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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:23 pm 
Hi everyone,

I am well aware this is a well trodden path... But I need a bit of help here.

I'm replacing my kit lens for my 550d (18-55). I feel that the lens, although it has been great - it doesn't have the sharpness I require. The AF is also slow and at times unpredictable (not to mention noisy).

I want a similar lens, definitely a wide as I do a lot of landscape shots, but also require a bit of zoom also, just incase. I don't really want to spend over £450 / £500.

Can anyone recommend a lens that would maybe suit my needs?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:58 pm
Posts: 831
Location: United Kingdom
It's a well trodden path but the answers aren't always the same. :wink:

The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is the first lens I'd recommend which fits your budget.

It's much sharper than the kit lens, it focuses more quickly, quietly and consistently as well. It also has the benefit of featuring full-time manual focus. It is much heavier than the kit lens too but you should become accustomed to it fairly quickly.

There is the 17-85mm, which is the predecessor to the 15-85mm to consider as well. You can get decent used ones for less than £200. The reason why I ruled it out is that it suffers noticeable distortion at the wide angle, even when you stop it down.

There are also the 17-50mm f/2.8 offerings from Tamron and Sigma to consider too if you're looking for something that works well in low light. However they are reportedly inconsistent in terms of optical quality - some people have claimed they've had to buy and return several copies of the same SKU to get one that was optically sharp though you may fare more fortunately than they did.

DSLRs: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EOS 70D
CSC: Canon EOS M3
Lenses: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF-M 22mm f/2.0 STM

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:46 pm 
I have been looking at Sigma lenses, but have heard about the lack of quality control. This does bother me, despite the sigmas having great build quality. I tried my friends recently and loved it.

I have a tamron zoom lens and it is "ok". I don't think I would spend money on another, this lens would definitely be one to upgrade next. The build quality is good, but the images tend to be a little soft, even when on my tripod.

I think it is definitely a sigma or canon, I will look into the canon 15-85mm, it looks like a serious contender. Thanks for your help.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:42 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:22 pm
Posts: 498
Location: 1 AU from the nearest star
No matter the brand, there are always variations in calibration that would make a lens work great on several camera, but not on one camera.

That said, I own 2 different sigma lenses and do not have quality issues with them. From what I have read, they are a lot better at the wider end, or with primes, than they are with their telephoto zooms.

Canon 5DIII, Rebel XTi/400D
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DO, 85mm f/1.8
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX Macro

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Canon 430EX II
Opteka 13mm, 21mm, and 31mm extension tubes
Vivitar 50mm f/1.8 for OM System

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:36 am
Posts: 620
Location: Toronto, ON
+1 for the 15-85mm... if I was sticking with crop-frame I'd have one in a heartbeat for those all-purpose occasions :)

Canon EOS 5D MkII | Canon EOS 7D | Canon Digital Rebel XSi | EF 35mm f/1.4L | EF 50mm f/1.8 II | EF 85mm f/1.8 | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM | EF 135mm f/2L | EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | 580EX II | LumoPro LP-120

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:38 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
Posts: 2182
Location: The Netherlands
I thought the 15-85 and 18-55 IS werent that different when it comes to sharpness, I remember though that the 18-55 IS is actually sharper than the 17-85.
Yes, the 15-85 is the sharpest overall, but I think you need another lens to see great differences in sharpness. The mentioned Sigma and Tamron 17-50 2.8 are great, those are really sharp. The Tamron without VC (!) is one of the sharpest zooms at that price, the VR is mediocore (not really up to the non-VC), the Sigma 18-50 2.8 is as great as the Tamron 17-50 2.8 non-VC but lacks just at the wide end a bit (it's actually 18,8mm or something like that while the Tamron is more like 16,5mm) and then there's the Sigma 17-50 2.8 which is great, though you have some extra bucks to spend which you may or may not find it worth.
The Canon is 3x the Tamron 17-50 2.8 so I would not consider that one.


Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies

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