24-70mm f2.8L II vs 24-105mm f4L; 85mm 1.8 vs 1.2L

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by james_turner|6, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. I currently have (in addition to - among others - the 70-200mm f2.8L II) the 24-105mm f4L and EF 85mm f1.8. The body is a 1Ds III. When I shoot (it ain't my day job), I shoot just about anything, from my children to landscape to sport to bands.
    My feeling with the 24-105mm is that the convenience is great, the max. aperture a tad small these days and the quality of image produced (ignoring aesthetics for the moment) quite good, but not stand out. Most of the reviews and comments I have read about the lens tend to confirm that - though it certainly has its fans. I am considering trading up to a 24-70mm f2.8L II and would be interested in hearing from those with experience of both lenses as to whether the improvement in quality has made the increase in cost worthwhile - or whether you hanker after the extra reach (or the IS) of the 24-105mm.
    On the 85mm front, again I know that the 1.2L II has cracking centre sharpness even wide open, but I have found the 1.8 a pretty amazing lens (in common with its FD/FL forebears), esp. for the money; I have found it particularly effective shooting gigs close-up to the band, giving an excellent balance of light and reach. I have read that the 1.2L can be slow to focus. But again I am interested in the experience of those who have tried both: if you do prefer the faster lens, what is it about it that makes the difference for you? Is it just about the extra light, or what?
    Of course, whether the extra money is worth it is pretty subjective. But it would still be interesting to hear why it was (or wasn't) worth it for you.
     
  2. I sold my 28-70 f2.8 L lens (the even earlier version of the 24-70 f2.8 L II) and bought a 24-105 F4 L. The reason was mostly that the 28-70, while a very fine lens, was also quite heavy so often got left at home. Obviously different photographers will come to different views about the same decision. The 24-105 F4 L gets quite a bit more use than the 28-70. The IS is useful too though was not a major factor for me.
     
  3. My experience is limited to the 85s (as I've not shot with the 24-70/2.8 II, just the I), and i would confirm what you've read. For fast, or unpredictably, moving subjects, I found the 85/1.2 II was just slow enough to be unable to overcome subject movement, always leaving me a heartbeat behind where the subject moved to. To make it worse, the f stop of 1.2 made the DOF so shallow as to make it significantly more difficult to achieve focus - I found it necessary to bump it beyond f2.5 to enable the lens to 'catch up' w/ the subjects - at f2.5, there is no tangible point in using it over the 85/1.8.
    For static subjects, there is no doubt the 1.2II is the clearly superior choice - especially @ f1.2->f2, but for subjects that you don't control, and tend to move a lot (in my case children at play, in yours a band on stage(?)), I suspect you may find yourself frustrated with the lens. An alternative which is just as sharp, but very nearly as fast as the 85/1.8 is the Sigma 85/1.4 HSM. That is a very very impressive piece of optic. It is significantly sharper WO and near than the 85/1.8, and faster than the 85/1.2II.
    As far as the 24-105 vs 24-70/2.8II goes, I traded up my 24-105/4 to a 24-70/2.8 several years ago because of the 24-105's lackluster imagery (ie. they did not 'pop'), I was and still am quite satisfied w/ my 24-70/2.8's imagery, but the II certainly is crisper. Personally, I doubt I'll buy one though, now there are better, more cost effective, options...
     
  4. better, more cost effective, options...​
    You mean the Tamron? That is quite attractive, though I do like the weather-sealing of the L lens.
     
  5. I shoot mostly travel and landscape. For this, the 24-105L is the ticket, at least for me. With the 6D, where ISO 6400 is truly usable, the loss of one stop vs. the 24-70 2.8 is meaningless. And the IS is sometimes a god send. Plus, it makes for a much more lightweight combination...
    Now, all the reviews and opinions mention that the 24.70 2.8 MKII is arguably the better lens, but at a cost that for me is not justifiable. For you, if you are able to see the difference in your photos, it could be different.
    I find that the 24-105, processed thorugh LR4, gives excellent results. The main optical drawbacks of the lens (noticeable barrel distortion at 24mm and some chromatic aberrations) are easily corrected in LR4 (just two clicks). And of course, the extra zoom comes in very handy quite often.
     
  6. The main optical drawbacks of the lens (noticeable barrel distortion at 24mm and some chromatic aberrations) are easily corrected in LR4 ...​
    I agree about ease of correction. It is more the lack of sharpness (everything is relative, I know!) that makes me want to look elsewhere. (Sharpness just happens to be something I particularly value; YMMV.)
     
  7. You mean the Tamron?​
    I do indeed. It seems as good or better than the 24-70/2.8L (optically speaking) and much less likely to get out of whack w/ normal use, though not quite as crisp as the 24-70/2.8L II. Weather sealing is a feature, but not one I personally find necessary (but then I also shoot with 5s, not 1s ;-) ), though of course your use will govern it's importance to you. Given the cost difference between the 24-70/2.8 VC and the 24-70/2.8 II, you can literally buy another excellent lens with what you save (for example the Sigma 85/1.4 ;-) ), making the question valid to consider for most of us...
     
  8. much less likely to get out of whack w/ normal use​
    Because?
     
  9. The original 24-70/2.8L has a three point attachment for the front (heaviest) lens, which is relatively easy to knock askew with slight blows and even routine 'normal' heavy use. additionally, the nylon slides in the helical assembly are undersized and can wear quickly, causing binding. For more detailed info, take a wander over to lensrentals.com and take a look at Roger's comparison in the mechanics of the lens and lenses.
    Of course this has long been a complaint about the 24-70/2.8L, and is something they addressed in the II by beefing up the internal components - presumably the mkII will be more reliable, but it's really to soon to tell yet. Given what I know about the internal components, my 24-70 gets babied compared to the beating I give the rest of my eqp.
     
  10. Thanks, Marcus (and Paulo and Colin). Good food for thought.
     
  11. I have the two zooms, and sometimes I choose one and sometimes the other - but I use both for serious, high-quality photographic work. Both are excellent lenses. They have different personalities, which may make either more suitable for certain types of shooting. I wrote something about the comparison here: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II vs. 24-70mm f/4L IS vs. 24-105mm f/4 L IS
    I use the 85mm f/1.8 and as lovely as the 1.2L is supposed to be, the non-L f/1.8 is a standout performer at a much lower cost and in a much smaller size/weight. There may be a few people who actually "need" the f/1.2 aperture of the L lens, but far more buy it because it is really big and cool looking, it has a red band and the "L" designation, and because "it must be better since it costs so much.)
    (My philosophy regarding Canon primes is that when a really fine non-L Canon alternative exists, I will get the non-L for reasons of performance, size, weight, and cost. There are several examples of types of primes for which the value of the more costly L version is debatable. On the other hand, where an equivalent non-L Canon primes in unavailable, I will purchase the L prime.)
    Dan
     
  12. Paulo Bizarro, with regard to your 4:46 AM comment on correcting barrel distortion and chromatic aberration with 2 clicks in Lightroom 4, in case you're not aware there is a way to set those 2 clicks (and any other corrections or adjustments you make to virtually every other RAW image in LR) as part of your default setting for importing and have all the adjustments automatically applied to all images that you import into LR4.
    If anybody who uses LR4 wants to apply automatic adjustments to the RAW files you import but doesn't know how, let me know and I'll post a link to the process, which is quite easy.
     
  13. I used a 24-105 for nearly 8 years, purchased the 24-70 f2.8 II lens recently.


    Observations

    1. I wish the 24-70 had IS, though my photos don't show any issues

    2. I miss the extended zoom of the 24-105

    3. I can really see the difference in sharpness. The 24-70 is a MUCH sharper lens


    Conclusion:

    I hope Canon comes out with an updated version of the 24-105 with f2.8, IS, and the same level of sharpness of the 24-
    70
     
  14. I hope Canon comes out with an updated version of the 24-105 with f2.8, IS, and the same level of sharpness of the 24- 70​
    It won't happen!
    The 24-105 is a fine lens. More importantly, it is a good-to-buy but not-good-to-sell lens. At Amazon, the price difference between the 6D with and without the 24-105 is $520, and between the 5D III is even lower: $450! Unless you have a better way to sell your 24-105, and if you put it on Amazon market place, the money you can get is just approximately $500, or even less if you want a quick sale.
    I traded my 24-70 I for the 24-105 when it first came out because of the weight of the 24-70. To me, carrying it around for an hour was a pain, especially with my 20D at that time. Recently I bought the 24-70 II. Besides the the range from 70-105, it is clearly superior to the 24-105. Lacking IS is not a considerable factor when using the 24-70 II. I decided to keep the 24-70 as well.
    I have been using the 85 1.8 and recently add the 85 1.2 to my lens group. Each lens has its own strong and weak points. For still portrait, the 1.2 is a near perfect lens.
     
  15. James, I have experience with all four lenses in question.
    I replaced my 85/1.8 with an 85/1.2 L II because I needed a short telephoto to shoot without flash in poorly lit conditions, such as my daughter's recitals. It also serves as the finest portrait lens I've ever used, with its legendary bokeh and all. But for your purposes, I think sticking with the 85/1.8 would be better. It focuses much faster and is much lighter, and will give you superior performance for concert photography, despite the faster prime's superior optics.
    I replaced my 24-105 with the new 24-70 for similar reasons. (I've also had the older 24-70.) The longer zoom is certainly versatile, but I found its images to be flat and lifeless in lower light, even outdoors. With its extra stop and prime-level resolution, I have been using the 24-70 much more than I used the 24-105. And, like you, I have a 70-200, so I don't have a focal length gap between zooms (and tend to use the longer zoom exclusively while walking about, anyway). So while it's less clear in this case which lens would be better for you, I would seriously consider the 24-70. Sure, it lacks IS, but that's less important (for me, at least) with shorter lenses.
    Good luck with your decisions!
     
  16. the max. aperture a tad small these days​
    With the quality of high ISO images these days, this is exactly backwards.
    My problem with the 24-105 is that the 105mm is a little short for all day, so I would never even consider going shorter to 70mm or similar.
     
  17. My first lens was a Canon 24-105 and it was very soft, even after I sent it back to Canon. I sold it for that reason.
     
  18. the max. aperture a tad small these days
    With the quality of high ISO images these days, this is exactly backwards.​
    Not necessarily, JDM. For example, when I'm shooting my daughter's recitals with my 5DII, I have to use use my 85/1.2 wide open at 1600, so even with an f/2.8 zoom I'd need at least 3200. With an f/4 zoom, I might as well forget it.
     
  19. Then go to 3200 and up....
    A little "noise" never hurt anybody.
    I have f/1.2 lenses and lots of F/2 to f/2.8 lenses and use them when appropriate, but we're talking about everyday use here, not special low-light cases.
     
  20. [W]e're talking about everyday use here, not special low-light cases.​
    True enough. That's why I qualified what I took to be your categorical claim with "not necessarily."
     
  21. I was, in my turn, reacting primarily to the categorical use of "these days" when it has never been more true that f/4 + IS will suffice for an astonishing range of shooting conditions where formerly superfast lenses were needed.
    Not that I wouldn't like to add an 85mm f/1.2 lens to my kit some (wealthy) day. :)
     
  22. I agree about ease of correction. It is more the lack of sharpness (everything is relative, I know!) that makes me want to look elsewhere. (Sharpness just happens to be something I particularly value; YMMV.)​
    Sure, everyone loves sharpness! What I love about the 24-105 is that its images are pretty easy to sharpen and clean up in post. You honestly can't say that about every lens.
    Like others here, I would greatly miss the reach of the 24-105 and its IS. I think I would miss the IS more than the reach. Another thing not discussed (?) is that the 24-105 gives you a bit of fl overlap with your 70-200. If you happen to be shooting right around 70mm, give or take, you'll probably appreciate this. I hate being forced to the limits of any lens' focal length range. Optical quality usually suffers, and the annoyance factor goes way up. I have a bit of overlap between each of my primary lenses (12-24 / 17-40 / 24-105 / 70-200), and I really like it that way.
    What's right for you? Nobody here can tell you. You simply have to go through your photos and figure out how many you take in the 70-105 range that you could no longer take without switching to your 70-200; how many you would have preferred to take at f/2.8 if your lens were that fast; how many required or benefitted from the IS, etc.
     
  23. To give your images from the 24-105mm the best chance to "stand out", make sure that you're shooting in Raw and using DLO (Digital Lens Optimization) software to convert your images. Digital Photo Professional, which ships any body you're likely to use with the 24-105mm does an excellent job of adjusting for CA, vignetting, softness, geometric distortions at every focal length and every aperture. DxO Optics Pro includes DLO and I've read that it's included with Lightroom. The improvement is like buying several new prime lenses.
     
  24. In fairness, if a lens requires 'cleaning up' in post to make the imagery 'pop', then that doesn't speak to it's virtues. I personally feel that the 'crispness' should be apparent before you touch a slider. I am satisfied with a lens when it is capable of producing imagery out of camera which is as sharp and contrasty as I need it. IMPE, the 24-105/4 was never that lens.
     
  25. ... make sure that you're shooting in Raw and using DLO (Digital Lens Optimization) software to convert your images​
    Yep, doing that (I'd be kind of embarrassed to be using a body like the 1Ds III and not shooting in raw, but then I know even professional photographers who use in-camera jpegs and don't shoot raw - though I don't get the impression that that is necessarily an informed choice) and LR has an optimisation option which I almost always use (though I sometimes quite like the natural vignetting you get with the 135mm L wide open, but that is straying off-topic). And I agree it makes a big difference.
    Some of the reach issue can be compensated by cropping, of course - which I realise is Not The Same Thing At All, but it is another way of compromising.
    What I love about the 24-105 is that its images are pretty easy to sharpen and clean up in post.​
    I'll be sure to try some extra sharpening, Sarah, thanks. But extra sharpening = more noise, does it not? That would be a bit of a killer for some of my shots (though I would/should probably be using the 85mm in low light anyway).
     
  26. Phil

    I purchased the 5D III when it was first released. At the very beginning it was only sold as a kit with the 24-105. I sold
    the lens online for $875. The price difference at the time was about $700

    In terms it being a fine lens. It is, but Canon has been updating many of their lenses lately - as the MP have increased
    over time, any individual lens weakness become more apparent.

    16-35 f2.8 was introduced in September 2001 the 16-35 f2.8 II was introduced in April 2007 or about 5.5 years
    70-00 f2.8 IS was introduced in September 2001, the 70-200 f2.8 IS II came out April 2010 or about 9.5 years

    24-105 lens IS was introduced in October 2005.

    When you compare the MTF chart and resolving power of the 2 versions of the 16-35 you will see a huge improvement.

    Now look at the MTF charts of the 24-70 II and the 24-105. I can really see the difference in sharpness.
     
  27. "In fairness, if a lens requires 'cleaning up' in post to make the imagery 'pop', then that doesn't speak to it's virtues. I personally feel that the 'crispness' should be apparent before you touch a slider."​
    You might then be the only serious photographer doing serious print work (assuming you do this) who believe that. Essentially every photographer, with the exception of a few specific approaches to a few particular genres, works images in post just as photographers did in the darkroom when working with film. I do this when I use the 24-105 and I do it when I use the 24-70 II, and I do it when I use a L or a non-L prime. If you shoot RAW, you must sharpen in post with any lens, and you will almost certainly want to at least make some curves adjustments.
     
  28. My experience with the 24-105 has been quite good over the last 4 years. In fact, if I was forced to own only one lens this would probably be it. It is just so versatile: the range is superb, the IS is great for hand-held shooting, the IQ is very good, and it is not significantly heavy. I've carried only this one lens (with a FF 5D2) on many extended trips, taken thousands of great images with it, and rarely felt lacking for another lens. With most other lenses you will with have to carry several, or give up something. Sure there are better lenses and I own many of them, but this one (24-105 f/4 IS) is my favorite since it works in so many shooting situations. A true work-horse. I will say though that if Canon produces as 24-70 f/2.8L IS for a decent price, I'd probably give it a look. I suggest you try renting the lenses you are considering for one week, shooting with them, comparing them to what you have, and then make your decision.
     
  29. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and the 85 1.2L, 50 1.8, 28 1.8 as primes and the Canon 17-40 F4L, Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC, Tamron 70-300 F4-5.6 VC and Sigma 70-200 F2.8.
    Out of all those lens the sharpest and funnest to use is hands down the Tamron 24-70 F2.8, followed closely by the Tamron 70-300 F4-5.6.
    If I was purley shooting for artisitic value nothing touches the 85 1.2L. It is not as sharp as the Tamron's which can at times be too sharp. The 85 1.2L is my least used because of its slow focus and extememly narrow DOF at 1.2 makes it really hard to focus. However, when i do get a good shot from the 85 1.2L it is often a great shot. The colors makes it look like an oil painting than a photo but it has a softer look than the really sharp look you get with VR.
    For the price vs performance the Tamon 70-300 VR is an absolutely amazing lens.
    I have test the Tamron 24-70 VR against the Canon 24-70 F2.8 I and It was very close. Overall, very close but honestly tyher edge with out VR would go to Canon L. However, the VR of the Tamron when needed in my opionion makes it surpass both the Canon 24-70 F2.8 I and II. When shooting handheld video the VR is absolutely a must have feauture....
    I also compared the 24-105 IS to the Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VR and The Canon did not meet the mark. The Canon 24-105 has so much distortion at 24mm and vertical and horizontial lines bowed awfully. My Canon 17-40 F4L blows away the Canon 24-105 at 24MM.
     
  30. Marcus Ian said:
    In fairness, if a lens requires 'cleaning up' in post to make the imagery 'pop', then that doesn't speak to it's virtues. I personally feel that the 'crispness' should be apparent before you touch a slider. I am satisfied with a lens when it is capable of producing imagery out of camera which is as sharp and contrasty as I need it. IMPE, the 24-105/4 was never that lens.​
    We're talking about D-SLRs systems here. "D" stands for digital. Whether the user realizes it or not, even the preview that you see in-camera has been digitally processed and someone at the maker has made choices about how the image will be processed for you. The system includes lens and in-camera processor and, for those of us that shoot in Raw, Raw conversion and post processing with software. The system is lens/body/software. It's no longer, lens/body to positive film. To get the best final image, many of us Expose To The Right in Raw in anticipation of improving our ability to pull up shadows, lower the overall level and add contrast. Many successful digital photographers look at the Raw file as a data file and we strive to obtain as much data as possible with the file origination.
    Digital Lens Optimization software takes into account how a lens interacts with each specific body that its likely to be used with. There is automated correction at every focal length and every aperture and different correction may be required for a 5D MkIII vs. a 7D or a 1DX. This is not because the lens is defective, but because all the parts of the system interact differently from body to body and lens to lens.
    Unfortunately, lenses are not typically tested using the manufacturer's DLO software. We see uncorrected images as if that's the way we use the camera and few knowledgeable users do that anymore. I wish that we could begin to see that sort of testing. I know that, in my case, when I found out about DLO software and applied it to my lenses, it had a dramatic positive impact in my satisfaction with my lenses.
     
  31. I have the 24-70 MK I and the 85 F1.8 and have owned the 24-105 and shot both versions of the 85 F1.2. So here are
    my thoughts

    The MK I 24-70 is a good lens but not a great one but on full frame it is noticeably better than the 24-105 I replaced with it
    some years ago. I have not had any issues with my lens but it is big and very heavy. If you shoot crop the 24-105 is
    probably fine but on full frame the 24-70 has sharper edges.

    The 85 F1.8 is not a bad lens and a great bargain at the price. Mine is best shot at F2 rather than f1.8 but it is very good
    value. I have looked for a while at the 85 F1.2 (both versions) and also at the Zeiss 85 F1.4. Of the three I liked the Zeiss
    best but really wanted AF. I have not taken the plunge as for $2000+ I wanted more.

    I own two copies of the FD 85 F1.2 and it was my favourite lens and I am not afraid of spending on good glass as my
    Leica lens collection shows. Somehow I have just not found the willingness to go with the 85 F1.2 as it feels a bit
    compromised. I always feel that a MK III would be what is needed for me. All three of the 85 s listed above are very
    good lenses - they just don't feel like great lenses.

    Not sure if this helps but it is my opinion
     
  32. I have the 24-70 MK I and the 85 F1.8 and have owned the 24-105 and shot both versions of the 85 F1.2. So here are
    my thoughts

    The MK I 24-70 is a good lens but not a great one but on full frame it is noticeably better than the 24-105 I replaced with it
    some years ago. I have not had any issues with my lens but it is big and very heavy. If you shoot crop the 24-105 is
    probably fine but on full frame the 24-70 has sharper edges.

    The 85 F1.8 is not a bad lens and a great bargain at the price. Mine is best shot at F2 rather than f1.8 but it is very good
    value. I have looked for a while at the 85 F1.2 (both versions) and also at the Zeiss 85 F1.4. Of the three I liked the Zeiss
    best but really wanted AF. I have not taken the plunge as for $2000+ I wanted more.

    I own two copies of the FD 85 F1.2 and it was my favourite lens and I am not afraid of spending on good glass as my
    Leica lens collection shows. Somehow I have just not found the willingness to go with the 85 F1.2 as it feels a bit
    compromised. I always feel that a MK III would be what is needed for me. All three of the 85 s listed above are very
    good lenses - they just don't feel like great lenses.

    Not sure if this helps but it is my opinion
     
  33. I have the 24-70 MK I and the 85 F1.8 and have owned the 24-105 and shot both versions of the 85 F1.2. So here are
    my thoughts

    The MK I 24-70 is a good lens but not a great one but on full frame it is noticeably better than the 24-105 I replaced with it
    some years ago. I have not had any issues with my lens but it is big and very heavy. If you shoot crop the 24-105 is
    probably fine but on full frame the 24-70 has sharper edges.

    The 85 F1.8 is not a bad lens and a great bargain at the price. Mine is best shot at F2 rather than f1.8 but it is very good
    value. I have looked for a while at the 85 F1.2 (both versions) and also at the Zeiss 85 F1.4. Of the three I liked the Zeiss
    best but really wanted AF. I have not taken the plunge as for $2000+ I wanted more.

    I own two copies of the FD 85 F1.2 and it was my favourite lens and I am not afraid of spending on good glass as my
    Leica lens collection shows. Somehow I have just not found the willingness to go with the 85 F1.2 as it feels a bit
    compromised. I always feel that a MK III would be what is needed for me. All three of the 85 s listed above are very
    good lenses - they just don't feel like great lenses.

    Not sure if this helps but it is my opinion
     
  34. I have the 24-70 MK I and the 85 F1.8 and have owned the 24-105 and shot both versions of the 85 F1.2. So here are
    my thoughts

    The MK I 24-70 is a good lens but not a great one but on full frame it is noticeably better than the 24-105 I replaced with it
    some years ago. I have not had any issues with my lens but it is big and very heavy. If you shoot crop the 24-105 is
    probably fine but on full frame the 24-70 has sharper edges.

    The 85 F1.8 is not a bad lens and a great bargain at the price. Mine is best shot at F2 rather than f1.8 but it is very good
    value. I have looked for a while at the 85 F1.2 (both versions) and also at the Zeiss 85 F1.4. Of the three I liked the Zeiss
    best but really wanted AF. I have not taken the plunge as for $2000+ I wanted more.

    I own two copies of the FD 85 F1.2 and it was my favourite lens and I am not afraid of spending on good glass as my
    Leica lens collection shows. Somehow I have just not found the willingness to go with the 85 F1.2 as it feels a bit
    compromised. I always feel that a MK III would be what is needed for me. All three of the 85 s listed above are very
    good lenses - they just don't feel like great lenses.

    Not sure if this helps but it is my opinion
     
  35. I have the 24-70 MK I and the 85 F1.8 and have owned the 24-105 and shot both versions of the 85 F1.2. So here are
    my thoughts

    The MK I 24-70 is a good lens but not a great one but on full frame it is noticeably better than the 24-105 I replaced with it
    some years ago. I have not had any issues with my lens but it is big and very heavy. If you shoot crop the 24-105 is
    probably fine but on full frame the 24-70 has sharper edges.

    The 85 F1.8 is not a bad lens and a great bargain at the price. Mine is best shot at F2 rather than f1.8 but it is very good
    value. I have looked for a while at the 85 F1.2 (both versions) and also at the Zeiss 85 F1.4. Of the three I liked the Zeiss
    best but really wanted AF. I have not taken the plunge as for $2000+ I wanted more.

    I own two copies of the FD 85 F1.2 and it was my favourite lens and I am not afraid of spending on good glass as my
    Leica lens collection shows. Somehow I have just not found the willingness to go with the 85 F1.2 as it feels a bit
    compromised. I always feel that a MK III would be what is needed for me. All three of the 85 s listed above are very
    good lenses - they just don't feel like great lenses.

    Not sure if this helps but it is my opinion
     
  36. I have the 24-70 MK I and the 85 F1.8 and have owned the 24-105 and shot both versions of the 85 F1.2. So here are
    my thoughts

    The MK I 24-70 is a good lens but not a great one but on full frame it is noticeably better than the 24-105 I replaced with it
    some years ago. I have not had any issues with my lens but it is big and very heavy. If you shoot crop the 24-105 is
    probably fine but on full frame the 24-70 has sharper edges.

    The 85 F1.8 is not a bad lens and a great bargain at the price. Mine is best shot at F2 rather than f1.8 but it is very good
    value. I have looked for a while at the 85 F1.2 (both versions) and also at the Zeiss 85 F1.4. Of the three I liked the Zeiss
    best but really wanted AF. I have not taken the plunge as for $2000+ I wanted more.

    I own two copies of the FD 85 F1.2 and it was my favourite lens and I am not afraid of spending on good glass as my
    Leica lens collection shows. Somehow I have just not found the willingness to go with the 85 F1.2 as it feels a bit
    compromised. I always feel that a MK III would be what is needed for me. All three of the 85 s listed above are very
    good lenses - they just don't feel like great lenses.

    Not sure if this helps but it is my opinion
     
  37. I'll be sure to try some extra sharpening, Sarah, thanks. But extra sharpening = more noise, does it not? That would be a bit of a killer for some of my shots (though I would/should probably be using the 85mm in low light anyway).​
    It depends. You can use an edge sharpening tool (e.g. PS's "smart sharpen"), which will contribute minimally, if at all, to noise. However, you misunderstand my point. I'm not saying the 24-105 needs extra sharpening. I'm saying that its softness sharpens well, unlike the softness of many lenses that does not. It has to do with the pattern of softness, which on the 24-105 is very Gaussian. Without getting too mathematical on you, if you tune the radius appropriately and don't overblow the strength (like too many people do), the sharpening algorithms work superbly well for miniscule amounts of Gaussian blur as in the 24-105.
    FAIW, I find the bokeh of a lens to be a good marker of what will sharpen well in post, as the bokeh says much about the lens' spherical aberration. Specifically, I'm looking for a "neutral" bokeh, whereby an OOF specular highlight produces a uniform spot that neither fades out nor brightens at the edges. Good control for CA is also important. A lens with a neutral bokeh and good control for CA will produce images that sharpen very nicely, in my experience.
     
  38. In fairness, if a lens requires 'cleaning up' in post to make the imagery 'pop', then that doesn't speak to it's virtues. I personally feel that the 'crispness' should be apparent before you touch a slider. I am satisfied with a lens when it is capable of producing imagery out of camera which is as sharp and contrasty as I need it. IMPE, the 24-105/4 was never that lens.​
    Marcus, in all fairness, digital images are first blurred (anti-aliasing filter) and then must be resharpened somehow, so nothing "pops" right out of the camera, unless its a jpg. Even then, sharpness is a property partially of the sharpening settings. I shoot RAW (I think you do too?), so sharpening is actually irrelevant in the camera. I sharpen in post, where I feel I have more control. Because I'm doing the sharpening myself, rather than letting the camera do it, I've become somewhat attuned to the lens properties that make the process easier and the results better. A Gaussian blur pattern seems to be very important in this regard. In fact sharpening algorithms are at their very best when correcting for diffraction blur at small apertures (i.e. almost purely Gaussian)!
    It's worth noting that you do a lot of large aperture work, and I must admit that sharpening algorithms do not work as well in those circumstances as they do for the smaller apertures I more commonly use. For the work I typically see of yours, indeed the 24-105 would not be the best choice, not that I regard the 24-70 I as necessarily a better choice. For the smaller aperture work I more typically do, the 24-105 rarely disappoints. Its biggest strength, for me, is its unusual consistency across aperture and focal length, which makes my postprocessing work much easier and more consistent -- and of course better. Maybe this lens is simply easier for me to "know" (in the Zen sense). Maybe it's one of those "YMMV" things.
    As experienced photographers, you and I both know that there is never such thing as a universally "best" lens for all photography by all photographers. Right? It all comes down to knowing your needs, knowing which equipment will satisfy them, and indeed learning how each lens must be used. That's why I pointed out to the OP that nobody here can tell him which lens will work best for him. We can only talk "around" the subject, commenting on properties of the various lenses he's considering. Only he can decide which lenses will be best for him. My only point about the 24-105 is that it can be a very good lens (even a very sharp lens whose images "pop") to some photographers.
     
  39. That's why I pointed out to the OP that nobody here can tell him which lens will work best for him. We can only talk "around" the subject, commenting on properties of the various lenses he's considering. Only he can decide which lenses will be best for him.​
    That is (and was always) well understood, Sarah - and I have found the "talking around" very helpful. Thanks for your sharpening-up on sharpening, BTW: I'm super-conscious that my PP ability / knowledge is still in the foothills of a Himalayan learning curve.
     
  40. Not to worry... I don't know anybody who's reached the summit, and few venture beyond the base camp. Tip: Try setting your radius for approx. the subjective width of blur of a sharp edge (or perhaps a bit less) when extremely pixel peeped, and then adjust the sharpening strength as necessary, so as not to get halos. At least that's what I do.
    Oh, and FAIW, I own the 100/2, which by all accounts seems to be the big sister of the 85/1.8. I'm quite happy with that lens. Given that I don't ordinarily do stuff like stand in the rain with my camera, I find it quite sturdy enough and very fast to focus. Oh, and it's one of those "neutral bokeh" lenses I like in post. :)
    Good luck fine-tuning your outfit!
     

Share This Page