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Old Dec 26, 2006, 8:54 PM   #1
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Sorry if this is repeating the same question. I've read through a lot of the posts, but feel like the abundance of information makes it harder to come to a simple decision.

I've had a Digital Rebel XT for about a year now. I've been using the 18-55 kit lens plus a Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6 APO.

Am looking for something that will be an upgrade over the kit lens with a bit more range. I have a 7-year old, so most of my pictures are family shots, a mix of outdoors (mostly daylight) and indoors (use 430 EX flash). I'd like to find a single lens that covers me for most of my shots with solid quality.

I'd like to keep the price in the $350-400 range, but could go to $500 if it made a compelling difference. I've seen a bunch of positive reviews for the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. The IS is attractive for the type of shots I take and it seems like the focal length of this lens makes it pretty useful.

Anyone out there with strong opinions (pro or con) on this lens? Any third party lenses that are its equal (or close to it)?

Thanks for your help and happy holidays!
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 9:07 PM   #2
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The Canon 17-85 has a lot going for it.

The 17mm is really nice for tight indoor shots, while the 85mm has enough reach for most portrait and outdoor group shots.

The IS is a nice feature and at $500 street the 17-85 could be considered an excellent deal.

The only minor flaw in the ointment is the lens has a maximum aperture of F4.

However, you said you'd be using a flash in low lit situations so you should be all set and the F4 won't be of much concerrn.

-- Terry
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 9:26 PM   #3
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"family shots, a mix of outdoors (mostly daylight) and indoors (use 430 EX flash)"

As terry said 17-85 is a great lens and the IS does work well for handheld shots at 1/10th of a second

If u look at some other buy and sell forums, these lens are going on for 350-400 used(may be 5-6months old) and i have even seen deals as low as 350 with hood and stuff.

So an Used 17-85(if a good copy ) could also save you some money

U can also buy the 50mm f1.8 (70 bucks) which is more lens for the money and pretty good for low light.


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Old Dec 26, 2006, 11:41 PM   #4
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I would sacrifice reach for quality. For the money, the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens is the lens to get. As far as IQ goes, it comes second only to the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS lens...but at about 1/3 the cost.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 1:26 PM   #5
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The Sigma 17-70mm might be worth looking into. I've read good things about it. I think it's about $400.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 4:41 PM   #6
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take your XT to a local photo store and make a few shots with each lens suggested above note the convenience, reach , focus spead, etc. I suggest you shoot the same shots for each lens. By that I mean use similar aperture, and similar focal length where possible so that you compare aples to aples. Then take a few shots of each lens using it's individual features .. like Tamron and Sigma's whide apperture , and Canon's IS.
Then analyse the shots you have taken at home and compare results.
The choice will be much simplier that way because you will be able to decide what is more important for you and how different the quality is of each lens in relation to what you are looking for.
That's what I have been doing so far ... I ask for oppinions which helps narrow down the choices and then I go and check and compare for myself. In many cases the choice becomes obvious, if the options are comparable you can go with the cheaper one .
my 2 cents
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Old Dec 30, 2006, 11:08 AM   #7
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I was looking at the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO which has f2.8 throughout the zoom but I'm not sure how cheap it is and it cannot be used on a full frame camera.
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 9:49 PM   #8
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I just wanted to post a quick follow-up to this post.
At long last, I was able to do a quick field test of a few of these lenses (Sigma 17-70 Tamron 17-50 and the Canon 17-85 IS).
Overall, I was happiest with the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 and bought it. The pix from the Tamron and the Sigma were pretty close, so I went with the longer reach. The Canon was OK, but not quite as sharp (at least to my untrained eye).
I've only shot a little with it so far, but have been impressed with the overall results. The next few weeks will tell for sure.

BTW - bought the lens at Adorama in NYC; the walk-in price was actually about $45 less than their website. I've bought from them in the past and they really are a great photo shop. Their customer service is better than B&H and there's no bait & switch or gray market merchandise.

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Old Feb 3, 2007, 4:15 PM   #9
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Congrats on the new lens. Happy shooting. :-)
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