Canon L Series Lenses

This was a free two hour class offered by Canon and Keeble & Shuchat with Jennifer Wu about Canon’s L lenses by Jim Rose and nature photography tips from Jennifer. I originally heard about this from Jim when he came to COBA to discuss about CPS membership. As an added treat, Canon brought twenty four L lenses, including the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM, and five bodies (three 1D Mark IIIs, one 1Ds Mark III, one Canon XSi, and a Canon EOS 5D) for everyone to try. Also Jim brought a pre-production Canon EOS 50D with the new Canon EF 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. Continue reading Canon L Series Lenses

Photo Equipment Wish List

Introduction

This is a wish list and hopefully a long term road map of where I would like to build my photographic equipment to. The Want Factor Rating is merely my ranking of importance to me in terms of what I would want first versus another.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn

eos-1d mark ii n ef 50mm angleWant Factor [rating:5]

This has always been my dream digital SLR (dSLR) to own. With lightning fast 8.5 frames per second (FPS), you couldn’t possible miss a shot. Also with the weather sealed body and the body being made entirely of magnesium alloy, this is truly a professional grade dSLR that can handle the rough elements. The 1.3x crop factor allows for more elements to be the frame versus the 1.6x crop factor of the Canon EOS XTi/400D/10/20D/30D. With its amazing 45 point auto focus sensor, it almost guarantees a precise lock on any object anywhere in the frame. This dSLR is a favorite amongst sports photographer and photo journalist. Now with the release of the new Canon EOS 1D Mark III, the prices should fall on these models making them a more attractive deal.

APRIL 28, 2008 UPDATE: After having acquired a Canon EOS 1D Mark II, I no longer need the Mark IIn version. For my second body, I would rather acquire a Canon EOS 1D Mark III or Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Want Factor [rating:5]

Canon has released their next generation 1Ds model, the Mark III, coming in at a whopping 21MP. Fortunately this has brought the prices of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II down to somewhat more *affordable*. Originally I was contempt with just the 1D line, I’ve increasingly found many reasons to why I would want a full frame sensor, the main one being is full advantage of wide angle lenses. Also 16.7MP is still a very respectable MP size allowing for very large quality images.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

eos1dmarkiii picWant Factor [rating:4.5]

It was only a matter of time before Canon would release a followup to their highly successful Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn. They up the standards, once again, with the first dSLR capable of 10 FPS! Also with a bigger LCD, 3 inches versus 2.5 inches, viewing images are now much easier. Also with Canon’s new technology, Live Preview, allows for use of the LCD to take pictures without the need for use of the eye viewer making it easier to take product images and image duplications. Also improved is a new 10 mega pixel sensor (versus 8.2 mega pixel on the Mark IIn), quality is further upped. With the addition of the Dust Sensor Cleaner, it will definitely cut down on dust spots in pictures. Very pricey, ~$4,000, I would love to have this dSLR (if money was no object), but I think the Mark IIn is more than adequate, especially for what it’ll be selling for when the Mark III begins shipping.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L USM IS

canon400mmf4Want Factor: [rating:4.5]

Despite being a f/4 lens, this is still a very usable lens for landscape, bird photography, and some sports shooting. Having Image Stabilization is also a big plus especially at this focal length.

Being a prime lens makes its auto focus fast and accurate. I’ve seen quite a number of excellent pictures produced by this lens.

There have been times that I have found my Canon EF 70-200mm needs just a little more reach. The price is still relatively affordable, not that more expensive than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, compared to its bigger f/2.8 brother’s $4,000 cost.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM IS

ef 24-105 angleWant Factor [rating:4]

If my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM had image stabilization (IS), it would have been a perfect lens, but unfortunately it doesn’t. This guy has IS though and also better reach (the additional 35mm can make quite a difference). The major drawback I don’t like about this lens is the slow aperture of f/4. While IS will make a difference for that in low light hand held shots, it unfortunately can not stop action like a f/2.8 lens can. But this lens would still have various uses such as portrait photography, a general walk around lens, and so on. It is lighter and smaller than my 24-70mm f/2.8L, making it easier to use and carry, especially on a small dSLR such as the XTi.

It’s sharpness is right on par with the 24-70mm f/2.8, so there isn’t much sacrifice other than for the faster aperture. And also because it is a stop slower, getting bokeh shots will be slightly more difficult. I definitely would like to add this to my current gear list for many reasons.

Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS

efs 17-55mm slant with capWant Factor [rating:0]

Having a bit more wide angle would be really nice. My most widest lens is my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, while is wide, there are times where it just isn’t quite wide enough to get everything I want. The major things that is nice about this lens are: 1) Image Stabilization (IS), much needed for those slower shots, 2) nice wide angle, 17mm makes a big difference, 3) f/2.8 and 4) pro level lens means it is very sharp. The draw backs on this lens for me is: 1) No “L” designation meaning no magnesium alloy body, just high impact polycarbonate (i.e. plastic), 2) expensive for not being an “L” lens, but it does contain all elements of being an “L” except for the polycarbonate body and 3) It’s an EF-S mount lens, meaning it won’t work on full frame SLRs (i.e. Canon 1D/1Ds lines and the Canon 5D).

Never the less, this lens will still be invaluable for indoor shooting with no flash. It’s about the same size as the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM IS.

APRIL 28, 2008 UPDATE: Because I’m slowly moving out of the 1.6x crop factor SLRs, this EF-S lens would be useless to me.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L USM IS

1bWant Factor [rating:3.5]

This has a great focal length that allows for that extra reach without breaking the bank. While the 100-200 focal length is already covered by my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, I have no lens that goes beyond the 200mm, that is where this “little” lens steps in. But because of its slow aperture, it unfortunately isn’t an ideal sports lens. It can do great bird shots and even some action shots where adequate lighting is available. Also as an “L” lens, it has the sharpness and build quality. One other great feature also is the IS that is built in on this lens making it easier to get sharp pictures.

Overall size is not that much bigger than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. The pictures are plenty sharp, not as sharp as the prime lenses and also not as sharp as the 70-200, but for having a 100-400mm focal length readily available, it is plenty sharp. This is a lens I would pack with me to air shows, zoos, and such.