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Old Apr 27, 2005, 1:17 PM   #1
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A Rant With Rhetorical Questions

I suppose that I want too much. I have the 20D with the kit 18-55 lens and am considering another lens, and I am most likely going through what so many others have. This is my third digital camera, but I come from 35mm before that, and after years of lugging around a backpack with enough glass to stock a bar, a Star-D Professional tripod (which I still use) and more, I was looking to simplify.

I started thinking that one, all-purpose lens would be nice. Having one lens to cover most of my needs would be great. In the future, If I needed something special, like a fast 50mm for studio or portrait work, then I could fill that need, but for now, one lens would be great. So I thought that something that covers a actual range of AROUND 28 to 130 (pre-factoring in the 1.6x multiplier), more or less.

Of course, what the lens can do is, to a great extent, based on the person using it. I just did a cover for a user's manual with the 18-55 that looked pretty decent- the client thought so, anyway. Ya gotta' love Photoshop, but I digress.

I don't want to say price is no object, but I am more concerned with image quality than price.

Size and weight is important. If I am going to spend a day with this thing hanging on my neck it would be nice to do so without having top add an Ibuprofen dispenser to the neck strap.

Speed- some of the lenses I have seen have a maximum aperture of f/4. It would be nice to have the option of a narrower depth of field for artistic purposes if nothing else.

Canon and Sigma lenses are being considered at the moment and every time I think, "This one looks pretty good," I compare it to the others in the list and think, "But that one and that one would be better because...." For example:

At this point I think that the Canon 17-85 IS EF-S is the first choice, but it does not fill my needs completely. It does have a good focal range and creates decent images, but with the largest f-stop at 4.0, it can't be considered a fast lens. A little more DOF control would be real nice with this lens, particularly for the price. Bu the weight and size put it in the same range as the other lenses I am considering as well. For a lens of this price ($600 for a US market lens), the one year warranty is an insult. And no lens hood at that price!?

The Sigma 18-125 (or 18-200) lenses are OK, but don't have the image quality of the 17-85 IS. Compact in size with an f/3.5 though. The 18-125 would make a nice, inexpensive walk-around lens though, but would I be happy with the image quality? Of course, the 18-200 Sigma is far superior to the Tamron if the images I have seen posted are any indication.

The Canon 24-70 2.8L is quite nice, but, long, expensive, and at 34 ounces, no lightweight for the zoom range, approaching twice the weight of any other lens in the group I have chosen.

The Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 is fast and gets very positive comments, but compared to the others, has a narrower zoom range but at 24 ounces and 4.5" in length is not exactly compact of light.

Personal needs have to be considered of course, and that doesn't show up on any chart or graph. I rarely have found a need for wider than the 18mm (29mm equivalent) of the kit lens, so another way to go would be with a two-lens set up, using the kit lens as the bottom end and getting something for the normal through long telephoto range.

Would you spend $1000 on a lens with an f 2.8 (or faster) for the full range, 17-125mm ultrasonic-focused compact lens that gave quality images? I would. It just doesn't exist, or at least to sya, I haven't found it.

Maybe, after well over 30 years of marriage, I should listen to my wife. Rolling her eyes after listening to a rant filled with much of the above data, she said I should wait and see what new lenses show up in the future...

"Yes, Dear."
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 1:34 PM   #2
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I wish you the best of luck in your quest for the "holy grail" of lenses - fast, great focal range, great quality and light. When you find it, please let the rest of us know so we can buy it too
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 5:26 PM   #3
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if you already have the kit lens how about the canon 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS and get a 2x teleconverter. you'll cover the range of 18 to 400mm. the 70-200 f/2.8 is supposed to be one of canon's finest. i think the lens and teleconverter will cost you approx. $2K.

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Old Apr 27, 2005, 6:20 PM   #4
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djb wrote:
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if you already have the kit lens how about the canon 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS and get a 2x teleconverter. you'll cover the range of 18 to 400mm. the 70-200 f/2.8 is supposed to be one of canon's finest. i think the lens and teleconverter will cost you approx. $2K.

dennis
There was a time that a lens covering +/- 110-320 would have been a priority, but not so much now. I think I could do better for what I need for $2000. Although I haven't seriously considered what multi-lens package I would carry (I have been trying to avoid that) but off the cuff, If it were to be all Canon lenses, I might do a kit with (rough prices):

17-85 IS EF-S (a nice carry around lens) - $450
50 1.8 for studio work, etc. - $75
EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM - $450
<$1000

Why? The 75-300 wouldn't get enough use to justify the cost of the L lens and the 17-85 IS is compact and would make a nice carry around lens- small light and fast focus, although a compromise of f..

I posted the letter rhetorically, but knew it would start discussions, and that's what I sort of wanted. I think that, except in rare cases, there is no one solution. It's why I have 4 lenses and two doublers about to go on E-Bay from my Oly outfit.

I wish I could get my hands on the Sigma 18-200 just to play with to see if I liked it for myself. But an interesting comment I got from a photo shop in downtown Seattle about a week ago when I mentioned that lens was, "Lots of people get the Sigma and Tamron lenses, but few people keep them." And even though we know that is not literally true, the images from these lenses are somewhat compromised. The images I have seen are generally softer than the coresponding Canon images, and at large apertures the aberrations are unacceptable, and that is particularly true of the Tamron 18-200 images I have seen. I rate that lens as the world's second-most expensive paper weight.

If the 17-85 IS was fixed 2.8 (or at least started as a 2.8) I would easily spend another $100 on it... maybe even a bit more, but as they say, if horses were fishes then we would all need waterproof saddles... Or something like that.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 8:09 PM   #5
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Where can I get a Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS for $450?
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 8:54 PM   #6
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The 20D is an advanced amateur to semi-pro camera.

Make the assumption that you will eventually own more than one lens. Even if you don't think it now, you will be thinking about it in the future.

You want to give that 20D some "legs", don't you?

I would think in terms of perhaps 3 lenses: wide angle tele, medium angle tele, and long tele.

For medium tele you wouldn't be going too wrong with the Canon 17-85 IS or the Tamron 28-75.

I'm suprised you bought a 20D for backpacking, as it's a pretty heavy camera.

I wouldn't be overly concerned about the speed of the lens as the Canon can be pushed to ISO 3200 and still take a decent shot.

Be more concerned that you have made a good long term investment in your lenses, and that you have the focal lengths to take on the types of photography your likely to enjoy.

-- Terry
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Old Apr 29, 2005, 1:13 AM   #7
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[email protected] wrote:
Quote:
The 20D is an advanced amateur to semi-pro camera.

Make the assumption that you will eventually own more than one lens. Even if you don't think it now, you will be thinking about it in the future.... snip
-- Terry
Thanks for the reply, Terry. I dodn't get as much time here in this forum as I would like- spending most of my time in coffee-related areas, but I do try to read all your messages in the threads in which I am interested, and appreciate your thoiughts on the subject.

I don't backpack- did I give that impression? I cover some local news for my newspaper (a TINY little online PDF thing now that use to be in print until I couldn't afford it- long story). And I get jobs now and again doing thngs like brochures, owners' manuals, and websites and such. It doesn't make me a lot, but I can say that the camera is paid off! That's something! And the shots of the cats I prited at 11x14 please the wife- that's "Job 1" regardless of what Ford says!

I have been doing a lot of shopping and comparing and thinking... I must be- I woke up this morning thinking "the 17-85 IS would be a cool lens, but..."

The wide tele is not that big of a deal with me. If I need a large landscape shot I can always stich photos. I was shooting toaday and the 18-55 was wide enough. If anything i would be more interested in the long tele. I was just looking at the Canon EF 100-300 USM LENS 4.5-5.6, and at $275 it would probably serve well for the long end of the spectrum... eventually if the need hit me.

Unfortunately, the closest Canon dealer is about 70 miles from me so it is hard to get my hands on anything decent to even examine.

Right now it does indeed look like at least a two lens outfit- and as you hinted, maybe 3.

Back when I shot film the Viv Ser.1 70-210 lived on the camera about 90% of the time except on the motorcycle when I stuck the 50 1.8 on it. But as I mentioned, I was shooting differently back then.

Now, I am thinking that for the time being the kit lens would make a nice compact carry-around when soace and weight mattered. For quality in the mid range I was considering the 24-70 2.8 L, but it's big, quite heavy at 2 pounds, and the one year warranty is a sad statement on Canon's part for a lens so expensive.

I keep going back and forth between that lens and the 17-85IS. The pics from that lens all look decent and the range would cover most all of what I need. It is also relatively small and light (at least compared to the If I had it my way I would like it without the IS and with a f2.8 but you can't have it all. The speed for low-light is not important to me- I was wanting more DOF control which makes the 24-70L so appealing. At about $550-600 (mis-typed earlier when I stated $450) the 17-85 is affordable for me right now. The 24-70 is a stretch for one lens.

I would like to play with the Sigma 18-125 (and maybe their 24-70 2.8) but from what I have seen it doesn't compare to the Canon lenses mentioned above. If for no other reason, the Canon lenses would be easier to sell used.

I could go on, but you know how this goes. The circle just returns from whence it came! :? round and round and round we go.

I just might have to make a call and take the drive to the nearest Canon dealer and check out some lenses...





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Old Apr 29, 2005, 6:40 AM   #8
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Randy G. wrote:
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I would like to play with the Sigma 18-125 (and maybe their 24-70 2.8 ) but from what I have seen it doesn't compare to the Canon lenses mentioned above.
Where do you see this?
Certainly not here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic2/143791
If you bother to check their MTF's, this lens is optically identical to the 17-85mm IS USM with more reach and only sell for ~$200, a 1/3 of the price - you don't even need to sell it!!! Also FYI: http://www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/shootout



... and regarding the 24-70 f/2.8 EX: http://www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/24702875

-> You can get subjective opinions from anyone - but best check the 'truth' out for yourself: "MTF-Tests are among the most accurate and scientific tests performed on lenses": http://www.photozone.de/3Technology/mtf.htm
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Old Apr 29, 2005, 11:27 AM   #9
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NHL wrote:
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Randy G. wrote:
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I would like to play with the Sigma 18-125 (and maybe their 24-70 2.8 ) but from what I have seen it doesn't compare to the Canon lenses mentioned above.
Where do you see this?
I was afraid that this would be misread when I typed it at 11:15 at night.... The comment I made: "doesn't compare" was NOT for the 24-70 but for the 18-125/18-200. For the money the Sigma 24-70 is very nice and is high on the list. What I should have said was the images I HAVE SEEN SO FAR from the 18-125 and 18-200 are OK, but generally soft. For "snapshots" they would be fine, but for "art" not so much. As mentioned previously, the samples I have seen from the Sigma 18-200 are superior to the sample images from the Tamron, which I consider an auto-focus paperweight.

I have also read that comparing MTFs from one manufacturer to another is not that accurate.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...ding-mtf.shtml
"Canon's MTF charts are based on theoretical calculations used in the design of the lens, while some other manufacturers use actually measurements. There are valid arguments in favour of both methods. Be aware though that different manufacturers have different measurement procedures, and therefore while comparing MTF charts between lenses in the same line is possible, and is in fact very useful in making a purchasing decision, doing so between different manufacturer's MTF charts isn't."

With all that in mind, Canon has had some quality control problems recently. I have read numerous reports of folks returning two and three lenses to get a good sample which is very sad indeed.

I have not made any decisions at all, and at this point I am in no hurry. The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 is compelling, and its MTF charts are quite good, particularly for about 1/3 the price of the Canon L, even though the thing has a diameter just short of the trash can next to my desk! It is shorter and lighter the its L counterpart though. And in the long run, the 24-70 would probably be my main lens, the 18-55 kit lens is nice for when I need something a bit wider (and it is small enough to carry as a second lens, and later a 70-200 would eventually fill out the kit... The two lenses from Sigma (both 2.8 throughout the range) would run about $1100, and (ARE YOU LISTENING CANON?) both have 4 year warranties and both come with lens hoods!!!

It just all points to the fact that thre are no lenses available that fill my needs. Probably never will be. The 24-70 would be much more tempting if it had been an 18-70... Oh. no. Nere we go again! Just have to redefine my needs is all, and that can take time.

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Old Apr 29, 2005, 2:41 PM   #10
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Randy G. wrote:
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... The two lenses from Sigma (both 2.8 throughout the range) would run about $1100, and (ARE YOU LISTENING CANON?) both have 4 year warranties and both come with lens hoods!!!
Excellent point on the warranty but you forgot the fitted case - It also comes standard! :-)


Quote:
"Canon's MTF charts are based on theoretical calculations used in the design of the lens, while some other manufacturers use actually measurements."
Exactly - This a theoretical calculations, i.e. the best they can be and not the actual samples that everyone buy off the manufacturing lines. I guess this is better than samples pictures that people post because the quality of the shots reflects the photographers, but rarely the lens :O


Quote:
"and therefore while comparing MTF charts between lenses in the same line is possible, and is in fact very useful in making a purchasing decision"
Been there, done that: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...291840#p291840 :blah:
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