Canon Lens Comparison
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comparing canon lenses via click it up a notch

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One of my favorite things to look for when I am considering buying a new lens {or just wondering what else is out there} is to see comparisons between lenses. So, I thought it would be fun to do this exact thing with the lenses that I currently own. When I am asked what my favorite lens is my answer is usually the Canon 85 1.2L. It was my first L lens that I bought and for a few years it was the only lens I had other than the Canon 50 1.8 so I learned to use it for everything!

Below the comparisons are not set up with a complete 100% technical accuracy since I was working with a 7 year old helper. But, because my 7 year old helper was waiting to play they are taken in a very quick time frame with literally less than minutes between the very first shot and the last. He stood in exactly the same place for all of them & I moved to take the shots with the Canon 85mm and the Canon 100mm in an effort to get close to the same straight out of camera (SOOC) composition as I got with the 50mm lenses (Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 50mm 1.2L).

I was using my Canon 5d Mark ii for all of the images. I set my custom white balance using the Expodisc and I made no adjustments in post processing to any of these images. When I resized for web viewing, I did utilize the unsharp mask (in Photoshop) at the same low opacity for all of them just to sharpen a bit for this post.

Looking at the settings now I should have lowered the ISO to 100 but since it was shady and about 6:00 pm I originally set it to ISO 500.  I like to shoot a little more closed down when I am just shooting my son in the backyard playing and since he moves so fast I usually need to bump the ISO to keep my shutter speed high enough.  For these examples though, since he is standing still and I had opened up the aperture so much I could have lowered the ISO which would have led me to lower the shutter speed when I metered too.

Canon 50mm 1.8

canon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4 vs 1.2
Settings:  ISO 500, f/1.8, 1/1600

Canon 50mm 1.4

canon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4 vs 1.2
Settings:  ISO 400, f/1.4, 1/500 (I wanted to adjust the aperture to the widest this lens would go so I changed from f/1.8 to f/1.4)

Canon 50mm 1.2L

50mm 1.2
Settings:  ISO 500, f/1.4, 1/5000  (I was planning to adjust the aperture to the widest this lens would go but since I was rushing I realize I kept it at f/1.4)

Canon 85mm 1.2L

canon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4 vs 1.2
Settings:  ISO 500, f/1.8, 1/2500 (I changed the aperture back to f/1.8 to compare to the f/1.8 of the 50mm)

Canon 100mm 2.8

canon 100 2.8L
Settings:  ISO 500, f/2.8, 1/1250 (this lens only opens to f/2.8 so I couldn’t go any wider on the aperture)

This is a fun exercise to try with your own lenses, especially if you seem to favor one over another as it might bring a lens out of the bag that you don’t usually use!

Which of these SOOC is your favorite?

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6 Comments
  • May 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Love the shots with the 85mm! Also my favorite lens :)

  • Dee
    March 27, 2015 at 3:38 AM

    I love to take pictures at the zoo
    I want to buy a lens to get good
    clear close ups between the bars
    and wire of the encloser. What
    do you suggest? I have a
    Cannon

    • April 1, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      Hey Dee! You may want to check out the 70-200mm that will give you a longer focal length to get closer to the animals.

  • Paige
    November 7, 2015 at 8:37 PM

    I have a Canon Rebel. Have had it for 2 years and really want to upgrade. I know you use Nixon but do you have any suggestions what canon to go to after a rebel?

    • November 9, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      My best advice and this is what I tell everyone wanting to upgrade, I can’t tell you what to get. Instead, I recommend figuring out what you current camera can’t do or why you feel you need to upgrade, and then look for a camera that has those features. Also, if you can, go to a local camera store and get those camera’s in your hands. One photographer may rave about a camera but you may not feel comfortable with it in your hands or where the buttons are. Best of luck!

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