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Old Nov 23, 2006, 6:09 AM   #1
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Yesterday I bought the Canon Rebel XTi with the kit lens just to get started and to familiarize myself with the camera before diving into lens choices.

My digital experience is limited to a Canon Powershot A80, which I found to be serviceable, but I wanted more. My previous SLR experience was with a Minolta Maxxum. I had quite a few lenses, including Tamron, Vivitar, and Sigma zooms up to 300mm.

These days I take mostly landscapes, architectural shots [such as gargoyles on rooftops from the street], and scenery and I do quite a lot of work in Photoshop on the best shots.

I'm looking for a decent to good quality "all-purpose" lens for this type of use [if there is such a thing]. My budget allows around $500 maximum.

I'm considering either the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM or the Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM.

From what I have read the build on the 135 is a bit better, but I want to be sure I don't need more than 135 mm.

Suggestions? Are there other lenses to consider in this price category?

dg
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 6:44 AM   #2
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Hi DG,

I would not suggest either of those lenses as the are nowhere near wide enough for landscapes as they will become the equivalent of 44.6mm lenses at the wide end. I would suggest that you really need 2 lenses to get good quality with my wide choice being the Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 and one of the Sigma/Tamron 70-300 lenses. However this is goingto push you over the top a little but worth it if you can find the cash. However you could get away with the Canon 18-55 kit lens and then one of the Tele Zooms above. I'm not keen on things like the 18-125 or 18-200 Sigma lenses as there is a lot of distortion at the wide end but they might be OK for what you want and you will not need to carry another lens.

Hope this helps.

Mark
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 6:52 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mark. I'll look into the lenses you suggest.

I was shying away from anything form Canon because I was led to believe that such things as the Canon ISM features were worthwile, as well as that the build of the Canons was better than the Sgmas or Tamrons in general. Is this not true?

dg
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 6:58 AM   #4
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Canon L glass is great but costs loads!! At the lower end Sigma and Tamron are very similar and sometimes better in build.

Have a look at http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.htmlwhich has some great lens reviews.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 7:00 AM   #5
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Will do--thanks.
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 6:20 AM   #6
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Mark1616:

OK--I've read a lot of reviews and considering that you were recommending something in the 17mm-70mm range, what about this one?

Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II
What worries me are the barrel distortion effects. Photozone says:

"All-in-all no lens that you'd like to use for architecture photography."

I guess I need to educate myself more in terms of what my needs are. When I was shooting film [many years ago] I shot sports events where I often needed a long [>200 mm] lens. The attached image is fairly typical of what I shoot these days [it was shot with my Canon [P&S] Powershot A80].

Does the attached image provide any clue as to what I'm looking for?

Any advice is appreciated.

dg

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Old Nov 24, 2006, 12:26 PM   #7
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The 18-200 is a compromise because of length, however it is wide enough to get the short of shot you are talking about. The problem will be that the distortion will mess up the straight lines making them curved which will not look great. This can be corrected in Photoshop/Paintshop Pro but still looks a little strange.

Distortion is less with the 17-70 as you can see from the reviews which is why I chose it over anything other (both when I was a Konica Minolta user and now when I just switched to Canon).

Best thing to do is go to a local camera shop and try out the 18-200 and see what you think.

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Old Nov 24, 2006, 12:34 PM   #8
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Thanks Mark. I'll check out both ranges.

dg
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 6:17 AM   #9
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Actually if you compromise a little, the Sigma 18-125mm performs better than either of the above...

You don't quite get to 200mm and it won't be as fast at the wide, but this lens is sharper than either the 17-70 or 18-200 and also control distortion better. It also has a wider focal range than the 28-135mm you initially picked
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 10:49 AM   #10
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The 18-125mm is a good choice but not sure you can say "this lens is sharper than either the 17-70 or 18-200 and also control distortion better." as there are times when it is and times when it isn't.

Taking distortion for example then this table gives the basics:


Edit - Just noticed that the table I created has been reformatted so just follow down each section with the top bit being the focal length, then data for the 17-70 and then for the 18-125.

Focal Length
Sigma 17-70 DC
Sigma 18-125 DC

Distortion
TV Distortion
Wide (17mm and 18mm respectively)
2.56%
2.45%


k1

0.0442
0.0419


TV Distortion
Middle (40mm and 35mm respectively)
0.55%
1.60%


k1

-0.00844
-0.0239


TV Distortion
70mm
0.61%
1.80%


k1

-0.00931
-0.0267

As can be seen at the wide end the distortion is slightly less (however as it is so minute this could be because the 18mm is 1mm wider). At the other lengths the 17-70 performs far better.

Looking at the resolution tables then yes the 18-125 is sharper wide, but moving towards the long end then again the 17-70 is sharper so it will depend what you are looking for in a lens. Also the 17-70 is a brighter lens throughout the range which will allow better work in low light and also more control over the depth of field.

All data is taken from the 'other' website which I gave the link for earlier.

In conclusion it will be a trade off, longer range with better quality at the wide end (although the wide is not quite as wide) or overall better resolution, brighter, wider but not as much range to choose from. I had to make the same decision and went for the 17-70 as I wanted the brighter lens as well as extra sharpness and the area which I would use it most of the time. If you are going to have a couple of lenses in the bag then go for the 17-70 if not then the 18-125 will be the better all-rounder.

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