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Old May 12th, 2011, 05:01 AM   #1
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Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

From a purely photographic standpoint, with all the Photoshop done to the end product, spot editing etc, it's sometimes hard to tell whether they used an expensive Canon/Nikon lens, or if they used some of the cheaper lenses. I've seen my share of wedding photographers have their Canon 24-70mm on their 5Dm2's and then Sigma lenses on their 7D's etc.

I was wondering if people felt that video can get away with this? I'm still new to video, but how do you pick your lenses? Can you tell if something has been shot with a Canon L series lens or a Sigma/Tokina/Tamron lens? How do you tell? Where do you look?
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Old May 12th, 2011, 09:33 AM   #2
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

I made the choice to get all L glass for my setup. I did that for several reasons. My thoughts in no particular order of importance - The ergonomics of the L lenses in my opinion are better. When using for photography the autofocus performance of the L is in another league vs the consumer lenses. They cost more BUT hold their value better. They are built better. Many are weather sealed.

As an example I picked up a used 100-400mm L lens for about $1150 (not a big fan of the push-pull but thats a discussion for another day). I've gently used the lens for 3 years now and it looks as good as the day I bought it. Based on a quick ebay search that lens is now selling for MORE than I paid for it. If I was done with it I could resell it and in the end get my full investment back out.

Image wise there are some consumer lenses that are as sharp as an L lens. One example is the 50mm f/1.8. You can get one cheap. The focus ring on it SUCKS BUT its a great lens optically and I would strongly recommend everyone have one in the bag.

If maximizing image quality is your main priority then you can buy most of the L lenses and know you are going to be in pretty good shape. With the consumer lenses you'll want to put more time into researching your choices because there are some really good ones and some not so good ones.

Regardless of which way you go for the majority of your lenses there is one L lens that I recommend to everyone. It is the 70-200mm f/4. It is the most economical lens in the line and is a stellar performer optically.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #3
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

If there is one giveaway to a more economical lens it tends to be light fall-off to the edges and edge sharpness. These are worse with the lens wide open.

Also consumer lenses don't handle internal reflections as well and CA as well. You can reduce the impact of these by controlling high contrast transitions and using a hood to keep stray light off the front element.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #4
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

I think under ideal conditions its hard to tell them apart. But you are spending the money on having them perform under difficult conditions. You pay more to shoot in the dark or blow out the background. Rather than going for the consumer lenses, I would look into adapting the best of the antique lenses to save some money.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #5
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

The reason I ask this is because it seems that whenever I use the Sigma 24mm the image quality looks 'off' whereas with the Canon 100mm or Canon 70-200, I get a better quality image. I need a lens like the 16-35mm in my bag to cover that focal length.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:56 AM   #6
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

I have a Tamron 20-40mm F/2.7-3.5 & love the wide angle of view but it's so soft as to be almost unusable at least unusable when cut with Canon lenses. I finally gave in & bought a 16-35mm F/2.8L & it is sharp & all round fantastic.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 03:09 AM   #7
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Fiske View Post
I think under ideal conditions its hard to tell them apart. But you are spending the money on having them perform under difficult conditions.
Yes, I agree with Greg here -- for instance, I'd spend quite a bit more just for a couple of f-stops, and also for a lens that is robust and has a smooth & long-stroke focus pull (for the follow-focus).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason McDonald View Post
The reason I ask this is because it seems that whenever I use the Sigma 24mm the image quality looks 'off' whereas with the Canon 100mm or Canon 70-200, I get a better quality image.
My experiences with Sigma -- 70-200/2.8, 15/2.8, and currently 20/1.8 -- have all been good, and those three lenses are built like tanks, to boot. (The only snag I had was the AF acted up on the 70-200/2.8 acted up, so I replaced it with a Canon 70-200/2.8 L.)

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Old May 13th, 2011, 07:06 AM   #8
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

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Originally Posted by Jason McDonald View Post
The reason I ask this is because it seems that whenever I use the Sigma 24mm the image quality looks 'off' whereas with the Canon 100mm or Canon 70-200, I get a better quality image. I need a lens like the 16-35mm in my bag to cover that focal length.
The 70-200 makes other L lenes look bad sometimes. I know I wouldn't want to cut anything between my 70-200 and the 100-400 together. If you stick with one manufacturer for your workhorse glass you'll have a better time cutting things together.

The main lens I use for video on the Canon 7d is the 24-70 f/2.8L. It covers a very usable range. Not as wide on a 7d as I would like sometimes and not as wide as your 16-35 but till very usable. It handles well ergonomically and the image quality is great. It is very heavy though. When I need some extra light I put on the 50mm f/1.8. Its image holds up against the L glass nicely.

If you really need to get that wide you should consider the Canon EFS 10-22mm. I personally don't like lenses that wide for most things but this one works well when you gotta have it. It maintains reasonable geometry and it certainly NOT a fisheye but you will get some funky corners if you are shooting around something with strong straight lines at the edge of the frame. I have a good friend with one that I borrow when I need to get that wide. If you want to make someone look like a cartoon this is the lens to use for portraits! ;)


This of course assumes you are using a APSC body.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #9
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

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Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
This of course assumes you are using a APSC body.
Which we are not. This thread is in the "Canon EOS 5D Mk. II for HD" sub-forum so I assumed we are all talking about full frame sensors & EF lenses.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #10
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Which we are not. This thread is in the "Canon EOS 5D Mk. II for HD" sub-forum so I assumed we are all talking about full frame sensors & EF lenses.
The OP mentions the 5d and 7d in the first post so it wasn't clear which one they themselves were using. Thanks for the clarification.

A 5d body with the 24-70mm should be wide enough for the vast majority of shoots. We shot several scenes in a small farmhouse with the 24-70 on a 5d body and had no problem even in such a small space. Standing in the doorway for the establishing shot for the scene I didn't have to shoot full wide on that lens.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

This things are going to be very important if Canon releases a HDSLR without line skipping.

Now we are just dealing with 1920x600 like footage in a crappy h.264 coding. :/
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Old May 14th, 2011, 09:08 PM   #12
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

I've got 6 or 7 lenses, and none are canon. the tamron 70-200 2.8 is better optically then the original canon one, and very close to the new canon V2 that costs 3 times as much. the tamron isn't IS, but who cares, you shouldn't be trying to HH a 200mm lens anyway, not without a very carefully balances should rig with some mass to it. even older vintage glass still more then exceeds what you need for video, and often looks great for stills. I've got no problem using some really great OM / Zuiko glass for commercial cash paying work.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 11:26 PM   #13
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Re: Lenses: Can you tell the difference?

I totally agree about the Tamron Steve. It's my favorite lens right now.

Personally I think it's hard to judge any individual lens singularly on the brand or lens type. Every brand has great and not so great lenses. In some cases, the 3rd party ones are just as good or even better alternatives to the original manufacterers (eg Sigma 11-16, Tamron 17-50 non-VC). Other times, the Canon L lenses just blow everything else away.

It's important to read about each individual lens you plan on buying and to handle it and test it yourself if possible. You might be surprised by in some cases by which lenses you lean towards!
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