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Canon 17-40 (4.0) versus Tamron 17-50 52.8°

Frank P , Aug 17, 2006; 01:57 a.m.

I am still hesitating between these two lenses for my 350 D (Rebel XT). I have been able to test the Canon 17-40 for a couple of days and it looks alright. The Tamron does get excellent reviews as well, is cheaper and I can do portraits with it as well at 50 mm (x1.6). Does anybody have experience with both of them? Any recommendations? Thanks a lot.


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Frank P , Aug 17, 2006; 02:05 a.m.

Response to Canon 17-40 (4.0) versus Tamron 17-50 (2.8)


Rainer T , Aug 17, 2006; 02:48 a.m.


I believe it boils down to the Canon is much better build and has USM. The Canon has only 40mm instead of 50 and only f/4 instead of f/2.8. Oh, yes, there is a differenct in price as well. Besides that, the Canon is a FF lens, the Tamron only APS-C.

So far, all tests that I've seen do not show signifficant differences in optical quality.

So, make your choice based on your needs and on your budget.

I've got the Tamron, and I really like it ... except of not being a USM lens.


Puppy Face , Aug 17, 2006; 04:24 a.m.

The Tamron feels cheap and plastiky, has loud whining AF, expands during zoom operation, the MF ring rotates during AF (watch fingers) and it isn't sealed.

The Canon is build like a little bazooka, is sealed, has internal focus and zoom (barrel doesn;t change size, AF rips and is totally silent and the MF ring is silky smooth and may be used to overide AF without flipping the MF/AF switch.

So if build quality and/or AF speed is important, get the Canon. If an extra stop is important, get the Tamron.

Rainer T , Aug 17, 2006; 04:24 a.m.

And just another point that might be important.

From what I see in the Exif-data of the Tamron lens, it doesn't transfer distance-data to the camera. (This would impact the use of this lens with ETTL-II flashing).


Mars C , Aug 17, 2006; 08:50 a.m.

I dont intend to muddy the water, but Frank why not also consider the 17-85 IS USM along with 50mm 1.8?

The first is more vesatile than the two you've mentioned, the second, is very inexpensive and very good optically.

Scott Pickering "25 ASA" , Aug 17, 2006; 11:11 a.m.

I was on PhotoZone's site and looked at these two lenses. From the numbers they came up with the Tamron actually beat the Canon in sharpness. Matter of fact the Tamron's numbers were the highest I've seen on the Rebel XT they used to test it.

Tse Yang Chen , Aug 17, 2006; 03:48 p.m.

Hmmm maybe many people are going to kill me, but personally I think the 17-40 is way over-rated.

I'd go for the Tamron, or the Sigma 18-50. My sigma 18-50 gives such sharp images out of camera, that when I used a 17-40L for a week (My sigma was sent for general servicing), I was convinced that something was wrong with my camera.

When I got back my Sigma, I was very happy to find out that all was fine. It was the 17-40. I showed my friends the 17-40 photo, and he said it's very sharp. That's till I showed him how much sharper, and how much more details I get with my 18-50.

Well using this sigma 18-50 I've shot plenty for the papers, various magazines, websites, and in places like various clubs and pubs. The speed and accuracy of focusing and image quality has not let me, or my editors/photodesk down.

If I've to start all over again, I'll get the Sigma lens again. If I've more money to burn, I'll be getting the 17-55 f2.8. I've played with it, seen images from it. It's stunningly sharp too. Both the sigma 18-50 and the canon 17-55 are sharper at 2.8 than the 17-40l at f4. I've not used the Tamron, but from the MTF at photozone.de, it should soundly trash the 17-40 as well.

Delwyn Ching , Aug 17, 2006; 03:56 p.m.

I have both and been testing the Tamron which I just received last week. Actually, for portraits due to the 1.6 cropping factor, the equivalent of a full-frame 50mm is about 31.25 mm so both lenses are within this range. I find at all ranges, the Canon 17-40 much sharper in the corners and edges than the Tamron. The Tamron is soft more in the center than the edges and this is with 100% zoom. I do like the f/2.8 for low light though and make no mistake, this is a fine lens. For me, the 24-105L or the 17-40L goes back on my 20D as my walk-around lens. Goto photozone.de for a test of both lenses and try it out for yourself to see which seems better for you.

Puppy Face , Aug 17, 2006; 10:32 p.m.

Each individual sample is different. There are a few lemons, many so-so and a few exceptional samples of each lens. So you may test a 17-40 L and it blows the Tammie 17-50 outta the water. Next time around, it's the opposite situation. It's always like that.

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