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Rethinking the 17-55

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by BourbonCowboy, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. First, I'll admit it: I really like this lens. The IQ it produces is top-shelf. It's also a handy focal length for walkaround shooting. It handles nicely on every camera I own, and I can be sure, when I'm shooting with it, that I'll be pleased with the results. To top it off, I got a great deal on the lens, and it just needs a CLA ($110) from KEH.


    It's heavy, and takes up a lot of space in my bag. The hood can be reversed, but that causes an even tighter squeeze in the bag. I currently keep it in my "vacation/lightweight" kit, and it kinda negates the "lightweight" part of the kit. Because of the size and bulk, I rarely use it. When I need the "money shot," I grab the Beast, which is the best zoom I've ever used. I'm starting to think that I'd be better served by an 18-70 (or 16-85VR) and a Sigma 30 1.4. These lenses (combined with my new 70-300VR), IMHO, would make an excellent vacation setup, and I wouldn't need a trip to the chiropractor after a day of lugging them around. But the idea of selling such a sweet performer makes me cringe.

    So, that's my dilemma. I can either get the 17-55 CLA'd and use it as my vacation lens, or sell it and pick up the pair I mentioned above. Maybe I'm overthinking this because it's late and I'm tired. Maybe I just need a bigger bag. But I can't get the thought out of my mind...at least not for now. Whaddya think?
  2. i'd say keep it and just add the 18-70. do you need the sigma 30, since you already have the 35 2.0?? how badly do you need that stop of light? if its strictly gonna be a lightweight/vacation kit, i think you could make do with the 18-70, 70-300 and 35. although that extra 2mm of the 16-85 could also eliminate the need of a uwa...hmmmm...

  3. I've been considering the Sigma for a while. The shallow DOF is really attractive.

    Check out this thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  4. digitalzed


    May 14, 2006
    N. Cal
    I feel your pain. I LOVE what this lens does and what it can produce. Even with my meager skills. But damn if it isn't a bag bummer. I have not tried your suggested combo, but I have done the 18-70, 18-200, and a bunch of primes in all shapes sizes and forms. I keep packing the 17-55 because when I get home and go through the pictures, I'm very happy I lugged the sucker around.
  5. i'm actually probably going to opt for the sigma instead of the 35. but the thing about that shallow DOF is that the sigma's MFD is much longer than the 35's, so when shooting wide open at their MFD's, the nikkor actually has a smaller DOF! i'm just leaning towards the sigma due to my preference for ambient-light shooting. would selling the 35 (while the AF-S versions arent out yet) rationalize your purchases a bit more...?? no use having two normal primes...
  6. Tamron 17-50 2.8. Just about as good, half the size and cost. Get one now while the non motor version is still hanging around. I had one and thought it was great until I thought it wasn't working right and upgraded to the nikon. It turned out to be the camera. Oops!
  7. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    wrecked my back/neck last winter and it hasn't been right since....i've really learned to appreciate the magic of going light. my wife's d40 with sig 30 1.4 was just what the doctor ordered:cool: 
  8. pr549f2678


    Jun 26, 2007
    central Fl
    I hate to ask this, but what is a CLD? I don't know what all these
    abbreviation stand for.

    I love my 17-55, but you are right, it's heavy.

  9. sonuj2


    May 11, 2006
    Naperville, IL
    "CLA" stands for Clean, Lube and Adjust is my guess.
  10. Personally, I'd keep it and make room for it. I love having a fast lens of this quality in the wider range.

    Resale values on the lens have taken a dive because many owners are moving to DX, and because of various promotions. E.g. prices here on the Cafe seem to be $850 and under for ones in nice shape. With the eBay Cashback, there's even a Nikon refurb with a 90-day warranty for $729:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  11. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I don't have the 17-55, so my "nice" kit is the 28-70 & the 70-200. That's a load on my shoulder. Next week, I'm heading back to Vegas for a few nights, so I'll probably just take the 18-200, my 50 1.8 and maybe the fisheye. It's a lot lighter, more versatile, and I'm not going to shoot anything that will be so critical that I'll wish I had the heavier glass.

  12. ...and this is why I'm considering "downgrading." With CS3 and Lightroom2, I can make prints that look like they were shot with more expensive glass.
  13. Dave


    Feb 7, 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    I first had the 18-55, sold it for the 18-70...then eventually sold it for the 17-55. The 17-55 is by far the best of the bunch and I don't think I would have liked as many of my shots from Europe with one of the other aforementioned lenses. The ability to go from Wide to 55mm while keeping f/2.8 for indoor shots was a huge deal for me, and still is today.

    The only time I think about selling my 17-55 is when I think of buying a D700 and how I wish it wasn't a DX lens...

    However, if you have the 28-70 already, then this lens is a little overlapping and you might want to look at maybe getting rid of it and getting the 17-35 f/2.8. It's a little bit smaller and maybe just a bit sharper. The hood is smaller too...I think.
  14. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    The 17-55 is no sharper than the little 18-55VR stopped down at f/8 in "vacation lens take scenic photos mode". And if you run out of light, it has a VR system good for 2-stops. I'm going on vacation next week to someplace quite exotic for those of us in the U.S., and I'm most likely going to leave my 17-55 at home. I know it sounds nuts, but I've shot the two lenses side by side at f/8 and there's no difference. Actually the 18-55VR is a little sharper in the corners at f/8 than the 17-55 is!

    The 17-55 is what I use for chasing my daughter around where I need the speed, and need the lens to have incredible sharpness wide open which is where that lens delivers. It's completely overkill for a vacation / scenic photos type lens IMHO. My vacation kit will probably have the 10.5DX, Tokina 11-16, 18-55VR, and that's probably it. The last time I went on vacation I brought my 70-300VR too but never used it. Just am not much of a tele shooter, and only used it so that I wouldn't feel guilty lugging it all over the place and not even using it.
  15. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Chalk it up to different styles then. My priority on vacation is 90% scenic type photos with maybe a few family shots in between. Most of the family chasing is done at home here.
  16. Yup it's about style, and more specifically, what one shoots while on vacation.

    We went to Disneyland several weeks ago, the kids' first time there. Plenty of kid-chasing there. The 17-55/2.8 was used for the vast majority of shots. Quite a few at f/2.8 and f/4 where the lens shines.

    The lens is comparatively large and heavy, no doubt. But my primary objective in having a dSLR is better photo memories of the kids. So I wouldn't dream of leaving some of my best glass at home.
  17. Dawgneck


    Apr 25, 2007
    So Cal
    I sold my 17-55 and 11-16mm Tokina due to my move to FX soon.

    Had I decided not to move to FX, I would not have sold either.

    I don't think the 17-55 is heavy. It was a perfect match to the D200.

    I miss both lenses dearly.
  18. avyoung


    Dec 17, 2007
    Mark, I bypassed the superior Nikon 17-55/2.8 to get the cheaper, smaller and lighter Tamron 17-50/2.8. While the Tamron has it's faults, because it is so light and small, I use it all the time. For the same weight and price of your Nikon 17-55/2.8, you can have the Tamron 17-55/2.8 and Sigma 30/1.4 in your bag! If weight is important and for me it is, you should consider swapping the Nikkor out for the Tamron/Sigma combo, since you are not using the Nikkor much to make it worth your while. Btw, the Sigma 30/1.4 is significantly different than the Nikon 35/2...you will definately love it.

    Just my 2 cents.
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