15-85 or 17-50 f/2.8

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by mrdemin, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. mrdemin

    mrdemin TPF Noob!

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    I'm sort of stuck here. I am no pro, wanted a dSLR for the features and quality I could achieve. This is just another hobby for me and I cannot justify owning 5 lenses... YET.
    Anyway, I have the kit lens (18-55) on my t1i, but want something sharper or faster or more versatile (or all of the above?)
    The new 15-85 really fits the versatile bill here, and I have read some good stuff about the IQ.
    The 17-50 f/2.8 Sigma or Tamron, I don't recall right now, but either way I have heard good things about that lens (mostly), and the price is very attractive as well. I have considered the 24-70, or 28-75 f/2.8, but would like something a little wider (I think!)
    My idea here is to minimize swapping lenses, but keep a certain level of quality.
    The 18-200 fell out of this comparison due to pretty bad reviews on IQ, what else can you expect with such a long focal range.
    I wish the 15-85 was a constant f/2.8, but I'd be spending twice as much.
    I know I know, I want too much from one lens, but whos to stop me from dreaming.
    This all lays out like this, if I get the 15-85 I will probably almost never need a tele, but will have a "slower" lens (I do a lot of indoors). If I get the 17-50 I get the speed, possibly IQ, but lose out on the wide end AND the long end. The 24-70... I lose a LOT on the wide end.
    Does anyone recommend the 18-135? I'd give up speed if the IQ is up to par w/ this lens.
     
  2. Sachphotography

    Sachphotography TPF Noob!

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  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 as well as the Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS (similar to the 15-85mm)...and also an 18-55mm kit lens that isn't worth mentioning here.

    I really like the 17-85mm for it's range and the IS is a nice feature. The IQ is OK, but the small max aperture is a severe limitation in some situation. That's one big reason why I got the Tamron to be my primary lens for things like wedding etc. A better option would be the Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS. It's a fantastic lens, but also twice the price of the Tamron/Sigma.

    Your choice will have to be a compromise. If it's more important that you have a large max aperture, then go with the Tamron (or Sigma). If focal range and IS are more important to you, then go with the 15-85mm.

    I do agree with you that 24mm isn't wide enough on this format of camera....not for me, anyway. Heck, I usually carry my 10-22mm with me as well.
     
  4. pdelcarmen

    pdelcarmen TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike I've heard alot of negative copies and such about the tamron but it's still highly recommended to me was it worth the buy? I'll be using it for photos as well for video. I heard the VC(is) version is less sharp then the if AF version thoughts?
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    FYI, this thread is two years old.

    I think that the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 (non-VC) is probably the best 'value' in this range. It gives you good build quality and pretty good image quality for a nice price.
    The focus motor is louder and slower than a Canon USM though.

    I too have read that the VC version wasn't as sharp...but I think you need to keep in mind that people are reviewing a lens that (initially anyway) cost a lot more, so they expected it to be A LOT better. I haven't tried it for myself but I bet it's not so bad. I haven't looked at the current price, but I think it came out at $650 or more, which made it a much harder choice than the $400-$450 for the non-VC.

    I sold my 17-50mm a while back because I purchased a full frame camera. I bought a used Tamron 28-80mm F2.8, which haven't been to impressed with so far.
     
  6. pdelcarmen

    pdelcarmen TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I'm new and I havent really been super active but the 17-50 still comes more highly recommended should I just get a 17-85 is usm then? Yeah the 17-50 2.8 was so ravely reviewed and when you step up you expect the same results but not much has really been put out from what I've read
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It really depends on what & how you shoot. The 17-50mm F2.8 is better for many things because of it's large, constant maximum aperture of F2.8. I needed that for wedding work. On the other hand, the 17-85mm has a really great range and the IS can be helpful for shooting things that don't move.
     
  8. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Can't comment on 15-85mm, but Big Mike mentioned 17-85mm being a good lens and I do know at one stage while buying a lens I read the 15-85mm is even better, but for low light as said f2.8 is nice. I have the tamron and like it, following is an example @f4.5, maybe not a great shot but might give an idea of sharpness (but to be honest I always liked the kit lens to except it wasn't great as a low light option)
    [​IMG]
    Statue Sennori Sardinia2 by jaomul, on Flickr
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I had heard that as well...but I think the 15-85mm has/had a price tag up around $900. Way too much IMO.
     
  10. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Very much agree
     
  11. pixmedic

    pixmedic Critical Care Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    the tamron 17-50 f/2.8 non-vc has been a GREAT lens for us. I would recommend something with a fixed aperture no matter which brand you go.
     
  12. 651stp

    651stp No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    +1 on the tamron 17-50 2.8 non VC. I've had about 3 copies now and they have all been wonderful! i keep it on my body 90% of the time, the other 10 i use a 70-200F4L and that does me plenty good.
     

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