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I already have Sigma 17-70mm f2.8- 4 lens and thinking of adding a pancake lens to my lens bag. Is it a good choice for overall full-body portraits and general street photography?

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You can answer this question for yourself better than anyone else can. Tape the zoom ring of your Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 at 24mm and go out and shoot some full body portraits and general street photography. The only major differences will be a slightly narrower maximum aperture (Zoomed to 24mm the Sigma is already at around f/3.2), and the larger size of the lens. That should be close enough to judge if the focal length is appropriate for your intended usage.

If you want to compare the optical performance of each lens, have a look at The-Digital-Picture or DxO Mark. The Canon does a little better than the Sigma at The-Digital-Picture. Tested on the 70D at DxO Mark the Canon pancake does a bit better at f/2.8 than the Sigma at 24mm f/3.2, but not by any significant amount (see below). This holds true pretty much across all apertures tested. Tested on the 700D/Rebel T5i the Sigma does a smidgen better than it tested on the 70D while Canon does about the same as tested on the 70D. So on the 700D they're pretty much dead even.
DxO Mark comparison with 70D Copy-to-copy variations are probably just as wide as the difference between the particular lenses of both models as tested by DxO.

Since both of these lenses are for APS-C cameras, you'll get a field of view similar to a 40mm lens on a full frame or 35mm film camera. 35-40mm has long been a favorite focal length of many street photographers and for use by many for full body or environmental portraits.

About the only thing you'll gain by using the EF-S 28mm f/2.8 pancake over the 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Sigma is the smaller, lighter lens that will be less conspicuous as well as easier to carry around. Of course you'll be giving up the ability to shoot as wide as 17mm and as long as 70mm in addition to being able to shoot at 24mm focal length.

  • Thanks for the answer, Michael.I understood, I already have a similar focal length in that case and new lens is only marginally better keeping size out of the question. What would you suggest for a canon 600D as a full body portrait lens in that case? – Amrit Bharadwaj Jul 13 '16 at 5:42
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    PS: I bought the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 on your advice and I must say it's brilliant! As always I appreciate the time you put in the detailing of your answers. – Amrit Bharadwaj Jul 13 '16 at 5:43
  • Is there anything about the Sigma 17-70 that limits you when taking full body portraits? If you've got the room to shoot with it the 70-200mm can also be used as a full body portrait lens, but you need a large studio in which to work. – Michael C Jul 13 '16 at 5:46
  • If you find answers to questions you ask helpful, you should select an answer as the "accepted" one by clicking the check mark next to that answer. Only the user who asks the question has that option. Thanks! – Michael C Jul 13 '16 at 5:50
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    Honestly, With the lenses you already own, another lens will not improve your portrait skills and results near as much as spending the same money on a few cheap speedlights and wireless triggers and learning how to light a portrait. 2 or 3 Yongnuo YN685s and a YN622C-TX and you're in business! – Michael C Jul 13 '16 at 6:02

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