this is the best super wide for architectural photography! crazy wide, minimal distortion, minimal chromatic abberation, sharp margins, fast lens.
December 31, 2012
14/2.8II Not Fully Sharp Until f/11
I mostly photograph weddings and I purchased the 14/2.8II because I already have the 24/1.4II and 35/1.4 and I was going to use these three lenses to cover the range that I normally cover with the 16-35/2.8II and the 15/2.8 fisheye lenses. I like the quality of primes because they minimally distort, are razor sharp, and are fast. At least, that's been my experience, and I was hoping to repeat it with this lens. What I found is that the 14/2.8II at f/2.8 is acceptably sharp at the center, but moving away from the center toward the edges it is very unsharp. The edges didn't sharpen much until f/5.6, with full sharpening by f/11. This is worse than the 16-35/2.8II, which is generally sharp throughout the entire image starting at f/2.8. Also, the 14/2.8II still retains the 6 bladed aperture to produce a 6 point sunburst flare, which does not look realistic, while the 16-35/2.8II has a 7 bladed aperture that produces a 14 point sunburst. So, shooting into the sun or at night with streetlamps, all of these point sources of light have sparse-looking 6 pointed stars. After shooting several images side-by-side with the 16-35/2.8II, I realized that I can step back with the 16-35/2.8II to get the same focal length as the 14mm, then correct barrel distortion in LR4 to get an image that looks virtually identical to the 14/2.8II, yet of better sharpness. Also, unlike the 16-35/2.8II, this lens has a purple fringe up to f/11, and it is noticeable on backlit subjects. The AF on this lens (using center AF point) focuses slightly better than the 16-35/2.8II in low light by about 1/2 stop. But, using using AF points farthest from the center (on the 1DX) produced out-of-focus images, no matter the light. Focus and recompose was the only way to get off-center compositions to be sharp. I'm not sure if the glass being convex is the cause of the AF not being accurate away from the center, but this is not a problem with the 15/2.8 fisheye, which is also convex. The 16-35/2.8II and my other lenses don't have this problem either. Basically, I expect a prime to be better than a zoom in nearly every respect, particularly at its widest aperture. This lens is only better in its elimination of barrel distortion and nearly everything else is worse than the 16-35/2.8II. Well, OK - it does have less vignetting than the 16-35/2.8II wide open. But, this is basically a f/5.6 lens with edge-to-edge sharpness becoming equivalent to the 16-35/2.8II at f/11. I do not consider this to be a lens for anything but landscapes and architecture, where most images are photographed at f/11 and higher.
November 13, 2012
Sharpest Image Ever
I purchased this lens in 2008 based on Canon's reputation and my personal experience with a wide range of canon fixed focal lenses that I had purchased over the years.
The pictures I took with this lens were so sharp, it changed my understanding of lenses altogether.
Case in point, I took a picture of the night sky in Canada on oct 21, 2011. the settings were f/2.8, 15 seconds, ISO 2000. I noticed a cluster of stars at the edge of the image. When I zoomed in it turned out to be the Pleiades constellation. I could actually see all seven sisters.
I am so happy with this lens, the next one will be the 17mm f/4L TS-E.
September 9, 2012
poor image quality
I have been using Canon for a long time now. I thought the Couldn't do a bad product based on reputation and price. This is the most expensive wide lens they offer. I just bought it. What a mistake! I couldn't believe the results so I sent the lens to CPS (Canon Pro Services) to repair. It came back still couldn't believe the result of the pics. I sent the lens along with my 5D II to repair 3 more times (as they request to test the camera). I spoke to customer care rep., supervisors, 1 tech and finally the "ambassador". So finally I believe it. The lens is sharp only in the very center of the frame (circle where you focus) the rest of the image is bury and have chromatic aberration at the point it can be used. I had to star using my old 15-30 3.5 not canon lens. I asked if I could return it since I can use it. It was not possible. Just go to an store and test it and down load it to your computer. Very disappointed.
June 9, 2012