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Author Topic: Canon 40D - which zoom do you think great?  (Read 9843 times)
The View
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« on: June 28, 2008, 12:25:02 AM »
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I need to upgrade sooner than expected, and the Canon 40D looks like to be the favorite.

But there's not really a zoom that fits all the needs.

The Canon 17-85mm zoom has gotten an abysmal review on photozone.de.

The 17-55/2.8 IS is great, but costs 1000$, and is not L glass. Which is why it has no good dust seals, and sucks in dust quickly.

There's the Sigma 17-70, an OK lens, it seems, but no image stabilization.

The 17-40/2.8 L is on sale for 650$, but it's a completely impossible range on an 1,6 sensor.

The great lens for full frame, the 24-105/4 L has the uninteresting translation into 36 - 150 on the smaller 40D sensor.


So, what did you buy? And are you satisfied?

This causes me quite some trouble, and may be the deal killer to buy the 40D at all.
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 12:34:11 AM »
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According to Canon, the 17-55mm f/2.8 is not an L lens only because it is not full frame.
It is an excellent lens, better than most primes. The dust sucking is often an issue, but someone found the reason: the front sealing ring is not glued on properly (glued in China?). One needs to reglue it.

It is expensive, for sure, but ist is IS. However, the vignetting is strong.

I have seven lenses, among them a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 and the Canon 50mm f/1.4, tack sharp, and an excellent copy of the Tamron 28-75mm (my Tamron 17-35mm did not make it to be accepted in the comparison). Since I have purchased the 17-55mm, I have not used any of these.
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Gabor
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2008, 01:07:32 AM »
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What do you think about the Sigma 17-70?

Back when I shot with Nikon film cameras, I never even thought of buying third party lenses. But I came to learn that there are great third party lenses out there.

One really weird lens is the Tamron 17-50/2.8  Got a rave review on photozone.de, but when you search the web you get the idea that Tamron's quality control produces lots of weak copies of that lens. And it is no IS, either.

Regarding the dust problem of the Canon 17-55: is it only the front element that sucks in dust? And is this really "fixable"?
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2008, 01:32:53 AM »
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A two-lens alternative is an EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 together with the EF 24-105mm  f/4L IS.  That high-quality combination provides a very nice zoom range (16-168 mm, 35mm equivalent).  Add a 70-200mm f/4L IS with an Extender 2.4x II and you have focal lengths from 16-448 mm (35mm film equivalents) covered for the 40D!
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The View
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2008, 01:40:03 AM »
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I thought of this combination, Bruce, but it doesn't go too well with my needs.
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The View
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2008, 01:43:06 AM »
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Reading photozone.de, I came across this rave review for a... kit lens.

The Canon 18-55/3.5 - 5.6

http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Canon%20EO...-review?start=1

The barrel distortion of this lens is so great it can turn a beer crate into a wine barrel just by photographing it.

I just wonder how reliable these reviews are.

I mean, photozone gave the Tamron 17-50 four stars. That's L territory.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 01:54:15 AM »
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You don't mention what you want to do with your system. It's a lot of money to spend, and there's no one combination that will do everything. I bought the 40D to replace the 350D. I wanted the dust removal (works well) and more pixels. I could have got those If I'd waited for the new 450D, but I find I now rely on the custom function dial (this is really good) and the higher frame rate. I loathe the stupid on/off button and not having a mirror lock up button (though this is set up quickly in the custom menu). Everything else I like: ease of use, separate focus button if I want, the solid feel to it etc. And I just leave it switched on now most of the day, and have it power down after 2 minutes. It starts up instantly when you press any button, and I've never managed to get anywhere near flattening the battery.
I kept the Sigma 17-70 for close up work where I'd use a bean bag or tripod and so if it had IS I'd have switched that off anyway, so it doesn't matter to me that it doesn't have it. This is a nice sharp little lens, however I'm experimenting with a close up lens and extension tubes on the 70-200, in order to get further away from the subject, and if this works then the 17-70 may get sold, as I much prefer the Canon 24-105 for every day use and convenience. I use it as a walk around lens and for photographing people, and have never needed a shorter focal length for what I do. It can show some CA and distortion, but nothing that's not simple to remove later.
The 70-200 f4 IS is lightweight and the IS on both lenses works down to ridiculously slow shutter speeds where the problem becomes one of the subject moving and not the lens. The autofocus on both lenses is also quiet and fast. Another planet compared to the Sigma. And I think the 70-200 with close up lens may well be several degrees sharper than the Sigma anyway. I'll know next week.
Just some final notes:
 I sometimes really wish I had the 2.8 versions of these two lenses (meaning the 24-70 and 70-200), especially when photographing birds in low light. However when I'm outdoors, I like to have the camera in my hand (for 3 or 4 hours or more), and the weight of the f2.8 versions would most likely be too much. I can't stand neck straps and the like, and so the gear I have now suits me much more often than not. Secondly, if I need to get a wider field of view I will almost always stitch anyway, to increase the detail in the final image.
Thirdly, I also sometimes wish the autofocus with the 40D and 70-200 was faster. But let me also put this into context. I was out the other evening with a friend who was using my old 350D and a Canon 70-300 lens. When some geese appeared she was still trying to focus while I had fired off 15 shots. I think maybe 2 weren't sharp. (6 were of wings and geese bums, but that's not the camera's fault)
Hope this ramble is some use to you. Cheers, David
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k bennett
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2008, 09:16:48 AM »
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The 17-55 IS lens gets good reviews -- much better than the 17-55 non-IS kit lens, anyway.

Lens choice really depends on your shooting style, subject, etc. For a walk-around lens, I use an old 17-35/2.8 L and stick an 85/1.8 in my bag or pocket. But my 40-D mostly lives on my 300 for work, where it gives me the equivalent field of view of a 500mm lens, but with a 2.8 max aperture. And sharp as a tack. Recently I've picked up an 85/1.2, and the 40-D seems to work well with that lens, too.

For general purpose shooting, I'd probably pick up the 17-85 IS. One bad review on-line isn't a deal breaker for me, as this lens has received good reviews elsewhere. (And my expectations aren't sky-high anyway.)
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 10:05:44 AM »
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Important consideration

The high-precision focusing (available only on the center point) requires a lens with aperture f/2.8 or larger.

Thus the 24-105 is not an ideal lens for the 40D. The 70-200mm f/4 IS is said to be one of sharpest lenses Canon made; that too can not be used to the full potential on the 40D.
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Gabor
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2008, 11:25:53 AM »
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Important consideration

The high-precision focusing (available only on the center point) requires a lens with aperture f/2.8 or larger.

Thus the 24-105 is not an ideal lens for the 40D. The 70-200mm f/4 IS is said to be one of sharpest lenses Canon made; that too can not be used to the full potential on the 40D.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=204179\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This is very interesting.

But I guess the Sigma, as a non-Canon lens, wouldn't make the cut, or would it?
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The View
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2008, 11:33:02 AM »
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You don't mention what you want to do with your system. It's a lot of money to spend, and there's no one combination that will do everything. I bought the 40D to replace the 350D. I wanted the dust removal (works well) and more pixels. I could have got those If I'd waited for the new 450D, but I find I now rely on the custom function dial (this is really good) and the higher frame rate. I loathe the stupid on/off button and not having a mirror lock up button (though this is set up quickly in the custom menu). Everything else I like: ease of use, separate focus button if I want, the solid feel to it etc. And I just leave it switched on now most of the day, and have it power down after 2 minutes. It starts up instantly when you press any button, and I've never managed to get anywhere near flattening the battery.
I kept the Sigma 17-70 for close up work where I'd use a bean bag or tripod and so if it had IS I'd have switched that off anyway, so it doesn't matter to me that it doesn't have it. This is a nice sharp little lens, however I'm experimenting with a close up lens and extension tubes on the 70-200, in order to get further away from the subject, and if this works then the 17-70 may get sold, as I much prefer the Canon 24-105 for every day use and convenience. I use it as a walk around lens and for photographing people, and have never needed a shorter focal length for what I do. It can show some CA and distortion, but nothing that's not simple to remove later.
The 70-200 f4 IS is lightweight and the IS on both lenses works down to ridiculously slow shutter speeds where the problem becomes one of the subject moving and not the lens. The autofocus on both lenses is also quiet and fast. Another planet compared to the Sigma. And I think the 70-200 with close up lens may well be several degrees sharper than the Sigma anyway. I'll know next week.
Just some final notes:
 I sometimes really wish I had the 2.8 versions of these two lenses (meaning the 24-70 and 70-200), especially when photographing birds in low light. However when I'm outdoors, I like to have the camera in my hand (for 3 or 4 hours or more), and the weight of the f2.8 versions would most likely be too much. I can't stand neck straps and the like, and so the gear I have now suits me much more often than not. Secondly, if I need to get a wider field of view I will almost always stitch anyway, to increase the detail in the final image.
Thirdly, I also sometimes wish the autofocus with the 40D and 70-200 was faster. But let me also put this into context. I was out the other evening with a friend who was using my old 350D and a Canon 70-300 lens. When some geese appeared she was still trying to focus while I had fired off 15 shots. I think maybe 2 weren't sharp. (6 were of wings and geese bums, but that's not the camera's fault)
Hope this ramble is some use to you. Cheers, David
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=204130\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I had similar experiences with the 40D. I went to Fry's, just to have the camera sit in my hand for a long time, with lens, and without (their show models are so banged up you wouldn't believe it. Nothing was working any more, you couldn't even look through the viewfinder, it was just black).

And on two more occasions I could handle this camera, and it feels great, and I love the wide array of hard buttons. I guess I'll get used to leaving nose imprints on the LCD.

I guess building up a lens collection for a new system has to start with a few compromises. One cannot just buy everything at once.

Panopeeper's comment about the high precision focusing is very interesting.

I might start out with the Sigma and a 50/1.4 or the 18-55, well reviewed kit lens with IS and the 50/1.4.

I was actually planning on going full frame soon, but with this camera that's not really necessary.

But: full frame is the future, and one can safely buy super expensive glass, as one will stay with it for years to come.
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2008, 11:34:43 AM »
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But I guess the Sigma, as a non-Canon lens, wouldn't make the cut, or would it?
It depends *alone* on the maximum aperture (of course assumed, that the lens is autofocusing properly). It does not affect the way the focusing adjustment is carried out, it affects the way the not-in-focus situation is measured.
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Gabor
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2008, 11:36:31 AM »
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The 17-55 IS lens gets good reviews -- much better than the 17-55 non-IS kit lens, anyway.

Lens choice really depends on your shooting style, subject, etc. For a walk-around lens, I use an old 17-35/2.8 L and stick an 85/1.8 in my bag or pocket. But my 40-D mostly lives on my 300 for work, where it gives me the equivalent field of view of a 500mm lens, but with a 2.8 max aperture. And sharp as a tack. Recently I've picked up an 85/1.2, and the 40-D seems to work well with that lens, too.

For general purpose shooting, I'd probably pick up the 17-85 IS. One bad review on-line isn't a deal breaker for me, as this lens has received good reviews elsewhere. (And my expectations aren't sky-high anyway.)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=204169\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess you mean the 18-55/3,5-4,5.

The 17-85: I never heard anything good about it. It seems to me the big, bad, black hole of the Canon lens line-up. The barrel distortion at 17mm is the strongest photozone has ever measured with any lens. Nikon has an advantage here with its 16-85, which got a rave review by photozone.

But, on the other hand: photozone does a lot of test chart shooting. What really matters about a lens is color and how much contrast it can produce.
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The View
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2008, 11:46:53 AM »
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By the way: is it true, that smaller lenses (e.g. specifically made for the cropped sensor) are sharper than larger lenses (for full frame, or medium format)? I read this comment several times over the past week.
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k bennett
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2008, 02:21:03 PM »
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You're right, it is the 18-55 IS lens to which I referred in my last post. The f/3.5-4.5 IS version. Sorry about that, minor technical difficulties with my brain this morning. Lack of coffee, most likely.

There's a review of the 20d and the 17-85 IS lens on this web site, in which the lens seems to fare well:

http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/came...-location.shtml

Though of course Michael doesn't do highly technical reviews and shoot test charts and all that. (Not saying one approach is better that the other -- I like to look at both before buying something.)

If I had to invent the ideal carry-around lens for the 40-D, it would be a 15-60mm f/4 IS L lens -- the functional equivalent of the 24-105, but made for the APS-C sensor. I can dream, right?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2008, 02:27:13 PM »
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The 17-85 is a good lens.  You will be correcting it at the wide end.  Lots of CA.  Lots of distortion.  It all cleans up by about 24mm.  At 85mm it is extremely sharp.  Contrast is a bit iffy with it but thats what the clarity slider is for.  So if you live at 17mm you'll want something else.  I might be more charitable with this lens because I screwed Dell so badly when I bought it.  (Gotta be fast.)

The 18-55IS is decent.  For a kit lens it is a very good.  I just purchased one because of my spine.  I've been very pleased.

The Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is one of the best lenses I've ever owned.  It compares quite well with the Canon 17-55IS.

The canon is a great lens.  I've only played with one.  It is heavy.  It was also very sharp.  If I was 100% sure of canon's plans for the x0D line of cameras I'd have bought one.

If I had to pick one lens to get it would be the 17-55IS.  If I didn't have the cash it would be the Tamron 17-50 f2.8.

I tend to be an f8 and be there kind of guy so most of my  shooting is in the sweet spot of the lens.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2008, 02:29:37 PM »
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If I had to invent the ideal carry-around lens for the 40-D, it would be a 15-60mm f/4 IS L lens -- the functional equivalent of the 24-105, but made for the APS-C sensor. I can dream, right?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=204219\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think every manufacturer other than canon has a 24-70 or 24-120 equivalent for their crop cameras.  Some of these lenses (oly 12-60) are extremely nice.  Would be really cool if canon would join this group.
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stever
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2008, 06:04:17 PM »
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i've tried using the 24-105 as a walk-around lens, but it's just not wide enough on a crop-frame camera (perfect on the 5D)

the 17-55 is essentially the same size and weight as the 24-105

in practice, i don't find the 17-85IS as bad as some of the reports, and the focal length range is really useful

you're going to find plenty of distortion in all zooms in this range, so it's really a matter of choosing the compromises you can best live with
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David Sutton
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2008, 06:08:50 PM »
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The high-precision focusing (available only on the center point) requires a lens with aperture f/2.8 or larger.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=204179\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
True. But another consideration is that often I am not using the centre af point for focussing. The other eight af points work as cross-type points with lenses brighter than f5.6. For distances under maybe 20 ft or with the lens wide open I don't trust focussing  with the center af point and then reframing to produce sharp images.
You haven't mentioned what you want to do. Elsewhere you mentioned cityscapes. If you want to photograph people I'd get a rangefinder camera. If you need to be inconspicuous and are shooting in reasonable light, then if you have a lens of a similar size to the 24-105 you can carry it all day on a wrist strap almost out of sight by your side and quickly bring it up to eye level to shoot. If you tried that with a big lens you could side-swipe someone and send them to the next world :-) . If you will be shooting in low light you'll really want an f2.8 with IS if not using a tripod. If you are photographing buildings the frame rate on the 40D is fast enough to hand hold, exposure bracket, and split the scene into 4 and stitch.
David
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The View
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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2008, 08:39:22 PM »
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Thanks for everybody weighing in. You know probably how that is when you are going to get new equipment: you constantly think of it until you're done.

I'm ordering on tomorrow or on Monday, but the current state of affair is:

I'll very likely get the 18-55/3,5-4,5 lens as a walk-around and travel lens, and then the 1,4/50, which I am very much looking forward to. (at 1,6 crop factor that's exactly 80mm in 35/full frame: ideal! Of course it is non-IS, but I don't consider this such a problem for portrait/portrait in motion)

The Canon will be good for my desert trips, because if dust gets inside, it's not the inside of a 1000$ lens.

In autumn I expect to get really, really busy, and then  I can take a look at more pricey lenses.


What I really think is good: with this line-up I can get up to speed with the new camera, and when September comes, I'll know it inside out. This is why I decided to upgrade earlier: I don't want to get into new equipment in a busy time.

DarkPenguin, the Tamron is very, very tempting. The review at photozone is nothing short of a rave. But I repeatedly read about its poor focusing ability in low light (reviews on the b&h site), and that it's easy to get a bad copy. And it has no IS.

Regarding my wishes, I'd be happy with a 17-70/f4 L with IS for the cropped format. With a magnesium alloy body (no plasticky, dust inhaling stuff) and dust and humidity seals and great optics. I'd prefer f4 to f2,8 for size and weight. But dust seals are a must. I'm in California, and there is dust, dust, dust everywhere... this is why I ruled the 17-55/2.8 out (and its weight was another minus).
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 08:40:04 PM by The View » Logged

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