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Author Topic: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?  (Read 3306 times)

BokChoiTV

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Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« on: March 21, 2013, 10:49:25 AM »
Just want to get some people's opinions! It looks to be my next buy due to its wide angle and fast aperture.
Only thing is, Ive hardly heard about it, why so?
Gonna be using this on a Mk III.

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Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« on: March 21, 2013, 10:49:25 AM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 12:06:55 PM »
I think it's because it's a decidedly underwhelming lens.

Shame, too. A 20mm f/2.8 is traditionally a go-to wide angle for photojournalism and event shooting, especially those crunches where you hold the camera over the heads of the crowd and spray and pray.

But the 16-35, another lens that's starting to show its age, will mop the floor with the 20.

At least, it does in my experience....

If you're serious about an f/2.8 lens at 20mm, I'd suggest either the 16-35 or one of the third-party lenses. I'd imagine the Zeiss glass, if you can afford it, should be something to really get excited about.

Cheers,

b&

yellowkamper

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 12:20:08 PM »
Its a very good lens but it does have a curved plane of focus , no good for a straight pic of a brick wall wide open. but it is very sharp wide open, with the slight curved plane of focus you get the mid-distance that you have focused on sharp and the near foreground, the last reply suggested the 16-35mm  but in comparesent it is huge.
Do read this from Ken Rockwell http://kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/20mm.htm
Robin

insanitybeard

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 12:21:36 PM »
If you check out the Photozone review of that lens, it suggests it suffers with a large amount of field curvature (as mentioned by the above poster), making it harder to achieve sharpness across the frame. Perhaps Canon in due course will update this lens in a similar manner to the 24 and 28mm 2.8 IS and the 35mm f2 IS, at a price of course....
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 12:23:33 PM by insanitybeard »
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mrzero

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 01:00:20 PM »
I have the lens and I really enjoy it on a crop camera.  It was my first purchase and it was basically bolted on to my camera for a long time. 

That said, you are asking about full-frame.  I did use it on a 5dII for a few days and I liked it there, too.  I didn't really push it in terms of usage, but I could sit at the dinner table and snap three people across from me on the other side.  I never had a chance to use it on landscapes. 

If I was considering buying it new for a 5dIII, I think I might just opt for the 17-40.  The slightly higher cost would be worth it to me in terms of build quality and zoom flexibility, and the loss of a stop would not matter given the higher ISO capabilities of the newer full frame cameras for shooting in lower light.  I don't think you can even compare the 20mm to the 16-35, though.  If you are seriously considering the 16-35, i think the prime would pale in comparison.  However, if you are on a budget, love primes, shoot handheld, shoot wide open, or have a potential use on a crop camera, you'll enjoy this lens.  When I update to fullframe, I plan on keeping the 20mm long enough to really push it before I choose to try an upgrade.

I used to tell people that it was a little prone to flair but I may have had a bad experience with a cheap/dirty UV filter.  However, I did opt for the Canon bayonet hood and I think it helps.
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2013, 01:05:03 PM »
If you check out the Photozone review of that lens, it suggests it suffers with a large amount of field curvature (as mentioned by the above poster), making it harder to achieve sharpness across the frame. Perhaps Canon in due course will update this lens in a similar manner to the 24 and 28mm 2.8 IS and the 35mm f2 IS, at a price of course....

As a wide-angle complement to the Shorty McForty, a 20mm pancake would be most welcome. Shorty McFatty?

(And, I'll note, Voigtländer has one -- albeit manual focus only -- so it's entirely doable....)

b&

RS2021

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2013, 01:10:39 PM »
Its a poor lens and that is being kind...on the new 5D3 you are gonna notice all the warts. Choose a third party or the 16-35II.
“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2013, 01:10:39 PM »

insanitybeard

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2013, 01:17:07 PM »
As a wide-angle complement to the Shorty McForty, a 20mm pancake would be most welcome. Shorty McFatty?

(And, I'll note, Voigtländer has one -- albeit manual focus only -- so it's entirely doable....)

b&

I'd buy a 20mm prime as a pancake or otherwise if it was good optically, it'd be a great walkaround lens for a crop camera, especially outdoors. The 40 pancake is a bit too long for a walkaround lens on crop.
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 01:34:56 PM »
As a wide-angle complement to the Shorty McForty, a 20mm pancake would be most welcome. Shorty McFatty?

(And, I'll note, Voigtländer has one -- albeit manual focus only -- so it's entirely doable....)

b&

I'd buy a 20mm prime as a pancake or otherwise if it was good optically, it'd be a great walkaround lens for a crop camera, especially outdoors. The 40 pancake is a bit too long for a walkaround lens on crop.

A 24mm pancake would be another great option. It's as wide as I and most others generally want to go on 135 format for typical stuff, and it's the same almost-exactly-textbook-normal focal length on APS-C as the Shorty McForty is on 135.

But there would be a lot to be said for a Holy Trinity of pancake primes (a Short Stack?) in something like 20-40-80.

Assuming, of course, that all three are optically comparable to the Shorty McForty....

Cheers,

b&

AJ

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 01:44:12 PM »
I used to own this lens.  It produces crisp, contrasty photos with vibrant colors.  Distortion is minimal, and there's just a little red/green fringing that's easily fixed in post.  The autofocus is decisive and blazing fast.  It is tack sharp in the center from f/4 onwards.

However: the corners never really get very sharp, even when you stop down.  Vignetting is heavy, even when you stop down.  Also this lens flares like mad, worse than any other lens I've owned.  The six-sided aperture produces ugly bokeh (usually not an issue though).

So, can you live with that, or do you want a better lens?

insanitybeard

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2013, 01:47:57 PM »
A 24mm pancake would be another great option. It's as wide as I and most others generally want to go on 135 format for typical stuff, and it's the same almost-exactly-textbook-normal focal length on APS-C as the Shorty McForty is on 135.

But there would be a lot to be said for a Holy Trinity of pancake primes (a Short Stack?) in something like 20-40-80.

Assuming, of course, that all three are optically comparable to the Shorty McForty....

Cheers,

b&

Agreed, I've been uhhhming and ahhhing for some time about which one of the new primes to get for my 7D as a walkaround lens, the 35 IS appeals to me because it's 2 stops faster than my f4 lenses, but it's fractionally longer than a 50mm on full frame, the 28 is just slightly wider than a full frame standard lens and the 24 is closest to the 40 pancake, but both the 24 and 28 are only f2.8. I like the thought of a slightly wider than standard compact stabilised walkaround lens, and the 24 comes closest...... but the 35 is faster..... decisions, decisions  :-\.... Still, the longer I wait the more they come down in price!  :D
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pete stone

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2013, 02:02:46 PM »
Been down this road......get the Tokina 16-28mm f2.8. It blows all the Canon offerings ( 20mm 2.8, 16-35mm 2.8 I & II ) out of the water! GREAT performance across the full frame at 16-24mm, GOOD at 28mm. Only disadvantage is there's no filter option, like the Nikon 14-24mm.

Frodo

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2013, 02:27:02 PM »
A poor lens, which is a shame as I'd like a lens of the focal length, speed and size.
Poor resolution, especially towards the edges.  Significant chromatic aberration and vignetting.  Happy to get rid of it.  Replaced it with a 20-35 f3.5-4.5.  This was significantly superior in all respects at 20mm, was a similar size and had the bonus of additional focal lengths.  Only downside was half a stop less.

As a superwide, I've now got a Samyang 14 2.8, which is a brilliant lens.
If gear matters: 5DII, 7D, G11, Samyang 14/2.8, EF 24-105/4, EF 35/2.0IS, EF 50/2.5 macro, EF 85/1.8, EF 200/2.8II, EF 400/5.6, Ext 1.4x, Lifesize conv, Ext tube EF25, 430EXII, 270EX, Yongnuo 603C

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2013, 02:27:02 PM »

bseitz234

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 03:03:45 PM »
Agreed, I've been uhhhming and ahhhing for some time about which one of the new primes to get for my 7D as a walkaround lens, the 35 IS appeals to me because it's 2 stops faster than my f4 lenses, but it's fractionally longer than a 50mm on full frame, the 28 is just slightly wider than a full frame standard lens and the 24 is closest to the 40 pancake, but both the 24 and 28 are only f2.8. I like the thought of a slightly wider than standard compact stabilised walkaround lens, and the 24 comes closest...... but the 35 is faster..... decisions, decisions  :-\.... Still, the longer I wait the more they come down in price!  :D

New sigma 30 1.4 is supposed to be available March 31st. Granted, it's a little more expensive than some- I think $599? but that's less than canon's new IS primes, and it promises to be as great as the sigma 35. It's a crop-sensor only lens, which is the tradeoff for small/light/inexpensive.
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CharlieB

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 05:03:13 PM »
I bought a used 20/2.8USM and used it for years.  It got stolen.  I immediately bought another.

It has a few limitations.  One is - it has considerable vignetting at f/2.8, and even f/4.0.  By f/5.6 or so, its a lot better.  If you have a camera that has peripheral illumination correction it will correct most, but not all of the situation at f/2.8.  By f/4.0 with correction, there is no problem at all.  Even at f/2.8 with correction... most shots are not going to be objectionable.

The other is its size.  Its a big lens for a 20mm - mostly on account of the rather medium large aperture of f/2.8.

Whoever said the 16-35ii L blows it away - no way.  This lens is at least as good, or better than the 16-35ii L, in terms of snap, color and corners - any all comparable apertures.  I've never noticed any field curvature that gave me any grief - but I tend to not shoot flat walls, dead straight on, at maximum aperture.

I still grab my 20/2.8 on the 7D and 5Dii both... there are times when I just don't want the 16-35ii L.... its bigger, heavier... no better optically for any purpose I use it for - candids, and events, and occasional walk about on the 7D (since I really love 35mm on full frame, the 20 comes close to that).

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Re: Thoughts on Canon 20mm f/2.8?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 05:03:13 PM »