Is there such a thing as a Canon Sharp Wide Angle?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by deans, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Are there any Canon wide angles out there that will come close to the sharpness levels of the Canon 70-200mm f4L IS? I do very little sharpening on images from the the Canon 70-200mm and a lot of sharpening for the Canon 17-40mm L. If not Canon, are there others to consider? I can't afford the Zeiss 21mm and the Nikon 14-24mm is just to big and bulky for hiking around with. Am I out of luck?
     
  2. Telephoto lenses are always superior to wide angle SLR lenses in terms of sharpness -- it's a feature of their lens design. That said, the wide L primes are very, very good -- noticeable better than the 17-40mm zoom and non-L primes. And there is also the highly-regarded EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM lens. These optics are heavy and pricey, though.
    If you can use APS-C-only lenses, the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 ulta-wide zoom also leaves little to be desired in regards to sharpness.
     
  3. Well, the answer to your title question is "Yes," but you'll really have to pay.
    If money isn't an issue, there are several good options that can be put on a Canon. You can spend a lot on the Nikon 14-24 (I love it on my 5DII), but as you note it's a huge lens and of course it doesn't autofocus on Canon bodies. Or you can spend a fortune on the Zeiss 21mm, perhaps the only EOS-fittable lens sharper than the Nikon 14-24 at that focal length; again, you won't have autofocus. Or you can wait for the TS-E 17mm or 24mm, but again, the price is very steep and they're not autofocus. Your fourth really expensive choice, the 24L II does offer autofocus but ouch, that price.
    If the question is "Is there such a thing as an affordable wide-angle that's as sharp as the 70-200 f4L IS?" I'd have to say "No."
     
  4. Are there any Canon wide angles out there that will come close to the sharpness levels of the Canon 70-200mm f4L IS?
    No.
     
  5. No - I replaced the 17-40 F4 with the 16-35 F2.8 II and while sharper the lens does not compare to the 70-200 F2.8 which is similar to the 70-200 F4.
     
  6. The 14/2.8L II is a superb lens.
     
  7. My experience is this
    I think the 35 f1.4L is pretty sharp, and beats my 16-35 f2.8L II.
    But I prefer non Canon 3rd party manual lenses up to 50mm.
    I have the Contax Zeiss 18mm f4, which I think is sharper and better than the 16-35, but not the sharpest Zeiss.
    I have borrowed a friend's Zuiko Olympus 24mm/f2.8 wich I thought was superb and is not expensive
    And I have just bought, but not yet had delivered, the new Zeiss 25mm 2.8, Nikon fit (with adapter), which I am hoping to be my number 1 wide lens - I will post some pics when I have it. This has been reviewed as good or better as the Canon 24mm f1.4L Mk II (although obviously not as fast), but is less than half the price.
    Some old Leica glass is good too. I have the Leica 21mm f4 Super Angulon which I am sure is shaper than my wide angle Canons. The Olympus 21mm and 28mm f2 lenses are both great travel lenses, small light and fast wide angles, but as nice as they are I cannot claim they are shaper than the Canon lenses.
    You are right about the telephotos. Some Canon telephotos are razor sharp, and of course that is partly a feature of the lens. I have the Caon 135mm f2L, and the 70-200mm f2.8L II. Both are exceptional and I have no complaints about them (apart from size and weight).
     
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  9. The difference in sharpness between the 17-40 and 16-35 is not that great - I tested both lenses specifically for landscape work and the conclusion was that the slight improvement in sharpness did not justify the huge difference in price. If I shot weddings, it would be a different story, but for landscapes where you have to stop down the lens anyway, there really is no difference at all beyond f8.
    Canon needs to get their act together with wide angle lenses though. It is a shame that we can't get an excellent lens from them for landscape work.
     
  10. Ian is right , I use the 24 f1.4 first version my advise Dean go to your favorite dealer and take a few test shots.
     
  11. How wide do you want? I have a number of Zeiss MF lenses, including the 21, and it is true that the 21 is stunning. However, though I seldom see much written about the Canon 28mm 2.8, it is a good lens. No, not as sharp as the 50 1.4 or some of the super telephotos, but a very usable lens. The desert plant in my portfolio was shot with the 28 2.8. This was shot nearly wide open to throw the red rock peak out of focus, yet even below the best aperture I find it acceptably sharp.
    If you want wider and sharper you are going to have to pay in terms of dollars and bulk. The biggest limitation of SLRs, in my opinion, is the necessary clearance for the mirror swing, which requires retrofocus lens designs at the wide end, making highly corrected wides to be complex, expensive, and large.
     
  12. I use Canon EF 28/2.8 and Sigma 20/1.8 and have no complaints about sharpness. Certainly no need to apply "a lot of sharpening" (sharpness 3-4 in DPP). I don't know about the 70-200mm though, but have a Tamron 90mm macro with excellent reputation for sharpness, and there's no difference in the amount of sharpening required. Perhaps you could post some examples?
     
  13. May consider Sigma 12-24.
     
  14. As sharp as the 70-200 probably not. But much sharper than your 17-40 ABSOLUTELY!
    You probably have a dud ( Bad/Soft Copy ) of the 17-40. Canon has a QC consistency problem no doubt. I love Canon, but it is what it is. I have had several bad lenses brand new. They had to be either recalibrated, re-built or replaced.
    Google "Canon Soft Copy Lens" and you'll see what I mean. Now there will be a bunch of "Experts" chiming in saying "There's no such thing as a bad lens from Canon, only bad photographers". They dont' seem to get that I can take two copies of the very same lens on the same body with the same settings and techniques and get very different results. It Happens.
    So my first advice is to send in your lens for recalibration/repair. However, my 17-40 was not repairable, brand new. Canon just couldn't get it to work. So, I ebayed it and replaced it.
    Here are some lenses that are much sharper than the Canon 17-40.
    Tamron 17-35 F2.8 Full frame and less than half the price at about $275
    Canon 16-35 2.8
    and if you're using a crop body
    Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4
    Canon 10-22
    Sigma 10-20
    All of these will be much sharper than any 17-40 on it's best day.
     
  15. Oscar brings up an interesting factor concerning image sharpness. How good a job does Canon's in-camera/DPP sharpening render an image from a "good" Canon lens like the EF-S 17-85mm (once aberations are corrected in DPP) as compared to an "excellent" L-series lens on a 30D, 40D or 50D? Would it be that noticeable in an 8X10 print?
     
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Ditto: Ian and Manfred.
    My EF24/F1.4L, is excellent in this regard
    WW
     
  17. Not sure if OP has a FF or a Crop body, but if it's Crop what about EF-S 10-22mm?
    It's a pretty sharp lens. Haven't had a chance to compare it directly to the 70-200mm, but a lot of people seem to like it.
    Just my $.02
     
  18. On the 16-35 II being sharper than the 17-40 F4 this was not really apparent with the first gen 16-35 F2.8. I examined a few and decided that the 17-40 was a sharp. When I upgraded to the 16-35 F2.8 II I had both lenses for a while and the 17-40 F4 was not as sharp. Now this analysis is based on full frame - on an APS-C sensor I suspect there is no noticable difference as the main thing I noticed was edge sharpness which will not appear on an APS-C sensor. You should probably indicate the body you are using as many of the lenses and comments in this post are based on APS-C sensors. With these sensors my opinion is that the 16-35 Canon or 12-24 Nikon will not be worth the extra money as you are only using the central part of the lens. You should try an MF lens before you buy one as they are more tricky to focus on modern DSLRs that they were in the days of split screen focusing screens. Zeiss lenses are excellent and very sharp as is the 14mm F2.8 Canon which I have shot with and was very impressed with (the Sigma 14mm is a little bit soft and distorts - but is much cheaper for the limited number of shots I use it for).
     
  19. Hi. I have the 28mm f2.8 and in every lens test I ran with it it is a bit sharper than the 50mm f1.4 at any comparable aperture. My 17-40mm was equivalent to the 16-35mm f2.8 at identical apertures, and I did try more than 3 of that lens. I just could not justify the additional expense of the 2.8. The 28mm f2.8 always impresses me, esp. for the price.
    David
     
  20. The 24mm f1.4 is excellent. So is the 35mm f1.4, but I don't consider that a true wide angle.

    I also have the 20mm and the 28mm, and the older 17-35mm, which is better than the 17-40. None of these compare to the 24mm.

    Without meaning to stir a controversy, let's keep in mind that process lenses are better than prime or zoom lenses. In the large format world, many 60 year old lenses are better than any of these little zooms, partly because they are process- i.e. nothing glass moves in these lenses. The best way to focus is with a bellows.

    After that, prime lenses are better than zoom lenses. Even the best zooms are usually only at their best at minimum zoom.

    Finally, why are zoom lenses, the worst of all, so ubiquitous? The answer is creative versatility, and their appeal to the mass market, not quality. Whatever happened to 'sneaker zoom', if you really care about image quality?
     
  21. That Tokina AT-X is tack sharp... sharper than the 24mm lens of the 24-70 L. I have a friend who shoots both and he was showing me comparison shots of the same view with the two different lenses and there was a noticable difference in the sharpness. Both were sharp, but that Tokina really tolds it's own. Brand-loyalty is a fools game.
     
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    Just because it's sharp doesn't mean much. How's the color, the contrast? and most importantly, how will it hold up if you want to actually use it? I'm sure it's fine if you're into doing lens tests in your backyard, but if you're in the field, you need to have 100% confidence in your gear. Maybe I'm a fool, but I just stick with Canon lenses.
     
  23. I am having the exact same dilemma at the moment. I've pretty much identified the 70-200 (f4, IS) as my next Telephoto zoom upgrade, however I really can't decide on what to get as a day to day lens to replace my kit lens.
    I'm currently shooting with a 50D. My day to day lens is still the 18-55 I got with my 350D, even though at the moment I've stolen my brother's EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 under the pretense of trying it out (he only uses his camera when travelling).
    Now the thing is I was going to buy the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 myself too as on paper it seems like the obvious choice and is priced decently, however I was really unimpressed by the quality of the images. The resolution really suffers at anything below (wider than) f8, which pretty much makes it a useless lens in my opinion. Now, it might be true that we got a dud lens too, however when paying that kind of money you'd expect some decent QC.
    I also have an 85mm f1.8 - I use this as my money maker (literally) for fashion and portraits. I have never had a disappointing result with this lens, and the resolution is mind boggling - you zoom in to 300% and can see your reflection in the subject's eye). Is there any way to get to that quality for a wide lens?
    At this stage I'm seriously considering going old school by getting something between a prime between 18 and 25mm to have something seriously fast and with high quality in my arsenal and then just getting the 17-40mm f4L as a day to day lens because from what I've heard it is very good value for money.
    So I'm just as lost basically, however I'm willing to try out third party lenses if needs be... the question is: are there wide lenses which are as sharp as the 85mm?
     
  24. Which camera (sensor size) do you use, Dean?
    For full frame I can highly recommend the 28/2.8 but it will be a normal lens on 1.6x sensor.
    A wide alternative is the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX. I am very pleased with it and I believe it has better sharpness than most zooms. Check these full size images I took (EOS 5D), copy and paste url instead of click (sorry - it is to circumvent my website hotlink block):
    http://www.lightningwizard.com/temp/20081030_03.JPG (stars, f/2.0)
    http://www.lightningwizard.com/temp/20081114_110.JPG (Alhambra, f/4.0)
     
  25. The Canon 14mm f/2.8 II is excellent. I have it and it is simply amazing. Check the reviews on fredmiranda for other comments. You lose a little corner sharpness wide open but who cares except sites like 16.9.net that way exaggerate the difference with the Nikon to sell their adapter?
     
  26. You lose a little corner sharpness wide open but who cares​
    Well, call me silly but when I spend more than $1000 on a lens for use on a 21 megapixel camera so that I can make 24x36 enlargements, I do.
    I'm not sure how in unmanipulated 100% crops any site can "way exaggerate the difference" between the Canons and the Nikon 14-24, but others who do care should at least have a look:
    http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/nikon1424_17mm/nikon1424_17mm1.html
    (As I noted near the top of this thread, I use the Nikon 14-24 on my Canon 5DII and I'm very pleased.)
     
  27. Maybe it's exaggerated because looking at 100% crops is mainly just an exercise for the measurebating pixel peepers and you will not likley find any appreciable difference in print. You posted the wrong link to compare the 14mm f/2.8 II by the way. For me, I'd rather have AF and a small package than the huge Nikon 14-24 and wait a year for their funky adapter. To each his own. I'm happy for you and your 14-24. The lenses don't differ that much stopped down a bit, which is the way I use them for landscape. At f/2.8 I'm really not looking at sharpness in the corners with the 14mm lens as it's usually out of the plane of focus anyway. Call me silly I guess.
     
  28. Maybe it's exaggerated because looking at 100% crops is mainly just an exercise for the measurebating pixel peepers and you will not likley find any appreciable difference in print. You posted the wrong link to compare the 14mm f/2.8 II by the way. For me, I'd rather have AF and a small package than the huge Nikon 14-24 and wait a year for their funky adapter. To each his own. I'm happy for you and your 14-24. The lenses don't differ that much stopped down a bit, which is the way I use them for landscape. At f/2.8 I'm really not looking at sharpness in the corners with the 14mm lens as it's usually out of the plane of focus anyway. Call me silly I guess.
     

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