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Old Jan 22, 2006, 1:22 PM   #1
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Hi,

How big is the difference between a L lens from canon and the sigma series of EX lenses. Its a fact that bodies come and go and lens stay longer. In that case why would we still search of sigma alternatives. A L lens is much robust and can stand any number of use. Are EX lenses built with the same quality.



Any pointers would be of great value.



Thanks in advance.

SVB
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Old Jan 22, 2006, 1:53 PM   #2
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nymphetamine wrote:
Quote:
Hi,

How big is the difference between a L lens from canon and the sigma series of EX lenses. Its a fact that bodies come and go and lens stay longer. In that case why would we still search of sigma alternatives. A L lens is much robust and can stand any number of use. Are EX lenses built with the same quality.



Any pointers would be of great value.



Thanks in advance.

SVB
I own no L lenses yet. I do own a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX HSM APO telelphoto lens and it's great.

L lenses are the best of the Canon lineup. They ARE better than Anything Sigma produces in quality and build. But only slightly.

When the price of said, L lenses are figured in, the Sigma EX line (their Pro line, reverse engineered from Canon's usually) is quite a deal and steal in many photographer's eyes.

That's my opinion on this subject. Hope it helped.

-tlmiller10
Tim Miller Photography
http://tmillerphoto.com
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Old Jan 22, 2006, 2:56 PM   #3
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I have a few L lenses (even FD L's), but then I also have a complement of EX lenses... :blah:

I shot with both, and I can bet no one can tell the difference from the images (which is what count), I posted which lens is which unless I fessed up! :-) :lol: :G

BTW all my lenses have been subjected to the rainforests and humid Carribean beaches... :idea:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=11

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Old Jan 22, 2006, 3:05 PM   #4
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If I could afford the L lenses I would not hesitate to by them, but I bought 3 sigma EX lenses plus a 1.4x teleconverter for less than the price of the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS. And all three are excellent build quality and great lenses. If I had won the lottery the day before I bought the Sigmas I might have bought the Canon L instead.
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Old Jan 23, 2006, 8:35 AM   #5
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L is Canon's premier line. EX is Sigma's premier line. Is Sigma as good? The answer is: it depends. It depends on the lens in question. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy a piece of electronic or optical gear just because of the name on it. Every lens purchase should be made on a case by case basis.

In some cases like the 70-200 2.8L (non IS) vs. Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX, picture quality is completely comparable between the two lenses. There are some people who have tried both and say the Canon focuses faster. But the Canon costs $350 more. In my mind when I bought my Sigma 70-200, I didn't think the POSSIBLE slightly faster focus was a good enough reason to spend $350 more.

Now, when I bought a Canon 100-400 I also considered THe Sigma 50-500. In that instance, I felt the image stabalization, weight and performance of the Canon were enough to justify spending $400 more and losing some versatility. Others in the same situation felt the Sigma's reach was the key factor in going with it over the 100-400.

Another example where Canon wins is 300mm 2.8 vs Sigma's 300 2.8. The Canon is, by all accounts, significantly better. The question you have to answer is: is it $2000 better. On the other side, Sigma has an outstanding 120-300 2.8 lens and Canon has absolutely to compete with it in that range.

The one argument for sticking with Canon lenses if you can is future compatibility. With future camera bodies, old lenses may or may not work. A third-party lens that worked on one Canon body might not work on a newer one. SOme times the manufacturer will rechip the lens so it will function on the new body, some times they wont. That is a risk with any third party lens.

So, my personal advice is not to make global generalizations: determine what lens you need and then look at the available options for that specific lens. If you're like many people, some times the Canon is worth the extra $$, sometimes it's not.
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 9:58 PM   #6
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I would say it depends. Until a month ago I had never owned an L lens, but I owned two Sigma EX lenses. One of the Sigmas is fantastic the other is just ok. But as NHL says lenses very.

Sigma EX lenses are built and feel much higher in quality than Canon standard lenses. If you only experience is with the Kit lens then a Sigma will be a real treat.

Canon L lens built is nothing short of awesome. The AF speed and accuracy on my 20D is nothing short of great. The low light speed is great. The contrast and color are great, I do very little if any post processing on my L images when shooting JPG.

That said, I should also point out that I have been using Canon SLRs for almost 25 years and these are my first 2 L lenses. In the time I have been very happy with my results. So if you can't afford L lenses don't go charging up the credit cards to get them. Both Sigma and Canon make very good affordable lenses.

Ed
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Old Jan 27, 2006, 10:51 AM   #7
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Hi Ed,

I also use L lenses on my 20D. I purchased the kit which came with the 17-85 5.6 lens and upgraded to the 24-70 2.8 and 16-35 2.8 L lenses. I am finding that the L lenses are producing shots that are much softer than the kit lens andhave to be 'sharpened' in pshop. I have been watching the forums to see if anyone else has experienced this and wondering if it is acompatability issuesince the 17-85 lens was designed exclusively for the 20D.

DanT
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Old Jan 27, 2006, 11:05 AM   #8
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DanT,

something must be amiss here. The Canon 24-70L 2.8 is arguably the sharpest zoom lens canon currently produces (with a price tag to match). For the same shot, same settings there is no way that lens should be less sharp than the 17-85 at the same focal length aperture.


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Old Jan 27, 2006, 11:29 AM   #9
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JohnG

Check the MTF between theses two lenses...
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Old Jan 27, 2006, 12:13 PM   #10
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What is a Canon L-series lens and why is it a big deal?

Canon sell a number of lenses in a special series they refer to as L for "luxury." These are their most expensive and highest-quality lenses, and are readily identifiable by the red stripe painted around the end of the barrel.

L series lenses offer higher optical quality than their non-L equivalents, and have an important technical aspect in common. At least one element in every L lens is either made of fluorite crystal rather than glass, is a ground aspheric lens element (not a moulded/replicated aspheric lens as used in less expensive lenses) or is made from ultra-low dispersion glass. Most L series lenses are also sturdily built - many are encased in metal barrels and are weatherproofed - and most are very fast lenses for their focal lengths. Nearly all telephoto L series lenses are also off-white rather than black.

These lenses are, therefore, marketed as professional camera lenses and are usually priced out of the range of most consumers. They can be used to take great photographs, but the cost, weight and size of these lenses are the tradeoffs.

Of course, a lens doesn't have to be an L series lens to take good pictures. Many EOS lenses offer excellent optical quality - they just don't need and thus don't have exotic fluorite lens elements and so on. Many of Canon's prime lenses in the 35mm to 135mm range fit in this category - see below.

Note also that the presence of a red ring around the end of a lens barrel only indicates an L series lens if it's actually made by Canon. Some other makers happily paint red stripes around the end of their lenses too, but this in no way guarantees that the lens meets the quality standard of a Canon L lens.




Should I buy a non-Canon (third party) lens?

Despite Canon's vigorous advertising campaign against third-party lenses a lot of people happily use lenses made by Tamron, Tokina and Sigma (and lenses with other brandnames but probably built by one of those three). And there's one really good reason for this - the third party lenses are almost always much much cheaper than equivalent offerings from Canon.

So. Should you buy a third party lens? It's not a simple yes/no issue, so here are some points to consider.


  • Price savings of third party products can be considerable, particularly if you're looking to get a faster, higher-quality zoom lens.[/*]
  • Remember that the cheapest lenses are optimized for price, not for optical quality. And the profit margins for cheap products tend to be very thin. The price differential between Canon and third party isn't huge when it comes to super-cheap lenses, so I don't know if third party lenses are such a great idea in this case.[/*]
  • Third party makers produce lenses in a variety of market categories. Conventional wisdom is that if you're considering third party at all you should consider the higher end of their product line, not the lower end for the reason above.[/*]
  • On the whole, Canon lenses seem to hold up their used value more than third party. If you intend to resell the lens anytime soon this can be a consideration.[/*]
  • Camera salespeople seem very eager to push third party lenses, so it's likely that they receive bigger kickbacks from the manufacturers in return. Don't let yourself be swayed by an eager salesperson - he or she probably isn't trying to convince you to buy something for your benefit.[/*]
  • Buying Canon is pretty well a guarantee that your lens will work with any Canon EOS camera. However Tamron also have an excellent compatibility record with EOS cameras. Always test with your camera first, but be aware that the lens may not necessarily work with future EOS cameras.[/*]
  • Some older Sigma lenses do not work correctly with the latest EOS cameras. They fit the camera but don't have compatible electronics, so the camera tends to lock up when you try to shoot. If you have such a lens you'll need to contact the manufacturer to see if they can provide a free repair to the problem.[/*]
  • Build quality of older Sigma products is notoriously poor. A quick search of the Web reveals countless complaints from unhappy Sigma lens owners. Newer Sigma lenses seem to be a bit sturdier, judging by anecdotal evidence.[/*]
  • Many of Tokina's lenses have heavy metal lens barrels, which are take a lot of abuse but are a drag when hiking. [/*]
  • Canon offer many lenses with USM and full-time manual. Most third party lenses don't have these features.[/*]
  • There are some operational differences. For instance, some third party lenses have focus or zoom rings which rotate in the opposite direction from the usual Canon direction.[/*]
  • It's difficult finding useful comparative data. You can look up the MTF scores on sites such as Photodo, which is a useful guideline, but the only way to compare lenses properly is to test them yourself to see if they meet your needs. Asking, "Is the Tokina XYZ 2.8 lens better than the Canon XYZ 2.8 lens?" rarely yields helpful answers, because most people don't buy both lenses and try them out.[/*]
  • Some specific third party lenses are better known than others. For example, Tamron's 90mm macro lens has a reputation for excellent image quality at a price considerably less than Canon's 100mm macro. Sigma sell an 8mm fisheye which Canon do not make.
[/*]
But the biggest deciding factor is, as always, money. Only you can decide what's your priority - low initial purchase price, mechanical reliability, compatibility, user interface or optical quality.



What is image stabilization?

Image stabilization or IS is a Canon technology that optically corrects for camera motion when you take a photo. Since camera motion - caused by handholding the camera, for example - can result in blurring of the image at slower shutter speeds, IS can result in sharper photographs when fast shutter speeds are not possible.

IS is a fairly complex technology involving motion sensors, microcomputer chips and small motors to move key lens elements. There is, therefore, a price premium for IS-capable lenses. But they can be very convenient - when handholding a camera you can easily gain a stop or two over using a non-IS lens.

However, remember that IS does not increase the maximum aperture of the lens or anything. An IS lens with a maximum aperture of 3.5 still has a maximum aperture of 3.5. IS simply lets you use a slower shutter speed than would otherwise be possible when you're handholding the camera, by compensating for camera motion. So you won't necessarily be able to get that narrow depth of field that you could with a faster lens - which could be a drawback or a benefit depending on your point of view.

IS has a few other drawbacks over faster lenses as well. Earlier IS lenses tended not to perform very well when mounted on a tripod when the IS mechanism was engaged. Consumer IS lenses also do not work very well when panning (tracking a moving object), though pro IS lenses do. IS does not help you if the subject is moving - it compensates only for camera motion. IS doesn't help freeze subject motion and in fact will probably make things worse by letting you use a much slower shutter speed than a fast lens. Some people find the slight swimming motion in the viewfinder when using IS a bit dizzying and IS uses a little more battery power than no stabilization at all.

Nonetheless, these drawbacks aside, most people find IS quite valuable, particularly on long telephoto lenses.

Canon were the first company to include image stabilization technology in SLR lenses, though Nikon actually pioneered the field with a stabilized-lens point and shoot (the Zoom-Touch 105 VR) in 1994. Today Nikon sell a few VR ("vibration reduction") SLR lenses, which are similar to Canon's IS. Sigma have also started to release image-stabilized lenses.



Conclusion


In conclusionan L Lens will become part of your family, that you will love and look after for the rest of your life. Theother will merely vary betweenacceptably behavedor downright annoying visitors.




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