General purpose f/2.8 zoom for 80D?

Mar 28, 2019
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Hi all,

Looking for recommendations for a f/2.8 zoom for my 80D. I currently have the 10-18 STM so I'm covered for wide angle stuff, and have the 18-135 STM for use in good light. Also have the 24/40/50 STM and 100/2 USM primes. I have the 24 STM up for sale right now as I just don't tend to use it much.

So far I've been considering the Tamron 17-50 non-VC, the 17-55 IS USM, the Tamron 24-70 G2, or the 24-70L II.
Obviously the 24-70 options are significantly more expensive, but I don't tend to use 24mm or narrower all that often (hence selling the 24 STM) and I would definitely use the 50/55-70 range if it was there. The 'ready for full frame' aspect is a bonus too if/when I upgrade to FF a few years down the road.

I'm looking to get something with good IQ wide open - if I have enough light to be stopped down much I'm probably just using the 18-135.
I've searched and read reviews and there doesn't seem to be a real consensus... the 24-70 II would be the clear winner if it had IS I think but it's also by far the most expensive.

Anyone have experience with one or more of the options?
 
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Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,129
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I have the 17-55.... works great, it is my go-to lens on the 7D2. The 24-70F4 is a surprisingly good lens, but of course, is not F2.8.... it has IS, but I find that I rarely need it. You may be able to use the F2.8 version without having IS..... after all, that lens is THE lens for wedding photography, and that is a demanding field where you can’t screw up.
 
Mar 14, 2012
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When I started with a APS-C camera, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS became my go-to lens. It's a bit long in the tooth, but it's still a good option especially if you get a good deal on it. However, if I were to go back to APS-C, I would seriously consider the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 and 50-100 f/1.8, even though I've had better luck focusing with Canon than Sigma lenses. You would lose on the zoom range, but then you wouldn't have to switch to a prime when the light levels get low. But the sigmas are heavier and larger.

If you are considering FF a few years down the road, I would suggest to getting a APS-C only lens. There is a lot of churn in the Canon ecosystem, and although the 24-70 II is a great lens, you might decide to go mirrorless, in which case the RF version would be better than the EF.
 
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Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
995
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In your situation, assuming budget isn’t an issue I would go with the 17-55 hands down. While the Tamron 17-50 is OK for the money, my copy was a bit soft at 2.8 and as a result I found myself always stopping down while using it...that defeats the purpose of having a 2.8 lens in the first place. Once finances allowed, I upgraded to the Canon 17-55 and until I adopted FF, was very happy with the IQ I was getting from it (build quality is another story though).

While the 24-70 II is an excellent lens on FF, I personally didn’t like it on crop. It is not wide enough nor is it stabilized. Also the IQ isn’t really any better than the 17-55 anyway despite costing 2x as much. I would avoid unless an upgrade to FF is imminent (or you absolutely require the extra durability and sealing)...
 
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Michael Clark

Now we see through a glass, darkly...
Apr 5, 2016
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In your situation, assuming budget isn’t an issue I would go with the 17-55 hands down. While the Tamron 17-50 is OK for the money, my copy was a bit soft at 2.8 and as a result I found myself always stopping down while using it...that defeats the purpose of having a 2.8 lens in the first place. Once finances allowed, I upgraded to the Canon 17-55 and until I adopted FF, was very happy with the IQ I was getting from it (build quality is another story though).

While the 24-70 II is an excellent lens on FF, I personally didn’t like it on crop. It is not wide enough nor is it stabilized. Also the IQ isn’t really any better than the 17-55 anyway despite costing 2x as much. I would avoid unless an upgrade to FF is imminent (or you absolutely require the extra durability and sealing)...
There seemed to be a lot of copy-to-copy variation with the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II. I got a Tamron 17-50/2.8 that is better at f/4 and just as good at f/2.8 as my EF 17-40mm f/4 L is at f/4 at common focal lengths when both are used on a crop body. It also compares well with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at common focal lengths and apertures when both are used on a crop body. YMMV.

When all are wide open at common focal lengths, the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II is significantly better optically than either the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS or the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II (which are both fairly comparable). Click on 'measurements → sharpness → profiles' and select focal lengths to see the difference at DxO Mark. Field maps as well as profiles are also rather enlightening.
 

Ah-Keong

EOS 80D
Dec 1, 2016
179
11
To a certain extent, I agree with with [U]Random Orbits[/U] . For focal range below 35mm, I would recommend getting APS-C lens like the EF-S 10-18mm, Sigma 18-35mm (my general purpose APS-C zoom), etc. The Sigma 18-35mm f/1,8 and the 50-100mm f/1,8 would good when using with FF in cropped mode, for video, etc.

Focal range wise, there are plenty of available FF options 50mm (primes), 70-200mm (zooms), etc. Once you upgrade to FF, the full frame options together with EF 3rd party options (Sigma, Tamron, etc) would be usable and you would be 'ready for full frame' by getting ultra wide angle glass (11-24mm, 12-24mm, 14-24mm, 15-30mm, 14mm f/1,8, TS-E 17mm, etc) .
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
995
102
I got a Tamron 17-50/2.8 that is better at f/4 and just as good at f/2.8 as my EF 17-40mm f/4 L is at f/4 at common focal lengths when both are used on a crop body. It also compares well with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at common focal lengths and apertures when both are used on a crop body. YMMV.
Ah, now the 24-105 is a lens I enjoyed very much on my T2i (and later 60D) when I had it. As I strictly used it outdoors, I could live with the wide end, and I particularly liked the extra reach I got on the 105mm end (and the stabilization). It was a true normal to telephoto lens, much like with the old film point and shoots.

I still like it and use it on my 5D - in fact, it becomes a much more versatile lens on FF - but at the same time, its flaws are definitely more apparent.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,129
1,650
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If you want to go really wide on a crop camera, there is a very nice Tokina 11-16 F2.8 lens that is very well reviewed and is quite affordable.
 

unfocused

EOS 5D SR
Jul 20, 2010
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If you want to go really wide on a crop camera, there is a very nice Tokina 11-16 F2.8 lens that is very well reviewed and is quite affordable.
I had the original version of this lens and liked it a lot. The latest version is now 11-20mm which is a bit more versatile. No IS, but with a lens this wide and fast, I never found that to be a problem. Also, the lens will mount on a full-frame body, although the vignetting can be pretty severe at the wide end.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,129
1,650
Canada
I had the original version of this lens and liked it a lot. The latest version is now 11-20mm which is a bit more versatile. No IS, but with a lens this wide and fast, I never found that to be a problem. Also, the lens will mount on a full-frame body, although the vignetting can be pretty severe at the wide end.
Funny you should say that.....

I just shot all the storage rooms at work and needed something wider than the 24-70 that we have, so I brought in my 11-16 Tokina, mounted it on a 6D, and shot all the rooms. I kept it at 15 and 16mm and the vignetting was not a problem, Lightroom profile for the lens corrected the bit there was. That said, go any wider and the vignetting was severe!

For obvious reasons, I can not post any work pictures to show the point, but here are two shots from my drive home to illustrate. Both taken with a Tokina 11-16 at F2.8 on a 6D2. These are the out-of-camera images, just resampled to make them fit the forum size limits
183735
183734
. First at 16mm, second at 11mm.