Which lens (of these 2) would you suggest?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by michelle_carrillo, May 22, 2009.

  1. My camera body is the Canon 50D. I currently have a Canon 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS lens which I use as my main lens. I am looking into getting a wider-angle lens, and have narrowed it down to the following two:
    Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5
    Canon 17-85 EF-S f/4-5.6 IS
    (yes, I know that there are different/better options possibly out there, but for price and what I need it for at this time, those are the two choices I've narrowed it down to. So I need help choosing between them.)
    What I do: I do mainly portraits at this time (family, baby, kids, seniors, boudoir, etc.). I prefer to work in natural light whenever possible, but sometimes use indoor studio lights when possible. I prefer NOT to use the flash if I can avoid it. I am just now getting into wedding work, so I need a lens that works for this, as well.
    Here's what I think so far: the Sigma is less expensive than the Canon, which is a plus. The main plus I see with the Sigma, though, is that it might be better in lower-light conditions, going to f2.8, where the Canon is at f/4. However, the Sigma stops at 70mm whereas the Canon goes to 85mm, which means I'll have to change lenses that much less with the Canon. The Canon also has the IS feature, whereas the Sigma does not.
    Help? I keep going in circles here.
  2. Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 -- http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/reviews/tamron_17-50_review.html
    I know you said the choice was between those two, but I just can't do it. Of those I would probably go with the Canon, due to the addition if IS, and due to the Sigma's reputation for focus issues. But if you are looking at available light portraits and weddings, you need at least f/2.8 throughout the zoom range, and the Tamron has a good reputation.
  3. If using ambient light is important to you, strongly consider the Tamron 17-50/2.8 which is optically and pricewise very close to the Canon you mentioned. Canon has a much pricier version 17-55/2.8 IS which is also excellent. Both these lenses are optically very good. Constant 2.8 might give you more freedon under low light and might be good for better bokeh in portrait shots. Keep in mind you would lose reach to the longer end by about 15-20mm ... don't know if that is important for you.
  4. I wouldn't worry about the "focus issues" with Sigma, but I would very much recommend the EF-S 17-85mm IS. It is, for my money, simply the best all-round lens for walking about with any APS-C sensor camera. I find it very comparable in day-to-day use with the 24-105mm IS L lens on the 5D. Such flaws as it has are easily fixed in post-processing, and unless you do a lot of photography of brick walls, you will never notice most of its "problems". I'd even, contrary to conventional wisdom, place the build quality of the lens as very close to the L lens I mentioned. I bought a 5D, but so long as I keep my two APS-C cameras, I'll continue to use this lens, and the service it has given me already certainly means that buying an EF-S lens was no waste of money.
  5. I went with the Tamron myself and use it at 50mm for portraits.
  6. Another vote for Tamron 17-50/2.8. I like mine.
  7. One concern I have is that if I get a lens that only goes to 50 mm (as several people have suggested I get the Tamron instead), I will be forced to switch lenses more frequently than if I get one that goes to 70 or 85mm.
    As most of my work is done in a more photojournalistic style, with minimal posing, wouldn't this be an issue?
  8. Not from experience, but I have always been thinking to add the Tamron 28 - 75 F2.8 for portrait. I wish my EFS 17 - 50 is a bit longer.
  9. I don't have the Tamron 17-50, but I would recommend going with something with a 2.8 aperture..."I prefer to work in natural light whenever possible, but sometimes use indoor studio lights when possible. I prefer NOT to use the flash if I can avoid it." The faster your aperture, the less you have to worry about having to use flash. Plus you can get a tight DOF for portraits. I personally prefer prime lenses for most applications I shoot. I don't think you'll be at any disadvantage with a lens that goes to 50mm instead of 70 or 85mm, just means you move in a little closer. If you are concerned with being too close, you might look at something like the canon 85mm 1.8 instead, but your kit lens gives you some of this range already.
  10. I can't speak to the Sigma, but I would get the Canon 18-55 IS kit zoom over the Canon 17-85: it costs less and it's significantly sharper except at 55mm, where maybe the 17-85 has the edge. Sure, it doesn't go quite as wide, but it has IS, and it's only $150 new, and probably a lot less if you pick up a kit lens that someone sold as part of an upgrade.
  11. I have the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and simply love it. Sharp, colorful, lots of contrast and inexpensive. Add a 70-200mm later on and you are good to go.
  12. So I need help choosing between them​
    The IS alone is worth the Canon EF-S lens. It's not my favorite optic, though, due to distortion, slowness and weight distribution issues...
    I would definitively get an EF 50mm lens for available light portraiture. And an EX Speedlite for its bounce flash and high-speed sync capabilities.
  13. None of the two lenses you named is particularly well suited for portraits.
    But you probably have conflicting needs ... you want wider than you have now (28mm) ... both lenses will give you that. I personally would take the 17-85, in fact, I owned one before I upgraded to fullframe, and despite all the compromises that are build into it, I liked it quite much.
    For portraits, you need larger aperture in the 50-80mm range ... larger than what these two lenses can offer.
    The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is certainly a good choice to satisfy both needs (wider and portrait) to a certain extend. (I still wouldn't regard it as an ideal portrait lens).
  14. Neither.
    If I were in your position I would most likely get the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. It is optically very good - on par with L lenses in the same FL range, provides a good complementary focal length range, goes to f/2.8, and incorporates image-stabilization.
    While some might prefer a prime for portraits, you certainly can do good portrait work with the right zoom - and this zoom is as capable as any for this purpose. The 55mm focal length is also appropriate for portrait shooting (of many types) on a cropped sensor body.
    Now, if your image quality expectations are not too demanding (you only post online and never print larger than about letter size) the 17-85 could be OK. However, I did use that lens for a while some years ago and my experience confirmed every one of the concerns that you'll read about: soft image, very soft in the corners, excessive CA, excessive vignetting, limited usable apertures at the long end (really only f/5.6 and f/8), and so forth.
  15. This always happens.
    Person posts, asking for help in spending $____ (x amount of dollars)
    Other persons post, no, buy this for $Y. (Y equals 2X or 3X the amount planned by the OP).
    Sure buy a 50mm f/1.8 for arond $50 used, but for a general all-purpose lens, I still say the 17-85mm IS is the thing. It's a much better built lens than the new kit lens, the front of it doesn't rotate so you can use filters like CP, the extra length really helps, and you can manually focus it without turning off the AF, ro mention only a few of its more outstanding virtues. No doubt the new 18-55mm IS is a real bargain, but it's not comparable in utility. The 17-55mm IS may or may not be optically better, but it is definitely twice as expensive. At that price, I'd prefer the 17-40mm L lens.
  16. I actually already DO have the Tamron 70-200 zoom, I just didn't think it would be relevant to mention it in this posting. The "portrait" work I do isn't what you might think of as standard (close-up) portraits (like headshots), which is why I want this new lens. (See samples of my work here, if there are questions: www.theSuitcaseStudio.com) People keep mentioning going to the 50 or 55 range, but honestly, I've already decided on one of the two mentioned so I won't need to change lenses quite so often (as I work mainly photojournalistic style and don't relish the idea of getting TOO close to the subject for a good shot), so I really need comments based on experience with those two lenses, for the reasons I've stated.
  17. I bought the sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 and really like it. It is a very sharp lens. two weeks after I bought it I found a deal too good to pass up on a cannon 17-55 2.8 so now I'm selling the sigma ($300) I think you would be happy with the sigma, tamron or canon you just need to decide on if the 85 mm is needed. I think the Tamron or sigma would be sharper from what i've seen and read.
  18. so I really need comments based on experience with those two lenses, for the reasons I've stated.​
    Okay, since you want these lenses specifically for their wide end, here my experiences: The EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM has very noticeable distortion at the wide end. The zoom extends when focusing close (no IF). This means that this lens gets rather long and very front-heavy when used for wide angle portrait work. May sound like no big deal, but it is very uncomfortable to hold and I got strong pains in my right hand's wrist when using this lens for an extended period of time (when having a hotshoe flash mounted on the camera). I quickly sold it again, as the optically quality was only so-so (distortions!) and the f/4 max aperture not very exciting.
    The SigMa 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 lacks IS, is a lot better to hand-hold but is rather soft wide open, especially at the wide end. This leads to poor AF performance in low-ish light. All in all it is just a little improved kit lens and nothing more. The lens is known for AF miscalibrations and it would be wise to have it and your camera adjusted to each other by SigMa.
    See samples of my work here, if there are questions:​
  19. Michelle, you need to get some fast lenses if you like natural light. Autofocus is not required as you don't shoot sports. Zoom lenses will, at best, be medium speed f2.8. Look for some good quality prime lenses.
  20. I just had a look at your website. Very nice work, but the limitations of the lens do show (motion blur, slow shutterspeed).
    Why get another slow all-in-one master-o-none convenience lens. You already have one. I'd go for a f/2.8 zoom at the very least, or perhaps a prime or two. The ability to control depth-of-field with a prime will go very well with your style. You'll be amazed at the creative possibilities. Have another look at Nathan's post up above - he's right on the money.
    Changing lenses is not that big of a deal - with a bit of practice you'll change them faster than Clint Eastwood drawing his six-shooter.
  21. I have both the Canon 17-85 IS and the Tamron 17-50 f2.8, the latter I have just obtained. So far the Tamron has come up to it's reputation of high IQ and value for money. It looks as if the Canon will have to go even though it has a longer focal range and has IS. The Canon has been a great mid range lens but I have never really be happy with the quality.
  22. I forget now which review site pointed out that the Sigma 17-70 only has the f/2.8 aperture at 17, about 18 you move to the next aperture size. So, you might want to look into that aspect of these lenses too. At what focal length does each change aperture.
    I have read many reviews and posts about both lenses. I'm leaning heavily toward the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. As good at the extra reach of other lenses sounds, I think I will still prefer the constant f/2.8 and image quality of the Tamron. For me, the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS is just too expensive.
    If I had to choose between the Sigma and the Canon you listed, I'd lean toward the Sigma - if I could find a "good" copy of it. Just my gleanings from the many reviews and such.
    There's my two cents.
    DS Meador
  23. Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is what I've been using almost exclusively over the last year shooting on the street.
    The constant f/2.8 aperture over the entire range is a huge plus, providing creative DOF possibilities otherwise not available to the same extent with smaller aperture lenses. Since what I'm shooting is usually dynamic, IS is of no benefit or use to me...
    The Tamron is a great performer, and at around $400, it's a great value too.
  24. Bueh and I have been going back and forth on the 17-85mm for a couple of years or so. I just say that I don't find the lens too large or awkward at all. For all practical purposes it is essentially just an EF-S version of the rather pricier 24-105mm lens for 35mm size sensors. Canon makes lots of heavier and larger lenses than this one and the total weight of a xxD camera and the lens is considerably less than my old film Nikon bodies and anything comparable in focal range.
    The barrel distortion is obvious in taking a picture of a brick wall. It is rarely noticeable in ordinary photography and when it is, it is easily fixed in Photoshop or other software.
  25. Had a look at your photos .. Nice .. You look like a Long Normal kind of guy! Too bad there isnt a nice 28-105 F2.8 lens would be perfect for you. Oh well .. life is full of compromises ...
  26. Personally I`m not fond of the 2 choices, mainly because of the varying aperture as you zoom, but you want the extra FL. How wide do you need to go. The 17 85 IS is basically the x1.6 version of the 28 135 so you know virually how it will perform already. I have a few 24~XX lenses and from 28 to 24 is a big difference on your camera eg Sigma 24 70 f2.8 DG macro is a reasonable performer and quite suitable for wedding and portrait at a reasonable price. sorry not what you really wanted to hear but just a thought :eek:)
  27. Hi, I go with Jim and would get Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 I own this lens in Nikon mount and love it.
    it doesn't have the fastest focus in the world but it's great for the price and what's nice is that it has constant aperture.
  28. For all practical purposes it is essentially just an EF-S version of the rather pricier 24-105mm lens for 35mm size sensors.​
    EF-S version of the 28-135 IS actually. About the same price, same range, similar optical quality.
  29. Dear Michelle
    I would like you to consider canon EF 17-40 f/4L. You can push ISO to 800 and get good exposure with it for taking picture in room, it is not a lens fo protrait though.
    I bought this lens to use with 50D as a replacement of my 28-105 USMII, and very happy with it. Which you get right stuff you need and enjoy shooting.
  30. I've never used a 3rd party lens before. I always use Canon lenses and I love them. I have the 17-85mm IS and its great. However for portraits, you may like the 28-135 better because it gives you that extra reach. Anyways the 17-85mm does go pretty wide and the IS will compensate for the speed of the Sigma.

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