Canon IS Lens Question

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by vandecarr, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. vandecarr

    vandecarr TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    WOuld you prefer the Canon EF-S 17-85 mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Zoom Lens or the Canon 85mm f1/8 lens?

    Which one is sharper? and do they each perform equally well in low light?

    I ask because I have the 85 and am considering the IS but not sure if it's worth it.


    Thanks,
    Mike V
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    85mm f1.8 is sharper in my opinion... in most situations. It is well known as a nice portrait lens with excellent image quality... a good bang for the buck with build quality approaching what one would expect from L lenses.

    "Perform in low light" is a pretty general statement... in what way do you define perform? I will assume you mean in terms of sharpness.

    In low light, two types of blur: camera shake by handheld and blur from moving objects.

    IS is not a cure all for low light photography. If you need a fast enough shutter speed to properly stop motion in low light, the f1.8 is unbeatable but you need to understand how DOF is affected by shooting at such large apertures.

    If you want to reduce blur due to camera shake, then IS will perform nicely. Often it allows you to handhold 2-3 stops at a slower shutter than you would normally be able to handhold. IS will not stop action and blur because of movement.


    Is IS worth it? In my opinion yes but it isn't a replacement for a good set of fast lenses. An 85mm f1.8 prime is a different tool with a different purpose than the 17-85mm IS zoom.
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    f/4-5.6 and f/1.8 will be very different in low light ... at least if you use maximum aperture in both cases.

    you cannot really compare f-stops with IS --- IS only freezes part of the camera motion, but nothing of the subjects motion.


    Don't own any of those two lenses personally, but my guess is that the f/1.8 stopped down to f/4 will be considerably sharper than the other lens at it's widest aperture f/4. At f/8 that difference might be much less pronounced though.
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I would take the 85mm f/1.8 over a lot of lenses, especially a consumer zoom like the 17-85 f/5.6. In fact, I have taken it. I own it :p
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    As far as I know...the 85mm should be sharper.

    Note that IS will only counteract blur caused by camera shake not subject movement...so in low light, the wider aperture (giving a faster shutter speed) is better...if the subject may be moving.

    So in both cases, the 85mm wins (in my books anyway). The 17-85 is a zoom lens though, so is more versatile and convenient.
     
  6. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    I'd say you can't compare a zoom with a prime!

    As above the 85 is sharper - in fact it's sharper than most zooms :)

    17-85 is too slow in my opinion.
     
  7. vandecarr

    vandecarr TPF Noob!

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    thank you all,

    Mike V
     

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