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Lens choice to replace my old Sigma 24 - 70 f2.8 on my new 60D

11 Oct 2012 9:30AM
I've been away for quite some time but just starting to get back into photography. I may even upload some photos soon and renew my e2.

I have recently replaced my 400D for a 60D and am looking at getting some better lenses.
With my 400D I had a Sigma 10 - 20, Sigma 24 - 70 2.8, Sigma 105mm macro, and a cheap Sigma 70 - 300.

My Sigma 24 - 70 recently had a little accident and is well and truly broken, so I am looking to find a suitable replacement, but would like to go down the Canon route. The Canon 24 - 70 2.8 is far too expensive for me to be able to justify to SWMBO, and I would like to be able to go a bit wider as well.

A colleague at work recommended the Canon 15 - 85 as thats what he uses on his 7D and he rates it highly, so I am leaning towards that currently. I don't think I'll miss the 2.8 as it was quite a heavy beast and the focussing was noisy, the 60D also handles low light much better than the 400D so I can up the ISO a bit, and with the IS on the lens that should help as well. I don't tend to shoot fast moving objects.

I am also planning on getting a 70 - 200 L f4 IS when funds permit.

I am thinking the 15 - 85 would be a good all round lens for the 60D, and along with a 70 - 200, should cover most things I need. I will keep the 10 - 20, and the 105 macro as I use both of them quite often.

Do you think the 15 - 85 would be a good choice for the money, or are there other lenses in a similar price range I should be considering. The assistant in the camera shop I was in recommended the 17 - 40L. I know it's an excellent lens, but I think I would forever be switching lenses to something else to get the 50 - 70mm range.

Thoughts appreciated.

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11 Oct 2012 10:19AM
I have the 15-85. Excellent lens. Very sharp, superb range on a 60D, and very good IS. Highly recommended.
javam Plus
13 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 10:23AM
I can understand why you want something wider. I have a 7D, the 10-20 and the Canon 24-105 and swap between them. Most of the time it is ok, but if I am on holiday and switching between photographing the family and scenery/architecture it gets a bit tiresome.

The 15-85 would seem a good option. If you did want to stick with a 2.8 lens, and funds would stretch, you could also consider the canon 17-55 f2.8.

Not sure I would rule the 17-40 out though. Back in my pentax days my standard walkabout lens for a couple of years was a 16-45 I found that fine for most situations. It is probably the one I would go for, but then I do still plan to supplement my 7D with a full frame body at some point.
mikehit Plus
8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 10:26AM
In that range on a APS-C camera my response is always get the 15-85 unless you find a reason not to, and if not try for the 24-105 but obviously would not be wide enough for your purposes at the ower end. The 17-40 is a good lens but I find the 40mm upper limit too restricting for general walkaround use.
The 70-200 f4LIS is an absolute dream to use.

Although you have all focal ranges covered with those 2 lenses, don't get obsessive about this: I have the 17-55 and 70-200 and don't miss anything with the 55-70 gap.
11 Oct 2012 10:27AM
Have you considered the sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS? On my Canon 60D its an excellent lens. Seems to work better than it did on my previous 30D. Tack sharp, especially when stopped down a little.

I don''t know anything about the Canon 15-85 but it might be a good idea to go to your local camera shop and compare the lenses. TBH you probably won't go wrong with either.
11 Oct 2012 10:32AM
The 24 - 104 f4 L is another lens I have been looking at. I quite like the idea of getting an L series lens as it is more weatherproof, it will also give me a bit more length, which would be useful. It comes down to whether I can live with 24mm being the widest it will go. It seems whatever I buy will be a compromise somewhere, it's just which compromise I can live with more. I wish I was better at making decisions.
sherlob Plus
11 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 10:42AM
A vote for the 17-40L. I bought mine 2nd hand many moons ago - its still the lens I use for 90%+ of my photography, and it hasn't missed a beat. So far its outlasted 2 bodies... Its a fabulous lens.

I don't rue the gap between 40-70mm personally, but then again I use a full frame sensor. I would think the effective gap between 64-112mm (when the crop factor is added) would be more problematic.

Jasper87 Plus
7 1.9k 150 England
11 Oct 2012 10:44AM
The 15-85 is the first lens I would replace if the whole kit was stolen. Superb lens and so versatile, the majority of my images are taken with it. I've also dived in and got the 70-200 f4 when I need any extra reach, and I've got the Sigma 10-20 for the extra at the other end.
11 Oct 2012 12:26PM

Quote:The 24 - 104 f4 L is another lens I have been looking at. I quite like the idea of getting an L series lens as it is more weatherproof, it will also give me a bit more length,

The extra 9mm at the short end of the 15-85 counts for a lot more than the missing 20mm at the long end, IMO. There's a lot of difference between 15 and 24mm, and not much between 85 and 105.
11 Oct 2012 12:35PM
Thanks all, I think you have confirmed that the 15-85 is probably the way to go. As its a bit cheaper it might also allow me to stretch to the 70-300L Smile
JackAllTog Plus
8 4.9k 58 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2012 8:20PM
Just a small spanner to throw, I had a 17-85 but really really loved the 24-105 I got instead super lens. F4 throughout and nice IS. I also have sigma 10-20 and 70-300.
I do acknowledge that the 15-85 gets great reviews as does the 17-55.
Can you borrow/rent one to see?
steve_p Plus
12 1.2k England
11 Oct 2012 8:29PM
Another vote for the 15-85. I have had mine for a few months, I had a 17-85 for a year or two but felt as though it needed replacing. I bought a 17-70 sigma which I was happy with. However I was offered a good deal on it against the 15-85.
I am very happy with it on the 60d.
12 Oct 2012 10:46AM
Thanks all

I still haven't fully decided. I have a mate who has the 15 - 85, just not sure he would lend it to me. I don't know anyone with the 24 - 105, although I don't really need to try one of them out, I know the image quality will be good, it's just that gap.

I have had a 24 - 70 for the last 6 years though and managed fine not being able to get wider. Decisions, decisions.

I have just bought the 70 - 300 though, so at least that is one decision I have made.

I am leaning again towards the 24 - 105L, as

1. It's an L series lens with the associated build quality and weatherproofing.
2. I have never really had a problem with not being able to go wider than 24mm
3. I may one day in the future go Full Frame, in which case it would be a brilliant range lens, and adding the 17 - 40L in as a wide angle on a Full frame would make a nice set of lenses, whereas the EF-S 15 - 85 won't be any use at all on a full frame.
mikehit Plus
8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2012 11:43AM
Buy the lens you need now, not the one you may need if you buy a new camera. Websites are littered with people who have been buying EF lenses (or FX for Nikon) 'just in case' they buy a full frame camera - and they are still waiting many years later. Even if you do go full frame, Canon lenses hold their value pretty well.

Everything I've read suggests that the 15-85 and 24-105 are very close in image quality and size, so what else is there?.
Focal range - wider or longer? Cropping the 15-85 image will go some way toimitating the upper focal range of the 24-105, but you can't 'widen' a shot to make the 24-105 act like a 15-85 at the wide end. You mentioned in your OP that you wanted 'something wider' (then contradict your self later on)
Weather sealing - the 15-85 will manage with showers, so how bad will the weather be when you take it out?
IS - better on the 15-85
Aperture - how often do you shoot wide open at f4?
Build quality - many comments say the 15-85 is well built. Even though it is not up to L standard, how badly will you be treating it? Remember 'L' category is meant to withstand heavy pro use.

Choose your compromises. Tongue
12 Oct 2012 12:45PM
Thanks Mike

You've made me see sense, I think I was being a bit blinded by the lust for the L series Red Ring, but now I've just bought the L Series 70 - 300 hopefully that craving is satisfied for a while.

You are right, I do want to be able to go a bit wider than the 24 - 105 will let me, so the 15 - 85 is the obvious choice. I don't need the extra length either as I can use the 70 - 300 for that range.

The 15 - 85 makes sense in so many ways, if I ever do change camera, as you say, I can always sell it.

Thanks to everyone for your input, it has really helped me decide what I really do and don't need out of a lens, the red ring around the outside will not be visible in any of my photos so is not necessary.

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