Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I have a Rebel T2i, I was wondering what standard zoom lens is the best around $600. I'm mainly shooting landscapes / cities / peoples. I've done some research and came up with 17-50, 18-55 from Tamron / Sigma & Canon. What do you guys think?

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What zoom range are you looking for? You put 17-50 and 18-55, but are those representative of what you actually are looking for, or just some that you found? I personally was more interested in the 70-200 range for my first zoom. –  BBischof Jul 7 '11 at 15:35
    
Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens is right at your $600 price point, and has a very large focal length range. –  dpollitt Jul 20 '11 at 19:41
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4 Answers 4

I can vouch from 17-50/2.8 Tamron. I've had the non-IS version for over 3 years now.. it was the walk around lens on my RebelXT and now on my 7D. I mainly shoot landscapes/cities/ppl too. However I tend to switch to 50mm/1.8 for street photography..

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A friend of mine has this lens and loves it. No personal experience of my own, though. –  D. Lambert Jul 6 '11 at 18:48
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I can vouch for Canon 15-85mm lens. Great on wide angle side as well as telephoto side. Awesome L series image quality.

Several things stand out to me:

  • It's very fast & quiet in focusing; (because of USM)
  • The image quality is awesome, in my opinion, as good as some of the L series lens. Image is sharp and color is rich, also has great bokeh.
  • It has 15mm on the wide angle side which allow you to stand up very close to your subject and still get a full shot. Also great for landscape
  • It has 85mm on the telephoto end, which is better than most typical kit lens (which around 55mm).
  • from 15-85mm focal length allow you a very wide range of shot, that is why it's my all around walk around lens.

Check out my flickr photo albums to get an idea how good the lens is

Canon 15-85mm does have some drawbacks:

  • It has very slight vignetting in wide angle (most of time it doesn't have vignetting); it also has a slight barrel effect on wide angle (most of the time don't).
  • It's kind of heavy (probably about 2 pounds).
  • It's quite expensive, but well worth the money - around $760.
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Any way you could give a bit more explanation about what makes it a great lens? You've said its great both wide and long, but how does it stand up to the alternatives? –  jrista Jul 13 '11 at 22:30
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Can you put that into your answer, rather than in comments? –  jrista Jul 19 '11 at 23:48
    
pasted the answer in answer. –  rvpals Jul 20 '11 at 18:23
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I bought the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 one month ago and I'm really happy with it. It's really sharp and very bright considering the f/2.8 for all the focal length. I found on an online store for about 400€ that is ~570$. I haven't used it a lot yet, but I'm very happy with it....it's a little heavy for my EOS 500D, if that matters something:)

When I was looking for buying a new lens I was stuck between the Tamron and the Canon 17-55 f/2.8 but after reading a lot of review I found a lot of people really satisfied for the Tamron, and it's much cheaper than the Canon. So I totally agree with buying it:)!

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When you say you don't use it a lot, is there a reason for it? Is it the weight, or that it doesn't happen to be useful for the types of photos you generally take? –  khedron Jul 6 '11 at 19:35
    
Sorry, my english is bad:(. I mean that I didn't use a lot because I own it just one month ago, but yes is really heavy. –  Kreker Jul 6 '11 at 21:22
    
Sorry, that's okay! That makes sense. –  khedron Jul 7 '11 at 16:25
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I bought the 28-70mm f/2.8 from Sigma and I'm really happy about it. Having a f/2.8 lens (or lower) really expands your pictures opportunities if you don't want to use your flash. If I had about 600$ to put on a lens, maybe I would look at the Sigma 17-50 2.8 EX DC OS http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/689620-REG/Sigma_583101_17_50mm_F2_8_EX_DC.html

Not only it has a nice maximum aperture, but it's also optically stabilized, giving you maybe an extra 2–4 stops slower (exposures 4–16 times longer).

I'm a fan of Sigma, but The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 seems nice too, is less expensive, but lacks optical stabilization. It's for you to decide if it's worth an extra 200$

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There is a newer VC (Vibration control) version of the Tamron 17-50 available. It is not quite as sharp as the original Tamron 17-50. I own the non-VC version and have been very happy with it. –  Michael Clark Feb 18 '13 at 11:32
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