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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 12 Sep 2009 (Saturday) 14:21
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The Meaning of "L"

 
wickerprints
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Sep 12, 2009 14:21 |  #1

I've seen a lot of confusion and misinformation on this forum about what Canon's "L" designation for its EF lenses is supposed to represent. I hear myths repeated and a variety of accusations leveled at others over this single, scarlet letter.

So, here is what Canon says about it in EF Lens Work III, 8th edition, 2006, Chapter 2:

L Lenses: Where Dreams are Crystal Clear.

The bright red line engraved on the lens barrel. And an L for "luxury."
The Canon EF lens L series possesses a level of quality sufficiently high to be called professional, designed to include groundbreaking image performance, outstanding operability, and resistance to weather and aging.
"L." This name is reserved only for those few lenses that can meet stringent standards of performance, using fluorite (an artificial crystal), a ground and polished aspherical surface, UD, super UD lenses, or other special optical materials.
Optical design without compromise together with optical theory and precision engineering technologies that are as steeped in tradition as they are cutting edge.
And the result of the relentless pursuit of these ideals is the L series of the Canon EF lenses.

If you read through Chapters 3 and 4, you will find that there is a general rule that the L series lenses follow, in accordance with the above. Every L lens *must* employ one of the above special optical materials. That is to say, if a lens does not have any of these, it is never called L.

(There appears to be a misprint for the 85/1.2L II, as the cross-section diagram shows a caption for aspherical glass but that particular element is not shaded as such.)

However, there are a few (and I really do mean a few) EF lenses that do use one of these special materials but are not given the L designation, presumably because of the other factors mentioned in the quote.

EF-S lenses are never given the L designation, even if they satisfy all of the above criteria.

I realize that this is not going to settle the debate over the L designation; I know there will always be people who want to make L about something they have made up in their own minds, like an all-metal barrel, or full weather sealing, or marketing gibberish. For what it's worth, what I have posted here is what can be definitively determined from Canon's own published materials.


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krepta
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Sep 12, 2009 15:03 |  #2

You bring up a very good point. I think many people are not aware of these facts and believe L lenses are only characterized by a sturdier build, weather-sealing, and the red ring.

By the way, the EF Lens Work III by Canon is a very good read throughout. Those of you who have never heard of this should take a look.


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HankScorpio
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Sep 12, 2009 15:08 |  #3

krepta wrote in post #8632167 (external link)
I think many people are not aware of these facts and believe L lenses are only characterized by a sturdier build, weather-sealing

They'd be wrong on both those counts as only a few are weather sealed and some are very fragile.


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jacuff
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Sep 12, 2009 15:25 |  #4

wickerprints wrote in post #8631941 (external link)
EF-S lenses are never given the L designation, even if they satisfy all of the above criteria.

...
For what it's worth, what I have posted here is what can be definitively determined from Canon's own published materials.

Oh really? I don't see anywhere that says that EF-S lenses are never given the L designation. So far, no EF-S lenses have been given the L designation, but that doesn't mean there won't be some in the future. Especially now that Canon is bringing a more serious APS-C camera to the market soon, aka the 7D.

BTW: Do you remember the Powershot Pro1 Point & Shoot? ;)


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neil_r
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Sep 12, 2009 15:27 |  #5

L of a lot of money.


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wickerprints
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Sep 12, 2009 15:48 |  #6

jacuff wrote in post #8632276 (external link)
Oh really? I don't see anywhere that says that EF-S lenses are never given the L designation. So far, no EF-S lenses have been given the L designation, but that doesn't mean there won't be some in the future. Especially now that Canon is bringing a more serious APS-C camera to the market soon, aka the 7D.

To date, this is how the L lens designation has been assigned. Perhaps I could have been more precise and said "EF-S lenses have never been given the L designation." I cannot speculate as to whether they ever will be.

However, given that the EF-S 10-22 and 17-55 lenses clearly show they have the optical construction of an L series lens, they are still not designated as such.

BTW: Do you remember the Powershot Pro1 Point & Shoot? ;)

Yes, I do. It was the first (and only) example in which Canon gave an L designation to a non-interchangeable lens.


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neil_r
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Sep 12, 2009 15:50 |  #7

wickerprints wrote in post #8632363 (external link)
Yes, I do. It was the first (and only) example in which Canon gave an L designation to a non-interchangeable lens.

I have non interchangeable L lenses on both my Canon Video Cameras


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wickerprints
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Sep 12, 2009 15:52 |  #8

neil_r wrote in post #8632378 (external link)
I have non interchangeable L lenses on both my Canon Video Cameras

*sigh* I should have clarified that as a *still* camera lens. :(


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ed ­ rader
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Sep 12, 2009 15:54 |  #9

wickerprints wrote in post #8631941 (external link)
I've seen a lot of confusion and misinformation on this forum about what Canon's "L" designation for its EF lenses is supposed to represent. I hear myths repeated and a variety of accusations leveled at others over this single, scarlet letter.

So, here is what Canon says about it in EF Lens Work III, 8th edition, 2006, Chapter 2:

If you read through Chapters 3 and 4, you will find that there is a general rule that the L series lenses follow, in accordance with the above. Every L lens *must* employ one of the above special optical materials. That is to say, if a lens does not have any of these, it is never called L.

(There appears to be a misprint for the 85/1.2L II, as the cross-section diagram shows a caption for aspherical glass but that particular element is not shaded as such.)

However, there are a few (and I really do mean a few) EF lenses that do use one of these special materials but are not given the L designation, presumably because of the other factors mentioned in the quote.

EF-S lenses are never given the L designation, even if they satisfy all of the above criteria.

I realize that this is not going to settle the debate over the L designation; I know there will always be people who want to make L about something they have made up in their own minds, like an all-metal barrel, or full weather sealing, or marketing gibberish. For what it's worth, what I have posted here is what can be definitively determined from Canon's own published materials.

"Optical design without compromise together with optical theory and precision engineering technologies that are as steeped in tradition..."

ef-s lenses are hardly "steeped in tradition" and they are compromised because they only fit canon's entry level cameras and aren't built to the highest standards.

ed rader


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Brett
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Sep 12, 2009 16:49 |  #10

ed rader wrote in post #8632390 (external link)
ef-s lenses are hardly "steeped in tradition" and they are compromised because they only fit canon's entry level cameras and aren't built to the highest standards.

ed rader

I'd say the 7D is a bit beyond "entry level".



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ed ­ rader
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Sep 12, 2009 16:51 |  #11

Brett wrote in post #8632639 (external link)
I'd say the 7D is a bit beyond "entry level".

the 7d hasn't even hit the market yet. ef-s lenses have been around for several years.

ed rader


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328somewhere
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Sep 12, 2009 17:32 |  #12

Nevermind.




  
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Molnies
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Sep 12, 2009 17:34 |  #13

wickerprints wrote in post #8632381 (external link)
*sigh* I should have clarified that as a *still* camera lens. :(

I know you talked about L on lenses, but just for the fun of it... Check these out (external link), if you haven't seem them already.


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50D — 350D + BG-E3 — 100-400mm L IS — 100mm f/2.8 Macro — 50mm f/1.8 — EF-S 18-55mm — Tamron 90 f/2.8 Macro
Manfrotto 055ProB + 488RC2 — Speedlite 430EX — Sigma EM-140 DG Macro flash — Kenko tubes

  
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cdifoto
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Sep 12, 2009 17:44 |  #14

Canon are whores, like any other company selling stuff. They'll slap the L on anything if it helps move product. Leica on a Panasonic? Zeiss on a...whatever that point & shoot is with Zeiss on the front? Oh yeah --- Sony. C'mon folks.

The entire EOS/EF system hasn't been around long enough to be "steeped in tradition" - that's marketing hoo-hah.


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MR ­ do ­ little
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Sep 12, 2009 17:58 |  #15
bannedPermanent ban

Oh you gone and done it now... LOL :lol:


Regards
Paul L.

  
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