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Canon L Lenses

Lesson 26 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

26. Canon L Lenses

Next Lesson: Image Quality


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Canon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Aperture: Maximum Aperture


Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length


Aperture: Depth of Field


Aperture: Maximum Sharpness


Aperture: Starburst Effect


Aperture: Flare


Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance


Camera Mount System


Canon Lens Compatibility


Canon Lens Design


Canon Lens Composition


Canon Lens Shape


Canon Lens Coating


Canon Lens Focusing


Lens Autofocus


Canon Lens Image Stabilization


Canon L Lenses


Image Quality


Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard


Canon Super Zooms


Canon Wide Zooms


Canon Telephoto Zooms


Prime Lens: Normal Lenses


Prime Lens: Moderate Wide


Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Lenses Overview


3rd Party Prime Lenses


3rd Party Zoom Lenses


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Extenders


Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio


Macro Lens: Technique and Choices


Fisheye: Technique and Choices


Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices


Make a Lens System Choice


Choosing A Portrait Lens


Choosing A Sports Lens


Choosing A Landscape Lens


Best Lenses for You


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lens


What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?


Lesson Info

Canon L Lenses

So what does it exactly mean to be an L lens? This is their luxury line. I one times one time heard it defined as the best lens with no regard to cost. Cost is a factor. We saw lenses that were $40,000. These lenses air not $40,000 so cost is a factor of this. But in order to be a part of the El Club and it is like a club, you have to meet certain criteria. You have to have at least one element that is asked Eric Florida. But if you have you L d. You need to have two of them, All right, cause that's not quite a special that you need two of them to be part of the club. Generally, they're gonna have more rugged metal construction. They're gonna have some sort of weather ceiling, at least on the current lenses. Older l lenses may or may not have the weather ceiling. Oh, highlight this more in a moment. These are all going to have their top of the line focusing systems in them. They're ring type USM motors in general, with only one or two. I got to two lenses. I got two exceptions, but gen...

erally they have a very fast, constant math. Maximum aperture like F 28 100 to A. It's a constant F 28 zoom. The two exceptions of the 104 100 and their 72 300 which do have variable apertures on. And so that's not a hard line, though. We'll bend on that one a little bit. They will work on all Eos bodies, the D. E. F s system, even the muralist system with the adapter, of course, they're gonna have focusing distance scales so you can see where you are manually focusing on them. They're gonna have non rotating elements. So if you put a polarizer on and you focus, it's not gonna change the way that polarizer is positioned on the front of the lands. These come with hoods that are dedicated for that particular lands is along with the lens pouch. And once you're up to 200 meters, there are 200 millimeters. They're gonna be painted off white, so they're very distinctive out in the fields of football, soccer and so forth. They're all gonna have, of course, metal amounts. So that they have a very strong connection to the camera. And, of course, they all get their red ring, which helps identify that you have purchased the top of the line lens. So one of the things in preparation for this class that was the most frustrating for me was putting together a comprehensive list off what lenses are weather sealed and which ones are not. If you Google canon weather ceiling and you go to say the 1st 30 pages of results, you will get a list of incomplete answers. It is terribly confusing. You know, some guys gotta blawg. And so he found out 10 lenses that have weather ceiling. So he puts on his block, whether sealed lenses and all of a sudden that gets ranked up high in Google. You go there and you're like that lends isn't weather sealed and there's a dozen are that are and so it's very confusing. And so I have the most comprehensive, complete, accurate, up to date list even more accurate than Cannons website right now, because even they haven't gone through and really done it, and they have not done a very good job at making clear what is weather sealed. What does it mean? And there's three different levels of it and let's go on a line and they have done a terrible job. And so here is a list of lenses that have excellent dust proof and drip proof performance. So these are the really good top of the line. Best weather sealed lenses. There's the next step down. Okay, these ones are weather resistant, but they require a filter to complete the dust and weather proofing of it. And here is the reason why is because the front element moves back and forth, but it does so behind where the filter threads are. So when you put a filter on there, it will stop and block the water from getting in there. Without it, water could be drug in to the lens, and so if you don't have a filter on that, it's not gonna be fully weather rised. The backs part of will have a weather seal on it, but the front part is exposed, so that's kind of the next step down the next ones there. Weather sealed, but they say were unable to provide complete protection. But what is that me? That means they got some sort of lens elements. So there's two lenses here, and you can see the front elements are moving back and forth. One case, it's the 100 to 400. There's just no way to protect the lens like that. It's susceptible, but they've done everything else they can to prevent water. Getting in this other lenses. The 11 to you can't put a filter on that cause it's too wide angle. And so it's elements moved back and forth, so there's no way to protect it. But they've done everything else that they can to protect it. And so those are some kind of special exceptions. They're not as weatherproof, and so you would want to be more careful in those particular exposed areas. Now they do have a rubber ring amount around all these other lenses, but they've also included it on their telly extenders, which don't have much things moving on them. So there's not a lot of weather proofing they need to do on their now. If you have an older L lens say from the nineties, it may or may not, depending on the lands, have some weather ceiling and I haven't been able to dig up information on those. Ah, lot of them were pre Internet days, and there's just not a lot of information about a discontinued lens that was introduced in 1990 on how good it ISS. And so prior to 1999 there are various levels. But on current L lenses, generally the level is pretty high now. Exactly what does this mean, and how much rain can we go out shooting? I still cannot answer that question. It depends on a lot of factors. If you were going to be shooting a three hour football match, I would probably want to get a rain cover if it's coming down rainy. If it's a light rain, I think you're probably gonna be OK if your camera body is also weather sealed, which the higher and bodies are and the lower embodies or not, and there's various levels in between. The big lenses are kind of a special version of the L lenses. You get extra stuff on these first off their painted white, supposedly to reduce heat buildup. When you're shooting out in the bright sun on safari or shooting sporting event out there. I think partially it's a marketing thing. So you can look out and see all the white lenses there Clearly canon lenses. Although you can get white Nikon lenses and Sony makes white lenses as well, so they're gonna have a focus which, like everything else, they're gonna have focus range. We've talked about that. They're gonna have a drop in filter because a giant filter on the front would be way too expensive. And so it's a lot easier to have a little drop in filter in the back, especially for polarizer. They're gonna have a tripod collar built onto it. Sometimes with a removable foot. As we see here, they'll have a little Kensington lock. So let's say you were gonna mount this in a remote position. You don't someone coming by your remote camera shooting the Kentucky Derby, stealing your lands, and so you can actually lock in with one of your wire cable right into the lens. Nice, big focusing ring. Of course, we have a playback rain. What we're gonna do with playback, right? This is very cool in the show. This to you a moment. We do have additional buttons for doing additional things that could be programmed depending on the camera later on, we're gonna have a nice little control panel over here. Starting with our stabilization mode, which we've already talked about. There'll be an on off and then our choice of 12 or three version, and then we're gonna have a focusing preset option. One of the things that we can do with this lands is we can determine a place that we want. Focus. Think of second base in baseball. We know the runner is gonna go from first to second. We want to focus on the second basement. We can program that in and set it with this button here and with our playback ring. With a slight little twist of this, the lens will instantly focus on that point, no matter where you're focusing points are. And so, if you know some action is going to take place at a particular location, for instance Ah, hockey goal. You know where the gold is going to be. You have your focus point set there with a quick foot that the twist it automatically goes there very, very quickly. They've also employed something called power focusing. And this is for video shooters who want to focus using the electronic motors from one point to the other. Elektronik Lee and very smoothly, not something still photographers are going to use. But movie photographers might want to use movie cinematographers. So here's our focus set button. And so what we would do is we would set focus and then turn this focus recall ring just a little bit to go back to that specific distance. Now we might want to do this. As I said, for a subject at a particular distance, we could also do it for just Infinity just gets Arlen's back to infinity as quickly as possible and can help out quite a bit, because sometimes autofocus gets lost on these telephoto lenses. When you start focusing up pretty close, the A F buttons on the outside will normally stop the focusing momentarily while you press them, perhaps while a referee crosses in front of you. But you can re program these to do anything else. In fact, I've reprogrammed on my lens to start the autofocus so I could hold it out here and be focusing out here on the lens, and then I'll take pictures back here on the camera, so it makes things very, very versatile, toe merciful to use out in the field. If you have a camera that allows you to program, that's something like the 70 Mark two or the one d x. The five d mark three give you a lot of options when it comes to programming these. As far as the weather resistance on these, they have made these kind of an even higher level of weather resistance. They've really had to go to extra links because these have a lot of bumps and knobs and dials all over it. And so they have taken special precautions to prevent moisture, causing a problem on these lenses.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

What's in the Frame? HD
What's in the Frame? LOW
Field of View HD
Field of View LOW
Lens Keynote Parts 1-4
Lens Keynote Parts 5-8
Canon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


I so appreciate what a good teacher John is. I wish I would have known this much about lenses when I first started out buying my lenses. It was hard finding information about lenses. I didn't want to spend money on a lens I wouldn't use. The better understanding we have about our gear the better photographers we will be. I have never seen a class like this. Invaluable...yes I bought the class! I am really impressed with the high quality photography classes available on Creative Live!

Tami Miller

Have loved the other John Greengo classes I've watched & purchased - and this is another winner! Having been a high school/college science teacher, it is refreshing to take a course with someone who not only is extremely experienced, seems to be a computer having stored so much knowledge, but is equally concerned about making the information truly understandable to different levels. And he shares the information using every tool he can: slides, video, interactive presentations, and great quizzes. I learned so much about my Canon lenses - and lenses in general with their many components. I am excited about testing each of mine to see what macro ratio they handle, and especially appreciated the tutorial on testing each for their specific quirk that affects super sharpness. This class is great whether you own Canon lenses or not. Thanks John Greengo!


This was a great class not just about the lenses that Canon offers but also how each lens works. As usual, John's slides are alway informative and entertaining. There is a phrase: John has a slide for that! I am not even a Canon user and found this class to have great information for the use of each specific lens. Great work John! Thank you Creative Live for another great class!

Student Work