I was recently asked for a recommendation for a lens in the 24-105 range that wasn’t as expensive as Canon’s lovely 24-105 F/4 L IS USM lens.  The lens is optically quite wonderful but at nearly $1000 it is a serious comitment.  So are there other options in this range that wont’t break the bank?

Three lenses reviewed

A few options that I am going to order in my own preference

Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 – You are giving up a good bit of range here but at $500 the sharpness of this lens and the fact that it is f/2.8 throughout the range is an excellent value.  If you weren’t wedded to having a whole lot of zoom this is an excellent lens.  I have done side by side comparissons with the 24-70 from canon that cost over $1200 and the Tamron often matches it in sharpness and clarity. Price is approximately $500

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 – A very nice range in a cheap and fairly lightweight package.  Downside is the aperture changes as you zoom, the more zoom the more light is required, helpfully the lens does have image stabilization (IS) which will help. Sharpness and clarity are good but not exciting, remember the more range you shove into a lens the more sacrifices you need to make unless you are willing to pay big money for the heavy lenses.  Price is approximately $350

UPDATE – The NEW 18-135 STM lens is much improved and it is quite hard for me to recommend the old when the new offers a better build, faster focusing and silent focus – but wait. .  there is more 🙂  Less chromatic aberration and a slight increased sharpness.  See my full review

Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 – and the kitchen sink too.  I am going to throw this lens on the list too, I figure cramming another 100mm range in a lens isn’t going to make a big difference and for the most part is doesn’t, yoru optical quality is going to be very similar to the Canon listed above.  Focus is a good bit slower and you are paying an extra $300, but if you really want ONE lens on your camera 99.9% of the time, this would be a way to do it.  Price is approximately $650

I have a whole list of recommended lenses for Canon DSLRs

Considering a lens not on this list?  Let me know, there are others and I would be happy to offer an opinion about any of them.

This post brought to you by a lens hood.  Please don’t buy a crappy UV filter for any of these lenses, it will just decrease the image quality – Use a lens hood, offers more protection and blocks side light from striking your lens.

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 Menzie's Penstemon or as the nerds say - Penstemon davidsonii ;) Found these little purple flowers on the way down from Paradise in Mt Rainier National Park and thought they made a nice foreground to the beautiful and still snowcapped peak in the distance. Captured with the GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 Lens #lumixloungegh3
 Rainy Day Reflections of Seattle's coolest public library - I almost said coolest building but the new Amazon spheres are crazy cool. I like living in the future - now if we could just ecotopia this place up all would be peachy!
 Upper Sunbeam Falls - Powered by melting snow(seen at the top of the frame) - Captured with GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 lens 0.4 second exposure.

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  1. How do you feel about the EF-S 15-85? Seems like a good range and value, even though it has a variable aperture.

    • It is a good lens, marginally sharper than the 18-135 maybe but so similar really hard to see the differences in day to day stuff.

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