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Best big range zoom walk around lens for Canon

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Showing 1-22 of 22 posts in this discussion
Posted on 3 Apr 2014, 12:14:49 BST
T.J.Byford says:
Yes, you are correct. Not really suitable for the role of a walk around lens on APS-C.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2014, 11:37:10 BST
Neil Bailey says:
I agree that the 28-105 is a great value lens. Fine on FF, but on a 1.6x APS C sensor body, the range doesn't really qualify it as a walk around lens. The L lenses are as good as all the reviews say, but are undeniably expensive. Shopping globally, and being prepared to pay import and handling charges can be a good idea, but often L lenses appear in Amazon 'special deals', and make the case for going 'L' compelling!

Posted on 3 Apr 2014, 10:42:40 BST
Last edited by the author on 3 Apr 2014, 12:27:05 BST
T.J.Byford says:
I'm late coming to this discussion, and have found the posts very informative.

I recently bought the Sony A7 and, somewhat out of character for me, I use prime lenses as I have a need for w/a rather than tele lenses, I was looking for a reasonable walk around zoom lens. For those who are not familiar with Sony's A7 it uses the same NEX E mount as on their APS-C NEX cameras, so mounting anything other than a Sony E mount lens requires an adaptor. Fortunately, Viltrox make a reasonably priced one for Canon EF lenses, and it has the electronic contacts, which is an absolute necessity with Canon EF lenses as there is no way to manually set the aperture when off a Canon body. I use it with the excellent, and very inexpensive EF 1.8/50mm Mk II. I get auto aperture control but, for some reason with this lens, no auto focus. Effectively, then, I was set to go and look for a Canon lens. I wasn't after extreme quality, but wanted a cheap lens that would deliver at least 90% of the time.

The lens I ended up with is the EF f3.5/f4.5 28-105mm Mk II. Sure, it is not the 24mm, but the quality v price ratio is better than an L lens. Indeed, compared to L prices, it is exceedingly cheap. There are actually 4 versions of this lens, so getting the right one is paramount. I didn't know this until whilst searching the net, I came across this excellent piece of work about this lens. So if this lens is of interest to anyone, I would heartily recommend you read it. I sourced my lens from Japan and even with VAT and the UK handlers charge, it was cheaper than most ebayers for a near mint condition and unmarked sample. (And the really good news for me is works with the Viltrox adaptor to give me AF, albeit slow, and auto aperture control.)


I can attest to the fact that this is a very good lens for the money and I like the fact that it has a proper manual focusing ring at the rear of the lens, with proper resistance, unlike a lot of AF lenses that provide a nasty slim ring right at the front of the lens and disengage the motor so there is no tactile feedback when focusing. If you have the EF f1.8/50 Mk II you will know what I mean.

I consider this lens a viable, and less expensive lens than an L series, so it is worthy of consideration.

I know that Ken Rockwell is not everyone's cup of tea, but for an interesting overview of this lens, have a look here:


Edit: I've just gone back to read Ken Rockwell's review, and noticed that he lists the MkII version as made in Taiwan. Ideally, the one to get is actually the MkII made in Japan, as the extensive review points out in its comparison of the 4 available versions.

Posted on 1 Apr 2014, 16:11:26 BST
Neil Bailey says:
I have been around the Canon block for 30+ years! moving from SLR to DSLR about 10 years ago. I bought a 24-105L as my 'walkaround' lens, using it first on a 7D and now on a Full Frame 6D. I have been delighted with it, the IQ is excellent and the IS works well. It is quite heavy however, and I bought a Canon 40mm/2.8 for those occasions where the large lens is not appropriate - again very pleased with the IQ - quite exceptional for the price.
The 17-40L is also a great lens, but does not have IS.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2014, 17:36:05 BST
I found that distortion was quite noticeable with my Tamron 18-250mm. IQ was pretty good though - and distortion can be dialled out pretty much in post I guess.
Focus could be a bit sub par given the serpentine mechanism in the triple barrel.
It's good for dusty environments though.

Posted on 30 Mar 2014, 11:31:28 BST
M. Samson says:
Recommend Sigma 18-250mm lens - excellent travel lens, good value for money, relatively small and light. Produces good images - can be a little soft at the 250mm end but this is not unusual in zoom lenses

Posted on 4 Jan 2014, 11:55:18 GMT
Marksp says:
The 24-105 L is under £500 just. It is a fantastic lens and has a decent resale value
If you decide to go to full frame it is still a good buy.

There is a general rule of thumb with zooms.......... 1:4 or 1:5 is really the maximum you can expect so..10-40 mm or 30-120mm. When you have lenses that do 10-300 you can get some very strange effects and colours at the short and long ends as the design has to be a massive compromise

I spend most of my life with a 24-105 f/4 which is a reasonable investment. I have some other L glass too but I rarely use them for "walk around".

I do have an 85mm f/1.8 which does a cracking portrait and is fast (good for low light). I have just bought a new one for £259 having dropped the last one down a flight of stairs. This is a really good quality lens optically and it is has a build quality that usually costs 3 times more but.... it weighs 450g

Walkaround - 24-105 + 85mm f 1/8 that lets you take pics in churches without flash etc. Canon do 1.4 and 1.8 50mms that will do as well. The 50 mm f/1.8 is dirt cheap but optically very good....fantastic for £75


24-105 L F4.0 - Fantastic. sleep with mine under my pillow

then to let you take pics at low light without a horrid cameratop flash say inside a building

50mm f 1.4
50mm f/1.8
85mm f/1.8

For lightness and ease of use the 50mm win
I think I would go for the f/1.4 for the extra low light performance but it is a small improvement over the f/1.8 for 3 times the money so, you decide :)

There are other strategies too but I do think you need 1 fast (low F number) lens for low light.... I have been in so many churches etc wher flash photos are banned

Posted on 28 Nov 2013, 16:53:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Nov 2013, 12:20:32 GMT
When I moved from Canon EOS film to digital I bought a 350D.I also bought the 17-85 mm lens as my everyday lens. At the time this was very expensive, but there was no other similar lens on the market, and though it had its faults it was considerably better than the piece of 'bottle glass' which was the standard kit lens. This lens lasted me through a 400D and subsequently 40D, and with a little care and Photoshop actually produced some very good results. About a year ago I bought the 15-85 mm lens to replace it, to go with my 40D. This is a far superior lens, and has been my standard 'walk about' lens since then. Just recently, after six years and having avoided the 50D and 60D, I bought the new 70D. This is a superb little camera, I recently spent two weeks in Croatia, island hopping for a week and a week on the coast. The 70D with the 15-85 mm lens was all that I had with me, and they together were ideal, and that combination would be my recommendation. However, the 70D comes with the 18-135 mm IS. STM. lens as the kit lens. As the extra cost over the body was very little I decided to buy the complete package. I haven't used it yet, but if one doesn't mind the loss of the wide angle 2 mm with a gain of 50 mm at the telephoto end, then the 70D with this lens might make a more ideal combination. (A good two lens combinatios is the latest versions of the 18-55 mm lens coupled with the 85-250 mm lens. (For macro photography I use the f2.8. 100 mm L.IS macro lens, and for telephoto either the f4 70-200 mm L lens, or the f4 300mm L IS.lens. For wide angle I have a Sigma 10-20 mm lens))

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2013, 07:58:49 BST
stephen m. says:
I use the Tamron 18-270 on walkabout or on public transport and find it a good allrounder.Cut short a planned canal walk when I brought a heavier 300mm zoom,which looks bigger and raises more eyebrows.

Posted on 12 Jul 2013, 13:22:29 BST
Island Girl says:
I love my 15-85mm Canon EF-S lens as a walkaround on my 550D, but perhaps that isn't enough zoom for you? The image quality is great. My husband has the 24-105mm L lens. Whilst that is also a great lens, it is more expensive and you are carrying around extra glass and weight that you won't need on a cropped sensor camera. You also lose out at the wide angle end.

Posted on 28 Jun 2013, 09:16:39 BST
BlackCat says:
Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Lens for Canon

Bought this for my 550D back in march ,for travelling, 450g compared to 600g for Canon, very pleased

Posted on 25 Jun 2013, 01:52:00 BST
An odd question, but do you really need a lens to cover just 25mm of range? What will you be taking a picture of that you cannot just walk closer or further away from?
I think there is an add-on for Adobe Lightroom which allows you to see what focal lengths you preferentially use. Plug them all in and it is a good way to see what "your range" is. I spend a lot of time at 10mm, 35mm, 80mm and 200mm, so my lenses reflect that.
If you use the 55mm and 75mm end all the time, then it would be worth getting a new lens. As mentioned previously the 24-105 is a lovely lens, if a bit more substantial than your others.
If you spend more time at 18mm, then I recommend the Canon EF-S 10-22mm.
As a must for any Canon user, grab the "nifty fifty", 50mm f1.8. It is a bit long on a crop sensor, but it will improve your photography leaps and bounds. No zoom, no IS, wide aperture, very light weight and nothing has its bang-for-the-buck.
The Tamron and Simga lenses are worth a look at, but be warned that they may not be supported in future canon camera bodies. It is probably their biggest downside.
A site which I like to use to look at reviews of camera equipment is Kenrockwell. He is quite outspoken but I find his findings to be accurate for actual use of a lens, rather than reviewer's pictures of test slides.
Sorry about the length of this comment!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2013, 20:28:05 BST
N. S. Rood says:
I couldn't agree more.... The 18 ~ 270 VC Tamron lens is excellent. I find the zoom lock very handy when carrying my camera off the shoulder, I did have a Canon 18 ~ 200 before but used to find a lot of zoom creep.

Posted on 7 Jun 2013, 11:40:09 BST
I have the Tamron lens too and found it to be excellent for holiday pics.

However, for the best results I work with my Canon L Series 24 - 105 mm and also have my Sigma wide angle lens (just in case)!

Of course there are times you could do with a zoom!

Posted on 17 Mar 2013, 12:44:14 GMT
Byron says:
Sigma 18 - 250 is well worth a look. It has Sigma's own image stabilisation system too.

Posted on 9 Mar 2013, 17:56:15 GMT
I've been using a Tamron 18-270 for two years and am very happy with it as an economical, general purpose walk around lens. It isn't very large or heavy and covers a lot of different situations. If it has any drawbacks, for my amateur purposes, the zoom is a bit "slippy" and could have a larger aperture. For both of those, I think you get into heavier, more expensive lenses.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2013, 19:17:32 GMT
The reviews suggest that the Tamron 18-250 or 18-270 outperforms the Tamron 18-200 - so worth reading some reviews.

Posted on 8 Mar 2013, 18:04:34 GMT
K Owen says:
I would go with what Gemma has said. The Canon EF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS (29-320mm eqv) is a very good lens and now available for under £400. It was selling for nearer £700 when launched and IMO is worth more than it currently retails for. However, it is an all-rounder, which means that compromises are made somewhere, after all it isn't L series glass. It is well built and functions smoothly in auto focus and has very good IS. I love this lens and have taken thousands of shots with mine. In theory there is an argument for you to ditch both your existing lenses in favour of this one (although you don't specify which manufacturers make your existing lenses I suspect the 18-55 is the budget kit lens). Then choose a 35/50mm prime (IMO the el cheapo £82 Canon 50mm 1.8 is fantastic value and superb images) then a decent macro/wide angle and a tele...you would be pretty much covered for every eventuality...however this is all down to personal preference, budget and what you want to use your camera for. FYI I am a semi pro, using photography in my design work. I currently use my lenses on a Canon 7D and a 50D.
Reviews of this lens are easily found but try http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/canon_18-200_3p5-5p6_is_c16
The lens you refer to in your post is the Tamron? This is also IMO very much a budget lens and although I have no reason to doubt it's decency I think (long term) you may be better off with the Canon. That said, looking at what you want this particular lens for, the 18-200mm lenses would fit the bill very well indeed. ATB

Posted on 1 Mar 2013, 17:55:11 GMT
C J Calver writes:
Personally I prefer a 18-135 lens on an APSc sensor camera as a general walk-about holiday lens, this equates to about 28-200mm on a 35mm film camera.

Posted on 1 Mar 2013, 11:27:56 GMT
Gemma Heath says:
I'm not an expert but had same problem as you and bought the CanonEFS 18-200 and am very pleased and seldom take this lens off the camera. Definitely a good walkabout lens that covers most subjects.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2013, 15:47:15 GMT
J. Pickford says:
The Canon EF-S 18-135 IS STM, EF-S 15-85 IS and EF 24-105 L IS are all considered good. They each have advantages and disadvantages, e.g. 24-105 is weather sealed but most expensive and not very wide-angle. Check out photozone.de for individual reviews.

Initial post: 26 Feb 2013, 23:32:06 GMT
Moeen says:
(I have just started using SLR Canon 550D and i hv two lenses - 18-55m & 75-300m) now looking for a lens sumthing in between & convenient what i have already . mainly for trips, holidays etc should be ideal "walk round lens" Not having to fumble around changing lenses. I have seen one on Amazon "Aspherical ( IF) MACRO AF 18-200m f/3 5 6.3 XR Di LL LD for Canon ? because I m new and would like an adv for experinced and senior ppl in this feild
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