I am going on a cruise to Greece and Italy this summer, I really wanted to buy a new Canon lens for my t2i but i am confused whether to buy the 17-40 f/4.0 or the 15mm 2.8 fisheye. Any help?

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    You should really tell us more info. What are you interested in shooting? Why do you want a new lens? Just remember, more info means better answers. – BBischof Mar 2 '11 at 22:57
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    Do you have a lens right now that you're comparing to? In other words, if you've got an 18-55 kit lens and you just want higher quality, the 1-40 is an excellent choice, but if you're trying to expand your focal range in some way, we need more info. – D. Lambert Mar 2 '11 at 23:07
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    Best walkaround lens within budget so far for 1.6X crop body is Canon EF-S 15-85mm in my opinion. Gives you quality wideangle (15mm) and portrait-type-tele-end (85mm) as well. – fahad.hasan Mar 3 '11 at 4:08
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    Welcome to photo.stackexchange! I hope you aren't overwhelmed by the questions, but we do need a little more info in order to properly help you :) – drewbenn Mar 3 '11 at 5:18

Those two lenses are going to give you significantly different results. The big thing to note is that the fisheye lens is, well, a fisheye. It'll create severely distorted images that can be "straightened" using software but it's going to have a distinct fisheye look.

It doesn't look bad, but it's not what one would usually choose for a walkaround/vacation lens.

On the other hand the 17-40 f/4L is a well respected lens that covers a good wide-angle zoom range. f/4 should be fast enough for outdoor scenes and well-lit indoor scenes as well.

I'd say unless you're specifically looking for the fisheye look, go for the 17-40.

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    I'll second this, and add that when vacationing you'll probably want to be carrying as little gear as you can get away with. The fisheye -- or the near-equivalent rectilinear 14mm lens -- is a one-trick pony, great for architectural pictures when you can't step too far back (okay, two tricks, since vast panoramas are also possible), but approaching uselessness otherwise. The 17-40 covers a much larger set of possibilities. Extreme wide angle shots rarely require shallow DoF, so the cheap kit lens can cover anything wider than 17mm adequately without the weight penalty. – user2719 Mar 2 '11 at 23:17

The Fisheye is a lens for special effects. You certainly don't want to buy this as a lens for documenting your vacation.


Without knowing what other lenses you have it's difficult to say what you should get, but if you want to take holiday snaps you want to take as versatile a lens with you as possible so the 17-40 is probably a better bet than the fish eye.

Personally I have an 18-200mm lens which I use when I'm on holiday because it means I don't have to take any other lenses with me. I also carry about my 50mm 1.8 because it's awesome.

Unless you know you need a fish eye then you probably don't need a fish eye, you might be able to get similar a effect by getting a fish eye filter that screws onto one of your existing lenses for an awful lot less money.

  • +1 for the 18-200. Nothing beats a trans-standard when you need versatility while being limited in transport. I personally add a 20mm pancake for the times I prefer to remain discrete, ultra-light or space restrained. – Berzemus Mar 3 '11 at 13:01

I would say for a greater range of possible uses, it would probably be best to get the 17-40 over the fisheye.


I've been to both Greece, and Italy and I can say with 100% certainty that you will want the 17-40 over the Fish-eye. Of the two, the 17-40 is more versatile, and given that the T2i has decent enough high-iso capabilities, the overall usefulness of the 17-40 will easily compensate for the 1-stop light loss.


You have a cropped sensor camera, I would consider an EF-S lens. These tend to be cheaper and lighter than similar quality EF lenses like the 17-40.

Consider the 17-55, 17-85, or 15-85.

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    As the 17-40 is an L lens, the only one of the three EF-S lenses you mention that would get close in quality is the 17-55, and it's actually a few hundred dollars more than the 17-40 – ahockley Mar 3 '11 at 1:36
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    But we don't know that the OP even cares about image quality (or were you referring to build quality? Do we think the OP cares more about that?). Until we hear more, this answer is as valid as any other answer that tries to guess what is really being asked. – drewbenn Mar 3 '11 at 1:51
  • @ahockley that's not true, the 15-85 is considered very high quality and is cheaper than the 17-40. – rm999 Mar 3 '11 at 8:54

The 17-40 will take sharper pictures than the kit lens, but it doesn't have IS (Image Stabilization) so you may actually get blurrier pictures when you use it, in some light conditions!

If you are looking for a wide angle lens, either to fit more into the frame or to get a wide-angle perspective , you should read http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-use-ultra-wide-lenses.htm which covers the subject well (I know, I know, KR this, KR that. But it's a good guide to effective use of wide angle lenses). Also, you should know that the 17-40 gives you only about a 6% wider view than the kit 18-55 lens! So if you think you want, or have been told to get, "a wide angle lens," you should look into the 10-22 or its off-brand equivalents.

If you don't already know that you want the fisheye, you probably shouldn't get it. As others have mentioned, it's a specialty lens, and you should only get a specialty lens if you have specific uses in mind for it.

Have you considered other lenses, like the 17-55?

Finally, you are just going to be shooting things close-up, right? Because neither of the lenses you asked about (nor any of the lenses I've mentioned) will be particularly good at capturing anything detailed more than a couple hundred feet away.

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