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Thread: A wide range of lens choices...

  1. #1

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    A wide range of lens choices...

    Okay, so not really a large selection, but I'm trying to decide which wide-angle lens will be better. I'm currently using a 50D (with no real plans to get a 5D mkII or any other full frame camera body any time soon).
    The two wide-angle lenses I'm looking at are :

    Canon Super Wide Angle EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM
    Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

    There is a slight price difference, which make me want to lean towards the zoom as opposed to the prime, however, I'm interested to hear from some people in the community. I know we've got some good landscape photographers in our midst so any insight would be helpful.

    Sean

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Okay, so not really a large selection, but I'm trying to decide which wide-angle lens will be better. I'm currently using a 50D (with no real plans to get a 5D mkII or any other full frame camera body any time soon).
    The two wide-angle lenses I'm looking at are :

    Canon Super Wide Angle EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM
    Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

    There is a slight price difference, which make me want to lean towards the zoom as opposed to the prime, however, I'm interested to hear from some people in the community. I know we've got some good landscape photographers in our midst so any insight would be helpful.

    Sean
    I've got both

    Seriously, between those two, the EF16-35/2.8L wins hands down, for the following reasons ...

    - It's more versative (being a zoom)

    - You can attach filters to it

    - The 14mm is just TOO wide, even on a crop camera.

    Hope this helps

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Thanks Colin,

    The versatility / price of the 16-35mm defiantly seemed the better option, but I wasn't sure if it'd be wide enough on a 1.6x body.

    Sean

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Colin, you stated that you could attach filters to the zoom.
    I assume that means you can't with the prime?
    Does that hold true for all primes?

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Thanks Colin,

    The versatility / price of the 16-35mm defiantly seemed the better option, but I wasn't sure if it'd be wide enough on a 1.6x body.

    Sean
    Hi Sean,

    I assume that your shooting landscape?

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin O'Regan View Post
    Colin, you stated that you could attach filters to the zoom.
    I assume that means you can't with the prime?
    Does that hold true for all primes?
    Hi Colin,

    Most primes are fine - it's just that the front element is so curved on the EF14mm. You can fit a gelatin filter to the back of them, but IMO it's not worth the trouble.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    The versatility / price of the 16-35mm defiantly seemed the better option, but I wasn't sure if it'd be wide enough on a 1.6x body

    It depends.

    I run a dual format kit - APS-C and 135formats (i.e. "Full Frame"). The 16 to 35 on my APS-C is a fantastic "Standard Zoom" - for MY purposes - which usually involve PEOPLE and me working close to them.

    However, I do not use the 16 to 35 lens on an APS-C camera for Landscapes (not that I do many). . . . and I would not buy the 14mm to use on an APS-C for Landscapes, either.

    ***

    A lens purchase is often looked at singularly. What other lenses do you have? - What is the overall strategy of your kit? What are you main photographic aims and subject matter?

    ***

    The 16 to 35 is a great lens. It is more flexible than the 14mm. But if Landscape Capture with a 50D is your major intention and the criterion for this purchase, I think you will be limited and disappointed . . . as (speaking in terms of 135 format or "Full Frame", Field of View), I would like the view of Focal Length 24mm in the middle of my Landscape Zoom.

    For a 50D . . . which converts to a 10 to 20ish zoom lens, which is kinda why the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, was made.

    But as I said it depends on you goals - I am assuming Landscape Photography is you main goal, because you mentioned it up front.

    WW

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    I would like the view of Focal Length 24mm in the middle of my Landscape Zoom.
    To be honest Bill, I've never really bought into the common "mantra" (for want of a better word) that often seems to repeat along the lines of;

    - "Wider is better for landscape", and

    - "You can never get a landscape lens that's wide enough"

    ... It seems that the most common application of UWA lenses is "Horizon somewhere around the middle" and in that scenario anything further than a modest distance from the lens becomes absolutely tiny, and other factors also become a real challenge to manage (eg uneven lighting due to the extreme range of angles that the light is arriving over, vignetting (ranging to outright obstruction) with filters).

    I bought my EF14/F2.8L II pretty much as soon as they first came out - and even though I specialise in landscape photography, to be honest, I just never use it. I DO use my EF16-35/2.8L, but it's not often that that's at the 16mm end (I usually have 1 or 2 filters attached and have to zoom in to kill most of the vignetting - an issue that crop-factor cameras suffer far less from, so the useable (effective) ("apparent") focal length tends to be in the same region anyway. Ironically, the lens I'm using most of all for my landscape is (believe it or not) my EF70-200.

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Just to give you some examples of what I mean ...

    "No Place Like Home" 200mm

    A wide range of lens choices...

    "The Cut" 78mm

    A wide range of lens choices...

    "Haulashore Island (Revisited)" 70mm

    A wide range of lens choices...

    ... and in contrast, ...

    "Double Rainbow" 14mm

    A wide range of lens choices...

    I guess what I'm trying to say (to Sean) is "Don't get too hung up on the wider-than-wide bit" - it's nowhere near as limiting as you might first think. For those occaions where you really do need the extra width it's easy to shoot an overlapping burst and stitch them together, eg this shot (shot at 80mm off memory) ...

    A wide range of lens choices...

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I've never really bought into the common "mantra" (for want of a better word) . . . etc
    Hi Colin,

    I think we are crossed purposes.

    I understand and agree with all you state about "useability" of different focal lengths for Landscapes - especially the longer FLs.

    As a comparison, (as I think you know) I have consistently stressed that 85 to 135 are NOT the only portrait lenses - I love my 24mm for Portraits (on a 5D) as one example.


    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to say (to Sean) is "Don't get too hung up on the wider-than-wide bit" - it's nowhere near as limiting as you might first think.
    What I was getting at was to think about the most useful WAZ for a 50D for everything, Landscapes was the example I gave – but not something I necessarily wanted to fixate upon – I think I worded my response badly in that regard.

    To stop at 16mm on a 50D is limiting, IMO - I kind of figure stitching is a make up or an alternative fix, which useful yes – but as a counter argument:

    Composition "in camera" is also very useful, too, in many ways.

    WW

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Landscape is not my main purpose when out shooting. I do enjoy it, but defiantly not my main goal when out and about.

    I currently have the 70-200mm f2.8 IS usm, and love it. I believe the 16-35mm will be more versatile for what I'm looking for... However, I'd have to say that in some situations William you would be correct, it wouldn't be wide enough, and perhaps using a full-frame would be better.

    My main focus, which perhaps I should have mentioned at the top, is wildlife / events, so usually the 1.6x frame comes in handy compared to a full frame. I don't like to get too close to wolves and bears when out hiking in the mountains =)

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Hi Sean,

    Out of curiosity, what are you shooting that a 16-35mm lens on a crop-factor camera wouldn't cover?

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Colin,

    Nothing in particular comes to mind, I was merely agreeing with William that in certain situations the extra zoom can work against particular shots. Ex: Cases where it's not possible to back up further.

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Colin,

    Nothing in particular comes to mind, I was merely agreeing with William that in certain situations the extra zoom can work against particular shots. Ex: Cases where it's not possible to back up further.
    I agree that it can (although multiple over-lapping shots then becomes a good alternative), although there's also the potential problem where you don't have a long enough lens (which - if I only had the 16-35 - would be more of an issue for me when shooting landscape); in your case that would be a gap from 35 - 70mm.

    Out of interest, I started my landscape collection with a 24-70/2.8L on a (1.6x) 20D - if I had to choose between the 16-35 & 24-70 (even on a crop body) I really don't know which I'd go for. In terms of a general walk-about lens, the 24-70/2.8L eats the 16-35/2.8L for breakfast though.

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    Re: A wide range of choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Landscape is not my main purpose when out shooting. I do enjoy it, but defiantly not my main goal when out and about.

    I currently have the 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM, and love it. I believe the 16-35mm will be more versatile for what I'm looking for... However, I'd have to say that in some situations William you would be correct, it wouldn't be wide enough, and perhaps using a full-frame would be better.
    A lateral thought for your consideration:

    As I mentioned earlier I have a dual format kit - there is a long history which resides in fitting out a Wedding & Portrait Studio with digital gear . . . but in essence I wanted a light portable one bag kit as flexible as possible with as few lenses as possible -

    So I run a 20D, 30D and 5D - and I use (i.e. carry) two cameras (Spare body is for backup / camera failure).

    Now my ZOOM lens strategy is to have only the 16 to 35 and the 70 to 200. Using TWO bodies and those two lenses gives me Equivalent FoV from 16mm to 320mm at F2.8 with only a small hole from 57mm to 70mm - and IMO does not matter.

    FWIW a key set of main primes in that kit can be: 24, 50, 135 (giving Equiv: 24, 38, 50, 80, 135, 216 – all fast.

    If I carry a x1.4 and that give me to 448mm at F4 from the zoom and a 189mm and a 302mm at F2.8 from the 135mm.

    So in one bag with two Bodies, two Zooms; three Primes and a x1.4 (assume no third back up camera) I get all that . . . as a very general but very comprehensive and powerful kit.

    But the main point I was getting to was - because I run a dual format kit I have made the purchase of the 24 70 not necessary and I get the 16mm wide when I need it but a I get a great daytime walk about main Wedding Zoom when I pop the 16 to 35 on my APS-C body.

    Running TWO DSLRs is not everyone’s idea of great, but I think it is often overlooked as a viable option to buying more lenses.

    WW

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    Re: A wide range of lens choices...

    I'm surprised by the comments re: 14mm being too wide. Is there such a thing?

    Granted, the wider you go, the more distortion effects one will experience, but I find that on my 1.5x body, the sweet wide range is somewhere between 10mm and 16mm. For a 1.6x DSLR, I would expect this to be even more true. For this reason I have a 16-85, which gives me some okay perspectives at 16mm, and I also have a 10-24 for when 16 is not enough.

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