Wonking out with a blingy new lens.

Canon 7D with 15-85 used (with boundless enthusiasm at.......50mm.

So I convinced myself that I needed a lens that would cover a lot of focal lengths.  You know, a "walking around" lens.  And I convinced myself that, since the Canon 24-105mm lens was really computed and designed for full frame cameras that perhaps it wasn't really optimized to give me the very high resolution performance that an EFS (lens for Canon cropped sensor) lens might give me.  I pored through the test reports and then capriciously bought an EFS 15-85mm 3.5 to 5.6.  I would never have done it but the single best zoom lens I ever shot with on an APS sensor Nikon was the 16-85mm and I was hoping that this lens would be Canon's answer.  Big deal.  Almost all of my favorite shots are taken around 50mm.  Like the one above.

But I did shoot at both ends just to see what it would do.  Straight out of the camera there's distortion galore.  And vignetting to beat the band.  Not use to seeing that after using Olympus's better lenses for the last year... But, after I pushed the right buttons in LR 3 the lines straightened up, the corners got brighter (but not too bright) and everything settled down.

I'm not saying this lens is good or bad.  I kinda like it but that's more because I like the way it feels and looks.  When I shoot for pay I go with known good performing lenses.  But I'll keep pounding away with this one till I like it or sell it.  One thing though,  it's a great set of focal lengths.  About 22mm to about 130mm in one tube.  Groovy.

Here's what it looks like wide with some wild polarizing thrown in just to make it fun:
I love Texas skies when they're crystal clear and laden with big, puffy clouds.  And I always love walking around the downtown lake.

Here's from about the same vantage point using the other extreme of the lens:
You can see the above power plant in the wide photo, near the middle....

And, of course a tromp through Austin's downtown always leads me to the Frost Tower so I tried the long end on that as well:

Finally,  another 15mm frame of the hike and bike trail bridge and I was done with this most schizophrenic of all optics.....
No big assertions no big review.  I like all the focal lengths.  I don't usually shoot wide but sometimes it's fun to try it out.  I don't like the slow apertures at the long end but what are you going to do with a 5+X zoom?  I will say that the IS/VR operates as advertising.  Even with five espressos (an exaggeration meant to be funny and not serious) I could still hold most stuff still at 1/15th of a second.  In the heat.  Dehydrated.  During and earth tremor.  While standing on one foot.



John Taylor said...


Daniel said...

I have the 7D and Love it!
Been using mostly primes on it and am loving that I dont have to make a decision for the focal length. I know there are times when a range of lengths are helpful, but I have been inspired by Kirk and am trying some documentary stuff (not so bold for street work just yet). Just documenting gives me so much more to practice with.

I was looking at some EFS lenses but have not done so cause I am not feeling anything but Primes at this time and if I ever do make the jump, I want my lenses to work with the FF's.

Thanks Kirk


Michael Ferron said...

OK so I don't get why you are not still shooting with Nikon's 16-85? The Nikon D90 with a lens like that is a near perfect walk around camera. Quiet, acceptably quick and the best APS image quality in the business. I tried Canon and despite the fine lenses and image quality the interface and I just don't get it on. Love my D90. Perfect camera for what I do. (MY EPL1 hangs out a lot with me too. LOL)

Jet Tilton said...


Just curious as to why you went out and bought Canon gear since many of your previous posts were about becoming a minimalist using Olympus dslrs and pen cams? I personally shoot with Canon, but after reading so many of your posts, I've been tempted to get an EPL-1 and enjoy life a little more, but when I see the prices for Oly primes, It scares me away!
Anyway, you are a daily inspiration!

kirk tuck said...


I use a bunch of different cameras. When I started the blog I was mostly using Nikons. I also go in an out of using film in some Rollei MF cameras. I've kept the Pens from Oly and two of the DSLR but I wrote a blog about a month ago explaining my addition of Canon gear to the tool box. It's right here....


Curt Schimmels said...

The bridge behind the railroad trestle in the first picture - is that the one that is home to all the bats? Have you ever tried to capture them as they leave at dusk?

I tried about 5 years ago, but wasn't too successful.