "DG"


    But considering your initial FL choice, (i.e. wanting the EF35F1.4L), and I do understand your default will be to have the 35mm on the 5D and the 50mm on the 40D: but think about this aspect of FL leverage with your dual system:

    A 35mm/F2 (or 1.4) combined with your 50F1.8 gives FoV equivalents: 35mm, 50mm, 56mm, 80mm
    A 28mm/F1.8 combined with your 50F1.8 gives FoV equivalents: 28mm, 45mm, 50mm, 80mm
    A 24mm/F1.8 (or F1.4) combined with your 50F1.8 gives FoV equivalents: 24mm, 38mm, 50mm, 80mm
    A 20mm/F1.8 combined with your 50F1.8 gives FoV equivalents: 20mm, 32mm, 50mm, 80mm

    The above FL leverage of my 20D, 30D, 5D system, is why I bought my EF24mmF1.4L before I bought either Canon 35mm lens.

    YMMV, just another thought to consider.

    BTW I have not used the Sigma lenses – I just mentioned them for your information: all the Canon lenses mentioned, I have used.


    ". . .will suck the light right out of your camera..."
    That made me laugh, David.
    High ceilings, dark beams above, dark sandstone walls, high thick Stained Glass narrow Windows - classic C of E Churches I know well, down here, too.
  34. William, thank you very much indeed for the prime lens information - laid out in a way that I could immediately see the relative advantages of some over others. Whilst I initially had a hankering for the 35L (the price - eek) I am now seeing how the 24mm is an attractive option. (I did try the 28mm f1.8 last year, but didn't warm to it).
    When I follow through on the plans I am formulating, my 24-105L will become redundant, and I don't think I can justify keeping it as a travel/walkabout lens - so I could sell it and put the cash towards the fast prime.
  35. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Well, ensure you decide what is right for you - I am sure you will. All the best.
    On another tack, and something quite peculiarly coincidental to your comment: only a few days ago, I was telling a friend, "I often thinking about buying the 24 to 105 to use as my “lazy lens” . . . on my 5D."
    And then I take the 5D out at night with the 24/1.4 on it and the 85F1.8 in my pocket and I think "where would I be without all those stops between F1.4 and F4?”
    And if I had IS, that would be removing a challenge for me, so I decide, “I do not want the 24 – 105”.
    Then a few weeks later, the cycle starts again. This has been happening now for about a year.
    I think I need help :)
  36. As an update, and with the invaluable help of the respondents, I have now gone some way to sorting out my lenses. Firstly, I purchased the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. I must say this is an excellent little lens, the build quality is actually quite nice, the autofocus is fast and accurate (admittedly noisier than I am used to, but not to the point that it is a distraction) and image quality is good right through the range. The need for a wide angle is still pressing and so, after borrowing a 16-35L on a recent shoot, I have just ordered this one as well. I found it to be incredibly sharp (I do hope my copy, when it arrives, is as good) and versatile when used across the two body formats. I still have to resolve the matter of another fast prime.
    William, I did smile when you mentioned your grappling with the possibility of owning the 24-105. I have the same problem - but in reverse. I keep wanting to sell it (since it is not a 'necessity') but it's just so handy to have in my bag for my general outdoor work on the 5D. The Tamron would serve me very well in those situations, but I can't seem to part with it 'in case I need it'. I understand that 'needing' and 'wanting' are very different things, on a rational level, but some things are just nice to have.
  37. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you.
    I am sure the Tamron will serve you well. And I know you'll love the 16-35.
    I think you should keep the 24 -105 for a while . . . then most likely "forever".
    I have a Rokkor I cannot part with - underneath the "hard business exterior" I am just a big bundle of goof.
    All the best,

Share This Page