changing lenses - advice needed

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jonathan-eyal, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. hi everyone,
    i have a major dilemma with my lenses, i thought maybe some opinions could straighten it out:
    right now i'm using a 50mm 1.2 and a 70-200 IS f4 on my canon 5d mark 3 for portrait and landscape mainly i found the 50 1.2 very good, but doesn't merit the price, and the 70-200 to be a great portrait lens but not as sharp as i would have wanted it. so i'm thinking about selling those and getting a prime telephoto (85, 100), a multi purpose zoom and a cheap but good 50 (1.4?) in a budget of 2000-2500 $.
    what do you say? which lenses should i get? should i keep the 70-200?
  2. My 70-200 IS f4 is as sharp as it can be. This means that either yours is defective, your technique is flawed, or your expectations are unrealistic.
  3. I wouldn't expect much to be sharper in the tele range than the 70-200/4 IS, even primes have a hard time keeping up. Unless of course something is wrong w/ your copy (always a possibility), that lens should be capable of imagery so sharp it cuts.
    As far as the rest of it, a Sig 50/1.4 HSM + a Tamron 24-70/2.8VC (or a 24-105/4L) + an 85/1.8USM would fill all your stated needs, and fit into your budget.
  4. My 70-200/4 L IS is very sharp as well. In fact, it's my most-used lens. I have L primes in its FL range, but they don't get much use simply because the zoom is so good.
  5. +1 Peter E. My copy of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM was sharp from f/4. I replaced it with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM because better bokeh was important. But, both zoom lenses are the best 70-200 variants currently available to Canon users.
    For landscapes and especially portraits, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM would fit your budget and be an all around zoom lens. So, sell you Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM. Buyers on average will offer you around $800.
    Sell your Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM and rethink your focal length requirements outside of the 70-200 focal ranges. Perhaps the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM might be a compliance alternative for your needs?
  6. My 70-200 F4IS is also fine in terms of sharpness. That said it is not my favourite portrait lens as I prefer the 85F1.8 and
    the 100 F2.8 IS. This has nothing to do with the sharpness of the zoom it is just that I prefer using a prime for portraits as
    it makes you move. The shallower DoF of the faster primes helps but i do not really use my 70-200 F2.8 much for
    portraits either. You will not really improve on sharpness (in anything other than pixel peeping) by going to a prime but
    you may find you prefer using a prime - try shooting your zoom at only one FL and see how you like it.
  7. My 70-200/4 non IS is beautifully sharp, there may well be another explanation. Posting some images may be helpful.
    I've got the 85/1.8 and that too is a very good lens that would make a good addition to what you have.
  8. Naaah, Yoni - the 70-200mm f/4 IS is silly-sharp. Maybe some AFMA is required? That, or maybe having a critical look at your shooting technique.
  9. Like the other posters, my 70-200 4L IS is the sharpest tele zoom I have owned, and I've owned many. It would be very difficult to best with any lens, zooms or prime. I can only think of one lens that would edge it out: EF 100 2.8L IS USM. However, for portraits, I'd prefer better bokeh of a 50 1.2L or 85 1.2L over a little more sharpness.
  10. Whatever your choice for new lens, I'd be inclined to keep what you have.
  11. My 70-200 f/4 IS is also very sharp. Also, tests have shown that it is one of the sharpest zooms in production. If you are finding it not sharp, either you have a bad copy or you have a problem of technique.
  12. hi ,
    thanks for all the replays! , i should have explained - the 70-200 is sharp, sure. but compared to a prime 100 MM like the canon 100 mm 2.8 l is macro or the Zeiss 100 mm f/2.0 makro-planar? because these were the options i thought about when replacing the 70-200 (prime instead of zoom) + selling my expensive 50 1.2.
    so - no argument about the sharpness of the 70-200...
    what do you say ? what are my options given that i need a telephoto , a multi purpose and a simple normal lens ?
  13. You are right that the 50mm f/1.2 is an odd choice for landscape. It is also not necessarily the best thing for portrait work unless you are into using this shorter focal length for such things.
    I'm surprised at your report that the 70-200mm f/4 L (IS or not?) isn't sharp enough. This is actually a tremendously sharp lens that has quite sufficient resolution to produce prints of whatever size you are likely to make. I happen to have the IS (and non-IS) version of the lens and the 135mm f/2 L - and there is really no value in switching to the prime here for better resolution. Yes, there might be a tiny bit more resolution if things work out just right... but the difference is completely insignificant (both are great) and there is no reason to give up the flexibility of the zoom in order to get it. (And the zoom is certainly going to produce a sharper image than a cropped 135mm prime. shot.)
    Within your budget range, some thoughts:
    • I would keep the 70-200mm zoom. Identify why you are not getting the sharpness you expect from it since this lens is capable of producing excellent sharpness. Is the lens out of adjustment? Is there some technique issue that is impairing sharpness Have you worked out an effective post-processing workflow that maximizes image sharpness?
    • From what you are saying, I suspect that the 50mm f/1.4 would be absolutely fine for you. Since I've expressed my opinion about the f/1.2 v f/1.4 issue - at great length! - in another current discussion in the forum, I'll keep it short here. In the ways that will matter to you, the f/1.4 lens is an excellent performer.
    • Considering your budget issues, if you are looking for a prime that can work for portraits, consider carefully the EF 85mm f/1.8 lens. This lens is an outstanding performer at a reasonable price, and is one of Canon's best price/performance lenses. The odds are that you could use this and most people will never know that you did not use the 85mm f/1.2 L. As you probably have found out, there are some fine non-L 100mm options as well.
    • As to a multi purpose zoom, things are a bit more complex. Again considering price, one bet could be the previous model of the 24-70mm f/2.8 L zoom. While the newer version seems to be "better" in some real ways, the older lens has long been a standby for people doing what you do. I'd recommend that you also consider the 24-105mm f/4 L IS, though you may be less pleased with its portrait performance if you want to use it rather than the 85mm for that purpose, primarily because its bokeh isn't outstanding for that sort of thing.
  14. hi Mitchell ,
    thanks a lot! i'll read your post on the 50 mm 1.4 , i think that that combination (50 1.4 + 24-70 2.8 + 85 1.8 or a 100mm) should fit my needs.
    thanks again.
  15. "24-70 2.8"

    If you don't find the 70-200/4 IS to be sharp enough for your taste, why do think this zoom will be?
  16. All this gear discussion and lens name dropping from a first time poster who just signed up today smells a lot to me like a trolling/stir the pot type of post wanting people to waste their breath debating the merits of various lenses. If your question is indeed legitimate, then my advice to you would be to:
    1) Look at the the focal lengths you want to shoot.
    2) Determine if you have a need for a faster aperture lens in any of those focal lengths.
    3) Choose from any of the lenses you have already listed, they are all good. Prioritize your spending on what is most important to you.
    4) Go out and make pictures.
  17. +1 Sheldon Nalos.
  18. Don Baccus -
    i don't own a 24-70, yet, but given the reviews i think it safe to say it's a very sharp lens.
    Sheldon Nalos & Peter J ,
    you are more than welcome to visit my flicker at
    and i have to say that i find it kind of weird that you think that if i wasn't a member until now it means i'm trolling... i was asking for advise, is that off topic?
    common sense i have already , the advise i needed is the experience of other photographers with these lenses to see that they really meet my needs.
  19. You have two of Canon's best lenses. Keep 'em. You need perhaps a 28mm to fill out your kit. Worry more about shooting photographs and less about lenses. They're just stuff. Good luck.
  20. You said your key criteria are portrait and landscape.
    The 50mm is not one I would recommend for landscape work, it's too limiting, you'll find that you often don't have a choice to stand where you need to stand to capture the view you want to use.
    I shoot landscapes primarily and find that I only rarely use my 70-200. To be fair and clear, my personal style is to do landscapes with a wide angle lens. My "walk around" lens for years was a 24-105 f4, it does a solid job at both landscapes and portrait work. My 2nd most use lens is the 16-36 f2.8. My 3rd most lens is the 70-200 it gives me the reach I need when I want to do candid shots of people on the street.
    For landscape and portrait work, I would recommend something like the 24-70 f2.8 or the 24-105 f4.
  21. yoni - please don't fall into the trap that you need a bag full of zoom lenses as some suggest. It's complete nonsense.
  22. yoni - please don't fall into the trap that you need a bag full of prime lenses as some suggest. It's complete nonsense.
  23. Ok. Now I’m glad I asked because it seems unanimous that the 70-200 is too good to sell off, and after reading all these posts I understand it will be silly to let it go. I don't intend to fill my bag with zoom, on the contrary, I like primes better but switching between a 24 and a 50 all the time is not practical…
    I decided to sell my 50 1.2 and replace it with a used 50 1.4 + 135 f2 , and save up for a multipurpose zoom ( or get the multipurpose and save for 135, I’ll see what’s on the market…)
    Thanks again, the replays really helped me.
  24. yoni - please don't fall into the trap that you need a bag full of zoom lenses as some suggest. It's complete nonsense.
    yoni - please don't fall into the trap that you need a bag full of prime lenses as some suggest. It's complete nonsense.​
    Funny, perhaps, but neither claim is "complete nonsense." It all depends on your photographic needs.
    I prefer a bag full of both. :)

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