'L' lenses...am I missing something?! (questions about our rented lens)

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by gina_marie|1, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. Hello, a bit of a follow up to an earlier post about needing an extra lens to
    share between myself & husband.

    After reading the helpful replies to my previous post, we decided it may be
    time to take the leap and make an investment in at least one 'L' quality lens.
    (FYI, our current coverage: 30D, 10D, EF 50 1.8, EF-S 10-22, Tamron 28-75 2.8
    EF 70-210 3.5-4.5)
    To help our decision, we rented a 24-70L 2.8 and 70-200L 2.8 (non-IS). Of
    course right off the bat we could see a huge physical difference with the
    solid, larger 'L' lenses.

    24-70: We truly could not tell a difference in the image quality between the
    Canon & the Tamron. And in some images, the Tamron actually had better
    contrast and was sharper.

    70-200 2.8: The obvious improvement here was the ability to open up to
    constant 2.8. Didn't notice a big difference in color & or sharpness, though
    there was less noise.

    Also we experienced a higher percentage of missed, blurry shots with the 'L'
    lens, perhaps due to unfamiliarity with this grade of equipment?

    My guestions:
    1)Is there a technique to using these Lenses? For instance, since they are
    heavier, maybe the higher percentage of out-of-focus shots was due to getting
    used to heavier equipment? Or, perhaps we weren't used to such silent
    focusing, though I do make a habit of being sure my focus point hits in the

    2)Is the main difference between the 'L' lens and say..a good copy of the
    Tamron 28-75 a stronger build and weather proof?

    3)Might the rentals have been less quality due to being used more often than
    non-rental lens?

    3)Is there anyone else who has experienced similar results?

    To be clear, we were happy with our final results..we just thought they would
    be better than images with our other lenses and it seems our Tamron 28-75 and
    Canon 10-22 get just as good images in regards to sharpness and color. I'm
    sorry if any of this post is redundant, it's just that we are taking our entry
    into this business very seriously and need to buy another lens this month. We
    thought the best investment would be an 'L' lens after reading all the raves
    and after hearing stories of people blasting wedding photographers who don't
    use 'L' lenses..but now with a lot of money on the line for a new business,
    I'm more confused than ever after our rental experience.

    Answers to questions above and any experiences to share are greatly
  2. "24-70: We truly could not tell a difference in the image quality between the Canon & the
    Tamron. And in some images, the Tamron actually had better contrast and was sharper."

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Canon lens is actually manufactured by Tamron.
  3. >I wouldn't be surprised if the Canon lens is actually manufactured by Tamron.

  4. Because you're able to shoot at f 2.8 all the time, your depth of field is very shallow and any mistake in focus will show up bigtime. Check the out-of-focus shots to see if they are consistently at the widest aperatures, if so, there is your culprit. Just because you have good enough glass for 2.8 doesn't mean you'll be able to use it in every situation, especially if people are moving around and walking toward you.
  5. Gina - Lighting conditions and Technique make a world's more difference than anything
    you'll see comparing the lenses you mention. If you're happy with the Tamrom, stick with it.
    It's a very good lens. Also, a lens will not make any difference in the amount of "noise" you
    get. That also is a factor of lighting and in some regards, technique (proper exposure, ISO
    selection, focus accuracy, etc.)
  6. Yes, that makes sense- noise difference was a result of our test shot done with the widest aperture on telephoto, only..3.5 compared w/ the 2.8 so the noisier image was underexposed one of the non-L lens. I thought perhaps the 'L' might have a little factor on that, but from what I've read, the camera quality is the major factor re: noise?

    This also probably sounds really silly, but I'm going to a photography workshop for a few days and I'm guessing I may be the only photographer there without an 'L' lens. Oh well :)

    We definitely need a new lens regardless, as we both like to shoot the 28-75 range and we have a couple of weddings we're assisting in the spring. Guess I'm just not sure if it should be an 'L' now.
  7. Darcy, thanks for the input on that. Yes, I generally tend to shoot wide open, especially w/ portrait work for the shallow DOF and usually don't have a problem w/ results on my lenses but I guess a day 1/2 rental is definitely not enough time to accurately judge or get used to adjustments need for the L lens. I'll have to go back through the images we shot and see if most of the out of focus shots were at 2.8.

    I sure noticed one thing, that focusing on the L's sure was silent..which is a good thing right? lol
  8. 1) There's no question that heavier lenses increase the risk of camera shake, particularly if you aren't used to using them. Frequent users of the heavier lenses are known to pump some iron and avoid caffeine. Personally, I think of a 70-200 f/2.8 without IS as a sports lens - i.e. one to be used with fast shutter speeds - but IS makes a very real difference for a wedding shooter - at an increased cost, of course. Longer term, I'd look at the IS version when your business can afford it. An alternative that might be worth thinking about is the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8, or possibly the Canon 200mm f/2.8 prime if you need that reach.

    If you used AI Servo focus with the 70-200 wide open it becomes much more critical because of the narrow DoF to ensure that you allow adequate time for focus tracking to lock on using the centre point, and shoot a small burst, since the first shot is release priority while later ones are supposed to be focus priority.

    2) In addition to build and focus speed the Canon lenses also have full time manual focus which can be useful for critical focus in very shallow depth of field shots if you work that way. But otherwise, a good copy of the Tamron is optically a strong match for the Canon 24-70 - you'll find comment to that effect here, for instance:


    3) Rental lenses aren't always in top nick, and may not be well matched for focus calibration with your bodies, for instance. The only fair test is to shoot them in more controlled test conditions - i.e. tripod, MLU, suitable focus target. The better rental companies do try to make some effort to ensure that their lenses get maintained, and sold off/replaced if they become repeatedly troublesome. There's no knowing (beyond any observation of physical condition and your own results) how the ones you rented compare to a well adjusted new lens.
  9. You are comparing the Canon 24-70L to one of Tamron's best ever lenses. The Tamron may even equal the Canon in terms of picture quality but with the Canon you are not just paying for picture quality. You are also paying for a robust & reliable piece of equipment. There're other factors to consider such as autofocus speed, silent focusing, tough weather proof body, guaranteed compatibility with all EOS cameras, good Canon service etc. Then there's the fact that the Canon is just a joy to operate. To me it's all worth the premium you have to pay for an L.

    When you talk about the Canon 10-22 getting good images i'm not surprised. It is a superb Canon lens. I have it on my second body most of the time with the 24-70 on the first body. Since it is a 1.6 crop body i rarely need longer than 70 (about 112mm on a crop body).

    What i'm really surprised with is that you said the 70-200 didn't make much difference in image quality compared to your old lens. I have the IS version and i think it is my sharpest lens. It actually creates beautiful portraits but i'm just too lazy to use it since it's too heavy.
  10. Just curious, if you are after ultimate image quality why are you using a zoom lens?

    The Canon 10-22 features horrible barrel distortion and color fringing ... something
    Canon wide angles lenses have become notorious for.

    But the 70-200/2.8L IS is an exception to the zoom verses prime lens theory. Canon is
    quite good at making longer lenses and that zoom is pretty good. Did you have the IS
    switched on and was it set to the general IS as opposed to for "panning"?

    My shooting partner had that Tamron prior to getting a Canon 24-105/4L IS, and it is
    indeed quite good. We both had the 24-70/2.8L and found it to be a so-so lens, and just
    to huge for what it delivered. The 24-105 isn't better image wise, but it has a longer throw
    and Image Stabilization ... which makes it more useful. Slower focusing in lower light
    however due to the f/4 max aperture.

    The only really good mid-range zoom I've ever used was the Zeiss 24-85/3.5AF made for
    the now defunct Contax N system.
  11. "I wouldn't be surprised if the Canon lens is actually manufactured by Tamron."

    Then I guess anything and everything would surprise you. (OP, please ignore that "advice")

    You want the best? Then as far as zooms go with your Canon system, the 2.8L zooms are Canon's best lenses. It's now up to you and your technique to take full advantage of them.
  12. your pretty much finding out what magazine articles have covered. the same sharpness can be found in other zooms.( much less expensive than $1100.00 i was already spioled on the quiet fast usm's, when i borrowed a sigma 24 -70 ish, i couldn't deal with the ' zip, zip" noises coming out of that coffee grinder lens motor. but like i said, i was already spioled. and its not all that important. L is for luxury. i think if i were you, i'd keep my current setup and spend the money on something alse, a 35 or 85 or something. ( or a disney vacation for that matter)
  13. Suggestion as to why you were getting more out-of-focus shots with the Canon. It is obviously a heavier piece of glass than the Tamron, so maybe it just takes a little longer to autofocus, which, for moving subjects, may give them enough time to move from their previously in-focus location.

    Another thought: in order to have a successful business it is important to keep your overhead as low as possible, therefore it is not always the best idea to have the "best," i.e. most expensive equiptment. Also, in your kind of business, there is also the possibility of breakage, theft, increased insurance costs, etc. So if Tamrons or Sigmas will do the job, use them. Use whatever you need to do the job, not just what is popular, stylish or has the most snob appeal.
  14. Gina,

    I didn't read your earlier post, so I'm sorry if I ask something redundant. You aren't giving us much info about how you are using the lenses and we need that to give you a good answer.

    The 70-200 non-IS (I own one) is NOT a lens I would use at a wedding or for most portraits. I use it for fast action shots, almost always at 1/250 or higher and at 2.8 to 4 and usually on a tripod - it's real heavy after a short time. I suspect you are getting camera movement, not focus. It replaced a Tamron that I bought a few months ago. For that job, the Tamron is no match. The focus on the Canon is to die for - smooth, fast, accurate. If you want to use it for weddings, get the IS for sure.

    How did you evaluate the lens? On a monitor or with prints, if so, what size?

    When I'm shooting portraits, I prefer a lens that is not as deadly sharp as most photographers demand. I simply don't want every pore on the face to show. I'll probably soften it anyway, so as long as it's in focus, that's all that matters to me.

    Your experience is similar to what I've had in the past. Much of my work is with Canon's cheapie lens (although not the Rebel plastic) because of what I stated above and that I am very rough on my equipment. It's simple economics. However, there is a time & place for great quality. You are the best judge. I once owned a Hasselblad because "everyone who was anyone" had to have one. I sold it in a month. Ever since then, ego is not in my camera bag.

    It sounds like you have made a wonderful discovery. Use the equipment that works best for you and concentrate on what is behind and in front of the camera - that's where quality comes from!

  15. Gina - please email me about the 24-70 L lens. I've had issues with it. Whenever I say anything about it there are several people on this board who respond like 1st graders trying to pick a fight. So, if you want another honest opinion besides the ones you've already recieved let me know. Sometimes I like the lens, other times I don't. Depends on the situation. :)
  16. I wouldn't be surprised if the Canon lens is actually manufactured by Tamron.
    Some people wouldn't be surprised if UFO's were in cahoots with Bigfoot in the Kennedy assassination. That doesn't mean anything either.
  17. Wow, thanks everyone for sharing and the advice! There is really a great group of people on photo.net and I thank you all.

    Honestly, one of the reasons we decided to rent the 70-200 was because just about *everyone* on another board (that I used to visit before finding photo.net) swears it as a MUST for wedding photographers. I guess I figured I had to see what the fuss was about, but maybe I'm just not that type of photographer at this early stage. I am an artist at heart, and am definitely learning & improving technique but I also love working on artistic shots, experimenting with DOF and composition (like on our latest shoot- seeing what I can capture at Union station with very little light). I could not imagine getting some of the fun shots I got if I had to use that gigantic lens!

    I guess I should thank my lucky stars for my wonderful little Tammy (got it used on FM) for it seems to clearly be a great copy and is actually what ignited this decision to get another lens..my husband and I both like shooting with it so much we need to find a suitable or even better companion. (and I love the wide-angle, so I guess I'm lucky that it won't mount on my husbands 10D.)

    I think I may end up renting the 24-105, I disregarded it because it was F4 and the majority seem to advised to stick with at least 2.8 but the range sounds perfect for what we like to shoot.

    For those who wonderd why not get a prime, it seems our shooting style tends to lean toward zoom lenses (or maybe we're just both lazy..lol). We both seem to find the 50 1.8 we have, though delivering nice images, too limiting with on location shoots, but great in a studio enviroment.

    If anyone has wedding images shot with a 24-105 F4, please send me a link..I'd love to see samples of what can be achieved with it.

  18. I have the Tamron 28-75 and a Canon 24-105. Using my 1Ds2, I compared the Tamron against the Canon 24-70, my 24-105, and another 24-105. The Tamron was sharper and had less vignetting and distortion than all three Canons at every aperture and focal length, including wide open. My results parallel the results of Popular Photography's tests of those three lenses, which you can review at the Pop Photo website. So, it does not surprise me that the image quality from your Tamron is better than from the Canon you rented. Where the 24-70 and 24-105 excel is in build quality and faster and quieter focusing, although the Tamron is neither slow to focus nor noisy, and I don't find the Tamron to be any less accurate in its focus. If image quality is more important to you than build quality and quiet focus, then the Tamron is a better choice. Plus, it's smaller and lighter, and if it fails due to poor build, you can buy two more and still be dollars ahead. As for the weight of the Canon "L" lenses causing camera shake, that has not been my experience at all. Personally, I find it easier to hold a camera steady if it is heavy rather than light.
  19. @NK and @Ken:

    and do you have a motivation for that opinion?
    Or is it just wishful thinking...

    Maybe you guys have never heard of it, but there is such a thing as 'outsourcing to spec to
    third party manufacturers'. I would go so far as to posit that the manufacturing of more
    than 50% of top-branded lenses (and of ALL other accessories) is actually outsourced to
    third-party manufacturers. Like Tamron!
  20. This post reminds me why my bag now consists of more Sigma lenses than canon regs and L's. I do also have the Tamron 28-75 and wouldn't trade it for anything out there for my current needs.
  21. Gina,

    If you are "an artist at heart" do yourself a favor and rent 85L and 35L lenses.

    The new 700-200/4 IS I briefly tried for a couple of weekends was a bit AF-hesitant on all but 1D bodies, very good pictures, amazing new generation IS. Great PJ lens if one needs such.

    That Tamron zoom is a steal.

    Happy New Year!
  22. "The Canon 10-22 features horrible barrel distortion ... "

    Just the opposite is true ...



    The 10-22 is better than the 16-35/2.8 and the 17-40/4.

  23. 70-200-

    IS is a must have for weddings.

    Rent the IS version next time and see if you still feel the same.
  24. I believe a 70-200mm f2.8 lens (IS or not) is always a MUST HAVE in situations like these. However, I would always use a MONOPOD for these bazookas. To handhold these heavy lenses for even one hour is already a torture and can affect your focusing.

    As for picture quality vs a tight budget for lenses, I would go with prime lenses (35mm / 50mm /85mm) over zooms and place whatever savings for another body.


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