Looking for the "perfect" walkaround lens

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by fridrik_skulason, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Yes, yes, I know a similar question has been asked a number of times before, but I am kind of well...lost.

    The short version of my problem is that I am not entirely happy with my lens set, in particular my "walkaround"
    lens - I'm looking for something to replace it, but there seems to be no single "obvious" pick, unless I am
    missing something. Am I?

    The long version:

    Well, I have a 40D. I am contemplating switching to full frame camera in a year or so - meaning that I am
    primarily considering either an (relatively) inexpensive EF-S (or 3rd party lens designed for 1.6 crop cameras),
    or a (possibly more expensive) lens that I could continue using if I switch to full-frame. Budget is not really
    an issue...well, within reasonable limits, of course - no 1200mm lens for me.

    The lenses I have are:

    Canon EF-S 10-22 -Use it a lot for landscapes, also some other stuff. Really happy with it, despite some CA
    problems it has, but many of my best pictures have been taken with this one. If I switch to full frame, I would
    sell this one with the 40D and get a 16-35 or 17-40 instead. No problems there.

    Canon EF-S 17-85 - the "kit" lens I bought with the camera - more about this one later.

    Canon EF 50mm f1.8 - Well, everyone knows this one.

    Canon EF-S 60 macro - In hindsight, buying this one was a mistake - I should have taken the 100mm instead, but I
    will get that eventually, regardless of whether I switch to full-frame or not. No issues there.

    Canon 70-200 IS L - What to say .. I love it, and of course there are no problems there if I switch to full-frame.

    Vivitar 800mm f/8 - A 40 year old manual lens - interesting, but irrelevant to my current problem

    Now, here is the problem:

    Sometimes I like going for a walk with just my camera and one lens - I typically do this if I know beforehand I
    will not be taking landscape pictures, or that I will not need a wide angle. So, in my case, that means the
    17-85. What happens is that I frequently discover that my "walkaround" lens is not ideal - it is not long enough
    - I am bumping into the 85mm end far more often than the 17mm one. An ideal/reasonable "walkaround" lens for me
    would be something like 20-135mm, f4, but of course no such thing exists, so I have to compromise. Also, I am
    not 100% happy with the image quality when using the 17-85, compared to what I get with my other lenses.

    So, what options do I have?

    I could get something like the 18-200 (new canon lens or the Sigma one, or even the recently announced 18-270
    from..uh, Tamron, I think, but I don't need all that length, and I'm afraid that the compromises that have been
    made in the design of those lenses would negatively affect what I really need - I doubt the image quality is any
    better than what I get with my 17-85. Also, none of those lenses would be usable on a full-frame camera.

    A second option would be the 28-135, which is light and convenient as a walkaround lens, with IS, but probably
    not wide enough on the 40D, and not long enough on a full-frame.

    A third option would be the 28-300 L, but it is not really wide enough on my 40D, but pretty much ideal on a
    full-frame - well, if it wasn't for the weight. A bit heavy for a walkaround lens.

    The fourth option I was considering was the 24-105 L IS lens - which would give me the extra length og my 40D,
    but on a full frame I would be back in the same situation as I am in now with my 17-85 ... although with a higher
    quality lens.

    The final option is just to admit I will never get a "perfect" walkaround lens, and just resign myself having to
    carry my bag around, but even in that case I still would need a replacement for the 17-85 when/if I go full-frame.

    So, my question - are there any factors I am missing - any options or 3rd party lenses worth considering?
  2. I use a 17-85 on a 40D and a 24-105 on a 5D. Works for me.
  3. For much of the history of the 35mm camera, the range represented on the 15x22mm crop body by the 17-85mm WAS the full kit, most made do with a 40 to 58mm lens and "sneaker zoom". I'm another happy user of the 17-85mm and have gone on a work/vacation trip with just that lens alone where I didn't want to mess with a full rig.

    Canon just has a new 18-200mm lens out, so ....
  4. Seems to me that the 28-135 fits your bill *for now*. I would suggest borrowing an 18-200 type lens for a few days, and then try to see what your comfort zone really is. Let's not talk about image quality for a while, and whatever issues you might encounter (CA, vignetting etc), just try to PP your way out of it for a while. Just try to get a feel if you really need quite that much reach and versatility. If you happen to like it, then go. If you don't, then at least you've made a step in the right direction.
  5. I don't think there is such a thing as a perfect walkaround lens that suits everything you might come across but, for me at
    least, the 24-105 f/4 L is close enough. I use it on my 400D and it stays on the camera probably 90% of the time when I'm
    out and about. If/when you step up to full frame and you need something slightly longer then it's only a few steps in the
    right direction to get the FOV you need! :)
  6. Tamron 17-50 F2.8 for now, 24-105L for later.
  7. Your focal length demands for a "walk around" lens are so all encompassing that you'll need a suitcase to walk around with!

    You can't have a light weight, comfortable, walking around lens, and be prepared for every possible photo at the same time.

    I have a FF 5D and for "walking around" I'll put my 35mm f2.0 on or my 50mm 1.4 and put the other lens in a pocket. If I want a wider lens for a
    landscape, I'll just use the 50mm and shoot a multiple frame panorama shot.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I don't really understand this "desire" to have so many focal length lenses. At least not all the time and without a
    specific purpose in mind. My god, I can't imagine wanting to walk around with a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom.

    Maybe Fridrik has "lens acquisition syndrome"?

    Though on occasion I have this fantasy of getting a wide Zeiss prime, but there's a limit to what I will spend.
  8. sounds like you're looking for the ef-s 17-200 (coming in a few weeks)
  9. oh, wait. it's the 18-200, not 17-200
  10. There is no perfect walk around lens. Decide your goal for the walk you are going to take. Only then will you choose the "perfect" lens. My choice is always between a 17-85mm and a 70-300mm. It all depends on what I plan to do. I use them with a 40D.

    A small camera bag would hold the whole kit.
  11. okay, sorry. didn't get the whole point. maybe a 24-105 or 50 would meet your needs now and if/when
    you go ff
  12. No such animal as a Perfect lens, your answer is simple, a 2nd body, 40d is quite cheap, 10 22 on one,24 105 or new 18 200 the other, 28 135 is same IQ approx as 17 85, o :)
  13. Sigma 30/1.4 for me. Without zoom, I can freely concentrate on aperture, composition and exposure.
  14. Just pick one of your lenses and go for a walk.

    Use that lens like it is the only one you have.

    Maybe use that one lens for a month of walks, or, until you learn to "walk"
    that lens.

    Could very well be that you won't have the "perfect" lens for every possible scene on that walk...even so, the
    sun will shine tomorrow.

    Be happy you have more than one lens to choose from.

    Cheers! Jay
  15. For what you describe, I really believe the perfect walk around lens is a normal lens. In your case this would be something
    equivalent to a Sigma 30/1.4, and move your feet.

  16. So to recap, you are.... 1) bumping into the 85mm end far more often than the 17mm one, and 2) not 100% happy
    with the image quality when using the 17-85.

    To me that shouts 24-105L. As for a possible switch to full frame, if I was going to the trouble of making that move, I
    wouldn't want to be compromising image quality (and max aperture) by going for a superzoom of any greater range
    than the 24-105 anyway.
  17. I have a Canon 40 D. My walk around lens is the Tamron 28 - 300 MM / VC. It is light, versatile, sharp and a good all
    around lens. I was not aware of the heavier Canon 28 - 300 MM l - IS that was available for a considerable amount of more

    Go to your local independent camera store and ask to try the lens there in/around the store. I think you would be very
    happy with either lens for your versatile walk around lens.
  18. "...To me that shouts 24-105L..."

    Yes, that was pretty much my conclusion too, but as I said originally, I was wondering if I was missing something. Thanks for the replies everyone.
  19. I have been accustomed to carrying a Leica CL, and I am having a hard time justifying carrying any blunderbuss-size zoom. A Rebel-size SLR with maybe a 24 f2.8 prime seems about the best I can get out of Canon digital for compactness and the semi-wide view I like. I am leaning strongly to a Pentax K200D just for the pancake 21mm (cropping out to about a 32mm) for just this purpose.
  20. It is not a great lens in some ways, but your 17-85 is intended to be a "walk around lens."

    There is no "perfect" lens in the general sense. Some might love the 24-105 for walk around use on a cropped sensor
    body, while others would say it is too big and doesn't go wide enough. Some might live the 17-85, while others would
    have issues over its image quality. Some might like the EFS 18-55 IS kit lens, but others, well, uh, don't want to be seen
    with an inexpensive lens. Some would love the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, while others won't use it because either it costs
    too much or because it lacks a red ring.

    And so it goes...

    If you aren't certain, I would keep using the lenses you have - especially the 17-85 - until you can identify the specific
    features that _you_ want in such a lens.

  21. "Perfect"? Great goal, difficult to get there as you are finding.

    I won't pitch this as perfect but for my purposes my EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM has worked out just fine. If I'm in a spot where I can't or don't want to walk around with my bag and all my lenses this is what I take. This lens might not fit everyone's ideal of the pefect walk-around lens but it is flexible enough to cover most of what I need. My frustration level at not having the perfect lens has decreased since I decided I either have to take the whole bag or work with what I've got. That's probably made me a bit more creative.

    I would probably have bought the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM but it was priced out of my league. So I can't get quite as wide but the reach is better. Given the price differential this was an acceptable trade-off for me.

  22. if you are bumping up to the 85 then the old 100-300 f/5.6 L lens would work great, it is light in weight, takes great photos, and looks cheap
  23. sbp


    IMHO, 24-105 f/4L or 24-70 f/2.8L. Use "foot zoom" as required to extend reach.
  24. I use the Tamron 18-250 on my Rebel and the 24-105L on my 5D. Beyond 200 is a little too long to be very practical and without IS/VC it is less usable, but most of my shots are within 200mm, it works well for me. (also have a 70-300 IS to supplement) The IQ is very good, especially in relation to its low cost.
  25. I think "walkaround len" means different shots for different people at differnet times.. I currently have five lenses for my Canon 30D. Canon 50mm f1.8, Canon 17-55 mm f2.8 IS; Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6mm; Canon 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS and the Canon 70-300mm f4-5/6 IS.I just returned from 3 weeks in Germany and Austria. Except for a few instances, the only lens I had on my camera was the 17-55mm lens, and the only other lens I took with me was the Sigma 10-20mm lens. Sure there were a few times when I counld have used a longer lens, but I was on a vacation with my wife and I didn't want to lug my Lowepro bag around with the other lenses. So was my walkaround lens the 17-55mm? I guess so. If I had been down in a wildlife preserve in southern AZ here, I would have had the 70-300mm with my 1.4 telextender. Interesting subject though.
  26. as a value for money crop lens the Sigma 17-70 / 2.8-4.5. That was the only lens I had with me during my recent
    vacation on Cuba. It covered I guess 90% of what I wanted and needed, and I have no problem to maybe have lost
    10% since it saved me carrying two more (and heavy) lenses with me. You might have a look at the Cuba section of
    my portfolio. With one exception, all of the shots are taken with the Sigma 17-70. I believe that your 40D is not
    very much more demanding than my 30D, so the results should be similar.


  27. Just look for a good used Sony DSC R1. The 24-120 Zeiss lens is better than almost any lens and the swivel LCD is perfect for high shots, low shots and any unobtrusive people shots. It was short lived when it came out, but I bought one used and it's my favourite go anywhere camera.


  28. I find the combination of 10-22 and 24-105 works very well for me as a lightweight and compact solution with a wide focal length range.

    Sure, when you go full frame (I doubt I ever will) you'll need another lens at the long end, but that's the price you pay! You simply can't get it all in a single lens (yet!)
  29. In general the greater the zoom range in a lens the lower the optical quality. So if you are not happy with the 17-85mm I doubt you will be happy with a 28-200mm lens. I have a full frame camera and I find the 24-105mm is a fairly useful walk aroun lens although I am not too happy with the image quality at 24mm. If I want a little more range I use the 17-40mm with my 70-200 F4 IS in a bag attached to my belt. The gap between 40 and 70mm is not great enough to bother me and the optical quality is very good.
  30. "Perfect" is relative. I love my 17 - 85 for most street shots. When in nature or when I think I might need extra reach, my old
    Tamron 28 - 200 or 28 - 300 are what I like. I keep one or the other in a hip pack. Sounds like you can find out what works
    best by just experimenting - a fun project!

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