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.

Equiv. FOV

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

The 17-35 mm has recently been updated to a new model, the 16-35 mm. I personally found this lens to be a little on the soft side, especially at apertures larger than F5.0. My experience of the 16-35 mm on an EOS-1D was much more satisfying. Because of the D60's FOV crop you'll need these super-wide angle lenses to get anywhere near a normal 35 mm wide angle field of view.
Equiv. FOV on D60: 27 - 56 mm
Weight: 0.9 kg (1.2 lb)

@ 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

The 28-70 mm F2.8 L is heavy for an 'every day' lens. The weight goes some way to convincing you that it's a quality piece of equipment. This lens is very sharp, fast and makes a good professional quality all round lens on the D60.
Equiv. FOV on D60: 45 - 112 mm
Weight: 0.9 kg (1.9 lb)

@ 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

The 28 - 135 mm is probably the most popular lens among D30 owners, it's not heavy, provides a good usable (almost) 5 x zoom, has image stabilization and provides good sharp images. Excellent value for money.
Equiv. FOV on D60: 45 - 216 mm
Weight: 0.5 kg (1.2 lb)

@ 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

The 50 mm F1.4 is probably the sharpest "non-L" lenses you can buy. It provides superb low light AF (because if its F1.4 max aperture) as well as excellent sharpness from about F2.2 upwards (it's relatively soft at F1.4). Focusing is fast and with the 1.6x FOV crop it works out well as a light weight portrait lens on the D60. This is one of my favourite lenses.
Equiv. FOV on D60: 80 mm
Weight: 289 g (10.2 oz)

F1.4 F8.0 F16.0

Canon EF 70-200 mm F2.8 L IS USM

This big lens offers superb sharpness right across its zoom range. It has a waterproof seal at the lens mount (for use with more robust cameras such as the 1V and 1D) as well as internal zoom and internal focusing. The 70-200 has dual mode image stabilization and a ball bearing rotating tripod collar (for quick switches from landscape to portrait). This is a superb, if very expensive lens.
Equiv. FOV on D60: 112 - 320 mm
Weight: 1.3 kg (2.8 lb)

@ 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

I'm amazed as to how many people on our Canon SLR Talk forum own this lens, it's definetly not a cheap option. However on the D60 it does provide an amazing 160 to 640 mm FOV equiv. The 100-400 also has dual mode image stabilization and a ball bearing rotating tripod collar. Its zoom is the push-pull type and extended to 400 mm this is no small lens. Very sharp (a stop down from max. aperture) and a huge zoom range.
Equiv. FOV on D60: 160 - 640 mm
Weight: 1.4 kg (3.0 lb)

@ 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.