Posts Tagged ‘Canon 50mm f/1.2L’

Macro Mania Megapost

I’ve had the 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro for just 3 days now and it has literally still not come off my camera. I cannot overstate how good this lens is, in fact I think the quote that does it the most justice comes from dpreview’s excellent and in depth review of this lens:

“Just occasionally a lens turns up which delivers such implausibly good results in our studio tests that I have to go back and repeat everything, double checking all settings to make sure I haven’t done something wrong. The Canon EF 100mm F2.8 L IS USM Macro is one example; but in this case when I repeated the tests, the results were if anything slightly better. There’s little doubt that, all round, this is one of the very finest lenses we’ve seen – optically it’s superb, and operationally it works very well too, with fast and positive autofocus, and one of the most effective image stabilization systems currently available.”

It is simply the single most stunningly fun lens I have ever used, without exception. The 50mm f/1.2L was fun in a whole other, impractical, sense, but for some one who does not shoot portraits it makes no sense to have. This, though, will be a lens that gets, um, a lot of use. I recently had a few different people say to me, “oh, well any serious macro work is done from a tripod, the IS on that lens is just a gimmick.” I have found that this lens fundamentally alters your ability to shoot macros becauseĀ I have yet to mount my camera on a tripod with this it. All of these shots are hand-held. I can get tack sharp results at 1/30th of a sec at 1:1; if I am shooting something farther away I can get down to 1/10sec. The lens is unbelievably sharp corner to corner all the way open at 2.8, shows literally no distortion, chromatic aberration, or halation, has creamy wonderful bokeh, and to top it all off the IS is superb.

I should say that, while this lens does completely free your macro work from a tripod, there is one thing that even Hybrid Image Stabilization cannot correct for: the small movements forward and backward that we are prone to making, even standing very still. This can even be an issue on a tripod, as you will sometimes encounter a subject such as a flower or plant that is moving slightly in the wind. With normal lenses, especially wide angles, these small focal distance changes are not an issue, but when you are zoomed in at 1:1 magnification and your plane of focus is literally determined by 10ths of an inch, your movements are hugely magnified and it becomes a matter of whether you get the shot or not. The cure? Get a big memory card and shoot a TON of the same image, with slightly different focus every time. It’s good practice for macro work anyway; what you see in the viewfinder may look different on the monitor, and you may decide that you like the composition you have but want your focus on a different part of the subject and if you’ve taken a bunch of shots of the same scene, you will have the freedom to choose. It is, in a way, like bracketing your exposure, in that you are keeping the same composition but just changing one variable and shooting around it.

I took a walk around my block to see what flowers I could find just on the sidewalk by people’s yards and, turns out, there was some good stuff… but then again, a macro lens lets you make small worlds out of anything you find. This lens just lets you do it free from a tripod wherever you are, at previously unheard of shutterspeeds. I will say it one last time: this is the best, sharpest, lens I have ever used, and it produces simply gorgeous results. All of the images below are linked to their full res versions so you can see the 21mp files in all their glory :) I can’t wait to really take it out and shoot things other than flowers, but I have a certain weakness for these colorful cliches….


My City

I was born in New York City, but having lived there only 2 years and in Atlanta for 18, I feel a very strong attachment to this southern metropolis. It is where I spend almost all of my time these days, and because of this a vast majority of my photographs will come from various parts of the city. I thought it appropriate to make my first post an ode to the ATL, and you will surely see more from my explorations both in this city and many others scattered in future posts. This shot, as you will probably recognize, is the full version of the header. The pan is comprised of 12 separate images, taken over a period of 4 hours. The left side begins at 7pm, and I took panoramas continuously until 11pm, resulting in about 400 or so images! From those I chose 12 that I spent about a week stitching together in photoshop to make it look just right. This was done so long ago at this point, when I was still in high school, but I really do like the shot and thought it appropriate for a first post. The full version is 9000 pixels wide but I have yet to figure out the best way to link to the full rez images; I will try out both Flickr and Smugmug in the future but for now, clicking on the image will give you a slightly scaled down version.

Time-lapse panorama of the Atlanta skyline

While we’re on the topic of Atlanta skyline views…

Nice bokeh on the 50mm f/1.2L

I had the pleasure of using Canon’s 50mm f/1.2L prime for a few days and went back to the same bridge where that pan was taken and shot a few fun shots just to test out its famed bokeh. The lens really does perform at f/1.2, and would be one I’d love to have… maybe someday. I was choosing between that lens and the 100mm f/2.8L IS macro and chose the macro… with absolutely no regrets! For some one who does not shoot portraits at all, the prime really doesn’t make much sense… whereas the macro has not left my 5D since I took it out of the box :)