All rounder


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Oct 26, 2007
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I am looking for a lens that has a wide spectrum of uses. A kinda day to day lens. So i suppose I am looking for something that goes from wide angle (nothing major) to medium zoom and that is pretty fast.

I have been looking at the 17-85mm canon lens, I think its an f/2.8.

Anyone use this as their day to day lens or can anyone recommend a competitor that is similarly priced?

Thanks in advance
It's an f/4-5.6 I think, but it has IS. The 17-55 f/2.8 IS runs about $1000 USD and has the speed, but not quite the range. It all depends on what you're looking for, and what your budget is. Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina all make 17ish to 55ish f/2.8 mid-zooms at around $500 USD that might be worth considering. Personally I use primes (Nikkor 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, and 85mm f1.8) and a cheap used Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 for $250 USD. They're all great when used appropriately. I also have the Nikkor 18-135 (f/3.5-5.6) which is a great lens too, particularly at the 100-135mm range.
Yeah u r right about the speed of the lens. I personally feel the 2.8 would outweigh the IS so will definitely look at that sigma 17-55 f/2.8. Would love the Canon but cant justify the price......

Thanks again.....
When I was looking for lenses, I got the 16-35 f/2.8L. Now I know this wasn't what you were looking for, because you want some zoom, but I want you to know what I read about the 17-40mm f/2.8L. In comparison to the 16-35 it is very soft. Now I figure if in comparison to anything a lens is VERY soft...then that's not a good thing. Just throwing that out there. What camera are you shooting with (full-frame or cropped sensor). If full frame, what you see in terms of focal length is what you get. With cropped, most Canons are 1.6x crop, a 17-55mm turns into 27-88mm...which is not very wide when you think about it. It's hard to get a really good all purpose wide to mid zoom on a cropped body because all the wide to mid zoom lenses are made for full-frame cameras (the one I use is a 24-70mm f/2.8 L). Which on my 5D (full frame camera) it is great. On my 30D (cropped frame) the 24-70mm turns into 38-112...which honestly is not that could do a lot worse.
Well if you're iffy on price, I guess the 24-105 is out...

I'm sure the 17-55 would be pretty decent...though lacking a bit on the long end. Of course that's up to you.
I personally feel the 2.8 would outweigh the IS
Depends on what you're shooting. For people or action photos in dim light, you need all the speed you can get and IS won't help. For scenic/urban type night time walk around photos, IS will work great, possibly a lot better than an f/2.8 lens. I don't do much of that lately (can't get out much!) so I like fast glass at the moment. :)
You posted while I was typing...I'm assuming that since usually the sigma lenses are not up to par with Canon L lenses, that sigma 17-55 would probably be even softer then the Canon ES 17-55 2.8 IS. I could be wrong here, do some research on your own before you drop that kind of cash. Dpreview is good. Check out this review by on the 17-55 /2.8 IS. They give this lens a good review, so maybe it's not so bad. Could be that the 17-40L just wasn't up to L standards is all. But they rate this 17-55 2.8 IS pretty well. Just note, that you cannot use this camera on a full-frame body...which means no film, no 5D, and no 1Ds MkIII, and there was another 1D body that was full frame...can't remember which one.
Yeah the off-brand glass is never as good. Sample variations, softness wide-open, more calibration issues, etc.

My Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 was nice enough for $250 USD (used), but it's noticeably soft wide open at 70mm, pretty nice at f/4 but still a little soft in the corners, and then sharp all around by f/5.6. Now compare that to the $1400 Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 or the brand new $1800 Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 which are sharp wide-open even at 70mm and don't need to be stopped down for maximum image quality and there's the difference. They're also contrastier and render skin tones a lot better. You get what you pay for....
Hi NicFargo

Thanks for advice on 16-35mm although it may be outside my price bracket. Just in realtion to one of the points you made

"a 17-55mm turns into 27-88mm...which is not very wide when you think about it. It's hard to get a really good all purpose wide to mid zoom on a cropped body because all the wide to mid zoom lenses are made for full-frame cameras (the one I use is a 24-70mm f/2.8 L)"

Isnt the 17-55 f/2.8 the "cropped sensors" version of your full frame 24-70 f/2.8. I dont even think that the 17-55mm can be used on a full frame camera although im still not sure on this....

Anyway thanks again....
As for the full frame issue. It really isnt one at the moment. I just couldnt afford a full frame digital right now or in the near future. Maybe the price will come down some day and then i may have to sell some lenses but that is prob many years down the road i think. Thanks everyone for advice again. More confused than ever!!!!
After reading this I now have no freaking idea Tig, sorry.

Since EF-S lenses only mount on Canon EF-S bodies - which all feature a 1.6x FOVCF - the 17-55mm focal length range always equates to the field of view of a 27.2-88mm lens mounted on a full-frame Digital SLR. This range covers what I consider to be the most important focal lengths for a Canon general purpose lens. This is a focal length range that can be used for everything from a wide scenic landscape to a relatively-close portrait.

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