View Full Version : Tamron vs Canon lenses
01-12-2005, 08:06 AM
I'm looking to buy some new lenses for my 20D and am currently considering the following:
Canon EF 28-135/3.5-506 IS USM
Tamron 28-75/2.8 XR Di LD
Canon EF 17-40/4L USM
Tamron 17-35/2.8-4 Di LD
Though price is an issue, more important to me is quality. My big concern from what I've read about the Tamron's is autofocus speed. I like candid shots and a slow AF would be crippling. The big plus for the T's are the wide aperatures and affordability.
Has anyone used any of these and what recommendations do you have? And any other lens recommendations would be great. I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences with lenses with focal lengths of anywhere between 10 to 200.
Thanks in advance!
01-12-2005, 10:43 AM
i will not help you a lot
but actualy i use the Canon 17-40 USM
mmm i love this lens i think its really
a good one.
i dont understand your choice ?
u will buy a 28-135 and a 17-40
i am looking to buy a 20D ;o)
aer you happy with your ?
see you Alex
01-12-2005, 10:49 AM
I don't have direct experience, but I do hang out at dpreview quite a lot, so I have read a number of reviews on the lenses you mention. Of the first two, I would probably go with the Tamron. The Canon is a very good all around lens, but the f/2.8 constant aperture is a big appeal for me. I also think the slightly less than 3X zoom range is likely less of a compromise. Of course, if you want to spend the really big bucks, the CAnon 24-70L is very appealing, but horrendously expensive and heavy as well. I don't believe the focusing speed will be an issue for you, it will be plenty fast enough IMO. I would however make sure to buy it locally at a shop with a good refund/exchange policy. It seems there is some sample inconsistency with that one. Some of the users love this lens, some are not pleased with the results. By most all accounts though, it is a great value.
With the wide angle, I would recommend the Canon. You have to go an awfully long ways to find an owner who is not pleased with this lens it seems. The Tamron will be faster, but at short focal lengths, speed is not quite so important. Typically, you won't get really shallow DOF unless you are super close to your subject, and you can handhold longer shutter speeds more effectively. If you want to go really wide, you could look at either the Canon 10-22 or the Sigma 12-24. Personally, I would shy away from the Canon, as it is not designed for a 24x36mm sensor (film size). This means that you may not be able to use the lens on your next camera, or if you want to shoot film as well.
Quite honestly Alex, this is all heresy on my part, but if you hang out at dpreview.com long enough, all these issues are covered time and time again. I would suggest perusing the Canon SLR lens forum over there. It has helped me in making some decisions myself.
01-13-2005, 07:32 AM
Yup I'm definately leaning towards the Canon 17-40 for my everyday walking lens. The Tamron isn't significantly cheaper so I'm pretty sure about this purchase. I've looked at the shots on TE with this lens and I'm impressed.
I'm considering the Tamron for the longer end for portraiture reasons. I've read heaps of good stuff about it.
As for the 20D, yes I think it's a great cam. Then again, it's my first DSLR---ok, it's my first SLR period so I don't really have much to compare it to! I will say that I am feeling a bit of a learning curve, but that's what I bought it for! Do you have any tips for me?
The one thing that I have discovered that I find really useful is using Custom Function 4.1. I have set my autofocus on the rear thumb button and set my shutter to control my exposure. This way I can focus once and continue to click away without having to refocus.
01-13-2005, 07:36 AM
Cheers Darren! I checked out DP and didn't find too much there that I didn't find elsewhere (I like: http://www.fredmiranda.com/). I posted this here more for personal tips from people whose shooting style I'm more familiar with (rather than the strangers on other sites).
Right now I think I'm going for the Canon 17-40 to begin with. Funds aren't as good as I'd like em to be and I have some expensive plans in the works, so I'll have to have patience.
I'm also considering the Canon 50 F1.8. Any opinions on that?
01-13-2005, 07:51 AM
Congratulations, Alex! You have found out the CF4-1 which place you in the league of advance Canon users. Now, all you have to do is to enable the CF13 and promote yourself to a higher plane.
01-13-2005, 08:04 AM
Alex, since you shoots mostly in the wide end (~35mm), your choice of 17-40L is very appropriate for your style. The 28-135mm although a fine lens, I believe will cripple you if that would be your main lens.
The 50mmm is a very good lens with one caveat, at wide open, it is a bit soft. It will show its stuff around F2.8. However, it is a rather slow and noisy lens and the Mark II is horrible for manual focusing, the Mark I is better with its metal mount and focus ring on the barrel instead at the front. On the D20, it becomes a 80mm, something that you may need to consider.
01-13-2005, 08:10 AM
Everyone should have a fast 50. For the price of the 1.8, I don't see how you can go wrong. This year, I have imposed a challenge to myself. I am taking at least one photo a day and posting it to my pbase account. With the low light ability, light weight and unobtrusiveness of my 50 f/1.7, it has been a godsend for me. If you are shooting indoors, or in dimmer light you can't imagine how useful this lens would be. Of course, an even better choice would be the 35 f/1.4, but they are not in the same price range whatsoever.
01-13-2005, 08:16 AM
Thanks for the input Thien.
I was considering the 28-75/135 for portraiture work (I do a little of this for friends and family). I'm also considering the much cheaper 50mm for this as well. The wider aperatures would work well for this as well to blur the backgrounds. But yes you're right, the lens that best fits my style is the 17-40, so that is my first purchase!
01-13-2005, 08:41 AM
Believe it or not, I believe that the 28-135mm to be a better portrait lens than the 50mm. You really need that tele end to compress the perspective for a flattering portrait. Even at F5.6, the shallow of depth will amaze you.
01-13-2005, 10:39 AM
Actually, I would go a different route entirely. Assuming Alex gets the 17-40, the next two steps I would choose are the 50, then I would pick up a 70-200 f/2.8. This would be very similar to what I have and quite honestly, I don't miss the mid range zoom at all. As you all know, I love my 70-200, there is no way I would be as pleased with a slower lens with less reach. With those three lenses, there really are no gaps.
I do love your 24-70L though Thien, but that is a different thing altogether.
if you can wait a week, I may send you some results of a lens review that is about to be released by a major french magazine on lenses to fit with the 20D.
There might be some surprises as some lenses outstandingly performing with the 24*36 format are perhaps not that good with the digital captor (latest example was the 50mm/1.8 nikkor which is crap wide open with digital D70).
From what I've used so far with my 20D, the 17-40L is a good performer crunchy and fast focusing, though quite distorting at 17mm... from what I've seen on TrekEarth the 50/1.4 seems to be good too (look at maciek pics), I wouldn't bet on 50mm/1.8... better wait...
Remember that fast lenses implies using them at open aperture, otherwise I can't see any advantage except carrying more weight, so if you chose a fast lens, bottom line is that it needs to be good at wide aperture (you can trust a Leica user on that, outstanding performance wide open is often the big difference between Leica and ALL other brands, it's sometimes the difference between a camera brand such as Canon and another brand such as Sigma or Tamron. I've seen the difference between a Canon 70-200/4L and a Sigma 70-200/2.8, there's no competition for me, I'd take the Canon!)
My POV is that if you're looking for a 50mm you need to go for the best, if not that's just money thrown out of the window.
01-13-2005, 05:04 PM
I can definately wait a week. I don't plan on making a purchase for a least a month actually!
01-14-2005, 04:05 PM
I just can't believe the RP results for the couple 20d/17-40L.
Can u please share your impressions in a more detailed way, because I would have personally thought (from what I've read here and there) this was really one of the lenses one could buy with his eyes closed.
01-14-2005, 11:10 PM
when you talk of the difference between Leica and sigma wide open, then is it just less distortion (which can add to a shot) or better focus through out?
I use a sigma 18-35 and think the focus on this lens could be better, but how much better?
i'm interested in this conversation as my camera is old and i have no brand loyalty.... yet. lol
01-18-2005, 05:31 AM
I'm also considering the 10-22. From what I've seen the quality seems quite good and pics very sharp. The main drawbacks seem to be price (and this is a BIG drawback) and the fact that it's an EFS lens and will not be usable on full-frame cams (this is a more minor consideration for me).
01-18-2005, 09:50 AM
I use Canon 17-40 L, 50/1.8 and 100/2.8 Macro lens. All three lenses are excellent quality and I dont really miss the zoom between 40-100 mm range.
My recent photos using 17-40 L lens are available <a href=http://www.poptechnologist.com/pe/pe.php>here.</a>
01-18-2005, 11:08 AM
I've recently gone through a similar analysis and can share some of my experience with you. First, I'm shooting with a Digital Rebel rather than a 20D. I bought it with the kit lens, then added the 28-135 mm IS from Canon. The lens was a bit of a disappointment until I learned how to use both the camera and the lens better. Yet I was mesmerized by the really sharp images being produced by the folks using "L" lenses. When Canon offered their rebate deal the end of last year I joined with a friend who was interested in buying a Digital Rebel and bought both the 17-40 and the 70-200 f4. Both lenses are very fine, each in their own way. The 70-200 is incredibly sharp and with its lighter weight a joy to use. The 17-40 is a bit soft wide open, but from everything I've read that is typical of most lenses. The color and contrast are wonderful, as is the sharpness when stopped down. The Tamron 17-35 isn't reviewed that well at fredmiranda.com, but my decision to buy the Canon was more motivated by the discount and the excellent results from Simon and others.
I also felt that I wanted something that bridged the gap between the two lenses to replace the 28-135. It is not a bad lens, but as I shoot with the two L lenses, my expectations are raised. I read the same reviews you've read and talked with a local photo shop. I took the plunge and bought the 28-75 Tamron. I couldn't be happier. I've been posting some of my early shots with the lens over the last few days. It is wonderfully sharp. The automatic focus isn't a problem for me. It may be a hair slower and noisier than the other lenses, but I see no problem there. When I look at the cameras and lens collections of those folks at fredmiranda who rave about this lens, it seems pretty clear that quality will rise to the surface. If you have the money and like heavy lenses, you may hold out for the Canon 24-70 L, but otherwise I don't think you could do better than the Tamron. The lens is certainly heads and shoulders above the 28-135, in my opinion.
Finally, the one additional lens I'm contemplating adding to my kit, is the Canon 50 mm f1.4. It is more expensive that the 1.8, but from reviews I've read it seems the 1.4 yields a finer bokeh, likely because it has an eight blade diaghram rather than the five blades of the less expensive version. <a href="http://www.photo.net/equipment/canon/ef50/">Here's a link to a comparison of the two lenses.</a>
Happy shopping Alex! I imagine it will be some time before I make the move to the 20D. Until then I'll enjoy my Digital Rebel and all this fine glass...
01-19-2005, 03:48 AM
Curtis, a big thanks for your helpful and detailed reply.
I am currently shooting with the 18-55 kit lens (same as with the Rebel) and though it's ok, I do find it noticeably soft in the wide end and that's the biggest reason I'm looking to upgrade. Thing is, like you say, the 17-40 also has been critiqued for being a little soft wide, and I don't want to have to lengthen the focal length all the time (kinda defeats the purpose of having a 17 wide end), so I am currently leaning towards getting the Canon EF-S 10-22 (for general use) paired with the Tamron 28-75 for portraiture.
That said, I'm waiting for Luko's reply to this link in the coming week or so!
01-19-2005, 04:10 AM
No doubt the 17-40 is a significant commitment of financial resources and can be soft wide OPEN but it is very sharp at 17 mm at higher apertures. Here is a photo I posted a couple of days ago at 17 mm and f/8 at 1/500th of a second.
<a href="http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/North_America/United_States/photo128761.htm">Oakland Bay Bridge</a>
At full size the image is very sharp. Because one can capture so much information with this lens when you shoot at 17 mm, it is virtually impossible to portray in a small format such as required at TE. I experimented with an image posted on TE in consulting with a friend who has much more experience with Canon than I do. When I sent him a jpeg of the file he was quite disappointed in the 17-40. Then I printed out at 8X10 the 36 mb Photoshop file created from the RAW image and the photo took his breath away. It took mine away as well. I'm very pleased with the lens and I haven't even tried it as a portrait lens, as Simon does quite regularly, to wonderful effect.
If you intend to produce larger images, my guess is the softness of the kit lens will be a disappointment for you as it was for me. I can't comment on the 10-22. It might be a nice complement to the Tamron. I hope you'll report back with your experience if you buy this lens.
01-19-2005, 04:20 AM
Will do definately let you know when I've made the purchase and give a report! I'll be about a month yet though. Cheers!
Yeah, sorry a bit booked these days to elaborate a meaningful reply.
A few remarks to avoid further comments that wouldn't be too relevant :
1- digital age taught us some new parameters : lens performance is highly related to the camera sensor, while this wasn't true with film cameras (which of course had no sensors at all :D..). hence saying that a Cakonax 53/1.5 lens is good doesn't make sense. you must specify with which camera used.
2- a lens can be good with a specific camera but disappointing with another. It depends on the camera sensor capabilities.
3- a better sensor doesn't mean that a lens tested as good with a camera should be better with a better camera. For instance, it appears that lens tests made with the 300D or 10D cannot apply for the 20D.
Last week, that major french photo magazine (the one who surprised everyone stating that the Nikon 50/1.8 was crap at full apertures with a D70) has released a lens test to fit the EOS20D. this month issue is related to zoom lenses, next month should be fixed lenses.
Some results are surprising, I'll synthetize because I currently :
Winners are Canon 10-22, Tamron 15-35 2.8 and Tamron 24-75 2.8 (the latter being the most successfully marked)
A disappointment is the Canon 17-40L/4, which is not up to its reputation wide open at any focal and average used at 40mm. This means the 20D/17-40 couple doesn't live up to the 10D/17-40 couple. This lens is not assessed as "bad or mediocre" but disappointing even though it outperforms Tamron or Sigma contenders for the quality build and focus speed.
Having myself bought a 17/40 I can't say anything more about it as I only used it in very specific conditions so far and enjoyed the fill in flash capabilities of the camera, which is not ideal to test a lens. Moreover, I can only compare to Leica scans...I lack some digital culture...
I wish some members using both a 300D and a 20D with the same 17/40 lens could say a word about their feelings. Maciek for instance?
I may come back more in detail to this test.
01-19-2005, 01:16 PM
What exactly do we mean when we talk about a 'good' (let alone 'great') lens? Usually we mean it's pin sharp, and has great contrast capability. And when do we need all the things it can deliver? Not often. If you're a pro travel or fashion photogrpaher, selling to magazines etc, there's a point in buying the best. Otherwise, there's not - you simply don't need all that sharpness and contrast.
And anyway, is sharpness all that important? Look at the pix of Luko and Skorj - would they be better if they were as sharp and clear as a Kalvin Klein ad?
The technologyn of the modern lens has outstripped our ability to use it.
01-19-2005, 01:52 PM
For me what makes a good or great lens is a combination of a number of things. Actually, I would not rate sharpness as most important. For me, I would say contrast and color are number one, followed by sharpness and followed very closely by the bokeh (the quality of bokeh is a much overlooked aspect of telephoto lenses. Hard to describe, but when you see good bokeh, you know it). The Canon 200mm f/1.8L is the absolute king of bokeh, but it is both horrendously expensive and horrendously large.
Other things that I would rate as important are build quality, I don't want a lens that feels cheap, what it comes with, a tripod collar is essential on a long lens as far as I am concerned, perhaps a case or lens hood. Resale value is a factor for some, although I tend to bang my stuff around enough that I know I will take a hit no matter what. I would say that buying a good lens is absolutely worthwhile, once you have shoot with good glass, it is hard to go back.
An aside to Luko. I know you won't want to hear this, but my friend who had the 70-200 f/4L has now sold it and gone to the Sigma. We had tested it together a few years ago on film and the Sigma was the winner. He now has a 300D and says the difference is even greater. The good thing for him was that because it was a Canon lens, he was able to sell it for very little loss. I think there is greater sample variability, but if you get a good Sigma, it is a really good lens. I know you have read tests to the contrary, but this is not the first person I know who feels this way.
<i>What exactly do we mean when we talk about a 'good' (let alone 'great') lens? </i>
Optically a lens that will give you much details (this involves both sharpness and contrast), consistency between the center and the corners, no chromatic aberration and nice color saturation (but that usually goes along with contrast). Also one of the most important feature is performance at full aperture, if not it's like a crookery or a fake ad. Afterwards, you can take into account things like bokeh, but I feel once you've got the above parameters correct, bokeh quality will come in naturally.
Sharpness : yes sharpness is needed but how much. Sharpness should first be sufficient to make any small details jump out of the screen.
In the film camera world there have been tests between Japanese and German lenses, in terms of sharpness top japanese lenses like Canon 135/2 (once stated as the sharpest lens ever produced) always outperformed german lenses. But when you look at consistency all over the slide, capabilities at full aperture and details coming up from the shadows, then german lenses are still forward.
<i>The Canon 200mm f/1.8L is the absolute king of bokeh</i>
No need to have long lenses Darren, I think you haven't appreciated a Summicron bokeh yet. When you talk bokeh you say Summicron, simple as that. This optical combination was invented for bokeh.
Check Erwin Puts Leica website (talking about resolution, Puts thinks the 50mm summicron lens is in fact above limits of testing. No film can record its potential).
As for the 70-200/4L, the most dramatic feature in the shots I have seen here an dthere is its 3D sense (we call it "Modelé" in french, don't know the translation, it's a combination of depth, contrast and textures) near to a medium format. Even though some images have been tweaked, it is even obvious when you look at the samples in TE (Cgrindahl, cool_s15 or other users). The Sigma rendition looks more classic to me, without that 3D snap.
01-19-2005, 04:42 PM
well, I don't see any problems with 17-40 f/4 on my Canon 20D, pictures are sharp and look really good, but I haven't done any serious tests. I can look at my pictures closer later at home, but from what I have seen so far this lens works as well with 20D as worked with 300D, I don't see any difference. of course I can be wrong here, there can be a difference since professional tests say so, but I just don't see any problems here, I like this lens very much
01-19-2005, 06:49 PM
Tamron vs Canon... And why don't you consider Sigma lenses?
01-20-2005, 03:22 AM
Thanks Luko! I was already leaning towards the the EFS 10-22 and Tamron 28-75, but your post has definately pushed me completely over that edge. I'll be picking those up in the next month or two.
As for your pics with the 17-40L Maciej, I agree that they're great. In fact that's why it was in contention in the first place! I'm sure that I'd be happy with it if I got it. But I really like what I've seen from the wide-angle photographers here that shoot with 21mm and under, and the 10-22 EFS is the clear choice (from what I've seen, it's much superior to the Sigma 12-24, and the Tamron 12-18 isn't out yet).
Anyways, thanks to all who've contributed to this thread! I'll let you know how it goes in a couple months.
01-21-2005, 03:58 PM
I have no personal experience with Canon lenses but you might find this interesting since you're leaning towards the 10-22mm WA zoom:
<a href="http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/Canon-10-22mm-test.shtml" target="blank">Luminous Landscape Review of EF-S 10-22mm</a>. He doesn't specify, but I think the test camera is a 20D.
I'm fairly old fashioned with respect to lenses and I'm surprised this one isn't an f/2.8 constant zoom (then again, the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 DX is enormous so maybe this is a good thing.) Should be very comparable to the Nikkor 12-24 f/4 DX which has turned a lot of heads (though is rediculously priced like everything Nikon sells).
01-22-2005, 03:06 AM
Cheers for the link Michael. I've seen that b4 though (I regularly check LL), like the other reviews I've read, everything seems positive except for the fact that it's an EFS lens (and thus only usable on EFS Digital SLRs--ie. 300D and 20D). It's expensive too.
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