Canon 17-55 or 24-70? I have a rebel xsi and currently use the 18-55 kit lens but also purchased the 70-200 2.8. I use the 70-200 to shoot my son's football games and absolutely love it! I became the team photographer and created a website for the parents. I am still completely an amatuer but I have always loved photography. Now, I find when taking indoor pictures during my son's wrestling matches or school plays I want to use the 70-200 lens because of the 2.8 but of course I am too close in many instances to get the picture I want. Thus, I am looking at the wider angle lenses but am at a loss as to which one. Any suggestions or tips? Thank you.
[UPDATED] asked by D. K. Conlon on February 24, 2011
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The 17-55 IS is widely reported as achieving image quality on par with the 24-70 "L" series lens (although it won't have the same build quality regarding ruggedness and weather sealing).

Because the IQ will be similar between the two lenses, the main difference will be the field of view. Do you think you need the wider angle perspective of 17 mm? Or do you need the longer reach of 70 mm? Only you can decide this depending on where you typically shoot from (distance from the target) and whether one lens or the other will give you the field of view and zoom you require to get your shot.

Of course the 17-55 IS has the advantage of IS... but Image Stabilization will not be a benefit or factor into the decision if you need to shoot at higher shutter speeds in order to freeze action... IS has little benefit at higher shutter speeds. On the other hand, maybe wrestling doesn't require higher speed exposures and the IS might be of some benefit.

I'm going through the same decision rationale right now except my son is playing Volleyball. This sport rules out any benefit to IS unless taking candid photos indoors at slower shutter speeds. Therefore I'm mainly considering whether the 17-55 IS or 24-70 L will give me the field of view that I need.

In general, the 24-70 L gives a good half-court perspective at the wide end and a very good zoom factor for isolating on 1 or 2 players at the net... therefore based on shooting Volleyball indoors the 24-70 L seems to be the best match for the job.

HOWEVER, I am second guessing myself when I consider that the 17-55 IS would make a better "walking around" lens when I'm not in the gym... my current default lens 24-105 IS "L" often doesn't give me a wide enough field of view for street scenes etc.

I considered faster prime lenses and currently have a 28 mm 1.8 and 50 mm 1.8 -- I was thinking of adding an 85 mm 1.8 which would pretty much cover any shot I would need to take. Other than the hassle of having to change out lenses in between shots, the main reason I decided not to take this route was the flat IQ I'm getting out of the consumer lenses. There is of course a significant advantage in f-stop with the prime lenses - but the difference in IQ is enough to drive me to the "L" (or L quality in the case of the 17-55) zoom lenses. Due to cost, a quiver of "L" prime lenses is out of the question.

Finally, if anybody says that the 17-55 IS "EF-S" lens is 'for' your APS-C sensor XSI... and the 24-70 L lens is 'for' a full frame camera i.e 5D... just ignore them since obviously your camera can take either format lens and therefore the choice should be based on which tool gets you the results you are trying to achieve.
abacojeff answered on February 28, 2011

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IS does not freeze an object. IS has absolutely no bearing on any moving object, irregardless of shutter speed. IS is a detection system of camera shake, which reduces hand shake, ( your own movement only). IS has a benefit on any lens, if your hands a shaky. The farther the subject is away from you and the camera, the less benefit there is.

It will not freeze the object your taken a picture of, that is only done by shutter speed, irregardless which lens one uses. Whether you have a crop camera or a full frame, to achieve the breath of the picture (the focus width) you wish to have, and the focal distance is the deciding factor, along with L or none L and cost, and if your hands are stable enough to use a non IS lens.

If you are shooting more landscaping the 17-55 will make you happier. If your into portraits the 24-70 will get you into the portrait range which is 85mm to 135mm. The 24-70 according to many readings is one of Amazons readers favorite of pro portrait. But will not out perform a prime lens such as 35mm, 50mm and 85mm.

(for your cabin pictures you be very satisfied with a 10-22mm which is a great lens and as good as an L lens and also takes in the whole room in most homes. Its an awesome lens rated 5 stars by the pros) You could rent it first to see first hand before you buy. Happy cruising.)
D. Davis answered on June 26, 2011

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For me, I ened up with the 24-70 for my 7D body... as noted above - I've been shooting a lot of indoor volleyball lately.

Shutter speeds in the 1/500 to 1/750 range means IS is not needed in these situations.

Some say that 24mm on a crop camera is not wide enough - but I can get a 1/2 court shot with all 6 players in frame at 24mm... and can zoom in to 70mm and get a 3/4 body shot on a single player at the net. So, based on this - was a great choice for me... don't miss the IS and don't need wider than 24mm for these situations.

HOWEVER, if I was shooting landscape or architecture in low light... I'd definitely want the 17-55mm 2.8 IS.

So the order that I'll be picking up glass (as funds allow) will be: 24-70mm 2.8 L first... 70-210mm 2.8 L second... 17-55mm 2.8 IS third.

I should also mention that I currently have other options when needed for other situations ranging from consumer, prosumer, and L lenses:
18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS (walking around single lens option),
28mm 1.8; 50mm 1.8; 85mm 1.8; 135mm 2.0 L (darker gyms where even 2.8 is a struggle - of these the 85mm is very good and the 135mm is spectacular)
24-105mm 4.0 IS L (a great general purpose lens - except as previously noted 24mm on a crop body isn't a great fit for landscapes/cityscapes)

What do you shoot??? You should find your answer there.
abacojeff answered on November 30, 2011

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Did you ever get a lens? I'm making the same decision now. If so, what did you buy? Are you happy with your decision? Is there anything else you would add that would help me make a decision.

Thanks!
Mark Y answered on November 14, 2011

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how does it do in small spaces. We cruise some and it's difficult if not impossible to take a good picture inside our cabin. With my fixed 55 if i aim my picture on the door knob 5 feet away, i get the door knob and a little of the door. would this lense be able to get the whole door?
Dennis Rheaume answered on April 10, 2011

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Did
Mark Y answered on November 14, 2011
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