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EF-S 17-55 mm, Sigma 17-50 mm and Tamron 17-50 mm

Gurpreet Brar , Apr 22, 2012; 08:38 p.m.

Dear All,
I am planning to buy a good portrait lens for my crop sensor camera, EF-S 17-55, Sigma 17-50, Tamron 17-50... I have heard/read equal good and bad things about Sigma and Tamron. Therefore, I get inclined to Canon. Has anyone used Sigma and Tamron 17-50 mm with Image Stabilization. If yes, please share your experience.


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James (Jim) Johnson , Apr 22, 2012; 10:17 p.m.

"Has anyone used Sigma and Tamron 17-50 mm with Image Stabilization. If yes, please share your experience."

My Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 does not have Image Stabilization, . . . So, I suppose my experience may not be of any use, but I'm going to put my short .02 cents in anyway!

It is claimed by many that the non VC (Image Stabilization) version of the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is sharper than the VC Version in many of the reviews. However, a friend of mine has the VC version and I think his photographs are just as sharp, and I think we both shoot with about the same techniques.

I've had my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for about 4 years, and I personally have been so pleased with it's results that should it fail for any reason, I'd be first in line at the nearest retailer to purchase another.
Best wishes,
Jim j.

Gurpreet Brar , Apr 22, 2012; 10:23 p.m.

Thank you Jim. I appreciate your honest feedback. Due to some unknown reason, I don't trust Amazon.com reviews. Amazon has many negative comments on Tamron quality...some say it is plasticky and not as reliable as Canon. Whereas a friend of mine is not very happy with Canon. According to him, the Canon is very nice lens and there is no doubt about it..but it has a tendency to grab dust. I think Photo.net is more reliable source for real world feedback.

Matthew Burnett , Apr 22, 2012; 11:45 p.m.

I have owned the Tamron 17-50 VC and now the Sigma 17-50 OS. I've been much happier with the Sigma in nearly every aspect. The Canon was out of my price range, but if I had the funds I would've went that direction. I've only heard good reviews about the Canon.

Dave Redmann , Apr 23, 2012; 12:27 a.m.

I am planning to buy a good portrait lens for my crop sensor camera . . . .

Then, in my opinion, don't but any 17-50 or 17-55, because they are too short. For portraits, you don't want anything wider than "normal"--which is about 27mm on a cropped-sensor Canon--and for fairly tight head shots, you may want something as long as about 85 or 90mm. So if portraits (or at least, traditional portraits) are your main goal, I nominate the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. It is sharper than any of the lenses you mentioned, at least in the center; it's cheaper; and its main downside is geometric distortion (which may or may not bother you for portraits, and is easy enough to fix in the digital darkroom).

It may also be worth mentioning that you should be able to get better results by getting all three of Canon's 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8, and 85mm f/1.8--for much less total cost than the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 and not much more than the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8.

Massimo Foti , Apr 23, 2012; 02:40 a.m.

You should add Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 to the list :-)

Mark Anthony Kathurima , Apr 23, 2012; 05:15 a.m.

Check out http://www.photozone.de for reviews on all the above. I find their reviews pretty thorough and generally objective.

Dan M , Apr 23, 2012; 09:09 a.m.

I agree with Dave. All of these are short for portrait lenses. You can use any length for a portrait lens, but as you go shorter, you emphasize depth (think: bulbous noses), while longer lenses flatten features. The traditional portrait length on that camera would be in the range of 55-60mm. I use a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for most candids, usually at lengths greater than 55mm. You might want to borrow a few lenses to check out which focal lengths you find most pleasing for your tastes.

BTW, my Tamron has been great. it does not have the BQ of the better Canons, but it is a sharp lens and has functioned flawlessly for about 4 years.

Gurpreet Brar , Apr 23, 2012; 10:41 a.m.

Thank you everyone. I appreciate your honest feedback. I will check our local camera store and try both Sigma and Tamron for hands on experience. I do have Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8, but on the crop sensor, it becomes approx 75 mm, which sometimes needs more space between the camera and the subject...Sometimes problem indoors. However, if I have enough space, there is nothing that compares to it.

Arie Vandervelden , Apr 23, 2012; 10:57 a.m.

I own both Canon 17-55 and Tamron 17-50 non-VC. Both are excellent lenses.

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