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
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)
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.