Canon EF 24-105mm F4L IS lens review

Have you been lucky enough to have entered the growing full frame club recently  buying the new Canon EOS 6D?

Looking to find a suitable Canon standard zoom to accompany your new purchase?

Well how about the Canon EF 24-105mm F4L IS lens.

Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L IS Lens

Here’s a review of that lens conducted by photozone:

“The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS is surely one of the better standard zoom lenses for full format EOS DSLRs but it’s not perfect within this scope nonetheless. The resolution figures are generally very decent except for a pronounced border softness at 70mm @ f/4. Neither distortions nor vignetting are something to rave about at 24mm although these are no real issue at other focal lengths. Lateral CAs can be visible at times but the problem is generally well controlled (relative to other lenses in its class). The quality of the bokeh (@ 105mm) is very usable – within the limits of a lens with a moderate max. aperture. As to be expected from a modern Canon L lens the construction quality is up to pro standards. The AF is exceptionally fast, accurate and near silent. The image stabilizer works well within its specifications although some may miss a panning mode which is implemented in Canon’s IS L tele lenses. The EF 24-105mm is a pricey lens but also a substantial one”.

My Take:

I’ve used a EF 24-105mm F4, both on my own APS-C / cropped sensor EOS 7D & when I tested a Canon EOS 6D a few months back. I found the focal length great for general purpose photography, optical performance is very decent and build quality solid. Presently available for between £700- 750 the Canon EF 24-105mm IS lens is not badly priced either.

Mark Baynham (March 2013)

Nikon 16-85mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens

With the recent announcement of the power house that is the new  Nikon D7100 APS-C / Cropped DSLR, what would be a sensible general purpose zoom lens to go with a D7100 body? Well how about the Nikon 16 – 85mm F3.5-5.6 G zoom lens?

Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6G VR ED AF-S DX Lens

Photozone have tested this very lens and here’s what they had to say:

“Despite some shortcomings the Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX is still one of the best standard zooms available for Nikon crop cameras. It is very sharp throughout the range although there could be a little less field curvature (curved focus field) at 16mm. The level of distortion and lateral CAs is comparatively moderate for such a lens (still a bit high in absolute terms).

Vignetting is generally well controlled except at 16mm @ f/3.5. The rather slow max. aperture may be a bit unfortunate because the achievable bokeh is rather underdeveloped in conventional scenes. If you’re after a (relatively) shallow depth-of-field you should also stick to the 85mm setting – the bokeh is rather harsh at 50mm. The VR II (Vibration Reduction) can help to safe the day in low light situations (at cost of shutter speed) with a “gain” of ~3 f-stops in field conditions. The build quality is on a good level but don’t expect professional grade quality. Thanks to AF-S the autfocus is quite fast and virtually silent. All-in-all a very good lens but not flawless”.

My Take

Looking at the technical results, the Nikon 16-18mm F3.5- 5.6 G zoom lens puts in a rather commendable performance. Its reasonably priced and would form a very sensible and rewarding pairing when combined with the new Nikon D7100.

Mark Baynham (March 2013)

Fujion XF 14mm F2.8 lens review

Photozone have published a review of their testing of the new wide angle fast “prime” intended to be used with fabulous X Pro1 and XE-1 compact camera / mirrorless cameras the Fujion XF 14mm F2.8 lens.

Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 Lens

Here’s what they had to say:

Fujion XF 14mm F2.8

The Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R is a highly attractive ultra-wide lens with few shortcomings. The most important factor for an ultra-wide lens is certainly image sharpness and the Fujinon delivers here. It is bitingly sharp in the image center and good to very good in the outer image region. The very low CAs contribute to the high quality perception. Distortions are basically absent – even in RAW data – which is surprising for such a wide lens and even more so for a mirrorless one. The primary weakness of the Fujinon is the very high amount of vignetting. Most RAW converters as well as the camera (JPEGs) can (mostly) compensate this automatically though. Looking at the close focus results, the bokeh is rather typical for an ultra-wide lens – it’s rather nervous – which probably originates in the aspherical design.

The build quality of the Fujinon is very high and as such in line with the other Fujifilm offerings. It’s mostly made of metal but since Fuji tried to minimize the weight it doesn’t feel as rock solid as a Leica lens for instance. However, this is mostly a subjective impression. Objectively there’s little to complain about except for the lack of weather sealing. Some users may not like the fact that it is comparatively large which is certainly true compared to a pancake lens such as the XF 18mm f/2 R. However, it is no brick either and the bigger the better in terms of potential image quality. The AF isn’t really a decisive factor for such a lens but Fuji did a good job here actually – it is both quite fast and near silent. The pricing feels a little steep but it is fair enough in relation to the high performance. Therefore also highly recommended.

My Take:

There really isn’t a “weak” lens in Fuji’s XF lens line up from results I have both seen published and more particularly from what I have personally achieved in my own testing. The XF 14mm F2.8 is clearly a great lens and is a welcome additions to the growing X” system. With a telephoto lens and wide angle zoom on the horizon the Fuji “X” system is maturing nicely.

Mark Baynham (March 2013) 


Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM lens review

Cameralabs has tested the new Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM lens intended to be used on ful frame DSLR’s.

Now this is a classic and popular focal length whilst an aperture of F1.4 opens up all sorts of photographic possibilities. Traditionally such lenses have been very expensive but Sigma’s offering is considerably cheaper than lenses from Nikon, Canon and Sony. So has does it fair?

Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Lens - Nikon Fit

Here’s cameralabs conclusion:

Sigma 35mm F1.4
The Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM is a very exciting lens. You can produce shots with image quality you might think were impossible at a wide open aperture of f1.4. Plus the build-quality and the new design support Sigma’s claim to have developed and manufactured a lens to professional standards. I was quite shocked to see this lens surpass the optical performance of the venerable Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G with respect to sharpness.

But in other respects it slightly lags Nikon’s flagship: rendering of out-of-focus subjects in the background is a bit more nervous than from the Nikkor which also shows a higher resistance against flare and glare. There’s also no weather-sealing which seems a bit out of place for a lens targeted at professionals. But mind you even in these aspects of lens-performance the Sigma plays on a very high level – and it does deliver this impressive performance at a price that is much lower than the 35mm f1.4 models from Nikon, Canon or Sony. This clearly earns the new Sigma lens our Highly Recommended rating.

Good points
Outstanding performance in the corners of a high-resolution full-frame sensor even wide open.
Good build quality.
Quiet and fast AF operation.
Relatively low price compared to the big names.

Bad points
Performance at the borders/corners of the DX/APS-C image circle could be better.
No weather sealing.

My Take:

Why buy a makers own model?

Mark Baynham (March 2013)

Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm F4 Review

The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 is an ultra-wide angle zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, including Panasonic Lumix G, Olympus PEN and Olympus OMD models. Mounted on a Micro Four Thirds body it delivers an effective focal length of 14-28mm, covering most of the popular wide-angle focal lengths from mild to extreme, while the f4 aperture remains constant throughout the range.

Cameralabs have tested this lens and this is their verdict:

“The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 may be one of the earliest native lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, but remains one of the most compelling, delivering superb quality across its focal range from standard wide to extreme wide angle.

With coverage that’s equivalent to 14-28mm in the full-frame format, the Lumix 7-14mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscape views and enormous buildings inside and out. It conveniently starts where most general purpose lenses stop, providing the photographer with wider and wider coverage until they have to be careful not to include their feet in their shots.

The lens is capable of delivering a fantastic degree of fine detail across the frame at all focal lengths. In my tests it excelled at wider focal lengths and only became a little softer in the extreme corners when zoomed-into 14mm, but overall there’s little to complain about in terms of sharpness and contrast. There’s some vignetting at f4, but it’s easily corrected by processing or optically eliminated by stopping down a little. Just try and use the lens at apertures larger than f8 or you’ll begin to suffer from diffraction. The bottom line is this is a great lens which should be on the shortlist of any Micro Four Thirds owner who’s into wide-angle photography and it’s a model that continues to drive many owners of larger formats to switch to this smaller mirror-less format”.

Good points
Superb image quality across the frame, especially at the wider-end.
Constant f4 aperture throughout the range.
Built-in lens hood provides protection against flare and knocks.
One of the smallest ultra-wide zooms around.

Bad points
No built-in filter mount. Filters need a third-party or DIY solution.
Lack of optical stabilisation may be an issue for Panasonic owners.
Basic manual focusing ring feels more like a kit lens.
No weather-sealing.
Some user reports of increased flare when used with Olympus OM-D E-M5.

My Take:

I went for the tiny Olympus 9-18mm wide angle m4/4rd lens to match to my Olympus OMD EM5 last year but in truth if I had had the cash I would have bought the Panasonic, it’s a superior lens all be it a more expensive one. If you have the cash, want the best m4/3rd wide angle zoom get the Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm F4 it’s a cracking lens.

Mark Baynham (March 2012)