L quality, non-L glass


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Feb 14, 2013
Reaction score
Westminster, CO
I have no idea how to search for what I'm asking and titling this thread was a pain in the ass.

I know people on here have said there are canon lenses that are great quality, take fantastic pictures and probably have a little red line around the end. The problem is, I can't remember which ones they are. A little help, please.

I think a few of them are the 50mm f1.4 and 100mm macro, but I could be wrong.
The red lines are L :) I think the line you're thinking of is the gold line.
The 2.8 100mm and the 1.4 50 mm have the gold bands and yes I believe they are one step below. (I think!)
I've seen a few posts describing a few individual lenses as having good enough optics, build quality and focus quality to rival it's L counterpart. It wasn't a particular line of lenses
As a previous owner of the 50mm 1.8 and the 1.4, and a current owner of the 1.2 L, I can vouch for the 50mm 1.4. It's a great lens. The 85mm 1.8 is also a very nice lens (focuses crazy fast too) and I've heard good things about the non L 100mm macro also. As far as zoom lenses go, I can't really think of any non L ones that rival my 70-200. I don't know if someone else could offer better input in that regard.
I have an EF-S 17-55 f2.8. I use if on my 7D and in my opinion it's not far off the EF 24-70 f2.8L.

The 17-55 has the same UD elements used in "L" lenses, the only reason they cannot call it an "L" lens is because its EF-S and is not of all metal construction.

If I were to compare a shot taken with the 17-55 to one taken with my 70-200 f2.8L it's just as good in terms of IQ.

I also have a 50mm f1.8. When stopped down a bit it's optically as good as the 2 above mentioned lenses, but it's built like **** compared to the others and its SOOOOOO noisy to focus compared to the others as well.
You can't just draw a line, putting 'L' glass on one side and non-L glass on the other. Some L lenses are really, really good...while some are just good. Some of the non-L lenses are pretty good and of course, some of them are terrible.

There are a few 'gems' in the line up. Lenses that have a pretty good image quality but won't cost you top dollar. As mentioned, the 50mm F1.4 and 85mm F1.8 are two of the most common examples. The EF-S 17-55mm and EF-S 10-22mm both have image quality on par with many L branded zoom lenses...but they really aren't much less expensive...and they aren't compatible* with full frame cameras.

The 17-40mm F4L is a good value compared to many other lenses. I've always heard good things about it, and I traded my 10-22mm for a 17-40mm when I upgraded to full frame. It's a good solid lens, but I do miss my 10-22mm a little bit.

Most reactions

New Topics