As you know, there are very many lenses to choose from. But is there a real difference between them? Of course, there is. There are different focal lengths, apertures, filter sizes … But the really important thing is optical quality.
What is sharpness?
That’s very interesting question. We all know what sharpness means in common life, but what it is in connection with lenses? We can say that it’s the ability of any lens to focus each beam of light into one individual spot. Better it’ll do, sharper it is.
My lenses and their results
I own three lenses, all made by Canon. Those are 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 and 70-200mm f/4L USM. I bought them in that particular order. All images will be posted also in a gallery below this post. There will be full shots and details.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
The 18-55 is just a kit lens – almost any lens is better than this one and it’s true. You may think your shots are sharp, but that’s just until you’ll shoot with better lens. Let me show you a sample image I took using this lens. Of course IS was turned off and it was on a tripod.
As you can see, the shot looks sharp, but the detail really isn’t as sharp as it shoot be even when the focus was precise. This result will give you very cheap lens. Image is in the gallery bellow the post.
Canon EF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 II
Lets take a look on the 28-70. This time I was using a tripod, because the shutter speed was 15″. You can see the shot is sharp and also are details. This you will accomplish only with higher quality glass.
I was shoot @65mm and the tripod was standing in the water. As you can see, it didn’t affect the sharpness of picture. In front of the lens were ND4 filter and CPOL. With it I was able to achieve so slow shutter speed and see through the water.
I was going for huge depth of field so I used aperture f/18. At these big numbers, lenses aren’t as good as about f/8. But this is individual and every lens is different. Even with this settings, I got very sharp shot.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
What about the optical quality of the best lens I have the 70-200mm f/4? It’s absolutely stunning! I can hand-hold the camera and get the same quality like from 28-70 on tripod! I cannot imagine the quality when I’ll mount this L-lens on tripod! You will find the sample images in the gallery.
To get sharp images you also need good shutter speed. With this lens I use the rule of thumb – shutter speed is equal or faster then focal length. So at 200mm the speed is at least 1/200s.
Is the L-series glass really that good? It is BETTER! Just compare the detail from hanger and from stream. I was hand-holding the 70-200 and got really sharp shot. Awesome!
Here is complete gallery of all images including details about sharpness.
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