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What to expect from 'L' range

Discussion in 'Canon Conflab' started by CanonGary, May 27, 2017.

  1. CanonGary

    CanonGary Member

    I have a 7d mk II which I love...but I can't help but think I should be looking to pair it up with some 'L' lenses to get the best out of it.

    I've very little experience with 'L' lenses so would appreciate some advice on what sort of quality I should expect over cheaper lenses.

    If I was to get a better version of the following lenses (my current setup) what could I expect? :
    Canon 50mm f/1.8
    Canon 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS
    Sigma 170-500mm f/5.0-6.3

    What I'm trying to find out is the impact upgrading to the 'L' range has made on peoples photography.

    Cheers - G
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I have the 70-200/2.8 and the 24 TSE and they are good lenses but for my needs not that much better than the far cheaper lenses that I use alongside them. They're also very heavy. I bought both second hand so perhaps they were discombobulated before I got them. If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have bought the 70-200 but there really isn't much that could replace the 24 TSE.
  3. CanonGary

    CanonGary Member

    This really isn't the answer I was looking for! You're supposed to say something along the lines of 'since purchasing an 'L' lens the quality is amazing and I keep 80% more of my images' then I can justify to my wife why it's worth the money!

    I can't lie though, the quality I get off the lenses I have is just amazing as long as the conditions are right. But then I figure surely it's the same of the 'L' lenses. But with little experience I don't know. Maybe they really are that much better in some ways?

    Andrews reply makes me want to just stick with the cheap lenses but then surely if there was that little benefit no one would bother with them, no?
  4. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    All my lenses are 'L' but I started with FF with a 5D. I was amazed that the results I got matched my Bronica 6x6 and were much better than I got my Canon 35 mm with budget lenses.

    I've just swapped a 17-40 F4 for a 16-35 F4 with IS and it has improved - I'd say stick to latest versions on the whole - the IS is much better. They are generally built for a hard life and I've always foundthe results good. The older ones can have noisy AF.
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    The build quality is superb but the weight penalty goes with it. If you are a perfectionist and must have the best or someone who's going to use them every day they may be worth the extra money. The TSE is a special case - there's very little else that will do the job and what there is comes out only a little cheaper if you buy second hand.
  7. CanonGary

    CanonGary Member

    Thanks PeteRob and Andrew. You've kind of answered what I expected to hear anyway but it really is nice to have it confirmed.

    I guess it's kind of a no-brainer anyway as people wouldn't just buy them for the sake of it.

    The only thing I do wonder is the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 comparison to a 24-70 f/2.8, as my understanding is the only reason Canon don't call the 17-55mm an 'L' lens is because it's not EF mount. Any views on this? I don't think there's an 'L' lens lower than this focal length anyway is there?
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I've never used a EF-S lens. There are F2.8 and F4 versions of the 16-35 L if that's what you mean by lower (I edited my previous post while you were replying).
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The 17-55 is some way short of L build quality.

    In terms of wider lenses, there's the f2.8 and f4 versions of the 16-35, the 11-24 L and the 8-15 L Fisheye zoom.
  10. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I've got a couple of L lenses. They don't have any measurable impact on my photography over the non-L lenses I used and still use.
  11. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    L are generally better built with faster quieter autofocus while allowing manual focusing at the same time, more expensive fluorite glass (giving less distortion and chromatic aberration) and weather sealing (although not always) Downside being potential very heavy and very expensive. F4s are generally lighter, cheaper and closer focusing than their big brothers. Most longer lens are white (not always a good thing) they focus internally (always a good thing)
    They don't necessarily make you take better photographs they just give you less reasons not to.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  12. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Not to mention making all the other dads on the touchline hate you :D
    Wab and Gezza like this.
  13. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    When I got my first L series (24-105 f4) I was comparing it with a four thirds HG lens (12-60), surprisingly the Canon is lighter than the Oly, and as lenses they are both excellent. and they only real advantage of the Canon is that it fits a 6D. However since then I have acquired a 16-35 f4 L and that has a sparkle to the images which I can not really describe. Nick has suggested that the wide angle is a new design optimised for the 50mp Canons recently announced and that may make a difference. Whatever it is the keeper rate is definitely higher.
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I have to say that I absolutely love my L lenses, especially the more recent ones. 8-15, f4 16-35 and 24-70, 70-300 and 100-400 II are by a long way the best zoom lenses I've used, and up with the best lenses full stop. The 24mm TS-E is also a terrific lens. Sure, there are plenty of great non-L lenses, but these are by a long way my most used and favourite lenses.
  15. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Over many years I've acquired a range of L lenses, mostly bought used, and with some of them being in the big white category for my interest in bird photography. I've been very pleased with the results once I optimised the AF-MA settings for my camera bodies. I've also used 70-200 F/4L zooms with "pro" bodies for sports photography, again with good results. Mention has also been made of the 24 TSE - I have the excellent Mark II L version, and that was after trying the original non-L version. Steer clear - it's got fuzzy corners.

    In my early days I did have some problems driving the large USM focus motors with the small batteries in my early non-pro Eos bodies - no problems with any of my other, smaller lenses, and my pro bodies (with their large and higher voltage batteries) have simply worked, whenever needed.

    Sadly, I can assure you that, in my hands, the EF70-200 F4L lens didn't survive being dropped. Canon Elstree did a good job repairing it for me. In my experience the later IS version is significantly sharper.
    I should add that nearly all my lenses have been bought "used", and I would strongly advise that all used lenses are tried on a full frame body before being accepted. In particular look for decentring problems. Canon are good at fixing it, but it's obviously at my cost if I'm late spotting it, as I have been.

    The EF 85 F/1.2L Mk II can be incredibly sharp at F/1.2 with minimal depth of field, but I've only achieved this when using LiveView focusing via an adapter on my Eos M..

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