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Thread: upgrade lenses

  1. #1
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    upgrade lenses

    Hey... I'll be up grading my lenses in a month or so and am looking for opinions.. I now have an efs-17-85, ef 70-300 is non L, ef 28-135is and 50 1.8. I wll pass these on to my daughter who wants to upgrade to a dslr.. I have a 40d, and shoot my grandaughter and landscapes and pretty much anything that moves or flies. I'm thinking of an efs 15-85 for walk-around and an ef 20-200 f4 is, and a 100-400.. I know the 70-220 2.8 is eveyone idea of the best lens but I don't make a living shooting and as much as I would like to have the best being retired wont justifiy tying that kind of money in something that would be revinew producing.I know the f4 is also a great lens and I do have a flash if needed. I have access to airshows in this area of Florida and the 100-400 will work there. Thanks guys and gals for your opinions Perk

  2. #2
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Sounds like a plan, and you've picked excellent lenses in the EF-S 15-85mm, 70-200mm f/4L IS, and 100-400mm.

    I will suggest a couple of alternate possibilities:

    EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS - IMO, the best general purpose zoom for APS-C. The f/2.8 aperture means more OOF blur for portraits, and faster shutter speed for shooting action. The 15-85mm has a broader focal range, but it's a slow lens.

    EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS - a substitute for both the 70-200/4 IS and the 100-400mm. You're losing 100mm on the long end, so you'd have to judge based on your current 70-300mm if you need the extra reach. If you do, the 100-400mm is the way to go if you want/need IS (else, if you're getting the 70-200/4 IS, you could consider the 400mm f/5.6L). The new 70-300 L is an excellent lens in a conveniently-sized package.

    EF 85mm f/1.8 - IMO, the best value in Canon's lineup in terms of IQ for dollar. I suggest this one since you mention shooting your granddaughter, and the 85/1.8 is an excellent lens for tight portraits on APS-C.

    Good luck with your decisions!

  3. #3
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    as most people here I think that everyone counts on a quick and intelligent responce from you, and I'm sure your opinion is respected.. If I still lived in Ct. I'ld buy lunch at Durgin Park, great chowder and bloody marys

  4. #4
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    I have a similar collection to what you are considering with my 60D.

    15-85 is my go to walkaround lens, yes it is slow (f5.6 when zoomed) but is sharp. I use it often when I am outdoors with a group, visit NYC, outdoor events, etc. The only times I wish I would have gotten the 17-55 f2.8 is when we are indoors, especially at a bitthday or some other party that typically occur at night. When I shoot landcapes I often use 15-20mm range, at this range the lens is fast enough for me at roughly f3.5. One more thing, this lens isn't half bad at taking macro shots in good lighting.

    I own the 70-2000 f4 non--is version. Love this lens, use it for wildlife, baseball shots of my son and his teamamtes, softball shots of my daughter, etc. Almost no need for I.S. in my case as I often shoot above 1/500 for sports. However, I do wish I had the f2.8 IS version for wildlife, as I often shoot at sunrise or sunset and could use that extra stop. Also the IS would help in these same circumstances when the object is still and I could drop the shutter speed down to get more light.

    Finally I have been debating for almost a year to purchase the 100-400 or 300mm f4.0 or the 400f5.6. I went with the 400f5.6 and am happy so far, but I've only had it for a week.

    I think your choices are good ones, just thought I'd share my experiences.

    I also own the nifty fifty (50mm f1.8) this is used almost exclusively indoors when I can get far away from the subject to get a decent photo. I find the 50mm on my camera a littel too narrow and wish I had a prime in the 24-30 range for shooting indoors. I don't use this lens often.

  5. #5
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    I love Durgin Park (if you're talking about the one in Faneuil Hall marketplace). Awesome fish cakes and beans.

    The 17-55 f2.8 IS is the way to go if you can swing the cost. And the Doc is right, the 85mm f1.8 is a very cool portrait lens. Just understand that you'll need some distance between you and your subject. I have the 35mm f2, the 50mm f1.4, and the 85mm f1.8 and the vast majority of my indoor kitty portraits were shot with the 85. It does a great job of removing distracting backgrounds and creating intimate portraits. It all depends on how much room you have to shoot.

    I tried the 70-200mm f4 non-IS, but as I've gotten older I find it hard to keep a steady image at 200mm. That's just me, though. Other folks have no problems at all. But I'm holding out for the IS version in a few months, after I get the 7D and let the wallet recover.
    Mark - Flickr
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  6. #6
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    I love my 70-200 f/4 IS. I think I'd go that + 1.4 extender (Gen II works better for this old lens) rather than buying the 100-400. That's a lot of IQ bang-for-the-buck I know a lot of people swear by their 100-400 but I just didn't care for the one I rented at all. The 85mm lenses are quite nice (I have a 1.2 now, and a 50/1.4) but honestly, I tend to hit that focal length with my 70-200 as often or more than I grab the prime. Don't discount IS at the pixel level even at "fast" shutter speeds (see the D800 thread to beat this horse dead). Obviously the prime is faster but the IQ of the 70-200 f/4 IS is really, really good at normal portrait apertures (5.6+).

    At the short end I only have a kit lens but will be buying EF-S 17-55 next chance I get.

  7. #7
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    When I got my 7D it came with a 15-85. It's a real nice lens. Used it for a while as a walkaround while I was getting accustomed to the body. Outdoors you'll be happy in the daytime with it. For low light in the morning, evening, grand children's birthdays, etc the 17-55 f2.8 would let you get shots that the 15-85 won't be able to capture without blurring. Flash would help indoors and some outdoor shots but not all. Really comes down to what you plan on doing with it.

    70-200 f4 is an excellent lens in a lightweight package compared to the f2.8 version. For daytime hikes I'll take the f4 along for the weight savings. For early morning, evening, portrait work the weight of the f2.8 and the lightened wallet are forgiven. I know it is only one stop difference, but the difference somehow seems to be more when shooting.

    100-400 is another travel lens of mine. Love the compact design and the versatility. The center of the image circle is the sweet spot which you'll take advantage of with a cropped sensor. Be aware that the IS is an earlier implementation and is rated for 2 stops worth of stabilization. It is not a low light lens by any means but at an airshow it should let you get almost any shot available.

    Another lens to consider. 300 f4 IS is slightly sharper than the 100-400, especially across the entire image with less vignetting which isn't as much of an issue on a cropped body. Handling and balance are way better than the 100-400, though only a little lighter, and it should cost a bit less. Wider aperture than 100-400 which shifts from 5.0 to 5.6 at 300mm focal length.

    400 f5.6 is supposed to handle similar to the 300, but is the only one in this list I haven't tried. Lack of IS in the lens is what has kept me from trying it, and while it is sharper than the 100-400 it is also f5.6 aperture which is not an improvement over what I have already.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Hey Perk,

    It seems to me that with the lenses you have, you could go a long ways to answering your own question. Do you like the flexibility of the 17-85? If so, the 15-85 is sharper and actually a bit faster up to 70 mm. Do you like f/2.8 on your 50 mm f/1.8? Shooting around the house? Can you limit your general purpose zoom to 17-55 mm? Well then the 17-55 f/2.8 or the tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (non-VC) may be the better lenses for you.

    I have primarily used two lenses for 95% of what I shoot, the 15-85 and the 100-400. I own the 100 mm L macro, 50 f/1.8 and just bought (still evaluating) the EFS 10-22. But I really do most of my photography with the 15-85 and 100-400L. I do shoot outdoors a lot, but I am also the primary photographer for most of my family's functions. And in shooting people and indoors I can see wanting f/2.8 (and sometimes I do)....but I also really enjoy being able to go out to 85 mm and then back to 35 mm. So, I tend to use the 580 EXII flash for indoor shots and am very happy with the results. The 100-400L is primarily used for outdoors, wildlife and birds. I can see that being great in Florida. I recommend both lenses. Both have flaws (I am one of those hoping the rumors of an update to the 100-400L are true...but not holding my breath). But both are great lenses.

    Looking at your proposed new kit, I am not sure I understand the 70-200 f/4. Great lens, one of the best, and constant f/4, which is great. But you have all but 15 mm of the focal length range covered with f/4.5 to f/5.6 with the 15-85 and the 100-400L. So a stop or less slower glass that is maybe not as sharp, but pretty darn good.

    As a third lens, I, personally, would be more tempted to get something with a little more separation....that serves a different function. Such as the 100 mm L macro, or a fast prime of a focal length you'll use a lot. For example, a 35 mm L for indoor shots of your granddaughter.

    Let us know how it works out for you....
    Good luck,
    Brant
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 02-20-2012 at 11:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Junior Member crasher7's Avatar
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    Tell you what I did and what made me happy. I took my 4 lenses, 2 zooms and 2 primes and sold 3 of them. I kept the 70-200 f/4L because it is a keeper. I shoot sunny sports and on a crop the 320 is fantastic. I bought a 10-22EFS (essentially a 16-35) and splurged for a 24-70 2.8 L. I no longer need or miss my 35 and 50 prime. (Not to mention my Siggy 17-70-lol) It's my little version of a Holy Trinity and 2 out of 3 of those work on my Elan 7. I feel pretty good about knowing which lenses to take with my instead of before when I usually lugged too much or too little. Plus it's all sharper now! So, from landscape/architecture to events to street to sports both indoor and out, I am covered. Maybe it's just my happy lens rambling but maybe I threw out an idea , who knows.

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