Which special lens for General Purpose! 7D+24-105 or 7D+17-55

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by gunjanvaishnav, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Million dollar question.. asked million times.. time changes, opinion changes.. but quality lenses does not
    Which one would go well with 7D as general purpose lens
    1. Canon 24-105 f4 L IS and 18-55 IS (when little more wide needed)
    2. Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS
    General purpose lens - Means you just carry your body with this one lens, roam around, travel, visit places.. everything except indoors.
    Dollars does not matter most.. image quality matters most.
    Thank you
  2. #2 for general street shooting
    #1 for slightly more open spaces such as parks, sports candids kids etc where you can step back from your subjects a tad or don't need to fill the frame with store fronts/city scapes.
  3. Let me simplify the question by complicating it. Suppose instead, you had to choose between two fixed-focal-length lenses, a 50mm and a 35mm. Don't worry about aperture or cost. Pretend that you can only pick one. Which would you choose and why?
    The reason I ask that question is its answer will tell you which of the two zooms you will probably prefer. Back in the old days before zooms existed, virtually all 35mm cameras came with a 50mm lens. That was considered normal. (Remember, because of your 7D's sensor size, your equivalent "normal" focal length would be about 35mm). But some really great photographers preferred a 35mm lens (which would be equivalent to about 24mm with a crop sensor). Others liked an 85 or 90mm. It just depends on what you shoot. And how. If you like to work in close, then a shorter focal length will probably work better. If you tend to stand back a ways, or if you really enjoy head and shoulder portraits of people, then maybe a longer focal length would work better.
    Now back to your question. It would be really nice if your own idea of "normal" were close to the middle of the focal length range of your zoom. That way you could go significantly shorter or longer than normal. It's a balanced solution. It gives you some versatility. But if your normal is rather close to one of the edges of your zoom, you can only go in one direction - an unbalanced situation. I myself prefer the 24-105 on my full-frame camera. That would seem to imply that I'm happy with the idea that 50mm is normal for my camera. But on your camera, that would bias you rather out toward the long focal lengths. I actually like that, but most people probably do not.
    Bottom line: If you buy the idea that 35mm is a reasonable "normal" for your camera and the way you shoot, then the 17-55 is your answer. And(!), you get a bonus f-stop in the deal. But if you think something like 50mm is closer to your idea of normal, then the 24-105 is the answer. Optically and mechanically, both lenses are superb.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Score thus far:
    4 x #2;
    2 x fence sitters.
  5. Subject: Which special lens for General Purpose!​
    Of the three lenses that you mentioned, I think I would use the descriptor 'special' only to the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.
  6. If I were reliant solely on a 1.6-factor body, I would choose either the EF-S 17~55/2.8 for speed and very high image quality (another vote for #2) or the EF-S 15~85 for versatility and high image quality, assuming a single-lens solution.
    Actually I use my 7D alongside my 5DII, for which I have the 24~105 as my standard zoom and the 17~40 as my WA zoom. I suppose that in a sense makes the 17~40 the natural choice for a one-lens solution for the 7D, although for 1.6-factor use I regard it as being in all respects inferior to the EF-S 17~55/2.8 – the strength of the 17~40 really is as a WA zoom on FF. So when I use the 7D on its own, it is the 24~105 that goes on as the standard lens, but I always complement it with the EF-S 10~22, and that makes a very good two-lens solution, although for some types of work the changeover point is not ideal.
  7. William W wrote:
    "Score thus far:
    4 x #2;
    2 x fence sitters."

    The term"general purpose" is pretty vague, and user specific. I wouldn't consider either of the two posts fence sitting as they require the OP (or reader) to consider the actual definition in his/her own terms and understand the differences between the two choices and why those may or may not apply to their specific situation. Just throwing out a # choice wouldn't give the OP any insight as to why a specific lens was chosen, other than it fits the term "general purpose" as the respondent interprets it.
  8. Interesting point Randall. I used to know a guy who's shortest lens was a 300mm, but with the lack of detail and specifics Gunjan gave us a more accurate answer seems impossible. Given that we can only work on averages, generally, most people, find 24mm on a crop camera too long, and the effective 170mm on the long end at f4 has comparatively limited value as a walk around lens, ergo 2.
  9. I have a 7D, and my 24-105 stays on my camera 95% of the time. It fits my needs for the kind of shooting I do. When I need something wider, I have a Sigma 10-20 that fits the bill quite nicely. If your style of shooting means that you more often shoot wider, and 24 won't cut it, then the 17-55 would be a better decision for you. The lens that works perfectly for one person may not work for someone else.
    If you already have the 18-55, is it not meeting your needs? If that's the case, is it not long enough? Not wide enough? Either way, if the 18-55 isn't meeting your needs, it's hard to imagine that the 17-55 would do so, unless you need f/2.8 over the variable aperture of the 18-55.
  10. Both are great.

    The 24-105 plus 18-55 gives you a lot better focal range while the 17-55 gives you a stop more speed. Totally up to
    you which you prefer.

    Super nitpicking image quality would probably point towards the 17-55. But if I were you I'd be much more interested
    in focal range and minimum focus distance than in the best pixel.

    Good luck, Matthijs.
  11. General purpose lens - Means you just carry your body with this one lens, roam around, travel, visit places.. everything except indoors.​
    15-85/3.5-5.6 IS
  12. If image quality is important I would also consider the Canon EF 24-70/2.8 L and 18-55 IS, or Canon 17-40/4 L or used Canon 17-35/2.8 L.
  13. If You will possiblly switch to a FF later, then #1. Otherwise, flip a coin.
  14. Thank you all for providing your valuable inputs.
    I have two thoughts going on - so little less but still confused
    1) Pay extra $$ for larger aperture
    This looks convincing as larger aperture brings in lot of creativity through its bokeh and light gathering capability
    2) Pay extra $$ for range
    I am not sure whether one should pay hefty for this.. generally one takes f/5.6, f/8, f/11 or f/16 kind of photographs where most of the lenses has its sweet spots.. so why to pay more for that constant f/4... Can't I do same with 18-135 lens?
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Two points:
    1. It is interesting that you seem to consider paying extra for the range is in respect of buying the 24 to 105 which will give you more range, whereas I see the 17 to 55 has much more range for a general purpose lens as you describe – i.e. 24mm to 17mm is a great amount “more range”
    2. Also interesting that you consider that the extra lens speed so significant for creativity and Bokeh and general light gathering – when you specifically mention no indoors (not much light gathering required? ? ?) Now for Creativity and Bokeh, assuming “creativity” means shallow DoF – there is not very much difference between F/2.8 and F/4 for mostly all Portrait Shots and Bokeh is very much dependent upon many aspects and NOT just the Lens Speed.

    The “fence sitter” phrase was made in mild humour and pointed to the fact that the question was indeed very general and also user specific – as you pointed out.
    My humorous point was for such a general, subjective and user interpretive specific question – the first three respondents gave such definitive answers and without any explanation – I found that both humorous and ironic – and I followed suit.
    My comment “fence sitter” was not to degrade your contribution or any subsequent expanded views, such as Robin’s for example: it was just mild humour - that’s all.

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