/ Wide angle lens help and retailer advice

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ianstevens - on 30 Apr 2013

Obviously I'm still learning at this photography lark but I quite often find that I can't get as wide an angle as I would like on my photos. Now I'm not a complete moron, and I'm aware that the easiest way to fix this is invest in a new, wide angle lens.

I've done a bit of research, and reckon a Canon 17-40mm f4.0 etc. would be a good investment (notice the word investment there, I'd rather get something I can grow into), anyone got any advice/opinion/experience on the matter? I'm using a 550d body, which whilst I'm aware is hardly a world leader, I don't really want to replace as I've only got it within the past year, and will upgrade when it dies. However, lenses are for life and hence I'd rather invest there.

On top of this, I've found what looks like a decent price, not excessively cheap but if I'm going to give £600ish to a retailer I'd like to get a little feedback. So...anyone used Clifton Cameras and have anything to say about them?

Thanks if you made it to the end of this and for any subsequent advice
Skyfall - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

I bought a canon 17-40 L f4 today for a crop sensor (same as you) tho a 60D. In old money that's about 28mm to 64mm. I love it already after a few test shots in the sun this evening and some indoor flash shots.

It's a real tough one as it is ideal for a full frame camera but lacks reach on a crop body. It works for landscape to portrait etc. It perhaps depends what you will pair it with? I have a 70-200 L and a 100m macro and decided that, for the 40-70mm 'gap' in my range, I will for now just walk closer!

I had some advice to get the EFS 17-55 f2.8 IS which is designed for crop sensors but no use if you ever go to full frame (which I probably will), I did have a look at one and, despite the IS, f2.8, and longer reach, I didn't like it in the same way as the 17-40 L. But if you 'buy for the camera you have now', it would make a lot of sense. More money but quite a few advantages on a crop body. Or even the 17-85 (not as good quality but very good range).

I think only you can make the choice. Perhaps go and handle them and see what you think. It made my mind up in the end. You should be able to get it for £499 new with cashback incidentally (quite easily).
robjob - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to ianstevens: just stand further back mate.......

ok for a real answer: yeah the 17-40 is a good investment but there is on critical thing you are (might?) be missing, the 550d uses and apsc sensor and the 17-40 is designed to get that range with a full frame sized sensor (like the 6d, 5d, 1d cameras use.

Now yeah you can use the 17-40 with a 550d BUT... the different sensor size on a 550d means that it crops/multiplies up x1.6. Real world terms this means the 17mm will be about 27mm on your 550d.

That being said..... don't knock your camera, I shoot (semi pro- as in occasional assignments and paid work) with my 550d as its lot being as it is lighter than other stuff i have available (and I often go into funky places where a massive camera is not great) And yeah, its the glass that makes the biggest difference so your right with the investment part of it.

Im curious as to what lens you have now that mean that you cannot get wide enough? and what are you shooting? Landscapes I guess?

ianstevens - on 01 May 2013
In reply to robjob: I wasn't trying to slate my camera if I did come across as such! More making it known that I am aware of its limitations (although I am probably the main one).

I am aware of the crop factor, but surely this is the same whatever lens I get? Correct me if I'm wrong...

My thought is that one day I will upgrade to a full frame camera, I just think it makes sense to use my to death first, plus I can't afford one, especially not if new glass comes into play. Hence the idea of investing.

Currently have the standard 18-55 kit lens, a 50mm (the budget one) and a 70-300 telephoto - all came as kit from a now defunct high street shop.

I do shoot landscapes and often find FOV of means there is a big difference between what I can/want to do, but also have been getting into taking photos on abseil lately. With these obviously it's tricky to get further away (I know you were being tongue in cheek here, but its a genuine limitation!) as it's all anchor dependent etc.

Cheers for the advice guys!
Skyfall - on 01 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

I looked at a lot of options and thought v carefully about ths so email direct if you wish. I thnk I'm more in your situation than rob and can sympathise a little more with your predicament. I also have a 10-22 for the super side end. My old mid range zoom went kaput recently, hence the purchase of the 17-40L. It depends on a lot factors, including budget of course.
ianstevens - on 01 May 2013
In reply to Skyfall: Yeah, the budget will stretch (just...). What other lenses do you use yours with? I think I'd probably sell off the kit lens if I did go for a new one as I do have the 50(x1.6)mm I can use as well. I know you haven't had the 17-40 long though! Just out of interest what was it that made you think it was the lens for you?
MJ - on 01 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

So...anyone used Clifton Cameras and have anything to say about them?

I'm a short drive from Clifton Cameras, have used them a few times and they seem friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
One thing to note, they are now in Dursley and not Clifton.
Bimble on 01 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

I went into Jessops last night in Brum & posed the same question to them; how's a 17-40 F4 (which I've also got my eye on) going to work on a 550D body for general walk-around use. The lad there got me to try out the Tamron 18-50 F2.8, which it turns out is incredibly sharp & fast for a lens costing £300!
Skyfall - on 01 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

> What other lenses do you use yours with?

As I think I said, I have a super-wide (EFS 10-22), macro 100 L, and a 70-200 L.

I was replacing a Tamron17-50 f2.8 mid range zoom which gave me excellent service for about 7 or 8 years but appears to be broken. To be fair, it was a very sharp and fast lens and will be missed.

> Just out of interest what was it that made you think it was the lens for you?

The 17-40 L is slower, no IS and less reach than my old Tamron. From shots already it seems just as sharp and very low distortion. I suppose I chose it for image quality and ease of use (it handles v well). I am not too fussed about IS as I never missed it on my old lens with similar focal lengths and, with high quality ISO ability on the latest dSLR's, it's quite easy to push the ISO up and compensate for a slightly slower lens. I think I may miss not having something around the 50-60mm length but, as I said, if needs be I will just walk closer!

The alternatives I outlined above, again. The canon EFS 17-55 f2.8 IS would be the obvious choice as an almost direct replacement for my Tamron but with IS (there is also a Tamron with IS at the zoom range but doesn't get as good reviews as the non-IS version). I just wasn't that keen on the EFS 17-55 to handle, I could see a lot of distortion, and it won't come with me if I upgrade to full frame. The canon EFS 17-85 just doesn't seem to be optically as good and I think I would get frustrated with it, even though it has a great focal range and IS and is relatively cheap (but again won't work on full frame). Looking at canon lenses which will work on full frame, and which won't totally break the bank, the 17-40 L is an obvious canidate but lacks reach maybe (I'll find out), The 24-70 and 24-105 are nice but lack the wide angle. Now I could have coupled one of those with my canon 10-22 but I have been quite disappointed with the results from that (v soft at the edges) so I am treating it as a specialist super-wide and don't want to rely upon it for all my wide usage.

At the end of the day, you need to go out and handle them (not just buy off the internet ideally) and see what you think. The 17-40L felt right at home on the camera and I am sure I will get loads of use out of it. The 10-22 will cover the super-wide angle and I have the 70-200L for anything long. If I am finding I need a real portrait type lens I can consider something to plug the gap but I suspect I will be fine with what I have.
Skyfall - on 01 May 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:

See my last post. The Tamron is 17-50mm and I can heartily recommend it. Very sharp and quite low distortion across the range. I got great results from it. Rather noisy AF and slower than Canon USM lenses. Mine lasted about 7-8 years but it literally fell apart recently (I didn't drop it or bang it) so maybe a slight question mark over robustness. As I mentioned, the non-IS version gets better reviews than the IS version (which came out a lot later). It's an ideal lens but I suppose I partly fancied a change, and something which would come with me if I go full frame.
Bimble on 01 May 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

Cheers I had a go with it on my own body, as I'd got it with me for a spot of street photography last night. Nice lens, and seemed quick enough.
chris fox on 01 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

£535 here

I bought my 7D and a 100mm macro from these guys. Great service and friendly on the phone
roddyp on 01 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

I'm confused : You have an 18-55 lens, and you're looking at a 17-40 because you want something with a wider angle?

While 'every millimeter counts' at the wide end, surely the difference between 17mm and 18mm is pretty insignificant, even when you factor in the 1.6x thing. Just 4 degrees more field of view...

I think you'd barely notice it.
due - on 01 May 2013
In reply to chris fox:

WEX are doing £80 cashback, making it £500
BStar - on 02 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

Hi Ian,

This is just my 2p worth... What is it that you take photographs of? In what situations would you like your current 18-55mm to be wider? The 17-40 lens is a stellar lens however there are many more lenses that will suit you better. If you want to totally replace your 18-55mm with something sharper and wider, the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS would be a great start, the 15-85 is wider but does not have as wide an aperture. You can also get a couple of 3rd part lenses in the 17-50mm range that are also quite good.

If you want to compliment your 18-55mm and own a ultra wide angle lens, again you have lots of choice, Canon 10-22mm, Tokina 11-16mm, Sigma 10-20mm, Sigma 12-24mm to name a few. I suggest you have a look on flickr, search for your camera and one of the above lenses to see the characteristics.

My personal opinion on te 17-40mm L is that the aperture is not exactly wide when you can get f2.8 in that range for a similar price, there is no Image Stabilisation. I had a similar choice a while ago and went for a 17-55mm f2.8 and didn't regret it. I have also owned Sigma 10-20mm which was great but then sold it for the Tokina 11-16mm to get a faster aperture ultra wide angle.

Any question give me a shout.

chris fox on 02 May 2013
In reply to due:
> (In reply to chris fox)
> WEX are doing £80 cashback, making it £500

Then thats a bargain

taine - on 02 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

Someone mentioned this but it's worth repeating. the 17-40 won't be *that* much wider than your 18-55.

I've bought from Clifton Cameras before and had good quick delivery and a great price!
DreadyCraig - on 02 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
I ordered the canon 15-85 for my 7D last night. £553 on amazon and £55 cashback from canon (check their website for any cashback on a lens you may buy)
Gets good reviews on Ken Rockwell's site

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