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Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

1750diII
Review Date: Nov 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: range, nice and wide, fast, sharp, light, cheap
Cons:
average build quality (plastic keeps it light), loud average-speed focus

I read several reviews and agonized over buying it for a week or three, but wound up finding it on ebay for 300 +shipping. I was a little worried, but I've never regretted buying it.

I've been using it on my 20D for over a year now and I love this lens. It's sharp at every aperture and every focal length. Sometimes chromatic aberration is a little annoying, but I'd say 95% of the time I don't notice it at all.

The focusing, as many people say, isn't the best. It's kinda loud, and my friend complains about it, but it doesn't bother me much. The only time it's really a bother is when I'm shooting something that requires silence. Otherwise it's fairly accurate but only average for speed.

The build quality is pretty good considering it's made of plastic. It is solidly built, as in there is nothing that wobbles or jiggles when moving it around. The plastic is a hard sturdy kind of plastic which keeps it light and the mount is metal. The lens extends when you zoom so you'll want to be a bit careful.

The zoom range is perfect for me. I like doing my landscapes and zooming in now and then for portraits and such. It focuses rather closely, as a bunch of butterfly pics in my DeviantArt will show you.

I've taken this lens a lot of places now. Singapore, Thailand, and all over the western US. I've never dropped my lens, but I took it on a two-month national park tour with my friend. We drove around the western US for a summer and had a blast. I took pictures the whole time which can be seen here - http://belgarion115.deviantart.com/ and almost ENTIRELY with this lens. I took two or three shots with a macro lens, otherwise this was the only one I used. There are also a few shots from my G2, but you should be able to tell which those are.

If you're looking for a lens in this range and you can't afford the Canon EF-S 17-55 IS or you want something smaller and lighter (which the tamron is SIGNIFICANTLY compared to the canon) get this lens. I even told my sister-in-law to get it for her 400D.

I love this lens. In fact, if I broke my Tamron 17-50 2.8 tomorrow I'd go buy another one.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Jul 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, Sharp, Fast, Cheap, Small
Cons:
1.4-2.0 is a little fuzzy, but more of a "dreamy" fuzzy than bad image quality

GO BUY NOW.

I really don't care if you are looking for this range lens or not. You will end up making excuses to use this lens. It is that awesome. You've not really played with depth of field(dof) untill you've gone from 1.4 - 22 on the same subject. It makes you creative and drives you to take more photos. 1.4 isn't exactly crisp, nor is 16 and narrower. That's normal. But 2.8-8 is better than Zeus.

Build quality is nothing to scoff at either. It's not L quality, but it certainly will hold its own. One of the first things I noticed was how nice the focus ring is. It's wide and feels good to the touch. The ring rotates half a turn around the lens making it very easy to get the right focus, even at 1.4. Speaking of 1.4, the viewfinder is wonderfully bright, and since 1.4 has such a short dof (quarter of an inch), focusing is very very easy. It's also a pretty small lens, which makes people flinch less when you point it at them.

Some will say that the Canon 50 1.8 is just as good. I say they're wrong for a couple of reasons. If you don't have the money, get the 1.8, but if you do you should get the 1.4.
This is why:
1. This lens is built *much* better.
2. Though only by half a stop, it's faster, and becomes sharper earlier.
3. USM is important. The other one is usable, but you'll like this more.
4. 8 aperture blades instead of 5. out of focus highlights look much better, and boke is smoother in general.
5. the filter ring size is 58mm instead of 52, so if you end up buying more prime lenses you can share polarizers etc.

This is a wonderful lens, but for all my talk, seeing is believing.
http://www.deviantart.com/view/36627706/
This is by and far my favorite lens.

I've used my 20D with the Canon EF 24-85, EF-S 17-85, and EF 50 1.8, and I'd chose the 50 1.4 over all of them in a heartbeat.