Old 01-03-2009, 06:14 AM   #1
AppyFan
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Default L Series Lenses

I have been using L series lenses now since October. I have noticed that the sharpness level on some photos, especially those with really bright sunlight can be extremely sharp. Very noticeable through the LCD monitor on my 40D. At first when I started using the 17-40 mm I had to reduce the sharpness level that I had set on my 40D. That seemed to work well for that lens afterwards. I recently received the 24-105 for Christmas and again had to reduce the sharpness setting that I had on my 40D. Last week I went on a railfanning trip and noticed that the last pic of that day ended up being super sharp. That image was taken in bright sunlight. You may be asking yourselves if my other photos turned out sharp and the answer is yes. Has anyone ever experienced this? Could there be something about the 24-105 mm that I need to know about image sharpness compared to the 17-40mm? All constructive comments are welcome. Thanks.
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:18 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AppyFan
I have been using L series lenses now since October. I have noticed that the sharpness level on some photos, especially those with really bright sunlight can be extremely sharp. Very noticeable through the LCD monitor on my 40D. At first when I started using the 17-40 mm I had to reduce the sharpness level that I had set on my 40D. That seemed to work well for that lens afterwards. I recently received the 24-105 for Christmas and again had to reduce the sharpness setting that I had on my 40D. Last week I went on a railfanning trip and noticed that the last pic of that day ended up being super sharp. That image was taken in bright sunlight. You may be asking yourselves if my other photos turned out sharp and the answer is yes. Has anyone ever experienced this? Could there be something about the 24-105 mm that I need to know about image sharpness compared to the 17-40mm? All constructive comments are welcome. Thanks.
One thing is for certain, the 17-40 is much sharper at f8 than it is at f4 or f5.6 (at least mine is).
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:33 AM   #3
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I'd set the sharpness setting in your camera to 0 and shoot RAW... then use the included software to adjust the sharpness setting per your tastes after you've taken the photos. That's probably the only way to get it right every time.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
One thing is for certain, the 17-40 is much sharper at f8 than it is at f4 or f5.6 (at least mine is).
Thats also my experience of the 24-105 as well. Its certainly not bad at F4, but its much better at F8 - F16
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wizzo
Thats also my experience of the 24-105 as well. Its certainly not bad at F4, but its much better at F8 - F16
Are you sure about that?
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Are you sure about that?
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Are you sure about that?
Although I don't get much opportunity to shoot rail subjects at F16 (at least when using the usual ISO range of 100-400), I used ISO 100 and F16 while on holiday this year to shoot mountain landscapes - stunningly sharp results
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Becker
hmmmmmmmm, really? I've never shot with an L-series lens, but would probably be a little more comfortable shooting with one.

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Old 01-05-2009, 04:34 AM   #9
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As a rule of thumb, lenses shoot sharper 2 stops down from wide open. The smaller hole cleans out most of the flare light rays. This creates the strongest contrast which contributes to greater apparent sharpness.
You'll find this happens with all lenses, (to a degree) whether they are cheap or expensive. I almost always can see this difference.
Another rule of thumb, you should also shoot 2 stops open from completely stopped down. Diffraction (the bending of the light rays around the aperture) will degrade the image. I must admit, defraction is very hard for me to see. Model railroad photography demands the biggest DOF so I live with any purported image degradation.
Now I myself just got a Canon 17-40 f4 L to replace a 18-55. Absolutely there was a difference in sharpness, not to mention the corners finally being sharp. The 18-55 was OK at 5.6/8 but marginal at 3.5.
Quality lenses will look great wide open but always even sharper stopped down.
I shoot the 17-40 wide open and I am very satisfied with the results. But if I want the sharpest possible, I'd be at 8.

example:
Image © Dennis A. Livesey
PhotoID: 256401
Photograph © Dennis A. Livesey


This is the only shot I have in the database that is an example of what my 17-40 can do.
To max the DOF, I went with f22. Now this is supposed to introduce that diffraction. I don't see it, do you?
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:36 AM   #10
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Canon is L, Nikon is ED, Sony is G for the top of the line lens's. If you want cheep there not the way to go. Canon has two L lens's under $1,000 17-40 F4 and 70-200F4L non IS, Good news is it maybe there best lens, sharpest!
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey
As a rule of thumb, lenses shoot sharper 2 stops down from wide open. The smaller hole cleans out most of the flare light rays. This creates the strongest contrast which contributes to greater apparent sharpness.
You'll find this happens with all lenses, (to a degree) whether they are cheap or expensive. I almost always can see this difference.
Another rule of thumb, you should also shoot 2 stops open from completely stopped down. Diffraction (the bending of the light rays around the aperture) will degrade the image. I must admit, defraction is very hard for me to see. Model railroad photography demands the biggest DOF so I live with any purported image degradation.
Now I myself just got a Canon 17-40 f4 L to replace a 18-55. Absolutely there was a difference in sharpness, not to mention the corners finally being sharp. The 18-55 was OK at 5.6/8 but marginal at 3.5.
Quality lenses will look great wide open but always even sharper stopped down.
I shoot the 17-40 wide open and I am very satisfied with the results. But if I want the sharpest possible, I'd be at 8.

example:
Image © Dennis A. Livesey
PhotoID: 256401
Photograph © Dennis A. Livesey


This is the only shot I have in the database that is an example of what my 17-40 can do.
To max the DOF, I went with f22. Now this is supposed to introduce that diffraction. I don't see it, do you?

No Dennis, I cannot see the diffraction. Your insight has been helpful. Thank you for your response.
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milwman
Canon has two L lens's under $1,000 17-40 F4 and 70-200F4L non IS, Good news is it maybe there best lens, sharpest!
Until 17 Jan when the instant rebate expires, the 70-200 f/4L IS is $949. And B&H is offering free 2-day shipping!

Also, the 24-105 4/L IS is $959, the 200 f/2.8L is $695, and the 135 f/2L is $935, so there are a few sub-grand L lens out there...
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:13 PM   #13
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Now is the time to pick up a 70-200 F/4L IS.
Or maybe it's always the time.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Also, the 24-105 4/L IS is $959, there are a few sub-grand L lens out there...
Yep i picked one up 2 weeks ago, boy is it nice! Normally just the two are under a 1000.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milwman
Normally just the two are under a 1000.
Not at B&H; normally $959, no sale, no rebate:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...4L_IS_USM.html

You musta got ripped off!

Here are the others, listing sub-$1k normally:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...mm_f_2_8L.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...mm_f_2_0L.html
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:19 PM   #16
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You should shop Adorama anyway, they are usually cheaper. I bought my girlfriend a tripod/head/bag from Adorama that was well over $100 cheaper than what B&H was listing it.

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Old 01-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #17
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I know it is not the greatest lens, but it does fine for what I need it to do until I can the $$$ for & "L", I got a Tamy 17-50 F2.8 for $350.00 from Adaroma. Check their used section. They have a lot of lenses on there. It was a demo lens that came with everything except the box, plus 6 year warranty!
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
..... and the 135 f/2L is $935, so there are a few sub-grand L lens out there...
The 135 f/2L is one of the sharpest, if not the sharpest, L lens made. Limited in usefulness due to the 135mm, but a great value for under $1000. I thought the 70-200 f2.8L was sharp, but the 135 is that much better.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:12 PM   #19
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I second the suggestion for looking at used equipment from KEH... I couldn't afford the equipment I have if I bought it new.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:34 PM   #20
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Hmmm...all this talk of the 24-105 in this thread has me thinking. I dropped my camera with the 17-40 on it a few months ago, and I need to call my insurance agent to make a claim on the damage. IF I'm able to get complete reimbursement for it (the crack in the body looks like a major repair...probably needs to be replaced), I may just spend the difference and get the 24-105. I don't use the 17mm end of the wide angle enough to warrant keeping it, and the 24-105 range would be MUCH more useful when it comes to shooting trains. And I wouldn't be sacrificing any speed, as both are f4 lenses.

Aside from the OP, does anyone here have both lenses, and if so, can you make a comparison in IQ for me? Can you tell me if one lens is sharper than the other?

Last edited by JimThias; 01-05-2009 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:05 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Hmmm...all this talk of the 24-105 in this thread has me thinking. I dropped my camera with the 17-40 on it a few months ago, and I need to call my insurance agent to make a claim on the damage. IF I'm able to get complete reimbursement for it (the crack in the body looks like a major repair...probably needs to be replaced), I may just spend the difference and get the 24-105. I don't use the 17mm end of the wide angle enough to warrant keeping it, and the 24-105 range would be MUCH more useful when it comes to shooting trains. And I wouldn't be sacrificing any speed, as both are f4 lenses.

Aside from the OP, does anyone here have both lenses, and if so, can you make a comparison in IQ for me? Can you tell me if one lens is sharper than the other?
You also might consider the 24-70 2.8L. It's similar in price, and from what I've heard and seen in tests, it's sharper than the 24-105 and has less distortion...not that the 24-105 has a lot. I strongly considered buying that lens, but went with the 24-105 because its range fit my shooting style better and had IS. But had IQ been the sole determining factor I would have gone the 24-70 route.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:27 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Hmmm...all this talk of the 24-105 in this thread has me thinking. I dropped my camera with the 17-40 on it a few months ago, and I need to call my insurance agent to make a claim on the damage. IF I'm able to get complete reimbursement for it (the crack in the body looks like a major repair...probably needs to be replaced), I may just spend the difference and get the 24-105. I don't use the 17mm end of the wide angle enough to warrant keeping it, and the 24-105 range would be MUCH more useful when it comes to shooting trains. And I wouldn't be sacrificing any speed, as both are f4 lenses.

Aside from the OP, does anyone here have both lenses, and if so, can you make a comparison in IQ for me? Can you tell me if one lens is sharper than the other?
I love my 24-105L.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:31 AM   #23
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Buy a Nikon

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Old 01-06-2009, 01:07 AM   #24
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Quote:
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Buy a Nikon

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The Nikon bodies don't work with Canon's superior lens'.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:19 AM   #25
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And you have a tech bench to prove that statement?! It was only a joke to break up this "Which lens is better" chat!

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