24mm f1.4 L vs 16-35mm f/4 L for landscape and general use

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by C3rvantes, May 13, 2017.

  1. C3rvantes

    C3rvantes TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone, I have a conundrum that I would love some advice on.

    I'm about to take a two month trip across the US, hitting all the big national parks and pretty much just seeking out the mountains. I will be in BC as well, maybe even Banff at some point. I've got a budget of $4000, and part of that will already be dedicated to getting a Canon 5DsR for ~$3100, leaving me with roughly $900-$1000 for a lens. I currently have an 80D with an EF-S 17-55 F2.8 IS USM, EF 50 f1.8 STM, and EF 70-300 f4-5.6 L. My passion is for landscape photography, but as a budding professional I know that I cannot simply jump into success in landscapes specifically and therefore would like to shoot portraits/weddings here soon.

    I have already decided on getting the 5DsR, now I just cant decide whether I want to try and get a used copy of the EF 24 f1.4L or a used copy of the 16-35 f4 L. Based on the research I have done so far, the 24mm has the ability to produce a much sharper image, obviously partly due to being a prime lens (sharpness is something I am going for paired with the 5DsR) and also has the ability to be a lens for astrophotography with that wide aperture. However, it does not have IS, and of course any other focal length than 24mm. The 16-35 f4 seems to be one of the best dedicated landscape lenses, with great overall sharpness, a focal range that is more than that of the 24mm, and has IS which would make handheld shooting easier. Most of the time I will be trying to use the 5DsR on a tripod, but since it will be my only professional body, there is a good chance I will use it handheld a lot. Though I will be doing everything I can to avoid motion blur due to the massive pixel count in photos.

    I'm interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on the matter, especially any experience related to the 5DsR with either of these two lenses.


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    For me, with a d-slr, and shooting tripod-mouinted landscapes? I would buy the 16-35mm f/ 4 L zoom every single time over any prime lens. Why? It's simple: focal length flexibility will mean that you can set the RIGHT focal length for almost any wide-view situation, rather than being locked in to one, singlke, 24mm focal length. PLUS: 16mm is an extreme wide-angle lens! 17mm and 18mm are also extreme wide-angle lengths! 20mm is a VERY wide-angle lens. 24mm is a wide-angle lens. 28mm is a moderate wide-angle. 35mm is a semi-wide angle lens. The 16-35mm has ALL of the extreme to semi-wide focal lengths, all in one, stabilized lens!

    You're asking, "Should I buy a 12" inch Crescent wrench?", or ,"Should I by a set of end wrenches, sockets, and a set of Crescent wrenches?"
     
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  3. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yeah....have to agree with Gryph's post above...for me, telephoto-shot landscapes are often the most appealing. I LOVE the Oregon coast....for me,personally, the 70-200 is my go-to landscape lens....then a 300mm...then an 85mm, then a 60mm macro, then a 45mm f/2.8 prime lens, then a 35mm prime lens...that is my basic landscape kit. I have a 17-35 zoom....seldom like to use it...

    Back in the day, I liked NIkon's 80-400 VR lens for Oregon coast shots, a place where the distances are often somewhat long, where stuff is often a half-mile or so distant, sometimes two to three miles distant. Seascapes versus landscapes.

    The issue is zoom verus single focal length lens: sharpness is plenty good with L-series Canon zooms and Nikkor zooms of the price category in which the 16-35mm f/4-L resides...zooms give flexibility of framing, and that is valuable. Single focal length lenses are specialized tools, with discrete framing capabilities. The zoom is the easier tool to use for many people.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  5. C3rvantes

    C3rvantes TPF Noob!

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    This is really helpful guys, thank you. I will go with the 16-35 for all my wide angle needs. The followup question to that is how well will the 16-35 perform should I decide to do some astrophotography? Obviously the 5DsR is not ideal for astro due to the immense pixel density and therefore noise on a pixel level. However, in keeping the ISO fairly low I hope to try some wide astro shots.

    Additionally, do you think the 70-300 f4-5.6 L will suffice for telephoto landscapes, in place of a 70-200 f4 L? It doesn't have the fixed aperture of f4 but is much smaller and more travel friendly, with an extra 100mm of zoom range. And the clear benefit is that I already own it.

    Many thanks again for the advice!
     
  6. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 16-35mm f/4 is the right answer for your original question (the new EF 16-35mm f/2.L USM III is better... but at about twice the price -- so that's probably not in the cards for you right now.)

    As for the astro use... there are some other considerations.

    If you're just shooting areas of the sky (no land) then get a tracker head such as the Sky Watcher "Star Adventurer" head... or the iOptron "SkyTracker Pro" head. With a well-aligned tracking head, exposure duration isn't limited and there's no need to crank the ISO or shoot at lowest possible f-stop. I've done 8 minutes at f/11 using a 135mm lens... no problem on a tracking head.

    If you want land in your nightscape photos, then owning very low focal ratio lenses is a bonus (and you might want to shoot stopped down a stop). However... you can actually double the max exposure time of a nightscape if you have a tracking head.

    The Earth rotates at roughly 15 arc-seconds (angular rotation) per second of real time. So the idea behind the tracker is that it ALSO spins at 15 arc-seconds per second. That speed is also known as "sidereal speed". You polar align the head so that it's axis of rotation is parallel to Earth's axis of rotation (in other words you point the axis at the Earth's celestial pole and there is an alignment aid to help you do that). As the Earth spins from West to East, the head spins from East to West - cancelling the Earth's rotation.

    But if there's "land" in the image, then the land will appear to move and blur -- that's no good. So the head's have an option to rotate at 1/2 sidereal speed. This means that it's not quite keeping up with the stars but it allows the camera shutter to be open for twice as long before the stars are noticeably getting elongated. But since there's "land" in the image... it ALSO is moving and it appears to be moving in the opposite direction at the same rate as the stars. But the overall result is that you can literally expose for twice as long as you could on a stationary tripod before anyone can notice the motion.

    The normal rule for full-frame camera night-scape is that you start with 500 and you divide that by the focal length of the lens. So 500 / 24 = 20.8 seconds. But if it's on a tracking head at 1/2 sidereal speed you can exposure for about 41 seconds ... a huge difference. BTW, some people use the slightly more generous "600" as the base value. If nobody looks at the image too closely, you can get away with it. That would give you times of 25 seconds (non-tracking) to 50 seconds (tracking at 1/2 sidereal speed) for a 24mm lens.
     
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  7. bratkinson

    bratkinson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll 'fourth' (or 'fifth') the vote for the 16-35. I have a 16-35 f2.8 L ii and it covers everything 'wide' that I could ever think of while using my 5Diii.

    My concern is your getting a new camera just before going on a major 'shoot'. It's been brought up multiple times in the past years on this forum that taking on a new camera at the same time as other major events (vacation) can spell trouble. FWIW, I didn't follow the very same advice a month ago and bought a new handheld radio scanner a week before going on vacation and my lack of expertise with it 'cost me' in missed transmissions that I wanted to hear (I'm a railroad buff and listen to RR crews as well as take pictures of trains). Fortunately, I had the user manual with me and solved my problems in an hour or so.

    In addition to learning the new camera 'on the fly', you'll need to be able to handle the larger RAW files not only with lots (and I do mean LOTS) of memory cards, but also on your laptop or other computer to process your photos. You'll be amazed at how fast a memory card fills up with a high megapixel camera. My upgrade a couple years ago from a 60D to 5Diii 'shocked' me with how much card space each photo consumed, and how much hard drive space was needed on my computer for processing them. As you'll be traveling, you'll need some means to selectively delete the 'losers' and retain multiple copies of the 'keepers'. Memory cards go bad, hard drives go bad, etc. Never have fewer than 2 copies of every keeper! Doing exactly that 'saved me' when I irrecoverably wiped out a 1/2 days' processing on my hard drive a couple months ago. I suggest you get not one, but two external hard drives in the 3-5 TB range to store all your photos. That way, you'll have 2 copies on 2 separate devices. There isn't a laptop out there that has that much HD space, so you'll definitely have to offload the pix to an external drive.

    Also, make sure your post processing software is up to date and can handle RAW files from the new 5DsR. You may need to update and even purchase an upgrade version to accommodate 5DsR files.

    And, of course, do a couple of 'test runs' with taking pix with your new camera in a variety of lighting conditions so you can get the feel of what dial/wheel/button does what and do it quickly. Also, process those test run pictures as well like you expect to during your trip, including backing them up. It's better to figure out what needs to be done while you're still at home rather than in a motel room or parked at a camp grounds.
     
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  8. C3rvantes

    C3rvantes TPF Noob!

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    bratkinson -

    You summed it up exactly. I had been told this by someone I know personally a few weeks ago, and have been trying to plan out everything you have mentioned to avoid finding myself in unfortunate situations when it comes to my new camera/equipment.

    I currently have two 128GB SD cards, as well as a 128GB CF on the way. For photo storage and PP, I have been using a 2TB HD paired with my MacBook Pro and the newest versions of all the Creative Cloud Apps. I also have been planning to get an additional multi-terabyte hard drive since I have been told file sizes for 5DsR photos can be 40-80 MB per RAW file. Which is about 1600 photos per SD card.

    As far as getting to know the camera fully before I depart, that is something that I hadn't thought of in that amount of detail. Definitely a necessary measure though. Thanks for that!
     
  9. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes - easily. My 5D IV (30MP camera) seems to have an average RAW file size of around 45MB (they seem to range from the high 30's to the low 50's in terms of MB's). And that's a 30MP camera... you'll have a 50MP camera.
    The 5DS R has a control layout which is basically identical to the 5D III. I don't know if you've had any other Canon high-end bodies, but the control layouts and menu operations tend to be very similar. If you've owned other Canon bodies (especially mid-range or high-end bodies) then you'll likely pick up on the operations very quickly. But it's generally a very good idea to read through the docs.

    One thing that won't be in the box, is the AF Setting Guidebook. That's a downloadable article and you can get it here:
    http://cpn.canon-europe.com/files/p...ii/AF_guide_EOS5D_MarkIII_eng_January2013.pdf

    It's a 47 page book on JUST the auto-focus system. If you've never used one of the Canon models with the new advanced iTR (intelligent Tracking & Recognition) focus systems then this will be very new to you and you'll want to read that guide.

    A friend of mine owned a 5D III back when I had my own 5D III. I was at an event and I had to present an award to someone, so I asked the friend (who owned the same camera) if he wouldn't mind using my camera to take a photo of this person receiving their award. To my surprise, the friend struggled with the focus system. It turns out he never modified his defaults and wasn't sure how the focusing system worked (this is someone who has been a photographer for decades). So I DO definitely advise getting familiar with that system.
     

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