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Photography Question 
Jill Schreiner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/6/2007

Which lens is better?

I've decided to purchase the Canon 30D, on which I found a very good deal, but now I have to decide which lens to buy with it. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens and the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens are my top two choices right now. The first one is $300 more expensive than the latter, but I've heard great reviews on the image quality and I like that it has a fixed f/2.8 aperture. I just don't know if that justifies the $300 difference. Any opinions? I'm hoping to make my purchase fairly soon.

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1/14/2007 10:27:41 AM

Liz Stanley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/1/2006
  Without having either of those lenses myself, the first lens you mention sounds like the one to go with. First as you said, it has a fixed 2.8 aperture. Also the second lens doesn't have that large of an aperture to start with, so won't be nearly as good with low-light situations, such as indoor shots. I'd say the $300 price difference is justified. Check out reviews of both lenses at the Fred Miranda forum.

BTW, I'm also a 30D owner.

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1/18/2007 8:05:43 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  You really shouldn't be asking, Which lens is better?" Rather, you need to consider what your needs are.

I've owned Canon EOS lenses and also have the Tamron 28-200 mm and 200-400mm zooms. When I bought my Canon 30D, I had hoped that I wouldn't have to buy any new lenses. But, the best laid plans . . .

My widest focal length 28 mm equates to 45 mm [Normal] because of the 1.6 lens factor of the 30D. So, I had no wide angle capability. I bought the Canon 17-85 mm IS lens. My zoom range is now 28-640 mm, with the three lenses.

I like this Canon lens and, frankly, haven't had any problems with its relatively slow speed. I standardized on ISO 400 film with my EOS 620 and EOS 3, so I just set the ISO setting at 400. But, if I get into a bind, I merely change the ISO to 800 or 1600. I haven't had a problem with noise so far, but that's the concern to be aware of.

But, if you need/want a faster lens, go for the f/2.8 if you've go the bucks. I'd much rather have a fixed aperture lens, but can't justify the cost.

All that being said and, without knowing what other lenses you own, I'd consider Tamron's 17-200 mm zoom. With the 1.6 factor, this gives you the equivalent of 28-320 mm zooming power. It enables you to go almost anywhere with just one lens. It's gotten good reviews and is about the price and has the aperture range as the 17-85 mm IS.

Another possibility is the Tamron 17-50mm. It has a fixed f/2.8 aperture and, if you have other Canon lenses, gives you the equivalent of a 28-70 mm zoom. It, too, has gotten great reviews.

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1/18/2007 9:04:46 AM

Jill Schreiner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/6/2007
  Thanks for the great tips you guys, I really appreciate it! I decided to go with the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens. It turns out the price difference was more like $400 not $300, and since I'm a beginner I thought I'd better not go there yet. BTW, if anyone ever figures out how to grow money on trees, please let me know!

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1/18/2007 4:10:03 PM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I just keep sending in these pre-approved credit card forms, man those are the best.

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1/18/2007 11:18:21 PM

Liz Stanley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/1/2006
  Jill - sounds like a good decision for you. As you gain more experience you'll later be able to add more lenses to your collection. The 30D is a great camera and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. When you find that money tree, one lens I really recommend is the EF-S 10-22mm. The super wide angle is fun to experiment with and can produce some really nice results.


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1/19/2007 5:46:08 AM

Jill Schreiner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/6/2007
  Thanks, Liz! I'll keep the EF-S 10-22mm in mind for the future. Right now my camera and lens are on back order, so it doesn't look like I'll be able to do any experimenting anytime soon. :-(

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1/19/2007 4:32:19 PM

Tareq M. Alhamrani
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/26/2006
  EF-s 10-22 is my best wide lens.
from L series 16-35 is the best wide angle lens, and it is on Full Frame, WOW WOW WOW.

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1/20/2007 5:09:03 AM

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