Standard lenses vs. Canon L-series

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by lacla, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. lacla

    lacla TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    This is my first post here. I signed up in hope someone here might be able to help me. I use a Canon 40D that I'm immensely happy with. I use standard Canon and Sigma lenses. I have long wondered how much better a Canon L-series lens is in terms of image quality. Are they marginely better or a lot better? In order to find out, I have searched here and there for a side-by-side image comparison of a standard lens vs. an L-series at equal aperture and focal length. I haven't found such a comparison, so it is my hope that someone here might know if such a comparison exists somewhere? Thanks.

    //lacla
     
  2. Formatted

    Formatted TPF Noob!

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    L stands for expensive
    or
    L stands for weather proof
    or
    L stands for quality

    Just some of the reasons why L series are better! I'm not a canon expert so don't know sorry bud!
     
  3. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Like everything it depends on what you are looking at. In general L glass is superior in design details, materials, & construction. This includes the glass that is used and the quality of the shaping, polishing and coatings. All of which leads to better image quality.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    which means better resale appeal and value too.

    Call a couple of places and ask them how many €€€'s they will give you for your Sigma lenses, compared to what you paid for them.

    Then call them a couple of days later pretending you have an equivelent Canon L lens to sell.
     
  5. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not all L's are weather sealed
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  6. Formatted

    Formatted TPF Noob!

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    Oh my bad was at a shop yesterday and the ones I had a sneaky peak at had sealing band round the lens mount. Seriously expensive, but much more than Nikkor....
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  8. bazooka

    bazooka No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is a site where you can compare side-by-side chart-shots of each canon lens at different apertures and focal lengths... even with teleconvertors. It's really quite incredible. The problem is, I can't remember how I get there. :(
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Gary you could get an army of 70-300mm for the cost of one 300mm f2.8 ;)

    L is Canon's trade mark for their best quality of lenses in terms of both optical quality, features and build quality. Many of the telephoto ones are also the classy white colour so you can always tell them.

    However L are not out there on their own as the only good options. Most are top of their game, but there is some play around. For example there are 400mm 5.6L and 300mm f4L lenses as well as 400mm f2.8L and 300mm f2.8L - they are all L grade but the latter two are far more impressive in terms of optical qualty - but their weight and cost are a lot more.
    Further some non-L lenses still have very impressive image quality and there are even 3rd party lenses that can equal L grade optics. Eg the sigma 50-500mm is not much different from the 100-400mm L and with macro lenses the L macro lenses are not much different from 3rd party options.

    Essentially L are a good bet most of the time, but do research around the lenses you are after as sometimes there might be some better or alernative options on the market for what you want. For some L grade is all they go with, but for others budget can be the major limiting factor.
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This was taken with the 300mmF4L non IS (wish i had kept it)
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Great point.

    When comparing lenses, you really need to take it on a case by case basis. It's not really fair to compare one brand to another, or even all L lenses against non-L lenses.

    For the most part, L lenses are going to be better than their non-L cousins. Especially when it comes to zoom lenses. But the question at hand, is just how much better are they? That is pretty hard to properly quantify.

    I'll use the analogy that I often use when people ask about Sigma/Tamron lenses.
    Top of the line Sigma/Tamron lenses are pretty good, maybe 80-90% as good as top of the line Canon lenses...but the Canon lenses cost twice as much. For some people, the Sigma/Tamron lenses are good enough and are thus a great bargain, but for some people, that last 10% of quality is easily worth paying twice the price.

    Of course, there are other factors...like if you need IS for example. Many Canon L lenses have IS, but other companies are just now catching up with high quality, stabilized lenses. Weather sealing & build quality is another factor to consider. And as mentioned, resale value. Few things hold their value as well as top quality lenses, especially L lenses. I'd guess that you could buy a $1000 L lens, use it for several years and then sell it for $700-$800.
     
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Compare lenses like the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR against the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS (VI, VII just came out), 24-70 f/2.8's, and 300 f/2.8 just to name a few.

    Nikon is generally more expensive.
     

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