Thursday, 26 May 2011

Canon Lens Comparison : L 70-200 IS vs 35-80 Can you tell the difference between a £1500 lens and a £50 lens?

Canon Lens Comparison :  reviewing the 70-200 L IS vs 35-80, Is an expensive lens better than a cheap lens? Can you tell the difference between a £1500 lens and a £50 lens?

As interesting comparison I thought it would be useful to test the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS lens against one of the cheap Canon plastic lenses to see how they compared and if was possible to see the difference in quality between the two. The Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS lens is one of their most popular and highly regarded zoom lenses used by pros around the world every day. The 35-80 f4-5.6 lens is a very cheap plastic lens supplied with a number of Canon film cameras in the late 1990s such as the Canon 500n. The two lenses could not be further apart, an L series lens with high quality optics and weather sealing built for quality and a non-L plastic lens built to a low price.

Clearly the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS lens has other features such as IS and fixed maximum aperture that the Canon 35-80 does not so in order to compare like for like I used both lenses attached to a Canon 5D camera mounted on a tripod and set both to f8.

So which is which, A?
So which is which, or B?
The results were compared both on screen and as prints at 9"x6". On screen at 100% it was clear that the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS lens was optically superior with much sharper image and clearer detail. The surprise was that the 9"x6" prints did not show this and on even close inspection it was impossible to tell the difference.

The answer - A is the Canon 70-200 IS f2.8L lens and B is the 35-80 f4-5.6 lens