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DBerman Mar 21, 2005 9:04 AM

I am about to purchase the 20D and am now in search of some advice from this learned community. My wife and I are traveling to Italy for the first time to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Currently I am leaning towards the Canon 28-135 F3.5/5.6 USM IS. What do you guys think? Is this sufficient or should I get another lense, wider angle, for indoor use.

Thank you for your help.

JohnG Mar 21, 2005 2:39 PM

Wow, tough question. Much depends on how much you want to spend. Typical walk-around lenses I have seen are 17-40, 17-85 and 28-135. I personally use the 28-135 and love it - it fits the majority of my needs for a walk-around lense. Other people don't think it's wide enough and go with one of the other two lenses. A few months ago I bought a 17-40 to allow for wide angle. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these 3 lenses but it depends a lot on how wide and how long you need your walk-around lense to be. Arguablly the 17-40 produces the best quality results, but there are plenty of happy 17-85 users and I'm one of the happy 28-135 users. I will say I find the 17-40 too short for MY personal needs of a walk-around.

If you don't want to buy a flash, the 50mm 1.8 is a great buy ($70 USD) - it's inexpensive and performs very well.

peripatetic Mar 21, 2005 3:39 PM

It is a tough question, but I think you're likely to be taking photos of the inside of lots of buildings. Also the outside of lots of buildings. Plus doubtless a lot of countryside. Plus some portraits.

On this sort of trip I can't see how you will be able to get away without a wide angle. 28*1.6= 45mm seems too narrow to me.

The 17-40 will give you some excellent photos, but may be a bit limiting on the telephoto end where you want to get a nice blurred background of the Tuscan hills with your wife in the foreground. If you go for the 17-40 I'd recommend taking a 50mm f1.8 along too, it weighs hardly anything and is very small and cheap and works nicely for portraits.

If you choose the 28-135 I'd make sure you get a copy of the 18-55mm kit lens to complement it. It's a decent wide angle and costs hardly anything.

However if you just want to take a single lens I'd definitely go for the 17-85mm; you'll find the IS very useful inside all the churches and galleries where you can't use flash because of the paintings. It's wide enough where you want wide and zooms enough for lovely portraits. And did I mention the IS?

There is one more possibility I'd consider - the new Sigma 24-70 EX DG Macro f2.8. It doesn't have the 3-stop IS but it's very good optically and is one stop faster at the wide end and two stops faster at the tele end. I think you'd still probably find it not quite wide enough and I'd be tempted to take the 18-55 along just in case. But I think you could get the 24-70 & the 18-55 for the price of the 17-85.

If it were me I'd take my 17-85mm, I'm one of the main cheerleaders for that lens in this forum. :-)

Some samples if you're interested:

DBerman Mar 21, 2005 4:55 PM

Thank you for your thoughts. If I opted for the wider angle lense I would probablygo for the 20-35 F3.5 USM for about half the $ of the 17-40.

This leads to a second question. What are your thoughts of going the route of the EF-S 17-85 F4.0 USM IS ($600) and then adding an EF 75-300 F4.0 USM IS ($390)? I cover the wider angle and get the IS when I can't go flash and complete a pretty good "spectal" coveragewith the 75-300.

Remember I am a newbie to dSLR's but would like to cover myItaly vacation as well as future needs as bestas possibleand as monetarily efficient as possible.

Thank you again for your time

PeterP Mar 21, 2005 5:46 PM

The more you buy, the more you have to carry around. :blah:Also changing lenses is where the dreaded sensor dust problem comes from. So if you are heading out with multiple lenses and will be changing them, maybe a giottos rocket(blower bulb) may be a good addition.

Myself, if I were just starting out and did not know what would suite me, I'd buy the camera,one general purpose lens (maybe two :-)), a good flash, a few CF cards, a spare battery, and a smallish case to carry it all around in.

The EF 28-135 IS USMis a good general purpose walking around lens. (I use a Tamron 28-75 F2.8 for that purpose.)

For the second lens do you like wide angle shots,or telephotos, if you are interested in the long lenses you are also heading for the tripod department.

You seem to be only considering the Canon EF line of lenses, The Sigma EX series and Tamron lines also make some excellent lenses that cost a lot less than Canon branded ones


DBerman Mar 21, 2005 5:59 PM

Very nice photographs!

I just posted aquestion to the first responder involving getting the EF-S 17-85 USM IS ($600)and combining that with the EF 75-300 f4.0 USM IS ($390). That way I cover a lot of the photographic spectrum "17-300", get the IS for those moments when "flashing" is not appropriate (like the Vatican - pun intended) and spend less than getting the 17-40 and not covering the greater than 135mm range.

Would you still recomment the 50mmf1.8. Would those two lenses betough to schlep around Italy? From the comments I do not believe one lense will beenough - will two zoom lenses be too much. Is not getting an "S" lens silly?

BTW -I enjoy reading your responses to questions posted on this website - you offergood advice-

Thank you for your time and insight.

DBerman Mar 21, 2005 6:03 PM


I am being told by all my friends/camera nuts to stick with Canon glass especially with the 20D.

Is that bad advice?


PeterP Mar 21, 2005 6:12 PM

The 17-85, 70-300 combination would not be bad to cart around. With camera and accouterments they may weight in at around 10 pounds, depending on the bag you pick. My Orion AW weighs as much empty as my Orion-I does full (Orion's are LowePro's waist packs, they hold at most a camera and two or three lenses.)

The only "S" lens I am considering is the 10-20, but Sigma also makes a 10-20 thatI think is good for full frame cameras as well. Too many lenses too little $$$. :-)


PeterP Mar 21, 2005 6:21 PM

It is not bad advice, it is just expensive.

I'm using Canon, Tamron XR DI, Sigma EX, and they all seem to work very well.Seek out image posts by MrSaginaw and NHL they both make extensive use of Sigma EX glass.

Sigma makes 2 series of lenses, their EX line is similar to the Canon L line, high quality and price. I have had mechanical troubles with Sigmascheaper line of lenses, that line I would not touch again. None of my tamrons has failed, and 1 of my canons (non L) has failed.

Here is my failed canon lens;forum_id=83

DBerman wrote: [/b]



I am being told by all my friends/camera nuts to stick with Canon glass especially with the 20D.

Is that bad advice?


Wavshrdr Mar 22, 2005 12:26 AM

If you are serious about museum shooting with low light I'd consider tossing in a fast prime too as suggested. I personally don't think the Canon is worth the money for the 17-85. I bought the Sigma 18-125 and I've been quite happy with it and has a bit more range on the tele end. I can't see spending the money for IS on such a small lens. I'd rather buy a faster one in that range where I'll have more options to shoot with it.

With the 20D itwill be pretty expensive to get a true wide angle because of the crop factor without spending a ton of money.So the small zooms aren't a bad way to go.

I found when traveling in Europe that I needed more of a zoom at times than the effective ~200 mm that most 125mm will give you on a 1.6 crop factor. I am now better armed for my next trip! I will have ~640mm (100-400zoom)to allow me to zoom in on the pope if need be or Putin for that matter a little more easily. So many cool things to see in Europe and Russia and sometimes I couldn't get close enough to them because of crowds.

At least with one of the 300 zooms you are looking at you will have pretty good coverage. The photos I've seen of the lens you are considering don't look too bad once you stop it down a bit.

As for buying all Canon lenses, I don't buy into that. Other companies make great lenses too and often at a much better price point. Sometimes they make lenses in sizes Canon should but doesn't. The EX Sigmas are quite good as previously mentioned.

The basic kit lens of 18-55 isn't bad either. Combine that with the 75-300 and you'd cover a lot of ground for not much money. OR...keep the kit lens and spring for the Sigma 70-200 2.8 and have an amazingly sharp lens for about the $700 range but would work in low light quite well. Add a 1.4x TC and you'd have a lot of flexibility. Since it is very similar to the Canon 2.8 L version of the lens it is quite well built but like the Canon it's not super lightweight but what a lens. It is next on my list to buy.

Any high quaility lens will do fine with your 20D. Canon makes some crappy lenses too. Do pick up the 50mm 1.8 for sure, it is so cheap as to be silly not too!

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