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Old Jan 27, 2005, 2:47 PM   #1
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So I went to the (web) store and here's what I finally got…
1. EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM (£450)
2. EF 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 DO IS USM (£850)
3. Epson R800
4. Hoods & Hoya Pro UV Filters for the lenses.

And that's it. Total cost ~£1600 (*sound of running footsteps and screaming fading away into distance, followed by distant splash in the style of The Goon Show*)

My final reasoning was thus:

* Coverage of 17-300mm (x1.6 = 27-480mm !!) at semi-pro (almost L) quality; no doubt some will dispute this for the 17-85mm, but Canon say so and from the reviews I've seen and which I regard as reliable, and the pictures I've seen posted, I reckon it probably is so. I've been digging into trying to understand the MTF charts too and this lens performs very well as far as I can see. I don't think there is any doubt for the other lens.

* This gives me a light and portable 2-lens solution which I can pretty much take with me where-ever I go; the body plus lenses come in at around 1.8kg – which is less than my laptop, I can easily manage the laptop plus photo equipment in a single bag.

* I don't have a 1D series "pro" body, I have the 20D "semi-pro" body, it seems sensible to match the lenses to the body.

* I'm not a professional photographer, and the prospects of me ever selling my work or hanging it in a gallery are remote to say the least.

* Most of my photos get published only to my website. The good ones get printed at up to A4 size and hung on the wall or given to friends and family, at that size print the difference between the semi-pro and pro lenses is not visible under most circumstances, even though at >= 100% magnification in Photoshop it may be.

* Most problems or shortcomings of the 17-85 can be corrected in Photoshop; complaints are usually about CA, vignetting and barrel distortion – sharpness is not generally an issue, also the focal length where the 17-85 is at its worst (<24mm) is covered by the 10-22 at its best, so I will see how it goes with these 2 lenses for now, but if I want to improve the wide-angle shots I will purchase the EF-S 10-22mm, which is still a lens that interests me greatly. I'll give it 6 months or so and see whether I feel the need for the extra lens.

* I am quite shy about shoving a camera at people and flashing expensive gear around, and with these lenses I will not feel so conspicuous as to be too embarrassed to take my camera with me and use it.

* There were only 2 other real candidates for my main zoom: the 17-40L which I rejected because it simply wasn't long enough at the telephoto end, and the 24-70L which I rejected in the end because of its size and the fact that I would have to get the 10-22 along with it, and the fact that frankly it may have been mismatched with the 20D body. If I had the 1D it would have been my main lens for sure. Lenses in the 28-anything range were simply not wide enough at the wide end of the zoom for me.

* The 70-300 DO IS is perhaps also not what most people here would have gone for, perhaps choosing instead one of the 70-200Ls with a 1.4TC, but I have seen some stunning photos posted that were taken with this lens, it covers the range I want without a TC and combined with the stellar high-ISO performance of the 20D and the IS I think it will be sufficiently fast. Criticism of the lens has been about sharpness, but tests show high resolution and the appearance of softness is due to acutance issues which can easily be sharpened in Photoshop. I shoot RAW anyway and love mucking about with Photoshop so I'm happy to correct any problems there.

* I am also purchasing a copy of Photoshop CS, I figure that I may as well get stuck into the "Digital Darkroom" too, and I like the web features it has over what's possible in Elements.

* Perhaps my next camera will be a 1D MkIII or MkIV and I'll get some groovy L glass to go with it, but for now I'm going to concentrate on seeing how well I can do with this setup and will be hanging out in the "post-your-photos" section of the forums.

* Thanks particularly to madwand, geoffs, golfer, mr_saginaw, and nhl for their comments in response to my questions and on the forums in general, and to the reviews and photos posted at www.luminous-landscape.com for helping with the choice.

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Old Jan 27, 2005, 3:52 PM   #2
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Peri, congrats on making your choices and going ahead with the purchases. I think you've made fine choices and don't think you will regret the lenses you did get. In fact, that 70-300 interests me also and I will be waiting to hear your report on it.

Can't wait to see photos from your setup!
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Old Jan 28, 2005, 4:29 AM   #3
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Ditto on the congrats! Good choices and you'll never look back.

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Old Jan 30, 2005, 12:28 PM   #4
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Contragulations on the conclusion of your search. In contrast to some who ask questions like "should I buy a Zeiss Biogon, or a Voigtlander, a digital back, a new tripod head, or an eastern European T&S lens?" (guess that's me) it's greatwhen people come across who areable to do sensible reductions among the vast choices and then explain the rationale for others to potentially benefit from, in an original way to boot.
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