16-24mm L 2.8 Discussion

Small Flower Magnified

Small Flower Macro


Beach Costa Rica


The only worry I had when purchasing the 10D was the small sensor size.  Since the sensor is smaller than 35mm images are effectively cropped on the sensor increasing the focal length of each lens.  The focal length factor for the 10D sensor is 1.6X.  This is great at the telephoto end of the spectrum, where a 280mm lens is now a 448mm lens on the 10D, but at the other end of things you lose the wide angle capabilities.  A 16mm lens is now a 25.6mm lens.  This is barely wide angle.

After I decided to purchase the Canon 10D I began doing research into lenses.  First I had to decide what focal lengths I wanted to cover, and next what lens quality I wanted to pay for.  After, reading many web sites it became clear that most pro's recommended Canon L glass.  This is Canon's top of the line lenses and they cost significantly more than their other lenses.  Any Canon lens that has an L in the name is considered top quality.  You can go to Canon's web site and read the difference in the type of glass used if you like.  For myself, it doesn't matter what Canon says about the glass quality because I don't understand it anyway.  What mattered to me is what users saw in their pictures.

From all the research I did (and now from my own experience) what you get with a top quality lens is much higher sharpness throughout the entire field of view, especially when the lens is wide open;  less distortion (pincushion for wide angle lenses and barrel distortion for telephoto lenses); better contrast; less flare, faster and more accurate auto focus; and better build quality.

If you are interested in taking any wide angle shots at all I highly recommend getting this lens.  If you get a 24mm or higher lens you are actually starting out at 38.4mm.  You will not really be able to take any nice landscapes, and the restriction of not going any wider than this will be quite frustrating.  It would be nice if we could all afford the Canon 1Ds Mark II, which is a full frame 35mm sensor, and does not have this cropping factor, but that camera costs about $8000.

I use this lens mainly for landscapes and ultra magnified macros.  It works great with the EF12 Extension tube for enhanced macro use.  This lens is great for vacations.  Everyone always wants a wide shot of the beach, meadow, city street, or tall building.  Without a wide angle in your arsenal you will be very frustrated that so much is cut out of your image.  I have been extremely happy with the quality of images produced while using this lens. 
As you can see from the images above, this lens produces amazingly sharp, detail rich photos with great tone and contrast, as do all of the L class lenses that I own.

The beach scene was taken at 16mm (26mm
corrected by 1.6x for the 10D's sensor size) f 8, and 100 ISO.  It is a nice shot showing the tracked beach in Costa Rica.  You can see how there is very little distortion at this focal length.  Some more inexpensive wide angles will be exhibiting significant distortion at 26mm.

I don't have the information on the flower images above, but it is a great example of how much magnification you can get when combining this lens with the EF12 Extension Tube for macro work.  I was probably less than an inch from this flower when I took the shot on the left with this lens combination.   The flower on the left and the flower in the center image above are of the same type.  The image on the left was taken with the 16-24mm lens with the EF12 Extension Tube attached.  The image in the center was take with the 24-70mm lens with the EF12 Extension Tube attached.  The actual flower is only about 1/2 an inch in diameter.  As you can see I played around in Photoshop with this image an added a bunch of noise for affect, but it is possible to take nice clear images as well.  It is really fun to use this combination to magnify things and create interesting images.

I must add that all of my images have gone through Photoshop.  I crop, sharpen, employ noise reduction techniques, adjust contrast, saturation, and sometimes tone on most of my photos.  Out of the camera the images don't look as good, but in my opinion this is the great benefit of the digital world.  I believe that you should take all of your favorite images and mess with them in Photoshop.  But remember, in photography your photos will only be as good as your weakest piece of equipment.  If I was shooting with a lesser camera and with inexpensive lenses I would not have been able to achieve the quality of photos shown above, even with the help of Photoshop.

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Photos by Rob Bukar