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Author Topic: Rethinking Canon lens kit for use with 5D Mk II  (Read 1928 times)


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Rethinking Canon lens kit for use with 5D Mk II
« on: July 19, 2009, 06:12:25 PM »


Having finally taken the plunge into the FF territory with 5D MkII,
and having decided to sell a bunch of lenses I presently own but
have never used and will unlikely ever use, I decided to rethink
my lens kit.  After a bunch of research, below is my plan, with
some reasoning behind it.

This is very simple for me.  I like tight face portraits, and the
best tool for those for a long time has been 70-200/2.8 IS.  Except that
f/2.8 does not let you have both eyes in DOF (and that's on an 1.6X
crop sensor), which means that on FF it will be even worse.  So far,
I have been shooting at f/4 (with significant one-eye-out-of-DOF
percentage) and at f/5.6 with very small percentage of above failures.
Also, interestingly, I find that I have to shoot at ISO 800
(I'd prefer higher, but 40D can't do ISO1600 sufficiently noise-free).
As a result, a while back I switched to 70-200/4 which is one of the
sharpest lenses Canon has, primes included, and is MUCH lighter and
thinner than 70-200/2.8.  I have nothing but praise for it.  In fact,
70-200/2.8 is about to be Ebayed.

For "experimental" (wide) portraits (well, they are experimental for me),
16-35/2.8 is very nice, especially because with wides the viewfinder gets
dim quickly, and because I find zoom essential for portrait work.

OK, so portraits are easy (perhaps because I have lot more experience
with portraits than with landscapes, but likely because my style narrows
the lens choices considerably).

Conclusion: 70-200/4 and 16-35/2.8 Mk II

My present kit:
  16-35/2.8 Mk. II
  24-105/4 IS
  70-300 DO IS

Problems with my present kit (in diminishing priority):
  a. None of the above lenses are particularly sharp.  70-300DO is,
     alas, the worst offender, and covers the range I use BY FAR most
  b. No tilts or shifts.  Yes, shifts can be done in Photoshop, at a
     quite drastic resolution loss, but tilts/swings can not.  I used
     to shoot LF for short but memorable while, and movements,
     castrated as they are on 35mm camera systems, are important to me.
  c. No way to go beyond 300mm (70-300 DO is not compatible with TCs)
  d. Lens creep (very pronounced with 70-300 and 24-105 when pointed
     up or down -- VERY irritating)

My new planned kit:
   24 TS-E Mk. II (officially out already, but on pre-order everywhere)
   45 TS-E (usable with 1.4X TC)
   70-200/4 (usable with 1.4X TC)
   400/5.6 (usable with 1.4X TC)
   1.4x Teleconverter

Let's see how it addresses my problems/needs:
  a. All the lenses in this kit as about as sharp as anything Canon
     (or anyone else) makes.
  b. I have tilt/shift in 24, 45, and 63 (45*1.4) mm focal lengths.
  b. I have, as in the old kit, continuous zoom to 280mm, but also have
     400mm and 560mm.  Of these, 400 is somewhat superior to 560 (though
     not drastically so).
  d. no lens creep

OK, so what are the down sides:
  1) Don't have anything wider than 24
  2) Don't have anything between 24 and 45
  Note that both (1) and (2) can be mitigated by carrying 16-35/2.8
  along just in case, though, given I have never shot anything wider
  than 25.6mm (16*1.6), and did not feel much of a need to, and also
  given than with wides the image coverage changes drastically with
  small movements forward/back, I hope this will not be needed.
  Expense-wise this is not a factor, though, becase I still can't
  sell the bloody 16-35/2.8 -- need it for portraits...
  3) It will take more skill (and, thus, time) to determine proper
     focal length to use in the field, and also require more freedom
     of movement in the field (or resolution sacrifice).
  4) at all lengths wider than 70mm, I will not have AF (MF only).
     This is actually a big deal, since focusing at wide end is hard,
     but with live view and instant magnified preview, it will hopefully
     be ok.  More time though...
  5) No image stabilization, except in the 70-280 range. (where, again,
     I'd do most of the shooting).  Arguably, IS is not needed at
     lengths < 70mm, but it sure would help at > 280mm.  Not that the
     old kit could even go there at all, but still...
  6) 4 lenses + likely need to use TC (or lose resolution by using wider
     than needed focal length) make the kit more complex -- always a minus
  7) Resolution-wise, the new kit makes sense ONLY when used on tripod,
     as without it max lens resolution will likely be dominated by both
     the sharpness loss due to hand-holding as well as by IS benefits.
     This is not really a problem for me, since I have resolved to shoot
     all "negatives" from now on as at least 3, and, preferably 5 or 7
     exposure sequences to be combined into HDR "negatives", with the
     goal of producing tone-mappings for immediate use, and display
     on relatively-soon-to-be-here HDR capable monitors.  The side-
     benefits or noise reduction and potential uprezzing don't hurt
     either.  If you did not notice the above pun -- no sweat -- it
     ain't that good, and I only noticed it during a re-read.

Many thanks,
  sergey zhupanov
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 06:16:38 PM by zhupanov »


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Rethinking Canon lens kit for use with 5D Mk II
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2009, 11:22:09 PM »

For my 5D MkII and 1Ds MkIII, here are my travel lenses:

24-105 f4 L IS (my normal lens) - very sharp copy
16-35 MkII f2.8 L (much sharper than the MkI version)
70-200 f4 L IS (my travel telephoto)
Canon 1.4X extender
Canon extension tubes.

That's it! Plus a good tripod and cable release/timer.

BTW, posts on forums are better short than long. It will be more likely some one will respond if you can do it quickly.

« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 11:23:03 PM by budjames »
Bud James
North Wales, PA
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