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Old 04-12-2010, 12:56   #1
driver8
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Help me spend £500 on Canon-fit glass

I've got a trusty 40D, with no immediate upgrade plans (though I might be tempted by the 8D or 5D3 in 18m). I use my 50mm/f1.8 the most, along with an old Tamron 28-200 from my film camera days (Canon 18-55 kit lens AF broken).

I'm looking for an "always on" walkabout prime (in the 24 to 35 range) plus an UWA zoom. In order of priority I'm after -
- image sharpness - focus accuracy - focus speed - build quality - (max aperture least important cos I'm happy using my 50/1.8 in low light).

Have spent some time going through my options, and narrowed things down to this shortlist (I did fancy the Sigma 30/1.4 initially, but according to the reviews unless you're using it wide open there are better/cheaper alternatives) -

PRIMES : Canon EF 24mm f2.8 ; 28mm f2.8 ; 35mm f2.0
ZOOMS : (no surprises here) : Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM ; Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di II LD ; Tokina AT-X 12-24mm f4 Pro DX (I or II)

And have come to settle on :
£156 - Canon 28/2.8 @ Jessops (& plenty places for < £160)
£310 - Sigma 10-20 @ Simply Electronics (USD$480 - weird, now defaulting to GBP at higher price - can I pay in $ ?)
£470 total

But at this sort of price, I then wondered whether or not I could sacrifice the extreme WA and go for -
£503 - Canon EF 17-40mm f4L USM @ OneStopDigital - seems a good price (and not been hit quite as much by the huge hikes from 2yrs ago). Does anyone know how image quality of this affordable L would compare to the 28mm prime ? And just how good is it at 17mm compared to the Sigma UWA, as this end would get a lot of use ?

Are there any other options I've missed for these sorts of prices ? What would you do ? Advice & opinions welcomed.
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Old 04-12-2010, 16:17   #2
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The 17-40 is a gorgeous lens, stays on my camera pretty much all the while unless I'm shooting motorsports or bands.

The old(er) 28-70 f2.8 L Series is a beauty too that can be picked up 2nd hand for <>£500
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Old 04-12-2010, 21:19   #3
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17mm is generally good enough on a crop body for "wide angle" stuff, 10mm is obviously much better but 17mm is a decent compromise IMO - I had the sigma 17-70 for a while and enjoyed using it at 17mm.
Get the L
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Old 04-12-2010, 21:30   #4
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1 top quality lens is worth a hundred "ok" compromise lenses
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Old 04-12-2010, 23:39   #5
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Since getting the 17-55f2.8IS about a year ago I've used my 10-20 about 3 times.

Pretty sure I will sell it soon.

Unless you absolutly need weathersealing the 17-55 is a better choice for crop than the 17-40L, faster and has IS and better range. Admitedly the 17-40 may be a touch sharper by a fraction, never found my 17-55 to be soft.

According to the digital picture iso crops the 28/2.8 prime is a fair bit sharper than the 17-55 zoom tho.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:04   #6
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That 17-55 2.8IS is a cracking lens Rob, but isn't it nearer 800 quid?

I rented one and used it for a wedding - got some wonderful shots with it. For some reason I never fell in love with it, but I really couldn't fault the performance.

edit: it's around 700, so well over budget.

Last edited by Woz; 05-12-2010 at 01:06.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:26   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandg View Post
The 17-40 is a gorgeous lens, stays on my camera pretty much all the while unless I'm shooting motorsports or bands. The old(er) 28-70 f2.8 L Series is a beauty too that can be picked up 2nd hand for <>£500
Thanks sandg - good to know you like the 17-40. Presumably you've got a crop body ? (But buying used isn't really an option for me atm).
Quote:
Originally Posted by basegreen View Post
17mm is generally good enough on a crop body for "wide angle" stuff, 10mm is obviously much better but 17mm is a decent compromise IMO - I had the sigma 17-70 for a while and enjoyed using it at 17mm. Get the L
Yes, I've never used an UWA so unsure just how 'specialised I would find it. I like the idea of the huge dof without using a tripod for landscapes, and getting up close for some street & market shots.
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Originally Posted by DeadYankee View Post
1 top quality lens is worth a hundred "ok" compromise lenses
Sure, that's why I'm asking. Every lens seems to have its detractors though so just after some real world tdf opinions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDickinson View Post
Since getting the 17-55f2.8IS about a year ago I've used my 10-20 about 3 times. Pretty sure I will sell it soon. Unless you absolutly need weathersealing the 17-55 is a better choice for crop than the 17-40L, faster and has IS and better range. Admitedly the 17-40 may be a touch sharper by a fraction, never found my 17-55 to be soft. According to the digital picture iso crops the 28/2.8 prime is a fair bit sharper than the 17-55 zoom tho.
You've got the 7D, Rob ? Interesting that the 10-20 isn't useful for your NZ landscapes - is it just too wide, even on a crop ? Not too bothered about IS on a WA, and f4 shouldn't be too limiting as I would be stopping down anyway to give greater dof.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woz View Post
That 17-55 2.8IS is a cracking lens Rob, but isn't it nearer 800 quid? I rented one and used it for a wedding - got some wonderful shots with it. For some reason I never fell in love with it, but I really couldn't fault the performance. edit: it's around 700, so well over budget.
Woz - I remember you being a lover of primes - which ones do you have ? And do you have an "always on" ?

I could just about justify £700 for something special, but not sure the 17-55 is worth +£200 over the 17-40 tbh, for me at least. I'd forgotten about the-digital-picture.com website - what a GREAT resource ! Mind you, if my 50/f1.8 was as sharp as seen in their tests I'd be a lot more happy with it ! (Interesting that the 28/2.8 seems sharper than both the 24/2.8 and the 35/2, as these 2 are quite a bit more expensive - seems to be a performance bargain, even if it is decades old !)

Going back to the 3 lenses in the OP -
- Comparing the 17-40/f4 with the 28/2.8 at f4 - the cheap prime actually looks sharper at f4, although they're more equal at f8 (here)
- Comparing the 17-40/f4 with the Sigma 10-20, at 17mm/5.6 the results are surprisingly similar (here) although the Canon is sharper in the centre.

17-40/f4 'L'
Pros - I like the idea of an 'L' lens - great build quality, resale value, status. Single lens - always on. Will partner well with my nifty fifty.
Cons - Not quite as sharp across the full range. Slow - only f4.

28mm prime + Sigma 10-20
Pros - seem as sharp or sharper than the 'L'. Versatile - UWA plus fast f2.8. Prime is small & light as an 'always on'.
Cons - need to carry & swap between 2 lenses. Prime is decades old ! Build quality not as good (Sigma build is v.good, not quite 'L', but prime is only slightly better than the nifty fifty).
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driver8 View Post
.Woz - I remember you being a lover of primes - which ones do you have ? And do you have an "always on" ?
I've got a Canon 7D and the lenses I have are:

Canon EF 28mm f/1.8. About a 50mm eqiv on my camera so not a wide. Sharp lens and really useful. I don't love it but that's purely because the focal length is a bit utilitarian for me.

Canon EF 50mm F/1.4. I adore this lens. It's almost always on the camera and it fits my vision well. I've used it so much that I can picture how something would look with it even if I don't have my camera with me.

Canon EF 85mm F/1.8. Amazing lens - I almost always get comments about pictures from this lens. It's a tad long on my camera for most stuff and it's not as bitingly sharp as my 50mm.

I've got a couple of zooms too - the kit one and a 100-200 (Very old but actually quite a sharp copy). Barely use them.

If I had the money I would buy the 17-55mm. It's extremely versatile and has a nice wide aperture. Solid feeling and gave some cracking shots.
Like I say, it didn't grab me while I used it because I'm so biased towards primes, but when I looked at the shots I'd taken that day I was very impressed.
I've not used the f/4 L though. It's a bit slow for my liking.
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Old 05-12-2010, 18:57   #9
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Thanks Woz. Interesting choices.

I know what you mean about 50mm - even though it's the 'standard' on full frame (& film) cameras I like this focal length on a crop too. Looking at the samples on the-digital-picture website it looks *incredibly* sharp even wide open - it's the only one I've looked at so far that is clearly better than the 28/2.8. Will need to upgrade my 50/1.8 sometime in the future !
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Old 05-12-2010, 19:37   #10
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I'm finding that in most situations I can (if needed) shoot multiple shots at 17mm and stitch.

Very few times I find I need to go wider, coupled with the 10-20's general lack of quality (corner sharpness and a bit of pop) I'm just a bit down on it - compared to the 17-55 that is.

Tempted to replace it with an 8-16 but still havnt seen too many stunners out of that.
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Old 05-12-2010, 22:45   #11
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I have the 17-40L on a 450D and love it... The only time it comes off my camera is if I *really* need
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:11   #12
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Rob - thanks for the extra info - yes, I am finding that I need to do many more stitches these days too - at least the software is better than it was. I wonder if you've got a v.good 17-55 copy (better QC with an 'L' so almost guaranteed ?) but your 10-20 is less so ? Have you had to micro-adjust either ?

Woz - have you had to microadjust any of your primes ?

Apep - *really* need ... what ?? Wider ? Longer ? Faster ?
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:56   #13
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I MA all my lenses but the 17-55 didnt need much I dont think, its also had a bit of a stealth upgrade in the last couple of years (or so lensrental speculate) and is much more reliable now.

Focus on the 10-20 is never a problem, especialy at f8...
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:36   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driver8 View Post
Woz - have you had to microadjust any of your primes ?
I've never done it at all. I was previously on the 400D so didn't have the option. Since getting the 7D I've not thought to do it! I'll have to see how it's done.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:11   #15
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Quote:
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Rob - thanks for the extra info - yes, I am finding that I need to do many more stitches these days too - at least the software is better than it was. I wonder if you've got a v.good 17-55 copy (better QC with an 'L' so almost guaranteed ?) but your 10-20 is less so ? Have you had to micro-adjust either ?

Woz - have you had to microadjust any of your primes ?

Apep - *really* need ... what ?? Wider ? Longer ? Faster ?
Sorry, the text must've randomly been chopped off! What I meant to say was unless I *really* need wider than F4.0 for low light situations where flash is unusable/undesirable or I'm taking wildlife shots.

EDIT: Ah - the chevron is deleting my text I had put "<" before F4.0....

Last edited by Apep; 06-12-2010 at 12:23.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:22   #16
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Bit late to this party, but I like the look of this for the money. Admittedly, that's an import price - but won't Sigma honour warranties internationally?

http://digitalrev.com/en/sigma-17-50...or-dslr-camera

17-50 f/2.8 and IS.
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Old 06-12-2010, 13:15   #17
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Didn't that lens recently get a mention in the Amateur Photographer awards?
I'm sure I remember it winning something but I can't find reference to it on Google...
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Old 06-12-2010, 13:19   #18
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Didn't that lens recently get a mention in the Amateur Photographer awards?
I'm sure I remember it winning something but I can't find reference to it on Google...
Been meaning to buy it for ages for when my poor Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 finally gets fed up of the abuse I give it but funds haven't allowed.
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Old 06-12-2010, 17:35   #19
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Quote:
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Bit late to this party, but I like the look of this for the money. Admittedly, that's an import price - but won't Sigma honour warranties internationally? http://digitalrev.com/en/sigma-17-50...or-dslr-camera
17-50 f/2.8 and IS.
Wow - the sharpness levels look great equalling but usually exceeding those of the Canon 17-40/f4/L. But it's not cheap !
Quote:
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Didn't that lens recently get a mention in the Amateur Photographer awards?
I'm sure I remember it winning something but I can't find reference to it on Google...
Here's an EISA award but for the Sigma 17-70 - is this what you were thinking of ? Review here at PhotoZone. It's half the price of the 17-50 and not as sharp, but looks to be better value.

EDIT
Forgot to add - the 17-50 appears to be £445 here at Onestop, which compares well with the likes of BH in the US. Gotta laugh/cry at the best Amazon UK/US prices though - US$670/UK£640 !

Last edited by driver8; 06-12-2010 at 18:00.
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Old 15-12-2010, 21:33   #20
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RGB Photo and Wilkinsons both have it for £520 delivered.

The Tamron VC version is under £350, but am personally not a Tamron fan despite being mad on them when I first got into photography (loved the 135/2).
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