Which lens(es) would you prefer?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by authoritee, May 26, 2010.

  1. Just doing some browser-shopping and looking at my options for low light situations. Which would you prefer to buy, to be used on a EOS 7D (crop sensor of 1.6x)?
    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
    for USD$1,060
    Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
    for USD$1,195 (all three)
  2. I would go for the primes myself .
  3. On APS-C I would go with the 17-55 just because 28 is not very wide. On full frame I have the 3 primes and they all are good but changing lenses so often can be annoying at times. I do like the small size and many times I just use 1 or 2 of them. How about a Tamron 17-50 + 50 and 85? about the same price.
  4. For low light and versatility? Then it would be the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM for me.
    But you specified low light. Then it has to be the 50/1.4 for you.
  5. For low light and versatility? Then it would be the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM for me.
    But you specified low light. Then it has to be the 50/1.4 for you.
  6. Specifically for low light?
    I would get lens that are not on your list - Sigma 30mm 1.4 and for an f2.8 zoom the Tamron 17-50
  7. 17-55 gives you 3 stop IS as well remember. My favourite lens. Sharp, Versatile, Fast.
  8. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
    for USD$1,060
    For about equal money you could get the Tamron 17-50 (w/ or w/o VC) and possibly either the Canon 50 f/1.4 or the Canon 85 f/1.8.
    I like my Canon 50 f/1.4 but find that I use it less and less with my acquisition of the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 AF SP XR Di II LD IF, especially on my 50D.
    My .02
  9. How about all? Start with the zoom to give yourself versatility. Then add the prime as you see fit.
  10. The 7D is fast enough that the f/2.8 will be plenty fast enough. I'd go for the extra versatility of the zoom. Don't be afraid of ISO 1600 with the 7D.
  11. Don't be afraid of ISO 1600 with the 7D.
    +1, indeed.
    I don't have an IS lens but I can only imagine that 2.8 IS lens can handhold easily at 1/10 second or slower throughout its zoom range.
  12. Is this handheld, or with a tripod or other good camera support?
    Remember that IS lets you handhold at a lower shutter speed than you'd need with a non-IS lens, which in this regard can make up for a significant difference in maximum aperture. Canon claims that IS on this lens is worth about 3 stops; even if we take a conservative estimate of 2 stops (and it's likely you'd get more; Canon's IS claims are generally pretty reasonable*), the zoom can be handheld in the same light as the f/1.4 lens and in less light than the f/1.8 lenses. If you take Canon's claim at face value, the zoom is more handholdable than any of the primes (in fact, it's more handholdable than any current Canon prime, even the two expensive f/1.2 ones). And that's assuming that you don't need to stop down any of those primes for sharpness (I have the 50/1.4, and personally consider it unusable at f/1.4 and only suitable for emergency use at f/1.8, while I will use the 17-55 wide open if the situation calls for it) or for depth of field.
    On a reasonable tripod, IS becomes irrelevant, and it comes down to an f/2.8 zoom vs. a bunch of significantly faster primes. Subject again to any need you may have to stop down, the primes win if you can do without the convenience of a zoom.
    On a shaky tripod, a monopod, or other device that only partially stabilizes your camera, the IS lens again wins, as at least some of the effectiveness of IS is cumulative with these devices. (I've used IS lenses and monopods on many occasions, and IS+monopod is clearly more effective than either one alone.)
    *: A quick poke around a few sites didn't turn up any test results showing how effective IS is in the 17-55. However, it should be fairly comparable to the effectiveness of IS in the 17-85, so the IS test results at the bottom of the dpreview review of the 17-85 should give you a reasonable feel for how effective IS is in the 17-55.
  13. 28 f/1.8 is a SOFT lens near max aperture. I would never own one (but I know someone who does and they say..it's a soft lens). This means there is no real advantage to the lens over a slower lens that is sharp wide open.
    50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.8 are both good standbys, but neither one excels. The 50 is fast but weak points are AF motor breaking and only OK bokeh. 85 has nice bokeh and good AF but is not as fast and has some strong purple fringing wide open. I eventually bought the 50 f/1.4, and I once owned the 85 f/1.8 (sold to get the 85L).
    17-55 is a good all-around lens but some people (who may abuse their equipment) have complained that it is fragile.
    Although I am not a Sigma fan, many users of the 30 f/1.4 are pretty happy with it. Sometimes it needs a focus adjustment.
    Tamron's 17-50 gets some good reviews but I never liked it (both copies). The Tamron 28-75 is a better lens IMO, no CA artifacts toward the edges and less vignetting. Plus I like the AF system better, although neither one is as fast as Canon AF systems. Both Tamron lenses are inexpensive compared to Canon models. The new Tamron 17-50 with VC gets generally bad reviews for image quality.
  14. For what it is worth some years ago Pop Photo tested all major 50/1.4 lenses. The Contax Zeiss Planar beat the Canon by a hair (anyone remember Contax?) Today I suspect that a properly focus-adjusted Sigma is probably as good as it gets. My 13 year old Canon is still going strong after heavy professional use. I somewhat agree with Steve Dunn that the lens is a bit soft wide open; I ideally prefer f: 2.4 and smaller apertures. On the other hand brides don't mind a soft, dreamy glow so I have been known to shoot it wide open. I have also shot the 28/1.8 wide open and gotten very satisfactory results. The 85/1.8 (as well as the 100/2 which I used more) is a superb lens even wide open. In the long gone days of film (before Fujicolor 800 appeared) the 28/50/100 combination represented my weapons of choice in low light event situations (Maitre'ds always want to save on the energy bill by giving us "romantic" low light).
    Another consideration is that subject movements (dancing guests) are not counteracted by IS which only negates camera shake. What you will be shooting should be considered when choosing lenses.
    Finally, a long, long time ago I found the Tamrons I had to have been pretty crappy once I upgraded to Canon's equivalent lenses. Their quality seems to have improved with time, though, so my experience is probably no longer relevant
    Chris Irgens.
  15. What are you taking pictures of? As already pointed out, the 17-55 gets you the wide angle on the crop sensor and that can be plenty important; but we don't know if its important to you. If going with primes, I would get the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and the 50mm f/1.4. At one time, I did have the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Sigma is significantly better.
  16. IS can eliminate movement on your part, but your subjects would probably still be moving. Go for fast glass. The extra two stops that 50 mm 1:1.4 or 30 mm 1:1.4 gives you over 2.8 will definitely help you in this regard. Primes are also lighter than zooms, and they're easier to keep stable.
    If you're shooting night landscapes, then get a good tripod.
  17. 90% of my photos are shot wide-angle....so I guess if it were me I would take the 17-55 as it is at least semi-wide. A 28mm on a crop camera just wouldn't cut it for me if that was as wide as I could go.
    How about this, forget about the canon 17-55 and buy the great Tamron or Tokina equivalent, and use the extra money to buy the 85mm 1.8
    To this day I have never bought an IS lens and I still manage to get decent photos:)
  18. Hey, Just wanted to chim in when I saw this.. I too was looking for a good lens line-up for my crop 50D and up-coming 7D. I'm new to the pro industry here in Indy and I shoot everything from weddings, portraits, and commercial work. I ended up with the following lenses for my gear bag listed below. I love primes and prefer them due to their sharpness, light-weight portability and capability in low-light. But I couldn't beat the versatility of my mid-range zoom either:
    1. Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC (excellent walk around/ versatile range, and with IS)
    2. Canon 20mm f/2 (for wide shots and low distortion, groups, landscapes, etc.)
    3. Canon 50mm f/1.4 (for normal, portraits, excellent bokeh) and;
    4. Canon 85mm f/1.8 (for tighter portraiture work, extra reach at weddings while in back of the church, receptions, excellent in low light and awesome bokeh and sharp!)
    All are currently serving me very well and have produced lovely shots in every lighting situation, paticularly low light. In my opinion the Tamron 17-50 is just as good as the Canon 17-55. Sure, there are minor technical differences, but over-all IQ is great! Its being used by my one of my favorite wedding photographers, Taylor Jackson from Toronto...his stuff is amazing! And he recomended this lens to me. I saved money and more importantly..I'm getting the shots and my clients love their photos! Ofcourse we photographers are going to pick these lenses apart...thats cool, we're artists and at the end of the day we want the very best photo gear, right? Absolutely. So not going to argue any of my fellow photogs points. But I will simply suggest giving the Tam. 17-50 a try. And if you prefer all primes for your crop cam. try Canon's 20mm for wide (on a crop you eliminate some of the sofe corner effect present when used on a on a full frame. Distortion is less and its great in low light, handheld!), definately a 50mm 1.4 (should be in every photogs kit), and the 85mm for a little extra reach. Good hunting!
  19. In my case, I mostly shoot videos. However, I also shoot pictures as a side-job, and I appreciate having good glasses that can be used for both applications. When I'm using it for video, I either have it mounted on a tripod or a shoulder-mount rig, but when I take pictures its handheld most of the time. I don't really mind about swapping lenses for most of my photoshoots, but when I travel, or go out and about for candid shots, having a zoom lens comes in very handy.
    I have a 17-40mm f/4L which permits me to take semi-wide shots on my 7D, but I sometimes miss that extra wideness I can achieve on a full frame (which would be solved by buying the 17-55 f/2.8 IS). And another thing that bothers me is that the zoom is way too expensive and it's still not an L-category lens; its difficult for me to comprehend why it's so expensive and still not an L lens.
  20. its difficult for me to comprehend why it's so expensive and still not an L lens.​
    Many consider the quality of the 17-55 t be the same quality as L lenses - and in my expetience it easily matches the 17-40 f4L. Why would adding 'L' to the name change that? If you are talking about the build quality, then sure they could improve that, but that would increase the cost of a lens you already say is 'too expensive'.
  21. I have a 17-40mm f/4L which permits me to take semi-wide shots on my 7D, but I sometimes miss that extra wideness I can achieve on a full frame (which would be solved by buying the 17-55 f/2.8 IS)
    I don't understand the above comment Erwin. Both are 17mm at the wide end and there for the same?
  22. @ Mike Hitchen: What makes "L" lenses different for me is that they have Canon's validity as a "Luxury"-type lens with superb build quality and weather-sealing. I wouldn't mind paying an extra 2 or 3 hundred dollars just to have that, making the lens USD$1,360. I think it's expensive NOW because it is not an L lens but, if it were, it would have a reasonable price.
    @ Carl Wakefield: the difference is that one's an EF 17-40mm f/4L and the other one is an EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. The EF mount is made for full frame cameras, whereas the EF-S is for cropped sensors. The EF 17-40mm f/4L actually works as a 27mm-64mm lens on my cropped-sensor camera.
  23. Unless you need the 2.8 for low light, you could save some money by getting the EF 17-40mm f/4L. Then you'd have enough left over for a tele-zoom. My current set up is 17-40mm + 50mm f/1.8 + 70-200mm f/4L. All used runs less than $1200. I wanted to get the best glass that covers the most range for my limited budget and this is what I have. It works out great for me and I love my lens set up.
  24. Canon won't come out and say it, but I believe the reason the 17-55 and the 10-22 are not L lenses is because they can't be used on pro bodies. Both lenses make extensive use of the same types of technologies (exotic glass types and/or high-precision aspherical elements) that had until recently been the exclusive province of L lenses, and both lenses are widely acknowledged as having optics on par with comparable L lenses. Try this for fun sometime: compare the optical formula of the 10-22 with those of the 16-35s and the 17-40. If they weren't labelled as to which lens is which, nobody but a lens designer would be able to tell them apart.
    I think the high-end consumer (as opposed to pro) build quality and lack of sealing are consequences of these lenses not being L lenses, rather than the reason for it.
  25. Prime and something new on the market ,may be to match good size filter and borrow some money too
  26. The EF 17-40mm f/4L actually works as a 27mm-64mm lens on my cropped-sensor camera.

    True, and the 17-55 works as a 27-88 on a crop sensor. No gain at the wide end as Carl pointed out.
  27. zoom take from glass 7 to 10 mm ,better walk more to do best
  28. Prime. 50mm 1.4. It gives You the QUALITY. It's not about the IS or tripod, it's about moving subjecs.
  29. i love my 1.4 primes, but my preference would be something like a 35mm and an 85mm. of the two choices there, the primes over a slow zoom anyday.
  30. @ Nathan Gardner: You and I have almost the exact same lens setup. The 17-40 f/4L you suggested, I already have it; my problem with that lens is the aperture. It's wide enough for my taste, but I find it uncomfortable for night-time photography and do not like the bokeh produced by it (although I know that wide lenses produce very little bokeh compared to tele-lenses). Besides this lens, I have the 50mm f/1.8, the 70-200 f/2.8L IS, and my newly added 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro.
    @ Steve Dunn: I've heard that comment before and, even though it kinda makes sense, I just don't understand what the point is of having all L lenses fit on to Full Frame cameras; most of the models have APS-C sensors anyways! Again, I state, it's just too difficult for me to accept paying so much money for only one lens that does not fall into "L"-category build quality and weather-sealing standards...
    @ John Hanlon: The 17-55 f/2.8 IS is an EF-S lens, which means it's made specially for APS-C sensors (1.6x cropped sensors) and delivers a true focal length. I've never tried it myself, but I understand it should be much wider than the EF 17-40 f/4L lens mounted on my 7D.
    @ Maciek Stankiewicz: Have you ever tried the 50 f/1.8? I own it, and I wonder how much of a difference there is between the f/1.8 and the f/1.4 model. Is it worth the change?
    @ Ty Mickan: During private photo-shoots or recordings, that is so very true. However, for travelling and walking around, a zoom might be very handy!
  31. I understand it should be much wider than the EF 17-40 f/4L lens mounted on my 7D.

    Wrong. The focal length of a lens does not change when mounted on a crop sensor body.
    The 17-55 acts as a 27-88 on the 7D. 17 x 1.6 = 27, 55 x 1.6 = 88.
  32. The 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens offers exactly the same view as the 17-40 f/4 L lens on a 7D at the 17 mm end of the range. I have both lenses. The 17-40 f/4 L is a very fine lens for FF cameras, and is available at a great price. In my view, the 17-55 offers far more to crop sensor cameras like the 7D. It is faster, at f/2.8. It offers an additional 15 mm of tele range. It has optical quality at least as good as the 17-40 f/4, and it has fast, silent, and amazing IS to boot. Aside from being able to stretch your ISO choice a full stop farther in low light, the additional stop that the f/2.8 lens brings to the table also offers another step of shallow DOF to help offset the one stop DOF deficit that APS-C cameras have relative to FF cameras (with similar fields of view). Unless shallow DOF is a non issue for you, keep in mind that where an f/4 lens delivers fine results on a FF camera, an APS-C camera is always about a stop behind, and needs f/2.8 in order to match the f/4 DOF of a lens with the same field of view on a FF camera.
    To your initial question, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens is far and away my favorite high performance lens on any crop camera. It is without peer in my book. The other lenses are great, and I own most of them, but they are more limited in terms of general use, and will appear in your kit over time. I would not be without the 17-55 f/2.8 lens and the factory hood. It is a wonderful zoom. The battery here was to illustrate size in a different thread. No, it not included with the lens, nor does it fit inside the lens... :).

    Keep in mind that the IS function on the 17-55 is really unbelievable in it's function. It is unlikely that fast action shots are your low light goal, and the 17-55 can deliver sharper hand held shots than the 50 f/1.4 can deliver at the same EV. I can post samples if you wish. The 17-55 f/2.8 is a fine low light performer, and it's AF speed is the best of the entire group in low light.

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