Canon 24-70mm ƒ2.8 or primes?
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pahrens
Registered: Aug 08, 2005
Total Posts: 1169
Country: Australia

I'm looking at moving to Canon from a Hasselblad. The MFD camera is just more than I need and a lot of money to have tied up in a camera. What I'm trying to work out though is if I get a 24-70mm ƒ2.8 zoom or a few Canon primes.

I shoot landscapes and will generally never go below ƒ5.6. If I get primes it would most probably be a 24mm, 50mm and 85mm. The regular Canons and L series seem to have similar image quality stopped down.

The 24-70mm covers most of this in a zoom. Is it really at a disadvantage to these other lenses when stopped down? The main weak point in resolution I can see is at 24mm going by tests on www.the-digital-picture.com. The other factor would be distortion and vignetting being worse than the primes.

Will the primes really deliver better image quality? I've been researching this quite a lot and haven't really found an answer for landscape shooting.



saneproduction
Registered: Nov 03, 2010
Total Posts: 1224
Country: N/A

The 24-70 2.8L II is as good as the primes from 5.6 on. A little more distortion, but it is really outstanding. I have all the lenses you mention and now jut reach for the zoom unless I need f2 or faster. At 2.8 performance is similar, but the zoom has much more vignetting. It reduces a lot by f4 and 5.6 it is gone enough for me.



Paulthelefty
Registered: Feb 27, 2012
Total Posts: 582
Country: United States

There are a couple threads already running that address these exact questions. My take from them is if you are primarily a landscape shooter, and if you are picky about vignetting and the corners, then you should stick with primes and TSEs. Otherwise, the new 24-70 is very, very good.

I need a fast standard zoom for sports, so I am trying to budget for this lens for that purpose.

Paul



pahrens
Registered: Aug 08, 2005
Total Posts: 1169
Country: Australia

The vignetting doesn't actually bother me all that much, CA does though. I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but when looking at a the-digital-picture tests the 24-70 seems as good in the corners as some primes. Or are these tests not telling me everything?

24-70mm ƒ2.8 compared with 35mm ƒ1.4 at ƒ8



kaycephoto
Registered: Aug 13, 2011
Total Posts: 922
Country: Canada

used to be an all-primes kinda guy up, but the 24-70mkII has effectively made me change my mind.. sold both my beloved 24LmkII & the classic 35L once i had the 24-70mkII - it's been glued to my full-frame body ever since.

in case you're interested, more on my thoughts: http://www.kaycephotography.com/blog-entries/canon-ef-24-70mm-f2-8l-mark-ii-review/



saneproduction
Registered: Nov 03, 2010
Total Posts: 1224
Country: N/A

You are not missing anything. The 24-70II is as good as the primes even in the corners. Of you don't need fast apertures, go for the 24-70II. If you need tilt/shift, the 24 TS-E II is still the best.



StarNut
Registered: Aug 30, 2004
Total Posts: 1630
Country: United States

I you'll never go wider than f/5.6, why not consider the new 24-70 f/4L?



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6359
Country: United States

I got the 24-70 f2.8 mk2. I tried it and decided that it was sharp enough to sell a couple primes. For the past 3 years I have used primes and I only do landscapes. My primes included the 17 and 24TSE, a 35L and a Zeiss 50.

The trouble with primes is that it is not always possible to zoom with your feet. The problem with zooms, is distortion, and soft corners, especially prior to the 24-70 mk2. Some claim soft corners do not matter even in prints. But I print and it matters to me.

Starting around 24mm and below, the distortion you get when pointing upwards starts to get noticeable and a TSE lens starts becoming valuable.

All lenses have soft corners. I even notice it when I visit the galleries of well known landscape photographers using larger format cameras. But there is a difference between mushy corners and corners that have recognizable texture and subject into the corners.




abqnmusa
Registered: May 11, 2006
Total Posts: 2085
Country: United States

I use f1.4 primes for low light stage shows. when I often need F1.4 - F2.8
just depends on what you are shooting




retrofocus
Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Total Posts: 3794
Country: United States

I started out with a 24-70/2.8 lens, but have since moved more towards using primes. I mostly replaced the 24-70 lens range with my 24/3.5 T/S, the 50/1.2, and 35/1.4 lenses. Price-wise the 85/1.8 is unbeatable for its IQ, but I rarely use this focal length. After enjoying many years with the 24-70, I realized how far I can get just by using the 50 mm prime lens for example. Main advantage of the zoom is quick flexibility in the focal length. For wedding/sports photographers the 24-70 zoom is great, for landscape photographers I like the primes better.



splathrop
Registered: Feb 27, 2006
Total Posts: 527
Country: United States

If going with primes, you might want to give thought to not deciding exactly which focal lengths, and instead make purchases in the general ranges, with an eye to getting the best possible IQ. For instance, 24mm needs can be met superbly with the Canon 24mm TS-E II, but also with the Zeiss 21mm—and many landscape shooters who don't need tilt and shift would choose the latter. Same at the 85mm focal length; you can also consider the 90mm TS-E and the Zeiss 100 MP. At 50mm, just get the Zeiss 50mm MP.

What the online tests show well are resolution and distortion, but they do less to convey color and contrast.



eosfun
Registered: Dec 22, 2004
Total Posts: 2120
Country: Netherlands

I see in your profile you have the 24-105L IS. With the needs you describe I would say, stay with that. No need to move from a 24-105L to the 24-70L/2.8 for landscaping at 5.6 and above imho. Anyway, have EOSfun.



pahrens
Registered: Aug 08, 2005
Total Posts: 1169
Country: Australia

Oh dear, I hadn't realised my profile still said that. I haven't had the 24-105mm for some time. I've been shooting with a Hasselblad MFD system.

The Ziess 21mm, 50mm MP and 100mm MP certainly look very nice, and looking at the resolution tests they seem unbeatable. I'm a little worried about having no autofocus however.

They are beautiful lenses though....



khonsuay
Registered: Aug 13, 2012
Total Posts: 4
Country: United States

This thread made me tempted for 24-70 L ii.
I just bought 24L in addition to my 50L and 85 f/1.8, with a hope of replacing my 24-70 L (original).
Everyone say 24-70 L ii is superb despite the price tag.



Daan B
Registered: Aug 16, 2007
Total Posts: 7591
Country: Netherlands

StarNut wrote:
I you'll never go wider than f/5.6, why not consider the new 24-70 f/4L?


Bingo!