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  Reviews by: Finn Magne  

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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Jan 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Canons sharpest ultra wideangle zoom lens. Good sharpness on f16 and f11, distorsion and cromatic aberration well corrected.
Very poor resolution and lots of vignetting on f2,8. Poor sharpness in the corners down to f5,6.

I use this lens a lot on my EOS 5D camera for landscapes. A very good lens as long as you step down to at least f11 or even better: f16. On 24mm this lens gives better sharpness than the 17-40L, 24-105L and 24-70L zooms (I have owned them all) as long as you step down to at least f11. On f4 the 24-105L is the best choice, on f8 the 24-70L, but both of them have very much barrell distorsion.
Dispite the problems in the f2,8 to f8 area I therefore still own the EF 16-35L mk.II and use it a lot for landscapes (where I most of the time step down to f11 anyway). But I have added the EF 24/1,4L lens (which is Canons sharpest wideangle lens below 35mm) for low light situations, because this is a much sharper lens between f2,8 and f11. On f2 the 24L is sharper than the 16-35L mk.II on f5,6!
I have also also compared the 5D with 16-35L mk.II to the 40D with EF-S 10-22mm. Canon EF-S 10-22/3,5-4,5 gives much better sharpness/contrast I all situations except on f11 and f16 where the 16-35L mk.II wins because of the EOS 5D's higher number of pixels. Wide open the 16-35L mk.II is very soft compared to the 10-22mm.
Nikon have now launched the 14-24mm zoom which gives Canon a real knock out. Can Canon do something about it in the near future?

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Aug 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image Stabilisation (IS), build quality, very good sharpness and contrast.
Barrell distorsion and vignetting on 24mm

Compared to my previous zoom, the EF 24-70/2,8L, the EF 24-105/4L IS has the same picture quality: very good sharpness and contrast. Both zooms have visible barrell distorsion and vignetting on 24mm. However: The 24-105L IS has better sharpness and contrast in the corners on 24mm than the 24-70L.

The distorsion and vignetting on 24mm are in real life no problem. I am using RAW format for important pictures and when stepping down to f8 the vignetting is no problem on 99% of the pictures. It is also easy to correct the barrell distorsion in Photoshop.

I prefer the 24-105L over the 24-70L because of these reasons:
1. I find the IS very useful
2. The lens is lighter and balances better on my EOS 5D camera.
3. Better sharpness and contrast in the corners on 24mm
4. Longer zoom range makes it a better lens also for portraits

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jul 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The IS works very good and makes the lens very usable in available light conditions without tripoid. Excellent sharpness and contrast, much better on f2,8 than my EF 24-70/2,8L or the EF 17-40/4L on f8!
Absolutely nothing, the size and weight goes very well with my EOS-1Ds camera.

The sharpness and contrast is excellent and makes it The Best Canon Lens I've ever owned. Because of the IS the images get even sharper than with fixed lenses (when not using tripoid). This is a excellent lens for portraits in available light. Now I can leave my monopod a home! Just one wish (yes, the moon is a yellow cheese...): If the wide setting could go down to 50mm (without any compromise in quality), then I wouldn't have to change lens at all when photographing portraits.

Finn Magne Grande

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jul 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good results also on full aperature (f2,8), excellent hood, good weight together with my 1Ds camera
Strong barrel distorsion on wideangle (24-28mm). Not as sharp as the 70-200/2,8L IS.

I've just tested the 24-70/2,8L mm against my 70-200/2,8L IS with both zooms on 70mm. Without tripoid the 70-200 (with the IS on) is clearly sharper. It is also sharper on f2,8 than the 24-70 on f8. (Shutter speed about 1/1000 s).
But compared with my previous zoom, the 17-40/4L, the 24-70 gives much better results on full aperature (f2,8). And you don't have the same problems with cromatic aberation in the corners.
The weight and size of this zoom goes well with my EOS-1Ds camera and it has a very effective lens hood. It works very well in sunlight because the front of the lens is moving in and making the hood deeper when zooming towards tele. Just genious!
Some negative aspects? Yes, the barrel distorsion on 24mm wideangle.
Some wishes? Yes, I miss the Image Stabiliser on my tele zoom.

Finn Magne Grande

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Apr 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Possible to use pola filter on 17mm without vignetting. Good results with cheaper Canon cameras with 1,6x crop factor (EOS20 and EOS 300).
Strong barrel distortion on 17mm. When used on the EOS 1Ds camera: Some Cromatic Aberations, soft in the corners and big problems with dark corners on the new 1Ds mk.2 camera: On 17mm about 4 f-stops loss on f4!!!

Better sharpness and contrast than my previous zoom: the Canon EF 17-35/2,8L lens, but still not good enough. The new lens has much more distortion in the wide area: Strong barrel distortion on 17mm, almost none between 20 and 24mm, and then some distortion from 28mm to 40mm.
Because of the lower price I think this lens is a better buy than the EF 16-35/2,8L. If you want good results on a super wide angle zoom you never use f2,8 or f4 after all...

Update: I have now sold this zoom and bought the EF 24-70/2,8L instead. The reasons? The 24-70 have a much more effective hood (important when using on sunny days) and gives sharper pictures together with my EOS 1Ds camera.

In spring 2005 I need to buy a lens with wider angle than my new EF 24-70/2,8L. But I hesitate to do it because I find the quality of the EF 16-35/2,8L or the 17-40/4L not quite good enough on the EOS 1Ds.

An alternative would be a fixed lens. But strangely enough Canon has no wide fixed focal lens of good quality either! The EF 14/2,8L is an old construction from the mid 1980s (actually it was constructed as a FD lens in the 1970s...) and is no good combination with the new digital cameras. (The EF 20/2,8 is no alternative, it is not wide enough).
I feel that the Canon engineers have some work to do here! For my own use quality is more important than wide zoom area. HEY CANON, PLEASE TRY TO CONSTRUCT A HIGH QUALITY EF 17/2,8L FIXED LENS OR A EF 14-24/2,8L ZOOM FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS WITH THE EOS 1Ds AND 1D mk.2 CAMERAS!!!! Like it is today wideangle buffs are better suited with the EOS20 - EF 12-24mm combination or even better: buying Nikon....

Finn Magne Grande

Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Mar 14, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Good and very useful zoom range. Possible to use this lens on 17mm together with a pola filter.
Sharpness and contrast (especially at 17mm and f2,8) bad in the corners.

If you use this lens on 17mm and f2,8 you only get sharp results in the centre. Especially for a L-lens, the sharpness and contrast in the corners are bad. A little less soft at f8, but not good enough for my use since I still use film in my camera. Because about 90% of my pictures are beeing shot within this zoom range, I have just replaced this lens for the cheaper and much sharper EF 17-40/4L. Because of the high price I don't recommend this lens.