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Old Apr 30, 2006, 10:48 PM   #1
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I own a Canon-10D. I've owned it for about 2-3 years now, and love it. the 28-135mm lense is the only lense I own, and it's not as good for all purpose shots as I would like. I am not a professional photographer, and barely understand any terminology.

As I get more serious with photos, I am finding myself with serious issues with taking indoor shots (especially in the dark), and mostly interested in taking wider photos with groups of people, or landscapes without distorting the image. It's ridiculous how much distance I have to move back in order to get a shot with everyone, and in some places, rooms are too small to take any decent photos of a group. And then there's the case where I want to take a picture of someone with a background, but I can't get much background with my current lense. So it's time to get a wide-angle lense that will solve all those problems. Will a wide angle lense have a better capability to grab focus in darker rooms?

I'm willing to spend the money for a great wide-angle lense that will complement my other lense. One day, I will replace my camera with a 1.0 focal length version without EF-S lenses, so I am planning for the future too.

EF 28mm-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM -- converts to 44.8mm-216mm on my 10D.

So my thoughts about options for new lense:

EF 14mm f/2.8L USM -- $1700 -- yikes! That gives me a 22.4mm equiv. Seems to be the best, maintaining aspect ratio instead of fisheye, right? But price...

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM -- $1300. Seems like a great lense, but what kind of "wide" difference would it be compared to the 14mm? It might be nice to be able to control the zoom a little, but not sure what the trade offs would be.

EF 17-40mm f/4L USM -- $660 -- For half the price of the previous lense, I'm not getting quite the same wide zoom ability. What is the difference between f/2.8 and f/4?

EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye -- $600. Doesn't have the L or USM designation, and is a fisheye. Does that mean all my shots will be fish eyed -- which would cause me to reject this lense outright? What does the L designation mean?

EF 20mm f/2.8 USM -- $400. Equivalent to a 32mm lense,this is approaching my 28mm (equiv 44.8mm), which makes me wonder if I'll get a good enough improvement. By my crude calculations.. this yields a a comparative view angle of about 68 degrees on the 20mm, and about 50 degrees on the 28mm. And that's 18 degrees difference on a shorter lense. Shorter lenses factor in getting better wide angle shot? Or better worded, where does the angle start, because I'm assuming it starts at the far end of the lense on the cylinder edge? So this may allow me to get quite a bit closer to my subjects.

Does anyone know of any sites that shows a tripod picture of the same background with different lenses and different focal length cameras? If not, I wish someone would do that... hmmm Steve?

I know I have a LOT of questions. I am really serious about getting the right lense, soI definitely appreciate the advice of you pros out there!
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 11:19 PM   #2
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Old May 1, 2006, 12:15 AM   #3
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I believe the EF-s will not work on a 10D (my guess is that the mount hasn't been made to support the EF-s) - plus kmorness's hoping to go FF. I'm not sure about the other companies' "digital only" lenses. I know you can try to put a sigma DC lens on a FF, followed by a lot of light fall off.

so to answer some of your technical questions... in no particular order...

-your current lens is slooow at gathering light...
aka low aperture
aka "f/<big number>" implies a slow lens . The lower the number, the faster the lens.
f/2.8 is the fastest aperture on any (current) zoom. Primes can go faster.

This is one of the serious issues in low light. But it doesn't sound like you're complaining about blurry pictures? seems odd to me... unless you're using a flash...

-Moving on, a wide angle lens will help you solve your problems... but it won't focus better in darker rooms... General, a faster lens (greater aperture) MAY help focus faster, but it's not guaranteed... my sigma 30mm f/1.4 hunts in the dim areas.

-As for different angle of views, I pretty sure there's a significant difference between 20mm and 28mm.

-The "starting position" of the angle, if I understood your question correctly, starts right at the center of the lens. In real life situations, I tried it out (knowing my sigma 30mm has an angle of view of 45 degrees.) So I turned 25 degrees to the left and 25 to the right and then looked through the viewfinder to verify... it seemed correct.
So... just think about a triangle, and you're at one of the points with the angle of <whatever the AoV of the lens is> and then on the opposite side lies your area of view. Even if the angle started at the edge, I doubt you would have been able to get closer to your subjects.

-one thing to note about the world of wide angle is distortions. For group shots, it's fine, but once you do single portraits (or even small groups), you have a chane of distorting their body proportions... So your subject might have a head thats 1.5x greater than it appears in real life. This is especially true when the distance between you and your subject shrinks.

-I would not suggest a FISHEYE lens as something serious... It's fun to use now and then... but not as a primary lens...

-f/2.8 is twice as fast as f/4 . This is better for handheld shots in dim areas (i.e. sunset).

-14mm is probably significantly wider than 16mm ... but I think a zoom is better off because you will crop less (which should be important for wide angles that are difficult to design).

Well, i'm getting tired so I'll shorten your list to what I think are the best for you:

sigma 12-24
ef 16-35

If aperture is not an issue, then I think the sigma 12-24 will be fun to play around with. A word of caution, though. The front element of the sigma is very round... if you go to FF, you will not be able to put a filter (i.e. polarizer) without getting light fall off... BUT on 1.6x bodies... you can use a slim filter and you should be fine.


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Old May 1, 2006, 1:05 AM   #4
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The 10-22mm Canon lense is a EF-s, which means it won't fit on my camera. That's a lense that works on the Digital Rebel and EOS-20D. I'm not sure about the long term future of EF-s lenses, so I'm trying to avoid those.

I also found a website that does a Depth of Field Simulator. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it does give a sense of the different picture frames you would achieve with different lenses on different focal multiplier cameras. It's http://www.liquidsculpture.com/DOF/DOF.htm

So at 6' away, with my 28mm lense setting, I can get "5 cats" side by side, according to the applet. That's obviously some big cats, so may as well call them widgets. But after a little test photography, I was able to accurately validate their calculations. Basically, I'm interested in the FOV dimensions based on change. For my camera, here's how it works out at 6 feet lense distance.

14mm - 6.45 x 9.68 ft (200%)

16mm - 5.64 x 8.47 ft (175%)

17mm - 5.31 x 7.97 ft (164%) **Note this lense had thee f/4 instead of f/2.8. I just learned that it means the near/far range with a 2.8 is 4.5-9ft, while a 4.0 is 4.1-11.25ft, and increases the depthof field and reduces the hyperfocal distance. I don't know what that means!

20mm - 4.51 x 6.77 ft (140%)

28mm - 3.22 x 4.84 ft (100%)

135mm - 0.66 x 1.00 ft (21%)

*With a true full frame camera, you can multiply all those results by an additional 60%. My 10D has a 1.6 multiplier.

Early through these calculations, I answered my own question by seeing the pattern. Take the lense size that you are comparing (28mm) and divide it by the new lense size (14mm), and you will have exactly 200% more viewing area in the x and y axis, which is actually 4 times bigger, which allows you to take the exact same picture at half the distance, not factoring in focal issues.

So if I purchase the 14mm lense, I could take the same group photos at 5 feet instead of at 10 feet with the 28mm lense. My conclusion is I should go for either the 14mm, 16-35mm, or the 17-40mm.



Does anyone have any advice on the pros/cons on the 17-40mm f/4 USM vs the twice the price 16-35mm f/2.8 USM? I'm certainly leaning toward the cheaper one, because stat-wise they seem pretty similar, except the cost obviously means issues. In the simulation, I made the following observations:

Minimum focus distance at the 6' distance with f/2.8 is about 4'. When I switch it to f/4, the min focus distance decreases by 6 inches. From reading up it's definition, looks like a f/4 is more "short sighted" than a 2.8, which is desireable for closeups, but not desireable for wide landscape shots, but is there really any major differences here? Sigh...

Thanks again!

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Old May 1, 2006, 1:20 AM   #5
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BoYFrMSpC wrote:
Quote:
-your current lens is slooow at gathering light...
aka low aperture
aka "f/<big number>" implies a slow lens . The lower the number, the faster the lens.
f/2.8 is the fastest aperture on any (current) zoom. Primes can go faster.
Quote:
Okay, cool. That makes a lot of sense, and explains the major price difference between similar lenses with different f stop values.
Quote:

This is one of the serious issues in low light. But it doesn't sound like you're complaining about blurry pictures? seems odd to me... unless you're using a flash...
Quote:
Yes, I have a problem with blurry pictures when not using a flash. But when I use the flash, sometimes the flash refuses to kick in which would allow the camera to actually focus and take the picture. Maybe I am stupid and there is a way to do this?
Quote:

-Moving on, a wide angle lens will help you solve your problems... but it won't focus better in darker rooms... General, a faster lens (greater aperture) MAY help focus faster, but it's not guaranteed... my sigma 30mm f/1.4 hunts in the dim areas.

-one thing to note about the world of wide angle is distortions. For group shots, it's fine, but once you do single portraits (or even small groups), you have a chane of distorting their body proportions... So your subject might have a head thats 1.5x greater than it appears in real life. This is especially true when the distance between you and your subject shrinks.

-f/2.8 is twice as fast as f/4 . This is better for handheld shots in dim areas (i.e. sunset).
Quote:
Okay, so based on this info, it sounds like the slower and cheaper ef 17-40 is out.
Quote:

-14mm is probably significantly wider than 16mm ... but I think a zoom is better off because you will crop less (which should be important for wide angles that are difficult to design).

Well, i'm getting tired so I'll shorten your list to what I think are the best for you:

sigma 12-24
ef 16-35

If aperture is not an issue, then I think the sigma 12-24 will be fun to play around with. A word of caution, though. The front element of the sigma is very round... if you go to FF, you will not be able to put a filter (i.e. polarizer) without getting light fall off... BUT on 1.6x bodies... you can use a slim filter and you should be fine.
Quote:
I'd rather stick to Canon lenses, even though I know they cost more. I just don't ever want to run into compatibility issues one day when I upgrade, although I don't really know if that is an issue.
Quote:


So based on this excellent information, I think I am going to consider purchasing a EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM for $1300. Ouch... but hopefully I will never need to pay this kind of coin for another lense :shock:
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Old May 1, 2006, 1:20 AM   #6
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Do you really need a wide aperture on a wide-angle lens?

The answer could be yes, but I'd suggest that most people don't. I don't. The reason is that usually with a wide angle I'm looking for large depth of field, so I'll be shooting at f8 - f14 on my 20D anyway. So why pay twice the price for the 16-35 just to get the extra stop? Optically they are very similar, with many even giving the edge to the 17-40.

So of the lenses you've shortlisted the 17-40 would be my recommendation.

Now once again photographic style is important, but I couldn't use the 28-135 as a walkaround lens, because I take a lot of photographs at 28mm equivalent (i.e. 17mm on a crop camera). You might find that the 17-40 becomes your default walkaround lens.

As for hand-holding at sunset, well you'd really be far better off using a tripod, as you would for most landscape shots. And for the price difference you could buy yourself a VERY nice tripod that was very sturdy, but also folded up small and was made of high-tech materials so is very light.

If you're indoors taking shots of people then you really should be using a flash. Actually with the money you'd spend on the 16-35 you could get the 17-40, and a nice tripod, and a good flash too. That would certainly be my recommendation.


On the other hand, you are missing one obvious lens from your shortlist: The Sigma 12-24mm. It's a FF lens so will work for you as an ultra-wide when you upgrade to FF, and works very nicely on the Canon crop cameras.

From the fact that you have managed for so long with 228*1.6=45mm equivalent as your widest angle I suspect that the 12-24 might complement your current lens quite nicely.
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Old May 1, 2006, 1:40 AM   #7
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
Do you really need a wide aperture on a wide-angle lens?

The answer could be yes, but I'd suggest that most people don't. I don't. The reason is that usually with a wide angle I'm looking for large depth of field, so I'll be shooting at f8 - f14 on my 20D anyway. So why pay twice the price for the 16-35 just to get the extra stop? Optically they are very similar, with many even giving the edge to the 17-40.

So of the lenses you've shortlisted the 17-40 would be my recommendation.

Now once again photographic style is important, but I couldn't use the 28-135 as a walkaround lens, because I take a lot of photographs at 28mm equivalent (i.e. 17mm on a crop camera). You might find that the 17-40 becomes your default walkaround lens.

As for hand-holding at sunset, well you'd really be far better off using a tripod, as you would for most landscape shots. And for the price difference you could buy yourself a VERY nice tripod that was very sturdy, but also folded up small and was made of high-tech materials so is very light.

If you're indoors taking shots of people then you really should be using a flash. Actually with the money you'd spend on the 16-35 you could get the 17-40, and a nice tripod, and a good flash too. That would certainly be my recommendation.


On the other hand, you are missing one obvious lens from your shortlist: The Sigma 12-24mm. It's a FF lens so will work for you as an ultra-wide when you upgrade to FF, and works very nicely on the Canon crop cameras.

From the fact that you have managed for so long with 228*1.6=45mm equivalent as your widest angle I suspect that the 12-24 might complement your current lens quite nicely.
Okay, all of that makes a lot of sense. And your right, I don't know how I've gotten around all this time with just that one lense. It's been a real pain in the majority of pictures I have taken. Great for long distance shots or outdoor closeups of people (from a distance). You learn to work with what you got.

I'll keep listening for awhile to see if this turns into a debate or not. But now, I'm switching to the 17-40.

I don't know anything about the Sigma 12-24. I just looked it up and it's cheaper by about $100. Is it really a great lense? I'm a little leery going outside of Canon lenses, so I may definitely consider it. Sounds like compatibility won't be an issue if I get a new Canon EOS down the road. Picture quality is important to me, so I'm going to research it further.
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Old May 1, 2006, 1:56 AM   #8
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Found a comparison review by a non-professional, but he definitely understands photography more than I do. http://www.pbase.com/dhatchner/sigma...s_canon_1740_l
Can anyone comment on that?
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Old May 1, 2006, 7:00 AM   #9
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One reason I suggested the 16-35 is because of corner performance. I've heard LESS people complain about corner performance on FF than with the 17-40 on FF. But then again... less people own the 16-35 compared to the 17-40

Secondly, although I'll agree that f/2.8 is less useful for wide angles... it can be useful, nonetheless... I mean, you're not going to carry a tripod absolutely everywhere, right? There are going to be times where you'd rather have less DOF but faster shutter times to actually GET the picture. I suspect the number of times it'll happen to be small, so it's totally up to you if you'd want to pay $640 more for this "added" feature.

flash problems? Using the on-body flash? Does the lens continue to focus? Sometimes a lens will tell the camera (or maybe the other way around) that it can auto focus just fine (even if it'll hunt a little), so it wouldn't need assistance from a flash. Try putting your hand right in front of the lens and attempt to focus... The flash should go off every time... but note it's not totally immediate... you have to wait a little (half a second).

Sigma has improved its compatibility issues over the years. And even if there was one, Sigma can rechip the lens for free if it's under warranty. I don't think you'll have compatibilty issues any time soon.
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Old May 1, 2006, 7:05 AM   #10
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kmorness wrote:
Quote:
Can anyone comment on that?
Yes - I have both the Sigma 12-24 EX HSM (and the 10D)
... You can read all the reviews you want or be taking pictures like this - See any corner softness (or CA)?:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=65
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=65


-> A 17-40 is just not wide enough for me (i.e. needed flowers + tree at the same time): :idea:







BTW you might need an f/2.8 @ sunrise or sunset (when the windy clouds and waves are moving) - If I have to wait for the right lighting the sky color would have changed! From a Sigma 17-35 f/2.8-4 EX HSM (@ f/2.8), also a full-frame:






IMO your best best would be the Sigma 18-50 EX digital lens at constant f/2.8 (practically a prime) if you don't need HSM: http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/zoomvprimes
-> and it fits the 10D unlike the EF-s... and so does the Sigma 10-20mm EX!
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