I'm wondering if you can help me to choose between Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Wide Angle (without IS) and the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Wide Angle Lens for portraits, landscape and star photography.

I am currently using a Canon T3i.Is the IS more important than maximum aperture?

I'm travelling to Africa and one of these lenses will be with me isA, so I hope it is good for portraits for the people and so.

Any other suggestions are appreciated.

  • You may find your question about stabilization vs. wider aperture [answered here]. In general this site works best if one asks specific questions as separate questions.
    – mattdm
    May 15, 2013 at 3:14
  • 1
    @ Mattdm thanks for the info but it doesnt have a link, I mean The Words (answered here) you mentioned in your comment.
    – Ahmed
    May 15, 2013 at 4:36
  • 1
    Matt might have been referring to this previous question: What are the benefits and costs of an image stabilized, slower lens vs a non-IS faster lens?
    – dpollitt
    May 15, 2013 at 12:33
  • Yes I was. Markdown fail. :)
    – mattdm
    May 15, 2013 at 15:25

3 Answers 3


You've really got some competing needs there. Portraits typically call for a normal to short-tele lens -- starting at 50mm or so (full-frame) or 35mm (crop). Landscapes and star photography tend to lean toward wider lenses, and on the crop-sensor T3i, you'd want to be at least as wide as the 28. As a point of reference, Canon's 10-22mm lens is generally considered one of the better options for landscape photography for crop-sensor bodies.

Both the 24 and the 28 offer reasonably wide maximum apertures, though, which can be helpful for astrophotography because you typically want to keep exposures below 20-30 seconds if you're trying to avoid star trails. One possible option to combine a landscape & nighttime lens would be to look at Tokina's 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, which usually ranks right up with Canon's 10-22 for landscape photography, and offers a reasonably fast maximum aperture. Maybe add in Canon's 50mm f/1.8 lens for portraits, and you'd have a fair chance at meeting all those needs.

  • Thanks Lambert for the quick answer, I had a quick looko on the canon 50mm f/1.8 for portraits and it looks great as for the satisfaction of the people and also the price range, thanks for the tip.but do you think the Tokina's 11-16mm f/2.8 lens is better than the 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Wide Angle (without IS),, you mean when shooting stars would it give more time than the canon ones? even the F is wider in the 28mm lens?
    – Ahmed
    May 15, 2013 at 2:57
  • @Ahmed I'm not sure there's a clear-cut answer to that -- the wider / faster aperture of the 28mm lens is great, but a 28mm lens on a crop-sensor body can't really be considered a wide-angle lens, so if you're looking for one of those big, sweeping vistas, you're going to need something wider -- hence, the Tokina. Again, when trying to meet competing needs, you're going to have to accept some trade-offs, I think.
    – D. Lambert
    May 15, 2013 at 3:15
  • @Lambart I agree on the canon 10-22mm lens for landscape, I read some reviews (including one answer here to my question) and the people are happy with it, but I think I would end up with another lens for Astro-Photography, so which one you recommend me to get?is the f/3.5-4.5 in the canon lens will be a challenging for me when shotting on stars? I mean I think I need more aperture, right?
    – Ahmed
    May 16, 2013 at 0:28
  • @Ahmed More aperture would help, but if you prefer the Canon lens, get it and go shoot some stars. I think you've reached a point where further debate isn't going to be as productive as practice will be.
    – D. Lambert
    May 16, 2013 at 13:34

If you want one lens for those purposes you can't use a prime, but Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM would be a good option. Then you have the wide end for landscapes, and can take portraits with 55mm. Portraits on a crop sensor looks best from 60-90mm, so 55mm gets pretty close. And it is a fixed aperture zoom. While not being quite as open as the 1.8 primes, it does have IS.

It also gets good review: Review

The drawback is if you plan to upgrade to full frame, you have to sell this one with your crop camera, but canon lenses do hold their value on the used market.

If you want settle for 2 lenses, you can choose Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 for walkaround/landscapes/astro and Canon 85mm 1.8mm for amazing portraits.


To get a really nice wide lens for landscape I would suggest the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. You are using a body with a crop sensor, so you need to consider that your actual lens focal length would be mm x 1.6 so at 10mm its the equivalent to 16mm on a full frame sensor, or 35mm camera on film.

I have the 10-22 and find it nice and sharp and has a solid construction.

If you want a more versatile lens I would say consider the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, also a great lens and this will give you a more versitile range if you intend to shoot a few portraits.

One thing to keep in mind with both these examples is they are EF-S lenses, which means if you upgrade your body to an EF type (full-frame) then these lenses are not compatible.

If that worries you Have a look at the 16-35mm f/2.8 L series lens

as suggested a nifty 50 is never a bad addition to your camera bag, the f/1.8 version is cheap as chips and takes brilliant images for the cost

  • as far as the Canon 10-22 is concerned, when taking landscape shots is the f/3.5-4.5 a problem, I mean for the light specially when it is cloudy and so? as for the other recommended lenses I m worried about the Astro-photography as dont forget the mm factor will influence the best shutter speed when shooting the stars, but I think I will end up with two lenses one for the Portraits might be the 50mm, and another one for the landscape/Astro photography for a while.
    – Ahmed
    May 16, 2013 at 0:12

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