Classic SLR Series : Canon EOS-1N
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A Brief Background & Development History on Canon 24mm wideangle lenses:
Prior to availability of Canon FD-mount 24mm wideangles; there were only two Canon fixed focal length ultrawide that has a diagonal view wider than 75° (28mm); while most people would be more familiar with the S-mount 19mm f/3.5 super-wideangle; the CANON S-Mount 25mm f/3.5 Rangefinder Wideangle which was introduced as early as 1956 seemingly was less noticed by majority. Throughout evolution of the Canon S; R; FL-mount era, both of these lenses represented Canon's only ultrawide offering in their respective lens group for photographers who used the Canon photographic system.
The first 24mm wideangle under the FD-mount was a Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 in 1971. It has gone through a round of update as Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 S.S.C. in 1973. Both versions were the same in their basic lens configuration except for the multi-layers lens coating treated onto as well as their weight differences. The lens actually uses an new retrofocus optical design in a 9 elements in 8 groups construction. Close focuses down to 0.3m with an maximum magnification ratio of 0.114X. Uses 55mm filters and measuring 66mm x 52.5mm; weighs 410g (1971); 330g (1973).
However, the original Canon RF 25mm f/3.5 is quite interesting in its design as optically replicated East German Zeiss Jena Topogon 25mm lens; which comprises of a spherical lens element with a very high refraction index is used as the first lens element and a special optical glass lens element with the infinite radius of curvature is used as the rear most lens element in its optical system. It can close focus down to 1m (3.5') with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.56X; the diagonal angle of view is approx. 82° 40mm filter diameter; weighs 145g and measuring 48mm x 15mm. The lens coating has a amber/purple colour on the front exposed element.
During the Canon F-1(n) era (1971-1981) the FD lens family has increased options for wideangles for photographers to multiple alternatives with 24mm; FD 20mm f/2.8 but still had its limitation at 104° with the Canon FD 17mm f/4.0 S.S.C. ultra-wideangle (1971, 1973) (except for the Fisheye FD 7.5mm f/5.6 (S.S.C.) (1971) and Fisheye FD 15mm f/2.8 S.S.C. in 1973). NOTE: the FL-mount 19mm f/3.5 usable in Stop Down Metering mode with later Canon F, A and T series SLR bodies.
However, it was in 1975 that Canon has really shocked the photo community with introduction of a new Canon FD 24mm f/1.4 S.S.C. Aspherical (where an even faster prototype FD 24mm f/1.2 ASPHERICAL S.S.C. was also presented) - it was an amazing feat as Nikon's Nikkor-N Auto 35mm f/1.4 (1971, incidentally, which was also the first Nikkor lens to apply the famous NIC lens ) which was widely considered a breakthrough in lens design. Canon just answered Nikon agression with an impossible task in creating the world's fastest ultra-wideangle lens that went beyond known prevailing technological barrier with the 24mm lens group!
| Other info in FD-mount 24mm lenses | The ORIGINAL Canon FD 24mm f/1.4 S.S.C. Aspherical has an optical construction of 10 elements in 8 groups; close focuses down to 0.3m (maximum magnification: 0.117X) but has a huge lens filter diameter of 72mm due to its extraordinary lens speed. It is quite sizable at 75mm x 68mm which indirectly weighs massively at 500g. It has a ground and polished glass aspherical lens surface, applied at the rear surface of eighth lens element corrects spherical aberration and astigmatism to achieve high picture quality even at full aperture of f/1.4. The floating mechanism achieves high definition from the shortest focusing distance to infinity. This was the origin of how the many generations of the famed Canon 24mm f/1.4L ultrawide lenses began.
It was during this time of the MF Canon NEW F-1 era that the familiar redlined "L" series was used to distinguish the professional grade lenses. The Aspherical 24mm was re-designated as Canon FD 24mm f/1.4L and the S.C and S.S.C. was hence omitted across the entire new FD series lenses. Overall, the most popular Canon FDn 24mm was the FDn 24mm f/2.8; the least was the FDn 24mm f/2.0 which was an all-new design. Other than cosmetic differences, weight and dimension, the 24mmf/1.4L has remained similar to older version optically; but the FDn 24mm f/2.8 has a new optical construction in a 10 elements in 9 groups ( 9 elements in 8 groups for older S.S.C.); Filter Diameter was a smaller 52mm, measuring 63mm x 43mm and weighs lighter at 240g. Many Canon regards the smallest package Canon FD 24/2.8 as one of the best Canon wideangle for its distinctive price/performance ratio.
The next generation of the Canon lens upgrading program in 1979 saw the 24mm wideangle added with a FDn 24mm f/2.0 between the 24mm f/1.4 and f/2.8 lens speed.
| Other info in New FD 24mm lenses |
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM ultra-wideangle Lens
Marketed: 12.1997; Status:- Current Model (as at 2006).
Part 1:- This ultra-fast speed Canon elite-class 24mm AUTOFOCUS ultrawide was introduced quite late in the EF lens system. In fact, the 24mm focal length was quite weak in its option as another specialized application option, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L joined in the lens system 1991. I remembered this USM 24mm ultrawideangle was only introduced about the same time when the Asian financial crises began to sweep across the continent; my good "Captain Canon" friend Philip Chong (now Chief Editor for Digital Magazine Asia) brought and shown me this wideangle lens loan from Canon Marketing for a lens test report. All I remembered was, the lens was heavy, solidly built but much due to public attention was diverted to crises (like me...) and not many people have actually paid much attention to this Canon's third generation 24mm f/1.4L. Strangely, most Canon folks I talked to were not particularly impressed by existence of this lens in the EF lens group either - I am not sure where the hell these guys got the initial test reviews which made them conclude it was not a particularly fantastic wideangle altogether...Personally, I have always envy such a lens in my collection; the fastest 24mm wideangle at market place were mostly stopped at f/2.0 (such as the Olympus ZUIKO 24mm f/2.0; Nikon's MF-Nikkor 24mm f/2.0s etc.); while some of these 24mm f/2.0 were hot favourite among the many photojournalists and news reporters during the manual focus systems days (Canon also has a FDn 24mm f/2.0 but overshadowed by the more famous 24mmf/1.4) but none of them comes close to Canon effort in terms of lens speed. Basically, what I though funny is, the manual focus Canon FD(n) 24mm f/1.4L seemingly commands a better "respect" by Canon modern AF folks as to the AF equivalent. Incidentally, this EF 24mmf/1.4L was the only 24mm p[rime that offers USM, as the EF 24mm f/2.8 still remained as it was originally introduced with an AFD AF actuator (as at 2006).
Well, here I wish to stress a point where hope to add my views in correcting some negative thought - one way or another, majority of people like to follow (worst still, replicated, spread and influencing more people after being knocked) rather than exercising individual wisdom to judge things on their own. In many ways, as I said earlier, not many EF lenses carried benefit of an immensely rich history behind its lens development program; where strength, weaknesses in various aspect of optical and physical design were compared and improved upon - and the EF 24mm f/1.4L was easily one of the rare few selective elite group of a few EF optic lenses that have the kind of basis. I would think after few decades in its evolution of this lens type (the 24/1.4L was not exactly an early EF prime wideangle lens made for the EOS system but it was co-developed along with another Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L moderate wideangle which enjoys a much better product review); I guess it was more like an attitude among Canon photographers in considering produce based on an oldie formula couldn't be more excited as something totally new. Actually, the 84° angle of view presented with a 24mm wideangle can be mode demanding to capture "excited" photos due to its middle-of-the-road kind of perspective and neither it is too friendly when shooting close with a subject matter (esp. when handling human figures). Certainly, it demands certain level of photographic skill in putting the optical characteristic to good, creative use in delivering excitement one expects it to be in a visual capture process. I am not trying to defense for Canon but rather I just wish to point out some facts no one like to read or hear.
Whatever the reasons; other than carrying with an ultra-capability in its light gathering power to make a Nikon, Pentax, Minolta system user jealous about, this excellent Canon ultrawide is the first EF lens to employ both a replicated aspherical lens element to suppress distortion and spherical aberration, and generously included an UD lens element to correct lateral chromatic aberration. It has also incorporated with a floating elements construction internally, resulting in an excellent comer-to-corner delineation is attained even from its closest focusing distance of 25cm/0.8ft stretching to to infinity.
Credit: Image courtesy of Eldor Gemst from Montreal, Canada. where you can access his PORTFOLIO for a gold mine of top class glamour and fashion shots. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Par II Guest Review: - " ... Canon used to have a 24mm focal length wide-angle lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 in its manual focus FD System. That lens was part of the high-performance L-series types in the FD System. It was then the only 24mm lens in the world that offered this type of speed. When the EOS System made its debut in 1987, it also had among its lineup the EF version of the high-performance L-series lenses. However, many of the L-series lenses offered in the FD lineup were not available in EF versions at the beginning of the EOS System, except for the Canon EF 100-300mm f/5.6L AFD and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L USM.
That was then, now the EOS System has match or exceed the lineup of the manual focus FD lenses plus new offerings that can't be found in the old L-series versions like the Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM, EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM zoom lenses. Professionals that have used the FD System previously loved the L-series lenses such as the FD 24mm f/1.4L and FD 85mm f/1.2L and have subsequently requested Canon to offer such optics for the EOS System. While the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM was offered in 1989 with the introduction of the original EOS-1 pro camera, the EF 24mm f/1.4L USM wide-angle did not become available until the mid-90s. There is however, a big difference between the discontinued Canon FD-mount 24mm f/1.4L wideangle (read info and link at top of this page) and its successor, the EF 24mm f/1.4L USM wide-angle lenses. I am not talking about the older one being a manual focus type and the EF version an autofocus lens. Rather, it is the optical construction and the types of elements used in the EF version that set it apart from its FD counterpart. The EF 24mm f/1.4L USM is the first L lens (whether EF or FD types) to feature both UD and aspherical elements in its constructions.
The UD element, which is located in the fifth position, suppresses the occurrence of lateral chromatic aberration, a common problem with any lens but much more evident in telephotos than standard or wide-angle lenses. It also reduces blurring of colors on the edge of the subject to achieve good resolution and contrast. A replicated aspherical lens, in position nine, compensates for distortion and spherical aberrations. The adoption of a floating mechanism achieves consistently high image quality, from the minimum distance of 0.25m to infinity. In comparison to a standard 50mm lens, the 24mm focal length offers a dramatic diagonal angle-of-view of 84-degree as opposed to the 46-degree of the former. The first two photos from above shows the difference in the angle-of-view between the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and the EF 24mm f/1.4L USM. When it comes to close-up shots (without extension tubes), both lenses exhibit more or less the same image sizes (examples, above, lower two photos), with the 50mm giving less perspective distortion than the 24mm. Depth-of-field is shallow for both lenses but the main subject is crisp (EF zoom lens) while the Spider-Man figurine has a softer rendition in both photos. Its dry weight is 550 grams. This fast aperture 24mm L-series wide-angle lens is designed mainly for available and low light shootings - yes, you can also use it for practically any type of lighting conditions, bright sunshine, open shade or night scenes, outdoors and indoors lit under tungsten or dim lights but the lens' potential is at its greatest when it is used for photographing less than ideal lighting environments. Ask yourself this question first: Do you really need to invest in the EF 24mm f/1.4L USM lens? Given that Canon already has the wonderful Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM zoom lens in its EF lineup, which adequately covers all the focal lengths in super-wide and wide-angle photography that you will ever need, the EF 24mm f/1.4L USM is to be seriously considered only if you are a keen follower of single focal length lenses than zooms. Also to be considered if you really need the large maximum f/1.4 aperture of this wide-angle lens for use in both available and low light shooting.
- my "Captain Canon" friend, Philip Chong -
"Yapasha.. for fashion but it wasn't supposed to be a shoot - just a casual coffee - but I liked the atmosphere and asked another customer to hold my reflector and this is the result.. " - Eldor-
Credit: Image courtesy of Eldor Gemst from Montreal, Canada. where you can access his PORTFOLIO. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Par III A Personal Conclusion:- Needless to emphasis further, the above opinion expressed many Canon users' thought; anyway, as Philip stated it clearly, the f/1.4 maximum aperture will come in handily when one of your possible possession of an EF f/2.8 ultrawide zoom low ambient light working capability surfaces; it delivers an impressive range of photographic expression broadened by the availability of large apertures where other factors such as more flexible depth of field control as well as permitting wider range of ASA film in various working conditions. Further, the use of a 7-blades diaphragm provides a beautiful blur visual effect in the background for more creative applications. When couples with its superlative optical design that combines both ground aspherical lens elements and UD lens elements, this fast speed Canon EF ultrawide has many possible forms of optical distortion, including astigmatism, spherical aberration and the severe chromatic difference of magnification often seen in digital SLR cameras well under control. Although within the package houses some large pieces of optical elements which may requires more tongue in AF operations, Canon has ensured the autofocus operation of the lens with compatible EOS camera is quick, smooth, stable and quiet with a ring-type USM (MI type) inside; further, the USM lens configuration also permit full time manual focusing overrides during AF for this elite Canon EF wideangle. Lastly, a non rotating filter mount ensures outstanding operability as well as use of specialized filter accessories for expanded creative photographic use. If you have bought it used; make sure the lens comes with the supplied petal-shaped lens hood.
A mini Showcase
Credit: Image(s) displayed herein courtesy of all the nice folks from Taiwan's Digitize-Future@EBAY®. Some of them are extracted from their very popular online EBAY STORE. The Company also has a website on their own at shueido.com Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
CLICK for respective ENLARGED VIEW(S) below.
The 24mm/1.4L lens uses a 77mm lens diameter (accessories is an issue - compatibility as well as varieties and pricey) it is slightly heavy (weighs 550g (1.2Ib) but the added weight projects a very solid, rigid touch where the lens exhibits top quality feel and made. In terms of actual operationality, the clever choices of depth of field scales printed for f/4.0, (f8.0) f/11 (f/16) and f/22 couldn't be more useful for those who may require manual control on fine tuning DOF as well as using hyper-distance shooting. In relation to those who may be image quality sensitive; I would leave this sensitive issue for others to evaluate (you can also check some online reviews that I compiled by others in this respect). Technically, all I can say is, Canon would have an option not to re-introduce the old classic if it has any potential in degrading excellent status of their EF-L series of fine topic. Anyway, whatever the Company delivers, it requires a matching set of creative mind and eyes; my personal advice is - although this is widely considered as quite a challenging wideangle lens to use, but understand its optical characteristic and see how you can put them in good use will definitely help a great deal in your photography, rather expect the lens can "understand" you...okay ?
A quick visual comparison on various design of Canon L-lenses in EF-mount 24/f1.4, FD-mount equivalent, EF f/2.8 AFD , and TS-E 24mm f/3.5L. Generally, retrofocus design requires use of more lens elements.
Last - as for those who may be using an APS-sized format digital SLR, its 1.6X factor makes it like an moderate wideangle lens. Generally, the only thing that holding back my respect for this lovely Canon EF wideangle is its price. It is not exactly that cheap in the form of a new lens which could fetch ranging from a lowest street price of USD1,090-00 (dealtime and Epinion price search) to as high as USD1,500-00. For about 2 months, I have faced numerous failed attempts searching from Ebay to get an indicative price on an used condition lens because I would think most owner would rather keep rather than disposing it easily - because unless you buy without exercising your mind, but once you had, I guess even owner would also realize its valuation in its function and potential application of his possession.
Credit: Image courtesy of "eBay Member: jake.ryp" from Monash.Edu, Australia where I found these few good images of this lens from their Ebay Auction Sale . Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.
For the less particular user who may be just wish to acquire a high quality ultrawide prime lens or those who may be a little cost-conscious in this area, Canon also produced TWO other 24mm lenses as alternatives; one is a EF 24mm f/2.8 AFD wideangle which has an excellent price versus performance ratio; the next is an interesting Canon TS-E 24mmf/3.5L with a built-in TILT/SHIFT control mechanism. There are a couple of third party labels such as Sigma, Tamron or Vivitar etc. also offer equivalent 24mm prime with Canon's EF mount but I guess in terms of system compatibility as well as overall performance and lens spec, the EF original may be given priority as foremost purchase consideration
Technical Specification for Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L moderate ultra-wideangle lense: -
Type: - Autofocus lens type with built-in manual focusing mechanism
Focal Length: Fixed focal length 24mm
Focus Adjustment:- Autofocus or manual focusing; full time manual focusing during AF is possible.
Manual Focusing:- possible via AF/M switch or during AF
Zoom Adjustment:- Nil. Fixed Focal Length Lens Closest Focusing Distance:- 0.25 (0.8ft)
Maximum Magnification:- 0.16X
Drive System:- Ring-type USM
Distance Scales: Provided via window on metres/feet.
Lens construction:- 11 Elements in 9 Groups
Angle of View:- 74° 53° 84° (horizontal, vertical and diagonal)
Aperture range:- f/1.4- f/22; Minimum Aperture: - f/22
Number of Diaphragm Blades: -7 blades;
Depth of Filed Scale: f/4.0, (f8.0) f/11 (f/16) and f/22
Filter Attachment Size:- 77mm front mounting, non-rotational
Extenders: Usable but not advisable.
Others: - Extension Tube EF 12II:- 0.66X~0.50X;
Extension Tube EF25 (II) NOT compatible;
Diameter:- 83.5mm x 77.4mm (3.3" x 3.1"); Weight:- 550g (1.2Ib)
Accessories:- Lens Cap E-77U (supplied ); lens hard case: LP-1214 or LHP-B9; lens Hood:- EW-83D(II); Soft Case:- ES-C9. Gelatin Filter Holder (Hood) III - not compatible; Gelatin Filter Holder 77 (Hood) IV:- 0; 77mm UV Haze (L-29 Sharp Cut); 77mm Close-up Lens 250D, 500D; Dust Cap E Rear; 77mm Circular Polarizer; Macrolite Adapter 52C; EF Adapter
Status: Current model (as at 03.2006).
| NEXT | 1/3 The affordable Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 AFD moderate -ultra-wideangle lens
Relative: Manual Focus Canon FD mount Series Lenses Suggestive External Web Resources: A) Henrik Herranen very good Review of this EF24mmf1.4L; B) Photozone Review with some fabulous pictures of accessories; C) The Digital Picture.com Review; D) William L Castleman (wlcastleman.com)' review
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