need advice on my lens situation - wide to zoom lens


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Sep 6, 2005
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Columbus, OH
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Well I've graduated now, and so my job with the newspaper is over. It was a great year (photographically) for me i think, and i've learned a ton. I got to use a lot of great equipment, but now the time has come for me to buy my own stuff.

Obviously there are a lot of choices in the wide to mid zoom lens category. Currently i have the world's worst lens, a Tamron 28-80mm lens. Obviously I don't want to spend TOO much money, but I at least want a decent lens. I wish i could get the new Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS, but i can't yet :( I guess the main candidates that i'm considering are...

Canon 17-85mm IS
Canon17-40mm f4 L

Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-f4
Sigma 17-50mm f2.8

Tamron 18-50 f2.8 (this is new i think?)

Do any of you guys have recomendations? I think mainly i'm considering the two Canon lenses.

Other lenses I plan to buy include the Canon 70-200mm f4 L, a 100mm macro, probably the 105mm Sigma f2.8 macro, and possibly a 10mm wide zoom at some point. Any suggestions or advice you guys have would be great. Thanks
The two I'd recommend would be the 17-40 f4L and Tamron's 17-35 2.8-4 Di for the 'wide only' zooms. From the comparisons, tests, and reviews I've read (and tests i've done myself), the sharpness of those two lenses is actually quite comparable, with both lenses taking the edge over the other in different situations. I believe the canon's AF is faster, and the build quality is nicer. The CA and distortion is similar between the two, with the edge going to the L. The deciding factor I think is the price, as the canon is nearly twice as much as the tamron. I have the tamron and love it, it has given me terrific (but not perfect) results. the new 17-70 2.8-4 from sigma is surprisingly good, that might be something to look into as well. I'd recommend for good in-depth comparisons of those three lenses.
I'd probably go for the 17-40 f4 L. If you don't tend to need a zoom it's an awesome lens to leave on the camera the whole time.

but I have also heard the Sigma 17-50 is a very nice lens too - sorry that probably hasn't helped that much :)
What are the short commings of the Tamron that you have now? That would help people better identify another lens for you. Will give some hint at what you are going to mainly use the lens for.
I guess i just can't decide if i'd need the IS of the 17-85 or not, i know the 17-40 is sharper, better build, etc. the price is pretty comparable.
if you're looking between the 17-85 or the 17-40, i'd go 17-40 no questions asked. are you shooting much low light stuff, or near night photography? If so the IS might help you, but I still think the 17-40 is a better choice. what camera are you using?
i'd still probably go with the 17-40. you should be able to hand hold 1/30th shots easily at 17mm, and you can always bump the ISO so that's not a huge problem. It's up to you though, if you think the IS will really help you, then go for it. I wouldn't rule out the sigma 17-70, the reviews i've read gave it terrific marks.
i was almost set on the 17-40, but then someone i know and respect highly told me that he has the 17-85 and loves it. I also know someone who really enjoyed the 70-300mm IS...

now i guess im torn between the 17-40 + 70-200 f4 L combo and the 17-85 IS and 70-300 IS combo...i guess it comes down to image stabilization and how much i think i'll need that...anyone with experience with these lenses or have some comparison links?
i've used the 70-300 IS and it's the best of the 70-300 range lenses. it's not nearly as good as the 70-200f4L, but it's still good. again, IMO, i would go with the f4L's. they have better autofocus, sharpness, color/contrast, build quality, and larger max apertures. they just don't have IS. if you think you'll be doing alot of low-light shots of stationary objects then the IS might be a good idea. otherwise, i think the scale is tipping (quite a bit) towards the L's. I'm not an 'L only' freak, but i know for a fact that those two lenses are fantastic and higher quality than the other two with IS. I'd still go with the 17-40 over the 17-85, since IS is usually a bigger help on the telephoto side of things.

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