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Author Topic: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm  (Read 7688 times)

Synomis192

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Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« on: January 21, 2012, 06:21:28 AM »
Well, I know that I've posted on this forums before asking about getting either a 24-105mm or a 15-85mm, but both lenses are way out of my budget range now. Curse you College... anyways, I've been reading reviews on the 3 lenses, and I need some help deciding on which one to get as a present from my aunt. The budget she said was $500, so I found these lenses in those price ranges.

So bottom line, which lens of the 3 is the best. OR Is there a better lens I can get for $500 for my T1i.

ps. I'm not interested in getting a fixed focal length lens due to the fact I use my T1i for filming.
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Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« on: January 21, 2012, 06:21:28 AM »

elflord

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 08:26:33 AM »
Well, I know that I've posted on this forums before asking about getting either a 24-105mm or a 15-85mm, but both lenses are way out of my budget range now. Curse you College... anyways, I've been reading reviews on the 3 lenses, and I need some help deciding on which one to get as a present from my aunt. The budget she said was $500, so I found these lenses in those price ranges.

So bottom line, which lens of the 3 is the best. OR Is there a better lens I can get for $500 for my T1i.

ps. I'm not interested in getting a fixed focal length lens due to the fact I use my T1i for filming.

The Tamron 17-50. The focal length range is more useful than 28-75, it's constant f/2.8 and the reviews are favourable (see photozone.de). The Canon 17-85 is slower and isn't very highly regarded -- according to photozone the new kit lens (the 18-55) is better.

There are two different Tamron 17-50mm lenses, a VC (IS) version and a non-VC version. The non-VC version gets better reviews but you might prefer the VC version for filming.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 08:28:39 AM »
Of those three, the Tamron 17-50mm non-VC will give the best IQ.
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akiskev

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 10:21:21 AM »
It's not all about IQ my friend.
Of these three, Canon has the best and smoothest manual focus system. It also has IS which is useful if you handhold the camera.
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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2012, 12:25:40 PM »
The Tamron 17-50. The focal length range is more useful than 28-75, it's constant f/2.8 and the reviews are favourable (see photozone.de). The Canon 17-85 is slower and isn't very highly regarded -- according to photozone the new kit lens (the 18-55) is better.

There are two different Tamron 17-50mm lenses, a VC (IS) version and a non-VC version. The non-VC version gets better reviews but you might prefer the VC version for filming.
Just my two cents, but I would take photozone's reviews with a large grain of salt. The sample photos he posts at the end of his reviews are really not very good photos in my opinion, so I have a hard time taking seriously the rest of the review.

elflord

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2012, 01:25:33 PM »
Just my two cents, but I would take photozone's reviews with a large grain of salt. The sample photos he posts at the end of his reviews are really not very good photos in my opinion, so I have a hard time taking seriously the rest of the review.

Benchmarking the technical characteristics of a lens is a different skill from photography. There are plenty of professional photographers who have no idea how to benchmark a lens. My impression is that if you're prepared to live with the pros and cons of   very benchmark oriented reviews, photozone is a pretty good resource. Are you familiar with any known flaws in his methodology ?

In this case, I was just providing an example -- other reviews of the 17-85 and Tamron's 17-50 are similar. See lenstip, lensrentals, thedigitalpicture, etc.

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 01:30:46 PM »
I have the t2i + Tammy 17-50 NON VC version. The IQ for a walk-around lens is very good. There a quirk with this lens, as apposed to a canon lens, in that:

The 17-50 AF system is dicey in low light. It needs good light and contrast to focus well. You will find it NOT a good tool for indoor evening flash shooting - as the AF will be a problem.

For a good light lens, I found it superior to the canon 17-55, in that IQ was very much the same, and it is lighter and smaller. A joy to use.

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 01:30:46 PM »

Tijn

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2012, 03:28:57 PM »
Which one to pick: IQ wise I'm not too sure, but you're deciding between very different focal ranges and apertures. Both Tamrons sport a f/2.8 aperture on its entire range. If you want to do any kind of low light photography with the lens you're buying, or if you find the background blur produced by this aperture important, then those are probably your best picks. Just have to choose between focal lengths. If you are looking more for a flexible all-round main lens, and not so much interested in the fast aperture, then the 17-85 may be a better choice - wide zoom range with some short zoom (though IQ isn't great). Another downside is of course the limited apertures.
The 28-75 lacks wide aperture, but also has the fast f/2.8 aperture - definately the best choice if you want to do portraits with one of the three lenses.

But perhaps there are knockdown IQ-related arguments against or in favor of some of those lenses, that I don't know. Personally I'd say that if you seriously consider buying the 17-85, then you should save some more and get a different lens (for example the 15-85) instead. The 17-85 isn't very good for its cost. Too little "bang for your buck".

The Tamron lenses I don't know. If these three are your choices, I'd say pick the one of  the Tamrons with the zoom range you want most.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 03:32:31 PM by Tijn »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2012, 03:30:53 PM »
My impression is that if you're prepared to live with the pros and cons of   very benchmark oriented reviews, photozone is a pretty good resource. Are you familiar with any known flaws in his methodology ?

Perhaps not specifically with the methodology, but I am aware of some problems with his grasp of certain principles. In some reviews, he states, "Some keen users may note that the LW/PH figures exceed the resolution of the sensor and as such Nyquist... Imatest can look a bit beyond the sensor resolution by taking some additional parameters into account."  That's plain BS.
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elflord

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2012, 05:49:02 PM »
Perhaps not specifically with the methodology, but I am aware of some problems with his grasp of certain principles. In some reviews, he states, "Some keen users may note that the LW/PH figures exceed the resolution of the sensor and as such Nyquist... Imatest can look a bit beyond the sensor resolution by taking some additional parameters into account."  That's plain BS.


I haven't read up on this enough to know whether he is right or wrong. It seems clear that you can't resolve above the nyquist frequency with any lens/sensor combination. It is much less obvious that you can't tell whether or not the lens would be capable of resolving more with a better sensor.

The relevant quote from the IMAtest page appears to be: "The four bins are combined to calculate an averaged 4x oversampled edge. This allows analysis of spatial frequencies beyond the normal Nyquist frequency." under their description of the slanted edge method 
http://www.imatest.com/docs/sharpness/
I haven't picked through the math carefully enough to know if this makes sense or nonsense.

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2012, 06:24:42 PM »
I only have experience with the EF-S 17-85.

I bought it on CL for 300, played with it for a week and sold it for 300. There was serious distortion on the wide end- pretty much unusable. And with video, I'm not sure how easy it is to correct lens distortion.

The other 2 lenses usually get positive reviews. IS/ VC and a constant f2.8 are also great for video.

The good thing with lenses is that their value holds pretty well, so you can always sell/ trade it down the line.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2012, 06:34:41 PM »
@elford, if you scroll down further on the page you link, Norman Koren (or whoever wrote that page) states, "Sensor response above the Nyquist frequency is garbage."
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elflord

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2012, 06:49:50 PM »
@elford, if you scroll down further on the page you link, Norman Koren (or whoever wrote that page) states, "Sensor response above the Nyquist frequency is garbage."

I understand that the sensor can't resolve above its nyquist frequency, and that's the point that they are making in your quote. However, in the part I quoted, the imatest page is claiming that they can analyze higher spatial frequencies even if the sensor can't resolve them.

Here are a couple of questions I have:

(1) if you take a sharp lens and a soft lens, and shoot a pattern that has a higher spatial frequency than the nyquist frequency of the lens, will both lenses produce identical images ? If the lens faithfully reproduces the test pattern, you will get aliasing effects. Will these look different with the two lenses ?

(2) suppose i could do the following: take a picture, then move the camera 1/4 of a pixel, then take another, then combine the resulting images. Can I produce an image that resolves better than the sensor ?

(3) While it isn't practical to do (2), could I get a similar effect by carefully choosing the test pattern ?

Again, it's somewhat elementary that the sensor doesn't produce real signal above the nyquist frequency. I don't think it's anywhere nearly as obvious (I don't think it's even true though I'm not an expert on this) that you can't devise some test that can get around the the limitations of the sensor.  The sensor by itself can't resolve this information, but if you have some knowledge about both the sensor and the spatial structure of the test pattern, I'd think you should be able to make a prediction of what the resulting image should look like.

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2012, 06:49:50 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2012, 07:35:25 PM »
Here are a couple of questions I have:

(1) if you take a sharp lens and a soft lens, and shoot a pattern that has a higher spatial frequency than the nyquist frequency of the lens, will both lenses produce identical images ? If the lens faithfully reproduces the test pattern, you will get aliasing effects. Will these look different with the two lenses ?

(2) suppose i could do the following: take a picture, then move the camera 1/4 of a pixel, then take another, then combine the resulting images. Can I produce an image that resolves better than the sensor ?

(3) While it isn't practical to do (2), could I get a similar effect by carefully choosing the test pattern ?

I'll have to think on #1.  I can say that while #2 isn't possible with Canon dSLRs, it is possible in other systems - the Zeiss AxioCam HRc cameras ($14K each) on several of my microscopes do just that.  They can move the sensor (a 1.3 MP Sony 2/3" CCD) in one-pixel increments to sample each color in the Bayer mask and avoid interpolation for color, and they can also translate the sensor in sub-pixel increments to sample a 2x2 array for a 5 MP image or a 3x3 array for a 12 MP image. That's potentially real resolution.  However, the basis for that is the pixel 'sweet spot' (photosensitive area smaller than the total pixel area) - microlenses obviate that approach, as do subjects that move.

The other issue is that of sensors out-resolving lenses. While we're not there yet for dSLRs, microscopy is a different story. For my higher power objective lenses, e.g. 100x 1.4NA Plan-Apo with a 1.4NA condenser focusing the transmitted light, even VGA resolution (640x480) is sufficient to resolve the full optical resolution of the system, and anything over 0.3 MP is just empty resolution.
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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2012, 11:57:28 AM »
This may be a slightly old thread, and the OP may have made his decision, but since I currently own the first two lenses I'll chime in with my personal experience. Disclaimer: I'm only an amature photographer who loves to take pictures.

I have the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 non VC. The image quality of this lens is great. The lens is light and easy to carry. The AF is quick but noisy, and in dim light it will often make 2-3 micro adjustments following the first autofocus movement. I've found that when using a flash the focus is sketchy, and the keeper rate goes down unless you're using only the center focus point. I don't like that the focus ring turns when autofocusing, and there is no full time manual focus. The zoom has just the right amount of dampening to make it smooth, without turning too easily. It has no gravity creep. Wide open you can get a pretty shallow depth of field, but the bokeh is not as smooth as high end zooms like the Canon 24-70. In general the lens is a great step up from a kit lens, and asside from a couple of quirks my wife and I have been quite happy with this lens.

The Canon 17-85 is a good lens, and was a huge step up from the 18-55 kit lens we had initially. On my 40D it works fine, but doesn't have nearly the low light capabilities of the Tamron. Its a good walk around lens, especially outdoors. I've found the autofocus with this lens to be fast, smooth and accurate. The only place that the AF searches is in really low light. Usually it will lock on, even in situations where its too dark to get a reasonable picture. I like that with the USM the AF ring doesn't turn while autofocusing. I have found that the zoom ring has loosened up quite a bit since we got the lens 2 years ago, to the point where it will gravity zoom in certain situations. This is my biggest compliant about my 17-85.

I don't have the Tamron 28-75, and have never used it, but a good friend of mine (who is a lot more serious photographer than me) had one for a while. He was always complaining about the autofocus of that lens. He said that his keeper rate for low light was well below 50%.

Between the two lenses that I have direct experience with, I think I would go with the Tamron. It is more flexible with the faster aperture, and I can overlook the loud AF. I think the image quality is better from the Tamron, and its slightly narrower and lighter to carry. I rarely miss the 50-85mm focal length, and I have a telephoto lens for those times when I want it. I hope this helps.
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Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2012, 11:57:28 AM »