Zoom lenses - is L glass worth the price?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by thegrailer, Mar 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    I am looking to pick up a new zoom lens for my Canon 50D and was looking for some suggestions/advice. Currently I have the kit lens and a 10-22 EFS (which I think is a fantastic lens)

    I've examined the Canon 18-200 EFS, the Tamron 18-270 and 28-300, and the Sigma 18-250 - all seem ok and I am no where near a being a pro but I happened to end up sitting next to a professional photographer a few weeks ago at a Rangers/Caps game and she said why bother with either, if you can afford Canon L glass, buy it. The L lens cost $1-2k more (and have different ranges) - are they really worth it? And I've read a number of reviews comparing the Tamron, Sigma and the Canon lens noted above - does anyone have real life experience with either/both/all?

    Cheers
     
  2. Tivoboy
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    I do really think that the L glass is worth it, the image sharpness, quality, bokah, lower aberrations around the corners all are much better on the L glass lenses. Compared to some lenses, there is no question. Others, is it less noticeable. The 70-300 consumer glass version zoom can be VERY good and sharp. The newer 70-300L (a VERY expensive lens) is sharper, but mostly one gets a different form factor and four stops of image stabilization. Another additional benefit of MOST L glass is weather proofing against water, dust, sand, etc. This can be VERY nice to have in such conditions. L zoom Lenses TEND to carry the same maximum aperture across the entire zoom range, which is nice to have. None of the consumer version will do that.

    Primes, maybe a bit less so. The primes seem to be more about super maximum aperture, like 1.2, etc. This one would just not get in a consumer glass lens.

    Another thing to note is that the L lenses hold their value much better. I tend to get equipment at about 10-15% off retail and then the lens will lose about another 10-15% value over time. The L glass can hold easily 65-75% of its value if well maintained and then sold through a photo forum or even ebay. Wereas most consumer version is at most 50%, or less.

    I currently have the following:
    85 1.8
    135 1.8
    50 1.4 (least used)
    17-40 f/4 L (goto lens)
    17-55 2.8 IS (goto lens number two)
    70-200 f/2.8 IS
    28-135 IS (hardly ever use now)
    70-300 3.5-5.6 (VERY sharp, can bring myself to sell and buy the newer L version for this one)
     
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  3. SuperFlyBoy
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    SuperFlyBoy Silver Member

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    I agree - L glass is well worth it.

    However, note that you are going to be carrying heavier lenses, in addition to the DSLR bodies, so you have to be fit to carry all the equipment if you are out in the field for some time.

    Also, it's a more expensive piece to lose or break while traveling - better insure them well.

    In fact, I have some lenses that I am considering selling as I am not doing pro work any longer (I may start again soon, though! :p ) - I have the following:

    70-200 f 2.8 IS ED-L, v. 1
    70-200 f 2.8 IS ED-L, v. 2
    28-70 f 2.8 ED-L
    24-70 f 2.8 ED-L

    I bought the newer zooms when I bought my old EOS-1ds in SIN, and never had time to sell my old lenses...
     
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  4. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Thanks. Almost made my decision easier [​IMG]. I am probably not going to sell any of my gear so resale isn't that much of an issue. The rest leaves me still not sure.

    Help me out here: I really don't want to carry 3 lens. I want my 10-22. What do I add then? A 70-200 f/4L IS is running ~$1400. The 70-300 consumer is about half of that - not the DO. Either might work but then I am left with a huge gap between my wide angle and the zoom. Suggestions (other than 3 lens). Would the 24-105 L have a decent enough zoom or am I just going to want more? The 28-300L is too much money for an amateur like me



    Thanks
     
  5. wiredboy
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    wiredboy Silver Member

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    I have a 24-105 and it works for 90% of what I do. I'm primarily a still life and product photographer and shoot an occasional portrait. If your needs are more specialized... sports, interiors, travel come to mind, then you'll need some more extreme lenses.

    I own a 17-40 and 24-105. If I need anything longer I rent it, but renting might not be an option for you.
     
  6. Tivoboy
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    It is a hard choice, but I wouldn't try to cover 10-300. Certainly not with just two lenses.
    Whatever you do, you should think about buying lenses online, at amazon or BHphoto. Find a place you like, and save some coin. The 70-200 f/4 IS at AMZN is about 1150-1200$ depending on the week. Lenses DID go up this year about 8%. While I like the 24-105, lack of IS and relatively slow speed kept me from keeping it. It is still a great sharp lens. There are many in the 17-55 range that are excellent, or 17-40. That 10-20 is great, but very specialized.

    I wouldn't personally buy the DO (makes one wonder why they never made another DO lens), the consumer version is better IMHO (and a LOT cheaper) and the newer L version is excellent, but $$$. If i didn't shoot indoors and nights as much, I would carry the 70-300L and forget the 70-200 of any version.

    you should end up with 3-5 lenses, and take 2-3 when traveling.
     
  7. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Thanks all. Contemplation time :confused:
     
  8. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    I ran some tests between my 17-40L (f4), a mid-grade Canon (28-135, I think), Sigma 24-70 (f2.8), a low-end Canon zoom, and a couple of primes.

    It was a mixed bag, depending on the aperture & scene. I found that the L glass wasn't focusing as well as the others, though I got that worked out with the 7D lens adjustment. At wide-open apertures, the L glass was better, and the primes were softer. I still use the Sigma for special applications (low light), but it is heavier w/o the same kind of wide view as the 17-40.

    If you can afford the L-glass go for it. The 24-105 F4L is an excellent all-purpose lens.
     
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  9. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    I was talking to a colleague and he has a 70-200L (f2.8) - the older version - and half-joking/half seriously offered to sell it. He also stated that it is like new because he never uses it.

    Should I make an offer and it so, how much?

    Thanks
     
  10. Tivoboy
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    what version is this, the 2.8 or the 2.8 IS. As for the 2.8 IS anywhere from 900-maybe 1300$ could be reasonable for the V1, 2.8 IS in very nice condition. Excellent, box, hood, zip case, no marks at all, MAYBE a tad migher. checkout fredmiranda.com forums probably the best marketplace for used canon/nikon gear.

    If you could pay 1000-1250 for such a lens in EXCELLENT condition, I would say you are good. check the lens though, make sure there are no aberrations or dirt, or marks. Also, if it was a VERY OLD version it had some IS issues (if it was the IS version) and had to be returned and repaired. I THINK that warranty is still valid, but not sure.
     
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  11. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Thanks - will checkout fredmiranda.com

    It is the V1 IS version -- how could I tell how old it is re the very old version with IS issues? [or is Google my friend here and a search is the way?]
     
  12. WilCo
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    WilCo Silver Member

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    There is a date code (two letters) on all Canon L glass. Now you have what you need to let Google be your friend. :)
     
  13. wolfsatz
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    wolfsatz Silver Member

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    Count me in as someone who thinks L glass is worth it. The thing so many people don't realize about photo gear is that most of your money should be tied up in good glass. That's the investment. You can buy the sexiest, hottest new uber-pixel camera body but you might as well be shooting through Vaseline if you don't have good glass pulling in the light. Here's the good news, if you're starting out, you can get away with not having the uber-pixel camera body and instead spend the money on good glass.

    Also, grab a nifty 50 (50mm 1.8) for $99. Best cheap lens you can buy that will instantly give your photos a better look.
     
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  14. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    Agreed.

    I shoot with:
    Canon 7D
    24-105mm f/4L IS USM
    16-35mm /2.8L II USM
    100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
    I also have the nifty fifty, 10-22 that I can still use on another Canon body and the kit lenses (which I rarely use)

    I would say the L lenses are definitely worth it. As someone posted above, I also use the 24-105 about 90% of the time and it is an amazingly good lens. I've had it for a couple of years now and it's been everywhere with me.It was also my first L series lens and since purchasing it, I can barely bring myself to use a kit lens.

    I also very much agree with statements above about weight. My shoulders are killing me after a long day of walking around a city and shooting. But it's all worth it when I sit down at the end of the day and look through my shots. It's worth it to me to have good photos of places I never want to forget.
     
  15. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    I had noticed some slight autofocus issues with my 18-40 L Glass compared to the 28-135 midgrade IS. I've just ordered a 24-105 f4L IS to try out and compare on an upcoming trip. It was a tough choice between that and the 70-200 f4L as the 28-135 that I have tests well. We'll see....
     
  16. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Is ED the L equivalent for Nikon?
     
  17. Tivoboy
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    yes, ED VR is basically the nikon L IS. Although, I find a bit of variance with the ED lenses in that not ALL of them have the same weather proofing, that one would expect when one get's a canon L lens
     
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  18. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Thanks.... BTW great avatar!!
     
  19. Saracen
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    Saracen Silver Member

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    A bit late on this one, but the recent EF-S 15-85 is a pretty good lens for the price. I had the 18-200 and that was pretty fuzzy. By comparison 15-85 is very sharp. Some have claimed it's in the same league as the famous EF-S 15-55. I wouldn't worry about avoiding EF-S unless you really are certain you'll be getting a full-frame. I would also stay away from any super-zooms like the 18-200.
     

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