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Old Jan 7, 2011, 5:36 AM   #1
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Default Which general purpose F2.8 17-50 / 17-55mm IS lens?

Let's iron out the obvious... the Canon EF-S 17-55mm an additional 5mm on the long end and offers full time manual with high resolution manual focus. It is substantially more expensive than the Sigma or Tamron.

The Sigma and Tamron do not allow full time manual focusing and just like the kit lens, it goes from closest to infinity in about 45degrees so precise manual focusing is difficult.

I'm not particularly concerned about the extra 50mm vs 55mm.

Aside from these, how do they compare?
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Old Jan 7, 2011, 5:50 AM   #2
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If you can afford it then the Canon wins regarding image quality, it's a very sharp lens. The Tamron is next and does a good job. I recently added one to my kit as a backup to my full frame lineup and for my wife to use. I've only used it once so far but the results are looking pretty good. The weakest element is the chromatic aberration at 17mm but that's about it. I've done some MF with the lens using live view and it proved accurate, but as you say it is sensitive being pretty fine.

I'm moving away from anything Sigma as the colours don't match up with Canon glass so if I'm at a wedding or event and one of the cameras being used is with Sigma glass it makes the PP a real pain.
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Old Jan 7, 2011, 9:53 AM   #3
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If you can afford it then the Canon wins regarding image quality, it's a very sharp lens. The Tamron is next and does a good job. I recently added one to my kit as a backup to my full frame lineup and for my wife to use. I've only used it once so far but the results are looking pretty good. The weakest element is the chromatic aberration at 17mm but that's about it. I've done some MF with the lens using live view and it proved accurate, but as you say it is sensitive being pretty fine.

I'm moving away from anything Sigma as the colours don't match up with Canon glass so if I'm at a wedding or event and one of the cameras being used is with Sigma glass it makes the PP a real pain.
Is the HSM on Sigma the real deal like Canon ring USM or is it worthless marketing gimmick like the geared micro-USM seen on kit lenses?
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Old Jan 7, 2011, 9:59 AM   #4
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As Mark1616 has said, the Canon 17-55/2.8 IS is a very good lens. Similar lenses are available from Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, for substantially less money, though they aren't quite as good, and they aren't stabilized. And while Sigma and Tamron offer stabilized equivalents, they aren't as good as the unstabilized ones that aren't as good as the Canon.

If you need stabilization, you need to decide how much image quality is worth to you. If you don't need stabilization, the Sigma 18-50/2.8 (non-OS) or Tamron 17-50/2.8 (non-VC) should work well (though not as well as the Canon.)
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Old Jan 7, 2011, 5:05 PM   #5
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I know it's not a "general purpose" lens, but i went Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX. Not cheap though...
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Old Jan 7, 2011, 11:16 PM   #6
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I know it's not a "general purpose" lens, but i went Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX. Not cheap though...
What about the Tokina 16-50 f/2.8?
5mm doesn't do a whole lot at the tele position, but that little 1mm at the wide end makes quite a difference on my D300!

It can do full-time override but it's all mechanical though (i.e. pull the focus ring back any time and it disengages the AF so one can focus manually)

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Old Jan 7, 2011, 11:26 PM   #7
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... and just like the kit lens, it goes from closest to infinity in about 45degrees so precise manual focusing is difficult.
Yes - But that small arc is what makes theses lenses focus fast in AF (i.e. their motors do not have to spin as much from one end to the other)

-> A macro lens is quite the opposite as it takes a lot of travel to focus manually (and hence slow in AF)

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Old Jan 8, 2011, 12:43 AM   #8
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Yes - But that small arc is what makes theses lenses focus fast in AF (i.e. their motors do not have to spin as much from one end to the other)

-> A macro lens is quite the opposite as it takes a lot of travel to focus manually (and hence slow in AF)
I'm not sure if I'm convinced, because the Canon 17-55mm USM IS has a larger arc, yet I hear the USM is just as fast, if not faster.
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Old Jan 8, 2011, 8:05 AM   #9
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I'm not sure if I'm convinced, because the Canon 17-55mm USM IS has a larger arc, yet I hear the USM is just as fast, if not faster.
Agreed - I'm only referring to 3rd party lenses

By all mean get the USM if you can afford it (it's also quieter). The Tokina only stands out because it's an excellent lens (it's all metal, not so sure about the others), and as mentioned, it is probably 2nd in cost but indeed is the widest and optically it hangs up there with the best.
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Old Jan 8, 2011, 12:55 PM   #10
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If you need stabilization, you need to decide how much image quality is worth to you. If you don't need stabilization, the Sigma 18-50/2.8 (non-OS) or Tamron 17-50/2.8 (non-VC) should work well (though not as well as the Canon.)
So you're saying that the Sigma OS 18-50 F/2.8 isn't quite as good image quality wise as the Sigma 18-50 F/2.8 without OS that's half the cost?

http://www.lenstip.com/lenses_reviews.html have very good reviews on lenses with objective parameters such as distortions and chromatic aberration shown in values. They have the Canon 18-50 F2.8 IS as well as the Sigma OS, but the non OS Sigma F2.8 isn't in there.

I can perfectly understand using OS wouldn't be up to par compared to non-IS with tripod, but any objective data showing that the Sigma 17-50/2.8 OS with the OS turned off is inferior to non-OS?
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