A second day with the borrowed Canon 24-70f2.8 L and a lunchtime trip to Mona Vale
Mona Vale is a historic homestead in Fendalton, a short walk from Hagley Park , was built around 1900 by the Deans, one of the first Christchurch families to settle. The house now is owned by the City and a well reputed restaurant and cafe is in place, along with function/venue hire for weddings etc.
Also , luckily, it has 5.5 hectares of sculptured gardens. Typically the mid day sun was bright and strong, shutter speeds were not going to be an issue here, unless they pined the camera at 1/4000th (maximum) and I couldn’t shoot wide open!
Jason and I spent about half an hour walking round taking pics, him with the D300 and Tamron 17-50f2.8 ( a candidate lens for purchase). It was certainly interesting comparing shooting with them, and will compare results a little more later.
The first 3 shots, all at 70mm f2.8. Slightly over exposed in the red channel on one, the 350D doesn’t make this easy at all with no RGB histogram, and I struggled to process the 2 red ones properly..
Not sure if its the L glass but colours do seem very strong. Also its super sharp at 70/2.8 and focusing , again, was a breeze, I swapped cameras with Jason for a short time and the tamrons focus is slow and noisy and jittery in comparison (though the D300 was set to continual focus). Jason’s comment on the 24-70 ‘I want that focus on this’.
Part of this test was to see if 24mm is ‘wide’ enough. At Mona Vale there’s a formal pond about 10m wide and 30m long:
Jason shooting at 17mm got a slightly larger field of view from about 6-7 meters in front of me, his feet would have just been out of the lower frame here. I was stood slightly in a flower bed… The Tamrons shot is a better field of view for a walk around, but the corners, even at f7.1, were soft – something the canon 17-55 does better, though in most else they seem optically equal.
The 24-70 is given a hard time by the pixel peeping Internet crowd for poor class corners especially at the wide end. OK it may not measure up to the competition but I found it at least decently sharp (but this is on a crop).
Gratuitous duckling shot:
This shot could have done with a CPL but the ducklings didn’t seem to fancy hanging around , posed, for another shot, they were too busy swimming off to pose for Jason..
By now I’m almost using this as a 70/2.8 prime.. Though this probably could have done with a touch more DOF and a B&W conversion..
Being Spring the Gunera was starting its monster growth.
Right next to the Gunera was a classic New Zealand fern with a gorgeous Koru uncurling.
And a 100% crop of the far right:
Now a shot of the Homstead itself. 24mm from a reasonable distance back, this processed in CS4 with Noise Ninja, Nik softwares polariser filter and perspective corrected then sharpened.
I don’t usually bother with perspective correction but it works quite well.
And one more shot, at 70mm/2.8, showing the party trick of this lens. Sharp as a prime, and gorgeous creamy Bokeh:
Now, feelings about this lens. Its sharp, its fast, its got great Auto focus, all as it should be. I’m not, though, convinced this is much of a use for landscapes, for that I think I will stick with the 10-20 or 70-200. For people, flower, detail shot it seems pretty decent to say the least and if I get one I’ll probably not stop it down for months. Comparing similar resolutions and focal lengths to the 17-55 this is certainly the superior lens.
Plenty rumours abound though of an imminent refresh from Canon, a mkII, probably with their new IS system and reworked optics, along with a refreshed 70-200f2.8IS. People have been waiting 5 years for a 100-400 refresh… but I give these some credence and the markets seems to be getting many used 24-70’s, though I expect the mkII to be significantly more money if it appears.
Thanks again Naz for the lending of the lens, its definatly perfect on the 5D, will it be right enough on the 7D though?