Friday, February 27, 2015

Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L Initial Impressions and Photos

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go out and do my first shoot with the new 11-24mm ultra wide beast. I must say I had a very happy evening and overall very impressed with this lens. Sharing some of my initial impressions and photos. This is not an objective review or a test; just some of my personal thoughts from the experience. Also note I've just had one outing with this lens and that too I shot almost exclusively at 11mm since it was so much fun; there is a lot to be tried and tested still. I'm not an expert; just enjoying photography as a hobby.

Photos here (shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark III):

·        It is sharp alright. Beautiful center sharpness and even the corners look very impressive at least to me. No need to worry here.

ISO: 100 Focal Length: 11mm Aperture: f/9 Exposure Time: 13s (13/1) 

·        Amazing range, there is nothing like it in the ultra-wide zoom world. 11mm is freaking awesome. If you do a lot of interior architecture stuff you will love it.

·        Lots of vignetting at f4, but easily corrected in post though (I used Lightroom 5). Subsides around f9. Not noticeable at f11

·        Flares! The bulbous front element could be a flare magnet and no surprises really. How would you even try to minimize it?

ISO: 100  Focal Length: 11mm Aperture:f/7.1 Exposure Time: 5s (5/1)

·        Perspective Distortions. Yes it’s a rectilinear but keep it perfectly level with the horizon. Move it around just the very slightest and the image can change dramatically. Shoot people if you want to get giggles.

ISO: 100 Focal Length: 11mm Aperture: f/8 Exposure Time: 8s (8/1)

·        Autofocus. Haven’t tried it enough to say anything and I have a feeling that I don’t care. I personally expect this lens to be set on a tripod, in manual focus 90% of the time.

·        Weight. Not an issue for me. I guess it depends on what you are used to shooting with. The 70-200 f2.8L II is by far my most favorite walk about lens so yes it feels close to the same heft. Again I expect this this lens to be on a tripod 90% percent of the time.

·        No f2.8? What would you even want to shoot with an ultra-wide lens at f2.8? Night sky maybe? What else..

ISO 1600 Focal Length 11mm Aperture f/7.1 Exposure Time 0.005s (1/200)

·        Got to be careful with that front element. This is the first lens I’m shooting without any sort of UV filter attached and yes I have shattered a couple of them in the past. The 5D3 with this lens feels good in my hand and I did not feel particularly worried on my first walkabout but it sure will be a heart break if anything touches that beautiful glass.

·        Build quality. Stellar.

ISO 100  Focal Length 12mm Aperture f/16 Exposure Time 10s (10/1)

·        Sprawling landscapes at 11mm? Things become tiny and appear to be much farther away than they really are. I can certainly envision specific use cases where it could really shine and plan to try that these out on an upcoming trip. I must say just the thought of pairing this with the 5DS R and cropping out a large panorama from a single frame has me really excited. Off late I have been doing a lot of stitched panoramas, this lens provides a much simpler approach to the problem.

·        11-24mm f4L + 24-70 f2.8L II + 70-200mm f2.8L II. You get the picture. Throw in medium format level resolution in the mix and wow that is something I am now really looking forward to seeing for myself.

ISO 100  Focal Length 11mm Aperture f/20 Exposure Time 30s (30/1)

·        So the question I have right now is; what’s the point of retaining the 17-40mm and 24mm TSE? The 17-40 takes filters, specifically the big stopper. That to me is enough reason to still keep it. LEE is going to come out with a filter adapter, but it possibly cannot work with the big stopper?? The 24mm TSE seems more suspect right now, love doing stitched panoramas with it and off course it has tilt/shift. The 11-24mm easily does away with the need for stitching multiple 24mm shots and it’s so wide and sharp that you can possibly get away with perspective correction in post at the cost of some lost image size. I’m sure there are similar questions about other lenses with overlapping focal lengths. 

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