Lens dilema

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Lens dilema

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:31 pm

Well the time has come for me to move beyond my 50mm 1.8 prime. My camera is a Canon 30D

The two options i'm considering are:

the 24-105mm F4 IS at $1200

or

the 17-40 F4 and the 70-200 F4 at $1400

What do you think (prices include filters) I'm looking for a general range. There is always time to earn more money and get more specialized lenses. Which of these two combinations sets me off to a better start?

thanks
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:45 pm

How much time do you spend out of the 24-105 range? If you really need the long end, then it's the 2-lens solution. Conversely, if you can live in 24-105, the image stabilization will be a great help.

For the record, the 24-105 is $1,039 at Amazon at this moment:

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-24-105mm-US ... B000AZ57M6
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:07 pm

Just to get the details out of the way, please make sure you get the absolute best filters you can. I go for B+W filters personally. Bad filters color the image and introduce all manner of visual aberrations. This is especially important when you are considering L lenses in which you are paying for the utmost glass quality to begin with.

I own the 17-40L, and I heartily recommend the lens. It's a bit slower than the 17-55IS, and lacks image stabilization, but for an outdoor lens (or an indoor lens with flash), you can't go wrong with the 17-40L. What I particularly like are the excellent contrast, smooth, clear colors, lack of CA & flare, and its instant and silent focusing. 17mm is wide enough to stand very close to people and take pictures of them, and 40mm is long enough to get nice standard-focal-length pictures.

I do not own, but have used the 70-200 f4 on many occasions. Since it's f4, it's less suitable for indoors or poor lighting than the f2.8 version of the lens, meaning that you'll have trouble shooting pictures of an indoor graduation, theater performance, or nighttime events. You can do it if you crank up the ISO on your camera, but it's an iffy proposition. If you have the necessary lighting in place, though, the 70-200 is a fantastic lens. It focuses silently and instantly, and has superior color and contrast. It's better in every way than my 70-300IS, with the exceptions that it doesn't have IS, and it only goes to 200mm. When you want to get photos of little birds far away, the extra 100mm comes in very handy. Most photographers who are serious about things like, say, bird photography will buy a 70-200 of some flavor and pair it with a teleconverter to give it some extra reach. All else being equal, though, I'm envious that you're even considering buying one because it is a spectacular lens that really should be part of any SLR collection.

That's a good lead into the 24-105. The 24-105 is an excellent lens. You'll need a flash if you shoot indoors (depends on conditions, as IS will save you in some situations), but in terms of optical quality, you'll be hard pressed to find any problems with it. It opens up decently wide, and it's long enough to give you a bit of extra reach when you need it. The 24-105 is a compromise in this case, though. It doesn't open as wide as the 17-40L, so you won't be able to get too close to a group if you want to take its picture (you may not realize it now, but the first time you stand three feet away from a trio and get them all in the frame, you feel like a rock star). It also doesn't go nearly as long as the 70-200, so if you want to shoot sports or wildlife, you're pretty much hosed unless you can get right up to the subjects. The big benefit of the 24-105 is that you have a nice range of focal lengths in one lens so you won't have to swap lenses.

My personal preference, so far, has been to go with the separate lenses. Having lenses that are more specialized allows for more specific artistic creativity. I also like having the ability to go really wide with my 17-40L and really long with my 70-300. Sure, I have to swap lenses now and then, and I may miss a photo or two in the time it takes to switch, but I figure I wouldn't be able to get the pic anyway if all I had was a single, middle-of-the-road lens. On the other hand, with a single lens you can focus more on the subjects rather your tools, albeit while operating within its constraints. You have to decide which system -- separate lenses or one size fits all -- is best for your personal shooting style. Fortunately, you have your eyes set on L lenses, so if you are unhappy with your purchase you can resell them. The used market for Canon L lenses is pretty good.

Just a thought: have you considered the 24-70 f/2.8L? It doesn't have as long a reach as the 24-105, but it has a wider maximum aperture, making it a much better low-light lens.

Hope this helps...
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:32 pm

rogthewookiee wrote:Well the time has come for me to move beyond my 50mm 1.8 prime. My camera is a Canon 30D

The two options i'm considering are:

the 24-105mm F4 IS at $1200

or

the 17-40 F4 and the 70-200 F4 at $1400

What do you think (prices include filters) I'm looking for a general range. There is always time to earn more money and get more specialized lenses. Which of these two combinations sets me off to a better start?

thanks


Well, what do you plan to use the lenses for?

The 17-40/4L is a great walkaround lens on a crop body, although if you're willing to sacrifice some build quality, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 ($450) is one stop faster, has longer reach and is pretty much as sharp, even wide open.

I like the 70-200/4L, it's a steal at $640, half the price of the (newer) IS version. If you want a telephoto for birding/sports, though, don't forget the 200/2.8L II USM for $740.

If you want a portrait lens, consider the 50/1.4USM (nice bokeh but soft wide open, $340), the Tamron 60/2 Macro (sharp and good DOF control, $400) or the 85/1.8 (maybe a bit long on a crop body but excellent lens, $380).

The 24-105 is an unattractive option to me on a crop body, because the equivalent FL (38-168) is pretty blegh for a walk-around lens.

EDIT: I'd forget about filters. UV Filters were invented because old black and white film would fog (haze) with UV light. They are completely unnecessary on modern digital cameras (or even film dating back the last 30 years) and their continued existence constitutes the hugest scam in photography. While some people like to use them to protect the front element, even the best filters will reduce contrast and produce some glare, especially at night with light sources.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:25 pm

Voldenuit wrote:EDIT: I'd forget about filters. UV Filters were invented because old black and white film would fog (haze) with UV light. They are completely unnecessary on modern digital cameras (or even film dating back the last 30 years) and their continued existence constitutes the hugest scam in photography. While some people like to use them to protect the front element, even the best filters will reduce contrast and produce some glare, especially at night with light sources.


I disagree wholeheartedly. First of all, there are filters other than UV filters that the OP could be talking about. Second of all, the UV filter I have on my 17-40L produces no CA, flare, or other visual effects, even if I'm shooting with a bright point source (like the sun) in or just out of the frame. What it does do is keep my 17-40L weather-sealed so I can shoot in averse conditions, and I don't have to worry about anything accidentally touching or tapping the lens' front element.

I use a top of the line B+W filter, of course. There are many lesser filters that do introduce visual artifacts and coloring, and if the choice is between no filter or a cheap one, I'd say go without. If you can invest in a good UV filter, I recommend it.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:34 pm

Have not used an expensive filter before, but I hate the cheap ones I have when I shoot in low light with bright light sources as you will get ghost images of the light sources. I'd personally prefer a lens hood over a UV filter as it offers more protection (from hard knocks) and reduces glare on optics.

I'd go for the 17-40 and 70-200 set of lenses. The 24-105 would be perfect on a FF camera but isn't really wide enough on a cropped sensor.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:21 am

The $460 Tamron Di-II 17-50mm f/2.8 that Voldenuit mentioned gets excellent reviews. As a "Di-II" lens, it has the reduced image circle for cameras with APS-C sensors (similar to Canon's EF-S, Sigma's DC, Tokina's DX or Nikon's DX). The $594 EF 70-200mm f/4L USM has excellent image sharpness. The $1130 EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM adds optical image stabilization for almost double the price.

Here's a handy tool for your lens shopping:
http://www.canonpricewatch.com/


On the subject of filters, I agree with FireGryphon's selection. If you're going to use a filter, expect to spend a significant amount for a B+W "MRC" model. The multi-coated filters are much less prone to flare than single-coated filters.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:51 am

Another vote for the 17-40mm or something in that general range, and a separate telephoto. I use an EF 28-135mm IS USM as my walk-around lens on a Rebel XS, which is also an APS-C (crop factor) body, and quite frequently end up switching to my EF 20mm f/2.8 prime for the outdoor landscape shots just to get the necessary width. The telephoto range is helpful for quick shots on subjects that might move within the next thirty seconds, but for everything else, I usually end up switching over to my 70-200mm f/4L regardless.

The only disadvantage I can see is that your 30D only has an 8.2MP sensor, so you can't shoot at the 40mm top-end of that lens toward a small subject, manually crop around the subject, and then get a sharp wall-size print. So you would have to carry the telephoto around regularly if you want to get into and above the range where your 50mm has been living. But, if you've been using the Nifty Fifty for all of your shooting up until now, I doubt you'll mind the trade-off, since you're about to gain a whole range of angles and effects you've never seen before.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:27 pm

I am looking for general purpose lenses, and only L series. For two reasons, I'd like to have the option to go full frame and this is a hobby so if i'm going to spend money on something unnecessary it should be the best! The only filter I own is a B+W so i'll stay with that brand and I will be getting UV filters for protection.

It is true that 8MP is not much compared to new bodies, but I can still crop quite liberally for a 4x5 print. It is a small issue at 8x10 sizes, but not terrible. (yes I do print, not just post to Facebook and Flickr!)

I live in Washington DC and so many of my photo opportunities involve people that 50mm just is not good enough for so I may be walking around with the 70-200 most of the time. However, indoor photos with the 50 are painful. The 17mm would clear that up.

It looks like the two lens is the choice to go with, i'll probably end up getting a flash in the near future. I just don't use one at all now since the pop-up is abysmal.

I have been living with the 50mm for almost 2 years now so i'm really excited for new glass!
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:53 pm

I would look at the type of pictures you want to take and like, then decide accordingly. Almost all of my photos are taken with either a 14mm or a 300mm/f4 (sometimes with a 1.4x and oftentimes that's still too short). I have a zoom for intermediate ranges but almost never use it. I like either highly compressed telephoto shots or panoramics with looming foregrounds. Maybe you should rent some lenses from a pro-shop and see what you like before plonking down the cash.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:59 pm

rogthewookiee wrote:I'd like to have the option to go full frame and this is a hobby so if i'm going to spend money on something unnecessary it should be the best!
If you spend $460 on the excellent Tamron 17-50/2.8, you could sell that Di-II lens along with the 30D when you upgrade to full frame. For indoor photography, the f/2.8 lens is going to have a better chance than the 17-40/f/4L, assuming that you don't get a 580EX II or 430EX II before you get the lenses. I get good indoor results with the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and the image stabilization helps, but that's a lot more expensive lens than the Tamron.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:24 pm

Thankfully I have had the opportunity to use the 17-40, two of my photographer friends have them. I was mainly looking for advice versus the 24-105 since I have never used one. I did enjoy the 17-40 and it has superb color and contrast compared to the 50. I have used a 70-200 2.8 but not the f4.
Selling the Tamron and the camera together would be a good plan, except that I see myself using it until it dies. I do plan on getting a flash within the next six months. I did look at the 17-55 2.8, but the price and EF-S where things I wanted to stay away from.

Thank you all for your input! Lenses on the way.

Worst comes to worst look for some almost brand new lenses for sale on the forum! LOL
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:46 pm

rogthewookiee wrote:I am looking for general purpose lenses, and only L series. For two reasons, I'd like to have the option to go full frame and this is a hobby so if i'm going to spend money on something unnecessary it should be the best!


Not all L lenses are created equal. The 17-40/4L is a great lens on a crop body, but suffers from some severe vignetting (over 2 stops!) and poor corner resolution on a FF body like the 5D or 1Ds.

http://www.ww.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/427-canon_1740_4_5d?start=1

Fortunately, a camera like the 5D has enough DR that you can recover most of the vignetting in PP (and this will only improve in future cameras), but the resolution is still rather poor in the corners.

Also, you should be aware that your equivalent focal lengths will shift in moving to FF, so the 17-40 will go from a standard zoom on the 30D to a wide angle zoom on a FF body. If you're going to re-buy a standard zoom when you shift anyway, it might be worth getting the cheaper DX/EF-S/APS-C lens that is just as good to start off. But if you know you're going to use the 17-40 on the FF camera, then it's still a good buy.

Renting L lenses before buying is a very good suggestion - the danger is, you start wanting things you can't afford! ;)
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:58 pm

I have the 480EXII flash, and it works very well with the 17-40L. The 580EXII is even nicer, if you can afford it. Also, make sure your B+W filters are MRC filters, meaning they are specially coated to resist flare, etc.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:16 am

Voldenuit wrote:I like the 70-200/4L, it's a steal at $640, half the price of the (newer) IS version. If you want a telephoto for birding/sports, though, don't forget the 200/2.8L II USM for $740.

If you want a portrait lens, consider the 50/1.4USM (nice bokeh but soft wide open, $340), the Tamron 60/2 Macro (sharp and good DOF control, $400) or the 85/1.8 (maybe a bit long on a crop body but excellent lens, $380).

The 24-105 is an unattractive option to me on a crop body, because the equivalent FL (38-168) is pretty blegh for a walk-around lens.

EDIT: I'd forget about filters. UV Filters were invented because old black and white film would fog (haze) with UV light. They are completely unnecessary on modern digital cameras (or even film dating back the last 30 years) and their continued existence constitutes the hugest scam in photography. While some people like to use them to protect the front element, even the best filters will reduce contrast and produce some glare, especially at night with light sources.
Thats the pickle with 4L.. IS or no IS. If you are shooting moving stuff, IS might help or it might not depending on the effect you are after, but what it does help against is only having F/4 when shooting stationairy things.

50/1.4 is nice, and so is the 85/1.8. There is also a good bunch of 90-105 macros about that can be a substitute for the 85/1.8 if you can take F/2.8.

As for the 24-105, I actually find it to be a very good walkabout lense, on a crop camera, but thats because my shooting style usually takes place either at 20 or below, or above 40 as counted on 135-format. So I most often combine the 24-105 and the 10-22 when having my 20D.

Now I'm in the process of going upwards to a 135-format camera and will have to do some adjustmenst. 10-22 will have to go for either the 16-35 or 17-40. My 70-200/2.8 IS USM has been sold and I will get a 70-200 4L IS instead, mostly because of a 4 week trip to New Zealand. Saves half the weight on that one, and the 70-200/2.8 was underused because was so much to drag around.

I totally aggree with you on the UV filter thing. For quality, leave the filter off. I only use filters when i expect the lense the get dirty, saltwater spray from seawater, lots of sand/dust flying around, and preferably no shooting against strong lightsources. And if you do use filters, use nice filters like B+W.
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Re: Lens dilema

Postposted on Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:27 pm

The way I see this fitting into an eventual FF upgrade would be through the purchase of a 5D + 24-105 kit so I'ld have the wide covered with the 17-40, the mid with the 24-105 and a tele with the 70-200.

I really have been missing the wides, I manly use a 35mm prime on my film camera. I did briefly consider the 10-22mm. The 16-35 may eventually find itself in my kit, but the time isn't quite right.

The IS version would have been nice, but I think I can live without it for now. I can pick up that feature when I go to the 2.8 version! Try to remember that i've been using just the 50 1.8 for a long time now....

If all goes well, I get the lenses Monday.
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