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Canon 24-105 f/4 L for one-stop lens shopping?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Anyone do their regular shooting on snow with this lens?  I get tired of changing between my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (great lens) and my Canon 70-200 f/4 L.  I notice that most of my shots fall within the 25-100mm range on a crop body, so I was thinking that it would be a good lens to ski with, instead of lugging 2 around.  It would be nicer to have something closer to 150mm, but there are pretty much compromises any way I look at it.  

post #2 of 11

I've been rotating between the 24-105, Sigma 10-20, and Tamron 18-270.  The 24-105 works pretty well.  While 105 isn't that long, it's workable.  Only downside is that 24 isn't wide enough - would like something wider.  The Tamron works well, but IQ is nowhere near as good as the 24-105.

 

Here are shots of Noodler from the 24-105 on a 40D:

5232879336_565332dea8_z.jpg

 

5267310882_74a8dd9d37_z.jpg

 

5232264885_90650083fd_z.jpg

 

5232304601_77f4466fe5_z.jpg

post #3 of 11

I'd hold out for the 2.8 aperture. Being able to shoot wider open is better than the IS. I think you have a pretty good set-up where you are. Add a nice prime if you want to travel lighter. The 135 f2.0 is a wonderful lens.  Or a 85 f1.8 USM, cheap but fantastic too. Durability is a little suspect on the Tamron although you are right it is a great lens. Not my first choice for skiing with, I've had one come apart on me. Shooting with primes can give you a new perspective on things, it's quite interesting.

post #4 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxammo View Post

I'd hold out for the 2.8 aperture. Being able to shoot wider open is better than the IS. I think you have a pretty good set-up where you are. Add a nice prime if you want to travel lighter. The 135 f2.0 is a wonderful lens.  Or a 85 f1.8 USM, cheap but fantastic too. Durability is a little suspect on the Tamron although you are right it is a great lens. Not my first choice for skiing with, I've had one come apart on me. Shooting with primes can give you a new perspective on things, it's quite interesting.


Curious why you'd suggest the f/2.8.  Since I'm shooting outside and I want a decent depth of field for fast moving skiers, I find f/4 to be enough and haven't really found myself wanting something wider.  I have the 35mm f/1.4 prime that I shoot a lot, but don't take it for skiing - I want a bit of flexibility of zoom in the skiing shots I want to take.  With the 135 f/2 or the 85 f/1.8, they would have to be stopped down to get a good DoF anyway (or at least I would because I can't track fast-moving objects well enough to always nail the focus perfectly), so the wide aperture would be wasted (granted, IQ would improve).


Edited by faisasy - 1/4/11 at 8:45am
post #5 of 11

Because the IS will be worthless at the shutter speeds you will likely shooting and you never know when you might need to let more light in to obtain those speeds. Also the large app. will give you some range to your creativity and be useful in other photographic situations besides skiing. If you'd like to Isolate your skiing subject and make him pop from the background you might use a larger app. effectively. I personally would never buy a lens with less than a 2.8, and i do realize some buyers have different levels of commitment but, the OP has allready made substantial glass purchases and is considering another. Another good rule of thumb is that Canon never offers truly desirable lenses in their kits ie 18-200, 24-105L etc...    I would challenge the OP to push himself creatively with the glass he allready has there are some gems to be found at the ends of his focal length spectrum. Discipline one's self take only one lens, find ways to make it work. Several fall sports this year I left my 400/2.8 at home and only brought a 16-35. I was suprised at the intimacy of the moment I captured. The day I shot the "Oregon Pow" shots I only brought  a 16-35 too. The result was some shots with a distinct sense of setting and ambiance. My natural inclination would be to shoot super tight as that is what most photo editors would like at dalies.CX8D9935.JPGCX8D9926.JPG


Edited by pdxammo - 1/4/11 at 9:45am
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

That Tamron is actually quite good, I got a bunch of shots with it (see the Bachelor Stoke thread, all of that was shot with the Tamron).  I just found myself missing out on longer runs, and on the 70-200 and a crop 1.6 body, you can run out of real estate really quickly.  It is usually the one lens I carry with me on trips, but would like to at least carry the 24-105 and see how it does.  I got a good deal on a used one, so if it doesn't work out, I can re-sell it for almost no loss.  It is a beautiful lens.

 

If money were no object, I would have kept my 17-55 EF-S f/2.8 and invested in a 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II as well.  I took some shots on the 17-55 last year of a buddy, and they really popped.  Having a fast lens can be a real asset.

 

post #7 of 11

Enjoyed looking at some of the fine images accompanying this thread. Thanks for those, and some more would be welcome, too.

 

I don’t have a "dog in this discussion," since I’m too lazy to do the work needed for fine ski-action photography, but I appreciate the work of others. Let me add a couple of notes, for what they’re worth, which may be nothing.

 

Camera lenses are like life and skis: full of compromises. Consider the zoom range of a lens as the first example: the generally accepted rule is that if IQ (image quality) is the prime concern, the optimum zoom range is 4X. If one lens to cover all possibilities is the criterion, then some of the super-zooms with 10X or greater FL ranges is ideal.

 

The Canon EF 24-105L, originally designed for the Canon full-frame 5D, was tuned to the 4X specification by Canon’s optical engineers. As noted, on a crop camera such as the 40D the effective FL range is 38-168mm, covering a nice FL range for ski action photography from moderate WA to moderate-telephoto. A plus of that lens on a crop camera is that only the central portion of the image circle is used, thus optimizing IQ.

 

Another lens compromise involves the tradeoffs between maximum aperture and the intended use. A faster aperture has "more glass" and is thus larger and heavier (and more expensive), usually considerably heavier than the slower version of the same lens. Holding all variables except aperture constant, then a larger aperture yields faster shutter speeds (which might be important on a tight shot where "freezing" the snow particles counts) and greater bokeh (which might be important on a super-tight closeup). However, in bright light on a ski slope achieving a fast shutter speed (say greater than 1/1000 at f/4) is not an issue. So weight-size-cost-shutter speed-bokeh and other variables create a maze of trade-offs.

 

Canon and Nikon professional grade lenses cost an arm and a leg, but generally deliver higher IQ images than consumer or prosumer grade glass. Consumer grade lenses sometimes disappoint, but there are "winners" out there. If web or magazine publication is the intended end use, rather than large prints in the 16x24" or 24x36" or greater range, then consumer grade glass can meet the need.

 

Keep shooting, in any case.

post #8 of 11

If you're happy with the f4, I'd suggest looking at the 70-200 f4L or the 70-200 f4L IS, for the extra length it will provide you.  I have the IS version, and the image quality is superb. 

 

pdxammo suggest the 2.8 of the same lens.  Super lens too, expecially the new version, with the benefit of being faster, but you have to be able to deal with the extra cost and weight.

 

My personal preference for taking to the mountain is my 100-400  L IS.  I'm really impressed with the IQ, and the extra length comes in handy more often than I even imagined. 

 

Whatever you do, consider doing it soon.  There's a rumor floating around that there may be an across the board price increase coming next month from Canon, to compensate from the devaluating dollar. 

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have a 70-200 f/4 L I picked up last year, used for $400 (couldn't be the price, great glass).  I was considering the f/2.8 version, but thought it would be too large to ski with. After all, at least when skiing, I doubt I need a lens that fast, and definitely would have the extra weight be somewhat of a hinderance.  Thoughts on why the f/2.8 would be a worthwhile upgrade, or a better investment than the 24-105 f/4 L?  The f/4 version of the 70-200 is pretty light and compact.  I will add some pics off of that lens later. 

10_01_Bachelor Cirque 1_078.jpg

 

10_01_Bachelor Cirque 1_162.jpg

 

10_01_Bachelor Cirque 1_164.jpg


Edited by dawgcatching - 1/12/11 at 7:03pm
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by faisasy View Post

Curious why you'd suggest the f/2.8.  Since I'm shooting outside and I want a decent depth of field for fast moving skiers, I find f/4 to be enough and haven't really found myself wanting something wider.


It depends what you should and where you shoot. Even though skiing is outside, which means you are shooting out and during day, things are not as easy as someone might think. I shoot skiing WC for living, so this might be a bit different then for you, since I need to shoot if it's nice and sunny, or if it's cloudy and foggy, or if track is on south side of hill with nice and warm sun (unfortunately not too often), or if it's on north side in deep shadow (let's forget about night races now, since most likely you won't do (much) of night shooting). So when you are standing somewhere in shadow, and there are guys coming down at you with 100+km/h, you want to keep your times fast (over 1/1000sec is must, 1/1600 and faster are preferred). Ok nowadays things are easier when you can bump up iso and you don't need to worry about it (I shoot with few 1dmk4 bodies and iso 3200 is perfectly fine). But before (with 1dmk2 for example), where iso1000 was still ok, but everything else was a bit so so already, it was harder. To get faster then 1/1000sec in shadow and with f4.0 (or even more) you should have your iso pretty high already. If you believe it or not, I would say 80% of my photos are done with iso between 640 and 800, and with apertures between 2.8 and 4.0. So this is one reason why I prefer f2.8 lenses (of course there's no chance for that with my main lens which is 500/4, but still).

Other, even more important reason is auto focus. AF depends on light. More light it gets, better, and most important, faster it works. Someone might think there's not much difference between f2.8 and f4.0 lens when it comes to this, but there is huge difference. When you add 1.4x converter to 300/2.8 lens ("converting" it to f4.0 lens), you still have pretty fast af (at least on 1d bodies), but it's a whole lot slower then it's on same lens, when used without converter. And converter by itself doesn't influence af abilities. It just reduces light which is passing through the lens. So this is main reason why f2.8 are a whole lot better then f4.0 or f5.6 lenses when it comes to sport... even if they are used with other apertures.

Just that there won't be misunderstanding... When you set your aperture to f32, lens stays wide open until you press shutter button. So all focusing is done with lens wide open, but when you press shutter button, lens aperture changes to f32 and it takes photo. So it's not that af will work with set aperture, and if you use lens stop down, af still benefits from more light which it gets when it's wide open.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by faisasy View Post

Curious why you'd suggest the f/2.8.  Since I'm shooting outside and I want a decent depth of field for fast moving skiers, I find f/4 to be enough and haven't really found myself wanting something wider.


It depends what you should and where you shoot. Even though skiing is outside, which means you are shooting out and during day, things are not as easy as someone might think. I shoot skiing WC for living, so this might be a bit different then for you, since I need to shoot if it's nice and sunny, or if it's cloudy and foggy, or if track is on south side of hill with nice and warm sun (unfortunately not too often), or if it's on north side in deep shadow (let's forget about night races now, since most likely you won't do (much) of night shooting). So when you are standing somewhere in shadow, and there are guys coming down at you with 100+km/h, you want to keep your times fast (over 1/1000sec is must, 1/1600 and faster are preferred). Ok nowadays things are easier when you can bump up iso and you don't need to worry about it (I shoot with few 1dmk4 bodies and iso 3200 is perfectly fine). But before (with 1dmk2 for example), where iso1000 was still ok, but everything else was a bit so so already, it was harder. To get faster then 1/1000sec in shadow and with f4.0 (or even more) you should have your iso pretty high already. If you believe it or not, I would say 80% of my photos are done with iso between 640 and 800, and with apertures between 2.8 and 4.0. So this is one reason why I prefer f2.8 lenses (of course there's no chance for that with my main lens which is 500/4, but still).

Other, even more important reason is auto focus. AF depends on light. More light it gets, better, and most important, faster it works. Someone might think there's not much difference between f2.8 and f4.0 lens when it comes to this, but there is huge difference. When you add 1.4x converter to 300/2.8 lens ("converting" it to f4.0 lens), you still have pretty fast af (at least on 1d bodies), but it's a whole lot slower then it's on same lens, when used without converter. And converter by itself doesn't influence af abilities. It just reduces light which is passing through the lens. So this is main reason why f2.8 are a whole lot better then f4.0 or f5.6 lenses when it comes to sport... even if they are used with other apertures.

Just that there won't be misunderstanding... When you set your aperture to f32, lens stays wide open until you press shutter button. So all focusing is done with lens wide open, but when you press shutter button, lens aperture changes to f32 and it takes photo. So it's not that af will work with set aperture, and if you use lens stop down, af still benefits from more light which it gets when it's wide open.



Thanks for the clarification!  Pretty much since we shoot in good light (mostly for our website) and ski with the camera, it makes more sense to go with an f/4 in that situation.  I can see now what you are talking about with the f/2.8 advantages, though.  It would be a sweet upgrade, but then I would have to sell the f/4 and have a bigger lens to deal with, which isn't likely my first choice.

 

I do know what you are talking about with regards to focusing: I had an EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 (which I sold and replaced with the Tamron to finance the 70-200 f/4 purchase) and it focused much more accurately than the 24-105 f/4 L does in low light, when I am taking promo shots for a coffee shop.  This is a pull of Backporch espresso, and then the same photo cropped on the in-focus drop:

 

10_01_Backporch Jan 10_003-2.jpg10_01_Backporch Jan 10_003.jpg

 

I am getting no such luck with the 24-105 f/4, probably due to the lack of light for AF hunting in low light.  The instantaneous falling of espresso is hard to capture in focus with the smaller lens.

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