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Messages - Act444

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Lenses / Re: Canon 24-70 f/4L IS sharpness
« on: January 19, 2015, 01:49:38 AM »
Thanks for posting those. From what I see, it looks to be consistent with what I'm seeing with mine - softer as you get closer to MFD, but it's difficult to be 100% sure.

Very insightful. So it's probably just the lens design in general as opposed to my copy.

Wow, that last shot at 50 almost looks misfocused. Mine was nothing like that (although I did get it refurbished so I'd think/hope that Canon tuned it up before reselling it)...

Lenses / Re: My New "L"
« on: January 17, 2015, 09:25:25 AM »
The 24-105 was my first "L" and glad to say I still have it and use it (although it's now a different copy). Very versatile on the 5D3, and it was also nice on the T2i I originally bought it for.

Had it come out 2-3 years ago like I initially thought, it WOULD have been my main body. As it is, I wanted better high ISO (for certain applications) and got tired of waiting so moved up to 5D. After that experience it's tough to go back to crop as a main camera for general shooting.

BUT - the 7D2 still will come in handy. Ice skating shows, animals/birds, outdoor concerts (in reach-limited situations), companion to 5D.

Canon General / Re: Opinion: The myth of the upgrade path
« on: January 10, 2015, 01:32:33 PM »
Curious...When I bought my first DSLR, and really started to get into photography as a hobby, I was chasing the best image quality that I could get. I had previously been using a Canon ELPH, and while it has done well for me and gotten me some great pics over the years, I was starting to get very frustrated with its indoor performance.

My first DSLR was the Rebel T2i. At that point I had no intention whatsoever of getting a FF camera (in fact, if you look at some of my older posts you may even see that I voiced that in some posts). I was looking at the 7D but decided to get the T2i and put $$ toward some lenses. Ultimately I was waiting for the 7D2. There was also a learning curve for me as I had to learn to manipulate the camera to get the pic quality I wanted and not rely on auto or P mode. Once I got comfortable enough with the camera, I moved to a 60D which I liked very much. In fact, I distinctly remember a thread I started here a few years ago about wanting to shoot an indoor party and was looking to add the 17-55 and wanted advice...a few people were telling me to ditch the 60D and get a 5D2 and 24-70 (this was before the 5D3 came out)...I didn't understand why folks were making that suggestion, I was happy with what I was using at the time...not to mention that I didn't really want to spend that kind of money. Plus, more importantly I liked the extra reach I was getting with my 60D. The truth was I never really actually USED a FF camera before...so I was unaware of the IQ difference between FF and crop (and no one said anything about it). Wasn't even aware that there WAS a difference TBH. I had the impression I would lose the reach in favor of a bunch of features I'd never use.

Oddly enough, apart from the 17-55 (and the Tamron 17-50 I had before that) I stayed away from EF-S lenses and stuck with just EF lenses, mostly L-series. Not because I wanted to upgrade, but because they were far superior in build quality and resale value. Plus I felt that those would be the lenses that would allow me to get the most out of my 60D.

So why did I make the leap, despite being adamant about not wanting to do it earlier? Well, remember I said above that I was chasing the best image quality I could get? I was viewing other people's pictures and I noticed on many shots how clear and sharp they were, and how my pics lacked that clarity...this is despite me using the very best L lenses (70-200, 35L, 100L, etc.). Also, I wasn't satisfied with many of the indoor shots I was getting, and wasn't fully satisfied with the 60D's high-ISO performance (I hate using flash). I spent all this money on top-quality lenses, and time learning the craft and STILL wasn't getting the IQ I truly strived for. I knew it was possible though because other people were getting those shots...so eventually, I looked to the only part of my kit that I hadn't really put much into - and that was the camera body. I remember creating a similar post here voicing those concerns and again folks were suggesting a FF camera.

I'd never so much held a FF camera (let alone used one) so I FINALLY went to the local store and asked to try one out. It was eye-opening to see the quality difference which I never knew existed until that point. Even then, I still ducked at the retail price (the 6D wasn't around yet so it was either a 5D3 or 1DX, the latter which was completely out of my budget). So I turned to eBay and started looking for deals (yes, I know, it's risky to do that)...and took advantage of an advertised deal and that was it, I took the leap.

After handling the 5D3, I hardly ever touched the 60D so eventually I sold it. Then I also had to get rid of the 17-55 and picked up a 24-70 II to replace it. Then, I suddenly realized why those folks in that party thread were suggesting a 5D instead when I actually went to shoot another one with the 5D/24-70 II. I was FINALLY starting to get that "clarity" and that "sharpness" in many of my shots!

However, after using the 5D for a while, I found there were limited situations I still wanted the reach of a crop sensor (ice shows)...so I got a secondhand 7D to shoot those. Eventually I got a 6D as well, but traded it in recently for a 2nd 5D (taking advantage of yet another mega-sale). When the 7D2 finally came out I traded in the original 7D for it.

Long post, but that's my story. From one, to the other, and then the realization I could use both. I still use the FF camera a LOT more for general photography but the 7D-caliber camera is really nice to have when reach-limited. I'd say it depends on what you shoot which one will be better...there are pros and cons to each.

Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
« on: January 09, 2015, 07:50:20 PM »
I appreciate the discussion from everyone.  I think this lens is going to be a little polarizing because Canon is moving the STM technology out of the EF-S/EOS M sphere and into full frame lenses (most will agree that the 40mm Pancake was a different story for a lot of reasons).

I'm actually happy to hear the 24-70 f/4L have some ardent supporters.  Frankly, I hadn't seen evidence of too many of them!  For me, however, this is the biggest reason why the 24-70 f/4L still doesn't make a ton of sense:


I have to say that the tests (not necessarily his comments or star ratings at the end by any means, but all of the data in his plots) at photozone.de far more often match my own carefully tested findings than what I see at TDP.


I've used two copies of 24-70 f/4 IS and about five of 24-105L and the photozone.de results are closer to what I saw. I was never satisfied with the 24-105L near 24mm for finely detailed edge to edge FF landscape work, but I had no issue with the 24-70 f/4 IS (although the 24 1.4 II and 24-70 II were a bit better). And the 24-70 f/4 IS shots of fine branches against clouds and such were so much freer of nasty longitudinal CA (never mind better lateral CA, although this is a bit more easily corrected) than the 24-105 L real world test shots.

I will say that the first 24-70 f/4 IS I tried, while better than the 24-105L, definitely was not as sharp anywhere in the border regions as the second copy, noticeable difference. So lens copy to copy variation is real. The first one also suffered more in the mid-range than the second copy (still not worse than the 24-105L, but maybe not any better at all for the first copy). So some may depend upon whether you get a poor copy or a really nice copy. From what I saw from my own careful tests (25' target, indoors with constant lighting, 6+ manual 10x liveview focused trials at each stage, refocused for mid-frame and edges) and real world snaps of tricky forest scenes my impression was that a good copy of the 24-70 f/4 IS is just simply quite noticeably, considerably, better at 24mm than the 24-105L. (Although I looked at it less, I also felt the same for 70mm, in fact the top 24-70 f/4 IS I tried actually did better FF 70mm edges than any 24-70 II I've tried (And that's a number of copies) although it wasn't quite ever with the biting mico-contrast center frame of teh 24-70 II and it's a bit more like the 24-105L micro-contrast there).

Count me as another happy user of the 24-70 f/4L IS.  As I've said in another thread, my copy was excellent at 24 and 70 out of the box, but disappointing at 35 and downright poor at 50 ... my sister's 24-105L was definitely better at 35 and 50.  However, after sending my lens back to Canon for calibration, I'll happily pit my 24-70 4L against a 24-105L at any focal length.  As has already been pointed out to my by a couple of CR users, Roger Cicala has commented the 24-704L has a lot of adjustable parts (more than most lenses), and it does seem the 24-70 4L suffers from substantial copy to copy variation.  Get one properly calibrated though, and I think it is a very good lens.

My brother has the Tamron 24-70 2.8 VR so I will have to do some comparisons if I can find some time. I did some very quick comparisons just after I got my lens calibrated and came away with the feeling my 24-70 4L was at least as sharp from f/4 (I was probably concentrating most on centre sharpness), and its focussing was quicker and more consistent than the Tamron.  That said, my testing to-date was pretty limited (and the possibility of new lens owner bias cannot be ignored!  :) ) so I wouldn't draw any conclusions from it.

I noticed this sentence in Dustin's review:
"The trend of many lenses that Canon has offered in the past few years have been lenses that didn’t necessarily wow people on paper (or thrill them with their announcement) but have proven to be extremely competent lenses that have won people over on their merits."

I have to say I agree with that.  I wasn't that excited about the 40 2.8 or the 35 2 IS but now own and like both, and looking beyond lenses I think the same sentiment applies to the 6D.   I think perhaps the 24-70 4L might end up being another lens to which the sentiment applies, if Canon can find a way to reduce copy variation and get the "average" 24-70 4L performing closer to its best performance.

Anyway, Dustin, thanks for the review of the 24-105 3.5-5.6.  Interesting to get your take on a consumer-grade lens after reading your reviews of high end gear.  The new 24-105 sounds like it could be a good lens for a lot of people, even if not many of the people who haunt places like CR.

How does your 24-70 do at close focusing distance, particularly at the long end? Mine REALLY seems to struggle. It's fine until I get near MFD and then the picture totally softens up...

I find that the 24-105 is still noticeably better at 50mm though. It has gone back to being my default lens.

Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
« on: January 09, 2015, 07:28:43 PM »
The 16-35 f4 is a counterexample...I know a lot of folks were excited about that lens from the get-go.

EOS-M / Re: Why do I keep my Eos M?
« on: January 09, 2015, 06:58:12 PM »
The M has been a great little camera to use:

1) at work
2) as a second body/companion to my DSLR (usually the 5D3 or SL1)
3) to give to other people to ask them to take pics of me (usually with someone else)
4) when a DSLR would be too bulky/inconvenient or not allowed (although I must say the SL1 fills this niche well too when a small lens is mounted)

I definitely like mine.

Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
« on: January 08, 2015, 04:38:28 PM »
Thanks for the review...not too much out there on this lens it seems.

A bit OT, but in regards to the 24-105 L vs the 24-70 f4 - having used both, I think they are different beasts despite sharing the same focal length. To simplify, it boils down to this for me:

The 24-105 is better for general shooting at events (sharper, greater range), outdoor and even indoor well-lit areas, if you have a newer generation DSLR. Also people and portraits (longer end of zoom can blur background nicely).

The 24-70 is better for landscapes (less distortion), still life (better IS) and travel (smaller, lighter).

Different strengths and weaknesses. I used the 24-105 for some of the purposes I listed under the 24-70 and came away dissatisfied...ditto with the 24-70 at an indoor event (very soft at MFD).
That sums it up nicely. I have both and the 24-70 f4IS is definitely the better lens - technically - if you ignore the fact it doesn't go to 105mm....

Anyway if the look on the "is this the 80D" thread you may find the home for this 24-105 STM - a budget FF camera ?

I wouldn't even go as far to say one is better than the other...I guess it depends on what you shoot.

If I was forced to keep only one, I'd probably pick the 24-105. More versatile and same or better sharpness except at 24mm, where corner performance lags somewhat - and possibly 70mm when standing farther than 10 ft away.

Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
« on: January 08, 2015, 03:42:18 PM »
Thanks for the review...not too much out there on this lens it seems.

A bit OT, but in regards to the 24-105 L vs the 24-70 f4 - having used both, I think they are different beasts despite sharing the same focal length. To simplify, it boils down to this for me:

The 24-105 is better for general shooting at events (sharper, greater range), outdoor and even indoor well-lit areas, if you have a newer generation DSLR. Also people and portraits (longer end of zoom can blur background nicely).

The 24-70 is better for landscapes (less distortion), still life (better IS) and travel (smaller, lighter).

Different strengths and weaknesses. I used the 24-105 for some of the purposes I listed under the 24-70 and came away dissatisfied...ditto with the 24-70 at an indoor event (very soft at MFD).

Lenses / Re: Canon 28-300L 'super-zoom'
« on: January 08, 2015, 10:04:34 AM »
I tried the 28-300 for a couple of months. On the plus side, nothing can beat its versatility - it was awesome to get close ups during concerts...and then quickly pull back to capture the whole scene. Or vice versa. A wide variety of shots is available to the shooter with this lens. On a 6D, I was even able to continue shooting after the sun went down because of the 6D's incredible high ISO performance. Also, considering the class of lens it's in, the image quality is reasonable - it's ok.

But that's also one of its drawbacks; the image quality is just "ok"....especially when compared to many of my other lenses (24-70, 70-200, 100L, etc.). Which is fine by itself, but when I started to factor in the significant size and weight of this lens...and its high price and profile...I ultimately didn't keep it for very long. Didn't really fit my style of shooting (it made more sense to either take two cameras or one lens one day and another the next...I shot one event with the 28-300 one day and switched to the 70-200 (f4) the next. The difference in IQ was staggering. After that I was convinced the 28-300 wasn't for me...not to say it was an easy decision to let it go though. But I have no regrets.

I do hope they introduce a non-L version that is smaller and lighter.

Version 2 of the 200 2.8?

Yes, but I believe the only difference is the lens hood.

is that so...wow.

That lens could be next on my list, it depends...so I appreciate the info.

Anyway, I'd have to join the chorus and say the 16-35 f/4 IS, although a close 2nd would be the 24-70 f/4. (Have the 24-105 as well, but it distorts too much at 24 to be the best choice.) Don't always need the ultra-wide perspective, although it's cool to play with the optical effects of a UWA sometimes (like making buildings look taller than they really are, etc.).

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: POLL: Do you need 1/8000s shutter speed?
« on: January 06, 2015, 08:39:44 PM »
No, but it is nice to have just in case.

I can only recall one time when I would have used it but my camera at the time topped out at 1/4000s.

.. I'd rather have a few lighter, high quality primes...
Hoping to not offend the many excellent landscape photographers here, from what I've seen of your landscapes posted here, I rather consider that you've mastered the landscape genre.

With that in mind and along the theme of this thread, I'd like to know;
1) What "few lighter, high quality primes" make up your preferred landscape lens kit?
2) Is there one of that kit that gets predominantly more use than the others?
3) Is there one of that kit you'd choose as the only one if different from 2?

@Sporgon the 2nd comment, please, get thee to the Grand Canyon.
Of the many landscape and cityscape photos I've seen here that spark an interest and make me want to visit, the resent 'scapes of the Grand Canyon simply blew me away with the grandeur of the place.
I'd sure love to see what you might bring back from there.

What comprises the 5% you mention in your profile?

That's very kind of you.

I'm not suggesting that using primes produces better landscape pictures; the quality and versatility of a good zoom is undeniable. The trouble is I don't like a relatively large, heavy lens on a camera when I am roaming around the countryside on foot, but I do want speed and quality, so there is a conflict. I'm happy to carry a few light primes in lowepro cases on a belt.

Also I don't like ultra wide lenses because they make far away detail microscopic, and although the light passing through them is very dense - bright - there is a low amount of volume. If my landscape pictures do have an edge it is probably that many of them are ultra wide angle but not shot on a wide angle lens, because they are stitches, so my prime landscape lenses are 135, 50, 40, and 28. Nothing wider. Of these I would say that the most commonly used are 50 and 40, followed by 28 followed by 135. I have an 85 but have never produced a panoramic with it.

However a lot of my panos have been shot with the 24-105L, using it at 28 to 60 off the top of my head, but the distortion at the wider end and longer nodal point can lead to problems that lead to more work. Again this is why I favour shorter primes; no distortion and you don't need a panoramic head as much for difficult to stitch scenes. The 24-105L is not a lens I would recommend as a single frame shooting landscape lens because it is weak at 24 - 30 region. the 24-70 f4 IS is much better here. The 24-70 f2.8II better still.

Does one get used the most ? Yes, and its the cheapest of the lot, the 40mm pancake ! I love the way the camera handles with this lens on it but I don't love the fact it has no focus scale.

If I didn't have the 40 then I'd most probably be using the 50/1.4. If I didn't already have the 40 I would almost certainly have got the 35/2 IS to compliment the 28/2.8 IS.

If I was shooting single frame landscapes then I would almost certainly be using the 24 TS-E in the mix. In fact I'm going to rent one of these shortly and do some back to back shooting comparisons between this lens and a vertical three frame 1.5 x 1 'pano' shot on the 40. A 40 mil in portrait has roughly the same vertical field of view as a 24 mil in landscape format. The advantage of the TS-E is that you can reduce the lower light volume by using a wider aperture and tilting, but I will be interested to see if i can see a difference at normal viewing sizes. If there is a difference it wont be the 50 mp of the stitch, it will be the larger format giving it the edge.

One day I will get out to the Grand Canyon, but I am just so flat out busy it is difficult to get away for long.

The 5% ? Well I have loads of gear that never gets used. In fact I'm having a clean out, so my little personal slogan may not be accurate soon. 95% of the time I am shooting with 5DII + 40 or 50. Loads of other gear, some that never get used: 300/4L, 100L, 100-400L, battery grip, 50 macro, 200/2.8L to name a few !

Version 2 of the 200 2.8?

I used the 70-200 for shooting ice skating shows until one year, one of the shows had this awful dim purple lighting that I really struggled with having only 2.8. So the next year I went, I opted for the 135mm f/2 (which got practically no use up to that point) and the extra stop made all the difference in the world. Despite using a 7D vs a 60D, the shots still came out cleaner and I had many more usable shots (7D is a little weaker at high ISO). This is despite the lack of zoom flexibility too. At times I missed the flexibility but it was absolutely worth sacrificing that for the extra stop. Also, the images out of the 135 had this look which is hard for me to explain...many of the images had this "pop" to it which made them stand out more than my usual snapshots.

I'd still use the 70-200 as I prefer the convenience of a zoom, but if the lighting is bad enough I will opt for the 135. I've also used the 100 f2 on one occasion but that lens is a weaker performer in general than either the 135 or 70-200 (although not terrible). However, it IS a good bit smaller and that means I can use it in places where a larger lens wouldn't be allowed...

Sorry for the late reply. Thanks to everyone who posted here.

Here is what I bought/ordered :
- Canon 7D Mark II (bought)
- Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II (ordered, shipping mid-to-late december)
- Canon 16-35mm f4L IS USM (ordered, should receive it next week)
- Canon 100mm f2.8 L Macro IS USM EF (bought)

So far, very happy with the 7DII :D

Nice, enjoy!

When I first started (early 2010), I was leaning towards the 7D...then the T2i came out (the first rebel with 18MP), so I decided to grab that and put the money saved towards a better lens. But since I was just starting, I decided to just get the T2i with the stock 18-55mm lens, use that to get comfortable with the camera and THEN upgrade to a better lens afterward once I knew exactly what I wanted. As I found out, I'm very glad I went that direction because the learning curve was rather steep...

Didn't take long for me to realize that I needed better glass pronto if I truly wanted to unleash the potential of my new DSLR. When it was time to upgrade, I ended up with the 24-105 f/4L IS (outdoor/general shooting) and a Tamron 17-50 2.8 VC (indoor/low light shooting).

I still have the 24-105 (different copy though), but the Tamron eventually got sold for Canon's 17-55 (the Tamron was a good lens for the price but focus issues and softness at 2.8 prompted an upgrade when I could afford it). Then, the move up to FF forced me to give up the 17-55 which I traded in for a 24-70 II. I've since made the decision to utilize both FF and APS-C, but the 55-250 is the only EF-S lens I currently have. Pretty good one too, sharpness holds up with the L telephotos (but color rendition and AF lag behind).

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