A new Lens for the new year!
There are two lenses that I want to purchase this year to round out my kit. The first is the 70-200L IS. Though I have the non IS version, I need the IS to be able to handhold at slower shutter speeds so that I can use it more in darker venues.
The second is the 35 f1.4L. Now I know many of you are aware that I own (and am a big fan of) the little Canon 35 f2. So why do I feel the need to spend another $1000 on a focal length I already own? It all started with this image:
I put the bride (who wouldn't sit straight to save her life) in front of the nice fall foliage hoping for a nice background. When I opened it up on my computer, however, I noticed just how fugly the bokeh is. Strike one against the 35/2. Add to that the slow and buzzy focus, and I was ready for an upgrade. The 35/2 convinced me that the 35mm focal length is perfect for a 1.6 cf camera, so my obvious upgrade path was the 35 f1.4L
In addition to the extra stop of light, the 35L has USM for fast, accurate, and silent focusing.
So my mind was made up to upgrade sometime this year, but the opportunity came a bit sooner than I thought. Yesterday morning I discovered that Adorama was selling Refurb'd 35L's at a 20% savings over new lenses (and about 10% less than what I've seen them for used), woo-hoo. It arrived today.
First off, it's a much bigger lens than the 35/2 (so not as well mated to the XT - fits nicely on the 20d though!):
Speaking of the 35/2, the 35L is miles sharper (wide open @ f2 100% center crop straight out of the camera):
But does it take good pictures in real life?
Wide open (@ f1.4 - boy it's tough to focus with the razor thin DOF - out of camera, only resized in PS)
Another at f1.4:
And at F2:
Needless to say, the reputation of this lens as one of Canon's sharpest is well founded...I'm blown away. The f1.4 aperture makes it difficult to always get your subject in focus, but it has allowed me to handhold at ISO400 all evening (even with just nighttime tungsten room lighting) Add to that the amazing color and contrast and, well, I think I'll keep it!
Not sure if I'll keep the 35/2 yet. It is every bit as good as the 50f1.8, and fits so nicely on the XT for the lightest, most unobtrusive combo I own. On the other hand, will I ever really use it after this?
PS - I just realized that I have a total of 5 lenses that cover the 35mm focal length. I'll test them all side by side tomorrow!