For this review I was fortunate enough to have a good selection of Canon EF lenses, everything from the wide angle zoom of the 17 - 35 mm F2.8 L to the super telephoto 100 - 400 mm F4.5-5.6 L IS. Those who already know their Canon lenses will know that the 'L' indicates a professional lens which uses higher quality glass (often made of special materials), special coatings and full metal bodies.
This section of the review is a very quick look at each lens and a measurement of its resolution performance at different apertures. Below you will find a description of each lens followed by three crops taken from the horizontal resolution portion of our standard resolution chart. The first crop is at the lenses maximum aperture, the second at F8.0 and the last at F16.0 (to check for resolution loss due to refraction).
This is not intended as a detailed review of each lens, I didn't have the time or the testing procedures to do that properly. There are lots of other factors such as colour response, tone, geometry (distortion), flare and chromatic aberrations which haven't been tested. For a more detailed review of lenses I recommend checking the photodo.com website.
To L or not to L?
What can be gleaned from the samples below is that even the non-professional lenses (such as the 28 - 135 mm F3.5 - 5.6 IS) are more than capable of resolving six megapixels. The difference between them and the professional lenses comes in build quality, maximum aperture, sharpness at maximum aperture, distortion, contrast, colour response etc. etc.
I would recommend first time Canon lens buyers (looking at the D60) get a good non-professional lens such as the 28 - 135 mm F4.5 - 5.6 IS or the 24 - 85 mm F3.5 - 4.5. Also don't ignore prime (non-zoom) lenses, they offer as much sharpness as an L lenses but at a much lower price. If you can afford it then definitely go for the L zoom lenses, the 16 - 35 mm F2.8 L and 28 - 70 mm F2.8 L are both excellent lenses.
Because the D60's sensor is smaller than a 35 mm negative it effectively crops a smaller area from the center of the image projected by the lens. This cropping effect is often referred to as 'focal length multiplier', on the D60 this is 1.6x. This is a term I really don't like. What is really happening is that a 28 mm lens on a D60 has its field of view cropped to an equivalent focal length of 44.8 mm. In the descriptions below you'll see me use the notation "Equiv. FOV on D60" (rounded to the nearest equiv. mm).
Canon EF 17-35 mm F2.8 L USM
|@ 35 mm, F2.8||@ 35 mm, F8.0||@ 35 mm, F16.0|
Note: due to the size of the resolution chart it was not possible to test this lens at 17 mm.
Canon EF 28-70 mm F2.8 L USM
|@ 28 mm, F2.8||@ 28 mm, F8.0||@ 28 mm, F16.0|
|@ 70 mm, F2.8||@ 70 mm, F8.0||@ 70 mm, F16.0|
Canon EF 28-135 mm F3.5 - 5.6 IS USM
|@ 28 mm, F3.5||@ 28 mm, F8.0||@ 28 mm, F16.0|
|@ 135 mm, F5.6||@ 135 mm, F8.0||@ 135 mm, F16.0|
Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 USM
Canon EF 70-200 mm F2.8 L IS USM
|@ 70 mm, F2.8||@ 70 mm, F8.0||@ 70 mm, F16.0|
Note: due to the size of our studio it was not possible to test this lens at 200 mm.
Canon EF 100-400 mm F4.5-5.6 L IS USM
|@ 100 mm, F4.5||@ 100 mm, F8.0||@ 100 mm, F16.0|
Note: due to the size of our studio it was not possible to test this lens at 400 mm.
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