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Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard

Lesson 28 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard

Lesson 28 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

28. Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard

Next Lesson: Canon Super Zooms


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 Zoom Lenses: Standard

And so in this section we're going to start off with zoom lenses and I'm going with zoom lenses first. Because that is generally the way we start US photographers. Today's we start with the general zoom lens that is good for a variety of purposes. And then later on, we get our primes. And so the section after this is on primes, this one is solely on the zoom lenses. We're just gonna go through him and different little groupings. I put them together in very logical little groups, and we're gonna do a little compare and contrast and talk about what we're seeing and comparing things to look for either in purchasing or when using these zoom lenses. So we're going to start off in the basic standard zoom range, which means something in the 24 millimeter to 100 millimeter rage. And so this is a decent middle of the road wide angle, along with a nice short telephoto. Our first grouping is in E. F s lenses. So you recall this is for the crop frame bodies like the rebel bodies, the D 70 bodies a...

nd so forth, and we have a number of lenses that go from a modest wide angle to a little bit of telephoto, and each one of them has kind of their particular little place. And so what we'll do is just doing one at a time. So this is the most basic lens. This is the 18 to 55. It's often known as the kit lands. And I guess I'll mention this because this is the first time we've been looking at lenses like this. One of the things that you won't find from somebody that works at Cannon. It's them telling you how old is this lands? And so when I haven't listed up here, down here at the very bottom, I have the year that the lens was introduced so that you know how old or how new of design this lenses. Now, what's a good number? What's a bad number? Most lenses will last, I would say, on average, about 15 years before they're replaced. Now some lenses get replaced. After five years, I've seen lenses get replaced after less than two years on the market because there was just an issue with it and they needed to get a new one out. But a really good lands might last 10 or 15 years. And so if a lens was designed 5678 years ago, that's perfectly normal on it. If it's a really current lens, that's kind of nice to have. So the 18 to 55 optically I could shoot very nice photos with this. I think I wouldn't want to use it. It's got a lot of plastic construction. It doesn't have the focusing. It doesn't have the hyper focal scales. It has this narrow little plastic ring out here. All these issues that we talked about in the last section. Now we can start to appreciate when we understand what we're looking at here. Now this lens does have image stabilization built in, which is nice. It is a second generation lens, which the means they made some improvements along the way. If someone was just getting into the photography. This is a perfectly acceptable starter lens. When you get better and know more about your direction, you can step up to a different type of lands, good general purpose e type range, and as we go through this, I'm gonna give you three bullet points and all these canon lenses in general. The 1st 2 are things that I like about the lands, and the 3rd 1 is what people who own this lens don't like about this lens. I've been able to crowd source of information from personal experience, people I know as well as the rest of the environment out there. Generally, it just doesn't feel like a solid piece. It feels like something you got out of a gumball machine. But if you work at it, you can get good pictures with this cause the glass quality is reasonably good. Next up is the near identical twin of that lands in size and in weight and in features, with the exception of the stepper motor. And so if you're somebody who wants to shoot a lot of video with your canon rebel or like camera, this would be slightly preferable to the 18 to 55 that we were just talking about. And so that's the stepper motor for shooting video. And so this will come standard on the kits thes days. We'll see it more and more. You may or may not have the option between this and the previous version, and so as I said, Good with video. It does have a plastic lens mount, and we were very worried when we first saw these coming out that you would be able to just break the lens off the camera. And while that is possible and I have seen it happen, it's not real common. It's more or less that it just gets to get have a little bit more playing it than a stainless steel ring. And so it's just not as exacting. It doesn't need to be his exact because it's only Ah, 35256 Lens. You wouldn't want to have an F 1.2 lens with a plastic lens mount for a lot of reasons, but keeping a nice firm amount on the camera would be one of them. Here is a way to step up in quality for not a lot of money. This 17 to 85 is a little bit older, so it's 11 years old and which is kind of old in Lens years. But it does have the U. S. And motor, which the previous lenses did not have. It is a little bit bigger, a little bit heavier. Look at this. There's a focusing scale. We get to focus now. This also has the full time focusing so that you could just grab the focusing ring and focus whenever you want. So I consider this the upgrade or the better quality kit lands on it. So I think this right now is a really good value lands for somebody who doesn't have a lot of money because this isn't that much money. And one of the things that in this talk is I'm not gonna be giving you a lot of specific prices because that depends on what country you're in. And these things change all the time. A year from now, this lens could be double the price for reasons I can't even imagine. But right now it's a fairly cheap lands that you can get into a pretty nice focusing good quality optical system. But it does have barrel distortion, and so it's going to kind of blow things out. Bru, when you were shooting at the wide angle in which is a common attributes on many zoom lenses, the 15 85 now this lands, I think, might have been on the bottom 10 lenses, but this is a lens that I would be happy to shoot with. The reason that I like this is getting down to 15 is very close to 24. It's a little bit wider, and I think for a lot of photographers, 15 who are using that crop frame system is as wide as you're going to need to get to go or you're gonna night white is you were gonna want to go, and it's going to satisfy all your white angle needs. And if you get this land's, you're not gonna have to get another lands whiter than this. So this was a great walk around travel companion lens. So somebody who wants to travel and not bring an extra wide angle lens this gets you that extra wide angle that the 18 to 55 do not get in that little three millimeter difference can make a big difference. Very good. Nice range. It is pricey for what it iss compared to the previous lens, it's more than twice. In fact, it's about three times the price is the previous lands to get this extra wide angle, so it does come at a bit of cost, and there is a bit of being vignette ing, which is remember darkening of the corners when you shoot this wide open. This is about as nice a lens as you're going to get in the E. F s range of lenses. So once again for the crop frame cameras, this is the only option that is a zoom that has a constant aperture of 2.8, which is where a lot of the serious pro lenses are. And so, if you are shooting with the crop frame sensors and you need a faster aperture lens from Canon, this is it. There are some interesting options when we get into Toki No and Tamron and Sigma. But from Canon, this is their fast zoom. And so it kind of is mimicking what some of the L lenses air doing. But it is definitely not built like an Ellen's. It does not have the weather ceiling in general construction of an L lands so very good for low light, good for people in action. And so if you were gonna be shooting weddings and you wanted to do it on a crop frame body because that's what you had, this would be the best lens that Canon has to offer. It's probably not my favorite lens in the category, because I think if we look at some of the other options available on the market from third party manufacturers, I think there's some good competition for this guy. And so here's our first grouping of E. F S lenses, and I'll give you some kind of ball parking on the price. And just so that you can see. And you can see here that the 15 15 85 and 17 to 55 are significantly more money. Definitely the best buy of the group is the 17 to 85. And so, if somebody wanted a good deal on the lands, I think that's a great way to go. I really prefer the focal range, getting down to for a general purpose type travel lens. But some of you who need the faster lenses 17 to 55 is well, that's really the only option when it comes to a fast aperture in that style of Lance. If we switch over to Standard Zoom, but with a full frame sensor, we have a very small grouping here, just two lenses and I've decided to separate the L lenses. They're gonna come next. And so in the standard grouping the 28 to 1 35 which is an older lands in this brand new 24 to 105 r is our choices. So the newest is the 24 to 105 which is kind of an interesting lens, because we really had a 24 to 105 But it was in l lens, but they brought out a stepper motor. So for somebody who uses maybe a six D camera and they want an affordable lands that they can shoot video with, this would probably be a very good lens because it's got the stabilization. It's got the smooth focusing motor for shooting videos, and so it's a good generalised lives. This is a great what I call a walk around lends. A lot of people call it a walk around lens, just a lens that you can have with you at all times. And so this STM does focus by wire, which means that if you want to try to manually focus when the cameras turned off, nothing happens because it needs to have electron ICS turned on, and there are a few crazy things that you might want to do. For instance, maybe you want to take a picture, and while you're taking the picture, you're gonna just focus for a creative blur effect. You want to dio Well, you can't do it on this lens because it turns off that focusing while you are taking the picture. You could do it with the standard lens, but you can't do it with an STM lens or if you focus and you want to adjust it while the cameras turned off. You can't do that now. This is an older lands 1998. So it's an older lands. And possibly because the research and development costs have been paid off, this lens is dirt cheap, and it's not a bad lens. It's kind of like one of the other lenses were talking about in the previous section. It's got the ultrasonic motors in here. It's a decent, nice range that you have on there, and it's really, really cheap Now. One of the things that really troubles me and I just go cringing at is I will often see this lends packaged with a canon rebel or 60 d or 70 d for sale at Costco or some store like that. And I'm thinking a 28 to 1 35 on a crop frame body is a really awkward number because remember the normal lenses a 28. So if we were to do the translation in what is this optically? It's like a 50 to 200 millimeter lands and is your Onley lens of 50 to 200 has no white angle at all. So when the family gathers around the dinner table, you got to go into the back part of the house to shoot through to get everybody at the table. And so it's not a very practical lens, and so I probably wouldn't buy this if it's coming in a kit form with a rebel style camera. So you got to be really careful of what are you getting in the package? And so in the non L department for standard lenses 28 to 1 35 it's a nice range. I would like to get a little bit wider than 28 for a general purpose lens, but I could live with that for the price because it's so much cheaper. The 24 to 1 of five looks like it's probably gonna be around for quite a while. And for the lower end, full frame bodies as far as their price, this is gonna be a standard lens on him. And so decent options there. All right, let's get into the good stuff. The L lenses. So these air the e f l lenses. So we're looking at constant temperatures at either F four or F 2.8 in the range, going from 24 either to 70 or 2105 and the 24 to 105 has been a hugely popular lands. They've packaged it with their five d mark three and some of their other cameras. The 24 to 70 was kind of surprising is like Well, why do they need that when the 24 to 105 is out? What's the purpose of this? But this is an interesting lens will take a look at this one right now, so the 24 to 70 is a bit smaller in size, and one of the things that's unusual about this is the macro capabilities of it. It is extremely good at macro. And when we get into the macro section, I'm gonna feature this a little bit because this is their best focusing best close up focusing lens next to an actual macro lens. And so if somebody wanted a general walk around lens that was pretty good at close up capability, this would definitely be the choice. And if you recall correctly, this and the one millimeter macro had the hybrid image stabilization system. So for shooting hand held under low light conditions, this is one of the best lenses you can buy in that regard. And so, um, not quite as good optically as the versions. For those of you who are very picky about your pixels and you want the best image quality possible, you will still get a little bit better image quality in the 2.8 version. And that is this one right here, 24 to 70. This is a standard workhorse of the pros. It's a reasonably chunky lens. It's, uh, I owned the predecessor, that 24 to 70 the original version one and now the version to It's just a great stablemate For any serious photographer. The two point aperture is great to work with. It is a little bit of a chunk of piece of glass to leave off the front of your camera for a lot. And so this is what I call the ultimate event. Lands an event being, for instance, a wedding where you're gonna be photographing under bright sun and then going in dark. And then you're shooting people in there moving around and you need wide angles and you need portrait and so you can shoot nice group portrait all the way back to 24. Remember, that's kind of right where you start getting that distortion, so you generally don't want to go beyond that, and you can shoot really nice Portrait's at 70. I know a lot of people are very picky, and they say I got to be in 85 but you know what? You can shoot Great Portrait's at 70 and so you can shoot Great portrait's to group shots with this and so one lens and your work on the whole room, getting all types of shots and so very good. The main complaint on this is No, I s and Nikon just the other day introduced their 24 to 70 with image stabilization. So I have no doubt that at some point in the future, Cannon is gonna introduce a replacement to this with image stabilization. But it's gonna probably increase the cost of the lens $500 if they want to follow Nikon step. And so there's a big price to be paid great quality lands. It's a little bit big and heavy for some people in some things, but quality is definitely there. The 24 to 105 been around for a little while now, and it's been a very popular lands. Very. It's just like the perfect travel focal length aperture combination. And so it's Ah, it's also something that's also kind of good for shooting video for a generalised person who's going to shoot video with the DSLR. We do have image stabilization built into this, and so if you're thinking I'd like to shoot video and stills with the camera, this would not be the worst choice in the world. The other 24 to 105 might work as well. The weak point of this is definitely when you're shooting at 24. There is heavy vignette ing and a lot of barrel distortion, and I didn't have time to include it. But I've done some testing with six different canon lenses all at 24 you look at all of them and they all look a little different. But there is one that is noticeably worse, and it's this one. It's a lot more vignette ing a lot more barrel distortion than everything else now that could be technically fixed in post. But that's pushing pixels around, and it's damaging them to some degree, so it's best if you don't have to do it. And so if you have this land's, try to avoid the really wide end if you can, because it's just not real strong there. And so when it comes to choosing between these lenses, it depends a little bit on what you're doing. If you're photographing people in action, vibration or image stabilization does not do you any good. You need faster shutter speeds, which means you need a faster aperture. So if you're gonna be a wedding photographer, you need the 24 to 72.8 DF four versions are not nearly a suited for travel photography, where you're shooting pictures of C, Knicks and buildings and things like that that aren't moving around as much. The F four versions are gonna probably work out quite nice for many people, I think, who are a little bit more quality orientated. The 24 to 70 if you just want a little bit more range, because maybe that means you don't bring the telephoto around. Then I would be looking more at the 24 to 105 One of the things is that the 24 the one fives been around, and they kind of paid for the research and development. It's also been the kit lens for a lot of camera bodies for the last years. The market is flooded with these things on the used market, and so you can these pick up these things. Use is one of the few lenses that really has a fairly low resell value. I don't know what the going rate is, but about 600 U. S. Dollars right now, whereas 24 to 70 is kind of a brand new hot lens, so you're not gonna find many of these on the used market as well

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