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What do I need to know about the 17-55? -- Renting one next month for a wedding

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by stayathomedad, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. stayathomedad


    Mar 11, 2008
    What do I need to know about the 17-55?

    I'll be renting one next month for a wedding...

    Is it sharp wide open, or should I stop down a bit?

    Someone mentioned that there's a bit of distortion at 55... is this true?

    Anything I should know?

  2. It's made for wide open, and actually not as good for landscapes, but you don't need to worry about that! :tongue: You will enjoy it. Shoot at 2.8 with no worries! Distortion? Only at 17-20ish that I can tell, but then, I haven't really looked for it anywhere else.
  3. I shoot mine

    wide open. It is nice and sharp and renders excellent images. Pincushioning and barrel distortion are virtually non-existent, and you will love the extra light gathering ability you get over your 18-200. It is very well made, but the down side may be that it is quite heavy. Hope you enjoy it.
  4. You need to know four things with your rental:

    1. The lens is sharp wide open.
    2. The lens has distortion at the wide end. If you're not careful, people at the edges will look like eggheads.
    3. There is a bit of vignetting when shooting at f/2.8. Not a big deal but it is noticeable.
    4. You will like this enough that you won't want to be without it after your wedding. So be prepared to buy one! :) 

    Good luck.
  5. I have read of some sample variation with the 17-55. The one I used to own didn't have any problems, but you might want to check it for sharpness wide open at all focal lengths before you shoot at the wedding....Of course on the D300 you will be able to use the focus adjust feature to deal with this if necessary
  6. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Mine is sharp wide-open at f/2.8 at any focal length, and CRAZY sharp from f/4 onwards. The overall color, contrast, and image quality is simply spectacular, and the bokeh is nice and creamy too. It also has the fastest autofocus and tracking ability of any lens I own. There is some moderate barrel distortion at the wide end, neutral by 24mm, and minor pincushion out to 55mm. Most of the time I don't even notice.

    I agree with Reptile Guy that it's not as good for landscapes. I shot my 17-55DX against my 18-55VR with both at f/8 in an actual landscape shot (not cereal boxes or anything) and the 18-55 was actually a little bit sharper in the corners! So yes, the 17-55 is made to be shot wide-open and gives outstanding results there.
  7. For a wedding...

    As good as the 17-55/2.8 is sharp wide open... don't shoot groups of people wide open - some people will end up OOF, yup that's right out of focus... shooting at f/2.8 is good for individual portraits and decorations shots i.e. table centers and flower bouquet... But noooooo at 2.8 for groups you'll lose great shots.

    This is a bit scary since everyone shimmed in stating how sharp it is wide open... but that focus window is very narrow - not good for groups of people...

    Shooting at f/7.1 is good for groups so is f/11 - depending on the light you have to work with - heck I even got away with f/5.6 as well as f/4 for couples ... You camera view finder will never show the slightly out of focus people in groups of lets say 5 people ... Then you'll get home look at your computer and go... DOH! Practice a little with test shots at different apertures before leaving home and compare results prior to using it in the field.

    There is a bit of perspective distortion** at 17mm, the wide end, i.e. the lens. like many at the wide en will distort the corner and to see what I mean I included a sample below. I never noticed any distortion at 55mm and the distortion at 17mm is easily corrected in post process. I never noticed any loss of resolution at any focal length.

    See, just a little perspective distortion at 17mm and that's a pretty sharp shot for f/6.3 :wink:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    **I am sure there is a term for this type of distortion but ... I don't remember...
  8. jsavitch

    jsavitch Guest

    i am going to go against the fold here... mine is sharp but its not as sharp as i would like and i use a +9 in the focus fine tune on my d300. it really depends on the copy and you really never know what your going to get from a renal place so be srue to do some tests!
  9. stayathomedad


    Mar 11, 2008
    well, that's the problem.... I'm going to be renting it and I kind of need to know within a short amount of time if it's sharp or not... say before I leave the store!

    Assuming I bring in my D300 body, what are some tests I can do in the store to see if the copy is acceptable or not?

    What could I bring in to shot that will tell me if I have a sharp copy or if what I'm trying to rent is all soft...
  10. stayathomedad


    Mar 11, 2008
  11. My favorite event lens on my D300. Indoors I now use it exclusively in Manual mode and start with ISO 400, 1/125, f/5.6 with my SB800 in TTL. I chimp a few and then adjust my flash with more or less power. I have had better results this way instead of messing with EC.

    As for sharpness, take your D300 and check some shots at different apertures. How do you have your in camera sharpening?
  12. I'll tell you something you need to know.....it'll make you save up to buy one after shooting with it. It's sharpness and larger aperture and sense of three-dimensionality will make you more critical of your 18-200.:wink:
  13. The Keystone Effect
  14. shoot it and enjoy it. It is as capable as you are.
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