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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 02 Mar 2015 (Monday) 20:51
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Canon 35L 1.4 Sharpness & Focus

 
bms259
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Post edited over 4 years ago by bms259. (2 edits in all)
     
Mar 02, 2015 20:51 |  #1

I just picked up a used Canon 35L 1.4...and I'm afraid it may not be a good copy. I'm going to try to post some photos tomorrow so you can see

I know the lens isn't renowned as the sharpest around, but I think I was expecting something a little better than what I'm seeing. I have a short return window, so if I need to send it back, I need to decide soon.

I'm wondering two things:

(1) What'd be the best way for me to test it to make sure I have a good copy? (besides general use)

(2) How does the 35L compare in terms of sharpness and focus consistency with other lenses? Specifically 24-70 2.8 (old version), 16-35 2.8 (old), 70-200 2.8 IS II, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2 85mm 1.8, or a Sigma 30mm 1.4 Art.

Basically, I need to figure out if it's the lens or my expectations that are off.

PS: I'm primarily talking about between f1.4-f2....by 2.8/4 it's clearly solid. But I bought the lens for 1.4-2.

Thanks!

I've attached a SOOC 100% crop that's fairly representative of what I'm getting. Focus point is on the word "Beatitudes." f1/4 1/1600 ISO 100 Canon 5D Mark III


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cristphoto
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Mar 02, 2015 21:44 |  #2

You're correct. That lens isn't focusing properly. I assume your other lenses on the same body focus fine? If so try cleaning the lens contacts. I have a 35L and its sharp even wide open.


5D MKIV x2, 24L II, 35L II, 50L, 85LIS, 100LIS Macro, 135L, 300LIS, 16-35LIS, 24-70L, 70-200LIS, 100-400LIS

  
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Aswald
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Mar 02, 2015 22:04 |  #3

Handheld? What's your shooting distance? Focus looks ok to me but pic is very soft, I see camera shake and the poor light prob contributed.

I'd suggest shooting a flat subject on a wall, camera mounted on tripod about 5' 10" away with good, even light and low iso. You should be able to see if your lens suffers from decentered elements.

The 35L is soft at f1.4 especially when shooting up close. F1.4 to 2.0 you'll need to watch out for the very narrow dof. At F2.8 things will improve quite a bit.

It's one of my favorite lens and it should take beautiful pics.




  
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EchoShotz
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Mar 02, 2015 22:13 |  #4

Compared to my 35L that definitely does look a bit odd.. post some more tests on other subjects maybe. Gut feeling though is that theres something off there.


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kevindar
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Mar 02, 2015 22:34 as a reply to  @ EchoShotz's post |  #5

the only really sure way of checking it, is to check it against a couple of other lenses. However, the 35L is not very sharp at 1.4. I love mine, but its less sharp than my 24LII or 85Lii wide open

as for your image, if its a 100 percent crop, the word you focused looks ok. however, there is something funky going on on the bottom, esp on the left Not sure if thats a dof issue or not. you may need to show a full shot, and then 100 percent crop

focus consistency on mine is pretty good. not much of an issue.


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aldownie
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Mar 03, 2015 03:43 |  #6

Have you rotated the image at all? It *looks* like the image is much less sharp on the left-hand side than it should be, but it's difficult to say for sure because of the subject you chose for testing. The low contrast, the 3d depth of the book, and the text bleeding through from the back of the pages all conspire to make it very difficult to assess sharpness.

Ideally, you should print out a proper focus chart, make sure it's completely flat and well-lit, and shoot about 20 frames, wide open, defocusing in a different direction after every shot (to test consistency as well as accuracy).

This page might be helpful (external link).


Flickr gallery (external link)
(Mostly) Photography blog (external link) including:
• Canon 50mm f1.2L review (external link)
• 35L vs 35 f2 IS comparison shots (external link)
• Zooms vs primes (external link)

  
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bms259
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Mar 03, 2015 05:45 |  #7

I've posted the file without a crop, and I'll try to get some more photos posted today, and will try to print out a test background and work from there.

The shot is handheld, but it's at 1/1600th of a second in good light, so camera shake shouldn't be an issue. I can hand-hold my 85 1.2 and 50 1.4 at much slower speeds than that and still nail focus. I know focus at 1.4 can be tricky, but I generally don't have problems with my 50 1.4 and 85 1.2, the the DOF of the 85 1.2 is much shallower than the 35 at 1.4.

I did a quick comparison with same set-up using my Sigma 30mm Art (a crop lens) and a 50mm 1.4 (I probably have a better than average copy, since I'm generally very happy with it at 1.4), and the other lenses were noticeably better.

I'm just assuming that what's going on on the left side of that frame is just an out of focus area. It's closer to the camera by a good several mm.

The text on the page is some of the sharpest printer text I have in any books I own.

This photo is fairly representative of what I'm seeing so far. There are some that are better, but also a lot that are much worse.




  
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Aswald
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Mar 03, 2015 05:56 |  #8

Does not look good.




  
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Reservoir ­ Dog
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Reservoir Dog.
     
Mar 03, 2015 06:01 |  #9

You have to use very shallow DoF and you are right to say that at 1/1600s it does not matter specially that you have to use those shallow DoF ;)

My 50mm f/1.4 which i consider to be an very average copy is ... far better at f/1.4 (and i wont speak about my sigma 85mm f/1.4 which is light years better that my 50mm f/1.4)
Sorry but i think you got a bad copy, faster you will change it ... easier the change should be, after few weeks the seller can say it's your fault for whatever reason, if you change it tomorrow it can be easy as snapping 2 fingers ;)


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aldownie
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Mar 03, 2015 06:16 |  #10

bms259 wrote in post #17458152 (external link)
The shot is handheld, but it's at 1/1600th of a second in good light, so camera shake shouldn't be an issue.

When close-up focus-testing, the issue with hand-holding isn't so much to do with camera shake, as it is to do with your body swaying slightly backwards/forwards during the test. Remember you'll be looking at the results and trying to assess whether the lens has front or back-focused by just a couple of millimetres. Better to use a tripod, every time...


Flickr gallery (external link)
(Mostly) Photography blog (external link) including:
• Canon 50mm f1.2L review (external link)
• 35L vs 35 f2 IS comparison shots (external link)
• Zooms vs primes (external link)

  
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bms259
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Mar 03, 2015 08:15 |  #11

KEH has offered an exchange, so I'm probably going to do that, but I still want to post some more examples just to make sure it's the lens and not my expectations that are off.

I'll try to take some photos with a tripod later this evening, and I'll try to get some other examples up.

Thanks!




  
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MakisM1
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Mar 03, 2015 08:45 |  #12

As much for this, as for the replacement copy, use a flat target, not the curvy pages of a Book... (however Good it may be).

Print a page and shoot it at an angle. (Also, not at minimum focus distance, it should be at least 3 ft away for a 35 mm).

Good luck!


Gerry
Canon 5D MkIII/Canon 60D/Canon EF-S 18-200/Canon EF 24-70L USM II/Canon EF 70-200L 2.8 USM II/Canon EF 50 f1.8 II/Σ 8-16/ 430 EXII
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bms259
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Mar 03, 2015 13:02 |  #13

I have posedt a gallery on my website with several of the best photos (simply in terms of sharpness) over the last few days of having this lens. All are straight out of camera, with minimal sharpening applied on export. I've included the full view, and about a 100% crop. I would really appreciate it if you could take a look and let me know if this is as good as I can expect from a 35L or if my copy is off.

All these (except for one) is at f1.4. I see a little improvement at f2, and things look pretty sharp by f2.8 & f4....but the shots are f1.4 seem basically unusable.

The full gallery: http://photography.bra​dschrum.com/35ltest (external link)

A few examples:

IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s9/v90/p700810601-5.jpg

IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s5/v119/p810614349-5.jpg



IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s7/v156/p715585511-5.jpg

IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s12/v180/p711119291-5.jpg



IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s7/v165/p695775595-5.jpg

IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s10/v110/p918993875-5.jpg



IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s7/v165/p770612825-5.jpg

IMAGE: http://photography.bradschrum.com/img/s12/v182/p833770411-5.jpg



  
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MakisM1
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Mar 03, 2015 14:14 |  #14

I think we can agree that the photos are soft. May I suggest that you shoot the bookcase shelf at an angle (pick a book that is easily identified to focus on). This way we can see whether it front focuses, back focuses or it's all around soft.


Gerry
Canon 5D MkIII/Canon 60D/Canon EF-S 18-200/Canon EF 24-70L USM II/Canon EF 70-200L 2.8 USM II/Canon EF 50 f1.8 II/Σ 8-16/ 430 EXII
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gqllc007
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Mar 03, 2015 14:54 as a reply to  @ MakisM1's post |  #15

I would take KEH up on it and exchange it




  
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Canon 35L 1.4 Sharpness & Focus
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