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Old Nov 3, 2009, 8:25 PM   #1
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Default Wide zoom on a 1.6 crop with the option for sports

I have been following the other wide angle lens threads as well as searching the history and can not find an answer for my wide angle question.

I am considering upgrading my current wide angle kit lens, a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM for my Canon 40D. I would mainly use this for landscapes and indoor family photo stuff, but I would also like it to be capable of some sports shooting if possible. I went back and check the EXIF data from a cycling event this past summer and I used the 17mm for a few of the shots.

I would prefer a 2.8 but am not sure if that should be a requirement. How important is a f2.8 vs. f4? I do have a flash that could be used assuming the situation allowed it. I am not finding anything that will cover the range that the kit lens currently does so it seems like there would be a trade off on one end or the other. If I compromise should it be on the wide end or the zoom? I am thinking the wide is more important?

The lenses that look like they may have potential are:

Sigma Zoom Super Wide Angle 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC $420 it has the 2.8 and good range but not sure it would be much better image than the current kit lens.
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 $650 Would this focus fast enough for a sports situation?
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM $714 - missing the 2.8 and zoom.
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM $900 missing the wide end
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM $1030 - missing the zoom, plus at this price seems like it should be an L with better construction and weather seals. Also if I ever got a full frame camera I dont think this lens would be compatible.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM $1150 missing the 2.8 and zoom
Canon Zoom EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM $1300 missing the wide end
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM $1450 missing the zoom.

The other lenses I have are the 50mm f1.8, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. Also have the Canon 580 Speed light.

Any recommendations or option I am not thinking about here? I would prefer a one lens solution over two.
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Old Nov 3, 2009, 8:45 PM   #2
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I think you will want the constant f2.8.

If price is no object. The 17-55 2.8 IS would be the ideal choice, great image quality, good range, IS for non-sports stuff, constant f2.8, and it focuses quite fast. if you do go full-frame later, this lens will hold its value, and you will get a good return on your investment.

the sigma 18-50s are a little hit and miss on canon bodies and the tamron would not focus fast enough for you.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 2:48 AM   #3
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Actually for the purposes you state I don't think any of those lenses would be a particularly significant improvement.

For landscape shots simply stop down to f8-f14, and use a tripod if you can't get a nice combination of shutter and ISO that suits the situation.

For indoor pictures of family get yourself a decent flashgun.

If you are determined to get yourself a new lens... I'd go with the 17-55 f2.8 IS.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 10:33 AM   #4
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Just keeping the current lens is definitely an option I have thought about. I have a speed light so the inside stuff is less of an issue. The 17 85 struggles most at the 17mm end which impacts the landscapes the most. Maybe the other lens choices dont provide enough improvement to justify the spend?

One thought was the 17 40 f4L which I believe is very good on the wide end. Its $300 less that the 17 55 2.8 plus L quality. 1st Down side would be f4 which could impact sports, but maybe there are not that many sports where the wide angle would be that helpful? 2nd downside is 40mm on the long end. So the question is weather 40mm would to short for a walk around lens landscape stand point?

Another thought was the 24 105 f4L. The question about f2.8 and sports seem more relevant because of the increased range. Downside is losing the wide end which impacts the landscape again? From past post I think the thought is 24mm is not wide enough for the 1.6 crop?

The 17 55 f2.8 seems to be a step up in the image quality from my current lens but not as good as the 17-40 f4L. Plus side is that it gets the 2.8 and more range.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 12:04 PM   #5
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actually the 17-55 2.8 is superior to the 17-40L in almost every regard when it comes to image quality except maybe flare, not that both arent good of course. of course the 17-40 is environmentally sealed and full-frame compatible.

as craig (peripatetic) mentioned if you are just going to do mostly landscape and family stuff, you do not really need to upgrade. but if you do think you will shoot action/sports especially indoor. the 17-55 2.8 would be a nice choice. its all relative value, if you dont think you will use it for that specific purpose much, then it may not be worth the investment. however, do note the 17-55 is a superb general purpose lens and superior to the 17-85 in every way (except range), just whether or not the cost (for you) is worth the benefit.
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Old Nov 5, 2009, 7:49 PM   #6
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Peripatetic & Hards80, thank you for your input. I will have to think about this a bit. Although I do see that Adorama has the 15 - 55 f2.8 lens for $990 right now.
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