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Help With Choice Of Three Lens To Buy?

Homesdale 17 123
14 Mar 2005 2:30AM
I just recently bought the Canon 20D, and now want to upgrade the 18-55 lens that i have, to get the best from the camera.

Anyway, i have narrowed down my choice to three lens, two with IS and one "L" lens.

The three are:

17-85 IS
28-135 IS
24-70 L

Now i personally can't decide which one to go for. How much better quality will the "L" lens be than the other, or will the other two be just as good with the IS, as 99.9% of the time, my shots will be hand held.
keithh 17 25.8k 33 Wallis And Futuna
14 Mar 2005 2:36AM
THE BEST lens in your list is the 24/70 by some way. As good as 'IS' is, it's not really needed at those focal lengths. Depends on how much you're willing to spend and how punchy you want your images to be.
duncan clarke 17 350 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2005 2:54AM
There have been a few discussions on this in the past (may be worth a quick search). I have never used any of these lenses, but what it seems to come down to is the following

- What focal range do you want the lens to cover?
- What is your current budget?
- How much are you expecting to spend in future on other lenses.

For example, if you want a replacement for the budget 18-55mm kit lens, then the best option is to look through your photos and see what focal lengths you used most. It it is at the wide end, then only the 17-85 from those above will suit. However, this is an EFS lens, so if you upgrade, the lens may not be suitable for future models of EOS that you choose. Also it is f/4.0-5.6 which isn't exactly exciting and could leave you short on indoor photography.

If you are constantly feeling that you need more reach, then probably look at the 28-135. This, from what I hear, is the 35mm equivalent of the 17-85. It doesn't have the wide angle option, but then maybe you'll want to go for a 17-40 or similar later so this may not be a problem. It has a quite reasonable f/3.5-5.6 so is not too bad in low light at the wider end.

The 24-70 should be sharper, and witht f2.8 across the range it gives you a lot more light than either of the other 2. The compromise however is that the range is so limited and no IS. Having said that, I don't have a use for IS unless I want to go for longer lenses. If I want to shoot something with a long exposure, I'll use a tripod. If I'm shooting things that are moving then I want a fast shutter anyway and IS won't make a lot of difference. Oh, and I think this one is the only one to come with a hood as part of the deal. If you are expecting to buy other lenses to fill out the other focal ranges (eg, 10-22, 16-35, 70-200 etc) then the lack of range here is not such a bind.

Of course this is only me talking from the specs and what I've heard so is mostly opinion and not facts.
Homesdale 17 123
14 Mar 2005 2:59AM
I doubt i will really want any other lenses apart from the new one and my other one (75-300 IS USM) which i use for my sports photography.

This one is for my basic day to day photos. Photos of the kids, holidays and days out.

I just want to get the best photo quality i can from my 20D camera.
keithh 17 25.8k 33 Wallis And Futuna
14 Mar 2005 3:03AM
24/70 it is then.
mattw 17 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2005 3:45AM
Please don't take this the wrong way, but the 24/70L is a very expensive lens, and maybe a little overspeced for 'Photo's of Kids, holidays, days out'???

If you were looking of a lens for Pro use, then the 24/70L is ideal, but would you really notice that much difference over, say the 17-85 IS?

If you have the money, and you are happy to spend that amount, then by all means get the 24/70L - it is the best lens for that focal lenght you can get (for the Canon system). Howerver unless you are looking to produce prints at larger than A3 size, I would say that the 24/70L is a luxary rathern than a neccesity.

Homesdale 17 123
14 Mar 2005 3:47AM
Mattw, don't worry i haven't taken it the wrong way. This is the reason i come on to the forum, to hear honest answers like yours.

mattw 17 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2005 4:41AM
We are very good at recommending the most expensive kit on this forum! Keith is right, the 24/70L is the best, but in my opinion, the 'L' lenses are not that much ahead of the standard lenses in terms of image quality as the extra cost may have you believe. By and large the image quality is better, but the extra cost also goes towards a very tough build quality (to takes the knocks from full time pro 'abuse'), weather-sealing and better auto focus systems.

I am going to kill my argument now by stating that I don't have any direct experience of the lenses in question, However, based upon reading reviews, and user comments,
I would suggest that there would be a more appreciable difference between the lens you are using now (worth about 40?) and something like the 17-85 IS (about 450) than between the 17-85 IS and the 24-70 L (about 1000).

Also, the 24-70L is nearly a kilogram in weight - not a problem as far as I am concerned, but would you be OK with that around your neck all day?

Carabosse 18 41.8k 270 England
14 Mar 2005 4:53AM

We are very good at recommending the most expensive kit on this forum..........

..........the 'L' lenses are not that much ahead of the standard lenses in terms of image quality as the extra cost may have you believe.

Law of diminishing returns I think it is called!

True in other fields (e.g. hifi) as well. Just by way of example, on other forums some who own both the 17-40L and the 17-85 IS have been able to make direct comparisons - and consider the performance differences to be minimal.

I know the pros don't like it being pointed out (so apologies in advance!), but they are able to amortise the cost of their lenses against their taxable income - unlike us lesser mortals - so money is no object even if the lens is only - for sake of argument - 5% "better" but costs 100% more!!
UserRemoved 17 4.2k
14 Mar 2005 5:30AM
Geoff did ask about three lenses and did ask which was the best and never mentioned cost or any other factor.

The 24-70 is undoubtedly the best lens of the three. (negating all other factors).

One thing I will add having dropped my 17-40 3 feet onto a gravel path and kicked over my 300mm with my crutch over the weekend (not a great weekend and I'll be stopping going out to take photos if the current clumsy spell continues - well no kit left and too much hassle). That both survived with a few battle scars (scraped lens hood and housing on the 17-40 and scraped UV filter glass on the 300). I dont think the other lenses would have survived similar escapades.

And I'm usually quite careful with my kit but due to current circumstances I really should only be carrying 2 lenses max rather than 5!

I totally agree that its overkill for taking photos of the kids, go for the 28-135 IS and spend the rest taking the kids out to somewhere you can photograph them eating ice cream Wink, lifes too short.
tim franklin 18 2.7k
14 Mar 2005 5:30AM

Quote:Please don't take this the wrong way, but the 24/70L is a very expensive lens, and maybe a little overspeced for 'Photo's of Kids, holidays, days out'???

Agree with this. It reminds me a bit of people elsewhere who seemingly lash out on a 1Ds II or a Leica 50mm f/1 Noctilux to shoot pictures of their kids! The 24-70mm is a pretty big lump, and it would be entirely possible you'd get sick of lugging it round and exchange for a lighter optic. There are hordes of grateful pros/pro-ams who pick up the discarded dreams of regular amateurs who overbuy.

The reasons to buy the L lens are

1. build quality
2. performance at wide aperture, as opposed to middling ones (eg f/5.6 or f/8)

If the other zooms are too slow for your wishes, then a couple of decent primes are much lighter, cheaper and will give top image quality.
Homesdale 17 123
14 Mar 2005 5:32AM
Thanks for your help guys, i think i will go for the 28-135.

John-LS 18 4
16 Mar 2005 11:49AM
If you don't need the very high build quality of the 24-70, look at a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Xr Di. Optically its just about as good as the Canon. Not built as well, focuses a little slower, much lighter - wouldn't swop mine for anything. Much better optically than the 28-135 IS. Then use the remaining money to buy a canon 17-40 F4 L - a fantastic lens.

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