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17-55 vs. 24-70 for Crop Sensor Bodies

Jason Hinds - Columbus, OH , Jan 04, 2007; 10:13 p.m.

Okay, so many of you may have seen my previous post asking if I was crazy to give up my "L" glass in favor of some primes and a wide zoom for my 30D. At the time, I was thinking about ditching a 10-22, 24-70, and 70-200 F4 for a 17- 40 and some primes. Well, one lens that I forgot to consider was the new 17- 55.

Has anyone switched to the 17-55 from a 24-70 on their 1.6 body? I've read a ton of reviews about this lens, and from what I can tell, the optics are as good as, if not better than, the 24-70. The only downside (not including the whole EF-S vs EF debate) is that it's not "L" build quality, and it tends to suck in a little dust (which really is more of a nuisance than anything else).

Do any of you have both lenses, or has anyone used both extensively? Would you recommend selling a 24-70 in order to get the 17-55?

Responses

craig zac , Jan 05, 2007; 07:02 a.m.

im looking into the 17-55 and the dust thing does scare me abit, its a pretty expensive lens to buy and if its got problems, even small ones like being a vaccume, Im thinking the 24-70 is better. (wish theyd make a 24-70L f2.8 IS)

Steve Dunn , Jan 05, 2007; 09:00 a.m.

Dust will get into your camera. End of story. Some lenses stir it up more than others, but it'll get in there.

The 24-70 is sealed but if you think about the physics of it, it too will move air in and out of the body. Its front elements move when you zoom it, which means that the internal volume of the lens changes when you zoom it, and that means that it creates a change in air pressure within the lens and the body. The sealing is not sufficient to maintain this pressure change, nor is the body sealed, so air cannot help but enter if you zoom one way and exit if you zoom the other. Any dust that's already in the body and/or lens may move around when this happens, and some dust may enter or leave as well.

I'd expect the 17-55 to have more of a dust issue since there's no sealing in it, but either one will stir up some dust.

BTW, I've been shooting for almost two years with a 20D (which is not sealed), and three of the five lenses I've used in that time are not sealed (28-135, 50/1.4, 300/4 IS are not sealed; 17-40 and 70-200/2.8 IS are). I've had to clean the sensor once.

As I haven't owned either of the two specific lenses you're discussing, I can't offer personal experience with them. I have been considering the possibility of trading in my 17-40 for the 17-55, and it looks like the only downside from an optical perspective is vignetting; the 17-55 gets great reviews for its optics.

adam buteux , Jan 05, 2007; 11:42 a.m.

i shoot a load of primes and have to clean my sensor all the time - but it take about 1min to do, so not worried in the slightest

Alan Pain , Jan 05, 2007; 12:22 p.m.

I've handled both at a shop. The 17-55 cannot match the overall build quality of the L lens but it is nevertheless a very solid feeling bit of kit. Ultimately the decission needs to be yours - both get very good reviews for image quality.

I also would not worry about 'dust' issues. I have used a 100-400L push-pull zoom on digital bodies for over two years - including most recently on a 400D (complete with it's air vent through the CF compartment! (see my earlier post)). In all that time I cleaned my 300D sensor once, and my 400D sensor remains clean at the moment.

Christof Spitz , Jan 05, 2007; 12:44 p.m.

The 17-55 IS is a fine (and expensive) lens. I don't care much about dust. The dust problem with this lens seems to apply to the first production series only. In the meantime Canon has probably done something about it. I've just used my 17-55 IS on a trip to India, but can't spot a single dust particle inside the lens.

And even if some dust enters the lens, so what? It won't have a bad effect on image quality.

The IS can be very helpful in low light situations when you can't use a tripod / monopod or a flash.

dan vidal , Jan 05, 2007; 02:45 p.m.

The 17-55 lens is probably the best non-L lens I've ever used. It's definitely the tops for a 1.6x body. I wouldn't get a 17-40 for a crop body, simply because it is slow. Depends on your shooting style though. If you like to shoot wide, then yeah, sell the 24-70. Some 17-55 samples:

30D, 1/160s, f2.8, ISO 1250, 55mm
30D, 1/40s f2.8 ISO 1000, 17mm

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