Ottawa Photographer | EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens Review

Earlier today I rented the all-new Canon EF 24 f/1.4 L II USM lens from the folks at Vistek Ottawa. My curiosity began almost immediately at the retail counter with a thought provoking question: Will renting a prime lens with an aperture of 1.4 really make a big a difference over my zoom lenses sporting a 2.8 aperture? Despite trolling the internet and seven seas for answers, I just didn’t know. So, I took the plunge, dropped my mastercard, and rented the lens for the weekend. Here’s the first of a few reviews.

Test environment #1: working in a pretty controlled environment – my home. Here are some very quick practical tests I did in low light conditions (my favorite type of photography) and, in most cases, hand held. In some instances I used a single Canon 580EX II speedlite with the tent card up at a 90 degree angle, and a tripod. In all cases I shot at 1.4, and kept my shutter speeds between 1/40th and 1/60th of a second. ISO about 400. The net result on my first try: I can most certainly say with complete conviction that a 1.4 aperture is pretty neat, but razor thin! And just like a hot razor, sharp as hell on the points you focus – wowzer! Talk about working up close and personal; I was literally working in millimeters here – as you’ll see in these samples. So, whatever benefits I gained in amassing greater light, and therefore an increased shutter speed premium, my hand had to be steady as a surgeon because even the slightest shift in my intended focus point would turn my photo results softer than the Suggle’s Bear. I’ve added a few basic edits to my raw images, and while that may upset the purists, I see an equal value in making things a little more practical to help give people a flavor for what’s possible.

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