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View Full Version : Canon 16 to 35mm II USM Lens vx Canon 17 to 55mm IS USM Lens?



Ronster
12-30-2009, 04:58 PM
So i am on the fence of which of these two lenses to get

The Canon 16 to 35mm II USM 2.8 Lens

or

The Canon EF-S 17 to 55mm IS USM 2.8 Lens

I mainly will be shooting video with the lens

A lot of hand held and on shoulder mounts stuff. Sticks as well.

Here are some pros and cons that I can think of:

Canon 16 to 35mm II USM 2.8 Lens

Pros:

Full Frame so if you upgrade to a full frame camera in the future
Better build than the 17 to 55mm (really nicely designed weather sealed and more robust)
better ability to rack focus during a shot (less breathing in the lens gives it a more pro feel)
Very Sharp high quality glass

Cons:

Has 20 mm less in the zoom range only goes to 35mm
comes in at about 1400.00

No Image Stabilization (IS) like on the 17 to 55mm (shooting in the 16 to 35mm range lessens the need of IS than a more telephoto lens, but not sure if this is a deal breaker??????)

Canon 17 to 55mm IS USM 2.8 Lens

Pros:

Has Image Stabilzation (IS)
High Quality glass which yields a sharp image as good as an L series lens
Has 20mm more than the 16 to 35mm (goes to 55mm)
Costs a bit under 1k

Cons:

Only works on 1.6 crop sensor cameras
build is not as solid as the L series lens
Dust builds under the glass but doesn't seem to affect the image quality
More breathing when racking focus than compared to the 16 to 35mm
When zooming the barrel of the lens extends out

if anyone can give me more pros and cons and a general opionon.

If the 16 to 35mm had IS I think I would probably get it and althought the 17 to 55mm is only for a crop sensor camera I don't mind selling my lens if I updated to a full frame camera but I listed those pros and cons just so they are there.

thanks for the advise and input...I felt it was a good discussion to have regardless because I am sure there are other people debating which lens to get.

If people could chime in that would be great

Ronster

Michael Olsen
12-30-2009, 05:15 PM
Sorry to stick to a single point of interest, but lots of breathing in a rack focus drives me absolutely nuts under most circumstances. I hate it.

If you have a decent rig for your handheld work, I wouldn't worry too much about shake at 35mm. Just lay off the coffee.

In my opinion, go with the 16-35. It's better built, has good image quality, doesn't breathe a whole lot, and can be used on any future cameras you purchase.

Fluke
12-30-2009, 07:18 PM
I haven't used the 16-35mm but I can vouch wholeheartedly for the 17-55mm 2.8. I got this lens a few weeks ago and have been nothing but impressed by it.

When shooting handheld, IS does make a big difference. It removes the horrible micro-jitters that are obvious in most handheld situations with even a normal focal length. If you have a weighted rig, then this might not be a huge deal, as you'll most likely be able to get steady shots anyway but, if you plan on doing any very bare bones handheld stuff with no rig at all, then the IS is a godsend.

I wouldn't get too caught up over the build quality. While not L-series quality, the 17-55 doesn't feel flimsy at all. I feel confident taking this thing out. When Canon talk about weather sealing, they mean artic snow, dust storms, sea spray kind of conditions. Non L series lenses are built to handle your every day environments (so long as you aren't an extreme explorer or a soldier in combat, heh) and, if you drop either lens, it's most likely curtains; L-series won't save you.

I haven't had the lens very long, so I can't personally comment on the dust issues but, from what I've heard, it doesn't affect the image quality greatly and, if you take certain precautions, like making sure to wipe any dust off the barrel before retracting the lens to be stored, the problem is minimised. Though, it seems to be enough of a concern that people have actually made tutorials on how to take apart the lens to remove the dust yourself. I generally baby my lenses to a neurotic degree, so I'm not too concerned by the dust issue but, if this makes you a bit nervous, maybe you'd be more at ease with the weather sealing.

If you can see yourself upgrading to full frame in the near future, that could be a big factor in your purchase, too. From what I've heard, while not as sure as L glass, the 17-55 holds its resale value quite well, so you could always sell it if you decide to upgrade down the track. Also, while you can use the 16-35mm on a full frame, you've got to consider if you'd find it useful. It will be quite wide on full frame. Whether it's too wide for your main walkabout lens would be up to you to decide.

The nearest full frame equivalent of the 17-55 is the 24-70mm 2.8L. The 17-55 on a APS-C body and the 24-70 on a full frame will give you the closest focal length comparison. I'd hate to throw another lens into your already tough decision but, if you don't mind losing some wideness and the IS, then the 24-70mm could be well worth looking into. 24-70mm on a full frame is generally considered the perfect focal range on a full frame for your general walkabout lens. On a crop sensor it is a little less useful, but some people still swear by it on a crop sensor. Personally, I still went for the 17-55mm as I find the range more useful, I like the IS and I don't foresee myself upgrading to full frame any time soon (all factors that would make me choose the 17-55 over the 16-35, also).

Forgive me if I started to ramble. I hope this is of some help.

Also, Merry New Year!

xbourque
12-30-2009, 10:06 PM
I can vouch for the 17-55 too. Very nice focal range. I would find 16-35 to be too limiting at the long end.

IS is very useful for video work. It cleans up small jitters quite nicely.

Regarding weather sealing, a friend who has one went to Morrocco in the desert with it. Sand did get in there. The focus wheel feels like it's grinding against sand paper, but the lens stills works perfectly fine.

I just got a 17-55 myself a few days ago. It did fog up quite a bit when going from the wet cold weather outside to warm inside... I just had to wait it out and it was fine.

--X

Ronster
12-31-2009, 12:21 AM
I haven't used the 16-35mm but I can vouch wholeheartedly for the 17-55mm 2.8. I got this lens a few weeks ago and have been nothing but impressed by it.

When shooting handheld, IS does make a big difference. It removes the horrible micro-jitters that are obvious in most handheld situations with even a normal focal length. If you have a weighted rig, then this might not be a huge deal, as you'll most likely be able to get steady shots anyway but, if you plan on doing any very bare bones handheld stuff with no rig at all, then the IS is a godsend.

I wouldn't get too caught up over the build quality. While not L-series quality, the 17-55 doesn't feel flimsy at all. I feel confident taking this thing out. When Canon talk about weather sealing, they mean artic snow, dust storms, sea spray kind of conditions. Non L series lenses are built to handle your every day environments (so long as you aren't an extreme explorer or a soldier in combat, heh) and, if you drop either lens, it's most likely curtains; L-series won't save you.

I haven't had the lens very long, so I can't personally comment on the dust issues but, from what I've heard, it doesn't affect the image quality greatly and, if you take certain precautions, like making sure to wipe any dust off the barrel before retracting the lens to be stored, the problem is minimised. Though, it seems to be enough of a concern that people have actually made tutorials on how to take apart the lens to remove the dust yourself. I generally baby my lenses to a neurotic degree, so I'm not too concerned by the dust issue but, if this makes you a bit nervous, maybe you'd be more at ease with the weather sealing.

If you can see yourself upgrading to full frame in the near future, that could be a big factor in your purchase, too. From what I've heard, while not as sure as L glass, the 17-55 holds its resale value quite well, so you could always sell it if you decide to upgrade down the track. Also, while you can use the 16-35mm on a full frame, you've got to consider if you'd find it useful. It will be quite wide on full frame. Whether it's too wide for your main walkabout lens would be up to you to decide.

The nearest full frame equivalent of the 17-55 is the 24-70mm 2.8L. The 17-55 on a APS-C body and the 24-70 on a full frame will give you the closest focal length comparison. I'd hate to throw another lens into your already tough decision but, if you don't mind losing some wideness and the IS, then the 24-70mm could be well worth looking into. 24-70mm on a full frame is generally considered the perfect focal range on a full frame for your general walkabout lens. On a crop sensor it is a little less useful, but some people still swear by it on a crop sensor. Personally, I still went for the 17-55mm as I find the range more useful, I like the IS and I don't foresee myself upgrading to full frame any time soon (all factors that would make me choose the 17-55 over the 16-35, also).

Forgive me if I started to ramble. I hope this is of some help.

Also, Merry New Year!

I actually appreciate the long review.....have you done much racking focus on your 17mm to 55mm IS lens??? That is a big deal to me. I did some random tests at a canon show a few weeks back and could tell the 16 to 35mm racked with less breathing. The 17 to 55 had more but nothing too crazy. I wish I could have had time to do some real tests. I actually just shot a feature and we are trying to figure out if we shot with the 17 to 55mm or 24mm 1.4 for this one shot where we racked between 3 people. The rack was very smooth and I am pretty sure we did it with the 17 to 55mm because we were running out of time and I just pulled on it. If that was the 17 to 55 then the breathing is more minimal than I thought. I feel the IS element would be huge to have for handheld stuff and although I could see myself using a rig there are times when the rig just won't work out for some run and gun situations so the IS I think could be very important to have the 20 extra mm's on the long end would come in handy too.

On shooting in the 16 to 35mm range on a full frame. Most of the time when I do shoot on 35mm film cameras I honestly shoot in that range. I remember Roman Polanski talking about how on Oliver Twist he would only shooot with a 21mm and 27mm lens for the entire movie. I tend to shoot with wider lenses so the 16 to 35mm is a good range cropped or full frame. As is the 17 to 55mm with the extra 20mm on the long end.

The 24 to 70mm is a great lens. But no IS on that range and the fact on the crop sensor it is really more like 40mm to 100mm lens makes that lens not even an option for me. Perhaps as a second lens if they put IS on it.

again thanks for the long response and anyone that has done some racking with this lens in video mode please chime in!!!!!!