Impressive glass from 1987

Started Sep 28, 2019 | User reviews
47872Mike Regular Member • Posts: 210
Impressive glass from 1987

This 1987 lens, based on a slightly earlier optical design, may have been the first lens on the market to use a moulded aspherical element.  
As it was the only EF lens I owned at the time I got my 6D a couple of weeks ago, it got plenty of use. This review relates only to its use on full frame.
And, thought not without negatives, I've got to say that this is a remarkable performer for an old consumer zoom.
First the negatives:
Canon does not appear to provide correction profiles for this lens.
The wide end looks more like 40mm than 35mm. 
The wide end gives significant levels of mechanical vignetting when focused closer than about a couple of metres. It increases with decreasing focus distance.  
Mine has a whopping focus error at very close distances at 105mm which is not replicated at other distances or focal lengths. 
There is fairly significant linear distortion at some focal lengths.
The typical old Canon focus motor buzz.
When shooting interiors against the light, I noticed it was not entirely without CA, which my camera can correct for with most lenses, but not this one! 
The positives:
Remarkably sharp and contrasty from maximum aperture, particularly at focal lengths under 105mm, which suffers a bit from reduction in contrast until stopped down slightly. 
Colour and microcontrast seem very good indeed...I mean they really are very good indeed. 
Focus acquisition isn't slow.
Quite compact, not heavy, and optically faster than consumer zooms later became. When not shooting static subjects, an extra 2/3 stop has more value than an IS system.
I haven't got any other consumer zooms to compare it with on full frame, having sold most of my Canon gear when I was using 1.6 crop. But I would not expect many of them to be sharper than this one.

 47872Mike's gear list:47872Mike's gear list
Canon EOS 10D Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 50D Sony SLT-A37 Canon EOS 6D +13 more
47872Mike's score
4.0
Canon EOS 6D
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maiaibing Veteran Member • Posts: 5,139
Re: Impressive glass from 1987
1

Much old glass is impressive because lead rules in optics. Sadly its deadly too.

Took almost ten years to match the performance of the glass (meanwhile other things improved). Think Canon now overall has glass that outperforms the old lead optics. But it was a long struggle.

Allowed for amazing lenses such as the 200mm f/1.8. What a beast in every way!

 maiaibing's gear list:maiaibing's gear list
Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x III Canon Extender EF 2x III +5 more
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