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Author Topic: Which Canon wide-angle lens?  (Read 8267 times)

mjflaherty

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Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« on: June 07, 2011, 07:40:58 pm »

Hi all,
I'm having trouble deciding what lens to get for wide-angle landscape.  I'm looking to bump my landscape photography up to another level.  After having my 5D II stolen last year, I'm finally repurchasing it (I also have a 50d, which I like a lot).  I'm getting it with the kit 24-105 f/4L.

I had gotten a 24 mm TSE and had used it some, but not enough to get proficient at it.  It was stolen with the rest of the stuff.  So now I'm wondering whether to repurchase the tilt-shift (plus the 17 mm TS eventually), or to get the 16-35 mm f/2.8L and just be happy with the zoom coverage I'll have from 16-200 (I have the 70-200 f/4).  The other lens I'm looking at is the 24 mm f/1.4 prime.

I should say that I go out in fairly harsh conditions, so weather-proofness is important.  I am going to Alaska soon, for e.g.  Honestly though, the camera body seems to be the weak link in that regard. 

A big factor in the decision is this: being fairly unfamiliar with the various software out there, I wonder whether the distortion correction of the tilt-shift is just as well-accomplished with software correction as it is during capture with the tilt?  Also, does focus-stacking do just as good a job at creating a front to back sharp image at medium apertures as does using the tilt on a tilt-shift?  In other words, if I decide to go the prime route, is it a no-brainer going with the 24 mm f/1.4 with AF and fixing any distortion/focus stacking later, vs. repurchasing the 24 TS?  I know what the answer was some years ago (tilt shift gives much better results), but is this still true?  Is software there, or almost there?  Having that f/1.4 for the occasional environmental portrait would be pretty sweet, so I don't want to spend the dough on tilt-shift if I don't have to.

Finally, I'm thinking of just sticking with the 24-105 zoom for now, especially considering the supply issues, but then I think of quality, and the upcoming shoots, and...well you get the idea.
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Sheldon N

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 08:17:49 pm »

I'd say skip the tilt shift lenses and the f/1.4 prime lenses. Use your 24-105, it's a great lens for landscape especially with Lightroom's lens profiles to remove distortion/vignetting. If you want to go wider, the 16-35 II is a great lens for landscape shooting in all weather conditions. It's my primary landscape lens. I even sold my 24 f/1.4 II recently, never had any need for it for landscape shooting since the 16-35 was adequately sharp for my purposes at f/11 or f/13.

If you're looking to take your landscape shooting to the next level, spend your time/energy/money in getting out and shooting and in learning post processing technique.
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 07:44:13 am »

The 24/1.4 is very specialized, maybe more so than the 24T/S. I have both, and the 1.4 is a sweet lens, but for general landscape work with the very occasional portrait, I'd take the 24-105 and/or the 24T/S.

Unless you use it every day, I suspect you might be frustrated with shooting people with the 1.4 lens wide open. I do shoot it almost every day, and toss a lot of oof photos -- the depth of field is so thin that even the slightest movement pulls the subject's eyes out of focus. In any case, for a full frame camera I would prefer the 35/1.4 for journalistic-style portraiture. The 24 is a little wide for that sort of thing, for my taste anyway. (I use it on a 1D series camera, so it's not quite as wide.)

I have been lusting after the new 24 T/S lens after shooting the original for years. For landscape and architectural work, I don't think it can be beat, and the combination with the 5D Mark II seems especially nice.

I also use the 16-35/2.8, and it's okay, but not great. When I need the wider angle of view, of course, it's necessary, but even at smaller apertures the corners are messy and lack detail.

Have you considered the 17-40/4? That seems to be a popular landscape lens, though I have not tried it.
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NigelC

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 03:44:18 pm »

I also had to replace a stolen 5D2 and some lenses, including a 17-40. I then decided to see if there was another level beyond that of Canon wide-angle zooms. To be fair, the 5D2 wasn't to be my walk round camera anymore, as I'd bought a GH2. I tested a Zeiss ZE 21 and hired a 24TSE Mk2. Personally I found getting the desired depth of field through tilt was a bit hit or miss, but that's probabbly my inexperience with PC lenses. At 100% on screen, the 24TSE was very good, but what surprised me was how close the 17-40 was at (obviously) 24mm - could it be that new ones have been silently improved? I've always liked the 17-40 anyway, nice compact but dense feeling lens - it doesn't cover the field at 17mm, but treat it as a 20-40 and you're fine. Never used the 16-35, but most experts seem to say its only worth it over 17-40 if you use 2.8 a lot. BTW, not sure how weatherproof 24TSE is - plenty of sliding faces for moisture to access.

Was a bit sceptical about Zeiss, but wow, on A2 prints, the difference shows. The 21 suffers from wavy line distortion but fixes very easily in ACR. So I bought the Zeiss 21mm and then the 35/2 because there is something about it I love. Meant to ebay the 17-40 but couldn't bring myself to do so and it fills the 24/28mm gap very well.

 
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BFoto

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 06:47:22 pm »

As far as weather proof, the body is the factor. I have both 5D and 1D and the same lenses. I hardly ever get dust on the 1D and the 5D is shocking.

As for lenses have you tried the 14mm f2.8II. All i can say is wow. Sharp wide open and great image quality. Would alos go well with the 50D = 22mm.

Not cheap though!

Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2011, 04:43:20 am »

I would just get the 16-35 and be done with it. The MKII version is very good, apart from the "nuisance" of taking 82mm filters. It also has an O-ring in the mount for weather sealing, but of course it would be more effective in a 1 series body, which also features an O-ring.

stever

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 02:27:41 am »

for landscape, i think you'll be satisfied with the 17-40, but to be weather sealed it needs a filter on the front.  the edge resolution doesn't clean up until f8.  and like all wide-medium zooms, asymetry is a problem - varies from lens to lens and is different at different focal lengths

i honestly don't see much between the 17-40 and 24-105 at 24mm and only use the 17-40 when i really need wide.  i'm in Brittany now, and the 17-40 works pretty well as a walk-around for narrow streets and interiors.  Lightroom cleans up the distortion pretty well and PT Lens is my substitute for shift
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torger

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 07:02:19 am »

If you're the pixel peeping kind or - like we like to put it - care about image quality :-), I'd suggest to re-purchase the TS-E 24mm. In landscape photography you often want decent corner sharpness, and large depth of field and near-far wide angle compositions are common. For that you "need" tilt (dof management), and some shift does not hurt.

It is however expensive and since it is manual and heavy will be a still-life lens only, so it depends how much you value to get the best possible technical quality. Perhaps a 17-40 zoom will be better for creativity. I would myself go for the TS-E 24mm though, heck I'd buy a medium format technical view camera if I could afford it (so I would have tilt/shift for all focal lengths).
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DaveCurtis

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2011, 05:04:40 pm »

Im shooting with a 1DS 3 and have been replacing Canon wides with Zeiss primes.

I sold my 16-35mm and bought 21mm, 35/2 and 50MP  ZE lenses. They are brilliant lenses with a different "look" to my other Canon glass.
After purchasing the 21ZE and the 35ZE, my Canon 16-35mm rarely was used so I sold it last week to help fund the 100mm ZE which arrived a couple of days ago. This lens is amazing, technically the best lens I have ever used.

From a Canon wide angle view point you can go wrong with the two new TSE lenses.

Dave
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NigelC

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2011, 01:11:54 am »

Im shooting with a 1DS 3 and have been replacing Canon wides with Zeiss primes.

I sold my 16-35mm and bought 21mm, 35/2 and 50MP  ZE lenses. They are brilliant lenses with a different "look" to my other Canon glass.
After purchasing the 21ZE and the 35ZE, my Canon 16-35mm rarely was used so I sold it last week to help fund the 100mm ZE which arrived a couple of days ago. This lens is amazing, technically the best lens I have ever used.

From a Canon wide angle view point you can go wrong with the two new TSE lenses.

Dave

I also have 21ZE and 35ZE, but using on 5D2. Just wondered if you had noticed any lateral rocking in the lenses, particularly 21mm. If you grasp the lens above the focussing ring and move it laterally, get slight movement observable at lens/camera mount interface. similiar effect if you hold lens by throat and move from side to side, notice movement in same place. 35ZE does same thing but more slightly, but only lateral at lens mount. was worried about this but tried my Canon 100IS macro for comparison. No movement holding the lens at the end beyond the lens mount but if you hold it firmly at the throat, you can also provoke slight lateral movement. Is this normal? I'm going to take them into Robert White when I'm next down there to compare with other ZE/5D2s.
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Steve Weldon

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2011, 01:27:03 am »

This is going to be the oddball reply.

I have the 16-35, 17-40, 24tse, 24-105, 24-70, and even the Zuiiko 21/2.  I like them all.

Yet, what I use the most are two lenses.  Both Sigma's.  The 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 and the 21mm F2.8.   I use the 21/2.8 inside caves, dark temples, or anywhere I want a wide image any ANY aperture.  It's incredibly useful and if you get a good one remarkably good IQ.  I carry mine in my back 100% of the time.

I use the Sigma 12-24mm (original version) from F8 up.. the more light the better.  I use it as 12mm through 20mm     For wider apertures or more focal length I use the 16-35 or 17-40 (weddings come to mind)..

The thing is, the Sigma 12-24mm needs to be correct from the factory.  Quality control can often be an issue and a dud is a dud.  I was lucky and got one after 2-3 tries, but I know others who never got a good one.  Sometimes I suspect they simply didn't know how to use such a wide angle correctly.

Sigma has announced a new 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 Version III and it's supposed to correct many of the smaller issues of the original.  I can't wait to get my hands on one.  Y

This is the only lens that provides a rectangular 12m..  There is noting else like it.

And the Sigma's aren't expensive.  Use them in any reasonable circumstance and you'll be very pleased.
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bill t.

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2011, 04:28:17 am »

I also have 21ZE and 35ZE, but using on 5D2. Just wondered if you had noticed any lateral rocking in the lenses,

I borrowed a 35ZE and found it very well held in place my 5DMkII body, gave the same snug friction feel I get when attaching Canon lenses.  I'm quite sensitive to this, since I mostly use ancient Nikkor lenses with adapters that are very sloppy at the mount, not to mention in the focus threads.  Don't recall any looseness in the lens barrel itself, it seemed "right" somehow and if there was any lateral woogah present it was below my radar.
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DaveCurtis

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2011, 04:36:30 pm »

I also have 21ZE and 35ZE, but using on 5D2. Just wondered if you had noticed any lateral rocking in the lenses, particularly 21mm.

Nigel, I just tried my 4 ZE lenses - no lateral rockig.

Dave
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EgillBjarki

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2011, 07:32:28 am »

I have the following wide lenses:

16-35mm 2.8 II L
24mm 1.4 II L
35mm 1.4 L

I have also been thinking about tilt and shifts, but for landscape I think you might be better off with non tilt. They are a really grate tool for architecture, but for landscape I'm not so sure (I don't have experience with tilt in landscape).

The 24mm and 35mm prime lenses are sharper than the 16-35mm II L as you can imagine. I got the 16-35mm for wider than 24mm shots and also to have one zoom lens for all around stuff (my only zoom).

If you plan on using the lens for landscape mostly, I recommend the 16-35mm, other wise you will be paying allot of money for a little more sharpness and a huge aperture you are not likely to be using that much.

You can take a look at the difference in sharpness here:

24mm 1.4 II vs. 16-35mm @ 24mm @ f/8.0
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torger

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2011, 10:05:29 am »

Tilt-shift is popular in architecture because it is hard to do without shift, and you lose resolution if you do it in software. In landscape shift is useful now and then too for tree trunks and similar, but not as critical as in architecture.

If you love near-far compositions then the tilt function is really useful to optimize the depth of field. For example, instead of being forced to go to f/22 you can in many cases do well with f/8 and tilt, improving the image quality significantly. In the view camera days, some tilting and shifting was used almost always, it was an integral part of focusing and framing (and still is). With higher resolution depth of field becomes smaller (when CoC is related to pixel size and diffraction, which it should), and nowadays resolution of the fullframe 35mm cameras is so high tilt is becoming as important as it was for large format analog.

However, you can of course limit your compositions to the types that don't gain much from tilt or shift, or accept the lower image quality when using small aperture and/or post-processing to make the compositions possible. If that feels limiting or not is very personal. Being limited to a number of fixed focal lengths rather than having zooms may feel like more limiting.

I have also been thinking about tilt and shifts, but for landscape I think you might be better off with non tilt. They are a really grate tool for architecture, but for landscape I'm not so sure (I don't have experience with tilt in landscape).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 10:13:36 am by torger »
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NigelC

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2011, 10:08:59 am »

Nigel, I just tried my 4 ZE lenses - no lateral rockig.

Dave


I may have "misdescribed" the symptom. When I hold the 21/5D2 combination by the focussing ring, I can move the ring up and down slightly, with a definite click (this is nothing to do with the movement of the helicoid). Also, whem I invert the camera, holding by the camera handgrip, there is a definite click of movement and again when I I re-invert. The 35/2 doe not do this.

By the way, I have kept the 17-40 to cover the 24-28 gap between my 2 Zeiss lens, but was thinking of selling the 17-40 and getting the Zeiss 28/2; by all accounts this is very slightly better than the 35 in resolution, although at its best at close distances rather than infinity. Has anyone got this - does it give same image quality as 35/2?

I don't mind the gap from 35 to my 100 macro or short end of 70-200, but I wouldn't want to have nothing between 35 and 21 and 28 is a better mid-point than 25, that being one of Zeiss's weaker offerings anyway.
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Yakim Peled

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2011, 06:31:11 am »

17 TS-E, 24 TS-E II and Zeiss 21/2.8 are all top notch lenses and you can't go wrong with any of them. You only have to decide which "flavour" fits your need best.
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fike

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Re: Which Canon wide-angle lens?
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2011, 11:41:24 am »

I have been enjoying my 15mm f/2.8 Sigma Diagonal Fisheye.  On a cropped sensor, it is only slightly fishy, and distortion is quickly cleaned-up in PP.  I have a 24-105 as my primary lens, and I just couldn't rationalize carrying something like the 17-40 (had it and sold it. it was great) or the 16-35 MkII, nor could I rationalize the investment in these lenses.  The overlap between the zoom ranges is substantial and the extra weight is too.  Finally, the prime from Sigma, in my opinion, comes very close to matching the quality of these expensive wide angle zooms. 

The zoom capability in these wide angles is much less critical than it would be on a longer normal lens. On ultra-wide-angle lenses, it is practical to zoom with your feet, as long as you start with a very wide-angle lens like a 15mm fisheye.
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