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Author Topic: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4  (Read 3570 times)

PJL

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Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« on: January 28, 2013, 02:05:36 PM »
I've been a long time reader and finally thought I’d ask for everyone’s advice on a lens purchase dilemma I’m having.  I realize the “which lens should I buy” posts can get annoying after a while so I’ll preface this by saying that I've tried all the lenses I’m deciding between and am really stuck!

First though thanks to everyone for all the incredibly usefully information that I've read over the years on these boards.  It has certainly helped improve the quality of my photos. 

About Me:
I currently have a 6d that I got for Christmas.  Before that I had a Rebel XT for 8 years that I used with a the EF-S 17-85 and the 85 F/1.8.  I just sold the 17-85.  I am loving the 6d so far.  Coming from an XT it’s one heck of an upgrade.  I’m up north so I can’t wait for winter to clear so there’s more time to get outside and shoot!

What I like to shoot:
Landscapes
My 4mo old daughter

What I like to do:
I do a lot of walking/hiking.  I don’t like carrying a ton of stuff, and almost never bring a tripod.  So my landscapes tend to be handheld wherever I am.  I wasn't into people pictures until we had our first kid.  Now she seems to dominate my subject matter.

So at first I was going to get the 6D with 24-105 the kit lens.  I wanted to learn more about the 24-70 f/4 and was hoping it would be available as a kit option alongside the 6D.  As a result I kept waiting and waiting for it to be released.  I finally gave up and bought the body only as I didn't want to miss any more shots and figured the 85 F/1.8 would get the job done in the short term.  I also picked up the 40 F/2.8 for something a little wider while I made up my mind.  I was attracted to the 24-70 f/4 because of the IS (handheld), small size (for walking/hiking) and macro features (I've been wanting to do more of this but couldn't commit to a dedicated lens).  In hindsight I should have just gotten the 24-105 as a kit.  I just wasn't excited enough at the time and felt like I'd regret it.

I went back and looked at photos from the last few years and realized that on my 17-85 I took almost all of my photos at either the wide or zoom end.  Very few in the middle.

Through a stroke of good fortune I received a $1,250 gift card to Amazon as a perk from work.  I netted $375 selling my 17-85 and an old 70-300 so I have $1600 or so to spend on the lens I've been waiting for.  After doing some research and trying out a lot of lenses I’m down to the following options:

Option 1:
EF 24-70 F/4 IS - $1,499

Option 2:
EF 70-200 F/4 IS - $1,099
EF 17-40 F/4 - $699

I realize there are rebates ending on the option 2 items Feb 2nd.  Not sure how likely it is that they will be extended but those prices include the rebates.

Here are my thoughts:
Option 1: Great size for walking/hiking, very useful focal range, brand new IS, and can do my macro thing when I want to try it out.  When I tried one at a local store I was impressed with how small it was.  Cons are the price (I feel like I’m overpaying as an early adopter) and the fact that it doesn't seem to “wow” everyone on these forums from an IQ standpoint.

Option 2:  I’m really excited about the 70-200.  From my brief experience renting one it is an awesome lens and I've never really owned a good telephoto.  The 17-40 also intrigues me as I love wide angle stuff.  The cons are the added weight and I worry about the 17-40 as my primary walk-around.  It doesn't have IS (is that ok for my handheld landscape needs?) and I’ll be missing the 40-70 range in my kit.  Not that it’s essential to have everything covered.

My questions:
1.   Is there some other combo for around $1600 that I should be considering?  Perhaps even non-canon lenses?  Blow it on a prime instead?
2.   Is the 17-40 ok for general purpose use?  Without a tripod?  How much will I miss the 40-70?
3.   How is the 70-200 as a portrait lens?  Is it usable indoors?  I have my 85 f?1.8 and absolutely love it so indoor use isn’t a necessity.
4.   Are these canon rebates that are ending Feb 2nd likely gone for a while?

Thanks in advance for all your help!  Sorry for the long post.

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Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« on: January 28, 2013, 02:05:36 PM »

bseitz234

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 02:43:49 PM »
My thoughts:

on a FF, 17-40 is a little wide for most people's general-purpose, walk-around lens. It works out fine for some people, but I think they tend to be crop body users. What about a 24-105 and a 70-200? I know there's some range overlap, but the 24-105 will give you IS, same max aperture, get you a reasonably wide angle, and cover the rest of the general purpose range. It's a bit more expensive than the 17-40, but at realistic street prices, not that much more expensive. ($845 on Amazon via a marketplace seller).

I think that kind of answered questions 1 and 2, but to directly answer your questions...

1) There are loads of options, I think you've got two good options, and the only other combo I'd recommend is the 24-105 + 70-200.

2) The 17-40 is great for some people, fine for others, and not long enough for still others. For landscapes, it'd be great. For pictures of your daughter, 40 is still wide enough to emphasize the center of the frame over the edges, which introduces a very distinctive perspective. Unless you shoot in very low light, my gut feeling is that you wouldn't miss IS that much, especially because with the 6D you'll be able to ramp your ISO up much higher than you're used to.

3) I love my 70-200. It's very usable for portraits- can get a bit tight indoors, though. For outdoor portraits, or larger indoor spaces, it's a lovely lens. Then again, I have a 7D, so I'm dealing with the crop factor... my guess is on a 6D, it would be fantastic.

4) Canon has extended the rebates the past couple times they have been set to expire. Will they extend them again? No one knows but their marketing department. Will vendors like B&H continue to offer below-MAP "add to cart" prices, effectively rendering the rebates extended? Again, unclear. If you want to be safe, now is a very good time to buy.

Just my two cents...
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70-200 f/2.8L - 17-55 f/2.8 IS - 85 f/1.8 - 50 f/1.4 - 28 f/1.8
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Random Orbits

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 02:52:54 PM »
If you had your heart set on getting the 24-70 f/4, I'd wait a year for the price to drop.  1500 is a bit much for what it does.

I would suggest trying to get a used/white box 24-105 for 800 or less.  I think it is a better value than the 24-70 f/4.  With the 24-105 f/4, 40 f/2.8 and 85 f/1.8, you should be good for a while.  The 24 on FF is wider than your 17-75 on your Rebel.  Unless, you felt you needed something wider when you were using the Rebel, 24mm should be wide enough for most uses.  You can then use the 40 or 24-105 as a walk-around depending on how compact you want your gear to be.

The 70-200 f/4 IS is a nice lens but so is the 70-300L.  The 70-300L gives a little more reach while costing you a fraction of a stop.  Both are used primarily outdoors though, and neither are great for portrait.  For indoor portraits, most would opt for the 85 f/1.8 over a slower telephoto zoom.  You might also want to wait a year before getting the telephoto zoom.  Once your daughter starts walking, then the 70-200 or 70-300 works nicely for outdoor shots and for trips (i.e. zoos).

Your option 2 would have worked better if you had a 50mm prime instead of a 40 or a 85.

Rat

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 02:55:00 PM »
The 70-200 is way more than just "telephoto" on a FF camera. You'll want that any which way (I'm not a big 70-300 fan, YMMV). I'd take that as a starting point and see what else you can add. I wouldn't pay 1500 for the 24-70/4, if you can get the 24-105 (which is not much worse except for the heavy wide-angle distortion, although I rarely mind) for 600 bucks less. I love this lens and think it's a shame you missed that opportunity.

If you can't pay for a 70-200 and a 24-105, I'd go for option 2. You can always get a plastic fantastic for 89 bucks or whatever they charge and have an inbetween.
5DIII, 17-40, 24-105, 70-200/4IS, 50/1.8II, 85/1.8 and a truckload of gimmicks and bits.

RS2021

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 03:04:51 PM »

I went back and looked at photos from the last few years and realized that on my 17-85 I took almost all of my photos at either the wide or zoom end.  Very few in the middle.


That quote is perhaps your most telling of your post... so option #1, 24-70 f4 IS is not going to cut it on the tele end as the 70mm on the full frame 6D would have the FOV of "middle" focal length of what you were used to on your crop body. You will be wishing for more reach constantly when you zoom out to 70mm.

Option #2 is ok, as the 70-200L f/4 IS is one of the best IQ zooms that is light to carry on top.

But I think you should have gotten the 24-105L as it is still f/4 and will give you more reach than 24-70mm.
Just look at some of the threads here on CR where people post their pics...this so called "kit" zoom can generate some awesome pictures. And you don't have to switch lenses to gain reach or to do good quality landscapes. It is a perfect walk-around lens and a good event and portrait lens.

I am sure you will hear voices that say "oh but f4 is too slow for indoors"... Remember, 6D is very good with low light.

Importantly, all the other options you list are also f/4 so by no means would this be a step down.

If you pick 24-105L around ~$800, you can now consider other faster lenses...perhaps even the excellent 135L and still come under your budget or instead the 70-300L and get a longer tele for a few more bucks.

You can't go wrong with 70-200L f/4, but frankly you will be gaining additional 100-200 f/4 if you opt for the 24-105L zoom and I don't think this is a great "first" combo. Nothing wrong with the 70-200 f/4 IS...I am a fan...just it won't add too much in this specific combo.

Once you build up your lens collection, depending on your apetite for weight and speed,  I think either the higly able, lighter 70-200 f/4 IS or the equally able, faster, heavier 2.8 IS II should be in the collection....but early in the game, not so much.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 03:08:45 PM by Ray2021 »
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distant.star

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 03:22:18 PM »
.
I'm hardly the lens master....

But, you'd regret not having that 70-200 if you got the 24-70. That's what your comments sound like to me.

Without carrying a lot, you can put the 70-200 on the body and carry it with you hiking and with just the tiniest of shoulder bags also have the light 17-40 along just in case. So, when that deer pops up 50 feet away, you're ready. And when you wander into that perfect landscape perspective, just change the lens. The only downside I see is you'll need f/8 to get excellent IQ with the 17-40 so you may find yourself bracing with a tree or setting the camera on a fencepost.

Those two lenses open up the whole scope of your camera. The 24-70 doesn't give you a lot more than you already have (plus the price is still too high).

Oh, and congratulations on your daughter -- take lots and lots of pictures. And store those little treasures so you'll have them 50 years from now. (If we don't destroy the planet before then!)
Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

tphillips63

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 03:26:15 PM »
I too suggest looking at the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
It could be all you need, at least for a while and not spend all your funds at once or if you need a speed light or two you could do that.
With its IS you can get great video as well.

I agree with Random orbits about the price on the 24-70mm /f4L IS USM, will come down, a fair amount soon.  Believe me, I bought the 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM and 5D Mark III, right around when they both came out, at initial retail.  If I had waited just a while, each dropped nearly $5000 less than they were at first.

Search for photos taken with the 24-105mm and I think you will be pleased with what it can do.
EOS 5D Mk III | EF 16-35/2.8L  | EF 24-105/4L IS | EF 70-200/2.8L II IS | TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II | EF 35mm f/1.4L | EF 40/f2.8 P | EF 50/1.2L | EF 180/3.5L | 600EX RT |

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 03:26:15 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 03:44:26 PM »
I do a lot of walking/hiking.  I don’t like carrying a ton of stuff, and almost never bring a tripod.  So my landscapes tend to be handheld wherever I am.  I wasn't into people pictures until we had our first kid.  Now she seems to dominate my subject matter.

Then the 17-40L is not for you - you can shoot @high iso with the 6d and thus gain higher shutter speeds that compensates for the missing IS, but at the same time you will loose a lot of dynamic range that is important for landscape. And if you're shooting hdr brackets, it's best with a tripod or at least IS so that the frames overlap as much as possible.

Only you can determine if you'd miss the 17-23 range, it's quite a lot, but it's not "general purpose" on full frame and as KR (in this case correctly) says: an uaw lens is not for "taking it all in" landscape but for the uwa effect, esp. when shooting objects near to the lens (the 17-40L has a very good min. focusing distance).

As for the tele zoom, I'd also recommend to have a look at the 70-300L because of it's small pack size (extending zoom) vs. the internal zoom of the 70-200s. Then add a used 24-105L and you're good to go, the overlap of the two lenses is nice because you can skip changing them when outdoors or in a hurry.

As for the 24-70/4: Yes, completely overpriced, near-macro capability sounds nice but it lacks working distance - and the 70-300L has a good max. magnification because of 300mm + small min. focusing distance.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 04:01:14 PM by Marsu42 »

wayno

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 03:47:12 PM »
I appreciate the versatility of the 24-105 but having borrowed and used it for awhile, i still find it slow and to be honest, a bit dull. I found myself taking good 'meat and potatoes' shots with it but struggled to produce anything with any real charm. I passed on it, despite its versatility. Obviously YMMV.

sawsedge

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 03:48:49 PM »
If you were just talking landscapes, I'd say option 2 because the missing 40-70mm range is nothing for landscapes, unless you happen to love 50mm with landscapes.

With kids, family outings, and general walk-around, I think the 24-xx is a more important range to cover.  The 85mm f/1.8 will cover your portrait needs in style.  I'd hang onto that no matter what else you get.  Kids are kids for such a brief time.

I tried the 24-70 f/4L and apparently had a bad copy.  At first I thought I needed MFA, but found I could not get anything sharp even with 10x liveview on a solid tripod.  Everything was soft, and I've used enough lenses to know I could do much much better.  For the money, it had to go back.  My 15-85 on my old 50D worked far better at half the cost (I'm now using a 5D3).  The 15-85 is outstanding, but of course is EF-S and won't work on full-frame.  So now I'm considering the 24-105 (still waiting for B&H to refund me, it's a long wait).

I would do what others have suggested, and see if you can swing the 24-105 + 70-200.  If not, then just get the 24-105 for now, and save for the other.


sagittariansrock

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2013, 03:54:13 PM »
I think option 2 makes a lot of sense. I'd add a 50mm to it though- you will appreciate the shallow depth of field and the fast shutter speed when taking pics of your daughter who will be VERY mobile pretty soon.
1.   You can get the 24-105 and add a Tamron 70-300 VC USD for the price with a 35mm or 50mm for good measure. Choice with non-Canon primes is endless, but the newer IS primes are very sharp and if you use mostly the ends of the 17-85, then a 24mm IS and the stellar 135mm L might be great for you (with a little foot-zooming as needed)!
2.   YMMV, but I think 17-40 should be fine since you can always crop afterwards if necessary and the high ISO performance of an FF is so much better.
3.  I am sure the 70-200 will be more than sufficient for portraits, especially since you already have the 85 1.8.
Never sarcastic, just misinterpreted sometimes.

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kkelis

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 04:14:14 PM »
Have you considered tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC

It has the focal length you need most
It has f2.8 for nice portraits of your daughter
It has stabilization that you will need to keep that ISO low when you shoot landscape without a tripod.
It is much ceaper than the 24-70 f4 canon

brad-man

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 04:16:43 PM »
What I like to shoot:
Landscapes
My 4mo old daughter


I would suggest buying a single lens for your needs. The Tamron SP24-70 f2.8 VC will not only come in handy shooting your daughter indoors and out, it will be an excellent hand-held landscape lens due to speed and excellent VC (IS in Canon speak). The only caveat is that it is not a small and light lens.

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 04:16:43 PM »

PJL

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 07:17:49 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice guys.  Wasn't surprised to see no one recommend getting the 24-70 f/4 right now.  You confirmed my suspicions that I made a mistake and got a little too "cute" by not grabbing the 24-105 as a kit with my 6d.  I'll take a look at white box options on ebay as they seem to go for around $800 which is still reasonable.

Also will check out the tamron as I have heard good things.  Just not thrilled with the weight.  Getting a 24 non-L prime and a 135 was also an interesting idea. 

Zorfunk

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 07:29:03 PM »
Get a poor man's prime trinity: 20mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, and a 100mm f2. It'll be under a grand. Add a decent tripod/head and you're still less than a 24-70 f4.

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Re: Lens Help - 17-40 & 70-200 f/4 or 24-70 f/4
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 07:29:03 PM »