Monday, March 16, 2015

[Review] Canon 11-24mm 4L vs. 14mm 2.8L

Canon 11-24mm 4L with the 1DX (Notice the size)
Canon 11-24mm f/4
Pros: Flare control, straight lines at 11mm, versatility, sharp across 11-24mm
Cons: Big, heavy, and a liability; F/4; rear filter; front element moves across focal length
Bottom-Line: Amazing landscape/architecture lens

Canon 14mm f/2.8
Pros: f/2.8, smaller and lighter
Cons: Fixed focal length, rear filter
Bottom-Line: Was an amazing landscape/architecture lens; may still have use as a traveller's lens - but 16-35mm f/4 IS or f/2.8 would be more than enough

It has been a while since I was very excited about a lens from Canon. I primarily shoot sports, but I do do some landscapes and traveling on the side. I love ultra wide angle lens, because they give this very unique perspective in the images. I primarily shot with the Canon 14mm. I will be selling the Canon 14mm 2.8 because of this 11-24mm 4 lens.

The most amazing aspect of this lens is flare control. The Canon 11-24mm coating did some magic in this department. I pasted an example comparison below,

Flares from the Canon 14mm @ f/5.6

Flares from the Canon 11-24mm @ f/5.6
(Notice the very nice distinct flares)
Note: that this comparison is not done at the same exposure and not the same type of light-source. But the comparison is pretty typical. The flares in the 11-24mm are just beautifully rendered.

Next in line is the straight edges. A perfect example at 12mm is shown below,

                                                 Shot with Canon 11-24mm f/4 @ 12mm

Notice the lines are very vertical and little barrel distortion is present. This is some technical achievement Canon has made and is very impressive.

In terms of sharpness, this lens is very comparable with the 14mm 2.8 at f/4, f/5.6. Given the 14mm is a prime lens, the Canon 11-24mm f/4 really just eliminates the need of the 14mm in my arsenal. The corner to corner sharpness is fantastic. The only wide-angle lens that I can recall that has better sharpness in the corners is my Canon 24mm f/3.5L TSE II.

Flare control, straight lines, versatility of 11-24mm, and sharpness are outstanding aspects of the lens. However, the trade-offs are not trivial. First, the lens is very heavy. It is very well balanced on the 1DX, okay on the 5D, and front heavy for others. Second, the lens is very big. Not that I do not like big lenses, the front element is a protruding one. When I walk around, I need to put the cap on. Third, is that the front element moves when you change focal lengths. I am more of a fan of a contained lens for traveling (such as the 14mm, 16-35mm with a front filter, etc.) because of dust problems, etc. However, Canon did claim this lens is highly dust resistant.

If you can forgo the fragile and yet not so fragile nature of the lens, there is absolutely no complaints. A lot from the Nikon camp talk about how their 14-24mm is only 3mm difference and has f/2.8. But really, 3mm makes a huge difference as shown below,
Shot with Canon 14mm f/2.8

Shot with Canon 11-24mm f/4 @ 11mm (3mm does make a difference)

These were taken at the Palace of Fine Arts. The 11mm focal length is truly magical. I rarely shoot at f/2.8 in my landscape/architecture photography. The only time I did shoot at f/2.8 at with the 14mm is when I was taking pictures of stars and meteors- but that is not my personal forte.

Shot with Canon 11-24mm f/4 @ 24mm
Shot with Canon 11-24mm f/4 @ 12mm
Shot with Canon 11-24mm f/4 @ 11mm (it it also very good for selfies)

Canon 11-24mm 24mm 11mm f/4 f4 4.0 f4L 4L UWA WA

1 comment:

  1. great review where is the place of Shot with Canon 11-24mm f/4 @ 12mm nice view