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Archive 2012 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens
  
 
PetKal
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p.1 #1 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


This poll addressed four longest f/5.6 lens/combo options in the current Canon system.
Bare 800L was compared to 400/500/600 II lenses with teleconverters, and according to one half of the people participating in the poll, bare 800L was voted as the sharpest f/5.6 long lens (combo) option.

However, I feel we also need to take a look at the bare lenses by themselves as a complementary consideration. This poll should help us figure out which supertelephoto lens is considered by the FM Canon members to be the sharpest one of the lot.
Please vote based on your opinion on the matter, regardless of how you might have derived that opinion. Sometimes even a distant perception is the strongest reality of all.



Sep 24, 2012 at 01:57 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #2 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


So far the 400 II has started off with a good lead.....yous guys are smart......who knew.


Sep 24, 2012 at 02:34 AM
davidearls
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p.1 #3 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


Oh, this is easy. Sharpest super-tele is the Canon 600 f4 non-IS followed by the 300 f4 non-IS.

Removing the jiggle is a long way from making the sharp.



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:36 AM
artsupreme
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p.1 #4 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


Is the 400II IQ more affected by the 1.4x than the 500II and 600II?


Sep 24, 2012 at 02:37 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #5 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


artsupreme wrote:
Is the 400II IQ more affected by the 1.4x than the 500II and 600II?


Not, if you ask me.
However, all three take 1.4xTC MkIII real well.



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:39 AM
artsupreme
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p.1 #6 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


PetKal wrote:
Not, if you ask me.
However, all three take 1.4xTC MkIII real well.



Okay good. Did you get your firmware updated since you are shooting with the 1DX?



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:45 AM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #7 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


Peter, I didn't vote, but have been looking at a ton of images and comments. The 400 mk1 looks pretty damn sharp, and given some comments about the higher quality of Canon's MkII lenses and MkIII T/Cs, it seems the best/brightest/sharpest might be the 400 MkII

It's versatility must be amazing with T/Cs, for about $13K you have killer 400, 560 and 800mm FLs with minimum weight; all in a long backpack...pretty cool kit with a 1DX




Sep 24, 2012 at 02:47 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #8 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


artsupreme wrote:
Okay good. Did you get your firmware updated since you are shooting with the 1DX?


Yes, I did.



Sep 24, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #9 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


davidearls wrote:
Oh, this is easy. Sharpest super-tele is the Canon 600 f4 non-IS followed by the 300 f4 non-IS.

Removing the jiggle is a long way from making the sharp.


You'd be the first person I've ever seen claim the old non-IS versions are better.



Sep 24, 2012 at 03:00 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #10 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


StillFingerz wrote:
Peter, I didn't vote, but have been looking at a ton of images and comments. The 400 mk1 looks pretty damn sharp, and given some comments about the higher quality of Canon's MkII lenses and MkIII T/Cs, it seems the best/brightest/sharpest might be the 400 MkII

It's versatility must be amazing with T/Cs, for about $13K you have killer 400, 560 and 800mm FLs with minimum weight; all in a long backpack...pretty cool kit with a 1DX



That sounds like some good reasoning, Jerry.



Sep 24, 2012 at 03:02 AM
 

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Jude Perera
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p.1 #11 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


I do not own any of these and neither have used any of these.

So I will note for this. But here are the Image Quality Comparison - ISO 12233 Chart 100% Crops.

Without using TCs the Sharpest supertelephoto lens in descending order:

400 f/2.8 IS II > 600 f/4 IS II > 500 f/4 IS II > 800L

(Please note 600 f/4 IS II and 500 f/4 IS II are almost equal in this)


o http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=748&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=741&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

o http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=748&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=745&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

o http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=748&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=459&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0



Sep 24, 2012 at 04:58 AM
ChrisRD
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p.1 #12 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


I did not vote because I have no experience with any of these...but to me, if you're really nitpicking, Canon's MTF data looks like 500/4 IS II (barely) > 400/2.8 IS II > 600/4 IS II > 800/5.6 IS...but I can't imagine there's any noticeable differences in terms of actual photography. I'm sure they're all super sharp and would not expect the optics of any of them to be a limiting factor in image sharpness. Any slight differences in resulting images would likely be due to other factors...but that is JMO based on using other sharp lenses and some of the 'older' super teles...

Edited on Sep 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM · View previous versions



Sep 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #13 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


Actually, Chris, I think you are right about that: in real application settings, it is difficult to tell these lenses appart. For one, the the targets, be they sports related or wildlife, as well as light have an almost infinite variability, even if we assume that one and the same photographer is doing the testing, using the same methods.
However, the "real application testing" is IMO more meaningful than shooting ISO charts and $ bills, although the latter do serve some purpose as they yield more immediate and easy results, such as they are.



Sep 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Marco
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p.1 #14 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


I never used any of those superteles but a person I know who does motor sports had all but raving comments about the 400L IS II, which he says it is the best lens he ever used, actually better than the 300L IS II.
Hence I voted it



Sep 24, 2012 at 05:26 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #15 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


So far only 4 out of 37 have chosen 800L (11%) .
Is it possible that the Digital Picture ISO charts are right ?

Well, my 2nd 800L is pretty good, not much different than the first one I had.



Edited on Sep 24, 2012 at 07:36 PM · View previous versions



Sep 24, 2012 at 06:15 PM
ClausC
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p.1 #16 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


Hmmm, given the 'same' 'optical' quality, wouldn't a 400 mm always appear 'better' than 500, 600, 800, since the (almost inevitable) camera shake will be less 'amplified' by the 400 than the rest ?

I am considering the 400/2.8 mkII myself (as an upgrade from the 300/2.8 IS + TCs), but am a little wary about the varous claims I hear.

Another thing is that the poll does not take into account how many uses the various FLs, the 400 is given to be more popular now, after the weight loss and the flexibilty it provides with TCs ( I would kind of expect the 500/4 to be 'the sharpest' since it has the smallest (== easier to produce) FrontElement ), I have not seen that many users of the 500 yet, I believe it was released later than the 400...

regards

Claus

P.S: Did not vote..



Sep 24, 2012 at 06:21 PM
willis
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p.1 #17 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


The 300 f2.8 seems to have made an even more impressive transition to MkII than the 400 from what I've seen. Its performance with the 2XIII is scarcely believable, though its slower to AF.
The Digital picture crops suggest that the 300II + 2x III is not far off matching the 400II +1.4X III. My 300+2x is sharper than my 100-400L.



Sep 24, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #18 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


PetKal wrote:
So far only 4 out of 37 have chosen 800L (11%) .
Is it possible that the Digital Picture ISO charts are right ?



Nope. It just means the 800 isn't the easiest of the bunch to use and that's no surprise. I continue to get super sharp shots with mine, that's all I care about. Screw charts

Tim



Sep 24, 2012 at 10:28 PM
davidearls
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p.1 #19 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


Pixel Perfect wrote:
You'd be the first person I've ever seen claim the old non-IS versions are better.


Well, so far I haven't seen anything that shows the IS lenses to be sharper than the old non-IS lenses - they're just a lot more expensive. No question they remove the jiggle, but how is a jiggle-free non-IS shot less sharp than an IS jiggle-free shot? Are you going to claim that responders to this thread could identify the IS shots against the non-IS shots?



Sep 25, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #20 · The Sharpest Supertelephoto Lens


davidearls wrote:
Well, so far I haven't seen anything that shows the IS lenses to be sharper than the old non-IS lenses - they're just a lot more expensive. No question they remove the jiggle, but how is a jiggle-free non-IS shot less sharp than an IS jiggle-free shot? Are you going to claim that responders to this thread could identify the IS shots against the non-IS shots?




I've never seen anything to show the non IS are sharper either, so let's just say they are the same and I'm not sure anyone could tell which shot was taken with which lens even at 100%, but the IS version version will get a higher % of keepers in the real world even on gimbal head, which is far more important. And the mk II is 5.9kg, 600g heavier than the already porky mk I IS version has 4m mfd vs 3m, and can no longer be serviced.



Sep 25, 2012 at 04:04 AM
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