reconsidering the 24-105

Started Aug 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
iMac, therefore iAm
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Re: reconsidering the 24-105
In reply to gdanmitchell, Aug 2, 2012

I appreciate where you're coming from, but it's not pixel peeping - I know the difference between pixel peeping and overall IQ. It's comparing images amongst all my lenses (four L lenses and the 10-22) and the 24-105 is consistently the worst of the lot. The 10-22 is far better.

gdanmitchell wrote:

The image quality is no different on the 7D than it was on the other cameras, unless there is an adjustment issue relative to the body/lens combination. If you make a print of size X x Y from the older camera and the newer one, the newer camera will product at least as sharp an image.

You may be confusing yourself by staring too long at 100% magnification crops on the screen. Keep in mind several things:

  • When you look at a 100% crop from the 7D you are looking at a much smaller section of the overall image - it is as if you are inspecting a slide with a 5X loupe and pronouncing it sharp, then inspecting it with a 10X loupe and imagining that the slide became less sharp. It don't. You looked more closely.

  • You don't print your photographs at the equivalent of 100% magnification, and if you are like the vast majority of shooters you don't even print remotely close to that size. What matters is the quality of the image at the size you produce, not at 100%.

  • If you are still unconvinced and you unload the 24-105 (with which I can produce fine 24" x 36" prints) and replace it... you will find that the replacement lenses are likely no sharper at all, and even those that might be a bit sharper at 100%... will produce prints indistinguishable from those produced with this lens.

No matter what lens you use, if you are actually moving toward much larger prints - e.g. not just sharing online, where none of this makes a serious difference - you will need to start paying much more careful attention to all of the factors that affect sharpness. It turns out that the lens itself is just one among many and quite often not even the most important one.

Finally, the 24-105 (and other lenses) can go out of adjustment over time with heavy use. My 24-105 had such a problem after perhaps 3-5 years of very heavy use and some rough treatment. It developed a softness issue, particularly along one side of the frame. I sent it to Canon for readjustment and it came back better than new. Perhaps yours needs some adjustment, since you got it about the same time I purchased mine.

Take care,

Dan

iMac, therefore iAm wrote:

I first bought the 24-105 to use on my D60 about a year after the 24-105 came out. It is far and away my most versatile lens (despite misguided claims that it's focal range is not suitable for a crop camera). Used in combination with a 10-22 and 70-200 F2.8 (and a couple longer primes), it was the lens that was on my camera most of the time.

The only problem is, as I upgraded bodies, 40D and now 7D, the 24-105 is showing it's limitations. What produced great IQ on a 6MP D60, is 'meh' on a 7D (and yes, that is with micro adjustment - even careful manual focusing produces lackluster results). My 10-22 blows the 24-105 away. My wife also has a 10-22 and 24-105 and she is in complete agreement about the quality of the two lenses.

On my last outing the 24-105 took a fall and now it won't focus at all and I figure this is a good time to reconsider this lens. The new 24-70 is simply out of my price range at this time. Having used Sigma lenses in the past, I'm gun-shy about them. Is the 24-70 MkI worth looking at? The prime route is also an option, but since I do landscape photography that involves strenuous hikes, some with elevation changes over 1000', I'd rather carry one zoom than 3 primes. (My wife already has a 50 1.4 and 100 2.8)

Perhaps newer models of the 24-105 are better (I kind of doubt it since the design hasn't changed).

Any thoughts?

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