February 21, 2011

Ask Dave, February 21st

I have decided to do a weekly blog post called 'Ask Dave.' I get tons of questions each week, and I always respond as quickly as possible; but I have decided that it is about time to also share the answers with all of you too. If you have questions you can email me at Learn@DaveShumway.com.

From Rick... I did not think that the 17-40/4.0L performed very well with a full frame image sensor. Many of your images indicate otherwise. I assume that most of your landscape shots are with the lens stopped down to f11 or more. Does that account for the apparent good image quality? Also how large of a print are you able to get using this camera/lens combination? What other wide angle lenses do you use with the 5DII?

I love my 17-40/4.0L on the 5DII. I used the 16-35/2.8L; but found that it did not have what it takes, Canon agreed and made the new 16-35/2.8L II at it was quite an improvement; but the 17-40 is still better especially when it comes to landscape performance. Take a look at Canon's published MTF charts to see what I mean about the difference in image quality, contrast, and bokeh. Another benefit of the 17-40 is that it takes the same size Polarizer and ND filters as my 70-200/2.8L IS II and 400/5.6L, also it weighs less than the 16-35/2.8L II, while costing much less.

As with most lenses you do need to pull off your UV filter when shooting landscapes to keep flare and chromatic aberrations down.

I also use my 24/3.5L T/S II and it is, by far, the best quality wide angle lens I have ever used for shooting landscapes. The 24/1.4L II is also great; but not even in the same league. The Zeiss wide angle prime lenses are amazing too. The only real problem with primes is when you are backpacking/hiking/biking/skiing a light weight zoom is the only way to go.

As for my settings if you look through the gallery from my month in the Canadian Rockies you can view all of my camera settings. Just click on the blue 'photo information' button and you will see that I spend lots of time shooting landscapes from f/9.0-f/16 and up to f/22 from time to time. From my experience the lens is at its best around f/11-f/13 on a full frame sensor camera and f/9.0-f/11 on a cropped sensor camera.

Print size from the 5DII and 17-40/4.0L... Well, I have covered double decker busses with the combination, I have had two and three page spreads in magazines, and do quite a bit of printing at 16X20 & 20X30. With all of that I have yet to have any issues with a lack of resolution/quality. All of that said I am looking forward to 30-40MP sensors and using more tilt/shift lenses in the future. The reason? From my experience tilt/shift lenses are the only wide angle lenses that show no chromatic aberrations, they also give control over the convergence of parallel lines, and 30-40MP will let me make very large crop/panoramas.

I have also used the 24-70/2.8L and 24-105/4.0L IS; but never found them ideal as primary landscape lenses. I also use my 70-200s for landscapes often, the f/4.0L is amazing, as is the new f/2.8L IS II; but the previous f/2.8Ls never gave me the results I wanted. Heck I also use my 400/5.6L, 300/2.8L IS, and 500/4.0L IS to shoot landscapes on both full frame and cropped sensor cameras.

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