Which wide angle / general purpose lens?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by stefanie_leuker, May 25, 2014.

  1. Hello,
    I'm new to these forums and I was hoping to get some advise on camera equipment as I'm only getting more and more confused the more I'm googling an reading and looking at sample pictures.
    I mainly shoot nature, closeups of insects, plants and stuff... and birds. I currently own: Canon EOS 60D, Canon 100 mm, Canon 100-400 mm.
    My "walkaround" lens is an old Tamron 17-50 without IS that I barely use at all. Now I've been thinking that I should really upgrade this lens, so I tested the Sigma 17-70 and the Canon 15-85 during my last vacation. I've come to realize that I don't really need the reach these lenses have (although it can be nice to have) but that I totally do want the wide angle, I really enjoyed shooting landscapes at 15 mm.
    Now, I have several questions, I hope you guys bear with me :)
    1. The Canon didn't really convince me in terms of sharpness in the wide angle department, and since I'm kind of a newbie to this field I'm wondering if maybe I'm just expecting too much sharpness from wide angle shots (or from this lens in particular)? Can the same sharpness that can be seen at 50-85 mm be expected at 15? Also, the Sigma surprisingly seemed sharper than the Canon.
    2. I'm interested in the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L, might it be worth to wait for that one to come out? Surely that lens must do better on the lower end than the 15-85? Or should I go even wider since I enjoyed shooting at 15 mm? Any suggestions?
    3. A co-worker advised me against buying any EF-S at all, he said only buy L lenses or I'd regret it. Any truth to this at all?
    4. Does anyone have experience with the EOS-M + 11-22 mm? I've read that the image quality should be pretty much the same as my 60D and judging from pixel-peeper the pictures really don't look bad. I find it intriguing that I could get camera + lens for about the same price as a good wide angle lens alone for my DSLR would cost. Also, it's surely nice to not have to switch lenses every time you want to take a landscape shot or to just take a small camera sometimes. I'm just afraid that it would be too much of a quality tradeoff - would a good wideangle lens on my 60D perform significantly better?
    5. Pretty general question but... how important is full format at the end of the day? I've always played with the thought of getting a full format camera and I have friends who claim it's a must. But I've ultimately come to the conclusion that for my purposes (birding, macro) it would be a waste of money and I always kinda figured a good lens was more important.
    Sorry for the long post, I'd appreciate if anybody could share their experience :)
    Cheers,
    Stefanie
     
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Hello and welcome to Photo.net
    Or should I go even wider since I enjoyed shooting at 15 mm? Any suggestions?​
    Yes I think you should try it. It seems virgin territory, so why buy anything until you try more options that are new to you?
    As you seem to have the availability to test lenses - I suggest that you spend a week in the 11mm to 20mm range - there are a few options - try them all if you can.
    The point is, these Super Wide Angle Zooms compass longer than 17 mm anyway and you have 17 to 55 covered: you don't say why you do not use the Tamron lens much - but it is reported as quite a good optic and the (many) results I have seen support that claim, (although the new Sigma lens you used might be better - it has a good reputation): really, maybe you just don't like using 17 to 55 range all that much, so it would seem silly spending more money there just to shelve that new purchase, too.
    WW
    Post Script:
    No matter how good the Canon Optic, you are never going to get a super wide EF-S lens (or ANY EF-S Lens) that is labelled L Series: as far as I understand, one criterion of an L Series Lens is that it must be able to mount to ALL Camera of the Series and no EF-S lens, by definition, can do that.
    So, if you follow the advice of your friend and want only L Series Lenses and you also want (really)Wide Angle Lenses then by default you must buy into 135 Format ("Full Frame") Cameras. But that choice is down the line, I think. Firstly have a test f the UWA zoom for the camera that you have and get a feel for what that can do for you.
     
  3. Plenty of questions... I would not comment on the "L lens only" and "go full frame" topics, they are already pretty well covered elsewhere.
    In my experience Canon 15-85 is really a great lens, and many reviews confirm this. I am surprised you fund it lacking on the wide end. Maybe you've got a bad copy?
    You can't mount the EF-M lenses on the 60D.
    You should consider Canon 10-22 and Tokina 11-16, they are both great. I personally prefer the Tokina, since I like the constant 2.8 aperture and superior build quality. But the Canon is excellent too, it handles flares better and offer a wider range. Anyway, you can't go wrong with any of the two.
     
  4. Stefanie,

    What I tried was the efs 10-22. Reasons:
    1) its a good lens, its sharp enough for me
    2) It's reasonable priced
    3) I like the 35 mm (22 mm) on FF therefore i use this as my standard lens most times. Yes I do have an assortment of primes, 24, 35, 50, 85 and the 100 mm macro. But I just like the 22 mm look on crop. If I were you I would go in and try one, see if you can live with that. Besides the lens goes down to 10mm (16mm on a full frame or film camera). This would meet your other requirement of wide.


    The 16-35 F4, would be the same reach as your Tamron, just the canon version which may be better. I have not used the Tammy. I would try the 10-22 out or the sigma equivalent, which I have heard is good.
    Hope this helps
     
  5. If a have read your post correctly Ur wanting to on so if the Canon 10-22 would be the lens you want for landscape and
    etc, I think that ur post states that it is suggested that inky L Len will give you the photos you are desiring and and that
    anything shirt of that would be a waste , So here's my experience I have in this area ! Myself own the 60D as well, and it
    will give incredible results for outside shots ,inside work and nearly anyplace that you have the lighting to support the
    lens, I bough it for shooting wide angles if the large groups of wedding parties and it's truly wonderful ,but you don't
    want to shoot at 10mm or your going to get vignettimg ,and some dark corners in the shot ,I shoot at 12 mm and have
    had incredible luck, you will often read that folks are shocked that the 10-22 is not a L lens and I totally agree, the buing
    EF lens for the futile use of full body is very sensible but not always affordable , I have found Tamron EF lens that are very
    good EF lens for hundreds less than canon lens, so maybe try like I did , take the camera to the store sample all the
    lens your in question of and then make a choice, I bought the Tamron 17-50 which work on my future big bodied camera
    and I also bought the canon 85mm 1.8 ,then there's the 28-135 canon EF ,that's a awesome lens for less than 500 ,so
    lots of money spent on EF lens don't guarantee alll your fixes ,but u can buy EF lens for less and still accomplish most of
    the goals your after , I've been shooting digital for about 7 years now ans I do a ton of weddings and etc and ,lighting is
    large factor and if you combine that with lens that are 2.8 or faster you can do fine ,The 10-22 canon I have is a bit
    cheaper than it was a few years ago , so it's a good purchase , it's very fast and super crisp and ,handles many different
    work options , I have sample work if you need to see what I shoot,I use the 40ds still and a couple of 60s ans one day
    will buy a 5d ,but for now I'm in no rush .
     
  6. Stefanie,
    Many consider the efs 10-22 to be just as good as the L lenes (well not in terms of build). It's my only efs lens. I tried hanging out for an L but tried this lens and took it home.
     
  7. Thanks for all the replies! :)
    you don't say why you do not use the Tamron lens much​
    I don't use it a lot because I feel it's severely lacking in sharpness and image quality and because it has no IS. Maybe the newer one with IS is better but the one I have really leaves me frustrated every time I take pictures with it. But I think you may also be right that the range just doesn't appeal all that much to me, whenever I use it I'm usually at 17 mm.
    You can't mount the EF-M lenses on the 60D.​
    I may not have phrased that very well - what I meant was that I'm considering buying the Canon EOS M camera and the 11-22 EF-M lens to go with it. Would that be a viable option for landscape photography? Or will a decent wide angle lens on my 60D perform significantly better? I like the idea of not needing to screw on a different lens for landscape but instead just take out the small camera and start shooting.
    Since you all seem to be in agreement that the 10-22 might be good for me, I'll go and see if I can test that one!
    Thanks a lot so far
    Stefanie
     
  8. A co-worker advised me against buying any EF-S at all, he said only buy L lenses or I'd regret it. Any truth to this at all?​
    No
    The Canon [EF-S 15-85] didn't really convince me in terms of sharpness in the wide angle department,​
    That surprises me. I shot with one for years, and it was an excellent lens, even at the short end.
    I don't use it [Tamron 17-50] a lot because I feel it's severely lacking in sharpness and image quality and because it has no IS.​
    I haven't owned either, but I considered both when I shot crop sensor bodies, and every review I read said that the non-VC is sharper than the VC. Moreover, almost everything I read said that the 17-50 non-VC is a very sharp lens, and that was my experience the one time I borrowed one. The fact that you find both this and the EF-S 15-85 not to be sharp suggests that perhaps there is something in your technique that can be improved. It might help to post a few examples.
    how important is full format at the end of the day? I've always played with the thought of getting a full format camera and I have friends who claim it's a must. But I've ultimately come to the conclusion that for my purposes (birding, macro) it would be a waste of money and I always kinda figured a good lens was more important.​
    For your purposes, I'd say that you're right, they are wrong. I own both formats. I don't do birding, but I do a lot of macro. If I did birding as well and intended to buy only one body, it would be a crop-sensor. FF is nicer for some things--better behavior in low-light, shallower DOF at maximum aperture (not an issue at all for macro or birding), and better detail if you print large. However, assuming a reasonably similar number of total pixels, the extra reach of the crop will be a big help in birding. For macro, the extra reach helps, and you get far more pixels on the subject at minimum working distance.
     
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    WW: “you don't say why you do not use the Tamron lens much”
    SL: “I don't use it a lot because I feel it's severely lacking in sharpness and image quality and because it has no IS. Maybe the newer one with IS is better but the one I have really leaves me frustrated every time I take pictures with it.”
    I concur with Dan M and I have the same suspicion that maybe there is a technique matter which requires investigation.
    As I already stated the many iamgaes I have seen from that Tamron Lens, lead me to believe it is quite sharp even when used wide open and at both ends of the zoom’s compass.
    Perhaps there is something relevant in your mention of that lens NOT having IS (actually VR), perhaps that warrants investigation as to IF there is CAMERA movement which is actually the cause of what appears to you as being “not sharp”?
    BUT further thinking on this matter and linking to the comment that you found the 15 to 85 also not sharp, (and that lens has IS), maybe the SHUTTER SPEED requires investigation - there might be SUBJECT Movement which is being misinterpreted for poor Image Quality.
    I reckon it is worthwhile taking the time to investigate the 'soft' images and investigate their EXIF, also.
    WW
     
  10. Is there anything magical about full frame? There are a whole lot of facets to that question. I wrote an article about it here:
    http://www.graphic-fusion.com/fullframe.htm
    Should you avoid EF-S to buy L? Absolutely not. L has a quality advantage over consumer lenses, both EF and EF-S. However, EF-S has a format advantage over any EF lens, including the L lenses. I figure it's about a wash. If you are happy with the crop format and want to shoot super-wide, a 10-22 would be a good choice. I say that as a mostly full frame photographer with mostly L lenses.
    I, too, feel there might be technical issues at play with your use of your Tamron lens (which is a good lens). I agree with all of William's thoughts, above. I'd be interested in seeing sample images, with EXIF info, if you care to post them.
     
  11. You could wait for the recently announced EF-S 10-18mm IS, which is expected to be shipping in June. It's only $300, very reasonably priced.
    The EF-M 11-22 isn't officially being marketed in the US, though some people might be importing them. But I think they're always "grey market", without a US warranty. Probably not many people in this forum have experience with it, though it's a fine lens as far as I've read.
     
  12. Then 11-22mm lens is a very sharp lens and has good color rendition. The Achilles heel of this lens for me was the f3.5/4.5 aperture not exactly slow, but I found it difficult to produce out of focused backgrounds and good Bokeh with my cropped camera. I like blurring the background when I'm up close !
    Another reason I sold it, was that anything below 15mm and the distortion was outrageous. If you like to shoot at super wide angle, meaning anything below 24mm on a full frame, I would suggest a prime or better yet the Canon 8-15mm (L) series fish-eye lens. At least you can use this lens on a full-frame.
     
  13. You know, I've actually been thinking along the same lines... that I'm either doing something wrong OR that I'm perhaps simply expecting too much..?
    I'm aware of course that I can't possibly expect the same sharpness in an image shot with a zoom lens at a wide angle as in an image shot with my beloved 100 mm. But still, I kinda find myself looking at my images thinking "ok, this was shot with a 660 EUR lens.. shouldn't it be tack sharp?"
    As a sidenote, I do think I can tell the difference between lack of sharpness and camera shake - but of course, my subjective feeling that a lens doesn't deliver (for me) is very likely influenced by the fact that I screw up more pics due to camera shake if the lens doesn't have IS (sadly, I do have kind of shaky hands).
    I'd actually be extremely happy if you guys do find out what I'm doing wrong though! Here are some samples (the images were saved as CR2, I imported them in Photoshop with the standard settings, e.g. amount of sharpening = 25, then saved as JPG):
    http://scyza.dnaut.com/IMG_0430.jpg
    http://scyza.dnaut.com/IMG_8345.jpg
    (15-85, handheld, with IS)
    http://scyza.dnaut.com/IMG_8530.jpg
    http://scyza.dnaut.com/IMG_9158.jpg
    (15-85, with tripod and without IS)
    http://scyza.dnaut.com/IMG_5660.jpg
    http://scyza.dnaut.com/IMG_5752.jpg
    (17-50, handheld)
    I can't find any of the 17-50 shot with tripod right now (or rather, I can't really remember which were shot with tripod), might need to take some new shots to be sure.
    Anyway, I appreciate your help and would love to know what I'm doing wrong (or if I'm just being a major pixel Nazi).
    Stefanie
     
  14. Stefanie, thanks for the samples. A few observations,
    - The 15-85 clearly has much more chromatic abberation than the 17-50, this is causing the red/blue color fringes visible in those photos. It's remarkable how much better the 17-50 is in this regard.
    - Your shutter speed was high enough on all of these, camera shake is not likely to be a problem.
    - The 15-85 does seem a little weak, though it isn't awful. Since foregrounds seem to be better, I'm wondering if it's focusing too close, and if the small apertures you're using are concealing most of the focus error.
    Most lens problems will be easier to see with the lens wide open, so the small apertures are working against us for detecting problems, particularly focus errors.
     
  15. Thanks for your input! I know the 15-85 isn't terrible, I think it's ok - but I kind of expected more than just "ok" or "not awful". I wanted a lens to replace the 17-50 and I thought if it was newer and that much more expensive it must be a lot better. But somehow, it isn't - at least not at wide angles. At 85 mm it's actually pretty amazing.
    I've decided already that I don't really want either the Sigma or the Canon because you guys got me thinking and perhaps the Tamron really isn't that awful to justify the expense. I'll rather look further into getting a real wide angle lens I think.
     
  16. Depending on how large you're printing these photos, the difference between the 15-85 and 17-50 may or may not matter. If you removed the chromatic aberration from the 15-85 images, which is easy to do, you might not be able to see any difference even in a pretty big print.
    Remember when you're pixel peeping, you're looking at the equivalent of a gigantic enlargement. Like a 36x54 inch print.
     
  17. I got an EFS 10-22 and love the zoom range, wide angle etc. But I'm disappointed with sharpness. It's ok in the center regions but outer third is just plain fuzzy no matter what fstop etc I use. Maybe I got a bad copy? Or I'm expecting too much. Overall images with it look pretty good though, but for the price I was expecting better.

    For all purpose lens I have an EFS 17-85 IS and it's pretty sharp all over at all zooms and fstops. Can't complain for the price and it focuses pretty close too.
    BTW I have a 70D and love it. I mostly use it with my 75-300L IS and a 1.4x for birds and animals. One day I'll get an L lens to fill the 16-75 range but would prefer a 10-22 that was really sharp all over.
    I took some of my first real videos with the 75-300 hand held of a bunch of dogs running and playing. The auto focus worked amazingly well at all distances and speeds. I will turn the IS off next time though because you can hear it clicking.
     
  18. The 10-22 on my 7D quickly became my favorite lens. The quality was nothing short of amazing. I recently upgraded to a 5Diii, and substituted the Canon 16-35, and I love it equally. On your 60, the 16-35 will not give the wide angle you are looking for, so I would suggest you try the 10-22. Buy from a good local store and ask for permission to return it within 2 weeks, or from Amazon where you get 2 week return privileges. That way you have a chance to try and retain the ability to still make a change.
     
  19. Stephanie,
    The picture samples that you gave are of scenes where the lighting is flat and they are slightly underexposed contributing more to the overall appearance of unsharpness along with the unskilled post processing. This is a technique problem much more than a lens problem. Photography is about light a lot more than it is about lenses. Pictures that pop are well exposed pictures that are taken in good light with composition for contrast and form that uses and enhances the light. Your lenses are plenty sharp but you need to learn about light, it's direction and qualities, so that you can take advantage of your equipment. Learn about exposure compensation to keep everything from turning medium gray and looking flat. There is a lot of art and craft in post processing. Look at the pictures that seem to pop for you and try to figure out what techniques went into producing them. Ansel Adams was a great photographer not because he had a great camera but because he had a sense of light and form and enough technique to make dramatic pictures of what he saw. Good luck!
     
  20. [[You could wait for the recently announced EF-S 10-18mm IS, which is expected to be shipping in June. It's only $300, very reasonably priced.]]

    +1
     
  21. The picture samples that you gave are of scenes where the lighting is flat and they are slightly underexposed contributing more to the overall appearance of unsharpness along with the unskilled post processing.​
    Just to clarify, those pictures were not post-processed at all, I simply exported them as JPG. I am perfectly aware those aren't photographic masterpieces and don't "pop". I just picked a couple of shots to demonstrate the perceived lack of sharpness. Of course I would normally post-process them but the point of samples is to show how the pictures look before post-processing, isn't it?
    You got me curious though, would it actually help the sharpness (of the unedited images) to manually correct the exposure more frequently? I have to admit that I have been pretty lazy when shooting landscapes so far, I usually just used the preset landscape mode and let the camera do its work, I only manually correct exposure if the preview image / histogram looks completely wrong (blown out parts or something). Otherwise I usually just correct it in post-processing (since I'm shooting RAW).
    In any case, thanks for your input Gil, I guess it would certainly help if I go and learn a bit more about landscape photography - so far this field has been more "snapshots" for me rather than anything serious. I've only just gotten curious about pursuing it further ;-)
    I wonder if the EF-S 10-18 mm is gonna come out in June in Germany (my home country) too.. on Amazon it says 1-2 months delivery time (but it does seem to be out already?! weird).
     
  22. Stefanie, sharpness has nothing to do with exposure, although photos do seem to get a bit muddy if the ISO is high enough.
    Personally I think your sharpness issues are related to expectations being too high. Maybe Hollywood did this to us, showing us the same scene that plays out over and over, with investigators huddled around a monitor displaying a fuzzy security camera image: "Zoom in there... OK, magnify... Enhance... Magnify more.... Now enhance it... Ah! There! That man has the same three gray hairs on his nose as our suspect!"
    I agree there's a bit of chromatic aberration in the 15-85 images. That would bother me more than the sharpness, particularly if any of it is axial (uncorrectable). Otherwise the sharpness is pretty impressive to my eyes, considering the equivalent 100% magnification print size would have been about 7 or 8 feet wide with respect to my monitor. Could the sharpness be even more impressive? Yeah... maybe... a little bit... with the right lens... However, would that have yielded a better photo? No. Absolutely not.
    We stress so much about the sharpness of a lens, but how sharp does it really need to be? Are you taking photos of sharpness? Is your work merely a technical exercise? What makes a photo stunning is not the sharpness of the lens, but rather the content of the image. A boring image will never be stunning, no matter how sharp the lens, and an image with stunning content only requires a lens of "not terrible" sharpness to have its impact.
     
  23. Sarah, I have looked at tons of pictures at pixel-peepers the last days and I have come to the same conclusion as you - I'm simply expecting too much from the gear I have.
    The only sample pictures that I found (in the Canon department) that I found satisfying at 100% regarding sharpness were shot with a 5D + 14 mm prime lens.
    Upgrading to gear this expensive is at this moment out of the question, so I guess I'll just get something cheaper and learn to not expect *that* kind of image quality.
     

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