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Author Topic: Please HELP ME purchase LENSES for my CANON 5D  (Read 26151 times)

mistybreeze

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Please HELP ME purchase LENSES for my CANON 5D
« on: May 08, 2006, 12:04:42 pm »

After years of enjoying a mad love affair with Medium and Large Format cameras/film, the time has come to upgrade my kick-around digital (Sony CyberShot F707) and revisit newer, more serious 35mm options. I loved working in 35mm (Canon EOS 630) when I was younger and  often waxed nostalgic through the years as I hauled heavy, hefty equipment. However, once I fell in love with the Medium and Large Format film quality (and negatives drum scanned), I learned to tolerate big, bulky, and expensive and never looked back.

Now that I'm older, I like the idea of simplifying my life a little and look forward to shooting with the new 35mm digital technology. The Canon 5D Digital SLR seems to be calling out my name. The minute I picked it up it felt like home. The 1Ds never felt right to me: the bodies are too heavy, I don't need weather sealing, and I won't use it enough to justify the expense. Now that 5D offers full-frame and its price is within reach, the time has arrived to...downgrade up, perhaps?

I need experienced help picking those "perfect" lenses to copulate my 5D body. There seems too much to pick from and I've been away from the format too long to be the best judge. I've read many forum threads and everything Erwin Puts has to offer but I also want to hear expert opinion on my list.

I'm not a big fan of zoom lenses unless someone can convince me the quality is "must have." Of course shooting style and preferences should dictate every photographer's "best lens" decisions which is why I explain my reasons for considering the following:
  • EF 24mm, f/1.4L ($1100) - I need one great quality, highly-usable wide angle lens for cityscapes, elevations, landscaping, architecture, etc. I also love the option of being able to shoot in low light. I LOVE my Gitzo tripods. I can live without extreme wide angles because any distortion will really bother me. I'm no fan of the fisheye look.
  • TS-E 24mm, f/3.5L ($1100) - Less low-light opportunities but maybe I'm better off with this one, especially for shooting architecture. I love the tilt/shift feature of large format. Maybe I could fall in love with this and make it my all-purpose wide angle.
  • EF 85mm, f/1.2L II ($2100) - I need a FABULOUS portrait lens and I LOVE tack sharp and/or gorgeous fall off. I shoot and travel in celebrity circles so the portrait lens will be my most important lens.
  • EF 85mm, f/1.8 ($329) - Does this deserve serious consideration instead of the $2100 version? Many photographers seem to love this inexpensive lens but I NEED to see pores and every imperfection. Can this baby satisfy a detail hound like myself?
  • EF 100mm, f/2.8 Macro ($470) - I LOVE my MF Macros and often use them for editorial food, beauty portraits (lips, eyes and lashes), and flowers/butterflies. Will this one satisfy my perfection needs and put a smile on my face? Does it matter that it has no "L." Should I consider the 180mm-f/3.5 Macro instead?
  • EF 70-200mm, f/2.8L IS ($1700) - Or, should I consider this instead of the Macro? I don't think I mind standing further away from my subject to get a similar Macro effect. If I had to own a zoom, maybe this is the one?
  • EF 200mm, f/2.8L II ($660) - I have to have one moderately long lens with a better than decent aperture opening. This one won't break the bank and seems like it could come in handy. If I buy this and the 100mm Macro, I kill both birds/butterflies and save a little money by not buying the zoom.
I don't shoot sports so I have little use for really long lenses. I used to love them for energetic street fashion but that look has been passe for many years.

Please, hit me with your knowledgable comments, criticisms, or compliments. I love listening to smart, experienced photographers.

Thank you in advance,
MistyBreeze
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francois

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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 12:09:11 pm »

Quote
After years of enjoying a mad love affair with Medium and Large Format cameras/film, the time has come to upgrade my kick-around digital (Sony CyberShot F707) and revisit newer, more serious 35mm options. ....
MistyBreeze,
You may want to visit Fred Miranda forums (here) and William L. Castleman website. You can find different Canon 24mm lenses tested and compared on the LL website (here). Comparative tests of the 85mm (f/1.2 [version I] and f/1.8) can be found on the above-mentionned Castleman website.
HTH
« Last Edit: May 08, 2006, 12:17:47 pm by francois »
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Francois

mistybreeze

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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2006, 01:32:47 pm »

If there's one thing I absolutely adore, it's a generous man willing to point me in the right direction. Thank you, francois. I'm sure I would have stumbled across those url's eventually but you saved me an enormous amount of time and reading. I appreciate your help.  

ps Miranda's landscape style is very similar to mine. I'm usually out of the hotel suite by 4am. Apparently, I had forgotten about Fred. Thanks for the head's up.
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Enir

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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2006, 02:22:33 pm »

After buying the 24-105L I got rid of my wide angle and normal lenses, that much I like it when corrected by the DxO module. For the rest, I use mostly primes: 85L, 135L and 200L. They are black, light and just great, particularly the 85 mm lens. I rarely use my 70-200 f/4 and 70-200 IS, despite the convenience of zooms.

Enrique
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macgyver

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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2006, 04:02:53 pm »

Quote
  • EF 200mm, f/2.8L II ($660) - I have to have one moderately long lens with a better than decent aperture opening. This one won't break the bank and seems like it could come in handy. If I buy this and the 100mm Macro, I kill both birds/butterflies and save a little money by not buying the zoom.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=64791\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
No way on earth that 200mm will be long enough for bird photography, especially on a FF sensor.  If you are interested in birds, look for the 300 f/4 IS or the 400 f/5.6, both "L".
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mistybreeze

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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2006, 04:15:44 pm »

macgyver, maybe I should have said vineyard grapes instead of birds. The only birds I shoot are the ones who fly onto my NYC terrace or visit my hotel terraces while traveling. I'm not really a bird photographer.
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KenRexach

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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2006, 03:46:06 am »

Hi, Honestly if you want primes a good choice would be the 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4 and the 100mm f2, all are top notch on the full frame cameras. You wont be spending a fortune either. You can substitute the 100 with the 85mm 1.2 which I have and its reputation is well deserved but the 100 is very close in quality although obviously not as fast.

The 100mm macro is a great lens.

For telephoto its gard to beat a 70-200 but for more reach the 300mm f4L IS is a great lens. I love mine on the 5d. It focuses very close for a 300.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2006, 03:48:53 am by KenRexach »
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Andy M

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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2006, 05:29:35 am »

I'd consider adding to your list; the relatively inexpensive Canon 17-40 f4 L, the Canon 35mm f1.4 L and the Canon 135 f2 L.

I'd also be looking at the longer primes (300mm+) as well.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2006, 05:30:10 am by Andy M »
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Yakim Peled

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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2006, 09:33:22 am »

24/1.4: According to PZ and WC, the 24/1.4 and 28/1.8 are pretty close in their performance. As a 28/1.8 owner who tested it (though shortly) against my 50/1.8 and a friend's 35/1.4 I can tell you that it's corner sharpness is NOT such a big issue as seen in PZ and WC. I'd rate it as perfectly usable at 1.8 (i.e. I will not hesitate using it there) and excellent at 2.8. I also tested it against my friend's 16-35/2.8. Indistinguishable at f/2.8 and up. Is it good as tele lenses like the 85/1.8 at f/1.8? Of course not. By nature, tele lenses are far sharper than wide angles.
What I consider it's main problem is flare. If the sun is just outside the corners, it flares badly. Surprisingly, if the sun is in the frame this does not happen. In practice, I use the lens hood at all times, a bit of composition shifts and avoid this problem completely. Even more surprisingly, the 17-40/4 and the 10-22/3.5-4.5 are better in that regard.

I have this lens and consider selling it. Reason (only reason): It is far too light on my 1D and the whole complex feels unbalanced. On the far lighter 5D however, it should be perfect.

Summary: If budget is a problem, consider the 28/1.8 instead of the 24/1.4. It is an excellent value for the money. The only problem I see is the different FoV but as you are going to get another 24mm lens, this actually turns to be an advantage.

24/3.5: There are simply no other equivalent alternatives. Get it.

85/1.2: Excellent lens but if you are not absolutely sure you really need 1.2, skip it. At WC you can see a comparison between the 85/1.2 and 85/1.8. As a 85/1.8 past owner I can tell you that DoF at f/1.8 is extremely thin. It is very easy to get the focus in the wrong place. For that reason I often found myself stopping it down to f/2.8 or even f/4 just to get more DoF. If I ever be rich enough to purchase all my dream lenses, this one will not be in the list. Even f/1.8 is barely manageable.

85/1.8: I had this one for several years but recently sold it. Reason (again, the only reason): It is far too light on my 1D and the whole complex feels unbalanced. Optically it is a gem with absolutely no flaws.

100/2.8: Another optical gem. Only problem may arise is in portrait mode, where it's relatively slow AF may pose a problem. I would like to stress that when I say relatively slow AF I only refer to super fast lenses like the 85/1.8. The decision between it and the 180/3.5 needs to be on a weight/size/working distance/price factors, not optical ones. Another option may be the Tamron 180/3.5. Some tests show that it is even better than the Canon equivalent.
http://www.orchideen-kartierung.de/Macro100E.html

70-200/2.8 IS: Again, there are simply no other equivalent alternatives. Get it.

200/2.8: I had it. Sorry to repeat myself but this is another optical gem (most Canon primes are like that). Absolutely no flaws save from the lack of IS. If this is not a must, get it.

Additional lenses to consider:

17-40/4: As a general purpose wide lens, this one is hard to beat.

35/1.4: As a fast and natural PoV (at least as I see it) lens, this is possibly the best.

135/2: Perhaps the ultimate outdoor portrait lens.


Which set I'd advise you to start with based on your needs?
24/3.5 for architecture and as a general purpose wide lens.
35/1.4 for streets photography and low light situations.
85/1.8 for indoor portraits and low light situations.
135/2 for outdoor portraits and low light situations.
Tamron 180/3.5 for macro and tele.

Useful links:
WC = http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/index.htm

PZ = http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html

http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/photo_index.htm
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.

mistybreeze

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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2006, 10:57:23 am »

And whoever said photographers were selfish and stingy?    I love the LL and DPR crowd and I can't thank you all enough for taking time to write and offer your pro opinions.

Let me add this: Optical performance is my pet peeve. I will tolerate most other pains — like the awful, boxy feel of a Mamiya RZ or the upside-down view of the Technikardan 9x12 — as long as I can wallow in optical eden. How I LOVE shooting larger formats but truly hate certain aspects of those cameras.

I love a great AF feature but I have a tendency not to rely on it, especially when shooting portraits, so AF speed isn't a serious issue for me. In a studio setting; I will be tethered with the 5D, on a tripod, and the model's position will be marked. I check for focus on the Cinema Display and when I'm spot on, I typically shut off AF. I started my career as an art director and rarely shoot without a strong concept planned. Off-the-cuff, off-the-tripod, capture-as-you go is not my dominant style.

Because of my View Camera history, I'm a big fan of shutter release cords and stepping away from the camera. The way I see it: I'm the director and the camera is just my tool, but I'm a sucker for a great lens.

Regarding costs: I like being a practical yet prudent shopper. They say wisdom comes with age. I tend to buy things that I know I will LOVE and then find a way to pay for them. I'm only interested in owning four fabulous 35mm lenses total, four that I will come to love and use over and over again. If I feel the need to add to that four later, then I will revisit this thread.

Keep those expert opinions coming, please.
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drew

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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2006, 12:42:02 pm »

Well, let's see. I have 5D and 1DS MKII and have 24mm T/S, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8 and 100mm f2.8 macro. However, none of these get as much use as the 70-200 f2.8L IS, the 70-300 DO IS or the 17-40 f4L. However, the lenses that get the most use are the 24-70 f2.8L and the 24-105 f4L IS. These are both excellent lenses and yes I know you said you are not a fan of zooms, but maybe you should think again.
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James Godman

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Please HELP ME purchase LENSES for my CANON 5D
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2006, 01:56:06 pm »

Hello-

You are anticipating your 5D will "simplify" your life, and maybe it will, but when I started shooting digitally, my photo life became more complex, with more time in front of the computer etc., more things to buy.

Also, you mentioned that you want a great lens to "copulate" the 5D body.  Whichever lens you choose, I hope you all have fun.  

James
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mistybreeze

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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2006, 02:21:17 pm »

Quote
You are anticipating your 5D will "simplify" your life, and maybe it will, but when I started shooting digitally, my photo life became more complex, with more time in front of the computer etc., more things to buy.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=64934\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Selecting and purchasing multiple types of film, Polaroids and Backs, Labs/Negs/Chromes/Storage, Third-party Retouchers, the Darkroom, maintaining a $40,000 drum scanner: you can keep 'em. I'm a Photoshop pro and I see the 5D offering an easy way to capture pretty pictures. Plus, I LOVE working at my digital workstation. Sure beats anything network TV has to offer.

Quote
Also, you mentioned that you want a great lens to "copulate" the 5D body.  Whichever lens you choose, I hope you all have fun.   

James
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=64934\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Actually, I said copulate "my" 5D body. Photography is fun for me and, when I get excited, look out!  
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Sune Wendelboe

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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2006, 03:49:54 pm »

Hi!

I've got a 5D and I'm still enjoying the noisereduction compared to 1DS Mk II and the totally impressive relolution / clearness when compared to 10D/20D.

I've used the 85 f/1.2 on my 20D and now on my 5D. 1.2 is wild, it'll reauire a VERY stedy hand, I love it when I get the focus right, an eye ball will be in focus and the lashes out of! It's become my main lens for, well everything since the resolution is so impressive  - well crisp I guess. at 100% no USM you think you're looking af 25% + lots of USM.

You could check out some portraits here:
www.globalphotographic.net
look under recent travel Panamá / Vietnam
Both done woth 85mm f/1.2L


Then the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. That's my lens baby- The weight, the feel, the crispnes too. Just get it.

Forget about comparing it to a macro it sucks at it.

I't my main lens.

Other lenses in the bag are
17-40 f/4
24-70 f/2.8
70-200 f/2.8L IS
100-400 USM
85 f/1.2
300 f/2.8


Sincerely
Sune Wendelboe
www.globalphotographic.net
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mistybreeze

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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2006, 04:31:42 pm »

Dear Sune,

Thank you so much for your post. I am completely sold on the 85 f/1.2 in large thanks to viewing your Panamá / Vietnam folder. You have FABULOUS images!  

The 85 f/1.2L will be my new primary portrait lens. I will continue to research the other choices.

Sincere appreciation,

Mist
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Yakim Peled

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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2006, 01:49:08 am »

As you can see, it's hard to be wrong by selecting a prime or an L zoom. Now it's just a matter of picking the most suitable ones for your needs.
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Peter Jon White

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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2006, 11:00:19 pm »

As a large format shooter, whenever I use a small format camera with a rigid lens, I always feel a bit constrained. As soon as I decided to go digital, the first thing I looked at was Canon's TS-E lenses. I'd been using the 35mm Tilt/Shift FD lens with my F-1 for many years. So when I saw that Canon now makes three lenses with tilt and shift, there was no reason to consider anything but a Canon DSLR.

So I'd strongly suggest you do what I did. Buy all three TS-E lenses. They're wonderful. I even went so far as to get a 35mm FD T/S that had been converted to EF mount so I didn't have to make mine incompatible with my F-1, which I still use for Provia F.

Having all four focal lengths with tilt and shift is a wonderful aid to my work.
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nareshtrao

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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2006, 06:04:44 am »

Mistybreeze and all of you... This query has been of immense help to me as I was unable to decide on how to build the set.

I found a truck load of answers in this query for another I had posted separatley. Thanks again

Quote
As a large format shooter, whenever I use a small format camera with a rigid lens, I always feel a bit constrained. As soon as I decided to go digital, the first thing I looked at was Canon's TS-E lenses. I'd been using the 35mm Tilt/Shift FD lens with my F-1 for many years. So when I saw that Canon now makes three lenses with tilt and shift, there was no reason to consider anything but a Canon DSLR.

So I'd strongly suggest you do what I did. Buy all three TS-E lenses. They're wonderful. I even went so far as to get a 35mm FD T/S that had been converted to EF mount so I didn't have to make mine incompatible with my F-1, which I still use for Provia F.

Having all four focal lengths with tilt and shift is a wonderful aid to my work.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65042\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Regards Naresh Rao

mistybreeze

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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2006, 04:45:31 pm »

I just completed my own wide angle tests on the 5D and I'm fascinated by the results. The four lenses I tested:

16-35mm f/2.8L
24-70mm f/2.8L
24mm f/1.4L
TS 24mm f/3.5L

First Set-Up:

Tripod on terrace, shooting 24mm image of Manhattan skyline, overcast sky, 4 PM.

Second Set-Up:

Across the street, ground level, exterior facade of 22-story apartment building. Clear, sunny day, 11 AM but building was not lit by direct sun.

I wish I could take the time to show my results to everyone. The 24-70 2.8L won the test hands down. Of all four lenses tested, the buildings and trees on the outer edge of the frame appeared crisper in the 24-70 shot at 24mm/2.8. The truly shocking finding: the 24mm prime at 2.8 was substantially soft when comparing same sections. Even at 4.0 the 24mm prime could not compare to the crispness of the 24-70 image shot at 2.8. Also, cloudy sky vignetting was quite strong on on the 24mm prime and did not completely disappear until 5.6.

It seems the 24-70mm f/2.8L will be my new, everyday wide-angle lens for the 5D. It's heavy, for sure, but feels like a big man in my hands.   Since I almost always rely on a tripod, it should beat carrying three primes and eliminate any longings for f/1.4.

My second interesting fave is the Tilt Shift 24mm. I can see its creative potential. I need to research how to work with this lens better (or simply get more practice) but I can already imagine Manual Focus causing problems. I can't see a thing through the 5D viewfinder. Anyone have any experience with the Dioptric Adjustment Lenses and/or optional Focusing Screens?

More to come...

Thanks, everyone!
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wlong

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« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2006, 06:49:34 pm »

In my experience of using Canon gear, and currently with a 5D and 1DS, the main lenses I use are the

16-35mm f2.8L
24-70mm f2.8L
70-200mm f2.8L

The first two lenses get the most work.  However the prime lenses I have are quite stunning

50mm Macro
100mm Macro

and the

TS 24mm Shift

The shift is really stunning, and by merging two shots using the horizontal shift to the left and then another to the right, you can achieve a wide image that betters the 16mm.

Overall the prime lenses are first class.  The zooms are good and it highlights that you get what you pay for.

I also have a 300mm IS F4 which is good, but I dont use that often simply because my work doesnt require it that often.

William Long

www.longshots.com.au
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