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 Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Canon's Ultimate EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R General Purpose Lenses
Finding the ultimate general purpose lens for the new EOS 5Ds R cameras entering my kit was a high priority for me. With image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R now available in the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens Review, the three primary Canon lens choices are available for comparison.
 
The Ultimate 5Ds General Purpose Lens Candidates
 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
 
The Comparisons
 
To be honest, I thought the 24-70mm f/2.8L II would be easy to declare the winner and optically, it is the best of this list. However, the two f/4 lenses perform better in front of 50.6 megapixels than I expected.
 
The f/2.8L II is slightly sharper over then entire focal length range at f/2.8 than either of the f/4 lenses are at f/4. At the equal f/4 comparison, the f/2.8L II is noticeably sharper and is still sharper at f/5.6. At f/8, the differences are slight and at f/11, diffraction essentially evens the playing field. Choosing an image sharpness winner between the two f/4 lenses is a challenge, but more noticeable is the 24-105's higher CA and distortion levels.
 
The f/2.8 lens has a 1 stop wider aperture, giving it the ability to stop action in 1/2 as much light as the other two lenses and the ability to create a stronger background blur. The 24-70mm f/4L IS rules the maximum Magnification (MM) spec with a 0.70x rating vs. the competition's 0.23x and 0.21x specs. The two f/4 lenses have image stabilization, allowing them to be used handheld in far lower light levels than the f/2.8 lens (as long as the subject is not in motion). The 24-105 L has the benefit of reaching to 105mm on the long end.
 
The f/2.8L II is slightly larger than the 24-105mm f/4L IS, which is slightly larger than the 24-70mm f/4L IS. The f/2.8L II has a modestly more substantial lead in the weight category, weighing in 5 oz (142g) more than the 24-105mm f/4L and 7 oz (198g) heavier than the 24-70mm f/4L. These lenses are similarly well-built.
 
Small differences between these lenses include the 2012-introduced 24-70mm models having 9 blade apertures vs. the 2005-introduced 24-105mm's 8 and the f/2.8 lens having an 82mm filter thread size (vs. 77mm). A not-so-small difference is the f/2.8L II's price relative to the f/4L IS models.
 
The Conclusions
 
All of these lenses are easily good enough for use in front of a 5Ds. The decision differences for many will come down to price, aperture and overall versatility.
 
If your investment in the 5Ds has left you monetarily strained, a good value may be your highest priority. In that case, the 10 year old 24-105mm f/4L IS, purchased in white box or refurbished condition would be a great choice. Canon omitted the 24-105 L from its EOS 5Ds Lens Recommendations List, but ... I think this model is very worthy of consideration.
 
If you need to stop action in low light or want to create the strongest background blur, you need an f/2.8 aperture and the choice is easy. While the 24-70mm f/2.8L II will impact your wallet the greatest and will leave you without IS, this is the most amazing lens choice optically.
 
For overall versatility, I'll give the nod to the 24-70mm f/4L IS. The smallest and lightest lens of the group, the 24-70mm f/4L IS offers great image quality along with the best-performing image stabilization system and a macro-lens-like close-focusing capability. While more expensive than the white box or refurbished 24-105 f/4L IS, the 24-70 f/4L IS has the same regular price as the 24-105 L and is also a good value.
 
The Ultimate 5Ds General Purpose Lens
 
While it would be easy to justify a decision for any of these three lenses, I'm going to declare the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II Lens to be the ultimate EOS 5Ds general purpose lens. Canon apparently agrees with this choice as this is the lens shown mounted in the Canon-supplied EOS 5Ds product images. However, I will not be selling my 24-70 f/4L IS lens anytime soon.
 
Learn More about the Lenses
 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens Review
Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens Review
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens Review
 
In Stock at B&H:
 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/1/2015 9:39:28 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Canon EOS 5Ds R
While the Canon EOS 5Ds Review (coming soon) will feature a complete review of the 5Ds cameras (including the R functionally), the Canon EOS 5Ds R Review takes a closer look at the differences between these two cameras.
 
Posting the 5Ds R differences review before the full 5Ds review may seem backwards, but ... we know most of what these cameras are about already. They are based on the 5D Mark III (including the AF system) with a new sensor and some new features. The resolution, noise and sounds are now known and available on the site. With these results all being excellent, for many (including me), the decision remaining to be made was between the 5Ds and the 5Ds R.
 
The 5Ds R review focuses on those differences and especially on moiré and the commonness of its occurance. I'll reveal my personal choice at the end.
 
While B&H has had the Canon EOS 5Ds in stock since the first delivery was received, the Canon EOS 5Ds R preorders have not yet been completely filled. If this is the camera you want, reserve your place in line.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/30/2015 9:14:42 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, June 29, 2015
Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM and II Lenses Compared
While the Canon EOS 5Ds review has been my highest priority, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens review has not been derailed and is also approaching completion.
 
One of the biggest differences between the 50mm f/1.8 II and the 50mm f/1.8 STM lenses, as their names imply, is the AF system implementation and the audibility differences of these systems is especially notable. The 50mm f/1.8 STM's focusing sound is greatly improved/reduced over the 50mm f/1.8 II presence-announcing buzz.
 
While much can be discerned from this post's image (the STM lens AF sound is depicted on the left), the difference that really matters will best be determined by your ears (turn up your speaker volume):
 
Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens AF Sound Compared to f/1.8 II
 
The perfect lens AF sound would of course be a flat line, but ... AF moves parts and moving parts tend to make at least some noise. In this case, the STM is audible and audible enough for on-camera mics to pick up. The sounds in this example are from an identical near full extents change in both directions at full speed. As with some other STM lenses, a slow change in focus distance (such as when recording video) results in a noticeably quieter sound.
 
Much more to come.
 
The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens, Canon's least expensive lens, is in stock at B&H.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/29/2015 9:10:33 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens on EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens Review.
 
This is the lens that Canon shows mounted in the 5Ds and 5Ds R product images. There is a good reason for that choice.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens in stock with a $100.00 MIR available through July 4th.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/29/2015 8:03:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, June 26, 2015
Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens review.
 
Many more 5Ds R lens tests are coming.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens in stock with a $200.00 MIR available.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/26/2015 8:44:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, June 25, 2015
Canon EOS 5Ds
Let's make some noise with the EOS 5Ds. We already talked about one important 5Ds noise factor (high ISO noise), but the audible noise a camera makes can be quite important in quiet situations. When the photographer wishes to remain unnoticed, such as at a wedding or when photographing wildlife, a quiet shutter release is greatly appreciated. The good news is that the 5Ds performs at a noticeably lower decibel than its predecessor.
 
Following are links to MP3 files capturing "The Sounds of the Canon EOS 5Ds". Turn up the volume!
 
Canon EOS 5Ds One Shot Mode
Canon EOS 5Ds Burst Mode
Canon EOS 5Ds Slow Burst Mode
Canon EOS 5Ds Silent Mode
Canon EOS 5Ds Silent Burst Mode
Burst Comparison: 5D III, 5Ds, 7D II and 1DX (3.5 second clips of each)
 
It is not hard to figure out which cameras included in the burst comparison will garner the most attention. Notably, you will hear that the 5Ds is quieter than the 5D III with a less-sharp sound response. Designed to reduce vibration, the new mirror mechanism is also responsible for quieter performance.
 
The 5D III's silent mode was very useful and the 5Ds retains the same ability with a similar sound level.
 
More Information
 
Canon EOS 5Ds
Canon EOS 5Ds R
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 5Ds in stock and the Canon EOS 5Ds R is available for preorder.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/25/2015 11:38:53 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon EOS 5Ds
My Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R cameras are here and as you expected, they are practically glued to my hands. These cameras are delivering simply amazing image quality.
 
I will have lots of additional info to share about this camera in the very near future, but once again, I kept notes as I unpacked and configured three copies of the world's highest resolution DSLR. Following are the 36 steps I take to make an out-of-the-box 5Ds / 5Ds R ready for use.
 
  1. Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged LP-E6/LP-E6N battery available, you can continue to the battery-required steps without a wait.
  2. While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box. For me, this is primarily the camera, the eye cup, the neck strap and the Canon Solution Disk. This is also a good time to grip the camera, taking in the new-camera grippyness that is right up there with new car smell.
  3. Install Canon Solution Disk software on your computer to get support for the latest camera(s). Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility, Photostitch and Lens Registration Utility are the options I manually include in the install.
  4. Attach the neck strap.
  5. Insert the battery (after charging completes).
  6. Power the camera on.
  7. The date and time setup screen will show at startup the first time. Use the Rear Control dial and the Set button to update this information.
  8. Insert one (or two) memory card(s) (format them via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  9. Set the camera's mode to one other than fully auto (the GreenSquare A+ mode only provides a small subset of available menu options), C1, C2 or C3 (Custom modes do not retain settings for use in other modes).
  10. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the cameras as follows:
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Rear Control dial to set JPEG to "–"
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec.
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Beep: Disable
  14. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release without card: Disable/off
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Lens aberration correction: All disabled (though I suggest leaving CA correction enabled for most uses – all can be applied in DPP)
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: ISO Speed Settings: ISO Speed range: L(50)-H1(12800), Auto ISO Speed range: 100-6400
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: White balance: AWB-W (Auto: White priority)
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Picture Style: Neutral with Sharpness Strength set to "1" (Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram on the back of the camera that most-accurately shows me blown highlights and blocked shadows on the camera LCD. I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
  20. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  21. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add NR sparingly in post)
  22. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Anti-flicker shoot: Enable
  23. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: Grid display: 3x3
  24. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 1st image priority: Focus (I want the images in focus more than I want the time-priority capture)
  25. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 2nd image priority: Focus (same reason)
  26. AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Area + pt
  27. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (flash portions of images that are overexposed)
  28. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Playback grid: 3x3
  29. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
  30. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification (apx): 1X
  31. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  32. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Enable
  33. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom shooting mode (C1-C3): Auto update set: Enable (see also: Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
  34. Custom Functions, Tab 3: Custom Controls: Set: Playback; Multicontroller: Direct AF point selection
  35. Custom Functions, Tab 4: Default erase option: [Erase] selected
  36. My Menu: Add the first tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring what time it is), Sensor cleaning, Anti flicker shoot
I of course make other menu and setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.
 
To copy this configuration would mean that you intend to shoot similar to how I shoot – including shooting in RAW-only format. While my setup works great for me, your best use of this list may be for tweaking your own setup.
 
If you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a good idea. Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will be returned in a reset-to-factory state. Your list will insure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service.
 
More Information
 
Canon EOS 5Ds
Canon EOS 5Ds R
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/25/2015 10:33:19 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, June 24, 2015
ISO noise test results have been added to the Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R review pages.
 
As the rule goes with today's technology, along with a higher density sensor comes increased noise levels. Design a sensor with a pixel density equal to that of current APS-C sensors and ... one should expect noise levels that are similar to those in APS-C DSLRs. Make no mistake, Canon has not marketed this camera for its clean low light/high ISO performance and that is reflected in the 5Ds' max ISO setting that is lower than what is found even in many current APS-C models. Canon initially indicated that the 5Ds' noise levels would be better than the 5D II and 7D II, but not as good as the 5D III.
 
My personal expectation was that, when compared at the pixel level, the 5Ds noise levels would be close to those of the not-long-prior released high end EOS 7D II APS-C DSLR and when the 50.6 MP image was scaled down to 5D III pixel dimensions, the 5Ds would have an advantage, producing noise levels similar to or better than the 5D Mark III.
 
As I was very anxious to see the 5Ds noise test results, this test was a near-first order of business when the cameras arrived and these test results can be found in the noise comparison tool. Note that the "Standard" results in these tests include no noise reduction. This is not a default setting, but these results show what the camera itself can do. The color blocks, having areas of solid color, make ISO noise very apparent. If you can't see a difference in noise when comparing the color blocks between cameras, you are not likely to see any difference in your images. If the difference is tiny, there are likely other camera features that will be more influential in your decision making process.
 
Getting an important comparison out of the way: the noise difference between the 5Ds and 5Ds R is indiscernible. Noise is not a decision factor for choosing between these two cameras.
 
A large number of photographers looking for the resolution offered by this camera will be capturing commercial, studio, portrait, landscape, still life, architecture and a great many other subjects that are most frequently captured at ISO 100 or 200 and those images will be very clean. A very small amount of noise can be seen at ISO 400. Noise levels basically double as full stop ISO range settings are traversed with noise becoming strong but tolerable at 3200. Though this camera's highest ISO setting is 12800 (H), the noise levels are such that ISO 12800 images can be usable for some purposes. That is something I haven't been able to say about the highest ISO settings of any DSLR in a very long time.
 
Some may be disappointed that the 5Ds only goes to 12800 while cameras such as the 7D II have much higher ISO settings available, but ... bragging right appears to be the only useful value for the 7D II's ISO 51200 setting (or ISO 25600 for that matter). I can't think of a use I have for an image with that much noise.
 
If you were one of the few that use APS-C ISO 25600 or ISO 51200, simply dial in another stop or two of brightness while post processing. The 5Ds ISO 12800 images can be brightened during post processing to achieve the same 7D II ISO 51200 equivalent with similar amounts of noise. See the "Simulated High ISO" result set in the noise comparison tool for these examples. Brighten 5Ds ISO 12800 images by three stops to get to the 5D Mark III max ISO 102400 equivalent. Then downsize the 5Ds results to the 5D III pixel dimensions and the results are similar (and equally unusable to me). I applaud Canon for designing a realistic max ISO setting into this camera.
 
After getting over the striking resolution difference between the 7D II and 5Ds, it is apparent that these two bodies have very similar amounts of noise at the pixel level with the 5Ds having a slight advantage at the highest settings. Downsize the 5Ds results to 7D II dimensions and the 5Ds has at least 1 stop of advantage.
 
When compared at native resolutions, 5Ds images are noisier than 5D III images. The differences, especially at higher ISO settings, are less than 1 stop. Down-sized to 5D III pixel dimension (using DPP, see "Standard Down-Sized to 5D III" in noise tool), 5Ds noise levels are essentially equal to full frame 5D III noise levels and even slightly better at the highest ISO settings. So, while Canon's is not promoting this camera for its low light capabilities, I see it as one of the best options available with output size being comparable.
 
Additional 5Ds and 5Ds R example sets available in the noise comparison tool include "JPG No NR" (JPG Capture, Standard Picture Style, No Noise Reduction), JPG STD NR (JPG Capture, Standard Picture Style, Standard Noise Reduction), RAW STD NR (RAW Capture, Standard Picture Style, Standard Noise Reduction) and MSNR (Multi-Shot Noise Reduction). All four of these sets utilize Canon's default USM sharpness settings that are too strong for my taste (though the increased default sharpness will make softer lenses appear sharp). Look for the bright borders to the black lines when comparing to the "Standard" results – the color blocks should not have halos around them. On the positive side, this sharpening appears better at higher ISO settings, with image details remaining sharp while noise is significantly removed.
 
I use the Neutral Picture Style in-camera with RAW capture because it applies a lower contrast tone curve to images, providing a better picture of the camera's available dynamic range on the histogram shown on the LCD. Neutral Picture Style results appear somewhat dull. There is a time for the use of the Neutral Picture Style in production, but I usually change my RAW images to the Standard PS immediately after importing them and then adjust sharpness to a lower level.
 
The three sets of with-noise reduction samples all utilize Canon's default "Standard" reduction level. The 5Ds offers three levels of in-camera noise reduction and unlimited levels are available in the various post processing options. The RAW vs. in-camera JPG noise reduction samples are not identical, but I don't see a compelling reason to use in-camera JPG noise reduction over having the ability to adjust noise reduction during post-processing. Noise reduction can noticeably eliminate noise, but the collateral damage is elimination of some subject details along with the noise. Sharpness can also be decreased. Ideal is to dial in the right amount of noise reduction for your particular image. I seldom use noise reduction in the lower ISO range.
 
The Multi-shot Noise Reduction (MSNR) is an additional in-camera option available in many of the latest EOS models including the 5Ds. MSNR merges information from multiple (four) exposures taken in a full-frame-rate burst into a reduced noise image. The concept makes a lot of sense. MSNR provides a remarkable one stop or more of noise reduction, but ... I still have not found a compelling use for this feature.
 
The downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output (I would like to see this feature added to Canon's Digital Photo Pro software for RAW capture processing - perhaps as another HDR preset). Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is not so useful with moving subjects (or with a moving camera). Long exposure NR, Dust Delete Data, Multiple Exposure and HDR Mode must be set to off to enable MSNR. The 5Ds reverts back to Standard NR in Auto/Basic zone modes, during video recording, in Bulb mode and when the camera is powered off. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode. After the 4 shot burst is captured, the camera remains "busy" for a noticeable period of time while processing the merged image. So, while this feature is a nice idea, its limitations make it less useful in real-world applications. I am far more likely to use a low ISO setting with a longer exposure when shooting stationary subject from a tripod.
 
EOS 5Ds ISO settings are available in 1/3 stop settings from 100 through 6400 with extended L (50) and H (12800) settings also available.
 
Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R Noise Performance Summary
 
In summary, the 5Ds and 5Ds R (equally) deliver very clean, smooth results at low ISO settings despite their incredible resolution. While these cameras are more similar to the latest APS-C models in their pixel-level high ISO noise, downsizing the ultra-high resolution images to match any other class-leading full frame, low noise-level camera shows the 5Ds to be at least an equal in performance. While the 5Ds may not take low light performance to a whole new level, low light performance is not sacrificed and this camera competes strongly with the best available in this regard.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/24/2015 8:30:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Canon EOS 5Ds R Resolution Chart Test Results
Because the new Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R have such extreme resolution, image quality test results from these cameras show only a small subset of the test chart details compared to even the highest resolution camera previously included in this tool. I lamented about the loss of details yesterday and promised to work on a solution. My first pass at this solution is now live.
 
For any results captured with the 5Ds or 5Ds R cameras, an additional three crops are presented below the original three. This strategy allows the new cameras to be integrated into the existing tool while preserving the integrity of the previously existing results. The new crops include the numbers from the chart that are just outside of the original center, mid-frame and corner crops.
 
You can test drive the enhancement here. Feedback and better ideas are welcomed!
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/23/2015 8:21:13 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, June 22, 2015
Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R DSLR Cameras
With a 5Ds and a pair of 5Ds R bodies in house, you can guess what my current priorities are. First up:
 
Resolution chart test results have been added to the Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R review pages.
 
The first thing that you will notice is how large the test chart details are in the 100% crops. These cameras deliver simply incredible resolution. Here is a 5Ds R vs. 5D Mark III comparison. A huge list of other cameras can be selected for this test lens, the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Lens. I suggest using an f/4 or f/5.6 aperture for comparison purposes (for highest lens resolution without effects of diffraction)
 
The second thing you might notice is that some of the chart details, including the numbers, do not fit into the 5Ds/5Ds R crops shown in the image quality tool. I miss these details and am working on options to include them for these bodies. Your ideas are welcomed.
 
The first link included on this post shows a comparison between the 5Ds and 5Ds R. Both are impressively sharp even at the very low sharpness setting ("1") used for these crops. The 5Ds R is slightly sharper than the 5Ds, but with the sharp horizontal nearly-parallel lines, the 5Ds R shows slightly more moiré. I have been finding it challenging to find 5Ds R moiré, but a small amount does show on this chart image.
 
Much more to come.
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 5Ds in stock and the 5Ds R available for preorder.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/22/2015 7:31:07 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Just posted: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens Review.
 
This lens is a strong contender to the extremely popular Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens.
 
B&H has the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens (Canon mount) in stock. The Nikon and Sigma mount versions are available for preorder.
Post Date: 6/10/2015 10:17:05 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Image quality results from the EOS 7D Mark II have been added to the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens review.
 
I know, the image in this post includes a 1D X body, but ... I don't have any product images with the 7D II mounted. :) I'll have the full 150-600mm Contemporary review completed this week.
 
B&H has the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens in stock.
Post Date: 6/9/2015 11:06:40 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, June 8, 2015
Tamron 150-600 VC Lens Compared to the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens
The "Which is better?" question is frequently being aimed at the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens and the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens, the first major entry into the 150-600mm lens category. These two lenses are direct competitors, sharing many features including USD/HSM AF, OS/VC, build quality and lightweight design. From the image quality perspective, here is the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary Lens vs. Tamron 150-600 VC Lens comparison.
 
At the wide end of the focal length range, the Sigma is sharper with a wide open aperture. The Tamron is 1/3 stop wider at some of the comparison focal lengths (200mm and 400mm) and to be fair, I am comparing those focal lengths at the widest equal aperture. At 200mm, these two lenses are very similar in sharpness wide open. At 300mm, I'll give the Sigma a slight advantage and at 400mm through 500mm, the slight advantage swings to the Tamron, though the Sigma's corners are better at 500mm. At 600mm, the Tamron has a very slight center-of-the-frame advantage and the Sigma has a larger corner-of-the-frame advantage.
 
Stopping down to f/8 reduces most of the sharpness advantages one lens has over the other. The Sigma has sharper corners at 150mm and 500mm, but the Tamron has sharper corners at 400mm. The Sigma is noticeably sharper at 600mm, especially in the mid and peripheral portions of the image circle.
 
The Tamron has slightly stronger pincushion distortion and has more noticeable CA. The Sigma has more vignetting with a wide open aperture, averaging roughly .5 stops of stronger corner shading over most of the focal length range except at the 600mm end where the the difference is only about .2 stops. Stopped down to f/8, the vignetting difference at the long end remains small, but the Tamron holds an edge in the wide end corners. Corner shading differences at f/11 are not going to be noticeable except perhaps in 300mm corners.
 
This image quality comparison does not place either lens with a clear lead and either lens can be justified, perhaps with decision emphasis being placed on the focal length expected to be most-valued. Here is a list showing additional differences between the Tamron and Sigma Contemporary versions of the 150-600mm lenses:
 
  • I found the Tamron's autofocus to be more consistently accurate at the wide end, but the Sigma's was more accurate at the long end.
  • The Tamron is modestly less expensive.
  • The Sigma has an optional dock, with various advantages including custom switch programing, AFMA, firmware update capability, and much more.
  • The Sigma is extender compatible.
  • The Sigma's OS system offers mode 2 and I found the Sigma's stabilization more effective at the long end of the focal length range.
  • The Sigma's zoom rotation direction is the same as Canon's; the Tamron's zoom rotates in the opposite (Nikon standard) direction.
  • The Tamron has slightly wider (1/3 stop) apertures over some of the focal length range.
  • The Sigma's focus ring has modestly more rotation (150° vs. 120°).
  • The Tamron has a smoother, larger, easier-to-use manual focus ring.
  • The Sigma has a smoother diameter.
  • The Tamron has lower profile switches.
  • The Sigma better-facilitates push-pull use.
  • The Sigma has a multi-position focal length lock while the Tamron only locks at 150mm.
  • The Tamron weighs slightly more, but has a 2x heavier tripod ring, allowing it to weigh slightly less with that ring removed.
  • The Sigma has a replacement ring for the removed tripod ring.
  • The Tamron's hood is larger.
  • The Tamron focuses slightly closer, but shares the Sigma's 0.20x maximum magnification spec.
  • The Tamron's warranty is 6 years vs. the Sigma's 4 year warranty (in the USA).
Which lens is better?
 
I don't think that there is a right or wrong answer here, but I lean slightly toward the Sigma, partially because these lenses are going to most frequently be bought for and used at the 600mm focal length and, at least at f/8, the Sigma holds the optical advantage at 600mm.
 
Get Your 150-600:
 
B&H has the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens in stock.
 
B&H has the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens in stock.
Post Date: 6/8/2015 9:15:42 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Image quality results from the EOS 7D Mark II have been added to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens review.
 
This lens is not performing amazingly at the widest apertures, but stopped down to f/4, it is performing very impressively for the price. B&H has the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/2/2015 7:29:29 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, June 1, 2015
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens
Just posted: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens review.
 
Very nice lens. Hopefully, after reading the in-depth review, you will feel like you have virtually used the 150-600 Sports.
 
B&H has the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens available for preorder.
Post Date: 6/1/2015 10:53:23 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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