Any of the discontinued EF mount lenses really stand out ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by awahlster, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    I'm getting close to buying into a 7D or 60D based DSLR system. And while I need no help with chosing focal lenghts etc. I do wonder if any of the huge number of discontinued Canon EF mount lenses stand out as something I should consider when I get to buying.
    I am interested in lenses from 10mm to 300mm in focal lenght since I am trying to replace a Canon FD mount system that I have that runs from 17mm to 600mm.
    I'll be keeping a couple of my longer FD mount lenses to be used with a Micro 4/3 body since the 2X crop is nothing but a plus for long telephoto work
  2. In my book, the killer classic defunct EF lenses are:
    • 50 1.0L USM
    • 200 1.8L USM
    • 300 2.8L USM
    • 300 4L USM
    • 28-80 2.8-4.0L
    • 28-70 2.8L USM
    • 80-200 2.8L
    I'm sure there are many other opinions. Many designs from the 80s are still in production are are good values (24 2.8, 28 2.8, 50 2.5 CM, 35 2.0, 135 2.8 SF).
  3. Also to be considered at good prices are the 17-35/2.8 L, 50-200/3.5-4.5 L, 20-35/2.8 L. A bargain L lens that sounds like it is probably only marginally better than the non-L lenses is the 100-300/5.6 L. A very good non-L lens that I have used myself is the 70-210/3.5-4.5 USM.
  4. I don't think there are many discontinued EF lenses which are preferable to current lenses. The only reason to go for the older lenses would be to save money if you could find them used.
    The original 50/1.8 is just about the only lens I can think of that's better than it's current counterpart (50/1.8 II). They're optically the same, but the new lens is all plastic to lower cost and lacks a distance scale and focus ring. It's the only case I can think of where Canon "downgraded" a lens.
  5. I'll add a second vote for the old, but still surprisingly good non-L Canon 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5. I'm currently saving up for a new L f/4 IS version but till then, this one has been holding it's own pretty well. Good glass at a bargain price but the newer zooms with IS are great.
    My old, heavily used, 1995 vintage AF Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 macro just rips on my 7D. As long as it continues to work, it will always be in my EOS bag. Pin sharp with gorgeous bokeh.
  6. Mark, I'll second Peter's endorsements of the 80-200/2.8 L and the 300/4 L. The zoom has very similar IQ to that of the FD 80-200/4 L, as the prime does to the FD 300/4 L.
    I'm afraid that I haven't used any other discontinued EF lenses, though.
  7. +1 with Bob, I don't see any lens , Except for the 50mm 1.8, That has not been improved in the latter version.
  8. The EF 300/4 L IS is optically inferior to the earlier 300/4 L, according to all the reviews I've read.
    In any case, Mark's question wasn't whether there are any discontinued EF lens that are better than the current offerings, but rather whether there are any that are worthwhile to buy today. And clearly there are.
  9. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    gosh I like a healthy debate!
  10. I have the Canon 28-70 f2.8 L which is an earlier incarnation of the current 24-70 f 2.8 L. It is a very good lens and sometimes comes out better in tests than the current model - maybe because it is missing the dodgier wide angle range.
  11. I use the EF 24-85mm usm at times, more on full frame. But sometimes on a Rebel for people photography, where it has a nice reach. It's smaller and lighter then the 15-85 or 17-85, so it's a nice fit on the Rebel. Focus is quick also.
  12. Canon has definitely gone for a cash grab by releasing series II L lenses. Sure it's good to see they are committed to making improvements but the incremental change in image quality can really only be made justifiable by pros.
    Canon certainly has the buying public convinced that IS is necessary in ALL photography but unfortunately taking cheap glass and adding IS to make an expensive lens is counterproductive to me. I'd rather Canon take the money they charge for IS and put it back into the glass. In several lenses, including the 24-105/f4 L IS and 70-200/fx L IS, Canon is able to make far greater profits on the IS feature alone. Yes, it would be handy to have one general purpose IS lens in one's bag for those truly rare occasions when you need IS, but not every lens in your bag needs to have it.
    You can buy at least two and maybe even three of the old L lenses for the price of one new one. I'd rather have the high quality and flexibility of the three opposed to the incrementally better quality of the one!
    As for your choice of bodies I have a comment. After all your years of film use I'd consider a 5D or 5D II especially since you are considering a 4/3 body for your telephoto work. The full frame bodies will utilize more fully any full frame glass you may be considering for superwide, wide and normal focal lengths. I don't mean to harp but Canon is insisting on producing lots of cheap EF-S glass and overcharging for the included IS feature. It is also noteworthy that the EOS mount can accept just about any lens with an adapter so those niche use lenses that you might consider can be used at their true focal length on a full frame body.
  13. Of course, the one we all forgot...the Canon EF 200/2.8 L (version 1).
  14. Every older, discontinued lens from Canon that I have personally is less capable than its replacement. Having said that, however, sometimes the older ones can be good buys if the prices of the new ones put them temporarily or permanently out of reach.
    For just one example, I continue to use my older xxD cameras, although my 5D sees more use when out and about. On those cameras, my older EF-S 17-855 IS is a fine lens. If I were to get a 7D or some such, I'd clearly want the EF-S 15-85mm too. Still, the old lens is good and now easier to afford than the newer one.
  15. the 70-200 version 1 lenses are great
  16. Hi Mark, I have a lens that is discontinued that I think is just fantastic. It is the EF 80-200 F2.8L. I also have the EF 85 F1.8 and the EF 200 F2.8L II and this lens is equally sharp with equally high contrast. I am no longer a pixel peeper so I can't rate them dot for dot. Some lenses I know you have experience with, the FDn 80-200 F4L and the Tokina AT-X 80-200 F2.8 in FD mount, This lens is better than those two by "no contest". The down side of the lens is the rear element is right at the back of the lens so no Canon brand teleconverter will work. I did try a friends' Tamron teleconverter and the results were much poorer than the EF 200 F2.8L and the Canon 1.4x. Hope this helps
  17. Mark, the EF 400/5.6 L will eventually be discontinued...but why wait? It's fabulous.
    The 200/2.8 L (original) and 80-200/2.8 L, are fabulous as others said.
  18. I have to agree with the overpricing of the new series II L lens.

    I think I need to get a $1500 100-400/5.6L-IS before it too is upgraded with a $2500 piece of kit.

    I have heard that the 300/4L is better than the 300/4L-IS as well. . but frankly unless you are really good with a tripod; that is one lens that really wants the IS function.
  19. I have the EF 28-70 f/2.8L, 200 f/2.8L I, and the 300 f/4L, all excellent lenses and regularly used on the 5D MkII and 1D MkII.
  20. Well, I own two discontinued EF lenses, but would I recommend them to anyone - well, it depends.
    One is the 50mm f/1.0L lens - horrendously slow focus, and the current f/1.2 lens outperforms it in every way, except one - the ability to use f/1.0. In fact, it only makes sense to use this lens wide open, as the 1.2 (or the 1.4 lens for that matter) outperform it in every other way. But, if you really, really need the most outrageous bokeh and the thinnest focus area a 50mm lens can provide, then by all means get this one.
    The other is the 200mm f/1.8L lens - which is one of my favourite lenses, but again - only when used wide open, because otherwise other, current lenses will outperform it being lighter, cheaper and/or offering IS. So, again, if you have the need, and you can afford it, yes...get this one - but otherwise just get one of the current lenses.
  21. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    I've thought long and hard about going into a 1.6X system or a full frame DSLR and it all comes down to money. Plain and simple I don't make money with my cameras I use them to enjoy.
    So if I go to a 1.6X body with a 300mm f4.0L IS and a 1.4X I get the same approx magnification of some bird as I currently get with my 500mm f4.5L S.S.C. and 1.4X-A
    If I try to do this in full frame the cost is astronomical in comparision.
    The Micro 4/3 Body is to be able to keep using my 400mm f4.5 nFD as a Bird lens. This would become the wifes camera basically.
    I was just wondering what if any of the older lenses had a good rep. Sure new is always better. But I am of the smaller camp that believes a great photo is made by the photographer not his or her equipment. Afterall my main system is currently the Manual Focus Canon FD system c(1971-1986). And I can't say I have ever thought a shot wasn't good enough because of the lens I used. My technic sure all the time but the IQ not hardly.
    Thanks for the suggestions guys I made up a little list.

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