Review Of Canon 14mm L Lens & Canon MP-E 65mm Lens

ef14_28liiu_586x225Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 14mm f/2.8
Lens Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 114° (on full-frame cameras)
Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual
Closest Focusing Distance: 7.9 in. / 0.2m
Filter Size: Gel filter holder at rear of lens
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.2 in. x 3.7 in. / 80mm x 94mm
22.8 oz./645g (lens only)

The 14mm f/2.8L II is the widest rectilinear EF lens offered by Canon Currently. It is a redesign on the 14mm f/2.8L I. The redesign added weather resistance (rubber seal around mount, sealed switching), two aspherical elements, one UD element and a brand new cap design. The new version is much sharper and a bit heavier. It also exhibits a much lower degree of Chromatic aberration. This lens is easily noticeable by its extremely large, curved front element and fixed lens shade.

© Robert Huber

© Robert Huber

The first thing i noticed about this lens when using it was the front element. If purchasing this lens for myself, I wouldn’t leave the store without a case to store it in. This is an expensive lens and the front element is extremely vulnerable to damage. Another thing i noticed very quickly after using it was how amazingly silent and fast the autofocus worked. I’ve used many USM lenses before, but i was really not expecting it to be this quiet. It was extremely accurate too. I did catch a bit of flare in a few shots, but with a lens of such a wide angle it is a bit difficult to maintain your desired angle sometimes while excluding things such as a glare or the sun directly.

14mm, even on a crop sensor camera, is a very wide angle. When shooting handheld, it is very easy to see your shoes or some tripod legs in your shots with a lens this wide. Sometimes such a wide angle is a blessing, forcing you to slow down and pay more attention to all of the small details that will fill such a large frame. Other times, it will be a curse. Perhaps when trying to shoot architecture, being forced to wait while people walk out of the frame.

For many people, spending a great deal of money on a single focal length (particularly such a wide angle) may not be worth it. But for anyone shooting close quarters architecture, landscapes or interiors, this lens is great.

mp-e65_28_1-5x_586x225Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 65mm 1:2.8
Lens Construction: 10 elements in 8 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 18° 40′
Focus Adjustment: Manual
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.24m / 0.8 ft. (from film plane to subject)
Filter Size: 58mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.2″ x 3.9″, 25.8 oz. / 81.0 x 98.0mm, 730g (lens only)

The 65mm MP-E is a very special lens. It is the only lens in Canon’s line that allows for true photomicrography, or rendering images on a 35mm frame actual size or larger. It comes with a standard lens cap and a tripod collar. Although this lens does utilize 1 UD element and is built to a rugged standard, it does not carry the “L” designation.

When I first began to test this lens out, I got a bit frustrated. Trying to operate this lens without having a firm understanding of both how it works and what I wanted to photograph, I just ended up putting it away after a bit. Once I read a few reviews and got a better grasp on the special purpose of the lens, I was prepared to try my hand at it again. Armed with a tripod, a hand release, and a few flashes, i took action.

© Robert Huber

© Robert Huber

Once you understand the limitations this lens gives you, it really is a tool of exploration. I Ran around my house and yard and photographed everything that didn’t run from me. When you see that the lens magnifies by five times you don’t think much of it, but when reviewing the images on a 21-inch widescreen monitor you really get an understanding of the difference between macro and micro.

In a few of the reviews I read before using this lens I saw that some people were shooting this lens handheld. I didn’t try my hand at this so much. Being the perfectionist that I am, I prefer the hand release method. Another reason I prefer the hand release was less obvious until I actually began shooting. Due to the high magnification factor any slight vibration, movement of subject, or wind can destroy your shot. Given the slim depth of field afforded by this lens, this is understandable. Another issue I ran into while using this lens was that of a very dim viewfinder image. This is easily dealt with by using the live view function with exposure preview.

In concusion, this lens is a great deal of fun. It allows you to explore everyday objects in a way that you may have never thought of before.

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