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  1. #1
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    upgrade from the canon 17-55 kit lens...

    Been using the kit lens that came with my T1i for about a year, ready to upgrade. I primarily take pics of skiers and landscapes, in bright sunlight and also in crappy low light conditions. I don't want to carry multiple lenses while I'm skiing or climbing, but I know that with my budget (around $450) I can either get a lens with more range or possibly a used lens with a wider aperture, but probably not both.

    Guess I'm curious if folks have found their go-to lens for outdoor trips is an all-purpose large zoom lens like a 18-125 or a smaller standard zoom with a much better aperture.

  2. #2
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    an all-purpose zoom sacrifices image quality for range.

    the tamron 17-50/2.8 is tack sharp and quite versatile. the only downside (to me) is that its AF is very loud, so don't use it for wedding or spy photography.

    do a quick search for the lens in this forum and you'll find a ton of glowing reviews.

  3. #3
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    thanks. is it worth the extra $$ to get one that has image stabilization? I hadn't really been considering lenses that didn't have stabilization, but maybe thats not as important as I had originally thought.

  4. #4
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    Do some research on that tamron and if you decide you like it I'll probably have one up for sale pretty soon here.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  5. #5
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    I know it doesn't fit your criteria but lately I have been shooting fast primes. For about $550 used, you can get a 35mm canon f/2, a 50mm canon f/1.8 and a 85mm rokinon f/1.4. I know this isn't "ideal" for your type of shooting, but these three lenses combined cost less than my other 3 lenses individually and I haven't stopped shooting with them since I got them. I have $2500 in other lenses that are essentially collecting dust now. But the lens I would absolutely take on any trip for a walkaround lens is my 17-55 2.8

    My next purchase is the 8mm f/3.5 rokinon.

    That being said, double your budget and the ef-s17-55 is slick. If you don't mind the speed reduction and wide angle, you can usually find a 24-105 f/4L for relativity cheap. I was able to talk a craigslist guy down to $700 for it. That's essentially a 38-168 on a crop body and the lens rocks.

    PS... take my advice with a grain of salt. I am by no means a pro and have gone about this whole photography thing 100% incorrectly, financially. I'm just giving you what I have learned whether it be right or wrong.
    Last edited by gameface; 02-27-2011 at 10:04 PM.
    I think you have me confused with someone who is far less awesome.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gameface View Post
    I know it doesn't fit your criteria but lately I have been shooting fast primes. For about $550 used, you can get a 35mm canon f/2, a 50mm canon f/1.8 and a 85mm rokinon f/1.4. I know this isn't "ideal" for your type of shooting, but these three lenses combined cost less than my other 3 lenses individually and I haven't stopped shooting with them since I got them. I have $2500 in other lenses that are essentially collecting dust now. But the lens I would absolutely take on any trip for a walkaround lens is my 17-55 2.8

    My next purchase is the 8mm f/3.5 rokinon.

    That being said, double your budget and the ef-s17-55 is slick. If you don't mind the speed reduction and wide angle, you can usually find a 24-105 f/4L for relativity cheap. I was able to talk a craigslist guy down to $700 for it. That's essentially a 38-168 on a crop body and the lens rocks.

    PS... take my advice with a grain of salt. I am by no means a pro and have gone about this whole photography thing 100% incorrectly, financially. I'm just giving you what I have learned whether it be right or wrong.
    Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 $260
    Olympus Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 $60
    Pentax SMC 50mm f/1.4 $90
    Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 $250
    -----------------------------
    Total $660

  7. #7
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    I find my tammy 17-50's AF to be too slow for skiing. I'm no pro and don't have pro athlete friends, so I don't bother to setup a prefocused shot very often. Therefore, I rely on AI servo with AF to track the shots. I love my canon 70-200f4 for this (bought it for under your budget too), and want to upgrade my tamron to the 17-55 2.8is.

  8. #8
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    thanks for the comments. sounds like theres a consensus that a faster lens is going to be better than going for something with a really wide zoom range.
    i do want to monkey around with primes eventually, but for the time being i just want to replace the kit lens with something better and not have to change lenses while i'm out.
    and yeah...if money was no limit, the canon ef-s17-55 2.8is would be my obvious choice, but i don't have that kind of money to throw at what is still a relatively new hobby.

  9. #9
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    .

    Quote Originally Posted by gameface View Post
    PS... take my advice with a grain of salt. I am by no means a pro and have gone about this whole photography thing 100% incorrectly, financially. I'm just giving you what I have learned whether it be right or wrong.
    With this thought in mind, would it be a smarter investment to purchase a body alone, and then the 17-50/ 2.8, rather than buying a kit bundled with a lense?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shroom View Post
    With this thought in mind, would it be a smarter investment to purchase a body alone, and then the 17-50/ 2.8, rather than buying a kit bundled with a lense?
    Depends. 2 scenarios. If you don't have the money to get both right away, it would suck to have the body and no lens so I would buy the kit (like I did). If you do have the money for both, I would just get the body and the lens separate. Good thing if you go with the kit, you can usually get your money back reselling the lens on eBay. I sold my kit 18-55 for $96 once I upgraded so technically I didn't really "lose" that much buying kit first. And quite frankly, I bought it that way because I had no intention of becoming a lens hoarder.
    I think you have me confused with someone who is far less awesome.

  11. #11
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    i bought my T1i refurbished from Adorama.... even with the kit lens it was a lot less than a new camera body.

  12. #12
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    I highly suggest the newer Canon 15-85 IS lens. Tack sharp, super fast AF, and it's got a great build quality to it as well. You can find a used one for around $600-650. A lot of reviews rate it as sharp (or damn close) as the 17-55 f/2.8 lens.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I highly suggest the newer Canon 15-85 IS lens. Tack sharp, super fast AF, and it's got a great build quality to it as well. You can find a used one for around $600-650. A lot of reviews rate it as sharp (or damn close) as the 17-55 f/2.8 lens.
    seconded

  14. #14
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    is the 15-85 really that good? from my limited research, i always hear 'get a fast lens' and 'don't get something with too much range or you'll have compromised optics' but it would be nice to get something with more range than just 50-55 max and get nice sharp images. starting to think that maybe i save my pennies for another few months and try to stretch the lens budget up to $600.

  15. #15
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    Sorry for the thread jack...anyone ever use the Rokinon 14 2.8?

  16. #16
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    I haven't yet but I can tell you the Rokinon 85mm 1.4 is sexy as hell. Right now I am watching a Rokinon 8mm fisheye on ebay. As long as you don't mind manual focus and manual aperture adjustment their glass is quality.
    I think you have me confused with someone who is far less awesome.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gameface View Post
    I haven't yet but I can tell you the Rokinon 85mm 1.4 is sexy as hell. Right now I am watching a Rokinon 8mm fisheye on ebay. As long as you don't mind manual focus and manual aperture adjustment their glass is quality.
    Thanks, I might just pick it up and give her a try.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bud View Post
    is the 15-85 really that good? from my limited research, i always hear 'get a fast lens' and 'don't get something with too much range or you'll have compromised optics' but it would be nice to get something with more range than just 50-55 max and get nice sharp images. starting to think that maybe i save my pennies for another few months and try to stretch the lens budget up to $600.
    I can't compare it to the 17-55 f/2.8 IS since I've never owned that one, but the 15-85 IS is tack sharp and focuses as fast as just about any other lens out there. For my needs, I don't need a fast lens in that range... with the 15-85, I'm almost always using it outside to shoot landscapes or sports, in good light. No need for a 2.8 lens. I'd prefer the additional range, the higher quality build, and the fast AF. It has all of those.

  19. #19
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    May 2007
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    I'll go ahead and third the 15-85 IS. It's been my favorite all around lens for skiing and other sports.
    A day of skiing is better than sitting on your ass wishing you had gone skiing.
    Hooking Mags up with What.CD invites. PM with your email addy and I'll fire one your way.

  20. #20
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    I have a 17-55 and absolutely love it. The one thing I wish it had was a bit longer zoom. Can't have everything though. When the 15-85 came out, I was really intriqued with it. If you see yourself going to a 3 or more lens quiver, I'd stick with the 17-55 as my walk around. If you are going to go with one or two lens and stay with that, it's tough to beat the versatility of the 15-85. Pretty damn wide and has a decent zoom on it while still providing great photos.

  21. #21
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    thanks for all the advice guys....sounds like there are a few options i'd be happy with, but since i really don't want to carry multiple lenses in the backcountry and i would like a bit more range than the kit lens, guess i'll be putting off the purchase till i can get my paws on a 15-85.

  22. #22
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    The real answer here is easy... buy the Sigma 18-125mm OS HSM I have for sale a few threads down. (it really is a great skiing lens)

  23. #23
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    I just picked up the 15-85 for $640 refurbished on the canon website. Good deal if you ask me.

  24. #24
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    yeah, i saw that too..was hoping that i wouldn't get dinged WA state sales tax, but once in the shopping cart, tax got added...price goes up to $720.

  25. #25
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    I have the 15 - 85 and it's a stunningly good lens. Useful wide angle. Pretty good reach for a do it all lens. The IS works quite well and it's auto focus is fast

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