Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Questions
unicursalhexagram
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Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
Dec 12, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm embarking on a month long tour of New Zealand and Australia next spring and am building up my travel kit to use with my 5D (Classic). I have a budget of around £900 for lenses and am planning to get the 17-40 f4 L and the 70-200 f4 L non IS (both are 400 + change mint from established shops / used shops e.g. LCE, MBP Photographic, etc).
I figure this combination will cover most of the focal range I might need for anything from landscape shots to subjects more suited for telephoto. I'll also be taking a tripod for any lowlight situations so hoping f4 won't be too much of an issue.

Can I do better in terms of glass quality for £900ish given today's lens prices ? I'm fine with buying used or refurbished providing it is from somewhere reputable and with a warranty.

Many thanks !

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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM Canon EOS 5D
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Press Correspondent
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

Good plan. Add Canon 50/1.4 if you can. Make sure to stop down 17-40 to f/8 at 40mm and to f/5.6 for best center or f/11 for best corners at 17mm. Stop down 50/1.4 to at least f/2.8 or further. Another option is Canon 40/2.8 that is sharp with a pretty good bokeh wide open for a minimal cost. Use only center focusing point and repeat shots (memory is cheap, but AF on 5D is not stellar, especially in low light).

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brightcolours
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Seems to be a fine pair for traveling
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

unicursalhexagram wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm embarking on a month long tour of New Zealand and Australia next spring and am building up my travel kit to use with my 5D (Classic). I have a budget of around £900 for lenses and am planning to get the 17-40 f4 L and the 70-200 f4 L non IS (both are 400 + change mint from established shops / used shops e.g. LCE, MBP Photographic, etc).
I figure this combination will cover most of the focal range I might need for anything from landscape shots to subjects more suited for telephoto. I'll also be taking a tripod for any lowlight situations so hoping f4 won't be too much of an issue.

Can I do better in terms of glass quality for £900ish given today's lens prices ? I'm fine with buying used or refurbished providing it is from somewhere reputable and with a warranty.

Many thanks !

The 17-40mm f4 is compact for an UWA zoom, and should do well. As pointed out above, stop it down when you need corner sharpness. Personally I went for more compact but less flexible, the Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 SL II N. Stopped down also f8-11, it is very contrasty with good corners. But it is not nearly as wide as 17mm.

The 70-200mm f4 L USM is a great lens. Smooth bokeh rendering, very good at close focus stuff, fast and silent AF and nice colours... It will not disappoint.

And I also like the suggestion to take a 50mm f1.4 from Canon along. Not a heavy lens, will give you wider aperture when wanted or needed.

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unicursalhexagram
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

I absolutely love the kind of images the EF 50mm 1.4 produces and would upgrade my nifty fifty to it if I weren't so worried about its construction quality. It's tough when you love its images but worry about when you'll be repairing the lens or indeed buying a new one.

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hotdog321
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

I agree with your approach. Almost all my travel stuff is shot with a 16-35 and a few images with a 70-200, so we're on the same page. Might consider a 1.4X or 2X if budget permits, or perhaps a quality circular polarizer, but I think you are good to go.

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Just another Canon shooter
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

I would just get a standard range zoom, whatever you own.

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Pusseapa
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

I like to travel light, and my 6d + 40mm 2.8 is as light as it gets, with the most awesome IQ

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DFPanno
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 12, 2013

I wouldn't take those big lenses myself.  I would take a 24-105 (or 24-70) and get what I could get.

The 40 STM is a wonderful back-up/walk-around/evening lens.

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Press Correspondent
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to DFPanno, Dec 13, 2013

DFPanno wrote:

I wouldn't take those big lenses myself. I would take a 24-105 (or 24-70) and get what I could get.

24-105 is more convenient, but does not have the color or contrast of 17-40 or especially 70-200/4. So 20-105 would be fine as a single lens handheld, but it fails the OP's requirements of the best IQ with a tripod.

The 40 STM is a wonderful back-up/walk-around/evening lens.

I bought one for $100 from GearShop and still can't reconcile with how good it is.

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Press Correspondent
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 13, 2013

unicursalhexagram wrote:

I absolutely love the kind of images the EF 50mm 1.4 produces and would upgrade my nifty fifty to it if I weren't so worried about its construction quality. It's tough when you love its images but worry about when you'll be repairing the lens or indeed buying a new one.

Please put your camera down now! It also can break any moment. Better safe than sorry...

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+1 - Polarizer!
In reply to hotdog321, Dec 13, 2013

hotdog321 wrote:

I agree with your approach. Almost all my travel stuff is shot with a 16-35 and a few images with a 70-200, so we're on the same page. Might consider a 1.4X or 2X if budget permits, or perhaps a quality circular polarizer, but I think you are good to go.

Oh yes, don't leave home without a polarizer, especially for landscapes. A huge difference. Get 77mm B+W if you can (or Hoya otherwise) plus a step down ring to 67mm for only $20 more. Rotate the filter until either the sky or foliage is the darkest. On lakes you have a choice of killing either reflections or transparency. Just rotate 90 degrees. Two completely different shots. You can dry wet rocks with a polarizer, open windows, make skies and clouds dramatic, etc.

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Just another Canon shooter
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to Press Correspondent, Dec 13, 2013

Press Correspondent wrote:

24-105 is more convenient, but does not have the color or contrast of 17-40 or especially 70-200/4.

Here are two 100% crops (click on them) from the same scene, processed with the same settings in LR, default sharpening, one taken with the 24-105, the other with the 35L. Can you tell me which is which, based on the colors and the contrast?

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salamander1
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to Just another Canon shooter, Dec 13, 2013

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

Press Correspondent wrote:

24-105 is more convenient, but does not have the color or contrast of 17-40 or especially 70-200/4.

Here are two 100% crops (click on them) from the same scene, processed with the same settings in LR, default sharpening, one taken with the 24-105, the other with the 35L. Can you tell me which is which, based on the colors and the contrast?

that's wonderful! the pictures and the renderings are virtually  indistinguishable. i would venture a guess: second picture from left to right is the 35l and the first picture is the 24-105.

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Just another Canon shooter
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to salamander1, Dec 13, 2013

salamander1 wrote:

that's wonderful! the pictures and the renderings are virtually indistinguishable. i would venture a guess: second picture from left to right is the 35l and the first picture is the 24-105.

Correct.

BTW, this works quite well as a stereo image. Try to look through the images, at infinity.

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Great Bustard
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On the other hand...
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 13, 2013

unicursalhexagram wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm embarking on a month long tour of New Zealand and Australia next spring and am building up my travel kit to use with my 5D (Classic). I have a budget of around £900 for lenses and am planning to get the 17-40 f4 L and the 70-200 f4 L non IS (both are 400 + change mint from established shops / used shops e.g. LCE, MBP Photographic, etc).
I figure this combination will cover most of the focal range I might need for anything from landscape shots to subjects more suited for telephoto. I'll also be taking a tripod for any lowlight situations so hoping f4 won't be too much of an issue.

Can I do better in terms of glass quality for £900ish given today's lens prices ? I'm fine with buying used or refurbished providing it is from somewhere reputable and with a warranty.

Many thanks !

...a Sony RX10 at £800 might be something worth considering instead of a 5D + lenses.

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 13, 2013

unicursalhexagram wrote:

I absolutely love the kind of images the EF 50mm 1.4 produces and would upgrade my nifty fifty to it if I weren't so worried about its construction quality. It's tough when you love its images but worry about when you'll be repairing the lens or indeed buying a new one.

Apparently the weakness is a blow on the filter. Therefore I always leave the hood (shade) on. That apparently will protect it. I've mine for years.

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rmlewis
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to unicursalhexagram, Dec 13, 2013

I have just done the opposite - returned from Europe to Australia

OZ is a great place for landscape with a huge variety of land and colour. Over several tours I've managed to work out which works for me both in Australia and Europe.

I now travel with:

16-35 II - great for wide landscapes like Australia. I have owned the 17-40 and its great performance for value and will do fine if used as mentioned above.

70-200 f/4 L IS - I use the IS model but this continues to be a great lens. I am using it more often for Landscape, especially in the harsh Australian sun.

24-105 f/4 IS - This is the lens that is on my 5DIII by default. It covers the in between range and I use it mainly in the cities although it works OK for landscape.

I also carry a 1.4 extender but have hardly ever used it.

I think the 17-40 and the 70-200 will see you through well but you might consider something in the middle range for walking around the cities.

Earlier this year I travelled aroud he Pilbara region in the Noth of Western Australia using this combination. Some of the images can be seen here - http://www.roblewisphotography.com/Pilbara-Tour-2013

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Press Correspondent
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to Just another Canon shooter, Dec 13, 2013

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

salamander1 wrote:

that's wonderful! the pictures and the renderings are virtually indistinguishable. i would venture a guess: second picture from left to right is the 35l and the first picture is the 24-105.

Correct.

BTW, this works quite well as a stereo image. Try to look through the images, at infinity.

I am on business in Toronto and can't see any difference on my iPad. On the positive side I just had a nice lobster dinner at no cost to me But seriously, when you start a relationship, it always starts optimistic, but then it can grow deeper and more satisfying or transcend into irritation and frustration or even hate. Can you tell this ahead from the first kiss? Then why asking about a single picture with explicit colors on a direct sunlight? Canon uses the same exact trick to sell cheap lenses as an image of flowers on direct sunlight looks the same with any lens, especially stopped down. Technically the issue here is that the color contrast of the scene exceeds and therefore masks that of the lens. I doubt even Zeiss would look much different in your example, but would stand out dramatically in more challenging real life photographic situation with softer light and moderate subject contrast away from direct sunlight.

My my relationship with 24-105 has gone through all 4 classic stages. It started as love when I bought it in a 5D kit 6 years ago. The next few years were cloudless, but then troubles began. I stared looking at others and liked what I saw. And then I looked back and realized that the magic was gone. The images I was left with seemed lifeless and emotionally empty to me. Through all this time I also kept a secret relationship that started 4 years earlier with my old 17-40. To my surprise its images were unaffected and stood the ground on their own merits with an intact emotional impact untouched and not destroyed by time as with 24-105.

I was disappointed. I called 24-105 the evil lens for being so good that it disguised wasting years of my precious memories that could have blossomed with a more faithful partner. Once 24-70 II was out, I requested a divorce and appealed to a formal authority of eBay. The 24-70 was superb, much better contrast than 17-40, completely in a different league from 24-105, but... I wasn't good enough for it. I was spoiled by cozy comfort of the IS on 24-105 that I failed to appreciate and also its superb tele reach. My hands were shaky and my act was blurry. I realized there was more to my relationship than I thought. Lucky me I was forgiven and we decided to remain friends and greedy eBay was out of the picture. I used 24-70 when I was confident and 24-105 when I didn't know what to expect. A little luck of contrast was a whole lot better than missing a shot or blurring it altogether.

After love, hate, and friendship, came forgetfulness and indifference. As I was growing more confident with 24-70, I was meeting with 24-105 less send less. For the first time I allowed myself to even travel without it and... it ended up fine, not a disaster I expected. And so at its old age it now spends more time on a shelf, but once in a while, such as when some yong girl starts wildly dancing across the whole room, 24-205 jumps off the shelf and joins the dance, as 24-70 is just not quite lean and quick and reaching to keep up.

So... Will I ever part with it? Who knows. May be when I lose interest in dancing girls

To answer your inquiry, I had elaborated on the subject of the contrast of 24-105 extensively before you were born on this forum. Please check these couple posts among others if you are interested:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41529154

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51913427

I couldn't fine another post where a guy asks to compare the same shots of colorful town rooftops in direct sunlight taken with 24-105 and 35L, the same use case as yours, the same lack of difference. Another reason for it is that 35L is a 15-y/o design with low contrast that isn't  much better than 24-105, except for wider aperture. 35L is a good lens with many use cases and producing beautiful results, bet let's face it, it is obsolete today and the only reason it has not yet been upgraded is that Sigma has caught Canon with their pants down by releasing 35/1.4 so stellar that it beat even Zeiss, which in turn has responded by releasing Otus (it's on my Christmas wish list - anyone???) This is why I have opted for Sigma. Below is my forum mandatory cat shot. Canon 35L II is expected next year, but other than weather sealing and marginally faster AF, the only tangible chance Canon many have against Sigma is a better bokeh, which is pretty hard to achieve at 35mm. Will see. If they do release a better lens - a very big IF - then I'd switch. I'm not married to Sigma, you know, we are just friends

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unicursalhexagram
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to Press Correspondent, Dec 13, 2013

Press Correspondent wrote:

unicursalhexagram wrote:

I absolutely love the kind of images the EF 50mm 1.4 produces and would upgrade my nifty fifty to it if I weren't so worried about its construction quality. It's tough when you love its images but worry about when you'll be repairing the lens or indeed buying a new one.

Please put your camera down now! It also can break any moment. Better safe than sorry...

Touche... But I believe the EF 50mm 1.4 has a reputation for being held together by willpower alone.

However there's a great comment lower down advising to protect it with the lens hood so I may do that.

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unicursalhexagram
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Re: Full frame travel lenses for Canon - your recommendations ?
In reply to Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee, Dec 13, 2013

Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee wrote:

unicursalhexagram wrote:

I absolutely love the kind of images the EF 50mm 1.4 produces and would upgrade my nifty fifty to it if I weren't so worried about its construction quality. It's tough when you love its images but worry about when you'll be repairing the lens or indeed buying a new one.

Apparently the weakness is a blow on the filter. Therefore I always leave the hood (shade) on. That apparently will protect it. I've mine for years.

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Níor bhris focal maith fiacail riamh (Irish Gaelic)
A good word never broke a tooth.

Thank you for the tip - I'll make sure to do that if I end up buying the EF 50mm 1.4 !

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