Canon digital bodies and Nikon lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Dear group members:

    I wanted to post some questions and first reviews on my new equipment to
    obtain some feedback from you as well as have you share your own

    This past weekend I took my new Canon 1Ds Mark II out for the first real
    serious shooting session and did some tests with two lenses I purchased
    along with the camera. The lenses are the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM zoom and the
    EF 24mm f/1.4L USM.

    I am surprised with the low quality of the images I got from both lenses. I
    am coming from film cameras and used two very similar lenses with my Nikon
    Pro film body. My expectations for both Canon lenses were that they would
    meet Nikon's quality since they are both "L" lenses and the price is about
    the same but they don't even come close. My Nikon lenses are the 17-35mm
    f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S Zoom-Nikkor and the 28mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor. The performance
    on these lenses is just outstanding. The zoom is an all-around great lens
    that I like to take with me to places where I may want to capture a large
    area and may not have the room to stand back and embrace my landscape. The
    28mm is a great lens for low light situations where I don't like to use
    tripod and/or flash. They are both very sharp and even with the zoom opened
    to 17mm coverage, there is the natural distortion found at this type of
    focal length but the image is extremely sharp.

    I thought it might be just my impression and decided to check a few sites. I
    couldn't really find one that had objective tests with a specific technical
    protocol for testing lenses, but found several sites with reviews from other
    users and photographers such as Fred Miranda's site. It seems all reviews
    corroborate my initial impressions about flaws with Canon lenses. The
    16-35mm is claimed to be a disappointment but many who reviewed it and the
    24 f/1.4 also has its flaws including lack of sharpness.

    What is the deal with Canon lenses ? I can't believe I've just purchased a $
    10,000 + digital set up with what should be the best high end digital SLR
    system in the market and this is the type of photos I'm getting from these
    lenses. My opinion about the camera couldn't be any better. It is indeed
    very well built and a work of art in terms of engineering. The lenses, on
    the other hand, don't seem to even come from the same manufacturer or to
    have been designed with serious photographers in mind.

    One of Fred Miranda's review compares the sharp quality of Nikkor's 28mm
    lens to a Leica Vario-Elmar 21-35mm zoom lens. This is how good Nikon lenses

    The other option of lens I had in mind for my camera was the new EF 24-105mm
    f/4L IS USM lens because of its versatility and the ability to use it as the
    preferred lens for those photo shooting situations where you can only take
    one lens with you. After searching for this lens I found out that it has
    been pulled from the market because of some serious design flaws that caused
    flaring and other problems.

    Canon could follow Sony's approach. Since they realize they don't have the
    expertise required to design and build truly professional grade lenses, they
    went to Carl Zeiss. Now that Kyocera decided to discontinue its Contax line
    of cameras and is only keeping the Yashica line, Canon could very easily
    approach Carl Zeiss to produce its lenses as Kyocera did in the past.

    It is hard to accept that after a $ 10,000+ purchase the results I'm
    obtaining are not matching those I was able to obtain from my Nikon $ 2,000
    film setup. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I was under the wrong
    impression when I presumed that Canon's lenses were of similar quality to
    those made by Nikon.

    The bottom line is that one company gives you great lenses but still can't
    seem to develop a decent body with full frame sensor that doesn't change the
    characteristics of all the lenses you invested your money on. The other
    produces great bodies with outstanding resolution, full frame sensor and
    great overall performance but the lenses are of average rather than
    professional grade image quality.

    It seems that digital photography is not ready for prime time yet. Close -
    but no cigar !

    I am sorry for the long post - just needed to share my frustrations.

    Best regards,

    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Nov 9, 2005
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  2. And what post processing did you do? Did you shoot RAW, jpeg or both?
    Malcolm Stewart, Nov 9, 2005
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  3. Are you comparing apples to apples? Shoot the same image, same f stop, on
    both the 1Dsmk2 and a Nikon _film_ body, and print both at 13x19. Then tell
    us which is sharper.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 9, 2005
  4. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    eawckyegcy Guest

    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS just lathers on that FUD:
    Your entire shaggy dog story this time is just a re-hash of recent
    USENET posting by the well known FUDster fruitcakes that haunt this
    forum. This strongly suggests that you are a sock-puppet of one of
    these fruitcakes, or, failing that, intellectually indistinguishable
    from such.

    My advice to you: if your story is true, you are either (a) a
    photographic incompetent, or (b) clearly displeased with your
    equipment. In either case, you are advised to sell the equipment. You
    don't need us to hold your hand, or to validate this decision for you.
    (What kind of a doctor are you, anyways?)

    And if your story is _not_ true (sadly, the likely scenario):
    .... then please feel free to drop dead, FUDster. Again, in this case,
    there is no need for you to seek permission for this activity.
    eawckyegcy, Nov 9, 2005
  5. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    eawckyegcy Guest

    Does he even own the apple? Plausibility is being stretched far past
    the breaking point with this "Doctor" and his rantings.
    eawckyegcy, Nov 9, 2005
  6. I'd be willing to take your horrible system off your hands for ...

    Let's see....

    A hundred bucks...

    Scott in Florida, Nov 9, 2005
  7. Malcom:

    I have done almost no post processing. Images were taken as RAW (only; no
    JPEG) and then opened in Camera Raw hosted by Bridge (Adobe's latest CS2).
    Nothing was done in Camera Raw and all default values remained (the latest
    version of Camera Raw comes with auto values as the default) as were. In
    essence, there was no post processing done.

    The problems I mentioned relate to image quality primarily around the
    periphery (edge sharpness). The problems is more pronounced with 16-35mm as
    should be expected.

    Best regards,

    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Nov 9, 2005
  8. David:

    Thank you for the suggestion.

    I believe I am. I not referring to issues that could vary from one system to
    the other (film x digital).

    The shots I took were taken both handheld and with a tripod. I varied the
    aperture from minimum to maximum as a test to see how that would impact
    depth of field. The problem I am seeing is a lot of distortion around the
    edges, particularly on the 16-35mm when the lens is at its maximum angle of
    coverage (16mm). But it in fact starts to become pronounced as soon as I
    reach 24mm and start moving wider.

    I didn't have this type of problem with the Nikkor 17-35mm. There was the
    natural distortion to be expected mostly at the 17mm end of the zoom range.
    But it was within acceptable limits. I am finding the two lenses to be quite

    I am going to consider your suggestion and run some more tests including the
    prints from both lens. But trust me when I say that the difference between
    these two groups of lenses is quite dramatic. Hopefully this will be related
    to these two lenses only and not to others I still intend to purchase for my
    new system.

    Thank you again for the feedback.

    Best regards,

    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Nov 9, 2005
  9. FWIW, for subjects at infinity, my copy of the 17-40 at 17mm needs to be
    stopped down to f/11 to make the corners sharp. At 24mm, the corners are
    good by f/5.6 and excellent at f/8.

    I've never seen an MTF chart for a wide angle lens that wasn't a disaster at
    the corners wide open. Even the Mamiya 7 43 and 65mm (21 and 35mm equiv)
    lenses sharpen up noticeably from wide open (which isn't very wide) to f/8.

    (Click Mamiya and then the lenses, and then scroll down to see the MTF

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 9, 2005
  10. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    kctan Guest

    I think you are new to digital photography and sorry to say that. Have you
    open up a Nikon raw image before processing? It may be worst than you'd
    described and I'd seen that. After tweaking the raws, both Nikon and Canon
    images look great but I like Canon color better because it is more natural.
    There are so many things to tweak:

    1. Color temperature (good color)
    2. Exposure (good density)
    3. Level (No clipping of highlight and shadow)
    4. Sharpening (appropriate sharpness)
    5. Color depth (good tonal range)

    It is analogous to shooting negative film. Will you judge on the quality
    based on a 4R machine print? I'll give critique only after getting the best
    out from the negative by custom printing in the darkroom. It is better for
    you to shoot in jpeg at this moment or you can extract a jpeg file from the
    raw to see a better result. Don't worry about your investments, you'd chosen
    a right choice.
    kctan, Nov 9, 2005
  11. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Andrew Haley Guest

    Or (easier) mount the Nikon lens on the Canon camera. The adapter
    isn't so very expensive. I doubt there will be much difference.

    Besides, why all this fretting about distortion? That's one of the
    easiest things to fix in post.

    Andrew Haley, Nov 9, 2005
  12. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    I would do it for nothing :)
    Neil Ellwood, Nov 9, 2005

  13. Why not spring for a $30 Nikon lens to EOS body adaptor and actually
    shoot some A-B comparison tests with both Nikon and Canon Lenses on your
    new Canon body?

    Then you'll actually have something to say.
    Bob(but not THAT Bob), Nov 9, 2005
  14. message SNIP
    Which is part of your issue at hand, especially for Canon DSLRs.

    Canon chose to err on the side of caution, the unprocessed images may
    look blurry, which is good!

    Some cameras produce poor images as a basis for post-processing (noise
    reduction / sharpening), Canon Raws provide a good base material that
    allows e.g. resizing without introducing(!) excessive artifacts due to
    the processing.
    Edge sharpness needs to be restored from a Raw capture, preferably
    after resizing to output dimensions. As an example of what can be

    Bart van der Wolf, Nov 10, 2005
  15. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Rob Guest

    I'm rather surprised based on what I've read from perhaps 100 other
    posts/web site reviews. More than likely, it's you that need to make
    corrections. You need to read some web sites about how to use those

    And based on some replies, I don't think you impress people telling
    how much you spent. In fact, I think some don't believe you. I
    believe you but that's neither here nor there. But one thing always
    bothered me why people post a message which is obviously unrelated to
    their profession and then sign off with their credentials. Do the
    credentials make your post more worthy?? I don't think so.

    Good luck with your camera and lenses. I think the only problem you
    have is you don't know how to use your camera properly. Do some
    research and you will become satisfied.
    Rob, Nov 10, 2005
  16. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Frank ess Guest

    Once again Rob demonstrates his level-headed grasp of things.

    My first thought was: even Quality Control workers on big-dollar
    production lines have their off-minutes; if every lens returns "blur",
    could it be a camera focus problem? What local procedure will check
    for that?
    Frank ess, Nov 10, 2005
  17. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Rob Guest

    I want to respond to this ridiculous reply of yours but forgot if the
    name is Frank Ess or Frank Ass. Sounds like the latter is more

    Frank _ss, since you know it all, you probably can answer your last
    reply yourself.
    Rob, Nov 10, 2005
  18. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    Frank ess Guest

    So I offer a compliment in support of Rob's statements, add a
    suggestion of my own, and he blows his cork. Seems as if he's a tad
    insecure. Too bad.

    Guess my estimate of his -headedness was pretty far off after all. I
    apologize to everyone for becoming the agent that resulted in this

    Frank ess, Nov 10, 2005
  19. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    ASAAR Guest

    I recall reading in a photo magazine many decades ago that one
    could take a picture of a large newspaper sheet propped open at an
    oblique angle. Focusing on the center (a thick line created with a
    black marker may help with today's AF lenses), then developing and
    either examining the negative with a good magnifier or making a
    large print would allow the true plane of focus to be determined.

    This could be done with only a single shot when using a manual
    focus lens. With autofocus lenses it might be better to take
    several photos, in case the AF accuracy isn't the best, and results
    in a cluster of focus planes near the intended location. In this
    specific case (with a Canon 1Ds Mark II and L lenses) accuracy
    should be relatively high, but I'd still want to verify it. Since a
    monitor could be used to view results, the additional few shots
    wouldn't result in any additional cost.
    ASAAR, Nov 10, 2005
  20. Joseph Chamberlain, DDS

    ASAAR Guest

    While your replies can occasionally be a bit inscrutable, this one
    to Rob appeared just as you said, and it's hard to see how it could
    have been taken as anything but a compliment. If the OP is far less
    sensitive or insecure as Rob, he'd be even more justified in taking
    offense at being told by him that he appears to be:

    1. trying to impress people by mentioning his equipment's cost.

    2. possibly not be telling the truth.

    3. trying to impress people by including "credentials" in his sig.

    4. one who doesn't know how to use his camera.

    5. in need of doing research, without providing any useful hints as
    to where to look or what to look for.

    BTW, I thought that I replied to another of your messages in this
    thread, but when I saw your latest message, discovered that I had
    saved, not sent. I wonder if it will display the original
    composition time, the time it was sent, or both?
    ASAAR, Nov 10, 2005
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