Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

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Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:45 pm

After some deliberation (and the pending arrival of a bonus check at work) I'm seriously considering an upgrade for my general-purpose zoom. The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 has been a good lens for the past three years (even with a warranty claim) but I would like to add image stabilization and silent/full-time focus, which probably means Canon and Ultrasonic. I'm shooting on a 7D (crop-factor).

Most of the L glass in the wide-zoom range is some combination of too expensive and/or lacking IS, and I have no aspirations of going full-frame, which means the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS and the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5 IS are my most likely options.

The main differences I can identify:

- The 17-55 is larger and slightly heavier, but offers f/2.8 and uses a single-sleeve zoom extension (probably more reliable in the long run).
- The 15-85 is smaller and slightly ligher, only offers f/3.5 but is alleged to be extremely sharp. Also, it's about half the price.

That noted, I'm leaning toward the 17-55 but wanted opinions and/or alternatives. My limit is going to be around $1100 (which includes an allowance for the resale of my Tamron), meaning any "L" options would have to be readily available in the used market.
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:13 pm

Man, I've debated this myself, quite a bit. I went with the 15-85mm, which generally matches the sharpness of the 17-55/2.8 while being 'better' in every category except low-light focusing and stopping.

Part of my decision was that I wanted more lenses; getting a tele-zoom and grabbing primes makes sense for me as a hobbyist. But if I was going to mount just one EF-S? It'd be the 17-55/2.8. I can zoom with my feet.

And Canon L-glass? That's hell, in every way, if you're not affluent/serious/professional. Crop sensor SLRs have a naturally limited FOV due to the flange distance that the mirror box imparts, so even your widest FF zooms are still going to be pretty narrow. They also don't make any L-glass that is fast, wide enough for APS-C, long enough for a walk-around, and has IS- and you're losing 63% of the light. L-glass is basically throwing money away for those using the smaller sensors and is not terribly worth it if you don't have a defined application that you know the camera and lens can handle.

But it's not all bad- with L glass, you will still take incredible pictures (ask JAE about his 100-400), it's just that you'll have to give up something. Mostly you give up IS, but you may give up the faster aperture as well, and you will be adding quite a bit of weight.

Personally I've stuck with non-L IS USM EF lenses and assume my 15-85mm will stay on my 60D if I ever grab a 6D or 5D, though my 24/2.8 IS USM is really the only nice EF lens I have.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:46 pm

I have the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. While it's a great lens, I'm not sure that it's so much better than your SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II that you're going to jump up and down with glee when you use it. One area where it really shines is hand-held in low light. It also has a very fast focus. Combining a large f/2.8 aperture with image stabilization is impressive.

Here's a hand-held shot in a dark interior at 1/8th of a second exposure (click to enlarge):
Image
That's one that when I previewed it on the back of the camera, I said to myself, "Wow! I can't believe that I was able to get that shot without a tripod."
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:37 am

Yeah, I'm not expecting a jump in image quality, the Tamron is very good in that regard. What I would like most is the focus override. Although now that I think about it, I almost never shoot my wide zoom below f/3.5, I have primes for that kind of work. So the 15-85 might be as adequate. Hmm...
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:32 pm

ludi wrote:Yeah, I'm not expecting a jump in image quality, the Tamron is very good in that regard. What I would like most is the focus override. Although now that I think about it, I almost never shoot my wide zoom below f/3.5, I have primes for that kind of work. So the 15-85 might be as adequate. Hmm...


A quick question- why is the focus override important for your shooting? Do you find yourself switching between doing quick AF shots and creative manual shots often, or is the Tamron not nailing the focus often enough?

I ask because I've really never used it on my 15-85mm; it nails focus so well that in any situation I find that it struggles, I should probably have been using a tripod or faster lens, and if I'm trying to do something creative with DOF I wind up just turning AF off.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:13 pm

Airmantharp wrote:A quick question- why is the focus override important for your shooting? Do you find yourself switching between doing quick AF shots and creative manual shots often, or is the Tamron not nailing the focus often enough?

Sometimes when I'm shooting casual close-ups of something or another, the AF will grab an edge at the wrong depth level. I could monkey with selective AF targeting but that requires delving through some extra buttons when it's easier just to grab the focus ring and eyeball it, then let AF try again (if necessary). On the Tamron that requires forcing the focus ring against the motor gearing, which is fidgety and not terribly good for the mechanism.
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:19 pm

I have a 7D and 17-55 2.8 IS.

It is awesome. I can't really add anything else. I will keep that lens as long as I have a EF-S mount camera.

However if you already have a decent 17-50 and don't need the F2.8 aperture, you might want to consider the 24-105 F4L IS.
That would pair well with the 10-22. I have the 10-22 as well and I use it quite a bit.

Watch the Canon Direct Store for deal on their refurbished lenses. The 17-55 and 24-105 are both available now.
http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/st ... 1_-1_22751
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:14 pm

ludi wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:A quick question- why is the focus override important for your shooting? Do you find yourself switching between doing quick AF shots and creative manual shots often, or is the Tamron not nailing the focus often enough?

Sometimes when I'm shooting casual close-ups of something or another, the AF will grab an edge at the wrong depth level. I could monkey with selective AF targeting but that requires delving through some extra buttons when it's easier just to grab the focus ring and eyeball it, then let AF try again (if necessary). On the Tamron that requires forcing the focus ring against the motor gearing, which is fidgety and not terribly good for the mechanism.


If that's the issue and the focal range you're worried about, it's hard to recommend the 15-85 over the 17-55. The extra width isn't terribly useful for people due to distortion and the long end is too slow for real subject isolation; the 17-55 is an excellent APS-C portrait lens. You'd have to spend twice as much on a collection of primes to beat the quality and still lose the convenience.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:14 pm

Reinyn wrote:Watch the Canon Direct Store for deal on their refurbished lenses. The 17-55 and 24-105 are both available now.
http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/st ... 1_-1_22751

Sold...thanks for the pointer!

Just under $860 shipped including tax, which is no worse than the best sale prices on eBay (which, of course, don't include a 90-day warranty). Now to Amazon for a lens hood...
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ludi
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:50 pm

Reinyn wrote:Watch the Canon Direct Store for deal on their refurbished lenses. The 17-55 and 24-105 are both available now.
http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/st ... 1_-1_22751
Excellent suggestion.
ludi wrote: Now to Amazon for a lens hood...
I bought a "used" genuine Canon lens hood for mine from B&H Photo Video (or possibly Adorama). Note that some of the knock-off hoods don't have the flocking inside them that the genuine ones do.

Note that your new lens uses 77mm filters rather than the 67mm ones that fit on the Tamron 17-50. Fortunately for me, that's the same size that the 100-400L and EF-S 10-22 use, so I can shuffle my polarizer between those three lenses.
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:04 pm

Yup, I went ahead and ordered multi-coated 77mm UV and CP filters along with the hood. My existing 77mm CP, which also fits my two Tokinas, was a cheaper model that I bought a long time ago, and had been costing me a small but perceptible amount of sharpness.
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:27 pm

The lens arrived near the end of last week, and I took it with me on a cross-state trip to visit relatives over the weekend. Not a lot of time to play but so far very happy -- the IS does some amazing things at slow shutter speeds.

Thanks for the help, everyone!
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:19 pm

Good deal! Definately need to see some pics taken with it.

As a sidebar, the 24-105mm/4 mentioned above is a lens I would love to see for Sony. What a great range and aperture.
Sony a7
Sony Zeiss 55/1.8 SSM, 24-70/4 SSM
Minolta 17-35/2.8-4 D, 100-300 APO, 100/2, 500/8
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:44 pm

TheEmrys wrote:Good deal! Definately need to see some pics taken with it.

As a sidebar, the 24-105mm/4 mentioned above is a lens I would love to see for Sony. What a great range and aperture.


I'd love to see lenses for Sony- but I'd settle for that 'Speed Booster' thing they're building for Canon EF -> NEX E-mount. You know, after Sony gets mirrorless focusing down pat (which will likely be long before Canon does...).
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:08 pm

Airmantharp wrote:I'd love to see lenses for Sony- but I'd settle for that 'Speed Booster' thing they're building for Canon EF -> NEX E-mount. You know, after Sony gets mirrorless focusing down pat (which will likely be long before Canon does...).


I hear this a lot, but I haven't understood it. Between the current Sony, Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma lenses, I've yet to find anything that stands out as a must-have lens that is missing. Shoot, throw in the great (not the bad, cheap) Minolta lenses and there is something like 600+ lenses to choose from, 200+ of those very good to extremely nice quality. If you could give some examples, I'd appreciate it just so I can understand what people, or at least you, mean.
Sony a7
Sony Zeiss 55/1.8 SSM, 24-70/4 SSM
Minolta 17-35/2.8-4 D, 100-300 APO, 100/2, 500/8
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:22 pm

The challenge outside of Canikon is that you have to go outside of first-party to get quality glass in some situations, either because the first-party glass isn't that great or just doesn't exist.

With Canon, there isn't a lacking lens; you have to hunt and peck to find situations that are not well covered by multiple lenses at multiple price points and quality levels, and Nikon is much the same. Third party vendors struggle to provide something that is genuinely superior and usually wind up being a trade on price/performance; I think Sigma is the closest to Canon glass with their 35/1.4 and upcoming 18-35/1.8. Most people would rather have the Sigma than Canon's 35L, given how finicky that lens (and the 85L) are.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
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Re: Canon EF-S upgrade: which zoom?

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:03 pm

When I checked a few years ago, Sigma offered about 2/3 as many lenses for Sony's α-mount as Sony did and Tamron offered about 1/3 as many as Sony did. α-mount has plenty of lenses. Unless you're looking for a massive super-telephoto, perspective shift, or other expensive professional specialty lens, you're not going to be forced to go to Canon or Nikon.
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