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Old 08-05-2008, 08:30 PM
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Canon EF17-40mm f/4L or Sigma 10-20mm or Canon EF-S 17-85mm or something else??

Well I'm in the market for a new lens for my 400D. I currently have just the kit lens' that came with the camera. My budget is preferably < $1000. I would want to use the lens primarily for (wide-angle) astrophotography, but perhaps some general purpose photography too.

I've been researching the past couple of days, including taking a read of Terry's guide to lens' for astrophotography, which was very helpful Having read that, I was sure I would get the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, but then I read this review for it, which seems to indicate that this lens would not be much of an upgrade from the kit lens (18-55mm) when fitted to a 400D. Maybe this is not the case when it comes to using the lens specifically for astrophotography, I'm not sure...

Then someone suggested the Sigma 10-20mm F4.5-5.6 to me, which has a very attractive price tag ($555 at DDP) but I've no idea how it performs for astrophotography use Then throw in the Canon 17-85mm, which I've read some good reviews for....and now I'm completely confused which way to go

Any help on this would be appreciated, I still think I'm headed toward the 17-40mm, but I may need some further convincing
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:23 PM
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I'm getting a EF-S 17-85mm IS USM and an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM .

The 17-85mm because it was offered as the standard lens with my 40D enthusiast kit (and I saw no real reason to reject it).Reviews I have seen indicate it is quite a good lens (for general photography) , the macro setting will be useful for me too.
http://www.canon.com.au/products/cam...fs17-85mm.aspx.
The wide fov should be great for panaramic shots of star fields.

I had the opportunity to play with a 40D equipped with a EF-S 17-85mm at the local HNDs and liked it more than EF 55-200mm

I liked what I read about the EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM . http://www.canon.com.au/products/cam...2.8lisusm.aspx
The apeture of 77mm is more useful too.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:06 PM
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Recently sold a 17-85mm EF-S lens - I felt that it was great as a daytime walk around lens (great FL range), but not so good as an astro lens - bit heavy on the distortions.

I have the f4 version of the Canon 70-200mm L lens, very sharp for day and night use. Sharp stars right to the edge of the field. If the lens is going to be used mainly for astro work, save some money and get the non IS version.

The L lenses are superior for astro imaging IMHO. The f4 70-200 is thought to be as sharp as the f2.8 lens, but as you say the aperture difference might swing it for you (67mm v's 77mm). Either way the 70-200mm FL range is great for wide field imaging (not so much 'wide angle'). Attach a 1.4X extender and you've got a very nice 280mm lens. The 2X extender doesn't get such a good rep though!

The f2.8 is a much larger beast than the f4 lens - so a solid method of mounting the larger lens must be factored in too.

Personally I would avoid the 17-85 for astro imaging. Some reviews show the 17-40 L to suffer from barrel distortions - but others may like to comment on that lens. Here's a couple of review links...
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...report--review
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...report--review


Good luck
Doug

ps...in the 40D signature link below, the Large Magellanic Cloud pic was taken with the 17-85mm lens and the last 2 pics - Southern Cross and Widefield Eta Carina were taken with the 70-200mm f4L. Comparison may help.

Last edited by dugnsuz; 09-05-2008 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:36 PM
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The Sigma 10-20 is a great lense, but for astrophotography, I think you'll find its too wide, As a wide angle lens for terrestrial photography, for the price it cant be beat.

As I've said in other threads, I couldnt tell you which one is best for astrophotography, as I've never done any dslr astrophoto's (yet)... but as I understand it, if its a canon lens with the letter L and a little red stripe on it, its brilliant (I used to have a 70-200 f/2.8L and a 300mm f/4L)
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugnsuz View Post
Recently sold a 17-85mm EF-S lens - I felt that it was great as a daytime walk around lens (great FL range), but not so good as an astro lens - bit heavy on the distortions.

I have the f4 version of the Canon 70-200mm L lens, very sharp for day and night use. Sharp stars right to the edge of the field. If the lens is going to be used mainly for astro work, save some money and get the non IS version.

The L lenses are superior for astro imaging IMHO. The f4 70-200 is thought to be as sharp as the f2.8 lens, but as you say the aperture difference might swing it for you (67mm v's 77mm). Either way the 70-200mm FL range is great for wide field imaging (not so much 'wide angle'). Attach a 1.4X extender and you've got a very nice 280mm lens. The 2X extender doesn't get such a good rep though!

The f2.8 is a much larger beast than the f4 lens - so a solid method of mounting the larger lens must be factored in too.

Personally I would avoid the 17-85 for astro imaging. Some reviews show the 17-40 L to suffer from barrel distortions. Here's a couple of review links...
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...report--review
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...report--review


Good luck
Doug

ps...in the 40D signature link below, the Large Magellanic Cloud pic was taken with the 17-85mm lens and the last 2 pics - Southern Cross and Widefield Eta Carina were taken with the 70-200mm f4L. Comparison may help.
I will likely leave the 17-85mm on the camera when out and about (general and engineering photography) and may wind up getting a different "standard zoom" later. It comes as part of the Enthusiast kit , cheaper to buy that way so it'll do for now.

There are nice Sigma too.
Like EF 50-500mm f/ 4 - 6.3 APO EX DG HSM http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/prod4085.htm (86mm) , bit big to lug about but .... that's not too shabby on aperture.
and the EF 17-70mm f/ 2.8 - 4.5 DC MACRO HSM looks like good option as a standard zoom.

Too bad I can't use my old lenses and telephotos (Minolta manual focus bayonets) on the 40D , I still use the old XD5 , best 35mm film camera I've ever used for astro work , and has lots of life left in still - I'm not likely to retire it or part with my older telephotos and telephoto zooms any time soon ,even if I am planning on startinfg to do digital photography when the 40D arrives.

Last edited by Ian Robinson; 09-05-2008 at 01:00 AM.
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2008, 12:41 AM
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on the topic of the sigma APO's.... I currently have a Sigma 170-500 f/5~f/6.3 APO and its VERY NICE! ebay is your friend, many sellers have these for under 700 delivered... Good focal length for the $$ and as far as sharpness goes... Razorblades aint got nothing on them!!

Also, Sigma have a 70-200 f/2.8 which I've used side by side with my mates canon 70-200 f/2.8L and I honestly couldnt tell the difference in any way (physical, or image quality) apart from the fact that the sigma one was black and the canon L was white... at nearly $1000 less, I wonder... Whats in a name?
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexN View Post

Also, Sigma have a 70-200 f/2.8 which I've used side by side with my mates canon 70-200 f/2.8L and I honestly couldnt tell the difference in any way (physical, or image quality) apart from the fact that the sigma one was black and the canon L was white... at nearly $1000 less, I wonder... Whats in a name?
Yeah, agreed...
The sigma was a slightly more expensive option when I was looking for my lens and got great reviews. But, the Canon 70-200mm f4L was the best bang for buck lens at the time. I got mine for around $650, but have seen as-new ones going for around $550 on ebay!!
Doug
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:21 AM
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Nice wide angle/field lens to try might be the "nifty fifty" - EF 50mm f1.8 MkII. (Maybe not a truly w-i-d-e angle though!!!)
Can be picked up for around $100, stopped down past f2.8 it's amazingly sharp for such a cheap lens. Build quality is reflected in price though.
Check out Mike's recent Rho region pic in the deep sky section - taken with the MkI version I believe.Also Bill Christie's (2020BC) widefields with this lens are great.
Doug
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:14 AM
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I use the 17-40L and 70-200L a lot for astro work, they're my two main lenses in general.

I find that both are fairly good but I still do get distortions on the edge corners, especially if slightly out of focus. I do find that both are very susceptible to being slightly out of focus - that little bit, and I see significantly more elongated stars.

I have wanted to get something in the 20 - 50mm range, fixed focal length, large aperture, and compare them. I would be hoping for something fixed focal length being less susceptible to distortions. I feel I used to more easily get sharp flat images from my old pentax 50mm.

Both the 17-40 and 70-200 are very smooth focusers, very well built, relatively light lenses. There is little comparison between them and cheaper non-L canon lenses.

Roger.
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:58 AM
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Have you considered the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8? I upgraded to this from my 18-55mm kit lens and was amazed at the difference. For astro shots it's very sharp at F/4.0. I've just gotten a Sigma 10-20 but have yet to try it for anything astro related although I suspect it may be a bit wide.
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:09 PM
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Thanks a lot for all the info guys, looks like I've got a fair amount more of researching to do. From all the info I've received, it seems that maybe the Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L may not provide the best value for money when it comes to astrophotography...correct me if I'm wrong on that one.

Also note that I currently don't have any tracking capabilities, so the lens would be used just for short, straight exposures of the sky.
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:14 PM
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I have a 17-85 and regret getting it... it's very soft (not sharp), slow (aperture) and often misses the focus. I was tossing up between that, the 17-40 L and the 18 - 55 IS f2.8 when I got the camera and I should have got the 17-40 or the 18-55 2.8. Another option is the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 macro - but not the HSM version. A few people have said the non-hsm is sharper than the hsm version. If you look around, this lens is about $500. I'm still considering the 17-40, particularly as I can also use it on my EOS3.

But if you want to take photos without tracking, you are limited to less than maybe 30 or even 15 seconds if you want to minimise star trails. This implies a fast lens - like the 50 mm f1.8 (very cheap, good optics, crap construction), or the 50 mm f1.4 (expensive, good optics, good construction). A 50 on a 40D will be slightly telephoto. If you want 'standard', then the 28 f1.8 is a good choice. If you want slightly more telephoto, the 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens. Anything more than that then you will need tracking.

I've also got the 70-200 f2.8 and that is a really fantastic lens, although very heavy.
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Old 18-05-2008, 06:43 PM
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Well I'm still undecided on which lens to purchase, but just looking around the different threads here, it seems most users have some sort of tracking capabilities and it is probably worth my while looking into it further.

Anyone have a rough estimate on how much it would cost to obtain the necessary equipment to start tracking?
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Old 18-05-2008, 07:18 PM
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Well I'm still undecided on which lens to purchase, but just looking around the different threads here, it seems most users have some sort of tracking capabilities and it is probably worth my while looking into it further.

Anyone have a rough estimate on how much it would cost to obtain the necessary equipment to start tracking?
Skies the limit on this one Andrew!!!
I started by mounting my camera and lens on an EQ3 mount with a motorized RA drive. This mount and drive at Bintel would set you back around $550, but there are 2nd hand bargains to be found around the traps.
This would allow you (once polar aligned) to take exposures of up to about 1 minute or so before stars started to trail. The exposure time would be dependant on the accuracy of your polar alignment.

If you want to go deeper/longer you would need to either manuallly guide the mount via a guidescope or use an autoguider to do it for you.
The EQ3 with GoTo and autoguiding capability is $795 at Bintel.
http://www.skywatchertelescope.net/s...1=3&class2=304


Got to consider the future though, as you grow into the hobby trying to mount a scope on a small mount will be frustrating and a PITA!!!!!!

My current setup is an Skywatcher SynScan EQ5 mount with a side by side plate - the DSLR and 70-200mm lens on one side of the plate and a 80mm guidescope on the other. Works well for the focal lengths I am imaging at.
The autoguiding capabilty is a Godsend for imaging, I rarely use the GoTo function. Autoguiding requires a computer/laptop close`to the imaging rig.


All the best
Doug
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Old 18-05-2008, 08:01 PM
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andrews currently have a HEQ5 pro with goto for $799, Ex-display... could call them and ask what the "slightly damaged by customer" means... and There you have one hell of a tracking tripod.. as doug said, an 80mm guide scope and autotracking camera... ! you're set.
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Old 19-05-2008, 08:37 AM
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I emailed Lee about that Ex-display HEQ5Pro and apparently it's already been sold he just needs to update the site
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Old 19-05-2008, 01:03 PM
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andrews currently have a HEQ5 pro with goto for $799, Ex-display... could call them and ask what the "slightly damaged by customer" means... and There you have one hell of a tracking tripod.. as doug said, an 80mm guide scope and autotracking camera... ! you're set.
Yeah,
Thanks Alex - neglected to add at the $795 price of the Bintel EQ3 GoTo mount, you are getting close to the price of an HEQ5 pro which is a much more capable mount for your progression in the hobby.
Cheers all
Doug
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:38 PM
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on the topic of the sigma APO's.... I currently have a Sigma 170-500 f/5~f/6.3 APO and its VERY NICE! ebay is your friend, many sellers have these for under 700 delivered... Good focal length for the $$ and as far as sharpness goes... Razorblades aint got nothing on them!!

Also, Sigma have a 70-200 f/2.8 which I've used side by side with my mates canon 70-200 f/2.8L and I honestly couldnt tell the difference in any way (physical, or image quality) apart from the fact that the sigma one was black and the canon L was white... at nearly $1000 less, I wonder... Whats in a name?
The sigma loses to the canon wide open at 2.8, but as you stop the sigma down the difference becomes less noticeable.

mind you thats being super super picky
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Old 21-05-2008, 09:43 PM
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Yer, more picky than my eyes I suppose the way the out of focus blur looks is slightly different i suppose... but again, thats being fairly picky...

And besides, im a nikon user, so in the opinion of all you canon users, my input doesnt count anyway lol. (nikkor 70-200 2.8 is AWESOME BTW)
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Old 21-05-2008, 10:48 PM
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the nikon 70-200 is ok on a crop camera but has very poor edges on a ff camera
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