T2i and 15-85 lens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Marc32, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Marc32

    Marc32 TPF Noob!

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    I've been shooting with a Panasonic FZ150 for the last few months (since it came out) and while I think it's an excellent camera for what it's meant to do, it's not a DSLR. I've been shopping for a good package to compliment that one and I think I've settled on a Canon T2i and a Canon 15-85 lens. I think I will bypass the kit lens and order it body only. I'll save a few bucks that way and redistribute the kit lens money into the nifty fifty. If I need more reach, it's likely not a shot I'll be making a 20x30 print out of, so the long zoom of the panny will do just fine.

    The things I like to shoot are mostly landscapes, so the 15mm is attractive to me in that regard. I have a panoramic head for my tripod and a very good stitching software program. I'm starting to really get into HDR and Photomatix as well. I've not been able to do a lot of night shooting, like milky way shots, as the low light performace and limited shutter speed of the FZ150 have prevented me from doing so. I'm hoping the T2i will be better and I'm looking forward to trying my hand at some really long exposures. The bulb setting is a big plus. Is this a good lens that will perform better than the kit lens for these types of shots? I'm not familiar at all with comparable offerings from Tamron or Sigma.

    The downside is my local brick and mortar store does not have the 15-85 to have a look at firsthand. I like to have a product in my hands before I fork over nearly $700 for a lens I've never seen in person. They have the 28-135, but I don't think that is as good optically. The reviews are strong enough for this lens that I'm not too worried, but a lot of the stuff I'm reading is the wide open aperature performance. Do I just assume that this lens will perform well at f/22 or f/36 for tack sharp landscape shots? Without being able to try it out, I'm wondering if there is any barrel distortion that would make stitching a nightmare, or softness that would become much more pronounced in panoramic prints? Anyone own this lens able to give me any good insight? Thanks!!


     
  2. DiskoJoe

    DiskoJoe Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have a couple of friends that have this lens. Its pretty decent. Optically it is great and you get a really good range. Great walk around lens if you like to shoot street photography. Only down side is that it is a variable aperture lens. But you wont find anything in this range that has a fixed aperture anyway. So if you want a do it all lens I would say this would be a good buy.
     
  3. enzodm

    enzodm No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Regarding image quality, barrel distortion, etc, take a look at Photozone reviews, which are well done: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS - Review / Lens Test Report
    However, any lens on APS-C will degrade when over f/11 or so, due to diffraction (read here for details: Diffraction Limited Photography: Pixel Size, Aperture and Airy Disks ). So if you expect tack sharp shots, avoid to close too much. On the other side, at 15mm you even do not need to close as much to have great DoF.
     
  4. Marc32

    Marc32 TPF Noob!

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    I understand a fixed focal length being considered a prime lens, usually getting the sharpest possible image with this type of lens. I'm not following what a fixed aperature lens will do? I thought the camera lens set the largest aperature size relative to focal length (ie f/3.5 @ 25mm) and if you wanted to shoot at f/16 @25mm it was the camera body that set that up? What's the advantage of a fixed aperature? Seems you'd lose a lot of versatility in the lens.

    That's a very interesting article on diffraction. I'm going to have to read that a couple times to wrap my mind around it. I've looked at a lot of landscape photos where the exif data shows a f/16-22-36 aperature setting, but I never looked at the camera to determine it's sensor size. Have to start paying closer attention to that.

    What other lens could I look at that would offer good versatility and good optical performance? Any of the L series lenses are going to be out of my price range.
     
  5. enzodm

    enzodm No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was not able to understand... then I re-read DiskoJoe comment. He/she meant constant maximum aperture, not fixed. Some lenses offer f/2.8 or f/4 on all range, while this one, as many others, have smaller apertures at tele end. However, those are expensive. This one has really fixed aperture, but it's just another story :)
    Among the cheap at constant aperture, one appreciated is Tamron 17-50/2.8. However, you loose range on both sides. If you are interested into landscape, I would stay with 15-85 (you do not need f/2.8 for that). Or even a shorter one (10-22, 11-24... such kind of thinsg I never used in my life) plus kit lens.
     
  6. Marc32

    Marc32 TPF Noob!

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    Oh...I see. Constant aperture I understand. I didn't pick up on that when I read the post. My bad.

    The Tamron has good reviews, but I'd prefer to keep the wider focal length. I think I'd get more use out of the lens that way. I agree with not needing f/2.8 out of this lens. The Tonika 11-16 is f/2.8, but I'm giving up a lot of zoom. If I'm shooting in low light, I will swap it out for the 50mm f/1.8. L glass is great I'm sure, but I'm not pro and I can't justify the huge cost. Looks like the 15-85 is the best choice for a good, all around, good optical lens. Just need my tax refund now....:lol:
     
  7. DiskoJoe

    DiskoJoe Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sorry about the confusion. Didnt mean to throw you off. Just trying to tell you the lens is pretty decent and would be a decent buy. Everyone I know says it take great pictures.
     
  8. Marc32

    Marc32 TPF Noob!

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    No worries, just as much my fault for not having a firm grasp on the photography lingo.

    One more question though...since you mention your friends have the lens, do you know if they need to do any barrel distortion correction in any kind of post production software? The reason I ask is most people here use Elements, Lightroom, or Photoshop. I have none of these, I use Paintshop Prox4. It will probably correct it, I just have not ventred too far into the program to figure out how...if it needs to be done at all.
     
  9. FitzTML

    FitzTML TPF Noob!

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    I have this lens and am happy with it. It is bigger and heavier than the kit lens (that I never had, but my brother has one). Like almost all lenses it's weak at the extremes of telephoto, wide and open aperture. One review I read about the 15-85 is that it's as close to an L lens that Canon will put for for the "EF-S" mount.

    There is a flickr group for this lens, but then again there's probably a flickr group for left handed anarchists too.

    I do use Lightroom's lens corrections and can easily see differences especially at the extremes of the lens. After more than a year of use there is lens creep.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  10. Marc32

    Marc32 TPF Noob!

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    I've read a few reports saying the same thing, it's about as close as you can get to an L lens without being an L lens. I did play around with PaintShop this afternoon and it does have a very good lens distortion adjustment built into it, so that helps a lot. I guess the only question now is when to order it. Not much in the way of discounts on a T2i or T3i body only right now, and the lens is on small sale. I think I'll sit tight and wait for a better buy on it.

    flickr is a great place, but some people take it way too far. There's a flickr group for anything beyond reasonable thought. I'm part of the "under middle aged men between 5'10 and 6'2 who shoot with white shirts and a pocket full of frozen peas on Wednesday mornings after a rainstorm that falls on a odd numbered day of the week as long as we've had a cinnamon bagel for breakfast with two cups of coffee and 1 sugar." delightful group of folks.
     

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