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Rodger Smith July 21st, 2010 10:47 AM

Recommended Lenses for Canon 5D Mk2
Ok I'm a newbie to the 5D Mk2 and not that familiar with the Canon lenses (coming from the Nikon world) and after some research several times I keep coming up with different lenses at B&H. So, wondered if some could make some recommendations?

BACKGROUND - I do weddings and a little corporate work and will be using this camera for all my movie making. Plus I'm guessing I should stay away from the EF-"S" lenses and prefer the L ones right? However, need to consider both regular and L depending on the cost of each thusly.

Unless convinced otherwise, this is the lenses list I was thinking of getting since again I can't seem to find any other lenses that are appropriate:






70-200mm zoom

. . . and i already have the 24-105 f4 L IS USM lens that i will sell eventually and opt for a 24-70 f2.8 L IS USM since I really don't like the f4 :-(

So, thanks in advance to all who respond.

Nigel Barker July 21st, 2010 11:24 AM

EF-S lenses are for Canon cameras with the APS-C sized sensor e.g. 7D not the 5DII

The Fisheye is good & relatively cheap for the quality

Dunno about the 50mm F1.4 as I have the 500mm F1.2L which is a fantastic lens but much more expensive

The 100mm F2.8 Macro is a super lens which many rate as good as any 'L' lens but also consider the newish Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro which is double the price but does have IS which is invaluable for any handheld video on the 5DII

I don't know what you don't like about the 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens unless it's just the fact that F4 is the widest aperture. It's a lovely sharp lens, covers a good range & has IS so it's probably my favourite lens for outdoor work. The other zoom in that range the 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS is a very good lens for the price even though it seems very plasticky compared to the 24-105mm F4L.

The 24-70 f2.8L zoom does not have IS.

Rodger Smith July 21st, 2010 11:37 AM

Thanks Nigel . . yeah the f4 is the primary reason. I have always selected Nikon lenses that were fast and that f4 indoors isn't attractive. However, I will maybe keep it. i do like it otherwise.

The zooms will be primarily wedding lenses and thus an IS is preferred. I can't seem to find an IS otherwise that would cover the upper 20ish mm to something around 100 to 150 with an f2.8 that is great glass. Know a Canon lens that does that?

David Chilson July 21st, 2010 12:04 PM

EF-S lenses are for the crop-sensored cameras so no, you do not want them for the 5D. I own most of the lenses you mentioned so here's my take for what it's worth.

The 15mm fisheye is a specialty lens and can create some weird effects, some good others not so. You will get distortion on pretty much any straight line, (tree, pole, horizon etc) that isn't directly in the center of the frame so keep that in mind. Shot in a large room from an overhead position with the subjects close to the frame center can makes a great shot. Panning the camera with this lens can make your viewers want to hurl. You should practice with this lens ALOT and not have it on your camera when something important is needed to be captured. It would be the last lens you mentioned I would recommend purchasing for video work.

50mm 1.4, everyone should own that lens, or something similiar.

100mm both that you mentioned are great lenses and if you were doing Macro stuff I would say go that route but if you can afford the 70-200 why bother?

70-200 is so good I know some people who never remove it from the body of their camera. They ususally have a couple of bodies but you get my point. You could do a lot worse than combining it with the 24-70 lens to make a two lens arsenal.

A lot of your choice depends on how much money you have to spend. There are all kinds of lens recomendations on this forum. Also do a little work with the "kit" lens you have because I think you will find it's a pretty good tool. Razor thin DOF focus on static people or still photos can be very nice or become a nightmare when trying to capture actually moving people at a wedding.

Peer Landa July 21st, 2010 05:13 PM


Originally Posted by Rodger Smith (Post 1550761)
Ok I'm a newbie to the 5D Mk2 and not that familiar with the Canon lenses (coming from the Nikon world) and after some research several times I keep coming up with different lenses at B&H. So, wondered if some could make some recommendations?

I have quite a few lenses, but yet, those three are the ones I almost always end up using:
Canon 17-35mm f/2.8L
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4


Originally Posted by Nigel Barker (Post 1550772)
I have the 500mm F1.2L which is a fantastic lens but much more expensive

Oh don't we all wish for a 500mm f/1.2L ;^)

-- peer

Pete Bauer July 21st, 2010 06:56 PM

2 Attachment(s)
If video is mainly what you are buying the lenses for, IS is probably much less important -- there are at least a couple threads arguing the pro's and con's on that topic. But if you do both still and video with the camera, I'm a strong proponent of spending the extra money for the image stabilization.

In that regard, I have to second Nigel's endorsement of the new EF100/2.8L MACRO IS USM lens. I just got one on sale at B&H for a bit over $800; current and usual price is $944. Note this is the newer IS version. Although a macro, I think this lens would also be great for portraiture in the 0.5m - infinity range. It has three focus ranges, 0.3m-inf (FULL), 0.3-0.5m, and 0.5m-inf.

Attached are a full frame, reduced rez jpg and then a bit-for-bit crop of the subject, a praying mantis on my wife's lemon tree. No other photoshopping of the pic than the crop and conversion to jpg. F4.0 at 1/100th, ISO 100, hand-held. Sweet. I also took some practice shots in the 0.5m- infinity mode of a buddy playing tennis -- other than my rusty photography skills, they were nice crisp stop-action photos.

Rodger Smith July 21st, 2010 10:45 PM

So if I were thinking of a prime with f2.8 or f4 why wouldn't I just be OK with an "L" class zoom that passes through that range and has IS and USM ?? Wouldn't I in theory be AT the same spot there in somewhere?

That is, a 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM would essentially be a 100mm @ f2.8 IS USM right? Why buy the 100mm anything with that L glass big lens other than weight?

Peer Landa July 21st, 2010 10:48 PM


Originally Posted by Rodger Smith (Post 1550972)
Why buy the 100mm anything with that L glass big lens other than weight?

It rhymes with honey...

-- peer

Rodger Smith July 21st, 2010 11:14 PM

Yeah Peer I'm thinking the same thing. If I buy the L glass and get the best of the images therein, why have primes that are in the middle of a zoom unless they buy lower light capability (like the 50mm f1.4 as example) or where weight is an issue. But if I have a $1900 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM . . that's gotta be as good as a prime in there unless it is lower in f stop (like the f2.0 as example) other than weight.

I mean like anyone else I'd love to have a zillion lenses just for the fun of it, but I don't want to pack more than 2, 3, or (4 max) lenses if I can get by otherwise.

I'm revising my thinking to the 50 f1.4, the 70-200 f2.8L IS USM, and a 16-35 f2.8L II USM and thats it. Even with that I think I'm well over 5 G notes in glass :-)

Josh Dahlberg July 22nd, 2010 01:09 AM

Formerly I was using a whole bunch of primes (around 10) with my 5DII and 7D. All great quality for not ideal for fast setups. I like being able to quickly reframe during interviews without having to change lenses / halt the flow of conversation.

After buying the 24-70L 2.8 and 70-200L 2.8 IS II (along with a Singh-Ray variND) things have been greatly simplified.

For low light I'm holding on to a Zeiss 85 1.4 and I'd like to pick up a fast wide to complement it. I'm also holding on to a Nikkor 55mm 2.8 micro for the odd macro shot.

I think that's an optimal setup:
2 fast zooms to cover the range
2 fast primes for low light
1 macro

I also had the 24-105L, sold it, and don't miss it at all. F4 is too slow for me. The 100L IS is a nice lens but (except for macro) the new 70-200L 2.8 IS II is IMHO superior at the same focal length - it's a stunning lens, check the reviews at dpreview and photozone. The only problem is the price, and the weight!

Silas Barker July 22nd, 2010 01:44 AM

f4 vs f2.8?
I just got the 5D camera with the kit lens for video shooting.

While its first off amazing shallow DOF, i am curious how much of a difference there is between the f4 and f2.8?

Does anyone have some samples from both lenses so we can see?

I would like to get a faster lens, but want to know if 2.8 is shallow enough or if I should totally get a f1.4 lens

Peer Landa July 22nd, 2010 02:59 AM


Originally Posted by Silas Barker (Post 1551004)
While its first off amazing shallow DOF, i am curious how much of a difference there is between the f4 and f2.8?

You can look up the DOF differences using this calculator: Online Depth of Field Calculator


I would like to get a faster lens, but want to know if 2.8 is shallow enough or if I should totally get a f1.4 lens
Here's the DOF of my old Carl Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 lens:

-- peer

Pete Bauer July 22nd, 2010 10:24 AM

Lots of good advice here!

Of course, your choice depends what you want to do with the lenses. Rodger, in your original post, you were trying to choose between a 100mm prime and a 100mm Macro. If you don't need to the macro capability, then the 70-200/2.8L IS USM covers the 100mm range at the same F stop as the macro, albeit with probably a slightly different bokeh (but that might be splitting hairs, especially if you do video only). I don't see much worth in buying the 100mm prime for the extra 0.8 F-stop. If you DO want macro, the tele zoom won't cut it. As you are doing, you'll have to decide on what capabilities you need first, then choose the lenses that fit the bill.

Personally, I want both macro capability and a good zoom L telephoto. I now have the macro and my next purchase will be the newer EF70-200/2.8L IS II USM. They're each best at different things, even though they can take similar non-Macro photos at 100mm.

But that's all about still photography. Skilled, for-hire video shooting is a different animal. Make a list of what sort of stills (if any) and what sort of video shots you need to shoot, and that'll inform your choice of lenses and perhaps camera stabilizers, etc.

Rodger Smith July 22nd, 2010 11:39 AM

thanks to all who are responding. i think "pete" has hit on a special key stroke . . i can see clearly now that the definition of needs is higher than the specs for starters. therein, my needs are as follows:

- weddings (still and video)
- graduation projects (still and video)
- film projects and productions (video)

i won't be shooting much commercial/corporate work. ive sold my video production business and presently training my buyer ops and thus for me, its all about retirement enjoyment projects with a tiny bit of income. therein, for starters i need to focus on my objectives with my new canon gear . . .

- lightest weight that this man will have to carry
- least amount of gear for the most bang opportunities
- portable light weight gear that can fit in a "smart car"
- best overall performance lens wise for stills and video

thus, i can see this clearly pointing to a wide and telephoto higher end zooms, one (two at the most) prime, and the kit lens that i got with the camera (which might yet get replaced to get faster f stop)

therein, im thinking the following:

- 24-105 f4L IS USM (already have)

- Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L (1520)

- Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (1900)

- 50 f1.4 USM (no IS that i know of and 370))

soooooo about 2800 more and i have all the lenses i will ever need for my production projects and ideas for now . . . AND . . . if at any time i see my desires going in another direction i can THEN pick up those lenses.

how's this all sound?

Ray Bell July 22nd, 2010 09:18 PM

Well, your missing a couple to the " GREAT LENSES " in your list...

The canon 85 1.2 ... one of the finest short DOP you can buy and super fast
The canon 135 2.0 ... one of the sharpest lens on the market, great for portrait work in tight spots
The FANTASTIC canon 200 2.0 or 1.8 if you can find one.. ask any Korean Wedding photog about these
To compliment your 700-200... don't forget to get the 1.4x and the 2.0x extenders.. and yes you can stack them for a great 2.8x to make that 200 go all the way out to 560mm

Also I agree on the Ziess 50mm, the Canon 100mm macro

the 15mm fish is a cool lens... you just need to work with it and you can get two different looks.. one look is the fantastic wide angle, but with distortions (fun pics) and then another look when you know how to post crop the composures.. its too is a very sharp lens. plus you can always use post software to de-fish.
The 15mm works magic in underwater shots too....

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