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Question: Main lens for 20D
EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM - 54 (56.3%)
EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM - 42 (43.8%)
Total Voters: 0

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Author Topic: Main lens for 20D  (Read 9780 times)
cgordon
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« on: January 18, 2005, 03:13:48 PM »
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But here's the question - I will print 99% of my shots at A4 size or below, so is it worth sacrificing the flexibility of the 17-85 for the added optical quality of the 24-70? I will be printing on an Epson R800.
only you can answer this question. you know that the 24-70mm is optically far superior to the 18-85. you know the 18-85mm is far more versatile.

since you're printing at A4 and smaller, it seems a bit odd to me to spend so much money on the 24-70mm (and later the 10-22mm), which costs more than your 20D, let alone more than double the 18-85mm; lacks IS; and doesn't have as much range. and the 18-85mm seems to be quite a nice lens.

have you ever shot with the 24-70mm? it's big. it's heavy. it also is an extremely high quality lens, with the price to go with it. if you were printing larger than A4, you may notice a big difference. so depending on your goals and aspirations for your photography, only you can decide which is the right choice for you.
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Ken R
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2005, 05:51:12 PM »
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Hi, I have the 10d and the 1D mk2. I love the 24-70 on the 1D mark2 but on the 10d i didnt use it as much. Didnt "feel" right or as versatile because of the crop factor, i used the 17-40 a LOT more on the 10d. But optically the 24-70 is better. Not by much but its better (the 17-40 is quite good).
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2005, 06:36:27 AM »
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My requirements for a "walkaround" or main lens unfortunately preclude a number of good lenses.

28-anything simply isn't wide enough for the kind of photos I take, I would be swapping lenses too much.

24-anything is just about acceptable at the wide end, but I would want to match it with the 10-22 for occasional use.

17-35 or 17-40 don't give enough at the telephoto end, I would be swapping lenses too much.

So with the excellent high-ISO performance of the 20D plus the IS,  I don't think I'll find the the EF-S 17-85 too slow. Also I find that I have quite a steady hand and can often hand-hold a 50mm lens down to 1/8s without noticable camera shake.

I've read mixed reviews of the lens too, but the ones I respect (like Michael Reichmann) say that it's a very good lens and matches the 20D very well.

Canon themselves in their marketing speak rank the lens as "semi-pro" or enthusiast, above their "consumer" line of lenses, and that seems to match what I have read too and the images I have seen.

Image quality would be below par on a 1D body (obviously it doesn't fit), or with large prints, but with sub A4 prints and a willingness to use Photoshop where necessary I believe it will be a fine choice.

As a matter of interest, I will be matching it with the EF 70-300 DO IS lens, also rated as "almost" L quality, but small and light.

The two lenses will give an effective coverage of 17-300mm (x1.6 = 27-480mm!)

I'll shoot on those two for a few months and see whether I really want the 10-22mm. The advantage of getting it, apart from the extra ultra-wide focal length is that the 17-85mm is generally criticised at the 17-24mm range, which is where the 10-22 is strongest. So I will start with the 2 lenses, but might supplement it with a third lens in due course.

Perhaps my next camera will be a 1D MkIII or MkIV and I'll get the 24-70L to go with it. But that's a few years in the distance.

Thanks for all your responses.
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2005, 05:04:47 PM »
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Thanks,

I did in fact go for the 17-85 & 70-300 DO.

Very happy with them both so far. Actually I'm glad I got the extra width at the wide end, the 24-70 wouldn't have been enough I would have needed the 10-22 for sure. I still may get it of course, but I can wait for the bank balance to recover a bit first.

Some shots if you're interested:

http://vanderwooks.blogspot.com
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soboyle
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2005, 09:44:51 AM »
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I tested a 16-35 vs the 17-40 and the 16-35 went back, it was softer than the 17-40, especially at the edges at all but f/4, where it had a slight advantage over the 17.This was on a 1.6 crop body, I imagine the edge softness would be far worse on a full frame body.  But for the money i returned it and bought 3 other lenses in its place, the 10-22, 85 1.8, 50 1.4.  The 16-35 is way overpriced in my view vs the quality.
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Metaphor
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2005, 01:37:26 PM »
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I tend to agree with most of what you say in light of that everyone has their creative needs and budgets constraints, relative to performance compromises they're willing accept. The main weighted issue with this individual, and  Stef T, is their looking for only one lens to start with. Before recommending a one "do it all" lens that will cover the widest use spectrum, one has to decide how soon will they purchase their second lens, what it might be and budget allocation. If it's 6 months to a year before they purchase the second lens, then a wider range, like the 17-85 might serve them better. But if it's within 6 months, personally, I'd bite the bullet and go for the 16-35. I find it a great walkaround lens on a 1.6x sensor also... even if I had a 24-70 I think the 16-35 would be mounted 70 percent of the time... I like it that much.

I initially wanted 3 lenses; the 10-22, 24-70L2.8 and the 70-200L 2.8 IS, but it went a bit beyond my budget as I wanted the IS on the 70-200. After a while I also realized that from a practical stand point (for me) 70 on the 24-70 is somewhat an overlap at 70 on the 70-200. Sure, it's nice to have, but considering budget constraints it's a luxury that considering my creative needs and applications isn't one that yields much practicality relative to where I alocate my dollars.

On the wide end, the 10-22 is a pretty cool and creative lens but from the samples I've seen tends to (as most extreme WAs) distort and soft on the wide side, and not enough tele at 22. Additionally, it won't support the D1 series when I upgrade and keep my 20D as a backup.

As for the 16-35 being soft comparing to the 17-40, I don't know, I've read mixed reviews cmparing these 2 lenses, including on this site. On the wide side the 17-40 was consistently softer in all the reviews I've read. I also prefer the 2.8 as I prefer to shoot with available light.

Regarding L and non-L quality issues, I've read tons of reviews on this site and others and understand that in many cases cost does not always constitute quality results within any one given set of, or individual, parameters or values. But if you read between the lines, in most reviews, the overall evaluation of a piece of glass does tend to conincide (most of the time) with it's cost. Doesn't mean twice the cost equals twice the performance, but my findings are that in overall performance there seems to be at least a slight edge to more expensive glass. The other factor not typically addressed in glass evalutations is; how does a middle grade line of lens' performance hold up 3 or 6 years down the road, relative to an L series? I shoot outdoors often (sometimes on boats) so the durability and environmental casing of a lens is part of my equation. But there are internal optical differences also.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather start off with 2 (or even one) quality lenses (weighted on overall performance) as opposed to 3 or 4 of a mediocre or middle of the line. If I'm to chimp out on equipment, I'd spend less on the sensor (cam), as digicams are, to some degree, a throw-away item...we'll be upgrading that part of our equipment every few years. I consider the glass to be the long term investment and therefore would toss most of my bucks in that bucket. I've even considered Sigma and other 3rd party MFRs, some seem to perform very well in one specific area but fall far short in most others...I don't see that as money well spent at any cost, not to mention the durability and long term performance aspects.

Taking a step forward at 35 may not be adequate all the time, but I find that at 35 it seems to fill the majority of my needs. I was actually quite surprised how well it does fill the frame at 35. Of course, partially due to the 1.6x factor.

Obviously, that's just my opinion for my needs and objectives. Eventually, I'll probably fill the gap between the 35 and 70 with a prime which I think will compliment my needs and applications well.

Consequently, I'm very happy with the 16-35/2.8L and the 70-200/2.8L IS... they both perfomr flawlessy on the 20D with great results, and at this point I don't miss the 35 to 70 gap, as I thought I would.

One other issue, or preference, that I tend to disagree with most, is the complaint of big and heavy glass. My preference is for more mass or weight. Sound strange? Maybe, but consider this. I've spent most of my career as a video pro and in broadcast level production a light unit is undesireable (in certain instances we actually placed small sandbags on the cams, even when shoulder mounted) The obvious reason is stability and dampening of nay hand or body tremors. The more mass the more steady your shot will be. A larger lens will also have more contact with your hand to steady it. Maybe I'm the odball, but I find large, heavy lenses to be an asset, and a welcome characteristic as my hands are a bit larger that most.

- R
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2005, 02:44:47 PM »
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metaphor

It sounds like you made the right decision for you, and how could anyone say that buying the 16-35 was a bad choice.

These choices are not just predicated on image quality because build quality, full v reduced frame, etc are all valid and sensible considerations - but clearly peoples' requirements differ. Frankly if you gave me a 16-35 L for free it would never see any use because I prefer the convenience of the extra zoom range of the 17-85, and the quality difference is negligible for most purposes on the 20D.

There is a perception amongst some people, that if it's not L then it's not going to be sharp and the image quality will be substandard compared to ANY L: and that view is just plain flatout wrong as the MTF comparison shows.

The engineers gain a great deal from only having to cover the smaller area. This is very clear if you look at the MTF charts for the 17-85 and the new EF-S 60mm Macro. If you think I'm nuts for saying this then consider Mike Johnston's recent article.

Canon are covering their bases with 3 different sensor sizes at the moment, but I expect that to reduce to 2 fairly soon - simple economics. The 1.3 crop sensor is going to go, and either they will put an APS-C sensor in a 1D body or they'll make the full-frame electronics fast enough to capture 8fps. My guess is the former.

Anyone care to put their house on being able to tell the difference in image quality between a shot from the 1D v the 20D with a lens of comparable quality covering the same field of view?
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Metaphor
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2005, 07:03:39 PM »
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Well, as I said before, the 17-85 might be an excellent choice if that will be your only glass for 6 months or more. And if 2 or more lenses gave me much anxiety over missing a shot while changing lenses, and discomfort of toting 2 or more lenses, then quite frankly I would also pack a high end point-and-shoot...as is what I have in my back pack as a backup back-up also (Nikon 5700/35-280)... which incidently produces some excellent results considering what it is... and it's $700, the price of an average decent lens. The other option is purchasing a back-up DSLR like the new 350 or Rebel and have both lenses mounted, but then again, we have the budget factor. When my budget allows, the 20D will be my back-up and a D1-whatever at the time, will be my main, and consequently will have 2 lenses mounted, and ready to go, concurrently.

The nature of the beast (SLRs) is that lenses, especially primes, inherently have the inconvenience factor and reality that, to varying degrees, will require swapping lenses as subject matter coupled with creativity dictate. Maybe in the future we'll have a DSLR with one fixed, wide range focal length quality zoom lens, so we'll have all our basis covered without the convenience of toting multiple lenses or having to dismount and mount as the urgent subject matter calls for. But that's not the case at the moment.

As you know, there is no one ideal choice of glass with SLRs as current technology doesn't afford us that, at the moment. In light of that, I find that most people purchasing their first SLR suffer from much anxiety (as I did) with regard to covering all the possible types of subjects and applications one might encounter (and that's not taking into account the varying performance qualities and MFRs)

And, again, for my personal needs, and current budget, I chose the 16-35 and 70-200. I felt this choice gave me a greater variety, or spectrum, of creativity. If I had chosen the 24-70 I would have lost some at the wide end, but also feel the tele end of this lens was to close (in my opinion somewhat overlapping) to the 70-200. And, I was absolutely sure I wanted the 70-200/f2.8L IS as all the reviews I've read on it were excellent... not to mention it's an ideal focal range for my applications. The 17-85 (and the 17-40), based on review I've read, did not perform as well as the 16-35, in real-world application, on the wide end, and overall as well as the 24-70... not to mention their not 2.8 and the EF-S doesn't support the pro line D's. Cumilatively, that's too many negative aspects for me.

So, I'm being somewhat redundant here, but do feel that when financially restricted to one lens, the main question and deciding factor for me would be "how long of a time period will it be my only lens?"

As for the sharpness (or softness) with the 16-35... I don't know, mine seems very sharp... maybe I got a good one?

- R
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tengerud
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2005, 08:39:13 AM »
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I have one qustion that I've been wondering about for some time.
Is the EF-S 17-85 mm IS USM also conidered in the 1.6 crop factor? If it is it would have just the same range as a 28-135 mm IS USM on a full-frame camera, right? I'm also buying a new lens for the camera, and consider one of them, they fit my range very good. Thanks for the tips previously in the thread, it helped alot.
Hope you can help me choosing between EF-S 17-85 mm IS USM and the 28-135 mm IS USM.
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2005, 08:03:55 AM »
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I have one qustion that I've been wondering about for some time.
Is the EF-S 17-85 mm IS USM also conidered in the 1.6 crop factor? If it is it would have just the same range as a 28-135 mm IS USM on a full-frame camera, right? I'm also buying a new lens for the camera, and consider one of them, they fit my range very good. Thanks for the tips previously in the thread, it helped alot.
Hope you can help me choosing between EF-S 17-85 mm IS USM and the 28-135 mm IS USM.
Yes, you need to mulitply both focal lengths by 1.6.

The 17-85 is precisely designed to cover the same useful angle-of-view as the 28-135 on a full-frame 35mm camera.
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propaganda32
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2005, 04:13:16 PM »
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Hi, Why not get the new Tamron 17-35 Di, as reviewed on this site, just do a search for "killer lens"..(Mike Johnson).... I did and its superb!!! and its an absolute steal1
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2005, 02:53:01 PM »
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Upgrading my EF-S 18-55mm kit lens for my 20D - but to what?

I have determined that I can get away with 24-70mm as the essential focal length.  Though if I buy the 24-70 I will probably get the 10-22 sooner rather than later, and if I get the 17-85 I may decide to live without the 10-22.

But here's the question - I will print 99% of my shots at A4 size or below, so is it worth sacrificing the flexibility of the 17-85 for the added optical quality of the 24-70? I will be printing on an Epson R800.

Your opinions gratefully received.
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littje
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2005, 03:40:19 PM »
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I was also quite concerned about all the reports of quality issues with the EF-S 17-85 lens.  I mostly considered the EF 17-40 F4 L as an alternative.  In the end, I chose to get the EF-S 17-85mm IS USM lens because it is so versatile, and cheaper than most of the L series lenses people recommend as alternates.

I will admit firstly that this lens is by no means perfect, it shows some noticeable vignetting at 17mm, even with no UV filter or anything else attached.  It has significant barrel distortion at 17mm as well.  Also, I have seen test shots showing some chromatic abberation, although I have not gone specifically looking for that on mine yet.

Hovewer, I love the lens anyway.  It is very convenient, and considering the low noise of th 20D, and the IS features, I have shot hand held, by fire-light only and been very happy with the outcome.  For me the deciding factor is that I can fix most of the worst issues with a bit of time in Photoshop.  I don't print very many of my photos, and I can afford to put in the effort to fix them in Photoshop before I try to print anything bigger than 8x10.  Keep in mind that with Adobe photoraw processor you can significantly reduce the chromatic abberation, and eliminate the vignetting.  And with the PT Lens plugin I can remove the barrel distortion.  

I would recommend the 17-85 if you are willing to live with editing images before you try to print in very large formats.  The $500 extra to get it in a kit is a good price, the performance is better than I expected, at least reading some of the more negative comments, and you can fix any serious issues in Photoshop, if you are patient.
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karelg
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2005, 07:15:19 AM »
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The Tamron 28-75/2.8 XrDi!

Reasons Pro:
- zoom for flexibility
- fast for low light situations and better focussing
- Affordable
- Excellent reputation, apart from the build quality -which is good enough for me- reported consistently to be on par with the 3,5 times as expensive 24-70/2.8
I am very happy with this choice!

I would basically love something a bit wider, but then again I feel that my best images have been made with the longer lengths, although I quite often use(d) a 20-35 mm on full frame film as only lens when hiking.

Alternatives considered:
Canon 17-85 IS "kit plus": reduced frame only (I am still not happy with this idea, would like the 10-22 though...) and a VERY mixed reputation, slow and expensive. IS would be nice though...
Canon 17-40: I already have the 20-35/3.5-4.5 and I feel I would gain too little.
Tamron 17-35/2.8-4: Same idea as Canon 17-40.
Sigma 18-50/2.8 EX: at "my time of decision" too new - too few reports (but all good!) and reduced frame.
(Canon 24-70/2.8 and 16-35/2.8: price, weight and size are VERY prohibitive...)
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duranash
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2005, 01:24:00 PM »
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At the risk of sounding totally outlandish - you could buy the 17-85 IS AND a Tokina 28-80 ATX Pro for a bit less than the Canon 24-70.  The 17-85 would give you a nice, light "walkabout" lens, and the ATX Pro, I would suspect,  would give you nice enough results to print to at least Super B.  My 28-70 ATX Pro allows for nice Super B prints when I shoot with my film system anyway.
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Metaphor
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2005, 06:34:14 PM »
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Here's my response to Stef T, who has similar anxieties:

As you, I angquished over which first lens(es) to purchase initially with my recently acquired 20D system and came to the following, and happy, conclusion. While I purchased 2 lenses, if I had to pick one to start with, it would be the 16-35F2.8L (my other initial lens is the 70-200F2.8L IS) Here's why I think the 16-35 is your best bet as a single starter. First, it will cover your wide angle needs at 16 and perform as a good standard at 35... I find it's range frames quite well (consider the 1.6x factor). It's a bit on the pricy side but it's a quality lens that will out-live your 20D and compliment the 1Ds series when you upgrade. My experience is that it performs superbly with the 20D. I initially thought about the 24-70L to meet up with the 70-200L, but then realized I'd miss the wide angle, not too mention I wouldn't have a wider diversity on the 70 end with my 70-200L. I've also found that I really don't miss (considering my budget at this time) the 35 to 70 range... if I find the 35 doesn't frame tight enough, in most cases taking a few steps forward does the trick.

The 17-85 most are recommending I feel is a bad option for several reasons: 1. it's not the last or only lens you will purchase, yet the scope of the 17-85 will most likely overlap other lenses you will purchase in the future. 2. it's a slow lens, this may not seem to be an issue prior to your purchase but it will be something you regret if you like capturing subjects in low ambient light. 3. If your second lens is an L, you'll find yourself reluctant to mount the 17-85 due to inherent quality issues. 4. With the 17-85 you're over-compensating for having one lens initially...trying to have an all in one lens that performs average at all ranges but not great at any specific one. This will make your investment in the 17-85 obselete as you acquire other quality (L?) glass.

I did quite a bit of research and analysis, and even after feeling 90% confident of the choice of glass when I ordered, I still felt a bit of anxiety (as I didn' thave the opportunity to test the lenses at a dealer prior to purchasing) Now that I've received my 16-35F2.8 L and the 70-200F2.8L IS, and have used them on my 20D, I'm 100% pleased with my choice, both in the quality and the range of the lenses.

Hope this helps!
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2005, 03:11:20 AM »
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I would hope the 16-35 is a little better optically than the 17-85, after all it's more than twice the price.

When I upgrade the 20D it will almost certainly be to the 20D replacement, I have no problems with spending money on the EF-S format. Look at where Nikon have gone with the APS-C sized sensor, I see a long future ahead for it. I personally wouldn't be surprised to a 1-series body on the reduced sensor size at some point in the not-too-distant future. 1D MkIII anyone? And if we do then my prediction is that they'll put the 17-85 optics in an upgraded casing and slap an L on it.

Reluctant to mount the 17-85 because of quality?Huh  If you say so but have you used the 17-85? Have you seen some of Michael's photos with it?

Certainly the range of the 17-85 means there are some compromises in quality, however have a look at the MTF test chart below - which is the L lens - A or B?



A is the 17-85 and B is the 17-40L, at the wide end both are f4 and 17mm. Obviously the comparison is less useful at the tele end. Please not I'm not claiming that the 17-85 is a better lens than the 17-40. Rather I am simply making the point that if a lens doesn't have an L designation it does not mean that it's not of good optical quality.

It would be nice if it were a couple of stops faster, but the IS really does work as advertised. Useless for moving subjects of course, but for static subjects it's great.  

I expect that I'll mostly be adding primes to my collection now; the 17-85 is good enough on the 20D for a walkaround lens, and it's convenient and light.

As for the argument that you can just step forward a couple of paces to turn 35mm into 85mm, well that's true, but you can't always do that, and it's a far better argument for going primes all the way in my book.

And that's what I'll be doing: the 17-85 + 70-300 DO is a great zoom combo. I will probably be adding the 10-22 in due course.

For situations where those are not up to the job I'll be switching to primes.
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Jim Larson
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« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2005, 11:37:57 AM »
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where did that MTF curve come from, if I may ask?

BTW: Comparing the 16-35/2.8 to the 17-85/EF-S is really not fair.

The 16-35/2.8L does not cost twice as much because it is a "L", it costs twice as much because of the F2.8 aperature.

Comparing the 17-85/EF-S to the comparable priced 17-40/4L is much more interesting.

Of course. . . for an IS lens. . I would go with the 28-135/IS. . . but my tastes are different than yours.
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2005, 02:10:21 PM »
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Quote
where did that MTF curve come from, if I may ask?

BTW: Comparing the 16-35/2.8 to the 17-85/EF-S is really not fair.

The 16-35/2.8L does not cost twice as much because it is a "L", it costs twice as much because of the F2.8 aperature.

Comparing the 17-85/EF-S to the comparable priced 17-40/4L is much more interesting.

Of course. . . for an IS lens. . I would go with the 28-135/IS. . . but my tastes are different than yours.
That comparison WAS the 17-85 v 17-40.

Naturally the 16-35 @ f2.8 would have a harder time.

I cropped the 17-40 to only include the first 15mm from centre because wider than that is not relevant for the 20D.

17-40 L MTF

http://www.canon.com.hk/En....d=10161

17-85 MTF

http://www.canon.com.hk/En....d=10515
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Leigh
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2005, 08:09:12 AM »
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The "bottom line" is that to get anything close to "Wide Angle", you need at least a "17", and the next question is do you want wide to medium tele in one lens, or a combo of two.

  With the two lens route there's lots of excellent choices such as the 17-40L or Tamron 17-35 2.8 DI with a 24-70 L, etc. With a single lens solution there's basically about two choices--- The Canon 17-85 S IS, or Sigma 18-125.

  Rather than toting "extra" lenses, constant lens changing / dust problems, and possible missed shots ( You're taking a wide-angle shot, and suddenly something "pops" into view that requires a bit more reach----and by the time you fumble about with a lens change---it's gone), I chose the 17-85 S.

 Perhaps I got a "good" one--- I don't have any notable vignetting even with a "standard" Skylight filter attached. I tested the lens extensively comparing it to my 28-135 IS (which I happen to have a "good" copy); other than some CA (easily removed with a Raw Converter), it stands-up quite well, and is reasonably sharp even with Parameter 2 Raw shots. If you can spare the time, I'd give this lens a try--- I got mine from Amazon, which allows a 30 day return policy, and free return shipping if your not satisfied.

  As a foot-note, I tried two 70-300 DO's---- The first was dreadful--not soft, but downright blurry; The second was merely soft ( my 17-85 performed better at the long end than the 70-300 DO did at it's short end----- Needless to say, they both went back to B&H, and I've given up on that lens---at least for now!

Leigh
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