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Old Apr 11, 2010, 9:03 PM   #1
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Default Replacement for the kit lens?

I have a 100-300mm EF lens for my T2i along with the kit lens, an 18-55mm. Having seen some of the shortcomings of the kit lens at wider aperatures I'm interested in a higher quality replacement. The Canon 15-85 and the 17-85 seem to be well-regarded and would fill the gap ahead of my 100-300 lens nicely.

Any recommendations between the two? I gather the $700 lens is better than the $450, but what sort of performance enhancements will I see for the extra $$$? And what sort of aftermarket lens in that focal range can beat the price/performance curve from Canon?

Thanks!

Jim
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Old Apr 11, 2010, 9:13 PM   #2
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Well the ef 17-55 2.8 USM would be a very good choice as a upgrade of the 18-55 as it brighter at the full range of the zoom at 2.8. The 15-85 and the 17-85 are 3.5-5.6 so you are not really gaining in aperture brightness, just filling the gap between 55-85mm.

What is the issue you are having with the kit lens at wider aperture? As the 18-55 is actually a very good lens?
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Old Apr 11, 2010, 9:14 PM   #3
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PS

Canon has also discontinue the 17-85mm
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Old Apr 11, 2010, 9:32 PM   #4
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If you don't need the stabilization, the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 is a very good lens. At the same apertures and focal lengths, it's as good as Canon's 15-85, better than Canon's 17-85 and it's as much as 2/3 stop faster when you need it. Plus it's a 1:2.3 macro lens when you want it.

One more thing: It's cheaper.
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 2:43 AM   #5
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sigma 17-70 is a good choice. But the best of the lot for a 1.6x crop sensor is the 17-55 F2.8 IS lens. This lens according to me is just a L lens without the L marking in it.

Some alternates for price point include the canon 17-40 F4, the tamron 17-50 F2.8(Noisy AF but wonderful image quality), tokina 16-50 F2.8

To list them in best buy order

17-55 IS
17-40
16-50, 17-50
17-70

Hope this helps
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 7:17 AM   #6
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Shoturtle- In using the 18-55 for portraiture (the fundraiser ball is this coming weekend) I'm finding some loss of detail at the wider aperatures. Stepping the lens down to f8 or f11 hits the sweet spot, but I'm thinking better glass = better pictures, hence the question.

Since this will be my 'standard carry every-day' lens, I think I had better go for the IS models. The Sigma 17-70 claims to have an optical stabilizer - is this the equivalent of Canon's IS system in actual performance? The price is right too, priced at the 17-85 level while performing at the 15-85 level!

I don't think I can get the 17-55 past my wife unless it's inside a new car...
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 8:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa_jim View Post
The Sigma 17-70 claims to have an optical stabilizer - is this the equivalent of Canon's IS system in actual performance?
The Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 OS is stabilized, but it's not as good as the unstabilized 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5. There's also a stabilized version of Tamron's 17-50/2.8, but it's also not as good as the unstabilized version.

There are other third party stabilized standard zooms, but the jury is still out on them. The only one that checks out ok is the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM. It's 2/3 stop faster than the kit, so it would be better than the kit lens for portraits, but it's not as good as the Canon 17-55/2.8.
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 1:06 PM   #8
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Are we talking portraits with background, indoor or outdoor shots? If it is with studio lights and a background then you will be working at f8 or so anyway so not an issue. If you are in another environment that that will have an affect on the aperture as well as other needs. If you are looking at group shots then again you will be stopped down to about f6.3 or something so will have enough sharpness as won't be using the full length of the lens. It really does depend on the situation to if you are going to see gains.
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 2:05 PM   #9
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Interesting... so my f8 portrait photos may be as good as it gets (perhaps until the L series comes into play?), but I may see improvements at wider aperatures. The portrait gig is a small part of a big fundraiser, and not any sort of routine for me (the one pro we have in town wasn't interested), so this lens is intended primarily for family activities, up until I need to pull out the 100-300.

From the sounds of things perhaps I should work the kit lens until I convince the wife I need the Canon 17-55 for a mid-life crisis.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 3:10 PM   #10
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Default Lens upgrade

I have just gone from the Canon 17-85, which was a very good lens, to the 15-85mm. This is a sharper lens and has more contrast and colour than the 17-85mm. I had a Sigma 17-70, and although it was ok, it kept seizing up on my 400d and 450d, it would work for a while then stop down and stick, and the shutter release wouldn't work, and the results were nowhere near as good as the Canon lenses. Go for the 15-85mm.
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