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Phoenix 19-35mm lens, what do you think???

Stuart Todd , Dec 03, 2002; 11:13 a.m.

Quick background info- Of recent I've found my 50mm prime and 35-80mm zoom are not getting wide enough for me. Getting closer is no problem, but getting further away is proving difficult. My tutor at university as told since begining of this semester to get a 100mm macro and a wide angle, either prime or zoom. I've got my 100mm macro and love it to pieces, also most as much as my 50mm. And after a recent field trip, I almost talked off a tall building while trying to get everything in the frame.

So I went online to do some window browsing. Mainly to look for either a Canon 20-35mm or 16-35mm zoom, or maybe a 24mm prime. And I came across the Phoenix 19-35mm F3.5-4.5 Lens. At around $150 new it seemed bargin, especially for a poor student. However this cheap price equally raises alarm bells. Why is it so cheap? Or should I stick to Canon, considering so far I've been a good Canon user/consumer/sucker and the only items in my 35mm SLR kit that don't have the Canon mark on them are the batteries and the bag.

Stu :)


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Marcus Christian , Dec 03, 2002; 02:06 p.m.

You can pick up a Canon 22-55 for around $100 if you want to stick to Canon. And yes, the price of either should raise alarm bells.

Or at least raise the idea of somewhat soft images with dim corners and large amounts of distortion.

I've got a Canon 24 now and its a much better lens, but when it was all I could afford I was more than happy with my 22-55 just for how wide it could go.

Justin L. Franks , Dec 03, 2002; 03:52 p.m.

Can you spare a bit more cash and buy a 28mm Canon prime?

Jim Strutz , Dec 03, 2002; 04:34 p.m.

I've owned one of the Phoenix 19-35's. It was okay, and I considered it quite good for the price. I eventually sold it & bought something better, but for three times the money.

The Sigma 17-35 f/2.8-3.5 and the Canon 20-35 are better for sure but, like I said, three times the price.

The newer Tokina and Tamron 19-35's are supposed to be built better for a bit more money. I think I'd get one of those instead. But as long as you don't expect greatness from a $150 superwide zoom it's fine.

carl weller , Dec 03, 2002; 06:29 p.m.

i'd think very seriously about getting a prime lense (24 or 28) from canon rather than any of the zooms mentioned. why? because, like most people, you'll probably use any wide-angle zoom that you have at the widest setting anyway.

so why not just get a nice wide 24mm (or the much cheaper 28mm) which will give results that you'll never get with a zoom?

thats just my two cents,


Nate Merz , Dec 03, 2002; 08:39 p.m.

The only way to find out is to go to the camera shop put it on your camera and run a roll of film through the camera. Sharp to one person may not to be sharp to another person.

Gary Labate , Dec 03, 2002; 09:50 p.m.

"At around $150 new it seemed bargin, especially for a poor student."

I also bought this lens because I am a poor family man! I have used it for over a year and I actually like it. It works on my EOS 3 and my Elan IIe without any problem. I decide on it basically to have a lens wider then 28 mm and not spend a lot of money for it. I am very happy with it and for the price it is a very good.

You can always buy a better lens when you can afford it but for now try this lens and spend your money for film, processing, and batteries while you are learning.

Carina Cisneros , Dec 03, 2002; 11:55 p.m.

I owned that lens. It was o.k., but nothing great, especially wide open at 19mm or stopped down at 32+mm. I gave it to a friend when I had the chance to buy a used Sigma 21-35mm lens, which is simply wonderful. It is a bit big and heacy compared to the newer 19-35 and 17-35, but I think sharp at every setting. It is a very underrated lens, which got excellent reviews in Argentina and Spain, which are the publishers of the photo magazines I have access to down here in S.A. It also has an impressive score on the photo.do site, and the score might be as good as Canon's lens which is great but I could not afford it with the taxes here in Peru. I have tested my 21-35 against a local reporter's 18-35 Sigma, and at 11x14 the 21-35 wins at every settting. It is a god buy, and built pretty good for a 3rd-party lens. I paid more because of where I live, but I hear that people in the U.S. can buy used ones on the internet for $200 or less, which is unbelievable for this lens.

Yakim Peled , Dec 04, 2002; 12:44 a.m.

Good wide angle zooms are hard to manufacture. Let me give you myself as an example. I had the 17-35/2.8 USM L but was never too happy with it. And I am an amateur, not a pro. I sold it and going to get the 35/2 and 24/2.8 primes. As you can understand, I'm another voter for the prime.

Robert McGee , Dec 04, 2002; 01:46 p.m.

I am a die hard true Canon Lens owner and I am weary of just about any off brand, especially Pheonix. With the release of the 16-35 f2.8 L Tou will find that there are a lot of lenses out there for sale used from other photographers. Sniff around E Bay. Check local camera stores. An old Canon 20-35 is going to be way better than the Pheonix.

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