eos550+15-85 -> travel?

Started Jul 5, 2010 | Discussions
Meuli
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eos550+15-85 -> travel?
Jul 5, 2010

hello

at the end of september i'll be going on holiday to argentina and brazil for couple of weeks.
I travel frequently and i'm sick of my compact camera.
So i've made up my mind and will be buying a dslr (EOS550D aka rebel t2i).
I was wondering if a 15-85 usm is would be a nice travel lens?

I prefer buying quality glass instead of the kit lenses, the kit with 18-55 and 55-200 has a nice range, but obviously they aren't exactly suberb. Also they seem to be a pain in the ass when i comes to using filters (and i can see a cp being usefull around the equator emoticon - wink.
When i have some more money i'll consider buying a 70-200 is (probably f4)

any thoughts on this would be appreciated?

kind regards
meuli

CarloSalt
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 5, 2010

Sounds excellent to me

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Olga Johnson
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 5, 2010

The 15-85 sounds like a good alternative single lens. I have the 17-55 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/4IS, but for travel I do not hesitate to take the 18-55 plus the 55-250.

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Shorthand
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 5, 2010

As the previous poster said, don't underestimate the power of the 18-55 + the 55-250. They're both very good lenses - Canon has delivered incredible value for money in each.

Also, the kit lens and the 55-250 are small and light and very easy to pack. The 15-85 or the 17-55 or any superzoom will add a lot of weight and end up being more annoying to carry than the double-kit arrangement.

I honestly wouldn't recommend buying anything beyond a 18-55 IS, a 55-250 IS, and a 50mm f/1.8 until you have explored the limits of that set of lenses. Personally, I have found that I'm happy changing lenses, and I want a 100mm Macro plus an appropriate flash to create a pretty complete macro setup before anything else. (The 55-250 is not a poor macro lens, though.) After that, I would probably start saving for the 17-55 IS or the 70-200 f/4, depending on photographic priorities at the time.

If money were no object, I would personally rather have a 17-55 f/2.8 IS - which makes night city-scapes much more photographable than the 15-85. (i.e. the 17-55 f/2.8 actually opens up new photographic possibilities while 15-85 just keeps you from having to change lenses).

Also, DxOMark.com has a new ranking in this area - which gives some very interesting results:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/en/Lens-with-Camera/Lens-rankings/Use-Case-Scores

Apply camera filter for the Canon 7D (close enough for this purpose) - and then look at the the travel/family and the landscape/architecture rankings. However, I'm afraid the 15-85 hasn't been tested yet.

Now to dive into the specs a little further (MTFs from Canon, resolution & CA from photozone.de). The resolution charts from photozone.de are huge, so they're at the bottom.

My thoughts: The 15-85 is no lens to sneeze at but neither is the 18-55. The 15-85 has markedly better CA & distortion but in terms of pure imaging (MTF / resolution) it only really blows the 18-55 away in the corners at wide angle. (CA and distortion are automatically correctable (even in JPEGs) using DxO or other utilities - which cost a lot less than the 15-85 itself.)

Again, its the 17-55 f/2.8 that is the real resolution monster here and captures the most data. As I said, I personally would much rather have it (or the Tamron or Sigma equivalents) than the 15-85. I love night scenes, and the wife is relatively intolerant of stopping to set up a tripod - plus I like to take pictures of her too and the 17-55 f/2.8 is a very workable portrait lens.

15-85:

CA:

18-55 IS:

17-55 f/2.8:

Photozone.de Resolutions:

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Meuli
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Shorthand, Jul 6, 2010

interesting !

however i've read at different places that the use of cp or other filter with the kit lenses is pain in the ass.

as i understand it you have to zoom first, and then add the filter / reposition the filter.
that - to me - seems an annoying thing.
Any thoughts on that?

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Olga Johnson
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 6, 2010

Meuli wrote:

interesting !

however i've read at different places that the use of cp or other filter with the kit lenses is pain in the ass.

as i understand it you have to zoom first, and then add the filter / reposition the filter.
that - to me - seems an annoying thing.
Any thoughts on that?

I use a lens hood on all my lenses but no filters.

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Outside
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 6, 2010

The 15-85 is an excellent 1-lens solution for the 550. Highly reccomended.

The front element on the kit lenses rotates as you focus. Since a polarizing filter must have the appropriate rotational orientation to function, each time you focus, you need to adjust the filter to compensate, which is a pain.

On most higer-end lenses, the front element is stationary so you only need to position the filter once.

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seldor
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 6, 2010

I bought the 15-85 a while ago and I have to say, I never took it off again.

True, the kit lens is (a lot) lighter than the 15-85, but the much bigger range on both ends plus the USM was a deal for me.

If you want to travel light, consider taking the kit lens(es), but if you just want one walk-around lens, the 15-85 is awesome. It makes the rebel a bit heavy on the front end and at least to me, it took a while to get used to the fact, that the lens is actually heavier than the body...

As stated before, the front element on the 15-85 does not rotate while focussing or zooming as opposed to the kit lens, so if you plan to use a polarizer often, that really may make a difference.

Matt

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Mark my words
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Outside, Jul 6, 2010

Just bought the 550D after months of reading reviews. Very impressed so far. I decided to get body only and seperately bought the 15-85 IS USM. It is a little heavy but not as heavy as two seperate lenses and it saves changing lenses. (Every time you change a lense you increase the chance of dust entering) Having IS & USM is a definite bonus. I also got a UV filter and a cheap China EW-78E lense hood. The later turned out to be wrongly labelled hood and fits at 90degress out of line (took me ages to figure this out- be warned - see my thread on it).
If you want a CP filter the good news is the front lens doesn't rotate.

Shooting video at high def is excellent. I record on Class 6 SDHC. Thought I was having problems as the playback was jerky. Turned out to be my PC that couldn't keep up, not the 550D.

I also got the 70-300 IS USM (Not obvious in the blurb but it's not 'Ring' USM)

Don't get any of this from Jessops. It's available cheaper from elswhere but make sure you get UK/Europe warrenty on the body.

Hope that helps.

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CJ123
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 6, 2010

+1 on the 15-85. I replaced the kit lens that I was never completely pleased with. I reallly found myself wanting a little more on the long end from the kit lens, and just never really was excited with my pictures compared to the 55-250 that I also had purchased with my "kit'

Kept the 55-250 for the telephoto though, always really liked the results of this lens and am very pleased. I think they make a nice travel combo. The 15-85 is bigger and heavier than the kit lens, but it's certainly not cumbersome by any means.

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anothernewb
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to CJ123, Jul 6, 2010

another +1 on the 15-85. heavier than the kit lens, but sharper and more accurate focus. I tend to use the extremes quite often. there sure is a world of difference between 15 and 18mm. likewise 55 and 85 mm. I think this lens exceeds the resolution of my XS

I will say that in pictures little going on, the vignetting is a bit noticeable wide open at the 15mm end. but I find that only in blue skies and otherwise non-busy subject matter. I will say however - that sunset shots wide open the darker corners add a nice framing.

I too have the 55-250 for really long stuff, but the 18-55 went up for sale within the first 100 pictures taken with the 15-85.

My xs travels now with the 15-85 only - unless I know that I am planning some long shots - then the 55-250 comes along.

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CJ123
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to anothernewb, Jul 6, 2010

Agreed! I love the focusing speed, the 15-85 was my first USM lens and what a difference! I don't think I could buy another lens without it at this point!

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NowHearThis
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 7, 2010

Meuli wrote:

hello

at the end of september i'll be going on holiday to argentina and brazil for couple of weeks.
I travel frequently and i'm sick of my compact camera.
So i've made up my mind and will be buying a dslr (EOS550D aka rebel t2i).
I was wondering if a 15-85 usm is would be a nice travel lens?

Yes. I own this combo and took it on an 8 day trip to Oregon & Washington. The range of the lens was perfect for me. I really didn't miss having a long telephoto. Granted I know I could have found use for one.

I prefer buying quality glass instead of the kit lenses, the kit with 18-55 and 55-200 has a nice range, but obviously they aren't exactly suberb.

They aren't miserable, and actually their sharpness is quite good. On trying to decide what lenses to get, I found the IQ of the 15-85 IS to be better - good enough IMO, to justify spending about $700 more to have it. Contrast, Sharpness, lower CAs, ... all better on the 15-85.

Also they seem to be a pain in the ass when i comes to using filters (and i can see a cp being usefull around the equator emoticon - wink.

I used a C-PL on many of my shots, 99% of my shots were taken outdoors, many of those I had a C-PL on my lens. It made all the difference in those shots.

When i have some more money i'll consider buying a 70-200 is (probably f4)

any thoughts on this would be appreciated?

I for one think this is a nice kit, you could even add the 55-250 IS too it as well, since it's small and light.

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rsalles
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 7, 2010

Meuli wrote:

hello

at the end of september i'll be going on holiday to argentina and brazil for couple of weeks.

Hi Meuli,

I travel frequently and i'm sick of my compact camera.
So i've made up my mind and will be buying a dslr (EOS550D aka rebel t2i).
I was wondering if a 15-85 usm is would be a nice travel lens?

I think it is great choice, I don´t like to keep changing lenses and a 15-85mm is almost a do it all.

any thoughts on this would be appreciated?

I´m Brazilian and i would like to ask you, where do you intend to go? That is because waking around with a expensive camera/lens is not a good idea unless you know your way around here.

I´m not proud to say it, but i must be honest with you, you might get robbed (I usually see some tourist with expensive cameras, but i rather be cautious).

In my opinion you should bring a Canon 450d with the kit lens, because it is a great camera and you can get it really cheap. Latter you can sell it and buy whatever you want to.
I´m from Rio de Janeiro, but today i live in Salvador.
If need any help just say.
Regards
Renato

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Meuli
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to rsalles, Jul 7, 2010

Olá, como vai você?,

thx for the feedback

that was something that i have taken in mind too. But somehow i feel that it's a choice, do i want nice pic's and take the chance of getting robbed or not. That's putting it a bit black and white, but still...

I haven't specificied this before, but it is actually a (small) group wich i'm travelling with, wich reduces the change of getting indivually robbed. Last year i've done something similar in Peru.

as for the places i'll go: i start in buenos aires (arg) then go to the iguacu falls then some wetlandjungle to end in rio de janeiro. That's the short version of a 23 day trip

I also plan on getting a decent insurence wich could - in the worst case - help somewhat too.

all other tips are of course welcome!

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Myer
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eos550+15-85 - Just back from Italy
In reply to Meuli, Jul 7, 2010

I recently went from the 350xt and older 17-70 to a T2i (550) and 15-85.

I just came back from a trip to Italy and couldn't have been happier with the performance.

The lens is pretty much sharp thoughout and the focal length is excellent for ordinary travel. Of course, shooting wildlife might require more reach.

I managed indoor (museums) and evening shots that I couldn't have done previously.

A very good travel choice.

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JHenrique
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 7, 2010

Some questions and advices

Hi

Where are you from? Where are you going in Brazil? I'm from Brazil and I hope you have a good time here. Brazil is a huge country with many beautiful places. Most people are kind, but a minority can speak English fluently, even at airports. I myself do not know much and I use translators to write here. Something I get lonely, but not all.

Still, needing some advice on what place to visit in Brazil is just ask. I will do my best to help. Now in July I will be traveling to the northeast of Brazil and I'll be out, but in August I'm back.

The advice : Be careful Brazil, especially with your equipment. Always be careful because in some cities, especially large cities, there are some thieves in the streets called "trombadinhas" (pickpockets). They bump with people with the intention of taking that load. I'm not saying this to discourage you, but just to be careful. Carefully, Brazil is a wonderful country to visit. Our politicians are playing to try and improve people's lives. Our President Lula is not all that they say in international newspapers.

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Alan Leshner
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to JHenrique, Jul 7, 2010

Although I suspect the 15-85 has somewhat better image quality, etc., I use the 18-200 IS with the 550D as my travel kit and am extremely happy with it. for long distances I use the 70-300 IS, which I find OK but not as sharp as I'd like, but the 18-200 makes an excellent travel lens since it gives you both decent wide-ish and long focal lengths....again, always a compromise in a lens with this kind of range, but not bad...
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sdh
sdh
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Shorthand, Jul 7, 2010

The resolution charts from Photozone are interesting. The 15-85 is generally better in the center while the 18-55 has better borders and is more even across the frame. Looks like an endorsement for the 18-55.

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ECRENSHAW
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Re: eos550+15-85 -> travel?
In reply to Meuli, Jul 8, 2010

I travel a lot and decided on the 15-85 lens for my 550D. It is an excellent lens for walkaround and not overly heavy. I carry it in a Tamrac holster case attached to my belt and use a shoulder strap to balance the load. Works all day when walking around Rome, etc.

I also purchased the 70-200 f/4 L IS with 1.4 extender recently. This is somewhat heavier so I use Tamrac modular accessory belt when carring it. Works great in the Rockies and when large range of focal lengths is needed. On ocassions, I have even carried the 70-200 around cities to zoom in past crouds to street performers, etc.

The quality of both lens has been very good.

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