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Old Apr 16, 2011, 3:28 PM   #11
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i dont think there are a lot of "hidden gems" at this point. if there isn't alot of ppl shooting it, there is probably a reason.

if you want to try them both out, you can always use amazon, you have 30 days to return one.
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Old Apr 16, 2011, 3:51 PM   #12
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I would definitely do that, but currently on the sigma, amazon is showing, "usually ships in 1-2 months"...boo! It's available from 3rd party sellers, but I'm not sure I'd want to use an amazon marketplace seller to "rent" a lens, being a part-time bookseller on amazon myself, and I'd hate it if someone did that to me.

Not to completely throw a wrench in the works, but another, more traditional strategy has kind of been bouncing around in my head. It needs more research if I decide to go this route, of course, but here it is:

How's the IQ on something like the Canon EFs 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM? Is it generally considered a pretty sharp lens? I'm seeing it on eBay for $300 and cheaper. As opposed to strategy #1, which would be, essentially, "cover my entire zoom range with lower quality budget lenses until I can afford to replace it all with good glass", strategy #2 might be, "Initially buy a single, high-quality walkabout to partially cover my desired zoom range for now, then simply add (instead of replace) something along the lines of the 70-200 f/4L later on down the road when I can afford it. I'd have to suffer through without having my desired focal length covered, but 17-85 seems reasonable for now, then 6 months or a year down the road, add my next lens in there.

It's probably maddening for you who have been trying to help me, since I'm all over the map, and for that I apologize. Sometimes it helps just to brainstorm it all out somewhere. I've had good sharp lenses before, which makes me a little reticent to try to compromise at first, because I fear I'll simply despise any "cheap" lens that I purchase.

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Old Apr 16, 2011, 4:07 PM   #13
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the 17-85 IS is no sharper than your 18-55 is kit lens, which is not necessarily a bad thing as the kit lens image quality is quite good. but the 17-85 does gain for you a faster USM focusing, better build quality and a more versatile FL range.
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Old Apr 16, 2011, 4:51 PM   #14
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In your estimation, would it pair up fairly well with the 70-200 f/4L which is probably going to be my first upgrade purchase? Previously I had the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, paired with the 70-200mm f/4L which provided me with fast, very sharp lenses, albeit with a 20mm coverage gap between them. Would the 17-85mm be a lens I'd like to keep after getting the 70-200 f/4L, or would it start to look like junk by comparison? I know it's a lot slower by comparison, but if the image quality is up to snuff, I could probably work with that considering it has IS, I wouldn't be worried about camera shake, anyway...I actually picked the 70-200 f/4L NON-IS before, because it was so much lighter, but I think i would like IS for my main everyday lens.

*eta*...also eyeballing the Sigma 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 AF DC OS HSM
Same price, roughly same features, longer fl...

says one reviewer,
Quote:
Optics are a bit of a mixed bag, IMO. From 18-85, it is excellent - easily beating the 18-55 IS and 17-85 IS and as good as any lens in its price range. Past about 85mm or so, it starts getting a lot softer.
I think I'm pretty likely to try to find a nice, well-built, sharp lens in the moderate zoom range to be an everyday one and then keep that and add a sharp tele later on. So I'm off to read reviews and try to narrow down the field of contenders...

Last edited by matt314159; Apr 16, 2011 at 5:09 PM.
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 1:40 PM   #15
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Just an update, after doing a little reading, I went ahead and bought the Sigma 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 OS HSM to test out ...from what reviews I've read, they seem to put it in a class that is capable of getting images roughly as good as the 18-55 IS, and if that's true, I think I'll be really happy with it. I actually bought it on amazon, from amazon (as opposed to a marketplace seller) ...I signed up for an amazon credit card to knock $30 off and give me 6 months 0% financing on it, brought the total to $312 after prime overnight shipping. It won't hurt my budget much at all, since I can just pay it off over the course of a month or two, and I'm covered if it turns out I hate the lens and want to return it for my money back. Also, it was mentioned in the amazon product reviews that buying through amazon gives you an extra 2 years on the sigma warranty? I'll have to see what it says when I register for that, but I didn't see that listed anywhere in the product description.

The impressions I got from this thread at POTN (if I'm committing a huge faux pas or breaking a rule by linking to the thread, please remove it) here is that it's definitely an upgrade from the kit 18-55 IS lens in almost every way, both build quality, reach, features, and in most cases, Image quality. I think this may be that "sweet spot" I was looking for. It's an affordable, (hopefully) high quality, versatile, convenient replacement for my 18-55 IS kit lens. If I'm happy with the IQ, I'll call this my walkabout lens, and then later save up and get probably the 70-200 f/4L if I can snag one for under $600, and my bag will be close to complete, save maybe a nifty fifty.

So that's where I'm at right now on this, I feel comfortable with the purchase because now I can play around with it and be covered if I hate it and want to return it. On top of that it let my budget breathe a little easier since there's no up-front cash cost on it.
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