Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

Started Feb 28, 2013 | Discussions
Royce - Into the Night Photography
Royce - Into the Night Photography Forum Member • Posts: 56
Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes
1

I've had my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens now for 18 months. Super lens for landscapes and architectural work with my full-frame 5D Mark III. Also works great on my 7D for sports, and wedding wedding candids (with an APS-C crop). I love shooting wide open and getting those dreamy-soft backgrounds.

HOWEVER, the main reason I bought this lens was to shoot Milky Way starscapes, using it wide open at f/1.4 so I could lower my ISO's (from 6400 down to 1600) and reduce noise. What a disappointment! I checked all the reviews before buying this lens, but none of them mentioned its severe coma aberration when shooting wide open

Canon 24mm @ f/1.4: enlarged area near the edge shows stars with severe coma distortion.

Most of the coma goes away by the time I stop down to f/2.8...

...however, I paid dearly for an f/1.4 lens, NOT an f/2.8 !!

I've since discovered several other prime lenses that have much better coma correction, and at 1/3 the price, but there is another trade-off (however, it is one I can live with). Read my blog review for more details.

-- hide signature --

Royce Bair
Into-the-Night Photography
(featured photographers, tips, tutorials, and reviews)
http://intothenightphoto.blogspot.com/

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 7D
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Chez Wimpy
Chez Wimpy Veteran Member • Posts: 8,868
could have told you that :p

HOWEVER, the main reason I bought this lens was to shoot Milky Way starscapes, using it wide open at f/1.4 so I could lower my ISO's (from 6400 down to 1600) and reduce noise. What a disappointment! I checked all the reviews before buying this lens, but none of them mentioned its severe coma aberration when shooting wide open

I didn't know this was a problem specific to the 24L, most of my fast lenses have that kind of performance with stars wide open... if the Samyangs do f1.4 as well as you indicate, it probably makes the most sense for this kind of work - on a pattern-noise-less Nikon of course

-- hide signature --

-CW

 Chez Wimpy's gear list:Chez Wimpy's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 550D Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 +25 more
Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,126
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

This out on the border issue with reference to night sky star photography has been mentioned here before. You already had the lens for 12 months last time it came up.

Nice lens stopped down. Good lens wide open as long as there are no high contrast objects near the edges of the frame. I like the lens a lot when used under the right conditions. However, it does have its weaknesses. I don't photograph stars, so it works well.

You should probably write up a user review at fred miranda, and possibly wherever it was that you bought the lens, so others interested in shooting the stars don't buy one thinking it will work.

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L USM +14 more
acassino Regular Member • Posts: 108
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

Royce, thanks for this post, and for the link to the more detailed information on your blog. I had the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II on my short list for the same application, so you just saved me a bundle.

Also, your blog post helped me solve a little mystery. I have a Sigma 14mm f/2.8 EX II that works really well for starscapes, and I  never really understood why, when some "better" lenses I've tested don't work so well. Thanks to your blog, I now know it's because the optical design of the Sigma employs an aspherical element.

kewlguy
kewlguy Senior Member • Posts: 1,932
This is common problem for Canon primes...

I bought the 24/1.4 II for the same purpose, astrophotography - but the coma really turned me off, I returned it.

Next, 24 TSE II - I thought, oversized image circle and f/3.5 should be coma-free, right? WRONG! unshifted the 24 TSE II pronounces coma almost as bad... I still keep this one because this is the best WA in CAnon stable right now, good for other purposes.

What's next? 24 IS, 28 IS - all the same...

So which WA lenses with good coma correction? Zeiss 21/2.8 Distagon and 25/2 Distagon are fine performers then surprisingly Canon zooms such as 16-35 II (soft corners but good coma correction) and the new 24-70/2.8 II are also excellent (huge vignetting though just like the 21/2.8 Distagon). Theses lenses are good even on FF.

My conclusion, stop down and shoot longer with tracking...nothing beats that.

PS: if you can adapt Nikon G lenses, 14-24 is excellent.

 kewlguy's gear list:kewlguy's gear list
Nikon 1 J5 Canon EOS 5DS R Pentax K-1 Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +85 more
oscarvdvelde Senior Member • Posts: 1,093
Re: This is common problem for Canon primes...

kewlguy wrote:

What's next? 24 IS, 28 IS - all the same...


My sample of the old EF 28mm f/2.8 is free of this wide open. Sigma 20mm f/1.8 has lots of coma/astigmatism but only noticeable on the brighter spots. Tokina 16-28mm - seems smaller than Sigma, but cone-like or bird-like, depends on focus and centering of the particular sample of the lens. I need to switch to a camera with live view focus checking before I can use it properly at night, infinity focus mark is never correct. The Tokina has hideous rainbow flares though (streetlights, moon...)

 oscarvdvelde's gear list:oscarvdvelde's gear list
Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Samyang 12mm F2 NCS CS Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR Samyang 50mm F1.2 +2 more
dgehrke Regular Member • Posts: 130
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

I took a good hard look at the 24L for aurora photography. Considering the price I decided that the coma flare issue was a deal breaker. Ultimately I'd still like to get something faster than my 16-35L but it's not a dud by any stretch and is working for me at the moment. Admittedly, coma is visible in a couple of these shots but it doesn't seem to be nearly as pervasive to me as what I see in similar photos produced from the 24L.





 dgehrke's gear list:dgehrke's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x II +4 more
Henrik Herranen Senior Member • Posts: 1,722
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

Royce - Into the Night Photography wrote:

HOWEVER, the main reason I bought this lens was to shoot Milky Way starscapes, using it wide open at f/1.4 so I could lower my ISO's (from 6400 down to 1600) and reduce noise. What a disappointment! I checked all the reviews before buying this lens, but none of them mentioned its severe coma aberration when shooting wide open

I'm afraid you didn't check LensTip, which routinely tests both coma and astigmatism. The relevant page, which shows pretty much the same come info you presented for the 24/1.4L II, is here.

When checking for new lenses, I always check PhotoZone, The Digital Picture, and LensTip, as they offer different and complementing insights into how a lens might perform.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

-- hide signature --

And if a million more agree there ain't no great society

 Henrik Herranen's gear list:Henrik Herranen's gear list
Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +7 more
Royce - Into the Night Photography
OP Royce - Into the Night Photography Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

Schwany wrote:

You should probably write up a user review at fred miranda, and possibly wherever it was that you bought the lens, so others interested in shooting the stars don't buy one thinking it will work.

That's a good idea (a user review at fred miranda) -- so others don't buy it for star work.

-- hide signature --

Royce Bair
Into-the-Night Photography
(featured photographers, tips, tutorials, and reviews)
http://intothenightphoto.blogspot.com/

Royce - Into the Night Photography
OP Royce - Into the Night Photography Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: This is common problem for Canon primes...
1

kewlguy wrote:

So which WA lenses with good coma correction? Zeiss 21/2.8 Distagon and 25/2 Distagon are fine performers then surprisingly Canon zooms such as 16-35 II (soft corners but good coma correction) and the new 24-70/2.8 II are also excellent (huge vignetting though just like the 21/2.8 Distagon). Theses lenses are good even on FF.

My conclusion, stop down and shoot longer with tracking...nothing beats that.

It was surprising to me too that the Canon 16-35 zoom is fairly coma-free. A lot of my friends use it for starscapes.

Stopping down works, but I've found that several of the Samyang / Rokinon WA prime lenses have great aspherical element correction for coma, and can be used wide open (two are f/1.4), and with as good or better results than the Canon 24mm stopped down 2 stops to f/2.8.

In my style of StarScape photography , I also can't shoot longer with tracking, because it will blur the landscape. I have to keep my exposures under 30 sec with 14mm to 16mm lenses, and under 15 sec with the 24mm lens.

Milky Way over The Watchman - Zion National Park - (using EF 15mm Canon Fisheye f/2.8)

-- hide signature --

Royce Bair
Into-the-Night Photography
(featured photographers, tips, tutorials, and reviews)
http://intothenightphoto.blogspot.com/

Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,126
Putting lens issues aside

Sure like that shot of the Milky Way. Well done.

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L USM +14 more
Forrest Forum Pro • Posts: 14,666
Not so fast.
You should probably write up a user review at fred miranda, and possibly wherever it was that you bought the lens, so others interested in shooting the stars don't buy one thinking it will work.

That's a good idea (a user review at fred miranda) -- so others don't buy it for star work.

Not only does it work, it works pretty dang well.  You're seeing minor imperfections at very high magnification when you shoot the lens wide open, that's worlds away from "it doesn't work."  This isn't exactly a non-issue, but it's close to it.

Forrest Forum Pro • Posts: 14,666
I love my 24 mm f/1.4 v2 for stars.
1

The first one is wide-open at f/1.4.  Next one is at f/2, because there was a bright moon reflecting off the snow in the foreground.  The last one (in Seattle) is wide-open, and has enough coma to be noticeable in a normal print.  But people still like it.

These look brilliant at moderate print sizes, 8x12 to 12x18 inches.  They get me lots of oohs and ahhs.

In the interest of full disclosure, I only got my 24 L recently, the Pacific Northwet has famously bad weather, and I've had limited opportunities to do this type of photography.  What I've done so far has come out much better than I expected.

Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,126
Maybe we could agree to disagree

Forrest wrote:

You should probably write up a user review at fred miranda, and possibly wherever it was that you bought the lens, so others interested in shooting the stars don't buy one thinking it will work.

That's a good idea (a user review at fred miranda) -- so others don't buy it for star work.

Not only does it work, it works pretty dang well. You're seeing minor imperfections at very high magnification when you shoot the lens wide open, that's worlds away from "it doesn't work." This isn't exactly a non-issue, but it's close to it.

It's not a good lens for this task wide open. Personally, I would not use it wide open in the starry night sky scenario. That may be because I like to be contrary, or because I know it's a bad idea with this lens. I don't think stopping it down would solve the issues this lens has at the edges of a full frame, but it might improve the odds for a better capture.

With that said, it is a nice lens for low light image capture where there are not a lot of bright dots on a black background. For example, at a pub, or an indoor event. It is the sharpest f1.4 AF lens I own, and I like it. Used it for a year, but put it on the shelf for a while for a little zoom convenience covering a wider focal length range. I can see replacing it and the zoom I'm using in its stead with the 24-70/2.8 II for what I do.

Nothing wrong with believing the lens is great for everything. I just don't happen to agree with that notion.

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L USM +14 more
kewlguy
kewlguy Senior Member • Posts: 1,932
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

Nice photos Royce!

In my case there is an extra problem with the 24 L II: erratic AF. I had two samples from canon and both misfocused like 90% of the shots. Sure, I can do live view and MF but man, this is a $1700 lens and aside from that coma-aberration I got an extra AF issue....I returned the lens for good.

Actually the people at Canon also tested my samples using their own bodies and found the same thing yet there is nothing they can do about it. Weird huh?

It was kinda ironic, this lens is very2 sharp when stopped down and properly focused. Even at f/1.4 the central sharpness is quite good already.

I'm ordering the SAmyang 14mm and it should be coming on Monday

 kewlguy's gear list:kewlguy's gear list
Nikon 1 J5 Canon EOS 5DS R Pentax K-1 Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +85 more
Henrik Herranen Senior Member • Posts: 1,722
Re: Maybe we could agree to disagree

Schwany wrote:

It's not a good lens for this task wide open. Personally, I would not use it wide open in the starry night sky scenario. That may be because I like to be contrary, or because I know it's a bad idea with this lens. I don't think stopping it down would solve the issues this lens has at the edges of a full frame, but it might improve the odds for a better capture.

Why do you think stopping down wouldn't help? The very first post in this thread shows coma decreases when stopping down to f/2.0, and vanishes completely by f/2.8.

I've shot some auroras with the 24L/1.4 and later 24L/1.4 II, mostly stopped down to f/1.8. While the results are not perfect, they've been quite acceptable even up to 150 cm x 100 cm print size. Nobody except techie nerds ever took any notice of the slightly mangled stars in the corners because they were too busy at oohing and aahing at the aurora.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

-- hide signature --

And if a million more agree there ain't no great society

 Henrik Herranen's gear list:Henrik Herranen's gear list
Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +7 more
Rexgig0 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,176
Re: Luv my Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens EXCEPT for starscapes

This has certainly been an interesting discussion, which I will continue to follow, as wide and UWA lenses are at the top of my short list at this time, with future shooting of the night sky a consideration. Thanks to all who have posted!

 Rexgig0's gear list:Rexgig0's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED +30 more
Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,126
Re: Maybe we could agree to disagree

Henrik Herranen wrote:

Schwany wrote:

It's not a good lens for this task wide open. Personally, I would not use it wide open in the starry night sky scenario. That may be because I like to be contrary, or because I know it's a bad idea with this lens. I don't think stopping it down would solve the issues this lens has at the edges of a full frame, but it might improve the odds for a better capture.

Why do you think stopping down wouldn't help? The very first post in this thread shows coma decreases when stopping down to f/2.0, and vanishes completely by f/2.8.

I'm talking about aberration (pick the correct type) in general, which is pronounced with this lens and doesn't go away even at f8 if an edge is distinctly sharp and contrast is high enough. I personally don't worry about the coma thing, since I don't photograph stars. And, I can see purple edges on the stars at f5.6 in the example. Maybe it's caused by my eye glasses.

Auroras are not bright stars on a black background, so I don't get the connection in this discussion, other than you use the lens at night. I can see the 24f/1.4L II being good for auroras, because they are soft and flowing without a lot of high contrast.

I've shot some auroras with the 24L/1.4 and later 24L/1.4 II, mostly stopped down to f/1.8. While the results are not perfect, they've been quite acceptable even up to 150 cm x 100 cm print size. Nobody except techie nerds ever took any notice of the slightly mangled stars in the corners because they were too busy at oohing and aahing at the aurora.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L USM +14 more
Henrik Herranen Senior Member • Posts: 1,722
Re: Maybe we could agree to disagree

Schwany wrote:

Henrik Herranen wrote:

Schwany wrote:

It's not a good lens for this task wide open. Personally, I would not use it wide open in the starry night sky scenario. That may be because I like to be contrary, or because I know it's a bad idea with this lens. I don't think stopping it down would solve the issues this lens has at the edges of a full frame, but it might improve the odds for a better capture.

Why do you think stopping down wouldn't help? The very first post in this thread shows coma decreases when stopping down to f/2.0, and vanishes completely by f/2.8.

I'm talking about aberration (pick the correct type) in general,

I honestly don't know of which aberrations I should pick from. If you have a claim to make, please make it, and don't keep us guessing what you might or might not mean

Of course, if you just intend to "be contrary" as you said yourself, then you've succeeded.

which is pronounced with this lens and doesn't go away even at f8 if an edge is distinctly sharp and contrast is high enough. I personally don't worry about the coma thing, since I don't photograph stars. And, I can see purple edges on the stars at f5.6 in the example. Maybe it's caused by my eye glasses.

The condescending "eye glasses" part was uncalled for.

I do see purple edges in the example image, but I've not seen such a phenomenon while using my own lens (when I still had it). I don't know where that weirdness comes from.

Auroras are not bright stars on a black background, so I don't get the connection in this discussion, other than you use the lens at night. I can see the 24f/1.4L II being good for auroras, because they are soft and flowing without a lot of high contrast.

The connection is that if you shoot auroras, you invariably also get stars. Granted, if I'd shoot starscapes more, I'd might also be bothered more by coma. Perhaps.

My current night sky favourite, despite its slowness, is the Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC. Its corners are excellent even wide open, and perfectly coma free, as shown here. And it gives a really, really wide field of view, too, allowing for relatively long exposures without star trails.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

-- hide signature --

And if a million more agree there ain't no great society

 Henrik Herranen's gear list:Henrik Herranen's gear list
Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +7 more
dgehrke Regular Member • Posts: 130
Re: Not specifically about auroras but...

Schwany wrote:

Henrik Herranen wrote:

Schwany wrote:

It's not a good lens for this task wide open. Personally, I would not use it wide open in the starry night sky scenario. That may be because I like to be contrary, or because I know it's a bad idea with this lens. I don't think stopping it down would solve the issues this lens has at the edges of a full frame, but it might improve the odds for a better capture.

Why do you think stopping down wouldn't help? The very first post in this thread shows coma decreases when stopping down to f/2.0, and vanishes completely by f/2.8.

I'm talking about aberration (pick the correct type) in general, which is pronounced with this lens and doesn't go away even at f8 if an edge is distinctly sharp and contrast is high enough. I personally don't worry about the coma thing, since I don't photograph stars. And, I can see purple edges on the stars at f5.6 in the example. Maybe it's caused by my eye glasses.

Auroras are not bright stars on a black background, so I don't get the connection in this discussion, other than you use the lens at night. I can see the 24f/1.4L II being good for auroras, because they are soft and flowing without a lot of high contrast.

While the OP did not specifically mention auroras as subject matter I interjected them as those are the only images I have which show stars - I don't normally target only the night sky. The 24L is an excellent tool for shooting auroras but those images invariably include stars (which often show coma).

I've shot some auroras with the 24L/1.4 and later 24L/1.4 II, mostly stopped down to f/1.8. While the results are not perfect, they've been quite acceptable even up to 150 cm x 100 cm print size. Nobody except techie nerds ever took any notice of the slightly mangled stars in the corners because they were too busy at oohing and aahing at the aurora.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

 dgehrke's gear list:dgehrke's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x II +4 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads