Lenses—Quick Links

Lens Q&A

What is IS, as in 24-105mm f/4L IS?
IS stands for Image Stabilization, which means that one or more lens elements are connected to motors that rapidly change their position during a shot to compensate for movement, such as jittery hands. I’m happy to pay extra for an IS lens as it will give me the ability to shoot 2-4 stops slower that I normally can—which is a great help when the ambient light is dim. For instance, if I can normally handhold 1/60″ without shaking, then with an IS lens I can shoot at 1/15″ (2 stops) to 1/4″ (4 stops). I prefer to use longer shutter speeds than to open up my aperture because the shallow depth of field created by a wide aperture often works against me if the focus is not perfect (which is also hard to do in dim light).

What is a Crop Factor?
Many digital cameras, like the 7D, 60D, and Rebel T4i, have APS-C sensors, which are smaller than a full-frame sensor. (“Full-frame” refers to a sensor that’s the size of old-school 35mm film.) Due to the smaller size of the APS-C sensor, these cameras use a smaller portion of the image projected through the lens—which effectively makes the lens appear like it’s a longer focal length. Specifically, the multiplier for Canon APS-C is 1.6x. (It’s 1.5x for Nikon APS-C.) So, a 50mm lens on a 7D (APS-C sensor) looks like an 80mm lens on a 5D Mark III (full-frame sensor) because 50mm x 1.6 = 80mm. Conversely, if you want to match the view that a 5D Mark III sees with a 50mm lens, then you will have to use a 33mm lens on a 7D.

Conversion Table for Canon APS-C 1.6x Crop Factor

Lens on a
full-sensor camera
(like 5D Mark III) 
When you put the same lens
on an APS-C camera, it
looks like this mm lens
on a full-sensor camera 
To match view
on full-frame sensor camera,
you have to use this mm lens
on an APS-C camera 
20mm 32mm 13mm
24mm 38mm 16mm
35mm 56mm 23mm
50mm 80mm 33mm
85mm 136mm 56mm
100mm 160mm 66mm
135mm 216mm 89mm
200mm 320mm 132mm

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My Favorite f/4 Zoom Lenses

I confess. I used to be an f/2.8 snob–meaning that all of my lenses had to be f/2.8 or wider. Then a pro-shooter / friend introduced me to his 24-105mm f/4L and a workshop student introduced me to his 70-200mm f/4L IS. Now, I’m a self-appointed evangelist for Canon’s f/4 zooms. For the one-stop difference in maximum aperture, they save about half the price. Stopped in one or two stops and they are near matches to their f/2.8 cousins. When I’m traveling light, I have the 17-40mm, 24-105mm, and 70-200mm f/4 zooms in my kit.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

This lens gets the opening position on the list because it is my stranded-on-a-desert-island lens. If I can have only one lens, this is the one I take. I find the 24-105mm focal range to be perfect for a wide range of portrait situations. The IS (image stabilization) lets me shoot slower shutter speeds in dim light. At f/8, this lens is tack sharp. For years and years, I carried the 24-70mm f/2.8 (which is non-IS). That lens has collected dust since I bought the 24-105mm f.4L IS. Minimum focus on the 24-105 f/4L IS is 18″.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM

This is a versatile, extreme wide-angle lens. On a full-frame sensor camera (1D X, 5D, 6D), it can produce a full-frame image (at 15mm) or a circular fisheye image (at 8mm). On crop sensor cameras, it produces a more traditional, full frame fisheye view. Best used at either the 8mm circular or 15mm full-frame settings as there is a bit of vignetting in between. There’s no doubt that this is a specialty lens–but one that can create shots that no other lens can touch. Minimum focus on the 8-15mm f/4L IS is 6″.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

As is typical of the f/4 zoom series, the 17-40mm is about half the price of it’s f/2.8 counterpart (the 16-35mm f/2.8L II). There is a bit more vignetting with this lens (seen as slightly darker edges around the frame). For shots when this is an issue, such as when shooting real estate interiors, I find that the Lens Correction sliders in Lightroom make quick work of removing the vignette. For full-frame camera shooters, this is a great focal range to have on a wide-angle zoom. Minimum focus on the 17-40mm f/4L IS is 11″.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

This lens is amazingly small and light for a 70-200mm zoom. If space and weight are a consideration when you travel, this f/4 lens will be a welcome addition to your gear bag. It is literally half the size and weight of the flagship f/2.8 lens. There are two versions of the f/4 zoom: the IS and the non-IS. I highly recommend the IS version–which is still less than half the price of the f/2.8 zoom. This lens does not come with a foot, which I consider to be an essential for mounting on a tripod. So, you’ll also want to check out the affordable Vello Tripod Collar A. Minimum focus on the 70-200mm f/4L IS is 4′.

Read full specifications at B&H


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My Favorite f/2.8 Zoom Lenses

The f/2.8L series are Canon’s flagship zoom lenses. All three of the following are in their second-generation models (that’s what the II stands for)–which means that they have state-of-the-art optics and coatings. If image quality is paramount over all other considerations and you want to shoot zooms, then look no farther than these three lenses.


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly. Minimum focus on the 16-35mm f/2.8L IS II is 11″.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.. Minimum focus on the 24-70mm f/2.8L II is 18″.

Read full specifications at B&H


 

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly. Minimum focus on the 8-15mm f/4L IS is 4′.

Read full specifications at B&H


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L-Series Prime Lenses

intro


 

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II 

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS

Syl’s thoughts will be here shortly.

Read full specifications at B&H


 

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