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-   -   Alternative to EF-S 17-85 IS USM (

rey Feb 20, 2006 3:48 PM

Since I'm stretching my budget to get the recently discounted 20D, I'm wondering if there are good alternative to the EF-S 17-85 IS USM.

I'm looking for something like the 18-70mm kit lens for the Nikon D70s. I've tried my friend's orig DigRebel with 24-85 mm USM and found it not being wide enough for my usage. So those Canons zooms that starts at 28mm won't do. I don't really need zoom much, but would prefer something that goes to 70mm rather than those that stops at 50 or 55mm.

The only thing I've found comparable is the Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro. Is this any good? Are there other lenses like this that's less than $400?


ropp Feb 20, 2006 6:56 PM

Do you really need the heavy duty features and 5fps of the 20D?Otherwise, use your budget to get an XT with the 17-85mm. lens. You will also get Image Stabilization, which none of your alternatives will offer.

jacks Feb 20, 2006 9:11 PM

The sigma 17-70 is very new I think. I doubt many people have had a chance with it.
The 17-85IS is probably the best 'walk around' lens available for the 20d and rebel. It has great range and the IS is supposed to be excellent which makes up for the small maximum aperture.
Another option is the sigma 18-50f2.8 which has a bit less range but has constant f2.8 as compensation. It's very good and quite a bit cheaper than the 17-85IS. 18-50mm is pretty close to the 'standard zoom' 28-70 on a film camera.
There are also an 18-125 from sigma and 18-200s from a few places (not sure some of these aren't the same lens rebadged). Most of these seem pretty good although there is always some compromise in quality with wide ranging zooms.
I wouldn't get a lens with a wide end longer than around 20mm for the 20d or rebel unless you know what you will be shooting and know you don't need the wide angle.

rey Feb 20, 2006 10:18 PM

Thanks for your replies...

I've tried the XT, I've taken it hiking a few times, but the grip is just too uncomfortable for me when it's equiped with a heavier lens (I had the 24-85mm USM on it). The hiking lasted six hours, which is normal for most hiking I do. I figured I'd have to buy the vertical grip for it, which would put it close to the price range of the 20D. I had to return the XT to Costco.

The IS is great, but after using the 24-85mm USM, I think I'll get less camera shake if the body is heavier and more stable, another reason 20D would work better for me.

I've looked at the Sigma 18-125, the range is just too wide that I may not get good results on either end. The Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 is temping for its speed, but looking at fredmiranda, it seems like there are a lot of bad copies of that lens.

The Nikon D70s is the other option for me. It has a fullsize body, and a nice kit lens. But the price of the 20D is just too tempting for what I get for it. Maybe I can find a used 17-85 IS USM in decent condition.

Thanks again for your thoughts...

peripatetic Feb 21, 2006 8:57 AM

I think it's a fairly good bet that there are going to be quite a few 17-85's coming up on the used market soon.

It seems that Canon is about to release an EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM, that's going to tempt a lot of people (prob. myself included) to sell their 17-85 and upgrade.

Who knows, it might even tempt Terry away from his Tamrons. f2.8 constant aperture AND Image Stabilisation.

urbanaries Feb 22, 2006 3:50 PM

I bought at 20D one month ago with the 17-85mm IS combo (after many high recommendations for this combo on B&H) and I am somewhat disappointed. I take mostlycandids, portraits and I keep reaching for the $70 50mm 1.8 a friend let me borrow for fast, low light situations. Which seems to be the norm situationfor me. This was my first SLR and I think I just learned a $600lesson.

the 85mm is barely a zoom, and at 5.6 is hardly fast or provides a nice shallow depth of focus, which for shots of people I prefer.

Just my $0.02. Love the 20D by the way. 5fps is KILLER.


AlpineMan Feb 22, 2006 5:44 PM

If your return period has not expired...return the 17-85mm IS and go for the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC. ;)

urbanaries Feb 23, 2006 8:53 AM

good suggestion...

what would you suggest in that price range for something with more on tele/zoom end?


NHL Feb 23, 2006 9:08 AM

I second the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC as well... ;)
Check here:


What would you suggest in that price range for something with more on tele/zoom end?
For about $700 the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX with USM (with a fantastic 'bokeh' wide open) :idea:
-> However if you tend to shoot longer the Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX is superb and costs less than the f/2.8 +1.4x teleconverter...

AlpineMan Feb 23, 2006 10:01 AM

Yup...if you want telephoto, the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX would do the job quite well. I had this lens...only sold it cuz I found a great deal on the Canon 70-200mm IS.

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