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Author Topic: Image quality of17-85 vs. 17-40 & 17-55 vs. 24-105  (Read 8131 times)
yonse
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« on: May 27, 2006, 08:17:24 PM »
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Hello all, I was an avid photographer when I was younger but had to sell off the majority of my camera equipment a while back for financial reasons.  Things are looking up now and I am looking into purchasing a new DSLR in the near future.  As much as I would love the 5D, I think I am leaning more towards a Rebel XT or a 30D.  I have been looking very carefully at lenses and I have yet to decide which would be the best for me to get.  I want a lens that will give me the best image quality for the money.  The most important factor for me is image sharpness, but I am also concerned with flaring & chromatic aberration as well.  Bokeh and distortion are less important factors to me.  I baby my equipment too, so weather sealing is not as important, although always a positive.

I don't know if I am willing to spend the money for them yet, but I have been oohing and ahhing at Canon's new 17-55 and 24-105 lenses.  I know that the 24-105 would leave something to be desired at the wide end, but it would also be usable on full frame cameras and it would complement the 10-22 lens as well.  So my real question is which one of these lenses would have the best image quality on a DSLR, such as the Rebel XT & the 30D?

Since I will likely decide to save a little money and get a less expensive lens, I would also like to know how the new 17-85 lens compares to the 17-40 lens on a 1.6x DSLR.  Those are the two that I am really considering right now.

Things like IS, a wider zoom range, greater maximum aperture, weather sealing, and compatibility with full frame cameras are all nice, but all of those things aside, I want to know how these lenses compare to each other, both at their respective maximum apertures and when stopped down to f/5.6 or more.  If anyone has or can make some direct comparisons between these lenses, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you.
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tbonanno
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2006, 10:43:21 PM »
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I don't have the new 17-55, but do have the others.  ON a cropped sensor model, the 17-85 is a convenient, compact decent lens.   I use it on my 20D and the combination is a nice walkaround camera/lens.  The 17-40 and the 24-105 are better glass though - without question as far as image quality goes.  The two are terrific on a full frame (I use Canon 1DsII).

I personally like both the 17-40 and 24-105 VERY MUCH.. both are very good and the 24-105 is actually quite good at the wide end.  I would not bother with the 30D or any of the cropped sensor models if you are serious about these L lenses.  Go with the 5D if you can.  Both lenses will work well with the cropped sensor models like the 30D, but the 1.6x crop factor really compromises the usefulness of them.  IF you were using a full frame 5D, then you could get by very nicely with JUST the 24-105 for just about everything except the longer telephoto...
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Tony Bonanno Photography
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gochugogi
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2006, 03:17:59 AM »
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The EF 24-105 4L is the best zoom I have owned. Wide open it's tack sharp and a little sharper than my 17-40 4L wide open at 24mm. It's also better than my EF 50 1.4 USM at 50 F4. Finally it's sharper than my EF 70-200 4L at f4 105mm. I've sure they vary from copy to copy. My 70-200 4L is slightly blurry on the left side, even after being "calibrated" by Canon, so your mileage may differ.
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benInMA
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2006, 11:07:45 AM »
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I have a 17-40 f/4 and it seems that sample variation may be a big deal with that lens.

Mine seems to be better then lots of the tested images I've seen.  Vignetting is not terribly bad. (I have a 5D).

It definitely is not as sharp, contrasty or as good with color as my 50/1.4 or even my 28/1.8 though.  It is very hard to pin down exactly what is missing in real world photographs when I use the 17-40, but if I have the choice, I will pull out the 50 or 28.  But the 17-40 is definitely still very good.

I really didn't like the focal length range the 17-40 offers on a 1.6x body either, but it is a very very nice range on full frame.  I think if I had been buying it strictly for use on 1.6x I would have given the 17-85 a very serious look... the 17-40 is just not long enough for a "standard walkaround" zoom on a 1.6x body IMO.  My 1.6x body could not take EF-S so I had no real choice in the matter.
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2006, 03:15:26 AM »
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>> I am also concerned with flaring & chromatic aberration as well.

For that I would suggest looking at the old primes like 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 35/2 and 135/2.8. I had the 24/2.8 and 35/2 and can testify that they are very flare resistant. The 50/1.8 is almost as good.
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2006, 11:23:04 AM »
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How are those with CA?

The only comment I'll make about the three lenses at the top of this thread is that the 17-85 has pretty bad CA starting at 17.  It is gone by about 24.   The lens just gets sharper and sharper from that point.  Look up "local contrast" on this site if you intend to buy it, however.
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