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Old September 30th, 2016, 05:44 PM   #16
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

I took delivery of both the EF-S17-55 2.8 IS and the EF 70-200 2.8 USM IS II the day before yesterday. Both are amazingly great pieces of glass. I have been renting both for years, it's nice to not have to do the www.lensrentals.com drill every time I want to use them. I have rented the 70-200 2.8 IS I many times, the II version is worth the extra coin. I think this lens is one of the best lenses ever made and is definitely extraordinary value for the money, it comes amazingly close to the $30k Canon cinema zooms in image quality. If you are on the fence, go for it, you will wonder why you didn't sooner. Canon has the Amex gift card rebates right now, I am getting back $50.00 on the 17-55 and $100.00 on the 70-200. So I can buy more Canon glass! ;-)
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Old October 1st, 2016, 01:50 AM   #17
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Ok, I hear you Sabyasachi, Jon and Dan. I'll do some side-by-side tests with my 70-200 mk1 and a mk2. I'm hoping you're all wrong and my mk 1 holds up. Are you guys related to my dealer :) ?
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Old October 3rd, 2016, 01:08 PM   #18
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

I hope your Mk I holds up as well. I use the Mk II we have here at work. If the Mk I is as good, I'll start shopping for one on craigslist!

Here's a comparison of sharpness at The-Digital-Picture. (Roll over the image for the comparison.)

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens Image Quality

The Mk II is brilliantly sharp. The Mk I is softer, but looks pleasant. For photos and 4K, the Mk II would seem to be really valuable. For HD, the Mk I might be just fine. Good video isn't about pixel peeping, it's about good, natural, organic images and the Mk I resolution charts looks like it can deliver exactly that, but without the crispness needed at higher resolutions. (Disclaimer: test charts are helpful but hardly tell the whole story.)

I'm looking forward to your hand-on review for video.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 10:27 AM   #19
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Well, did a quick comparison with the Canon 70-200 2.8 L mk 1 and mk 2, swapping lenses on the same camera locked on a tripod, checked f stop, etc and... the mk 2 is a tad sharper but you really have to look. That's on 4k. Apply just a hint of unsharpmask, really barely any, and theres no difference. I've long suspected my copy of the mk 1 is a good one, the variation in quality can be incredible (with all makes) so please don't take this as gospel. And of course, by that token, the mk2 could have been a less than perfect copy.

The only question I have is how much the difference would show up after some processing, especially going down the broadcast chain and there I'd be reluctant to use any sharpening in case of artefacts.

I didn't have time to check stabilisation, and probably won't as there's no way I can handhold this thing at those sort of lengths so it's not a parameter I'm interested in.

I was ready to buy, pretty convinced it would be an easy decision, but for now I'm going to hold off getting the mk2 until I've done more testing. Bottom line: always test to see if it suits your work, not somebody else's.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 12:15 PM   #20
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

That's awesome that you were able to check it. And I'm not that surprised that the Mk I looks good. Based on those test shots, the blur is very uniform and is well-controlled with no discernible CA. I agree that some unsharp mask could do the trick, given that the blur in the corners, in the center, at 70mm and at 200mm are all consistent.

What wasn't obvious is that it would still look sharp enough at 4K. But we don't pixel peep video. A large print from a 50MP camera would be a completely different situation.

Regarding IS, I don't use the Mk II handheld. The advantage is that it removes micro-vibrations on a tripod. I'm curious if the Mk I does this as well. I think there are two tests: one is to slightly bump the tripod handle to see if the IS can clean it up. The other is to do a pan to see if the IS doesn't overshoot. Also, the IS needs to not get into a positive feedback loop and fight itself when on a tripod. I've never seen it, but I hear that some older IS designs have this problem. But I wouldn't worry about IS being strong enough for handheld video. I guess that the other test would be noise level. We don't want grinding sounds in our audio.
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Old October 5th, 2016, 06:23 AM   #21
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Jon, after another quick check, there's no way I'll be using to 70-200 handheld unless I happen to witness the plane crash, etc. It's just not steady enough for serious work.

And on the tripod, Canon recommend you leave the IS off and that's what I always do (and that also removes the danger of noise from the IS mechanism). I always rehearse my tripod based pans and tilts, etc, so I rarely get a bump. I'm not brilliant, just careful and paranoid about hiding as many of my mistakes as possible from clients! When I first used an IS lens I didn't know about switching the stabilisation off and couldn't work out why I was getting a) juddery pans and b) why it was overshooting at then end of the pan. I asked the question on a user group and got the answer: turn IS off. Which cured both problems.
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Old October 5th, 2016, 12:12 PM   #22
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

So that might be one difference. I can use IS with the Mk II on a tripod and the results are good. In one case, I was on somewhat squishy carpet using a tripod with pads, rather than spikes. Just touching the handle caused shake. (I was using the 200/2.8L II prime at the time.) Later, I shot under similar circumstances, and the results were much improved with the Mk II IS. With slow pans, there's no visible overshoot, but there can be a split second where the pan continues for a moment as things are smoothed out. Pans start a moment late too. I previously mentioned where I shot a live 1000mm equivalent crop with this lens and IS was the key to making it look good. (Still, I held my breath every time I even thought about re-framing.)

But with a good tripod, a good surface, and good technique, IS isn't needed. It's more of a luxury and a safety net rather than a must-have. If you don't have a need for the higher resolution of the Mk II and get good stability with IS off, I'm with you. I'd keep the Mk I.
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Old October 12th, 2016, 02:54 AM   #23
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Ok some more lens tests lined up. My dealer is getting the Sigma 50-100 1.8 in and the new Canon 24-105 mk2. I tested a Canon 70-200 L f4 and agree with Gary, it's a terrific lens, it performed a little better than the 70-200 2.8 mk2 I tested. But if the Sigma works as well as it reviews then I'll get that one and keep my 70-200 mk1 for long range stuff. If the Sigma has any backfocus foibles I won't be interested. These days I expect to bolt things to the camera and have them work. Anything that fails is out the window. In that case, I'll be hoping the new 24-105 does the business. If that's naff then I'll probably opt for the Canon 70-200 f4 and manage without coverage from 55-70, which should be no problem. I'll post when I've tested.
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Old October 12th, 2016, 12:14 PM   #24
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

When you say it "it performed a little better than the 70-200 2.8 mk2", in what regard?

It could be resolution, CA, vignetting, color, flare, coma, IS... Or maybe just the overall look, which can be hard to quantify.

I'll never forget going from the 70-300/4-5.6 IS to the 200/2.8L II. The improvement in overall look was staggering. Fine detail on animal fur always looked "gritty" on the cheaper zoom. It wasn't just softness. I think there was some color shift that really hurt the micro contrast. It was as if the lens elements were plastic compared to top-quality glass in the prime. It reminded me of the difference between a cheap, harsh transistor audio amp, compared to a high end Class-A amp. It wasn't just a matter of sharpness or obvious green-magenta CA. It was like cleaning the crud from a windshield.

Not that the f/4 would give anything like that improvement over the f/2.8, but sometimes lens improvement is about the feel of the image as much as anything measurable.
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Old October 13th, 2016, 03:59 AM   #25
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Good points, Jon. I was referring to both the resolution, marginally (very marginally - down to sample variance) better, and the overall look. As you say, diffcult to quantify. I have the camera set to correct CA and light falloff and didn't change that as I'm only interested in a "real-world" test. Colour was slightly different, but I've noticed that between many Canon lenses (and other makes) so that's acceptable. Flare won't be a problem as I normally shoot with a matte box and flags, or I deliberately go for some "atmospheric flare".

What struck me about the f4 version was that it was sharp at f4 but at its best at f5, then good up to about f9, tailing off just slightly at f11. At f16. and above refraction takes over. I agree with Gary, with the low light ability of the 300 I think this is a useful lens. And now I've had more time to think about my mk 1 70--200, I'm not going to add any sharpening. Pixel peeping (which I hate to do) I think the feel of the image becomes gritty rather than sharper. Push it through the broadcast chain, or cinema chain, and I just can't imagine it being acceptable. So, at the moment I'll see how much use the lens gets with the 300 and make a decision later. If I do upgrade, it will be to the f4.But first I want to see how that Sigma goes.

Jesus, I'm turning into a measurebator.
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Old October 13th, 2016, 12:18 PM   #26
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

I hear you about sharpening. It might look good when comparing two high-quality images side-by-side, but viewers don't do A-B comparisons. So unless an image is overly soft, nobody notices. And as you say, compression isn't kind to harsh images.

Probably the bigger differences between the lenses (than resolution/visual quality) is size, weight, and aperture. The size isn't much different: about 8"x3.5" for the f/2.8 and 7"x3" for the f/4. But the weight! 53 oz vs 27 oz. It's no big deal on your tripod, but could make a big difference for those hand holders and still shooters out there. I hadn't realized the difference was that big.

For aperture, the only thing you really lose is the ability to separate a messy background when it's not far behind the foreground. That and extreme low-light shooting. But with the sensitivity of the C300, it's not really about light. You could always rent a fast 85 or 135 for that one day where you need a long lens with candles in a cave.
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Old October 20th, 2016, 09:52 PM   #27
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewart Hemley View Post
Ok some more lens tests lined up. My dealer is getting the Sigma 50-100 1.8 in and the new Canon 24-105 mk2.
Hi Stewart,

Thanks for your (and everyone else's) thoughts so far. Don't forget to let us know what you think of these two lenses... and if you compare the still and cine versions of the 50-100, all the better!

Jim
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Old October 20th, 2016, 10:00 PM   #28
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

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Originally Posted by Jim Feeley View Post
and if you compare the still and cine versions of the 50-100, all the better!
They will look the same, except the cine will remove the use of DPAF.
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Old October 20th, 2016, 10:37 PM   #29
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Since they're using the same elements, I'm not interested so much in comparing looks. I'm more interested in how the different throws feel, breathing, and all that.
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Old October 21st, 2016, 07:22 AM   #30
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Re: best lenses for C300 mk 2

Hi Jim

I'm itching to test these two lenses but my dealer had a bereavement in his very close family so I won't be chasing him for lenses this week. I think next week would be within the bounds of sensitivity though.

I won't be testing the cine version of the Sigma because they seem to be in very short supply at the moment. Also, I have a phobia/refusal to zoom in while recording so I'm not interested in its parfocal abilities. I'll be looking at resolution, "look", colour, CA and build quality, and of course whether it needs any fiddly back focus adjustments. As I said, if it does, it's a no no for me.

Actually, I'm relaxed about these two because the 70-200 f4 Canon was a stellar performer so I'd be entirely happy to use the 17-55 and get the f4. Also, I still have a few Canon lenses sitting round, including the 24-70 2.8 and a 1.4 converter so I'm covered fro 17-200+.
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