Hurrah for new gear!

Hurrah for new gear!

The newest additions to my team.

  • Canon 5d MkIII body
  • Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

Some brief impressions of each!

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5D MkIII | First off, it’s a tad more comfortable to use and hold over my previous MkII. A few control elements I prefer on the older one (such as zooming in on photo’s using the buttons instead of the upper tog wheel), but otherwise everything on the new body is more tactile and ergonomic. The screen is a big improvement, larger, with better colours, dynamic range and contrast.

Image quality wise, there’s not a whole lot in it in good lighting, slightly better dynamic range and maybe a touch more fine detail, but where it really picks up is in low light, here there’s a large improvement, allowing useable shots up to as far as 2500 iso with minimal noise. Comparatively on the MkII I’d be apprehensive to push past 1600. Add to that, the new HDR modes give it some added novelty and modernisation, allowing you to creep out some additional range straight from the kit. Video options and general usability have been given a boost as well, including a new dedicated record button and 60fps recording similar to the 7D. Videographers will likely take note.

The other main improvement is in the focusing. Far more focus points than the MkII, and more adaptive one’s too. This adds some much needed head way when it comes to fine tuning focusing, or simply tracking more difficult subjects. For wedding photography in particular, it does pay dividends. Overall I’d say the MkIII was a solid improvement over the MkII, but certainly not revolutionary. If money is an issue, I’d advise against the upgrade, since you will most probably be able to make do with the MkII, however, if you have the money to spare, already have decent glass and tend to do a lot of low light photography or video, you’ll want to start saving to jump on board. My advice, invest in better glass first, and a better body later.

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100mm f/2.8L Macro | Having only given this lens a brief spin, with mainly fashion close ups, jewellery and technology products, I can already confidently boast that it captures a stunning amount of detail, and is tack sharp, perhaps even the sharpest lens I have in my arsenal. The focal length is useful in stationary or static situations, but can be a touch problematic at events, weddings etc with candid shots as you may not always be at the right distance, and at times may not even be able to get back far enough to capture an entire subject or shot. Luckily the image stabilisation helps out in hand held scenario’s. Still, the 2.8 f stop is a blessing, and the colour reproduction and sharpness combined really do make it a must have lens for any sort of product or object photography.

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24-70mm f/2.8L II This is the newest lens in my collection, and perhaps both the most expensive and somewhat unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, it is a fantastic lens and solid feat of engineering, however for the money, it does not offer enough of an upgrade, and the lack of image stabilisation is a sore omission. This lens replaced my older 24-70 f/2.8L version I, which is perhaps my favourite lens of all. A perfect work horse lens that you can leave on for most situations, due to the highly convenient focal range and excellent image quality. Version II of this lens carries on the superlative tradition. Centre sharpness is near enough the same as the older lens, but where it really shines is in edge and corner sharpness, where it is considerably more detailed. Add to that, the level of barrel distortion and chromatic aberration is also greatly reduced. Strangely, the cropping of the two lenses and amount of light in shots at the exact same focal lengths differs very slightly. The older lens is ever so slightly wider, and also a touch brighter.

The build quality will boil down to personal opinion. It is made of the strong plastic composite material that many of Canon’s new lenses are made of, and whilst it feels tighter and more compact, it also lacks the weight, cold touch and strength of the older lenses full metal casing. On the plus side though, the new body is smaller and also lighter, which ultimately is the main reason I kept it. The slight IQ advantages certainly factored in, but the smaller size and weight was just as much of a consideration, since holding these things for hours on end can take it’s toll on the arms and wrists. Given that the 5D MkIII body is slightly heavier than the older MkII, the size and weight savings offered by version II of this lens were most welcome.

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