Sunday, September 9, 2007

Canon EF-S 17 - 55 f /2.8 IS USM ... Versus The Tamron SP AF 17 - 50 f /2.8

Now that I've chosen a medium telephoto zoomage (Sigma 50mm - 150mm F /2.8) for my new gear bag, it's time to pick that wide to medium tele - zoom to round out the package. With no shortage of opinions as to which lens is the best for the money, I culled thru the regular Internet sources, DP Review, Fred Miranda, Flickr etc... and pulled together some general consensus.

The general consensus is that there are a lot of Dumb Ass's on the Internet! I guess the opinion of enough Dumb Ass's added together will produce a reasonable picture of the truth.Once you learn to ignore the complaining Camera Dweebs, " This lens won't focus...I shot the big game at f /2.8 at 1/60th of a second and the prints from Wolf Camera were all Blurry! " you can find enough info to form a reasonable opinion. So, having suffered thru hours of Forum Posts about this lens and that lens, I have narrowed it down to two candidates. One choice, probably out of my budget, but clearly the overall point leader and champion, is the Canon EF-S 17 - 55mm f /2.8 IS USM. Lauded by both the camera dweebs and working photographers as a sweet piece of glass, you can't ignore the specs. F / 2.8 Maximum Aperture, 'Superb optical quality with no change in aperture over the full focal length', quiet and fast USM focusing with the invaluable addition of Image Stabilization.This lens definitely would get a lot of use, especially with the Image Stabilization feature which Canon says will get you 3 stops of extra shooting DOF, claiming handheld exposures as low as 1/15th of a second! ( I thought all real men could handhold at 1/15th wide open and get tack sharp images ? )

The next contender, which has the recommendation of David over at the Strobist website is the Tamron SP AF 17 - 50mm f /2.8 XR DI II LD Aspherical (IF). Billed as an inexpensive alternative to the over priced Canon Glass, this lens has developed quite a following. With forum comments galore praising its value versus quality, pleasing optical performance and build, it has become my top pick for budget reasons only.

* Tamron Zoom Super Wide Angle SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Here are a few Forum Comments from the folks at Fred Miranda's Site:

  • Pros: sharp, fast focus, not noisy, size and weight, I love this lens / Cons: none
  • Pros: Razor Sharp images! Cant beat the price to image quality ratio. Solid build. Reasonably fast. /Cons: Even with f/2.8, will occasionally search in low light (when using AF). Really noisy AF
  • Pros: SHARP! Absolutely killer lens at this price. Great for parties, weddings etc. / Cons: AF is a bit noisy.
I wish that Price was never a factor in the gear choices I have to make, but it is. I can't see overspending to impress the neighbors, when I can get the job done with a less costly alternative.With the Canon 17 - 55 being the clear winner ( IMHO ) in most categories, yet- at twice the price , I'll have to think long and hard about the Value versus the Bling. We all love Bling, but I can get by with the less Bling and more money left in my pocket!

The price for each lens is listed below:

Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Autofocus Lens - USA
Mfr# 1242B002 • B&H# CA175528EF
Price: $ 999.00

Tamron Zoom Super Wide Angle SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] Autofocus Lens -USA Mfr# AF016M700 • B&H# TA175028MAF
Price: $ 449.00

Is the Canon Zoom really worth twice as much as the Tamron? Probably, taking the Image Stabilization into account, it really is more like having a super wide max aperture f/ 1.0 or wider lens. That kind of speed and usefulness is money- in- the- bank!

Well see...

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