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Old May 22, 2006, 11:24 AM   #1
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I've been itching to buy a zoom lens for my 20D. Right now I'm using the Canon 18mm-55mm lens that came with the camera. I feel the NEED for zoom!:-) I'm looking at the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS and the Sigma AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC. I like the Canon because of the Image Stabilizer and the 300mm but I'd like to carry only one lens. The Sigm'a nice and small but is it 100% compatible with the 20D? Also, it doesn't have the IS which I think I might need. I have a hard time keeping the camera still. I'm new to this camera stuff so I'm not sure which is better. Should I just deal with carrying 2 lens or do I... Help! :-(

Thanks!

Chris


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Old May 23, 2006, 9:57 AM   #2
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Chris,

A lot depends on your standards for image quality. Any mega-zoom lens on the market (like a 18-200) is going to have worse image quality than a zoom with a shorter range. That's just the nature of the beast. It is why SLRs are designed to allow you to change lenses. Typically a 'mega zoom' will perform poorly at either extreme - wide end and long end and will often perform poorly at max aperture. So, I'm not a big fan of these types of lenses. IMHO, you spent a lot of money on a very nice camera - why put a poor lens on it?

I've seen some good results from people using theCanon 70-300 and it's Sigma counterpart (not the 18-200). You mention steadiness issues so the IS of the Canon may be a huge bonus for you. But it does mean you'll have to switch lenses.

But, the question is: what exactly are you looking for besides more zoom? Are you looking for a telephoto lens for wildlife or sports? Or is the kit lens just too short for your walkaround lens?
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Old May 23, 2006, 5:11 PM   #3
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Yes, I'm looking for a walkaround lens that I can use on vacation. I thought it would be nice not to have to change lenes but if this is notthe way to go I'll just have to deal with carrying an extra lens. Sounds like I'm better off withthe Canon 70-300. Thanks John!
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Old May 23, 2006, 10:40 PM   #4
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You may want to consider the Canon 17-85 IS zoom lens for your vacation lens.With the 1.5x magnification factor of your 20D, it is the equivalent of a 26-135 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. The image stabilization can be handy in locations where you cannot use flash. You can sell you 18-55 on ebay.
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Old May 24, 2006, 8:21 AM   #5
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Funny you should mention the 17-85 :-) If I were to buy the 70-300 I was going to replace my 18-55 with the 17-85 :-) I find the 18-55 very soft and grainy :-( Thanks ropp!
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Old May 27, 2006, 8:48 AM   #6
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you might do well to hold off on the Canon 70/300 for a while. I have the older 75/300 IS/USM & really like it.



Canon USA Service Notice

Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens May Result in Insufficient Resolution

To Customers Who Use the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens:

Thank you very much for your patronage of our products. We have recently become aware of a phenomenon in which some images captured by the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM lens appear in insufficient resolution. This phenomenon may be seen at the edge of the frame at the 300mm setting when the camera is held vertically. We have been studying the symptoms of this phenomenon in order to determine its precise cause and to develop an appropriate remedy. We will inform you on this Web site as soon as this remedy has been decided, which, at this point should be by the end of June 2006.

http://www.photographyblog.com/index...ervice_notice/
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Old Jun 5, 2006, 11:04 PM   #7
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The 70-300 may be too narrow for a walk around lens. In addition to the 70-300 IS, I have the 17-85IS. The latter is not a stellar lens. It is inconsistent, sometimes is soft focusing, and sometimes the color is off. Nontheless, it has a useful focal length range for a walk around lens. Last year I bought a XT and the 17-85 and the 70-300 and went to Mexico. I had not used either of these lenses before my trip, so did not really know how to use them. I was very happy witht he 70-300, and felt so-so about the 17-85. I'm looking for something(s) to replace the 17-85.

I have posted some pictures. All portraits were taken with the 70-300. All other pictures were taken with the 17-85.

http://fenwick.smugmug.com/gallery/1427207


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Old Jun 6, 2006, 2:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
In addition to the 70-300 IS, I have the 17-85IS. The latter is not a stellar lens. It is inconsistent, sometimes is soft focusing, and sometimes the color is off.
Some nice pics there.

Looking at the EXIF data on those shots I would not expect them to be particularly sharp. Nothing particularly to do with the lens though - it may be a bad copy, but we can't tell at this point.

Your biggest problem is that you are shooting at f22 or even f25 for your outdoor scenes. The sensor on the XT starts to become diffraction limited at around f13, so the more you stop down the less sharp your pictures will become. If you're worried about depth-of-field then you should remember that the DOF on the smaller sensor is larger than you might be used to from 35mm film at any given f-stop. In general I would recommend that you not go over f14, preferably f11 for best results. Your DOF is usually sufficient at 17mm on a crop sensor for landscape work.

http://www.dofmaster.com

Your one indoor wide-angle shot was taken at a shutter speed of 1/30s, I presume handheld otherwise you would have stopped down somewhat from f4.5. Even with the IS you can't expect crystal sharp pictures - if you want really sharp landscape shots you need to use a tripod or have a high shutter speed.

You also don't say what level of sharpening you are using - are you shooting JPG? If so at what settings? Once again if you are looking for the best results you would be much better off shooting RAW and processing for the best results.

As for the colour - you can adjust it in camera to give any sort of result you want really if you are shooting JPG, if you are shooting RAW you have a much bigger latitude. If you are referring to the indoor scenes when you say the "color is off" then you simply need to adjust the colour temperature in camera before you shoot, or shoot RAW and do it later.

At this point I would say we don't have enough information to say whether your lens is lacking or not. Certainly though we can tell that you're not getting the best from the equipment you have. You could easily spend a fortune to buy a more expensive lens and get very disappointing results using the same technique as you are currently using.

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Old Jun 6, 2006, 12:03 PM   #9
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Thanks guys! :-) I ended up picking up a Sigma 28-300mm. I posted a link to my pics in an earlier post this morning.
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