What Lens? 24-70mm vs. 17-55mm IS - Both f/2.8 at DVinfo.net

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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.

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Old May 19th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #1
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What Lens? 24-70mm vs. 17-55mm IS - Both f/2.8

Ok, so I have read through the forums and I am having a tough time making a decision between Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS vs Canon lenses EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM.

I plan to sell my Canon XH-A1S (I still have two XH-A1) and get a 7D soon.
I will mostly shoot video with the 7D (70%), but I will plan to do some professional photography as well (30%).

Here are my thoughts:
-The IS in the 17-55mm seems like a BIG plus for video!
-The 17-55 would be a more usable range for video
-The 24-70mm I think is a better lens for photography
-The 17-55mm will only fit on cropped sensor cameras, so if I buy a 5DmkIII next year :) it will not fit.

I guess it comes down to how important is the IS in the 17-55 lens. Does it make a big difference? I have a pretty steady hand so I know I can get by with the non-IS in the 24-70mm for photography, but video is a whole different story. Cost they are about the same.

Please give me your thoughts.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #2
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IS is very important for video if you do any type of handheld work, if you can put it on a good rig or tripod then 24-70 is the one you want. If you are getting full frame camera next year then I'm sure you can sell the 17-55 with no problem, it is a good lens.
Khoi Pham
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #3
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I'm with Khoi: the 17-55mm f/2.8 is my workhorse lens for event shooting for the following reasons:

1. 17mm is wide enough (even on a crop sensor) to get some really nice wide shots.
2. The IS is invaluable (a.k.a. a must-have, a.k.a. don't shoot without it, a.k.a. you get the idea), especially when running handheld or even on a monopod. Wish all my lenses had it!
3. The range is excellent, and with the constant 2.8, it works pretty nicely in almost any lighting situation (although be sure to have a fast prime and/or LitePanel for those really dark interior locations!).
4. It'll sell just fine if I ever upgrade to a full-sensor setup. I bought mine off eBay, got it for about $855 (it's about $1100 new), but it took bidding on about 7 different sellers before winning it. It's a popular lens, and for good reason.

That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps!
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #4
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Canon 24-70 or 17-55mm

I went through this exact dilemma 6 months ago when I got my 7D and in the end the IS swayed it and I'm very happy I went for the 17-55mm IS rather than the 24-70mm non-IS route (maybe one day Canon will make it with IS....). I've posted elsewhere on this forum several times and shown video examples about the capabilities IS can give you regarding flexibility in hand-held video shooting so won't belabour the point further as it sounds like you've done your homework in reading what's around already.

It's a stunning lens. Sure there are times when I'd like a longer reach or wider (but have since bought lenses to cover both of those) and the better build quality of the 24-70mm L is a draw (a very good mate has one so I know it well) but optically they are TOTALLY comparable in everything (bar their respective focal length ranges, of course!) - both are razor sharp for stills. The lack of IS on the 24-70mm L is it's biggest Achilles heel, the lower build quality (i.e. more plastic/lack of weather sealing) of the 17-55mm it's, with a close second that it's an EF-S so only works on crops - but as already pointed out, it's such a cracking lens it'll hold it's value superbly well (if treated well). One other bonus is that the IS on the 17-55mm seems to be REMARKABLY quiet too (certainly compared to other Canon lenses with IS I've used or own).

I spent a couple of hours today walking round a Market town 50 miles away taking video and pics and, of my 3 main lenses, the one that was on 80% of the time was the 17-55mm - terrific lens for walkabout, hand-held video shooting with a "naked" 7D (i.e. no rig) for guerrilla (i.e. low profile/minimal intrusion) type video shooting for "capturing the atmosphere"!

Difficult choice! Good luck deciding what's right for your needs!
Andy K Wilkinson - https://www.shootingimage.co.uk
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production
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Old May 19th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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I've been renting a lot of different lenses lately for my 7D for a web series I've been shooting, and the 17-55 Canon with IS is really a great lens. On some days, it's all I use.

For example, this episode (link below) was shot using only that lens. The wide is at its widest setting, and when we pushed in, I simply cheated forward a step or two with the tripod and zoomed in and took advantage of its nice focal control at 2.8.

10: Baby Love | One Minute People

All was shot at 2.8. In this case it's all tripod stuff so we didn't use IS, but IS has come in really handy for hand-held. You want it when you're hand held to help you avoid that jello effect.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 12:47 AM   #6
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I sent my 17-55 f2.8 back. I really liked the lens but it did not have enough reach for interviews. Basically a head and shoulders shot. Not enough to get a close-up. I had to move the camera closer into the subjects space. Made them uncomfortable. On a tripod the 24-70 would be barely enough. So I decided to loose a stop and get the 24-105 f4 L IS instead. I could not be happier. That lens is the closest to a video camera lens. I highly recommend IS because it really helps with holding the camera off a tripod. The only lens that I can hand hold with out IS is the 10-22 ultra-wide, which I highly recommend.

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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:08 AM   #7
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Looks like the 17-55mm

Thanks for all the great info, this is just what I was looking for. I will probably get the 17-55, that is the one I was leaning towards after my research. I can't wait to get my 7D and a few good lenses.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #8
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Latest rumours (and I stress RUMOURS) are that a new Canon 24-70mm EF L lens with IS will be launched later this year along with the next Canon 1D (MkIV variant) - August has been mentioned. It's supposedly a big and chunky lens. Even if this long anticipated IS version does actually materialise (at last!) you could shoot a lot of video with the lovely 17-55mm EF-S IS before it's readily available....
Andy K Wilkinson - https://www.shootingimage.co.uk
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production
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Old May 20th, 2010, 07:14 PM   #9
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The 24-70 is a great lens if you do interviews. The 17-55 is probably more useful because of the wider angle. I don't think it's a consideration that you might get a bigger chip camera one day because If you did you could always sell the 17-55.

If you do go with the 24-70 make sure you buy from B&H or other reputable dealer where you can exchange it if you want. I bought one and it had a loose focus ring...sent it back, got another one...same problem, not as bad but still not acceptable. By this time I was running out of time to go for a third try so I sent it back and bought a cheap zoom to see if I would really use one that much. Got the Tamron 28-75 and what I use it for is interviews. I have a Tokina 16-50 that I use as my wide angle.

I still like the 24-70 and might try again soon. It's a great range for the type of things I do. With Canon's 16-35 and the 24-70, I could do about all I'd ever need to. The lack of IS isn't a problem for me. Using anything longer than 30-40 mm, I'm always on a tripod. I also have a Cavision rods support system, and I can do very solid hand held at wide angles with that.

I'm also using some old Nikkors with adapters, but I'm not thrilled with the adapter rings. A little sloppiness in the fit. They seem to work fine. I was going to go with all primes, except for a wide angle zoom because the only really wide angle prime costs way to much to justify. However, I discovered quickly that when shooting interviews, I really need a zoom. I almost always change focal lengths between comments, and you really can't do that with primes. The only other solution would be to always use a dolly, impractical in my world for most of the interviews I shoot.

One lens I am definitely going to get is the f1.4 35mm L. Or maybe the Zeiss version. I've used one and it really is great in low light, as long as people aren't moving too much because the depth of field is pretty shallow wide open.

The main factors I've found to be important for DSLR lenses in shooting video are how fast they are and how good is the focus ring. Most all of them are sharp enough unless you push the limits. Some lenses have a better look than others. The L lenses and the Zeiss, for example, just look better than cheaper ones. All the still camera lenses, unfortunately, are designed for auto focus, meaning their focus throw is way too short. That's why Zeiss is selling their Compact Prime cine lenses for $3900 apiece. Same basic lens as the ZEs but you get a regular focus ring. Before I buy new lenses I'll probably go for a follow focus system, just because of the short throw all the lenses have. You get the right gears and things are vastly improved.

Generally, you're not going to buy one lens and be happy. Shooting with a DSLR is all about lenses. And all the still photography comparisons don't always work. A still photographer I know was raving about the 24-105. Great lens. But not for video. Too damn slow. I'd be shooting at a 640 and up ISO for everything. Best thing to do is go to a local camera store, if there still are any where you live, and see if they'll let you try out the lens you want on your camera.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #10
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trouble with the 24-105 f4 is that you don't only lose 1 stop but nearly 2 because above and beyond the f4 fstop the lens itself seems to lose another stop of light internally. For all practical purposes its nearly a 5.6. That's why I sent mine back and got a 17-55.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 01:31 AM   #11
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I own all three of them, the 7D, 17-55 and 24-70. Don't mistake the weight of Canon's 24-70, it's a pretty heavy one. I always have the WFT-E5b transmitter/grip under the 7D and with that combo (7D / WFT-E5b / 24-70) it feels like it's dropping to the front a little which feels pretty uncomfortable when shooting handheld. I used it on my stabalizer (Glidecam HD-2000) once and had a hard time balancing this combo. I needed all the counterweights on the bottom plate.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 02:44 AM   #12
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I have the 17-55 and I regard its IS as excellent. I have used it handheld extensively on a trip abroad and there are many shots look like they are steadicamed. I also have heard rumors that the 24-70 L II will have IS but I think is at least 4 months away. Also with 7D and a filter is almost waterproof. I used it under the Iguazu falls (wrapped with plastic bag for extra sealing) and I couldn't believe that my camera kit survived.
Highly recommended.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 09:56 AM   #13
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24-70 works great for video without IS. Used it on the Blackbird, tripod, jib, slider and shoulder mount. Only the shoulder mount really missed the IS but it's useable footage. Handheld...forget it.
The lens itself is awesome for interviews and general shooting. I do miss the throw of a traditional camcorder but I have the 70-200 which takes care of that.
Can't speak for the 17-55 but I have other lenses to cover those ranges.
The 24-70 or 70-200 are on my camera almost all the time. L glass rules!
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!
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Old May 31st, 2010, 11:33 AM   #14
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Hi Jeffrey,

We have the 24-70mm and it works great for video. The decision was easy when we realized the 17-55mm does not fit full-frame cameras. The IS has not been an issue.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 10:47 PM   #15
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I was in the same boat as you a few months ago. I chose the 17-55 because of the IS. If Canon comes out with the 24-70 with IS, I will probably jump ship, or just sail with both.

The one bad thing I've noticed is it is NOT an L lens. Someone said above that with a filter will make it nearly weather proof, but I have to disagree. A friend of mine's is a dust magnet and has had to get it cleaned. I'm real careful with mine, the filter is always on. The images are INCREDIBLE. And as others have said, the IS is invaluable. But that's the ONLY con of the whole thing. It's not dustproof. But as long as you keep that in mind while shooting, you'll be very happy.
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