Now before I get into this, I'd like to apologize for having brought up this question so many times. I know these types of questions have been discussed ad nauseam, but I feel that this one is significantly different that I need to make my own thread about it. I appreciate the help that I have already been given, and hopefully this can be one of the last repeated questions I ask. But now to the point:
Please note that this question is in regards to my first lens for the 20D. While the eventual plan is to get lenses at least ranging from at least 17-200mm with a 100mm macro, this is a few years down the road and will depend on my initial experience with my first lens.
I've been recently been asking myself some questions as regards to what would be the best way to jump into the world of digital SLR photography. While I have most of my basic plans set out, camera body for instance, the lens has been something that I have been jumping off the walls about, having no idea what is the best course of action. I would like to state my concerns about the individual lenses listed above, so that you could get a better idea of the way that I am thinking:
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM: This is obviously a top grade lens that would last for a long time. There is no point in really going into the strengths as they are obvious, so I'll just go straight to my concerns: A rather weak wide angle as with the 1.6x crop it will be around 39mm. Good to start off be definitely will be lacking down the road. Price obviously, at a good 1,000$ more than any other lens listed it costs more than the actual body. My biggest concern would be that I wouldn't have a basis of comparison with other lenses. While I am sure that the pictures will turn out fine, I will have no war of comparing them to a weaker lens to see a difference in quality and whether it is really worth the extra price. A pro that is worth mentioning is that the 10-22mm would be well suited with it as there would be no overlapping mm. Perhaps not a great thing, but for someone on a budget it's not the worse.
EF 17-40 f/4L USM: This is the lens that I was pretty confident would be a good first, but i am no longer certain. While not the best lens in it's class, it's good for the money and preforms well. My concerns with it are that first, it is somewhat in a in-between field of view. With it's 17-40mm it would overlap with any standard zoom lens by at least a good 15mm, and chances are I'd still find it lacking on the wide angle side. I'd then set out with a wide zoom and a standard zoom and this would be left in the closet. Another problem is that I still wouldn't have a real feel for what is a good vs. a bad quality lens. While it isnít the best, there still wouldn't be a real basis for comparison.
EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM: I haven't really considered this lens until recently. Michael's review says that it is a fine lens and that has somewhat opened a door for this lens. While it's angle of view is impressive it does have its shortcomings as well. It is an EF-S lens, so that it wouldn't work with any non 1.6x crop body. While canon says that these will stay in favour for at least a while, I am not so optimistic. In the end this lens would have to go, but that may not be such a bad thing. At a reasonable cost of around 1k$ it may be a good learners lens to learn to see and to experience first hand dSLRs. A somewhat lower picture quality is also a drawback.
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: Also haven't considered any of the following lenses very much, this one included. It's pros are that it is fast, inexpensive compared to the others, and that no matter what it would always have a place in my arsenal. But the cons are there too: At an effective angle of view of 80mm, it is very much so lacking on the wide angle side of things, and doesn't have any extreme telephoto capabilities to boot. However it is a good sharp lens that would definetly stay with me for quite some time. Also, being a prime lens, it has its various advantages and disadvantages as well.
EF 35mm f/2.0; While taking off some of the wide angle problems of the previous 50mm lens, this one losses some pros as well. It's not as fast, it's not as sharp and after the learning days, it may no longer have it's place. In some odd years, I simply can't see myself using this lens for any purpose. And in the end, with its effective 56mm angle of view, it's still a little wanting on the wide side of things. Pros and cons of primes apply.
EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM: A cheap substitution of the 24-70mm lens. While it is cheap and with a good variety of angle of views, it will be found wanting on the performance wide of things, and it's speed isn't all that fabulous either. It's quality however, may not be such a bad thing in the end though. It may make me appreciate what in fact is good and what is bad, and will teach me to see the differences better.
EF-S 18-55mm f/3,5-5,6 USM: The cheapest of them all; at around 100$ it's practically being given away. It is obviously not a sharp lens, or a fast one, though its angle of vision isn't all that bad. EF-S isn't a good thing, but it's not like it would be used indefinitely in the best of circumstances. An option is to get this lens with the 20D, hold on to that for a few weeks, try out a better lens, see the amazing difference in quality and smash this with a hammer. Maybe not so extreme, but it would definitely make me appreciate the quality of good lenses.
I know that this is asking a lot but I would really value some input on this topic. I've been racking my brains over this for quite some time and I can't make any real progress in my decision until I get some advice.
The lenses are in order of most to least expensive, with the first one having a huge gap over the others. The next two are almost identical, followed by the fourth at around 600$. While prices in the States are cheaper, I know that I would have to hold any potential lens in my hands before I buy it.
Thank you all very much for your help and patience. I won't forget it,