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Author Topic: Are L lenses becoming the standard.  (Read 9256 times)

studio1972

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Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« on: November 05, 2010, 07:52:39 PM »
It seems like Canon are slowly moving towards phasing out non L lenses (EF, not EF-S). The new 70-300 seems to me to not actually be a professional lens, it's far too slow! It seems to be aimed at amateurs with cash and is a straight replacement to the previous version which wasn't an L lens. The Macro 100mm L lens is another example, although this might be useful to some pros. Are we going to end up where L doesn't really mean anything anymore?
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Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« on: November 05, 2010, 07:52:39 PM »

scalesusa

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2010, 09:16:51 PM »
The on-line community of forum users are probably not typical, I very seldom see DSLR users out and about using "L" lenses.  I believe we are a tiny minority.

Most DSLR users buy a camera and kit lens from WalMart, BestBuy, Costco, or other big box store and are very happy with it, or overwhelmed and it goes into storage.  Their expert is the camera salesman.

We are lucky for a realtively small city, (Spokane Washington) to have a good camera store (Huppins, www.onecall.com), but they no longer have pro photographers behind the counter as in the old days, and they are going more into higher profit items like high end video and sound.  They are, however, a bit more informed than the big box salesmen, and there is usually at least one or two salesmen that are quite good and can field tougher questions, and, of course, I can hold up a Nikon D3 and compare it with a 1DS3. 

neuroanatomist

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2010, 10:44:54 PM »
It seems like Canon are slowly moving towards phasing out non L lenses (EF, not EF-S). The new 70-300 seems to me to not actually be a professional lens, it's far too slow! It seems to be aimed at amateurs with cash and is a straight replacement to the previous version which wasn't an L lens. The Macro 100mm L lens is another example, although this might be useful to some pros. Are we going to end up where L doesn't really mean anything anymore?

Then the 100-400mm is not a professional lens, either, right?  How about the 400mm f/5.6L?  Or the 28-300mm L?  Point is, there are L lenses at f/5.6.  If you're a 'pro' with a 1-series body, the 100-400 and 400/5.6 will take a 1.4x TC and maintain AF.  Likewise, the 300/4 will take a 2X TC - I ran into Lilian Stokes (author of the Stokes Field Guide to Birds) on a mountaintop hawk watch a few weeks ago, shooting with a 1DIV+300/4+2X.  So, slow ≠ non pro!

The 'L treatment' includes things like improved optics, weather sealing (in most cases), UD and/or fluorite elements, etc.
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Flake

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2010, 05:46:09 AM »
I have to say that I don't know any pros  using the 100 - 400mm IS L.  Most commercial portrait & wedding work stops at 200mm, I'm unusual in having a 300mm f/2.8, most times a longer lens is needed it's so rare that it's off to the hire guys.  At the other end wildlife & sports, they all seem to be using the big white primes.  I've yet to see a press line up of big lenses where one guy has brought his 100 - 400mm it just doesn't happen.

Although it pains me Canon appear to be dropping the build quality of the L range.  The new 100mm macro is a real dissapointment with it's plasticy body, and it appears that the new generation of big white primes have also been moved to plastic, hence the weight saving.  I'm sure that the 70 - 300mm L when it finally does go on wide release will be another plastic wonder, & I am thinking that this move to a new material might well be the reason for the production problems Canon have encountered.  The 70 - 200 f/2.8 IS L MkII is an exception to this, perhaps Canon thought that the lens which probably gets worked the hardest needed the higher quality we'd been used to before.

docsmith

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2010, 10:02:31 AM »
We are lucky for a realtively small city, (Spokane Washington) to have a good camera store (Huppins, www.onecall.com), but they no longer have pro photographers behind the counter as in the old days, and they are going more into higher profit items like high end video and sound.   
Hey, I bought my first camera from Huppins.  I am originally from Moscow, ID.  It was a great store.  Too bad it sounds like they are moving away from that.

"L" stands for "Luxury" and not pro.  So these are Canon's top end lenses.  I doubt many will argue that the 70-300L isn't the top end of the 70-300 series.  Pros like to have good lenses.  So do many others (recently saw buses of what look to be retirees all walking around with 1D/5D cameras mounted with red-ringed lenses).  Canon seems to make "L" lenses for the pros (big whites, primes, etc) and non-pros alike and they've done this for a while.  Works for me.

studio1972

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2010, 10:21:41 AM »
I have to say that I don't know any pros  using the 100 - 400mm IS L.  Most commercial portrait & wedding work stops at 200mm, I'm unusual in having a 300mm f/2.8, most times a longer lens is needed it's so rare that it's off to the hire guys.  At the other end wildlife & sports, they all seem to be using the big white primes.  I've yet to see a press line up of big lenses where one guy has brought his 100 - 400mm it just doesn't happen.

That's exactly what I mean. These compact (relatively) lenses with wide zoom ranges appeal to hobbyists who can't justify the cost of faster lenses, but they are not suitable for pros. I have never seen a pro using a 70-300 or 100-400 lens but loads of hobbyists seem to have them. As for the 400 5.6, Canon also make a 400 f/2.8 and If I was making my living from images in that range I would buy the 2.8 as it would soon pay for itself.
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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2010, 12:20:16 PM »
A true "pro" wouldn't care about L status of the lens or not as long as it was adequate for the job. Everyone else shouldn't care about L status of the lens or not as long as it was adequate for the job. So what is the problem?

And does it matter what others are using? End of the day, if you're taking photographs, it's what you have and how you use it that matters.
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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2010, 12:20:16 PM »

studio1972

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2010, 02:06:17 PM »
Well, I don't think I'll be losing any sleep over it, it's just that Canon themselves describe the L series as "conceived as professional tools". I would rather them be designing a lens that will help me earn a living than nice to have type lenses. For example, a 24-70 2.8 IS or a 50mm 1.4 IS would be a lot more useful than this 70-300. Was there actually anything wrong with the old 70-300 anyway, the new one isn't even any faster?
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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2010, 03:53:32 PM »
Aperture isn't everything. Everyone has different needs. If you really need stabilised fast primes and 24-70 (I assusme on full frame), there's always Sony...

The current 70-300 (non-L) is showing its age compared to the competition. It has micro-USM and not the nicer ring USM, and rotating front element... If it was faster, it wouldn't be the same lens, but something very different. I think the non-L was due an upgrade, although the extent is unprecedented compared to other manufacturer lenses.
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tzalmagor

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2010, 04:20:00 AM »
The on-line community of forum users are probably not typical, I very seldom see DSLR users out and about using "L" lenses.  I believe we are a tiny minority.

Most DSLR users buy a camera and kit lens from WalMart, BestBuy, Costco, or other big box store and are very happy with it, or overwhelmed and it goes into storage.  Their expert is the camera salesman.

Among those photographers I get to see (which excludes those who put their cameras in storage), for every photographer who just walks around with a kit lens, e.g. 40D with an 18-200, there's one who buys an extra couple of cheap lenses, e.g. a 75-300mm zoom or a 50mm f/1.8 mkII.

Anyhows, I don't see how that would justify every non-kit lens being an expensive L lens.

docsmith

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2010, 07:21:43 AM »
This gets back to the question that's been discussed sporadically in other threads: Is Canon moving toward a lineup exclusively of EF "L" and EFS lenses.  No EF "non-L" lenses.  Personally, I don't think so, I see Canon simply selling every lens that they consider financially viable and certain EF lenses, especially primes, are financially viable.  But it is hard to ignore that all recent releases have either be EF "L" or EFS, trending toward EF "L."  To me, this just means EF "non-L" lenses have been de-emphasized in recent years, not killed off.  But that could change if Canon finally decides to update several EF "non-L" lenses.

scalesusa

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2010, 12:15:26 PM »
This gets back to the question that's been discussed sporadically in other threads: Is Canon moving toward a lineup exclusively of EF "L" and EFS lenses.  No EF "non-L" lenses.  Personally, I don't think so, I see Canon simply selling every lens that they consider financially viable and certain EF lenses, especially primes, are financially viable.  But it is hard to ignore that all recent releases have either be EF "L" or EFS, trending toward EF "L."  To me, this just means EF "non-L" lenses have been de-emphasized in recent years, not killed off.  But that could change if Canon finally decides to update several EF "non-L" lenses.

Part of this just may be the higher image quality that people are demanding.  Its expensive to put all those elements in a lens, so it might as well be designed to last, since it will be costly in any event.  Canon seems to do very well selling new lens models, so they seem to feel they are doing it right.

I think that they see the lens issue as something similar to the inkjet issue, sell the camera as cheap as possible and make a huge profit on the lenses.  Its a formula that seems to work well if you can keep people buying your lenses.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2010, 06:19:19 AM »
Non-L EF lenses do seem to have been de-prioritized, and for good reason...  Most of the lenses in that aging group are primes, and the 'typical' consumer today does not want a prime lens, and in many cases does not understand the concept of f-number and 'fast' lenses.  They want zoom lenses, unless the lens in question has a specific purpose they can understand.  That's why there's only one EF-S prime lens, and it's a macro lens (and even so, they put a little 'macro' region in the focus window on lenses like the EF-S 15-85mm, and put little macro flower icons on most of the other EF-S lenses). 

Looking at Amazon.com, the #1 seller in Lenses is the EF-S 55-250mm, and the #2 seller is the nifty fifty.  None of the Canon lenses in the top 10 (and only one of the Nikon lenses in the top 10) costs over $400.  In absolute terms, Canon makes a lot more money from the high-volume low-cost items like those than from the L-series lenses.  Add to that the fact that the primes that are in the top 10 (50/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8) have all been in the top 100 (and probably near the top) for the last 5+ years, and it would seem that Canon has no real reason to update them...
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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2010, 06:19:19 AM »

tzalmagor

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 07:00:29 AM »
Non-L EF lenses do seem to have been de-prioritized, and for good reason...  Most of the lenses in that aging group are primes

That's incorrect - you invited to look at the lenses release table here (need to roll down a bit) and see for yourself - it's just that most were discontinued.

Quote
In absolute terms, Canon makes a lot more money from the high-volume low-cost items like those than from the L-series lenses. Add to that the fact that the primes that are in the top 10 (50/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8) have all been in the top 100 (and probably near the top) for the last 5+ years, and it would seem that Canon has no real reason to update them...

I would think it's good enough reason to upgrade such lenses as the 28mm and 35mm (about normal for APS-C), a sharper non-soft focus 135mm lens, etc.

Personally, I would but the 35mm f/2 if it's aperture diaphragm was upgraded, and the 135mm f/2.8 if it was sharper. They can take off the soft focus feature to keep it cheap and keep the existing model in the market for those who want soft focus.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 12:39:48 PM »
Non-L EF lenses do seem to have been de-prioritized, and for good reason...  Most of the lenses in that aging group are primes

That's incorrect - you invited to look at the lenses release table here (need to roll down a bit) and see for yourself - it's just that most were discontinued.


Of course - I was referring to current lenses (if we're talking about updating lenses, it seems unlikely that a discontinued lens would be 'reactivated' and updated, at least to me...

Let's get our data from the source, not from someone at Northlight reposting something from someone at DPR.  ON the Canon USA lens lineup page, there are 6 EF non-L zoom lenses (being generous and counting both USM and non-USM versions of the 75-300mm and also counting the 100-300mm which I think is no longer in production).  There are 16 EF non-L prime lenses on that page.  So I think it's fair to say that most of the lenses in the EF non-L group (16/22 = 73%) are primes.
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Re: Are L lenses becoming the standard.
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 12:39:48 PM »