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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Dec 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, both in fore- and background, F/1.2, flare resistance - there is nothing better than this lens out there -, great at macro with extensione tube(s), excellent low light lens, very accurate AF, essentially a specialty lens which doubles as a FF standard lens.
Cons:
Price :), occasional missed shot on 40D and 5D Classic, potentially perseverance required to get a good specimen. Slightly soft corners at F/1.2.

When I got into low light photography with a vengeance, a few years ago, I went for an 85 F/1.8 and 28 F/1.8 first. This because I couldn't find a great 50 F/1.4, for close to MFD shots at F/1.4 to F/2. After testing about 30 different 50 mm lenses, I went for a 50 F/1.8 Mk I, for the time being. No 50 F/1.4 of any brand, MF alt or Canon, was IMO good at F/1.4 to F/2.8, especially not when close to MFD.

I also tested 3 different 50Ls in that period, and didn't like the problems with these lenses when focusing close, from MFD to about 1.5 - 1.8 m, at apertures from F/1.4 to F/2.5. However, everything in the area within DoF, looked really incredible, unlike any other lens I had seen. I knew I had to find a "good one".

A year later I had tested another two, both of which showed some "standard" backfocus, one of about 4 cm at all distances and apertures, the other of about 2 cm. That was the one I ended up buying. Another few months went by, and by then I couldn't stand the backfocus anymore, both on 40D and 5D. So off it went, to Canon. It eventually came back, a little better, only about 1 cm of backfocus left, which did get lost in DoF at distances further away and smaller apertures.

Testing my other fast lenses I found that all of them had some backfocus, and none of the slower ones had. Off to Canon again, with 40D, 5D and a bunch of fast primes. They were all fixed, including the 50L. I did notice the occasional problem with the 50L, where the AF would miss a shot completely, more so on 40D than on 5D. Regardless, SOOC the pics were stunning. BTW, the focus shift of this lens is about 1/6 of DoF maximum, at F/2, less below and above, not present from about F/2.5 anymore. Note that my 85L II has approximately 1/4 DoF of focus shift at F/2. Also note that this is both within AF parameters for fast lenses with F/2.8 AF point according to Canon specs Smile.

Next came the 5D II. And in the 8 months of shooting the 5D II, the 50L has easily become my most used lens on this camera. This combo really sings. No more missed shots either, except for obvious user error Smile.

Fast focusing, very accurate, in the lowest of lights, great at macro, landscapes, portraits, party, street, it has become my #1 go to lens.

Very highly recommended, even though it may need some perseverance to get a good specimen. It is fully worth it IMO.


 
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

17tse
Review Date: Dec 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp right into the extreme corners, sharper fully shifted than 17-40L, very little vignetting wide open for a 17 mm lens, very little CA.
Cons:
The bulging front element, or rather, not being able to use a filter, no lens hood.

I compared this lens to a Sigma 12-24 EX, 17-40L, Nikkor 14-24 G ED with G-EOS adapter, and pictures on the internet taken with the Zeiss ZE 21. IOW, lenses roughly covering a similar AoV.

A cropped centre from the Sigma at any aperture or FL doesn't even come close to the unshifted corners of the TS-E 17. And let's not talk about vignetting or CA. The 17-40L is not sharp in the corners from 17-20 mm, which is where the TS-E 17 easily beats it. No competition in CA or distortion either. The Nikkor 14-24 is not as sharp in the corners, not even with the TS-E shifted partly - vertical panos (12.8 mm comparable AoV) look at least as good in the corners. CA is slightly less with the TS-E, flare is better controlled in the TS-E. Vignetting is a little worse with the Nikkor than it is with the TS-E at the saem f-stops, and the latter is significantly lighter and less top heavy. The 5D II seems to struggle a little with the Nikkor and light metering, which it doesn't with the TS-E unshifted and/or untilted.

The Zeiss ZE 21 I haven't tried personally, yet, but based on photographs studied on the internet, it clearly vignettes a lot more than the TS-E, could be slightly sharper in the centre, but loses in the corners. Considering the TS-E is considerably wider, this is no mean feat.

Of the best (U)WA lenses on the market today, which can be used on a Canon body (TS-E 24L II, TS-E 17L, 24L Mk II, Zeis ZE 21, Nikkor 14-24), currently 3 are made by Canon, which is quite the landmark shift - pun intended.

The TS-E 17 is in a class of its own, not in the least because of its performance when shifted and/or tilted. It is one of those rare UWA lenses, which amaze one over and over again, due to its IQ from corner to corner, essentially at any aperture. Contrast, colour, sharpness, and yes, even bokeh are all contributing to the Wow!-factor of the images rendered by this lens. Add to this the tilt-shift possibilities and creative freedom this provides - what more can one want? Ok, F/2.8 at the same size and price would hav been nice Smile.

Very highly recommended.




 
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

efs60_28macro_usm
Review Date: May 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, good build quality, great price.
Cons:

Extremely sharp macro lens, which performs equally well at normal focusing distances. Sharp from edge to edge, even at F/2.8. Some slight vignetting at F/2.8, which isn't really noticeable in normal photography, and which is gone by F/4.

A must for anybody who is into macro photography and who owns a APS-C sensor dlsr.

Considering its modern design and performance, this lens is a steal at the price. Very highly recommended!


 
Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8

tse90_1_
Review Date: May 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: T&S (versatitlity!), sharp, sharp, sharp, did I mention sharp?, quite close-focusing ability...
Cons:
Slight radial movement in base plate caused by option to rotate lens for varying direction in tilt and shift. Annoying but understandable...

For the type of lens and the creative possibilties it gives you, there just isn't anything better available for dslrs, except the other two Canon TS-E lenses. This lens is just slightly better than the other two.

Very, very sharp, a match for my macro lens, even when used with extender (1.4 X).

On an APS-C dslr it is great for spectacular macro work, with different to normal and still in focus views thanks to the tilting options.

Very highly recommended, despite the high price! Really wondering why the TS-E 24 is an L-lens, and this isn't...


 
Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L

ts243_1_
Review Date: May 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: T&S, sharp, 24 mm / 45 mm APS-C equivalent, fairly close focus. Nothing else like it...
Cons:
Like all T&S lenses, slight radial movement in base plate, caused by the option to be able to turn the lens, and thus the tilting and shifting directions. Annoying, but understandable...

For the type of lens and the creative possibilties it gives you, there just isn't anything better available for dslrs, except the other two Canon TS-E lenses.

Bought used, at a fair price, it is excellent value for money. And this copy is sharp from edge to edge.

On an APS-C dslr in combination with an extender tube it is great for spectacular macro work, with different to normal and still in focus views thanks to the tilting options.

Highly recommended!