I currently have a Canon 60D with an 18-135 lens and a 24 mm f/2.8 lens I hardly use. I really fancy the 24-105L IS (colour, sharpness, etc) and the 100-400L for the length (Freud would have something to say here..).

Someone offered me to trade the two lenses I have for either a 17-40 L or a 70-200 f/4 L (non IS) and cover the rest with cash. I feel like these 2 would be a good enough focal length coverage for me, vs the 24-105. The only issue I have is the lack of IS. What do you guys think?

Some representative photos for what I take: http://500px.com/andreiblack.

  • Doesn't this just come down to looking up the typical sale prices of each of these four lenses and then doing the arithmetic? – mattdm Jul 3 '13 at 1:07
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    Wait, except that neither of the lenses you're offered are what you actually want. Well, there's your answer. – mattdm Jul 3 '13 at 1:13
  • Matt - thanks. indeed an issue with that vs my initial plan. :) Still, what do you say - is Mike, below, right with his comment? Thanks again! – Andrei Jul 3 '13 at 8:50

In your current position I would trade the two lenses you have for the EF 70-200mm f/4 L telephoto lens and then buy a Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II to cover the wide-to-normal zoom range.

Looking at the link to your sample photos, I see a lot of photos that appear to be taken at wider angles of view than you can get at 24mm on an APS-C body. If you give up your 18-135mm to help finance the acquisition of the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS, you will give up a lot of your wide angle capability. The 24-105 is the lens I use the most on my Full Frame (FF) body, but for an APS-C sensor it would not be: the Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II was the normal zoom I used most often before I went FF. It yields an equivalent field of view (FoV) of 27-80mm on an FF body. The advantage of the 17-40 is that it is a true wide angle lens when mounted on a FF body.

In my experience, there's a big difference between the EF 17-40mm f/4 L and the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS. I own both of them and use them on a FF body for entirely different purposes. 17mm to 24mm doesn't sound like a lot of difference, but the difference in the field of view (FoV) means about 1/3 of the area that shows up in a 17mm shot is "cropped out" of a 24mm shot. The long end is is even more disparate, as 105mm is over 2.5X longer than 40mm. In terms of image quality, most of the real world differences between the two lenses are in the corners and won't be much of an issue with your 1.6x cropped sensor 60D.

And that is where your camera body comes into the equation: How these lenses "act" on a FF body and how they "act" on an APS-C body are significantly different. I would rarely if ever recommend the 17-40 or the 24-105 to someone who doesn't plan to go Full Frame in the near future. There are equal or higher quality options in the same focal ranges for use on an APS-C body that cost much less: The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 bought new runs about 2/3 the price of a used Canon 17-40, for example. The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 I own is just as sharp as my EF 17-40mm f/4 L and is one stop faster. The extra stop really comes in handy on an APS-C body where high ISO noise is more of a concern than on FF camera with larger and more sensitive pixels. Of course the wider f/2.8 aperture also allows shallower depth of field than the f/4 lens. The best APS-C lens in this class is perhaps the EF 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, but it lists for about the same price as the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS. The 17-55 optics are as good as or better than the 24-105, and the focal length range is better suited to an APS-C body for most shooters. On the other hand, the street price of the 24-105 has been dropping in some places as of late (a lot of unused 24-105mm lenses bought in "kits" with new 5DIII or other bodies seem to be flooding the market).

  • Should be made clearer on here (as I don't know about Tamrons and had to look it up), that the Tamron AF 17-50 f/2.8 Di II is suitable for crop sensor cameras ONLY, (such as the 60D). If you plan on going full frame at any time, this would not be a suitable option. The 17-40 gives you that flexibility for the future... Incidentally, I can vouch for the EF-S 17-55 as I used to own it when I had a 350D and 7D. It is STONKINGLY good, but as Michael points out - the price tag is hefty. – Mike Jul 3 '13 at 9:20
  • How can I vote BOTh of your replies, guys? Both extremely kind and clear – Andrei Jul 3 '13 at 10:20
  • @Andrei You can only accept one answer (the green checkmark), but you can upvote as many as you like (the up-arrow above the answer's score). Accepting and upvoting both give reputation points to the author of the answer. – coneslayer Jul 3 '13 at 13:00
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    He doesn't have enough reputation to upvote does he? – Michael C Jul 3 '13 at 13:26
  • @Mike the Tamron 17-55 will mount and shoot on a FF body, but the image circle does not cover all of the frame. On my 5DII (5616X3744) I can crop a 3250X3250 square or a 3800X2533 rectangle in the middle of the frame. Not practical, but it is possible. – Michael C Jul 3 '13 at 13:40

The 60D is a decent camera and whilst still an APS-C sensor, should make good use of the lenses you're looking at.

The 17-40 f/4 L is one of the most highly rated lenses about, and the 70-200 f/4 generally regarded as one of the sharpest lenses Canon makes... So either of those would be superb.

The 17-40 would give you coverage at 24mm albeit 1 stop slower, but still f/4 is great. And at the wider angle, the lack of image stabilisation is much less of an issue.

I would also jump at the chance to get rid of the 18-135 as that is (if I recall) an EF-S, crop-sensor only lens, and has IQ issues due to the range of its zoom.

Looking at your photos that you linked to, I'd jump at the chance to swap for the 17-40 f/4 L. It would leave a gap in your range at the long end but you could always get the 70-200 f/4 at a later date :-)

  • So, I bought a 24-105 and now am wondering..whats next? :) Wait a bit or get the 70-200 f4 non IS? Thanks again! 500px.com/andreiblack - more photos uploaded with the new lens – Andrei Jul 11 '13 at 20:43

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