Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 or Canon 28-70 f/2.8 OR tamron/Tokina/sigma

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by northstar, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. northstar

    northstar TPF Noob!

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    I am looking into buying a new lens...I have a 50mm f/1.8...which I love, but I would like something that I can adjust the focal length.

    Which would you recommend? Canon 28-70 f/2.8 or the Canon 17-55 f/2.8?

    Also...I would like to save some $$, so is the Tamron lens a good one to get instead of the Canon? Or tokina or sigma? If someone could give me a pro/con list that'd be amazing. Thanks!!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    What camera do you have? What's your budget?

    For EOS film cameras or full frame digital cameras like the 5D or 1Ds, the 24-70 F2.8 L would be a good choice. (the 28-70 F2.8 was the old version and can only be found used) This lens is/was the 'work horse' lens for many pros for a long time.
    On a digital 'crop' body like the Rebels or 30/40/50D cameras, I feel that 24mm just isn't wide enough for a 'standard range' lens. In this case, the 17-55mm F2.8 IS might be a good choice. I know several photographers who have this lens and they all agree that it's optically very, very good. Several of them have problems with it's durability though. It's not built to the same standards as the 'L' lenses and this lens may be prone to failure with heavy use. This might be understandable for a cheap lens, but this lens is not cheap.

    There are fairly good alternatives to the Canon 17-55mm. One is the Tamron 17-50 F2.8 and another good one is the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8. These are both a lot less expensive than the Canon and have pretty good optical performance, although not as good as the Canon. I have the Tamron and it's been pretty good for me. One thing to note is that the focus motor is a bit slower and a fair bit louder than a Canon USM lens.

    Other good options might be the Canon 16-35mm F2.8 L, the 17-40mm F4 L and maybe the 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS.
     
  3. northstar

    northstar TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the warm welcome! I used to post on another site (phototakers.com), but they somehwat closed down...or at least it's not maintained anymore. So, I found this site. :)

    I have a 30d. $1000 for a lens is really expensive. Photography is a hobby of mine, so I don't know if I want to spend that kind of cash on a lens (esp since I'm a poor grad student who studies all the time). If the Tamron is a good alternative, then I'll just go ahead and go with that. I love my canon 50mm f/1.8 lens...and i'm glad I didn't fork over the 300 for the f/1.4.

    What would you say the benefit is of purchasing the 16-35mm f/2.8 over the 17-55mm f/2.8?

    Also, I know this is probably not the right area for this question, but can you explain the crop factor? I know I need to take everything times 1.6...but I don't think I really understand why. Thanks!! :)
     
  4. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I will say the major different is the cost. The canon 16-35mm f/2.8 may cost 3x more than the Tamron. But, the autofocus system in that Canon lens is faster and quieter if that matters. I do not own any of the lens listed, but from what I read, both are very good lens in terms of image quality.

    As for the crop factor, I think it is more or less for people who used to 35mm film camera and switch to DSLR.

    Let take an example. a 50mm lens on a 30D and a 35mm film camera.
    If you take a picture of the same scene with both cameras, you will find that the field of view is different. You see a smaller field of view on the 30D camera. So when you print the pictures, the one that took with the 30D camera seem like it zoom in a little bit. (small field of view). However, if you can find a 32mm lens and use it in your 30D (32x1.6 ~50) and take a picture of the same scene and print it out, the picture will some what similar to the 50mm lens on a film camera.

    The main reason for that is the size of the sensor in the 30D camera is smaller than a regular 35mm film. There are cameras in Canon line up that have a sensor close to the size (full size sensor) of a 35mm film such as 5d or 1ds mkiii.


    There are pro and cons on the cropped sensor. One advantage of the cropped sensor is your lens focal length will appeared to be longer when compared to a 35mm film camera. In other words, your lens seem to be increase in zoom-in power.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    The 16-35mm F2.8 is an 'L' lens, that means that it's top of the line. The build quality will be very good and it will have very good optics. It's also an 'EF' lens, which means that it can be used on EOS film cameras, full frame digital bodies as well as crop bodies.
    The EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS...is optically very good, maybe better than the 16-35mm but the build quality and reliability isn't up to the same level. Also, this is an EF-S lens, so it's only good for crop bodies.

    As mentioned, the 'crop factor' is really only something that you need to be concerned with if you are switching to/from a camera with a different sized medium. It's a comparison factor. As long as you are only shooting with a 30D, you really only need to concern yourself with how a lens looks when on your camera.
     
  6. northstar

    northstar TPF Noob!

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    I understand that it'll appear closer in my 30d...but if it's 50mm...shouldn't it just be 50mm? unless i just don't REALLY know what the 50mm means. And why didn't Canon just make the sensor the same size? Cost issue?

    Mike, what do you think is more important? The build quality or the optics? I may just get the Tamron since it is more than half the price. Are you pretty happy with the lens? How is the focus on the lens? Thanks!!! :)
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    50mm is 50mm, no matter what camera it's on. That's not the issue. The image coming through the lens and being projected into the camera is the same. It's just that the 'crop' bodies have a smaller sensor to record the image, so the area around the outside of the image are 'cropped' off.

    Yes, the biggest issue of why they use the smaller sensors is cost. It's a lot more expensive to make larger sensors. The sensors in 90% of digital cameras (the ones that aren't SLR) are much smaller than even these DSLR crop sensors.

    I think the optics are more important, for the most part, but a mediocre lens that works is better than a sharp lens that is broken. I know plenty of wedding photographers who use and love the 17-55mm F2.8 IS...even though it gives them problems. I also know some who don't use it because they can't trust it.

    I am pretty happy with the Tamron; it's a nice size and it's optically pretty good. The only downside is that the focus motor is not as nice as Canon USM. It's not bad, just not as good. For the price, it's a pretty good value.
     
  8. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    run a search for an explanation on crop factors and sensor sizes.

    As someone who owns the 17-55 f2.8 IS, i can tell you that it is a great lens. Image quality wise, that is.
    As far as build quality goes - it's not an L, but you don't sound like you need that. I am a news photographer in a pretty busy place, and subject my gear to a decent beating now and then, and i can tell you that photo gear doesn't like that. The 17-55 has been great, but lately it has been becoming loose and the IS stopped working(makes a buzzing sound). I don't need the IS on this lens, but i think it begat another problem - sometimes the lens gives out a reading of 00 aperture and it takes some knocking and turning off and on to get it back to work.

    All in all, i'm keeping it, and will just get it fixed under Mack warranty until i'm ready to move to FF. To tell you that i regret the purchase? A little, yeah. I would have been better with a 16-35.

    Then again, the whole front 1/3 of my 70-200 f2.8 IS has become loose by what seems like at least a 1/4 of an inch, and just bounces around.

    So there's L quality build for ya.
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    That seems to be the most common complaint about this lens, from people who use it a lot (pro shooters). A few photographers I know, have started using the IS only when it's really needed, which isn't all that much because of the short focal length. By turning it off the rest of the time, it's less likely to crap out on you.
     
  10. northstar

    northstar TPF Noob!

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    Does the Tamron les 17-55 f/2.8 have the same problem with build? I obviously want something that's not going to break down!! :)
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    I wouldn't say that it's up to 'L' standards...but it's pretty good in terms of build quality. I haven't heard of anyone having issues.
     
  12. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    A friend of mine has it. Doesn't focus anymore.

    But again, you need to ask yourself how YOU will take care of you gear, and how much abuse will it see. It's not like anyhting that isn't L is flimsy and breaks down after 2K shots. No. Its all a matter of expectations and care.
     

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