Warning – Sharp Glass Ahead

Warning – Sharp Glass Ahead


I’m trying to make an effort to write more posts about some of my equipment, ’cause I know that other photographers out there in the market for new stuff would like to hear feedback about this stuff from real people they know, and not some crummy product review on adorama.com. I’m also going to try and make a spot on the site that details the current equipment I use in the field.

Before I go off about how much I like this piece of glass… it’s important to note that for all of you photographers in the beginning or even middle stages of your learning don’t get too consumed with buying super expensive gear and thinking it’ll make your photos magically turn to gold. A sharp lens and a poorly executed photo composition is still a poor photo, no matter how heavy and expensive your setup may be. Invest in some knowledge and gain solid skills in the field before you blow your savings on equipment that won’t help your game too drastically in the beginning. I’ve taken many awesome photos in my years, and some of my top favorites of all time were taken with a $900 body/lens Canon Rebel setup.

I bought the lens you see above, the Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, a couple months ago. Before getting this lens, I was bouncing between my 70-200mm 2.8L, 50mm 1.4, and 10-22mm glass to get my portraits done. They did a great job, but I had an upcoming month-long project that was going to be very group intensive. My focal ranges would be varying widely from shot to shot and I didn’t want to be making lens or even full camera body changes for these shoots. I had been eyeing this lens for a while but I finally had a reason to buy it.

This lens is very sharp, no surprise there, Canon’s “L” series lenses are all top-notch. You can go to handfuls of sites where photo geeks will spit all kinds of numbers at you, graphs, scales, ratios, etc to make themselves feel smart by detailing the lens until they are blue in the face, but in the end the moral of the story is that it’s a very nice lens. Imagine that, you get what you pay for… the lifelong lesson learned continues to hold true. Seriously though, after I bought my first L glass I won’t settle for anything less. This lens continues to make me happy.

The picture below taken with the 24-70L glass

The first thing most people say when they look at my work is “wow, look at those colors, they are amazing! Did you photoshop that?” Spoiler alert, it’s not software that makes these pictures look great.

A multitude of your picture qualities will improve using the better glass:
Color – A proper exposure is key to get great color, but your contrast and saturation levels will see new heights using these lenses (without the help of photoshop).
Sharpness – Sharpness and clarity will also jump, zooming into your pictures in post production to see eyelashes super sharp will make you gitty.
Aperture – The best glass will almost always have the ability to perform at lower F-stops, meaning more room to play with depths of field and quicker pictures in dark shooting situations.
Durability – Not that you want to be giving any lens, especially a really expensive one, the Chuck Norris treatment, but these lenses are all metal, weather sealed, and heavy-duty. A plus and a minus, as you’ll feel the weight at times. I workout 5 times a week and some of my heavier lenses are a pain in the ass after a couple hours of working events.

For a while I was deciding between two lenses:

24-70mm F2.8 – Shorter focal range, but faster glass due to lower F stop.
24-105mm F4 – Longer focal range, but slower due to high F stop.

Because I already had the 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens, I had the 70-105 mm range covered. That plus the difference between F2.8 and F4 is more than you’d think. If you have a lens that already covers that range, get the faster glass.

This is not a good walk-around lens, as the focal range just isn’t long enough to have the versatility you’d like for that purpose. You’ll want something like a 28-135mm at a minimum.

This is a great lens for portraiture, especially groups where you are stuck shooting in small to medium sized rooms. It is a good lens for close-up portraiture work. The F2.8 comes in handy ALL the time. Having the ability to go from a wide angle to a zoom with such a sharp, fast lens is very powerful. The only thing you need to look out for is when you have the lens zoomed all the way out to 24mm (wide). You’ll notice some pinching in the corners, so try and keep your subject out of the borders of your framing when all the way wide.

Just like everything else in life, different jobs will need different tools. If you are more of the person who shoots a wide variety of photography and don’t like to change lenses often then this isn’t the lens for you, you’ll find that it doesn’t have the zoom you’ll need. If you like being up close and personal with your photo clients, take lots of architecture photos, or landscape shots, then this lens may be just what you are looking for.