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Which is a better idea?

by J4R3D / September 18, 2008 12:32 PM PDT

I have a Canon Rebel XSI and I'm looking for the best Lens or combination of lenses for an all around experience. I'm not really interested in Telephoto work... mostly just low light instances and portraits. I don't have the money for any kind of the L series of Canons line so with that being said, here is what I'm thinking about:

I already kinda started my upgrade process... I just a bought the 17-85mm (4-5.6) lens, then I planned on getting the 50mm (1.4) lens. Both of those combined I figured would give me all I needed.

However... I've already been seconded guessing my decision and thought about getting the 17-55mm with the constant 2.8 which should be everything I would want in just one lens.

I didn't go the 17-55mm route to begin with because the price of the lens is really more than I wanted to spend on ONE lens... but a lot of people say its a great lens. Carrying more than one lens around with me was never a concern. I planned on only carrying the 17-85mm around during the day and the 50mm around at night. But with the 17-85mm with a minimum aperture of 4, which I thought would be fine, it's really only from 17-23mm... and 50-85mm is all 5.6... which is a little upsetting. I tired taking a photo of a drivers license in my home and I ending up having to switch to manual focus just to take a the photo even with the flash enabled.

Also with the 50mm (1.4) I've heard a few stories about the Auto Focus switch breaking which isn't very exciting. That's the only downside I've heard about it.

On eBay I can get the 17-55mm for about $900 used.

I spent $350 for the 17-85mm new.

And I should be able to get the 50mm for less than $325 used.

SO whats the better idea?

Or if you have a better idea, please share.

Thanks. Sorry this is long.

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by HTHMAN / September 18, 2008 1:50 PM PDT

Pick up a used 50mm f/1.8 for your low light work. That is only about a 1/2 f-stop slower than the 1.4. There are lots of them around and you should be able to find a good one under $100. It will be as sharp and probably sharper than the 17-55 zoom.

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thanks for the reply.
by J4R3D / September 18, 2008 3:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Consider

Maybe I phrased my explanation wrong...

I want to know which would be best:

Going with a 50mm AND the 17-85mm


Only going with the 17-55mm.

I like the 17-55mm be able to zoom and still have an aperture of 2.8 for low light. Is it worth it to sell my 17-85, scrap getting a 50mm, and go with this?

Also I'm not a pro or anything, it's just for fun. I just got into photography.

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depends on what you shoot
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / September 18, 2008 9:41 PM PDT
In reply to: thanks for the reply.

If your going to want to do portraits then I'd go with the 50mm F1.4 with the 17-85, but if you just want the best overall performer then the 17-55 is the way to go. Caveat for the 17-55, it's beast of a lens to carry around all the time. The weight and size are what would keep me from buying it. I went the first way with buying my carry around lens as the cheap and have the 50 F1.4 for indoors. I'd like to add the 85 F1.8 sometime for a better portrait, and keep the 50mm. I tried the 50 F1.8 and it's focus motor was too slow and the step focus was not always the most accurate.

If I would have been you, I would have went with the 18-55 plus the 55-250 lens, which would have been the same price as your 17-85(without losing IQ) and cost the same. I would have then added primes for specific situations. I would love a 17-55 plus a 70-200 F2.8, but those two are too heavy and bulky for traveling or hiking.

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