Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I own a Canon 550D, Rebel Ti, can anyone recommend a good general purpose zoom lens to bridge the gap between these following lenses:

  • EF-S 10-22mm
  • EF 70-200mm F/4 L

I would like to upgrade in due course to full frame camera so would like future compatibilty too. photography is mainly outdoor stuff.

I have in mind EF 17-40mm F/4 L, or EF 17-105mm F/4 L IS or similar

any pointers would be much appreciated, many thanks.

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There is no EF 17-105 - you mean the 24-105? –  Mike Jan 23 '12 at 12:00
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6 Answers 6

If you want to bridge the gap and prepare for a future full frame camera I would have aimed for the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM or EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM - both very good lenses. I think I'd prefer the 24-105 myself.

When you get a full frame camera you might want to look at the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM for wide angle, also a very nice lens.

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+1 for this answer. The 24-105 f/4 L IS USM is the perfect "walkabout" or general purpose lens. And as you rightly said, sets you up perfectly for moving up to a full frame sensor like an EOS 5D. –  Bendihossan Jan 23 '12 at 10:21
    
thanks for feedback guys –  Seb Jan 23 '12 at 11:26
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The 24-105 f/4 is a good walkabout on a full frame but not on the Rebel. However, you already have a wide angle lens so in this case it the 24 - 105 focal length might work well. –  Jakub Jan 23 '12 at 14:46
    
Why isn't the 24-105 good for the croped-sensor cameras? It might be a bit long in the short end, but since he already have a 10-22 that shouldn't be to much of a problem. –  Håkon K. Olafsen Jan 24 '12 at 8:14
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The EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM or EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM are both terrific lenses and will serve you well now and also when you move to full frame.

The EF 17-40 f/4L is also a fantastically reviewed lens and one of Canon's cheapest L series lenses so definitely worth a look at!

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To fill the kit lens gap, I'd simply suggest the kit lens: The humble 18-55 IS. It is dirt cheap, actually quite good, and does a better job as a normal zoom than a full-frame wideangle (too short) or normal zoom (too long) would do.

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I will suggest an alternative. I love the Canon 17-40 f4L, and while I have tried the 24-105 f4L, it wasn't as capable in low light as I had hoped. Having a low light lens in your bag can not be overstated, as it is extremely useful. For this reason many folks own a 'nifty fifty' 50 f1.8. However, it has limits as well, especially if you can't always zoom with your feet.

You should consider the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. It is a fantastic lens, offering sharp low light in an extremely versatile zoom lens. And having an f2.8 lens in your bag is really a must. While the Canon 28-70 f2.8 is indeed the gold standard, its also a massive piece of glass, as heavy as a gold bar, and not especially wide. You might also consider the Sigma version of this lens, which gets good reviews as well. I find the Tamron to be surprisingly sharp myself. It is said the non-stabilized version is better than the stabilized (VC) version.

the digital picture review

Fred Miranda review

Imaging Resource

http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/zoomzoom (a bit old now)

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I must say that I find the 24-105 IS supremely capable in low light... as long as the subject is quite immobile :) It's why I got rid of the 24-70 and kept the 24-105; IS far outweighed the one additional aperture stop the latter lens gave me. I'd want at least f/2.0 for a low-light, moving-subject lens. –  Staale S Jan 23 '12 at 14:29
    
Indeed, IS helps a lot, unless you are photographing people in a dark church, a situation where I was disappointed in the 24-105 f4L. As you say, mobile subjects can be a pain. –  cmason Jan 23 '12 at 14:33
    
Sad, but true. I have a 50/1.8 and an (old, pre-loved) 85/1.2 for that kind of situation. The 24-70/2.8 was never enough, unless I added a flash. –  Staale S Jan 23 '12 at 14:47
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I would suggest the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens as it is truly designed for the camera body that you have, and almost perfectly fills the focal length that you are looking to fill in.

It is an excellent lens, and gives an aperture of f/2.8 that is unmatched in any lens that also offers image stabilization in this range. This lens is a reason that many photographers hold on to a crop sensor(APS-C) body such as the Canon 7D even when they have full frame available to them.

I know that you suggested you may end up buying a full frame camera soon, and this lens will not be compatible, but I would suggest buying equipment that suits your needs now, and worry about upgrading when you are ready. The amount of money that you will lose when you go to sell this lens is comparatively small to the amount of money you will be spending to buy a full frame body anyways.

The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is also a similar lens in this range, but not quite up to the quality or maximum aperture of the lens listed above.

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Note: Sigma and Tamron do make 17-50 f/2.8 lenses as well with "image stabilization" as VC or OS as they call it. –  dpollitt Jan 24 '12 at 14:09
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Personally, I own the the 17-40mm F/4 L (latest acquisition) and the same 70-200mm F/4 L you have. I only took less then a 100 shots with the 17-40mm and am very happy with it so far. It is as they say; a bit short on the long end however and not suitable for close up portraits (unles distorted fetures is the desired effect) but I knew this and bought this lens for a specific purpose. (landscape) I am also not planning on upgrading to a full frame anytime soon although I am not ruling it out in the future if prices drop and budget allows.

I noticed no prime lenses in your list. I have the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and I find it a perfect compliment to my meager lineup. In fact when not shooting landscape this lens is by far my favorite lens. Not sure "favorite" is the right word here; most FUN lens is more like it. Based on my personal experiences, I would highly recommend the 17-40mm f4L and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Combo.

This recommendation of course depends on the intended use of your lens(lenses) and whether or not you are planning on upgrading to a full frame in the future.

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