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      04-17-2012, 11:41 PM   #1
chaFT328i
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Canon L-series Lens

Hey guys, I've always been into the photo/video hobby for quite some time and have loved every part of of. I'm currently in the transition of a Canon t2i(owned for 2 years) and am going to order either a 60D or a 7D soon.

Currently I'm trying to save a little more to purchase an L lens but have a tough time choosing between a couple. My major interest is videography and narrowed it down to 3 lenses: 24-105 f/4, 17-40 f/4, and 24-70 f/2.8. I'll also be using the L lens to photograph at meets/shows and quick shots of random subjects.

If you've ever handled any of the lenses mentioned above, I'd love to hear some feed back in terms of similar uses that I'll using them in.

Thanks In Advance
-cFT

Last edited by chaFT328i; 04-17-2012 at 11:56 PM.
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      04-18-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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It's not a direct answer to your question, but don't fall for the L-series marketing hype. When shooting with a digital crop body such as the T2i, you may be better served with a good EFS lens.

I have a 70-200 f4L and it's some of the best glass that I own. However, my EFS 17-55 f/2.8 and my EFS 10-22 get great results with my 40D.

This site is a great resource. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/

Choose wisely....
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      04-18-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Gripster View Post
It's not a direct answer to your question, but don't fall for the L-series marketing hype. When shooting with a digital crop body such as the T2i, you may be better served with a good EFS lens.

I have a 70-200 f4L and it's some of the best glass that I own. However, my EFS 17-55 f/2.8 and my EFS 10-22 get great results with my 40D.

This site is a great resource. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/

Choose wisely....
It's not marketing hype, and quite frankly, that's not great advice. If he's looking to spend the money on quality glass, then L or similar lenses are the way to go. EF-S lenses are not a smart purchase for anyone eventually looking to upgrade to full frame. even if you don't upgrade to full frame, L glass is superior to non-L glass in most cases. it comes down to a per-lens basis, ultimately. weather sealing, better optics, better construction...

OP, i'd go with either the 24-105 or 24-70. i prefer the 24-70, and I think that's a lens you'll use for a long time. The 17-40 is not a good lens if you're taking any portraits, and the 24-70 has a full stop of aperture on the 24-105, which could be VERY useful in low light situations.
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      04-18-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by oneintheory View Post
It's not marketing hype, and quite frankly, that's not great advice. If he's looking to spend the money on quality glass, then L or similar lenses are the way to go. EF-S lenses are not a smart purchase for anyone eventually looking to upgrade to full frame. even if you don't upgrade to full frame, L glass is superior to non-L glass in most cases. it comes down to a per-lens basis, ultimately. weather sealing, better optics, better construction...

OP, i'd go with either the 24-105 or 24-70. i prefer the 24-70, and I think that's a lens you'll use for a long time. The 17-40 is not a good lens if you're taking any portraits, and the 24-70 has a full stop of aperture on the 24-105, which could be VERY useful in low light situations.
As an owner of plenty of L lenses I really disagree with this. The L designation is only used for full frame lenses, but the 17-55 EF-S has optics that are at least the equal of many L zooms. I've owned both the 17-55 and the 24-70L in the past and think that the EF-S is actually the sharper of the two. Certainly it has a more useful zoom range on crop bodies (and it has IS). I will agree that the build quality isn't of the "main battle tank" level used on the 24-70, but that's about the only area in which it suffers by comparison. Once you add the 17-55 into the mix the 17-40L becomes pretty superfluous as well.

I've often heard the argument that EF-S is worthless if you're ever planning to go FF. The problem is that if you have a crop body today then EF-S lenses may very well be your optimum choice today. Good lenses, L or EF-S, can always be sold without much loss. If you go FF, sell your EF-S lenses and buy the lenses you need then. Likely as not, though, even when you go FF you'll want to keep a crop body around for some things and may decide to keep your high quality EF-S lenses after all.

To the OP I'd ask what problem are you trying to solve? L lenses can be the right choice for some things, EF-S lenses for others and manual focus primes for still others. For high quality general purpose use I'd recommend the EF-S 17-55, for shooting in a war zone or inclement weather I'd recommend the 24-70 (and a 1-series body), for low light and shallow DOF subjects nothing beats fast primes.
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      04-18-2012, 08:55 AM   #5
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To the OP I'd ask what problem are you trying to solve? L lenses can be the right choice for some things, EF-S lenses for others and manual focus primes for still others. For high quality general purpose use I'd recommend the EF-S 17-55, for shooting in a war zone or inclement weather I'd recommend the 24-70 (and a 1-series body), for low light and shallow DOF subjects nothing beats fast primes.


The 17-55 F2.8 is probably the best EF-S lens. As far as optics goes, I can see little difference between it and the 24-70L. Build quality is as good as a non-L gets, but it doesn't have the weather proofing of the L, which happens to be a nice piece of mind when shooting.

I've owned the 17-40mm and traded it off within 1 week of purchase because i didn't like how much distortion the lens had. I ended up with the 16-35mm F2.8L which has miles less distortion and benefits from being 1 stop faster when wide open. That being said, people love their 10-22mm EF-S lenses, the only part I couldn't deal with on that lens is that it isn't a constant F stop. Which as a result can cause it to not be as easy to use indoors or in lower light depending on your focal length.

The 24-105mm F4 is a fantastic lens. It is basically as sharp as the 24-70 F2.8, but it lacks the extra aperture. And to some that can make or break. However, the addition of image stabilizer tips the scales in it's favour as well.

In my personal opinion, your choices should be between the 17-55mm F2.8 EF-S lens, and the 24-70mm F2.8L or the 24-105mm F4.

Keep in mind however, that 24mm will shoot more like 35mm on a crop body camera, so it might be worth considering one of those two with a wider angle lens as well to make up for some of that lost wide angle focal length.
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      04-18-2012, 09:00 AM   #6
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I've owned all of the lenses in question and have used them both on my 7D and 5D Mark II - so I'll give my 2 cents.

The 17-40L is a fantastic lens but is a little soft at the corners when stopped down. This lens shines on FF, so I would pick the 17-55mm EF-S lens if you're looking for one around this focal length. It's faster and has more range - more ideal for a crop camera.

24-70 and 24-105 perform very similar, but I prefer the 24-70 because of the 2.8. It really comes down to range vs aperture, what do you need? IMO, a 24mm on a crop sensor is not that wide (if it's going to be your widest lens), so it all depends on what lenses you have currently.
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      04-18-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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I've owned all of the lenses in question and have used them both on my 7D and 5D Mark II - so I'll give my 2 cents.

The 17-40L is a fantastic lens but is a little soft at the corners when stopped down. This lens shines on FF, so I would pick the 17-55mm EF-S lens if you're looking for one around this focal length. It's faster and has more range - more ideal for a crop camera.

24-70 and 24-105 perform very similar, but I prefer the 24-70 because of the 2.8. It really comes down to range vs aperture, what do you need? IMO, a 24mm on a crop sensor is not that wide (if it's going to be your widest lens), so it all depends on what lenses you have currently.
which is why I shoot the 16-35mm F2.8 and the 24-70 F2.8 combo. Covers the wide to long range.

I use them both on my 5DII and 7D regularly
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      04-18-2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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which is why I shoot the 16-35mm F2.8 and the 24-70 F2.8 combo. Covers the wide to long range.

I use them both on my 5DII and 7D regularly
I sold off my 24-70, 24-105 just because I never use them. I own the 17-40L and 70-200L f2.8, which I use for car photography, landscapes and pet photos. I pretty much use my primes for everything else (24L, 35L, 50L 85L). I do a lot of controlled portrait work so I just prefer primes. The 16-35mm + 24-70mm is indeed fantastic. I am looking to replace my 17-40L with the 16-35mm as well.

OP: I forgot to mention that for video work, it's nice to have a wider angle lens, depending on what you are using it for of course. Again, what other's have said, L lenses are great, but there are great EF-S lenses out there that perform just as well. Like mentioned, the 17-55mm is a fantastic lens and works as a great general purpose lens.
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      04-18-2012, 10:05 AM   #9
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As an owner of plenty of L lenses I really disagree with this. The L designation is only used for full frame lenses, but the 17-55 EF-S has optics that are at least the equal of many L zooms. I've owned both the 17-55 and the 24-70L in the past and think that the EF-S is actually the sharper of the two. Certainly it has a more useful zoom range on crop bodies (and it has IS). I will agree that the build quality isn't of the "main battle tank" level used on the 24-70, but that's about the only area in which it suffers by comparison. Once you add the 17-55 into the mix the 17-40L becomes pretty superfluous as well.

I've often heard the argument that EF-S is worthless if you're ever planning to go FF. The problem is that if you have a crop body today then EF-S lenses may very well be your optimum choice today. Good lenses, L or EF-S, can always be sold without much loss. If you go FF, sell your EF-S lenses and buy the lenses you need then. Likely as not, though, even when you go FF you'll want to keep a crop body around for some things and may decide to keep your high quality EF-S lenses after all.

To the OP I'd ask what problem are you trying to solve? L lenses can be the right choice for some things, EF-S lenses for others and manual focus primes for still others. For high quality general purpose use I'd recommend the EF-S 17-55, for shooting in a war zone or inclement weather I'd recommend the 24-70 (and a 1-series body), for low light and shallow DOF subjects nothing beats fast primes.
the 17-55 is a lens that i've heard good things about, but i'd still prefer the 24-70L on a crop body.
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      04-19-2012, 12:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vachss View Post
As an owner of plenty of L lenses I really disagree with this. The L designation is only used for full frame lenses, but the 17-55 EF-S has optics that are at least the equal of many L zooms. I've owned both the 17-55 and the 24-70L in the past and think that the EF-S is actually the sharper of the two. Certainly it has a more useful zoom range on crop bodies (and it has IS). I will agree that the build quality isn't of the "main battle tank" level used on the 24-70, but that's about the only area in which it suffers by comparison. Once you add the 17-55 into the mix the 17-40L becomes pretty superfluous as well.

I've often heard the argument that EF-S is worthless if you're ever planning to go FF. The problem is that if you have a crop body today then EF-S lenses may very well be your optimum choice today. Good lenses, L or EF-S, can always be sold without much loss. If you go FF, sell your EF-S lenses and buy the lenses you need then. Likely as not, though, even when you go FF you'll want to keep a crop body around for some things and may decide to keep your high quality EF-S lenses after all.

To the OP I'd ask what problem are you trying to solve? L lenses can be the right choice for some things, EF-S lenses for others and manual focus primes for still others. For high quality general purpose use I'd recommend the EF-S 17-55, for shooting in a war zone or inclement weather I'd recommend the 24-70 (and a 1-series body), for low light and shallow DOF subjects nothing beats fast primes.
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I've owned all of the lenses in question and have used them both on my 7D and 5D Mark II - so I'll give my 2 cents.

The 17-40L is a fantastic lens but is a little soft at the corners when stopped down. This lens shines on FF, so I would pick the 17-55mm EF-S lens if you're looking for one around this focal length. It's faster and has more range - more ideal for a crop camera.

24-70 and 24-105 perform very similar, but I prefer the 24-70 because of the 2.8. It really comes down to range vs aperture, what do you need? IMO, a 24mm on a crop sensor is not that wide (if it's going to be your widest lens), so it all depends on what lenses you have currently.
The reason why I have the lenses with f/4 aperture on the list is because I'm fine with that aperture for filming. I currently only have a nifty-fifty(50mm f/1.8) since that will always be my backup prime. I wanted to start fresh and this is where I've ended up. My plan was to get a 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM for track days and whatever else lens for everything else.

What I'm trying to determine is a lens as my go-to lens for video AND photography. After a long night of reading and comparing, I've narrowed it down to either the 24-105 f/4L or 17-55 f/2.8. Both seem to be just a tad sharper than the 24-70 f/2.8(not to mention the price tag). Since I'll still be using a crop sensor, it seems like the 17-55 f/2.8 could be the winner. How would the 24-105 f/4 be more superior? Obviously the L series' standards(weather proof) is a big one.
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      04-19-2012, 08:39 AM   #11
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I was watching a workshop the other day, and the professional photographer mentioned that 9 times out of 10, he suggests buying a better lens than a better body.

One of the main reasons is retention of value, but the other reason is you can get better images with great lens and an ok body, versus an ok lens with a great body.

For video I recommend either the 24-105mm f/4L or the 17-40mm f/4L. The only reason I say this is because don't most videographers use smaller apertures (I think)? Why spend the extra money for f/2.8 if you don't need it?

For photography, I recommend either the 24-105mm f/4L or the 24-70mm f/2.8L mainly because those two are more versatile than the ultra-wide-angle 17-40mm f/4L for a variety of shooting styles.

Since it looks like the 24-105mm f/4L is the least common denominator, I would choose that one. Plus, you'll save ~$400 over the 24-70mm f/2.8L, and I've heard it's harder to find a really sharp copy of the latter. Additionally, the latter has a Mark II out soon for $2300, which is uber-pricey.
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      04-19-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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it's not hard to find a sharp copy of the 24-70, you just have to be vigilant.
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      04-19-2012, 09:12 AM   #13
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it's not hard to find a sharp copy of the 24-70, you just have to be vigilant.
Perhaps... but it is harder to find than a sharp copy of the 24-105mm f/4L
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      04-19-2012, 02:05 PM   #14
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As far as 17-55 vs 24-105L, I've never used the former so I can't speak into it aside from the obvious: 1) the extra FOV gained by the 17-55 helps on a crop body, 2) f2.8. I can only speak from a photography standpoint, though. I have no idea what is common for videographers. I also like to shoot wide so I'm partial to shorter focal lengths.

Given that, IMO, the 24-105L is a pretty good walkabout lens. Sure, you're limited to f4, but overall it's not as bad of a lens as people make it out to be (not necessarily here). It's a very useable, wide focal range while still maintaining a constant aperture. You'll have to take into account the crop factor of your current or upcoming camera body, though. If you ever like to shoot real wide, that may not work to your favor. The lens also has IS, but if you're using a fixed rig or tripod the benefit is negated.

Random thoughts:

EF-S lenses are not all bad. As already mentioned, the 17-55 gets high praise, as does the 10-22. I still have my Canon XTi and only kept 2 EF-S lenses for it: 10-22 and 85 prime. The latter is also a great, fast (f1.8) lens and a lower-than-L price.

I have a feeling you may find yourself limited by choosing only a single lens, though. Such is the bane of photography...prepare yourself for financial pain.
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      04-19-2012, 05:04 PM   #15
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I still have my Canon XTi and only kept 2 EF-S lenses for it: 10-22 and 85 prime. The latter is also a great, fast (f1.8) lens and a lower-than-L price.
Pretty sure the 85/1.8 isn't an EF-S, but I agree it's a great portrait lens on crop bodies.
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      04-25-2012, 11:49 PM   #16
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Pretty sure the 85/1.8 isn't an EF-S, but I agree it's a great portrait lens on crop bodies.
Touche, good sir, touche. You are correct; it's an EF mount lens.
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      04-26-2012, 10:32 AM   #17
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I have both the 10-22 and 17-40 that I use on my 50D. The 10-22 could easily pass as an L lens, but overall it still lacks that wonderful L contrast. The 17-40 with a CPL is dangerously good.

Although I don't think I'll ever sell my 17-40.

17-55 is also an L in disguise.

Can't comment on the 24-70 and 24-105 since I haven't used them.
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      04-26-2012, 10:49 AM   #18
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All good advice above. I'll add one thing. You mentioned videography is your main interested. If that's the case, I would definitely go with the 24-105. The IS is amazing especially with video. It's like you have a glide cam with you all the time. Night time video will not be bad at all. Typically in video, you do not want to have too thin of DOF. The awesome sensor in the 7D will make up for that loss in aperture step. I have a 5D mk2, 16-35, 24-70, 24-105 and other L lenses.

For video: my use of lenses break down like this:

- 50% - 24-105L (switch from wide to tight immediately, great docu lense, mostly hand-held)
- 40% -16-35L (I shoot a lot of WA, my style)
- 10% - 100 f2.8 L IS (for macro and portrait; suuuuuper sharp)

Here are examples of my use of these three lenses

Head Piece commercial

CrossFit Supplement commercial

Last edited by Trijicon; 04-26-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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      04-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #19
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you should encourage them to try and get those head pieces in shops in Canada in the fall

especially around Vancouver.
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      04-28-2012, 01:52 PM   #20
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One reason to invest in L glass is that it barely depreciates. I've bought L lenses and sold them years later without taking a loss. In fact I've made a profit a couple of times because as Canon raises prices on new lenses, you can usually get slightly more for them used.

L glass is typically quicker to focus than the equivalent non-L glass and it usually has a larger aperture. Weatherproof construction, too.

That said there are a lot of good non-L lenses. The 10-22 EF-S, for example.

I owned a 17-40 F4L and I did not like it. I used it on both full frame and crop (1.3 and 1.6) bodies. I never liked it. It never had the "pop" I typically see with L glass. But some people find the 17-40 to be great. It's a good idea to rent lenses before you commit to buying them, too.
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      04-28-2012, 09:36 PM   #21
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I love my L-series lenses and the 70-200mm Ls are some of the very best zoom lenses ever made (those others mentioned don't even get close); however, at certain focal lengths on a crop sensor, you're just as well off with the EF-S lens. You don't use the full image circle of an EF-L, so you're paying for something that you may not need.

However, if video is your aim, then why not get the 5D MkIII and one or two L-lenses? That's a great video rig, only surpassed by Canons dedicated cine bodies.

Ls do retain their value very well. If you buy used, then you have almost not depreciation.

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      05-28-2012, 11:16 PM   #22
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If you want something for video I would have to agree with Trijicon in going for the
24-105. I'll be picking another one up as I sold the one I got with my 5D Mark II to use for video.
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