canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: DCM1024 on February 21, 2013, 10:12:31 AM

Title: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: DCM1024 on February 21, 2013, 10:12:31 AM
I know a lot of people on this forum have lenses I have never tried, so I am looking for your personal use experiences. This question came up last night because I received the EF 100mm Macro L IS. I took some test photos, low light, hand held vs. tripod, some with flash and with apertures ranging from 2.8 to 22. I had taken a portrait shot of our dog and when I enlarged it in (in LR4) to view her eye, my bf was astounded by the detail and sharpness. He questioned what a comparison to the 24-105L would produce. I haven't had a chance to make that comparison yet, but I knew other members here would know what lenses would give the sharpest photos. Any input appreciated as we are upgrading lenses this year. Thank you.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Dick on February 21, 2013, 10:18:49 AM
comparison to the 24-105L

The 24-105L is not even close to being as sharp as the 100L. The 100L is maybe my favorite Canon lens because of the sharpness & versatility.

The 24-105L is an ok all around lens, but it's not particularly good at anything. It's not the sharpest lens nor can it help you with decent DOFs. When you know its limits, you can surely make the best out of it though.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: paulc on February 21, 2013, 10:19:37 AM
Practically anything at f/8 is sufficient.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: eddiemrg on February 21, 2013, 10:22:07 AM
Take a look here:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx)

It's an useful comparison chart!
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: 7enderbender on February 21, 2013, 10:37:30 AM
As a rule of thumb primes are usually sharper than zooms. Thought there are some examples these days where that is not necessarily true anymore - though it's also a question what is a fair comparison.

I'm not surprised that your 100L is sharper than a 24-105. In my line-up the 135L is probably the sharpest. The other question however is why that is important. Sharpness is only one factor in what people like about lenses. There are lots of camera/lens combinations that will deliver sharpness but may lack in other areas.

The 24-105 I find surprisingly sharp by the way for what it is. Maybe I'm just lucky that I have a "good copy" (as there are always variations for each lens it seems), maybe I'm jut not too picky when it comes to sharpness. The weakness -if any-  of the 24-105 is not sharpness as far as I'm concerned. I have no issues using it for indoor portraits with controlled light at f/8. And even at f/4 for general use it's totally fine. I go for the primes for a general different look and feel and not so much out of concerns for sharpness. It's all good really.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Invertalon on February 21, 2013, 10:40:05 AM
I would say the 24-70 II at 24mm stopped down to f/4 or f/5.6 may be the sharpest I have seen. Especially in an wide-angle.

Other notable mentions would be the 135L, 70-200 II and 85L (stopped down of course).
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: heptagon on February 21, 2013, 10:46:42 AM
The 200 f/2 L beats the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II easily.

EF-S lenses are sharper (lp/mm, not lp/ph) in general, so if you have a crop camera use good crop glass for maximum sharpness.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: RAWShooter126 on February 21, 2013, 10:47:52 AM
Mostly i depends on how much you are willing to spend and what you are planning to shoot.
For a lot of shooting types I would recommend a 24-70mm L f2.8 II ($2,000~)
For wide angle 17-40mm f4 L ($700~)
For wide angle on the 7D I would suggest a sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 (Crop body only) I have one and it blows me away, especially with it's 16mm equivalent for FF comparison. ($450~)
For Telephoto and a lot of portraits 70-200mm f2.8 II L IS ($2,000~)
But, one of the best lenses I have had the priviledge of using and owning is the nifty (50mm 1.8 II) it costs just over $100 and it's super sharp. If you can put up with it's low build quality it will serve you well
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: DCM1024 on February 21, 2013, 10:58:56 AM
Take a look here:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx)

It's an useful comparison chart!

Cool tool -thank you for sharing! I will show that to him.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: sdsr on February 21, 2013, 11:01:40 AM
I know a lot of people on this forum have lenses I have never tried, so I am looking for your personal use experiences. This question came up last night because I received the EF 100mm Macro L IS. I took some test photos, low light, hand held vs. tripod, some with flash and with apertures ranging from 2.8 to 22. I had taken a portrait shot of our dog and when I enlarged it in (in LR4) to view her eye, my bf was astounded by the detail and sharpness. He questioned what a comparison to the 24-105L would produce. I haven't had a chance to make that comparison yet, but I knew other members here would know what lenses would give the sharpest photos. Any input appreciated as we are upgrading lenses this year. Thank you.

The 100L is certainly one of them.  The 135L is another (like the 100L, it has other virtues as well, of course), though it's perhaps worth noting that almost all of Canon's primes are very sharp in the center (and that most lenses are very sharp in the center when stopped down to c. f/8).  Among longer zooms, the 70-200 f/4 IS and f/2.8 II IS are both very sharp (the latter perhaps a bit more than the former).  If you're willing to look outside the Canon label, include the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: dewa on February 21, 2013, 11:02:01 AM
one more for 135mm f2L  :)
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: ithinky on February 21, 2013, 11:05:14 AM
Better check the MTF graphics of the lens. When we ask different photographers have different experiences.
The graphics shows us resolution and contrast. The more upwards the curves the better. Compare in the american Canon website. They have the graphics.
Good luck...
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: robbymack on February 21, 2013, 11:21:09 AM
There is a definite difference between perceived sharpness (how sharp it appears to be at what print size) and actual near pixel level sharpness (viewing at 100% on a monitor). I'd reason to guess most aren't printing images at the equivalent of 100% magnification on the monitor so realistically, IMHO, that doesn't matter too much.  To answer your question the 100L is generally considered one of the sharpest lenses canon makes especially wide open, I also find the 24-105 acceptably sharp wide open, maybe not cut your teeth sharp, but good enough for most uses. Stopped down to f8 at 100mm I doubt there would be much of a perceived sharpness advantage for either. 
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: jasonsim on February 21, 2013, 11:25:56 AM
Well...the sharpest lens I have and have used without any doubt is the new Canon EF 300mm F/2.8L IS II.  Hell, it is even sharp with a 2x III converter on it. 

Second might be the new 600mm F/4L IS II, followed by the 200mm F/1.8L or 70-200mm F/2.8L IS II or 85mm F/1.2L II.  My 24mm F/3.5L TS-E II was also really sharp...sorry I had to let it go; just found I did not use the tilt and shift features all that much.

Kind regards,
Jason
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: RLPhoto on February 21, 2013, 11:29:21 AM
200mm F/2L
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: AlanF on February 21, 2013, 11:40:53 AM
Well...the sharpest lens I have and have used without any doubt is the new Canon EF 300mm F/2.8L IS II.  Hell, it is even sharp with a 2x III converter on it. 
+1
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: florianbieler.de on February 21, 2013, 12:02:05 PM
According to traumflieger.de (a very well known german page for anything gear) the sharpest lenses are in that order:

180mm Macro
200mm 2.0L
400mm 2.8L
Sigma 105mm Macro
Canon 300mm 2.8L

Tokina 100mm Macro, Canon 100mm Macro and 70-200 2.8 are not far beyond. So mainly the longer focal lengths are the sharpest with the two exception 8-15mm Fisheye and 24-70 II.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: RS2021 on February 21, 2013, 12:04:07 PM
And there we go again...a shameless parade of "what I own (or wish I owned) is the best, sharpest, and the inevitable answer to what you need" pronouncements... ;)
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: RS2021 on February 21, 2013, 12:16:43 PM
Take a look here:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx)

It's an useful comparison chart!

Cool tool -thank you for sharing! I will show that to him.

The digital picture.com site is a great tool yes, and certainly one of the most systematic and complete ones...

But remember, while very useful, the image crops are still based on one (and occationally two copies of the lenses). As Roger from lensrentals repeatedly demonstrates, there is a "spread" in sharpness for any given lens...some are notorious for variation if you were to sample 20 copies of the lens, others are tightly bunched up with little variation. Keep that in mind as you browse the t-d-p site....it is still a great resource.

My copy of the simple 24-105L is very sharp and contrasty...yet I hear some are unhappy with their copies...two possibilities: they are either pixel peeping "measurebators" who simply will not be happy with most lenses, or, their copy is truly a lemon, in which case there is still some hope to land a good copy. :)

This is *not* to suggest that 24-105 is the sharpest lens ever, for it isn't, just a way to exemplify the copy-variation issue. In my lens line-up, if forced to choose something, I will have to go with 135L at the top and 70-200 f2.8II as a close second. I also own the f4 version, which to my eye at least is equally sharp. I don't own any of the large white super-tele primes, but from what I hear they are all quite sharp. 
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: dafrank on February 21, 2013, 12:44:31 PM
My sharpest lenses, as I rate them, in very rough order (much depends on taking aperture, distance, etc., and I might easily switch the order a bit on any given day) from the very sharpest to extremely sharp, are:

1) Canon 90mm f/2.8 TS
2) Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS
3) Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro (non IS)
4) Canon 85mm f/1.2 vII
5) Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS vII
6) Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro

All the other lenses I own are very good, but these especially stand out in the sharpness department.

Regards,
David

Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: bdunbar79 on February 21, 2013, 12:48:22 PM
The sharpest ones I've shot with are the 200 f/2L, followed by the 135L.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: DCM1024 on February 21, 2013, 01:02:16 PM
Thank you so much for all the great responses. I have bookmarked this thread for future reference. Due to the purchase of several kits, we ended up with three! 24-105s plus the EF-s 17-55, so some selling and purchasing of new tools is definitely in order. We do like the 24-105, and it can be surprisingly sharp itself. I have a photo of a bride (head and shoulder) where you can see the fine vellus hair on her shoulder. At this time, we use primarily zooms for convenience, but I could see that changing as I mature as a photographer. I can tell you that spending a year photographing weddings has already changed me - I have gone from shooting primarily aperture or shutter priority to manual as I now know where I want my settings to be. Thank you all again. Debbie
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: East Wind Photography on February 21, 2013, 01:41:11 PM
Generally speaking any of the prime L series lenses will be sharper than any of the zooms.  One exception may be the new 24-70 mkii.

The 100 2.8L Macro IS is a fantastic lens.  I've used it for landscape work but it really shines as a macro lens.  The IS is not very good at really close macro distances so it may be just as good to turn it off and use high shutter or tripod in macro mode.  The sharpness is astounding.  You will have a lot of fun with it.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: LostArk on February 21, 2013, 01:42:22 PM
Canon's sharpest lens:

300mm f/2.8 IS II

Canon's sharpest lens at f/2:

200mm f/2L IS

Canon's sharpest lens at f/1.4:

85L

Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: ChilledXpress on February 21, 2013, 02:11:11 PM
Well...the sharpest lens I have and have used without any doubt is the new Canon EF 300mm F/2.8L IS II.  Hell, it is even sharp with a 2x III converter on it. 
+1

+1 Indeed !!!!
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Lawliet on February 21, 2013, 02:42:43 PM
just a way to exemplify the copy-variation issue. 

And then there are the circumstancial factors. AFMA ever so slightly off? Traces of camera shake or subject movement? Field curvature (or photographers sense of volume) put the focal plane not where its supposed to be? With the big whites air(both turbulence/seeing and dust) can get the limiting factor quite easily.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: sdsr on February 21, 2013, 02:51:17 PM
"Sharpness" as used to describe a photo is very dependent on contrast. But there are some sobering comparisons on the link provided, which my personal experiences agree with.

First, the 400 f2.8 IS MkII is sharper at f5.6 than the 200 f2 at f5.6, but then the 50 f1.4 is sharper than both of them at f5.6 too, it is also sharper than the 100 IS L Macro at f5.6. Of all the lenses I own, and that includes the 100 L Macro and a 300 f2.8 IS, and have used (which covers most of them) the 50 f1.4 at f5.6 is the sharpest. However it is rarely the "best" lens to use in any given situation!

Now that might upset the sensibilities of some here, but just look at an independent comparison.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=115&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=6&LensComp=674&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=3 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=115&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=6&LensComp=674&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=3)

Sure, but (1) the differences between the two in that example are slight and probably wouldn't be noticeable when shooting actual three dimensional things (of course, that's true of lots of other similar comparisons too); and (2) with different samples of either or both lenses the results of the comparison could be quite different - look at the rather wide range by which lenses vary from copy to copy in the various examples/comparisons available at lensrentals.com, for instance.  (The first 70-300L I bought was seldom even barely sharper than my 70-300 non-L and even less sharp at 300mm, so I returned it; the second was sharper, but the first one was sharp enough that without the direct comparison I probably wouldn't have realized there was any reason to return it.)  Plus, some lenses seem happier on some cameras than on others.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: RS2021 on February 21, 2013, 04:28:21 PM
Sharpness is sometimes overated... and sometimes counter productive.  And it cannot make up for an unimaginative artist with a super sharp lens...

I only put that down first as I wanted to share Kirk Tuck's wonderful quote from his blog:

"Never before have so many boring photographs been so damn sharp."

It made me smile and think.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: PavelR on February 21, 2013, 05:29:42 PM
Canon's sharpest lens:

300mm f/2.8 IS II

Canon's sharpest lens at f/2:

200mm f/2L IS

Canon's sharpest lens at f/1.4:

85L
+1
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Axilrod on February 23, 2013, 05:13:20 PM
Primes - 24LII, 85LII, 100L, 135L, and pretty much all the superteles (Also Zeiss ZE 25mm f/2 & ZE 100mm f/2 Makro)
Zooms - 24-70 II, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: RGF on February 25, 2013, 01:00:46 PM
Well...the sharpest lens I have and have used without any doubt is the new Canon EF 300mm F/2.8L IS II.  Hell, it is even sharp with a 2x III converter on it. 

Second might be the new 600mm F/4L IS II, followed by the 200mm F/1.8L or 70-200mm F/2.8L IS II or 85mm F/1.2L II.  My 24mm F/3.5L TS-E II was also really sharp...sorry I had to let it go; just found I did not use the tilt and shift features all that much.

Kind regards,
Jason

I have not tried the new version II super teles, but my 300 F2.8 is great. 
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Dylan777 on February 25, 2013, 01:49:14 PM
Primes - 24LII, 85LII, 100L, 135L, and pretty much all the superteles (Also Zeiss ZE 25mm f/2 & ZE 100mm f/2 Makro)
Zooms - 24-70 II, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II

+1
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: CarlTN on February 25, 2013, 02:14:49 PM
My impressions are from use, and from tweaking the files at 100% in post.  I have no test equipment.

Probably the sharpest picture I have ever taken, was with an 85mm f/1.2 L, a landscape image at infinity focus (done manually via live view), closed to f/5.6.  But at wider than about f/2.5, it wasn't all that sharp at any focus distance, and had severe vignetting even on my crop camera.  Contrast was very good, color was nice with a lot of richness toward the violet end.

I've owned the 135mm f/2 for almost 4 years, it is extremely sharp even wide open on a crop camera.  Some say it's not all that sharp, but it's possible there is some sample variation.  It also has bokeh at least as good as the 85mmL, and with none of the "bokeh fringing" the 85 had (at least the one I tried.)  It's possible the 135's bokeh is as good or better than the 50 f/1.2, I can only guess...obviously it's not as extreme in its shallow-ness.

I've rented the 500 f/4L (first generation), and the current generation 200mm f/2L.  That 500 was not very sharp at all on my crop camera (no matter how I adjusted focus, or even if I focused manually via live view at 10x, on a tripod, on a motionless target...and was apparent via the live view's video feed, before I even snapped the shutter while the mirror was up).  The rental place tested it, and found nothing wrong. 

By contrast, the 200 f/2L was extremely sharp even on a monopod with its fabulous IS, and had better color than any other lens I've had experience with (including the 85L).  The colors, well they looked like they were shot with a medium format camera!  "Global contrast" was slightly more than my 135, which puts it at extreme.  It didn't usually blow out highlights, though, so my camera's metering was still able to function well with it.

I've also tried the 300 f/4L and the 400 f/5.6L.  The 400 was a lot sharper than I thought it would be...it was on par with the 200 and my 135.  The 300 f/4L is certainly more than sharp enough at its price point...and I'm actually currently considering buying either it, or a zoom.  I will never buy a long telephoto without IS.

The Zeiss 100mm Makro Planar f/2 that I tried, was extremely sharp via my crop camera, had extremely smooth bokeh (on par with my 135, if not exceeding it), and a color with very rich (almost over ripe) reds, but this was still pleasing and very usable.  I wish I owned one.  Some say it is the sharpest lens in the world, or was.

The Zeiss 35mm f/2 that I tried, was the sharpest wider angle lens I have ever tried.  The color balance was very neutral, and the contrast was so extreme that its highlights overwhelmed my camera's metering, so I always had to under-expose a bit.

Another very sharp lens I've owned since Fall 2011, is the (Cosina) Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 Nokton SLii, in Nikon mount, with a Canon adaptor.  I refer you to photozone.de's test/review, and you tell me which they found to be sharper overall, the Canon 50mm f/1.4, or this one?  (They don't admit it in their summation, but their test results speak for themselves...compare them side-by-side).  It has some slight bokeh fringing at wider apertures, but is still very sharp wide open.  Closed down a bit, it has to be one of the sharpest lenses ever made.  It has almost no vignetting even wide open on a crop camera, and is extremely sharp to the corners, wide open...on a crop camera.  No other f/1.4 lens I have ever tried, was capable of this.  The color rendition is quite magical, in my opinion.  Greens and reds are especially rich.  The bokeh isn't the smoothest, but it's smooth enough for me.

I recall a magazine article, I think it was in "Digital Photo Pro" 2 or 3 years ago, where they recounted the sharpest lenses of all time.  The sharpest they found, was a Leica 100 f/2.8 macro, which I believe ended production in the 1990's.  From what I have read, the Leica lens I would love to own (and somehow use on an SLR without chopping it in half), is the 75mm f/2 Summicron Aspherical.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: beckstoy on February 25, 2013, 02:22:45 PM
I own lots of lenses, but just recently got the 70-200mm f2.8 IS II USM.  It seems sharper than my primes, even at f2.8!

BIG fan of that one...
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: TexasBadger on February 25, 2013, 02:40:30 PM
Of all of the lennses I own, the 135 f/2L is the sharpest.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Gert Arijs on February 25, 2013, 03:07:29 PM
I'm a bit surprised: The 180mm macro L was one of the softest lenses I ever tried. I assume that was just a very bad lens and the rest is much better.
My sharpest must be the 100mm f/2.0 I think...
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: CarlTN on February 25, 2013, 03:55:32 PM
Of all of the lennses I own, the 135 f/2L is the sharpest.

Hi Texas, which camera bodies have you used your 135 on?
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: kennykodak on February 25, 2013, 04:26:05 PM
I own lots of lenses, but just recently got the 70-200mm f2.8 IS II USM.  It seems sharper than my primes, even at f2.8!

BIG fan of that one...

i got to agree with you on this.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Joes Dad on February 25, 2013, 04:29:11 PM
I do not yet have experience with the Mark II big whites mentioned by some in reply, so with that caveat, in my experience/view:

(1) 200 f/2.0L (clear winner)
(2) 85 f/1.2L
(3) 70-200 f/2.8L II
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: BrandonKing96 on February 25, 2013, 05:44:31 PM
Of what I've used and seen- the 24-70 II, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 85L II, and the 135L are the sharpest I've seen!
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: eml58 on February 25, 2013, 07:16:08 PM
I own & use the following Canon Lenses;
14f/2.8L II, 15f/2.8, 35f/1.4L, 50f/1.2L, 85f/1.2L II, 100f/2.8L IS, 135f/2L, 200f/2L, 300f/2.8L II, 400f/2.8L II, 600f/4L II.
8-15f/4 L, 26-35f/2.8L II, 24-70f/2.8L II, 70-200f/2.8L II.
17f/4 TSE II, 24/f3.5 TSE II

The sharpest without doubt in my own use is the 300f/2.8L Version II, simply an amazing Lens.
The 100f/2.8L IS Macro would be next, I use it mainly for Underwater use in a Seacam Housing, but this is a sharp sharp Lens.
85f/1.2 L II is damn good, but the slow focus system takes some patience, although I've noticed now on my 1Dx it is much faster on the focus, even more so than on the 5DMK3.
The 600 & 400 Version II Lenses are great.

Zooms ?? The 24-70 is good, the 70-200 is very good, the 16-35 is So So, the 8-15 @ 15 is really good. You are not going to get the best sharpness from a Zoom when compared to a Prime, but there are benefits of course so it's a trade off.

The 17 & 24 TSE are exceptionally sharp, but they come with a learning curve that most wouldn't want to work on, they are rewarding though in the right situation.
Title: Re: My 200 f/1.8 plus a 1.4x And a 2.0x sharpness samples
Post by: ppix on February 25, 2013, 07:54:04 PM
The 200 f/1.8 is amazingly sharp even with a 1.4x II and 2.0x II stacked in front of it on my 1D Mark III :

(http://www.pbase.com/d70svrider/image/117524963/original.jpg)

(http://www.pbase.com/d70svrider/image/117524958/original.jpg)

Or with just a 2.0x attached moving at 100+ MPH:

(http://www.pbase.com/d70svrider/image/137716573/original.jpg)

John
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Andy_Hodapp on February 25, 2013, 08:09:39 PM
Might get some hate for this but my Sigma 105mm F/2.8 Macro EX DG is so sharp.  I got it used on ebay for $300 and way outperforms my 17-40 and my 50mm 1.8.  Here are some of the photos I've gotten out of the lens, well worth the $300, though I have to admit, the autofocus is pretty bad, it worked alright on my Canon T1i but when I upgraded to the Canon 5D MKII, the autofocus works even worse.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8276147216/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8276147216/#in/photostream)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8210395424/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8210395424/#in/photostream)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8107624722/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8107624722/#in/photostream)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8101755629/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8101755629/#in/photostream)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8355912864/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8355912864/#in/photostream)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8354838679/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8354838679/#in/photostream)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8355902460/#in/photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/66627224@N02/8355902460/#in/photostream)
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: bdunbar79 on February 25, 2013, 08:40:44 PM
I own & use the following Canon Lenses;
14f/2.8L II, 15f/2.8, 35f/1.4L, 50f/1.2L, 85f/1.2L II, 100f/2.8L IS, 135f/2L, 200f/2L, 300f/2.8L II, 400f/2.8L II, 600f/4L II.
8-15f/4 L, 26-35f/2.8L II, 24-70f/2.8L II, 70-200f/2.8L II.
17f/4 TSE II, 24/f3.5 TSE II

The sharpest without doubt in my own use is the 300f/2.8L Version II, simply an amazing Lens.
The 100f/2.8L IS Macro would be next, I use it mainly for Underwater use in a Seacam Housing, but this is a sharp sharp Lens.
85f/1.2 L II is damn good, but the slow focus system takes some patience, although I've noticed now on my 1Dx it is much faster on the focus, even more so than on the 5DMK3.
The 600 & 400 Version II Lenses are great.

Zooms ?? The 24-70 is good, the 70-200 is very good, the 16-35 is So So, the 8-15 @ 15 is really good. You are not going to get the best sharpness from a Zoom when compared to a Prime, but there are benefits of course so it's a trade off.

The 17 & 24 TSE are exceptionally sharp, but they come with a learning curve that most wouldn't want to work on, they are rewarding though in the right situation.

Actually, not quite correct anymore.  Canon's 24-70L II and 70-200L II IS are sharper than some of the primes in those respective ranges.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: pwp on February 25, 2013, 08:52:12 PM
In my bag the sharpness award goes to the 135 f/2, then the 300 f/2.8is. Both are amazing.

-PW
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: ksagomonyants on February 25, 2013, 08:58:46 PM
200 2.0, 85 1.2 ii and 135 2.0 :)
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: CarlTN on February 26, 2013, 05:58:22 AM
John and Andy, those are great shots!
Title: This one really shows how sharp the 200 f/1.8 is.
Post by: ppix on February 26, 2013, 02:09:37 PM
This is with the 1.4x II attached on a Mark III.

(http://www.pbase.com/d70svrider/image/88104036/original.jpg)

John
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Kerry B on February 26, 2013, 02:25:32 PM
Without any shadow of a doubt, the canon 300f2.8 IS mkii is the sharpest lens I have ever used. Simply amazing, the images produced on my 5d mkiii are simply awesome. The images produced by the canon 70-200 f4 IS are also exceptional and compete with its bigger brother the 2.8.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Canon_Wisconsin on February 26, 2013, 05:09:34 PM
How 'bout NOT my nifty fifty? :)  Great little lens and especially for the price, but I found myself using the Tamron 28-75 for a shoot I did back in November and loved the results. Super sharp (these were taken with it): http://www.rankphotography.com/2012/12/beautiful-holiday-indoor-shoot.html (http://www.rankphotography.com/2012/12/beautiful-holiday-indoor-shoot.html)

Now that I have my new lenses (85mm 1.8 -- had a month and think it seems really sharp especially compared to my nifty fifty; the 135L which arrived today and I haven't played with), I cannot wait to play around more with these two and see how I like those apples. :)
Title: Re: This one really shows how sharp the 200 f/1.8 is.
Post by: Canon_Wisconsin on February 26, 2013, 05:11:33 PM
This is with the 1.4x II attached on a Mark III.

(http://www.pbase.com/d70svrider/image/88104036/original.jpg)

John

Great image!!
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Radiating on February 26, 2013, 06:39:37 PM
The difference  between the 100mm Macro and the 24-105mm isn't that significant.

Canon's sharpest lenses are in order (of sharpness wide open):

200mm f/2.0 IS
24mm f/3.5 TS-E II
180mm f/3.5 Macro
300mm f/2.8 IS II
400mm f/2.8 IS II
500mm f/4.0 IS II
600mm f/4.0 IS II
70-200mm f/2.8 IS II
40mm f/2.8 STM
70-200mm f/4.0 IS
90mm f/2.8 TS-E

The 100mm Macro doesn't make it on this list but is very close to the 90mm TS-E.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: verysimplejason on February 26, 2013, 06:43:07 PM
100mm macro usm.  It's the sharpest lens I've tried so far even at 2.8.

Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: CarlTN on February 26, 2013, 07:30:18 PM
John, another nice shot!  I wish Canon would make another really fast telephoto.  How about a 165mm f/1.6?  Not that I could afford it if they did, I guess it would cost $15k.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: Zlatko on February 27, 2013, 12:23:43 AM
Canon's sharpest lenses are in order (of sharpness wide open):

200mm f/2.0 IS
24mm f/3.5 TS-E II
180mm f/3.5 Macro
300mm f/2.8 IS II
400mm f/2.8 IS II
500mm f/4.0 IS II
600mm f/4.0 IS II
70-200mm f/2.8 IS II
40mm f/2.8 STM
70-200mm f/4.0 IS
90mm f/2.8 TS-E

The 100mm Macro doesn't make it on this list but is very close to the 90mm TS-E.

Not that I disagree, but I'm wondering how you came up with the specific order.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: jeffa4444 on March 01, 2013, 12:59:54 PM
Given the cost of some of the L lenses they should be sharp however some of the cheaper lenses are equally as sharp the 10-22mm EF-S is sharp and controls distortion very well, the 70-200 f4 L may not have IS or 2.8 but is bitingly sharp. Most people have soft / blurred images because of too slow shutter speed or not using a tripod indeed investing in a good quality tripod and a canon cable release / remote is just as important investment.
Title: Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
Post by: CarlTN on March 01, 2013, 02:50:49 PM
Given the cost of some of the L lenses they should be sharp however some of the cheaper lenses are equally as sharp the 10-22mm EF-S is sharp and controls distortion very well, the 70-200 f4 L may not have IS or 2.8 but is bitingly sharp. Most people have soft / blurred images because of too slow shutter speed or not using a tripod indeed investing in a good quality tripod and a canon cable release / remote is just as important investment.

My experience with the 10-22 was the opposite of yours, but my experience with the 70-200 non-IS is the same as yours.  There are others on here who are convinced the 70-200 non-IS is softer than the IS, but I'm not one of them.