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Denis OKeefe December 21st, 2009 06:12 PM

Switching to Canon lenses
I'm happy with my 5DmkII and have been using it with my old nikkors. Recently I got a 70-200 Canon - like it a lot - and I'm ready to switch my glass and use all the Canon features.
So I'm looking for suggestions while thinking about the 16-35 2.8 II Canon and a 50 1.4 to round out my kit.
Another possibility is to save some bucks and get a Sigma 20mm 1.4 and the Canon 50 1.4
Suggestions will be appreciated.

Bill Binder December 21st, 2009 07:01 PM

The 24-70mm f2.8L is a very nice complement to a 70-200mm (I have the 2.8 IS). Rumor has it there might be an IS version coming, although I don't find myself wanting for IS with that lens. Of course, the 16-35mm is a great lens too (I own all three), especially on a full frame, but when I have to pick only two for a gig, the 24-70 + 70-200 leaves you very flexible, and still pretty wide with that 24mm on a FF. That all said, none of the L-zooms are serious competition for fast L-primes, so pick your poison...

Erik Andersen December 21st, 2009 08:25 PM

Primes are the way to go, if you can afford them and if they work with what you are shooting. If you're looking for a superwide with a zoom, 16-35 is the way to go. But consider the 14 2.8 and especially the 24 1.4 if you can budget them. They are amazing and razor sharp. Zooms can't compete in terms of sharpness, and with the 5D not having the greatest resolution (e.g. compared with EX1), you really need tack sharp lenses.

The 24-70 is nice but keep in mind that it doesn't have IS.

The 50 1.4 is not very sharp wide open, so keep in mind you'll need to stop down to at least f/4.0 to get it sharp and thus lose the low light advantage. 50 1.2 is the one to get, and even the $100 1.8 may be preferable if you don't need to rack focus.

If you have a lot of light and need a zoom, don't forget the 24-105 f/4.0L IS. Produces beautiful images and is extremely versatile.

Nigel Barker December 22nd, 2009 01:16 AM

If you have time for changing lenses then primes are preferable & I mainly use the 24mm F1.4L & 50mm F1.2L especially indoors. Outdoors you will need a variable ND filter if you still want to maintain the very shallow DOF & pretty bokay.

If you do not have time to change lenses then the 24-105mm F4L IS is a super 'walking about' lens especially outdoors although you can still crank up the ISO to get decent indoor shots in good lighting. The image stabilisation is a great help if you need to do any hand held shooting.

Denis OKeefe December 22nd, 2009 07:56 AM

How about Sigma primes?
I'm trying to avoid having to change lenses since it also often means changing monopod/tripod, matte box, filters, etc. I do love those primes but they'll kill a budget pretty quickly.
Ultimately I'd like to get a second camera body, keep something wide on one and the 70-200 2.8 on the other.
Any thoughts on the Sigma lenses - 20mm 1.8 and a fast 50mm? It will save some money, but not if I won't be satisfied and have to change again in several months.

Wayne Avanson December 22nd, 2009 08:53 AM

I'm with Bill, (not literally, obviously)

I like my 70-200 2.8 IS L and my 24-70 2.8 L together. I too did't feel the need for the IS on the 24-70 for the things I have shot.

Because I have a 7D too, I also use a 50mm 1.8 (nifty fifty) which I quite like, the 20mm 2.8 which is OK but nothing to shout about and I really love the images I get from my 85mm 1.8. So, for me the combinations of cameras and lenses, although not all being the fastest or even sharpest, is a flexible one for my work.

The primes are all very reasonably priced ones, but not super fast L series of course. I find this collection is a decent tradeoff because I'm not loaded down with dosh…

I had the 16-35 2.8 for a while but couldn't justify the cost of it not being used as much, and like has been mentioned, the 24 end of the 24-70 is nice and wide ish.

Denis OKeefe December 22nd, 2009 09:22 AM

Wayne, you bring up a different point I am trying to think through. I am a big fan of the 5D full frame but would like to save some money (and get the updated firmware) with the 7D.
I remember how crazy I get shooting back and forth between my EX 1 and EX3, with all the buttons and controls in different places.
I'm not sure a 7D would affect my choice of lenses, but does it make you crazy switching bodies?
As for the lens choice - the 16-35 mm zoom is about a hundred fifty dollars more, and I plan on getting a fast 50 to cover the middle range.
If I went with the 24-70 I'll still need something wide and fast, but not a fisheye.
And if I went with a 7D what do you use as a wide angle?
Damn, spending money should not be this hard.

Geoff Brandon December 22nd, 2009 12:43 PM

Just do like I did,

give up trying to rationalize which ones you REALLY need, and buy one of each:)

My wallet is much lighter, but the lack of stress I have now is priceless!

of course, I still pine for those nice telephoto L lens...400, 800, etc.

Nathan Moody December 22nd, 2009 04:36 PM

As much as I'd love a closet full of primes, my tendencies and style has shown time and time again that zooms best suit most of my needs, but that doesn't mean they're right for you - depends on what you want to shoot and how! My lenses have morphed over the years and right now I'm on the 16-35 f2.8, the 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f4, and 300 f4 prime, all based around the 5D Mk I. Going f2.8 with the 70-200 is next on the list. I've shot a number of things on f2.8, wide open, and have been quite pleased, but primes that can stop down to that aperture will invariably be technically sharper. Therefore, I tend to rent faster glass for video shoots with the 7D as needed (based on lighting kit used).

I don't find myself struggling too much between the 5D and 7D, because my use for the 7D is 80% video. They're similar enough that it doesn't feel like a hassle, and while I still prefer the 5D for image quality, there are a lot of features in the 7D that portend exciting things for the future of the Canon DSLR line. When the equivalent of the 5D Mk III is released, whatever it's called, I'll probably upgrade from my pair of DSLRs and unify on that body.

Geoff Brandon December 22nd, 2009 05:54 PM


Originally Posted by Nathan Moody (Post 1463524)

I don't find myself struggling too much between the 5D and 7D, because my use for the 7D is 80% video. They're similar enough that it doesn't feel like a hassle, and while I still prefer the 5D for image quality, there are a lot of features in the 7D that portend exciting things for the future of the Canon DSLR line. When the equivalent of the 5D Mk III is released, whatever it's called, I'll probably upgrade from my pair of DSLRs and unify on that body.

I thought thats what the 1d IV was going to do for me as well with my 7d and 5dII but im hesitant with it being a 1.3crop.

2 bodies isnt the worst thing in the world but I hate having to remember the little things when I switch between them. eg, the video start /stop on the 5d vs the 7d, or the button that changes the settings on the info screen (click the multi controller on the 5d2 but have to push the Q button on the 7d., etc, etc.

I would like to settle on 1 body and know it like the back of my hand instead of having to think..hmm..okay, which body am I shooting with, which way do I accomplish...etc.

I always ridicule those people that buy the latest and greatest and a month later they are complaining, why doesent it have this, or this, or whatever, but I seriously wish they could take the 5d full frame sensor, put it in a weatherproof body that has a good af point system and shoots 10fps. (and of course 1080p at 1920x1080 at either 30 or 24)

Now that would be a great camera. but alas, I guess technology isnt quite there yet.

BTW, have you caught yourself pushing the set button on the 7d to start your video yet? :)

Denis OKeefe December 22nd, 2009 07:22 PM

Thanks for the suggestions - I really do want to buy them all, each with a camera body attached, and an assistant to carry and hand them to me. But reality rears its ugly head. I'm leaning toward the primes, maybe a Sigma 20 1.8 and a Canon 50 1.4 to start. I have the 70-200 2.8 IS ( a magnificent lens).
I went to a local shop and tried the 24-70 2.8 and realized the front element moves so much when changing focal length that the matte box on rails will be unusable. So that one is out.
Does the 16-35 2.8 do the same? I simply never considered that issue till today.

Geoff Brandon December 22nd, 2009 11:35 PM

yes, I would think the 24-70, the 28-300, and the 24-105 would all be out since they move, but the 16-35 does not.

but then again, I dont have a matte box and rails to see for sure, but im assuming that any lens that has the focal lenght of the lens changing would not work with a rail system.

Hope that helps!

Wayne Avanson December 23rd, 2009 05:19 AM

no it doesn't bother me having the buttons in a different place. It did the first time I went on a job with two 7ds and a 5D because under the pressure of the work, I couldn't think straight for a minute and DID end up pushing the set button for the video!

Just the once though. Now that I've used them both a lot, all I do is check the on/off switch top left, and if it's there I know I'm on the 7D and if it's not, I'm on the 5D.

Indeed, what do you get for best wide on a 7D or best tele on a 5D? That's why my little collection works well for what I do. A 20mm on the 5D and a 70-200 on the 7D is a good enough range for pretty much everything I do. I guess, if my requirements change and I need something wider, I'll have to have a look again.

Incidentally, I think I remember Jon Fairhurst saying something about the 50mm 1.4 having barrel distortion? or am I confusing it with the 1.2 version? it's in these forums somewhere. Might be worth hunting for, it was on another thread about lenses earlier in the year.


I read a comment recently here that the 70-200 f4 is slightly sharper than the 2.8. I wasn't sure whether to believe it, but then I did a job where there was another chap with a 5D2 and a 70-200F4 and his shots were indeed sharper than mine with the 70-200 2.8 IS on the 7D (although I was further back) so maybe there's something in that… Might be worth trying one first. (I was also using the Z-Finder at the time, so maybe my eyes are broken.)

I only got a 7D a little while ago and so that's been favoured a little over the 5D2 recently, but I went out with the 5D the other day and decided I much prefer the images from it too.

I was out with the 7D at the weekend and disappointed with the pictures so I went through everything and did the micro adjustments for each lens for each camera. So now if it's not pin sharp, it's my own damn fault!


Geoff Brandon December 23rd, 2009 02:20 PM

sorry to be off topic, but wayne, what did you use for the AF adjustment? Did you purchase something like lensalign system or just use the .jpg that is floating around the internet?

Jon Fairhurst December 23rd, 2009 11:04 PM

Regarding the EF 50/1.4 having barrel distortion, yeah, that was me.

Here's some other sources:

Canon EF 50mm – F1.4 vs F1.8 MK II - photo.net

"Distortion on full frame is about 1.3% barrel; this is towards the high end for a 50mm standard prime, and has the potential to be visible in real-world shots."

Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM Lens Review: 5. Test results (Full Frame): Digital Photography Review

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