Old L lenses that are still in production

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by dolina, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. dolina

    dolina No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    These L lenses were introduced before 2006 and are still in production. They are likely to get a Series II or IS update.

    1993 EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
    1995 EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
    1996 EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
    1996 EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
    1996 EF 135mm f/2L USM
    1997 EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
    1999 EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
    2004 EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM


     
  2. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    The 70-200 F2.8 and F4 have already gotten updates.
     
  3. dolina

    dolina No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Series II lens you pertain to has IS. The 1995 and 1999 lens have no IS.

    There are 4 variations of the 70-200 zoom as it is a very popular focal range.
     
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  4. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    Oh I see. Thank you for clearing that up. At this point, I wonder why they would consider making either without the IS. Seems like it would be easy so not include it.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    One thing to note is that all of those (with the exception of the 28-300-L) are strictly telephoto lenses, and on that type of lens, the light rays that exit the rear of the lens are coming in at a fairly straight angle...the lenses are optically tele-centric...the light does not come toward the film (sensor) plane at steep, raking angles. With many older wide-angle and wide-angle zoom designs, the light leaving the rear element came into the film plane at steep angles of incidence, which worked FINE on film, where millions upon millions of ultra-small silver particles could easily "accept" the photons.

    WIth a digital sensor, the pixels are not quite so evenly dispersed as are silver particles suspended in a continuously spread-out emulsion: on a sensor, the pixels are much bigger than film's semi-random silver emulsion's particulate light-accepting structure, so pixels are more like "buckets", or let's say teeny-tiny little beakers, with straight sides...light that comes STRAIGHT into the pixel wells through the microlenses is well-accepted, but at the edges of the sensor, light rays that strike at a glancing angle are not handled nearly as well as the light that comes "straight in", headlong. Canon (and the other big companies) has made improvements in microlens technology since the 30D era, and continues to advance.

    There's not a "lot of" advantage to re-designing telephoto lenses of the quality of the ones on that list above. The lenses from the late film era that DO benefit the most from digital optimization are the wide angles and wide zooms. MANY film-era wide-angle lenses show pretty serious weaknesses on digital, especially now that the megapixel levels have risen to 20 MP or a bit higher.
     
  6. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    In your opinion would it make sense or be difficult to simply leave IS out of the two 70-200 lenses?
     
  7. dolina

    dolina No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Alas these L lenses from the 1990s are starting to be outresolved by cameras like the 51MP 5Ds. So having them listed down helps sort things out.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Sure...leaving out IS would make the lens lower-cost to manufacture, and possibly a bit more reliable long term (as in 20-30 years long-term). As I understand it the older, NON-IS 70-200mm f/2.8-L is a bit better optically than the one I bought, the f/2.8 L-IS model...the OLD 70-200mm f/4 was older, 67mm filter thread and not that good, really in my use of one back in the 2000's decade. The newer 70-200mm f/4 L-IS USM is part of this new-era lens idea that people want smaller, lighter lenses, f/4 max aperture but with IS--and with professional-level optics. THIS IS THE NEW THING: smaller, lighter f/4 zooms that cost less, but have professional-grade optics, which perform well on higher and higher MP cameras. Nikon and Canon battling on this front right now, pretty hard.

    The tooling and assembly costs on the old lenses have already been payed for many times over. Why stop making them?

    MANY newer shooters seem to regard IS and VR and OS as major, major selling points. Many other people grew up shooting everything at SAFE settings... 1/over focal length, or 2x/focal length for teles, and 3/focal for telephoto action work, so they see no value to IS-VR-OS.

    My gut tells me the 24-70, 16-35, and 70-200 zooms are the most-bought and most-desired of the high-dollar lenses, so having multiple models makes sense, as does a bigger f/2.8 and a smaller f/4 model. Once a user owns one of those three lenses, I think they become locked in to the brand, so I see why the companies make multiple models in the zoom segment: not everybody can afford the 70-200/2.8 Mark II...
     
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  9. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    My 70-200 f4 IS II is my first L lens and remains my favorite lens - even though I don't use it much any longer. When I do, oh the joy.
    I also agree with you in regards to it's being the new-era light weight alternative. If I had a need for 2.8, it's not been $1k worth of need.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My gut tells me Canon doesn't want to update the 400mm f5.6 nor the 300mm f4 for as long as they can avoid to. I say that because one of the big draws they have is having two L grade telephoto lenses in that price bracket. It's something you don't really get from anyone else and it a big seller for amateur wildlife/sports photographers. Those primes are at a mental price barrier and the next level up are VERY expensive now.

    Thus far every new L lens has come with a big price jump; so we can expect if any of those are updated they will get a big jump in price; which has to question how soon canon wants to upgrade.


    On the 70-200mm front I'd say Canon views IS as an almost necessary feature these days. At least for mass market sale IS is a bit like live-view. Once never needed; now almost an expected feature. This is even more the case as Canon is pushing their video features a lot and thus IS has even more reason to be in the lens. Thus I'd be surprised to see them release a non IS version; although like others above I don't think it would be an unwelcome addition and it would sell well; esp if it had the same or slightly better optics than the IS version.



    I'd also say that the MPE 65mm macro deserves a slot in that list; whilst its not an L lens (heck its lack of an AF motor means its not even an EF nor EF-s lens) it is a unique; high value specialist lens Canon makes. There was a panic a year or so back on the Photography on the Net forums when someone in Canon UK said that they weren't making any more MPE and thus couldn't get repair parts when someone sent in for a repair quote. This was soon nullified and the MPE confirmed to still be in production. So if they are still making new copies it means it is selling; be nice to see them go back to that lens. Heck I'd love them to do a 0.5:1 - 3:1 or 4:1 lens. It would be vastly more practical in the field to have a little less macro capabilities up to around half life size. Then again a full upgrade to the lens would be great as well ( a great chance for them to update the twinflash too which is very dated now)
     
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  11. dolina

    dolina No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I will expound on my original post to better convey my ideas.

    1995 EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
    1999 EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
    - film lens with film optics
    - newer 70-200 without IS have come out from other brands after the 90s.

    1997 EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
    - film lens with film optics
    - In 2015 Nikon came out with an equivalent that is PF (Nikon's DO equivalent) that is lighter and smaller

    2004 EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
    - In 2010 Nikon came out with an equivalent that is half the weight and price.

    1996 EF 135mm f/2L USM
    - film lens with film optics
    - Earlier than 2009 Sony came out with an equivalent that is 1/3rd stop faster
    - newer lenses from other brands have come out after 1996

    1996 EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
    - film lens with film optics
    - newer long Macros have come out from other brands that are either faster or have IS after 1996

    1996 EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
    - film lens with film optics
    - Could be replaced by a Series III or with IS

    1993 EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
    - film lens with film optics
    - Could be replaced by a Series III or with IS

    Now, granted some of these lens are not volume sellers or would not provide a cheap option at the very low end but it does not mean that they will not eventually get an update.

    This thread purpose is to give prospective buyers a head's up on which product will be likely to be phased out because they're old and the competition came out with something more suitable to today's technical requirement.
     

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