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Thread: Replace or Augment EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6?

  1. #1
    Senior Member EricPvpi's Avatar
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    Replace or Augment EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6?

    I wanted to post for some advice regarding lens choices. I got some great comments on my last post, so thanks to all. The forums here have been great so far and I see a lot of questions similar to mine. I read a lot of the posts before I purchases, but I have to say now that I am shooting and see what I like and don’t like, my views are changing.

    I currently have a 60D with an EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 and recently purchased EF 70-200mm f/4L IS.

    I am finding the 15-85 is a great walk around lens and great outside and in good light. When my subject is nice and still it is good in lower light as well.

    But when the light starts dropping I am finding the limitations when I want more stop action to capture the kids. On the shorter end, I would like faster for indoors. On the longer end, I find myself pulling out the 70-200 F/4 which has been enough to get the faster shutter speeds that I need, but then I am limited to 70 on the one end so I have to stand back a bit too far.

    So I started thinking about the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 which I think would be great in the range I want indoors and low light. At first, I thought about this as an addition, but thought it overlapped a bit much with the 15-85. So I started to think about the EF 24-105mm f/4L which would give me f/4 in the mid-range where the 15-85 is up into the f/5-5.6.

    So now I am thinking of having the following:

    • EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS – gives me the range I want indoors and low light
    • EF 24-105mm f/4L IS – my walk around lens. Would be nice if it was shorter, but I would get better weather sealing with my 60D outdoors where I would use it most. I would lose some landscape shots, but I would always use the 17-55 for that and on the other end it gives me more reach than the 85. Plus I would have the f/4 in the ranges I think I would want it.
    • EF 70-200mm f/4L IS – For the longer reach. I love this lens so far.

    There is a bit of an overlap between the lenses, but I figure that means I don’t have to swap out as much and the L lenses are in the ranges I would be using outdoors (weather sealing). When I first came up with this list, I wondered if I should have been looking full frame, but I don’t think I have enough experience and I think the 60D is good to learn on and my wife can still pick it up and capture pictures. Plus I would probably be having the same dilemma, but on the opposite end since I use the full range of the 70-200 on the crop sensor. This combo gives a good range with f/2.8 where I think I need it wide and f/4 in the ranges I am more likely outdoors and want the long reach.

    Going into this hobby, I didn’t think I would be spending this much, but I can see where finding the right lens can be addictive. I am willing to make the investment to get the right lenses that I need.

    Any comments or other combos I should be thinking about? Or do I keep the 15-85 and figure out how to work with the aperture it has? Many thanks…

    Eric

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    What about using a flash indoors when the shutter speeds would be too slow otherwise?

    Dave

  3. #3
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricPvpi View Post

    So now I am thinking of having the following:

    • EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS – gives me the range I want indoors and low light
    • EF 24-105mm f/4L IS – my walk around lens. Would be nice if it was shorter, but I would get better weather sealing with my 60D outdoors where I would use it most. I would lose some landscape shots, but I would always use the 17-55 for that and on the other end it gives me more reach than the 85. Plus I would have the f/4 in the ranges I think I would want it.
    • EF 70-200mm f/4L IS – For the longer reach. I love this lens so far.

    Eric
    A couple of points:
    • I am not sure weather sealing should be part of the consideration since your 60D is not weather sealed that well. With my 7D and its weather sealing, I may rethink that (for my type of shooting), but that is not the case for the 60D because the camera is limiting.
    • I do not think I would have the 17-55 and the 24-105. There is to much over lap, and between the two the 17-55 is the best lens for the croped body and the weather sealing (or lack of) better matches your 60D.
    • The f/2.8 on the 17-55 would allow you to start exploring shallow DOF and opens up some good oppertunities for you.
    • The 24-105 is better suited for FF if you plan on going that way in the very near future... then the 17-55 does not make a lot of sense.
    • I would replace the 24-105 with a 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. This lens would open so many more possibilities for you and gives you a fast lens in the 100mm range, and it is really really sharp. I have the 25-105 and the 100 Macro, but if I had the 17-55 and no plans for FF, then the 25-105 would go. Also, the f/2.8 on the 100mm lets you futher explore shallow DOF (even more than the 17-55).
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricPvpi View Post
    I wanted to post for some advice regarding lens choices. I got some great comments on my last post, so thanks to all. The forums here have been great so far and I see a lot of questions similar to mine. I read a lot of the posts before I purchases, but I have to say now that I am shooting and see what I like and don’t like, my views are changing.

    I currently have a 60D with an EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 and recently purchased EF 70-200mm f/4L IS.

    I am finding the 15-85 is a great walk around lens and great outside and in good light. When my subject is nice and still it is good in lower light as well.

    But when the light starts dropping I am finding the limitations when I want more stop action to capture the kids. On the shorter end, I would like faster for indoors. On the longer end, I find myself pulling out the 70-200 F/4 which has been enough to get the faster shutter speeds that I need, but then I am limited to 70 on the one end so I have to stand back a bit too far.

    So I started thinking about the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 which I think would be great in the range I want indoors and low light. At first, I thought about this as an addition, but thought it overlapped a bit much with the 15-85. So I started to think about the EF 24-105mm f/4L which would give me f/4 in the mid-range where the 15-85 is up into the f/5-5.6.

    So now I am thinking of having the following:

    • EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS – gives me the range I want indoors and low light
    • EF 24-105mm f/4L IS – my walk around lens. Would be nice if it was shorter, but I would get better weather sealing with my 60D outdoors where I would use it most. I would lose some landscape shots, but I would always use the 17-55 for that and on the other end it gives me more reach than the 85. Plus I would have the f/4 in the ranges I think I would want it.
    • EF 70-200mm f/4L IS – For the longer reach. I love this lens so far.

    There is a bit of an overlap between the lenses, but I figure that means I don’t have to swap out as much and the L lenses are in the ranges I would be using outdoors (weather sealing). When I first came up with this list, I wondered if I should have been looking full frame, but I don’t think I have enough experience and I think the 60D is good to learn on and my wife can still pick it up and capture pictures. Plus I would probably be having the same dilemma, but on the opposite end since I use the full range of the 70-200 on the crop sensor. This combo gives a good range with f/2.8 where I think I need it wide and f/4 in the ranges I am more likely outdoors and want the long reach.

    Going into this hobby, I didn’t think I would be spending this much, but I can see where finding the right lens can be addictive. I am willing to make the investment to get the right lenses that I need.

    Any comments or other combos I should be thinking about? Or do I keep the 15-85 and figure out how to work with the aperture it has? Many thanks…

    Eric
    I have the 17-55, and I think it is well worth the investment to have a bright fast lens as your walking around lens. I think you should consider making the 17-55 your wallking around lens, and maybe put off the mid-range 24-105 lens for a while if you need to do these purchases in increments. There is a ton of overlapping coverage there; only 56-69 is uncovered, new territory between your other two lenses. Or if you might even wish to pick up a longer lens (100-400?) instead of a mid-range lens.

  5. #5
    Senior Member EricPvpi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Throgmartin View Post
    What about using a flash indoors when the shutter speeds would be too slow otherwise?

    Dave
    I have started to use the flash indoors and that helps a bit, but as conropl mentions, I also thought the 17-55 would allow me to explore more on the on the shallow DOF. So really on the short end I was thinking about DOF, portraits, as well as the shutter speed issue. Flash helps with some, but wasn't sure if it would solve all of it.


    Quote Originally Posted by conropl View Post
    A couple of points:
    • I am not sure weather sealing should be part of the consideration since your 60D is not weather sealed that well. With my 7D and its weather sealing, I may rethink that (for my type of shooting), but that is not the case for the 60D because the camera is limiting.
    • I do not think I would have the 17-55 and the 24-105. There is to much over lap, and between the two the 17-55 is the best lens for the croped body and the weather sealing (or lack of) better matches your 60D.
    • The f/2.8 on the 17-55 would allow you to start exploring shallow DOF and opens up some good oppertunities for you.
    • The 24-105 is better suited for FF if you plan on going that way in the very near future... then the 17-55 does not make a lot of sense.
    • I would replace the 24-105 with a 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. This lens would open so many more possibilities for you and gives you a fast lens in the 100mm range, and it is really really sharp. I have the 25-105 and the 100 Macro, but if I had the 17-55 and no plans for FF, then the 25-105 would go. Also, the f/2.8 on the 100mm lets you futher explore shallow DOF (even more than the 17-55).
    As I mentioned, the shallow DOF was another thing I wanted to explore more. I don't plan to go FF in the near term, so I wouldn't hesitate on the 17-55. I did like the thoughts of the L lenses since they let me go either way in the future.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Stephen View Post
    I have the 17-55, and I think it is well worth the investment to have a bright fast lens as your walking around lens. I think you should consider making the 17-55 your wallking around lens, and maybe put off the mid-range 24-105 lens for a while if you need to do these purchases in increments. There is a ton of overlapping coverage there; only 56-69 is uncovered, new territory between your other two lenses. Or if you might even wish to pick up a longer lens (100-400?) instead of a mid-range lens.
    I thought about the 17-55 as the walk around lens, but I wasn't sure if it would be enough range since I tend to use above 55 as well. I started to think about the 24-105 since I was liking the f/4 on the 70-200 but wished I had it under 70mm and where a flash wouldn't be effective. I was shooting the kids at an indoor pool where light wasn't bad but the 15-85 wasn't as good, where the 70-200 looked great. Right now I tend to carry both lenses so I was curious if the 25-105 would give a good range when I just want to carry 1 lens. Regarding overlap, there was more overlap if I kept the 17-55 and 15-85, so I was trying to think of a better mix. But certainly getting rid of the 15-85 and getting the 17-55 and deciding later is an option since it isn't a huge range I would be losing.

    But I love all the comments to help my thought process. I guess I really want a 15-85 f2.8.

    Thanks,
    Eric
    Last edited by EricPvpi; 04-15-2012 at 05:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member thekingb's Avatar
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    You might consider keeping your existing lenses and adding a fast prime for the shallow DOF and indoors shots. I'm very happy with the Sigma 30 f/1.4, which frames at just shy of 50mm on a FF body. It's a great workhorse lens that can be used in so many ways. Then you can keep the excellent 15-85 for outdoor use.

    Edit: set your 15-85 at 30mm and walk around with it. Try out the focal length for a day. I find it to be very natural, which isn't a surprise given that 50mm on FF and the human eye are about as similar as you'll find in lenses.
    Last edited by thekingb; 04-15-2012 at 05:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member EricPvpi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekingb View Post
    You might consider keeping your existing lenses and adding a fast prime for the shallow DOF and indoors shots. I'm very happy with the Sigma 30 f/1.4, which frames at just shy of 50mm on a FF body. It's a great workhorse lens that can be used in so many ways. Then you can keep the excellent 15-85 for outdoor use.
    Thanks. Was considering that as well. I wasn't sure yet on a fixed length since I chase 3 kids around and the zoom is nice indoors. But I was thinking about doing this as well with a fixed between 28 and 50mm. I am not sure why Canon doesn't have an EF-S 30, I think they would sell well.

    Overall, I am just trying to think through what I want in the 17-50mm range as well as the 50-80mm range.
    Last edited by EricPvpi; 04-15-2012 at 05:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    I'd either get a fast prime, or sell the 15-85mm and buy the 17-55mm.

    I love the range on my 15-85mm (also on a 60D) too much to get rid of it, so I bought the 35mm f/2, and for street photography or indoors it's fine, it's even better for playing with shallow DOF. It's not perfectly sharp open, and the focus is a bit slow.

    One thing about a fixed focal length, I've found how much I can get away with cropping images. 18MP is massive.
    Last edited by ham; 04-15-2012 at 07:44 PM.

  9. #9
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    One suggestion. Look through the photos you have taken. If a lot of the ones where you wish you had a wider aperture are in the vicinity of a prime, that might be the way to go. The big advantage of primes is the wider aperture and that most are better in the IQ department than the zooms.

    17-55 and 24-105 is a lot of overlap that costs several thousand dollars to achieve! If you do it, I'd suspect the 17-55 will be used indoors and the 24-105 outdoors. This just may be the right combination for you. I carry the 24-105 on a FF almost everywhere I go. On my crop body it covers the equivalent of around 40-180 mm focal lengths. If you don't do landscapes and do lots of portraits the range is great but the f4 DOF isn't going to be a strongpoint. When I head off to do a shoot, the 24-105 is usually left behind as I have other lenses better suited to most of the work I do. It's a great general purpose lens, but I'd like it even more if it had a wider aperture for action and portrait work.

    Primes or really good zooms is a choice most people eventually make. Either of the two zooms are good lenses, but the questions you need to ask yourself is whether the aperture, wider angle, or reach is most important to you? Or do your existing photos tell you primes are the answer?

  10. #10
    Senior Member EricPvpi's Avatar
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    thekingb / ham - I had been looking at primes and keeping my existing zoom and considered:
    EF 28mm f/1.8 USM
    Sigma 30mm f/1.4
    EF 35mm f/2.0
    EF 50mm f/1.4

    I'll look through the forums for recommendations on those. I have just been hesitant since I am not sure where I want to fall yet. Maybe after a little more time, I will have a better feeling.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrw View Post
    17-55 and 24-105 is a lot of overlap that costs several thousand dollars to achieve! If you do it, I'd suspect the 17-55 will be used indoors and the 24-105 outdoors. This just may be the right combination for you. I carry the 24-105 on a FF almost everywhere I go. On my crop body it covers the equivalent of around 40-180 mm focal lengths. If you don't do landscapes and do lots of portraits the range is great but the f4 DOF isn't going to be a strongpoint.

    Primes or really good zooms is a choice most people eventually make. Either of the two zooms are good lenses, but the questions you need to ask yourself is whether the aperture, wider angle, or reach is most important to you? Or do your existing photos tell you primes are the answer?
    The cost verse overlap is definitely why I posted this to get some feedback. In my mind, I would use the 17-55 indoors and 24-105 outdoors. So a bunch of overlap, but I was thinking it would be one or the other depending on where I was shooting. So my thought is I could be using 1 lens instead of carrying 2 and I would be paying for that convenience. I imagined any portrait shots would be on the 17-55. But as you mention, the hard part is deciding the zoom/prime verse aperture verse range of the zoom. I love the range of my 15-85, I would just like it to be a little faster at times.

    Eric

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