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  #1  
Old 06-12-2009, 11:31 AM
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hotspur (Chris)
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Canon L lens purchase,info needed

Looking at purchasing a Canon L 70 to 200 F 2.8 NON IS.

has anyone in these pages got one?

I am a little concerned it is not dust sealed like IS version,

and may purchase that one just for that reason,i am not a fan

of IS.however then the IS version is reportedly not as sharp

as NON IS version,

Any thoughts or comments appreciated.

Thank you

Chris
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Old 06-12-2009, 01:04 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Chris,

You can always just disable the IS.

And, seriously, the sharpness issue is one raised by pixel peepers who view images at 100% on their monitors. They're typically not photographers who just enjoy taking photos and printing them.

I thought all those lenses were dust sealed?

You can't go wrong either way.

Regards,
Humayun
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:18 PM
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koputai (Jason)
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Hey Chris,
I have the f4 IS version and love it. I never thought I wanted IS, but
bought it because my wife was going to be using it. Now I love the IS
myself. It performs amazingly well and I am very glad I got it. One
regret is that I didn't go for the f2.8 over the f4. If I was to buy the
70-200 again, it would be the f2.8 IS.

Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane View Post

And, seriously, the sharpness issue is one raised by pixel peepers who view images at 100% on their monitors. They're typically not photographers who just enjoy taking photos and printing them.
Humayun
Well..
If I was to spend $2000+ for a lens, it better be perfect, capable of satisfying the worst "pixel peeper" (and I am not the only one.. there are worse around). Especially if the object of the photo are stars. Sharpness (resolution, contrast) is the essential property of the lens..
Some cheap Zenit M42 lenses ( $100 or a bit more) are sharper than many modern, much more expensive lenses today, BTW.

Last edited by bojan; 06-12-2009 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:59 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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bojan,

Chris is primarily a terrestrial photographer -- birds are his thing.

I also don't think he is a pixel peeper. He enjoys taking photographs and sharing them with us.

I learnt a long, long time ago to forget about pixel peeping and just enjoy the prints I make of my images.

You only have to go to DP Review's forums to see that the majority of pixel peepers couldn't take a photo to save their life.

Regards,
Humayun
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  #6  
Old 06-12-2009, 04:11 PM
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Then, a cheap Zenit lens is quite OK for this purpose, I guess :-)
BTW, it is a greater challenge to take good photo with simple lense :-)
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:16 PM
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Chris,

If your down this way (Thornlands) feel free to have a look at my 70-200 2.8 non-IS. My original interest was as an astronomy lens first, daylight lens second.

Not sure if you've seen it but Peter Hexter has a 300 2.8 IS up for sale at the moment - in case you might want to stretch to one of those

Terry
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2009, 01:42 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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re L lens purchase

Thanks chaps for your feed back,

I think this lens will do me very well,from what i can gather it rates

very well on Fred Miranda,its a proper pro photo journo lens,it will

cover mamy of my fields of endevour,including astronomy-which is'nt

the main reason for the lens,Terry-i already have 400 prime,so thanks

for pointer on that other lens.

RE-challange using low grade lens,NO THANKS,time is everything,i just

want to take some reasonable pics of whatever is on the menu for the

day,and put the camera away!i purchased a cheaper non canon brand

lens eariler this year.and do'nt like those sort of challanges!really it was'nt cheap at all,these L lens may seem dear,but really they are cheap

when results in the field really count,i have'nt got all day to play.

The lens is on its way,but i wo'nt have time to do any post for

awhile,so hopefully next year,Octane we will see what comes out

off it.

Merry Xmas to all

Chris
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2009, 03:31 PM
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Chris mate unless you are going to carry it around in the rain and/or a dust storm and take pic's, Is and non Is makes no difference at all.

With the non IS one usually needs a tripod, and actually the Is version works pretty much the same.

You have to remember it was not that long ago that many got beautiful images and IS was not even around, it is all commen sense.

Leon
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2009, 08:25 PM
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Waxing_Gibbous (Peter)
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I've had the 70-200 NON IS. IMHO its superior to the IS version. I don't know why. Perhaps its having fewer elements to intefere with the light path.
I would also suggest purchasing an older version from aroung the mid-90's to early 00ies.
The 70-200 was introduced to replace the 80-200L (a VERY underrated lens) and primarily intended for photojournalists, so they had to be (and were) real corkers. If memory serves, IS came in around 97/98 (?).
The non-IS seems to me sharper, to have more 'bite' and better (more natural)colour.
Plus its a lot cheaper used.
But you won't go wrong with either.

Last edited by Waxing_Gibbous; 08-12-2009 at 08:28 PM. Reason: punctuation
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  #11  
Old 08-12-2009, 09:03 PM
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Chris, I had the 70-200 2.8L IS. Wonderful lens. Don't let anyone tell you that IS makes no difference. It most certainly does. But let me add some thoughts based on my experiences with it.

It depends what you want to shoot with it, as to whether you will gain any benefit from both the f/2.8 and/or the IS. It's a whole lotta money more than the f/4 version and the non-IS versions.

I actually sold mine. Found I wasn't using that focal range enough to warrant around $2k just sitting in my camera bag.

My brother has the 70-200 f/4 non-IS version and I've used it quite a bit. It's sharper, smaller, lighter, cheaper - by some $1500! If I was to buy this focal range again, I'd definitely be going with the f/4 non-IS. But that's for my style of photography, I don't use it that often and when I do, I won't be needing f/2.8.

Everyone one is different, with different needs. It's up to you to make the decision on whether you need f/2.8 etc. But tell ya what, that $1500 or so bucks can buy a lot of other glass and goodies!

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waxing_Gibbous View Post
I've had the 70-200 NON IS. IMHO its superior to the IS version. I don't know why. Perhaps its having fewer elements to interfere with the light path.
I would also suggest purchasing an older version from around the mid-90's to early 00ies.
The 70-200 was introduced to replace the 80-200L (a VERY underrated lens) and primarily intended for photojournalists, so they had to be (and were) real corkers. If memory serves, IS came in around 97/98 (?).
The non-IS seems to me sharper, to have more 'bite' and better (more natural)colour.
Plus its a lot cheaper used.
But you won't go wrong with either.
The ONLY proper test for lens, easily available to most of us, is a photo of the star field, with fully opened iris.
If the un-saturated stars are round and smaller than, say 3-6 pixels (everywhere in the 10 Mp frame) the lens is good.
Otherwise it is compromised. And that's it.

To say the lens "have more 'bite' and better (more natural) colour " is very vague and not very scientific.. and means different things to different people.
Star test is, on the other hand, absolute.

MTF method, while supposed to be non-biased, is also subject to interpretation.. . However, this number is more accurate and less "artistic" and subjective description of the performance of the lens.

Recently I bought (relatively cheap) Canon 200mm F2.8 FD and mechanically modified it (to reach the infinity focus) and I can say this lens is pretty good, but with some tricks I discovered in desperation: for example, it has A LOT of lateral CA in corners, which does not go away with its own iris closed down even to f5,6n or f8.. but it does go away with external iris (mask in front of the lens).
So despite some good reports for this lens, I would not recommend it for terrestrial work, simply because it does not perform OK with its own iris. But if it is permanently mounted on EQ it is not a big problem to use external iris to have good sharp image across all of the frame.

So, to conclude this long lecture: do a star test, and be prepared for (unpleasant) surprises.. or pleasant ones, that depends.. . Some old and underrated lenses will perform MUCH better than than many modern, 10x or more expensive specimens.
Then it is up to you to decide if it is worth the money or not.
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  #13  
Old 09-12-2009, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojan View Post
The ONLY proper test for lens, easily available to most of us, is a photo of the star field, with fully opened iris.
If the un-saturated stars are round and smaller than, say 3-6 pixels (everywhere in the 10 Mp frame) the lens is good.
Otherwise it is compromised. And that's it.

To say the lens "have more 'bite' and better (more natural) colour " is very vague and not very scientific.. and means different things to different people.

Star test is, on the other hand, absolute.

.
Weeellll....
Maybe.
If you removed all the elements needed to make the lens function as a lens, and not a telescope, you'd probably get perfect star fields. Very few lenses will be at their sharpest fully open. Most lenses are at their sharpest at between f8 and f11, but because a lens has to take into account focus and apeture variations, it needs to be constructed differently from a telescope.

I agree things like "bite', colour, "Bokeh" ARE subjective. But so is all of photography.
You don't take a photo with a slide rule. Because a lens is perfectly corrected, doesn't mean it will take the most pleasing shot. Different lenses from different manufacturers all exhibit unquantifiable characteristics that make them more or less pleasing, like bite, colour and bokeh. This is particulary true of zoom lenses, which require a significant number of corrective elements in the light path.
Their composition, figuring and placement will all have an effect on the final product.
Now granted the actual, measurable, sharpness of an image will depend on mathematically certain factors, but the 'impression the image gives the observer will remain subjective.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:36 PM
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Chris, if you're after the 70-200 2.8 IS, there's one for sale used on POTN for US$1450. With the Aussie dollar at the moment, that's a pretty good price. Not sure on the shipping.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:55 PM
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I saw the patent applications for four new Canon lenses yesterday.

14-24mm f/2.8L
24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM
60mm f/2.8 macro
70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

I'll be holding off any glass purchases until next year.

Regards,
Humayun
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  #16  
Old 09-12-2009, 05:08 PM
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> 14-24mm f/2.8L

Hmm, I've almost bought the 16-35mm 2.8L a few times lately, maybe I'll wait.........

Cheers,
Jason.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waxing_Gibbous View Post
Now granted the actual, measurable, sharpness of an image will depend on mathematically certain factors, but the 'impression the image gives the observer will remain subjective.
Totally agree.. but I was talking about the lens quality and how to measure it and how to compare lenses objectively, not about the final product of interaction between lens and camera, photographer and an object.
The stars, being point -like sources of light are excellent test for the quality of the lens. If star image is perfectly sharp, so it will be ANY other terrestrial object.

The artistic impression the image gives to viewers is something very different... And it may be compromised only if lens is really lousy.. but even then, it can have that certain charm and be considered as good art..
But to achieve this, there is no real need to spend 2k$ or more.. or is there?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Waxing_Gibbous View Post
Because a lens is perfectly corrected, doesn't mean it will take the most pleasing shot. Different lenses from different manufacturers all exhibit unquantifiable characteristics that make them more or less pleasing, like bite, colour and bokeh. This is particulary true of zoom lenses, which require a significant number of corrective elements in the light path
I can not agree with this... Perfectly corrected lens WILL produce technically good shots, always.. and if you want "softer" image you can always blur it.. or you can place the white cloth or whatever in front of it to produce that "esoteric" atmosphere.. But you can not process the blurred image into a sharp one.

Unless it can be supported by measurable property (like MTF for example), there is no such thing as unquantifiable characteristics, outside the vocabulary of sales people.
If you were right then majority of photographers would prefer only one brand/type of lens. But they are not. And in almost all the cases they can not say why they prefer this and that lens (in terms of measurable property).
So, all this is just psychology, nothing else. Or fashion.

Last edited by bojan; 09-12-2009 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:20 PM
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the theory goes that the most simple optical design will be the sharpest.. that being said, I own/have used 70-200 f2.8 IS, 300mm f2.8L IS, 400mm f2.8L IS and all are razor sharp. I dare say you wont be able to tell the difference in the real world. As has been said only the pixel peepers will complain about sharpness, at the end of the day, if it is that much of a problem, you could go and buy some Zeiss glass
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny L View Post
the theory goes that the most simple optical design will be the sharpest.. that being said, I own/have used 70-200 f2.8 IS, 300mm f2.8L IS, 400mm f2.8L IS and all are razor sharp. I dare say you wont be able to tell the difference in the real world. As has been said only the pixel peepers will complain about sharpness, at the end of the day, if it is that much of a problem, you could go and buy some Zeiss glass
Even Zeiss is not always Zeiss .. Many Canon lenses are actually better.

Simple optical systems are not the sharpest, quite the contrary. Theory of optical systems is very complicated mathematical discipline, comparable to calculating the orbits of planets, for example.
All optical systems (lenses) are compromise between various requirements, and sometimes the sharpness (THE most important, measurable parameter) is compromised.
And there is nothing wrong about being pixel-peeper.... for 2k$ I would be proud to be called Pixel-peeper..

Last edited by bojan; 09-12-2009 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:39 PM
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bojan,

Pixel peeping is pretty much the bane of photographers. You'll find the majority of photographers print their stuff and admire it on paper rather than on screen.

I do see where you're coming from, and, as far as astrophotography goes, the method by which you determine the sharpness of a lens, seems quite reasonable -- that is, to observe the field of stars to the edge.

However, when it comes to terrestrial photography, it's one thing to look at the image on screen, and, something else to behold a large-format print on the wall. With modern sensors, it doesn't matter if you've used a high ISO rating on your camera, the print will still look sharp and beautiful.

Regards,
Humayun
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