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3rd Party Prime Lenses

Lesson 40 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

3rd Party Prime Lenses

Lesson 40 from: Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

40. 3rd Party Prime Lenses


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Canon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Aperture: Maximum Aperture


Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length


Aperture: Depth of Field


Aperture: Maximum Sharpness


Aperture: Starburst Effect


Aperture: Flare


Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance


Camera Mount System


Canon Lens Compatibility


Canon Lens Design


Canon Lens Composition


Canon Lens Shape


Canon Lens Coating


Canon Lens Focusing


Lens Autofocus


Canon Lens Image Stabilization


Canon L Lenses


Image Quality


Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard


Canon Super Zooms


Canon Wide Zooms


Canon Telephoto Zooms


Prime Lens: Normal Lenses


Prime Lens: Moderate Wide


Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Lenses Overview


3rd Party Prime Lenses


3rd Party Zoom Lenses


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Extenders


Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio


Macro Lens: Technique and Choices


Fisheye: Technique and Choices


Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices


Make a Lens System Choice


Choosing A Portrait Lens


Choosing A Sports Lens


Choosing A Landscape Lens


Best Lenses for You


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lens


What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?


Lesson Info

3rd Party Prime Lenses

first off, let's take a look at Sigma. Recently, they have reorganized their lenses, and they are now introducing lenses into three different categories. Contemporary art and sport. So their standard lenses are their contemporary lenses. And so if they're gonna make a basic standard zoom for the average photographer, it's probably gonna be a contemporary lens. If it's gonna be a fast aperture, lands something an artist would want. It's gonna probably be in the art Siri's. If it is designed for sports photography, it's probably gonna be in the sport. Siri's now. There are not a lot of lenses in these because they've only been doing this for about two years, and so their collection of lenses may be less than a dozen in this category. Now, before they kind of started on this pathway of introducing lenses. They have a whole huge collection of lenses, which is, well, it's just an 85 1.4. It's not an art. It's not a sport. It's not anything else. It's just kind of part of the older Siri's, a...

nd they can still be good lenses. The reputation right now is that the contemporary lenses are quite nice and the art and sport lenses are incredibly good. They're highly competitive with the top of the line canon gear out there. For those of you with full frame sensors versus cotton crop frame sensors, you're gonna want to pay attention to the letter codes D, G and D. C. Because D. G means it's a full frame coverage. D. C c Think of crop. It's at a PSC coverage, and so they do make lenses designed for those different types of sensors. So for the wide primes, they have a 14 Guess what? Canon has a 24 14 This is part of their art. Siri's. You can see the little A down here and up here. A. For art. This is part of their art. Siri's very high quality lens, very nice lands. Good for those event in white shots we've already talked talked about why 24 14 would be a very good lens. The comparison is, is with the cannon 24 14 Which one is the better buy? I think that cannon is probably a slightly better lands. If you wanted to argue this on a value basis, I would probably say the Sigma is a little better value because it's gonna be most everything The cannon is. There's really not much that the cannon is giving you that the Sigma is not other than the name brand. And so this is a case where you could say, You know what? I need to save 506 100 bucks. I just don't have that extra 600 bucks. The Sigma would be a very valuable twice, and their art lenses have been receiving a very, very high acclaim from the photographers out there. So the resell value on it is going to be a little bit higher than on your typical aftermarket lands. The 35 I believe, was their first art lands, and they brought it out and people did the testing on it, and it just it knocked the socks off of the cannon 14 And so is incredibly good lens. And if we take a look at 35 1 for comparison in price, I personally would buy this over the cannon in a heartbeat. It is a really nice lands, get his bid reviewed to death, and it has just got great great acclaim. Now one of the things about the sigma lenses is, and we're gonna talk more about this when we get into micro focus Adjustment, especially with these faster 1.4 lenses, is that there are tolerances. When we buy a lens and we buy a camera, they are not perfect. They don't meet 100 prefer 100% perfect standards and everything they dio they fit within a realm of okay, it's 99.93% accurate, and that's what their standards are. And occasionally there's a tolerance difference between the lens and the body where they don't focus correctly in order to make that happen. Sigma offers something called a dock, and we're not gonna get into this because we're not doing the whole Sigma class right now. But there is a dock that you can buy where you can calibrate your lens. And if you do have one of these faster lenses, I highly recommend just buying the doc. I I see reviews at websites where people buy this and they say it had focusing problems, and it's a terrible lands, and then somebody else will say, You gotta buy the doc, you need to adjust it to your lands, and then it's perfect and wonderful and everything is good in this world. And I found that to be true myself, you do need to do that little extra step and then you can get that extra quality out of. So this is a standard prime. This is a A PSC coverage. It's their D. C leads. And so if you have a rebel camera and you said I want a really nice small, fast normal lands because Canon doesn't make one specifically for me, Canon makes a 35 14 But this is a 30 which is as close to standard as you can get, and it's small and it's lightweight, and I guess the option is to buy the Cannon 35 F to which does have image stabilization. It does have the cannon name, and the cannon does work on the full frame camera. The advantage here is that you're getting a 1.4 lands, and so if you really wanted that 1.4, I would definitely go with the Sigma. If the 1.4 was not critical, I would probably go with the cannon because of the versatility of having the I s and the full frame option on the on there so that you could use it on a full frame camera. Or you could resell it to somebody who has a full frame camera but optically speaking nice, good quality lens. And as we go through these lenses, let me just say we're not going to talk about all the sigma lenses. I have simply chosen a collection of lenses that I think I want to talk about, and it's it's a group of them. I don't even know if it's half of them, but it's somewhere in that range. All right, the 51 This thing is awesome. This is an incredible 50 millimeter lands. It is the sharpest autofocus 50 that you were going to find on the market. It blows away canons offering cannon. It really competes with two different lenses. It competes with the cannon 51 4 which it just totally knocks out of the water and quality just unbelievably better. And it's even better in quality, I think, than the 51.2, and if we look at the prices, it kind of splits the difference between the two. If you can afford something that's a bit more than the cannon 51 for this one fits in between. The only thing I don't like about this and I own one. This is my personal 51 4 right here that this is a little bit of a chunky heavy set up 51 8 or the 51 4 from Canon are incredibly small and lightweight, but this one is so sharp it's sharp white open, its sharp closed down. Incredibly, you could probably argue it's a little soft in the corners, but every lens is wide open in the 50 millimeter range, but overall it is just incredible quality. Beautiful construction, Very nice manual focus feel. I'm totally satisfied with this. I did by the dock, and I did have to do some adjustment and tweaking to make sure that it matched up with my cameras properly for their tele photos. They make a very nice looking 85 85 1.4 So four portrait lands very nice. In this category, Canon doesn't make an 85 14 They make that 85 1.2. That is so big and heavy, and between the 85 18 and the one to this once again is kind of splitting the difference if you want something a little bit more than the 18 offers, but not quite the budget of the 85 12 This is before the art contemporary sports Siri's cames out, but it had a very good reputation when it came out. We might see this replaced at some point in the future with an art lens, but it's probably going to increase the price quite a bit, but I think it's a very nice portrait lands. If you're looking for something a little faster than the 1.8 version, quickly move on to Zeiss. So is ice is the German manufacturer, and I'm not gonna go through all their lenses individually because it's a lot of the same thing. It's super sharp. It's well built. It's got a really nice manual. Focus feel. Just copy paste copy paste on all of these. These have a really, really nice feel to him. If you ever get a chance to get your hands on one in a store, these air made with a quality and precision that we don't see in the autofocus because auto focus needs to have a mechanism where the autofocus could move those little Ellen's elements very quickly and fast. They're kind of built in there in a kind of a loose manner and hear things air really tight and heavy and a lot of metal construction. And if you like manual focusing, these air some great lenses there, typically fairly fast. We range from 15 millimeters Super Wide Angle a 1 35 F two Nice portrait Lands, and so a lot of different options in here. We'll talk about some or these when we get into the macro section Beautiful collection. They tend to be slightly on the pricey side, not as pricey as some of the highest end canon lenses, but being manual focus. It really throws him into a special category where a lot of people are just like new auto focus. I'm out, and so I think it's gonna require a special photographer who appreciates and enjoys manual focusing for this to work out. So those are the beautiful Zeiss. Now there's a couple of Zeiss that I want to talk about, in particular the Otis I don't know where they came up with these names, but this is the 55 millimeter Otis. And they know that cameras have bean increasing in numbers of pixels and overall image quality. And I don't know what I would have loved to been at the design table in Germany. When they decide, they said, You know what we should do? We should build the best lenses ever made. We want to make the best lands. I don't care how much it costs. I don't care how big it is the best lands. Now go build me the best lands. I don't care what happens. And so their design was to build the best standard lens in the world bar none. And they figured out they needed to make it 55 rather than 50. So it's a 55 14 This thing is monster heavy it to a £2.3 for a fairly small package on this, and so this is manual focus only. And so for a documentary type photographer or product photographer, somebody who's gonna be safe photographing an automobile and it's going to be blown up really large and the really are wanting absolute critical sharpness. They're probably gonna be working off of a tripod. It's not even really comparable to the 51 to the 51 2 was hugely expensive. And look how cheap it seems in comparison. We're talking about four grand for a 50 millimeter lands and so beautiful lens, but very, very expensive. They've come out with their second Otis lands, and this is an 85 14 So for people who want an incredibly sharp portrait so that you can see every pore on their face, okay, Best short telly in the world. That was their design goal on this. It's a big, heavy, very expensive lands. You could compare it to the 85 12 It blows it away in price. All right. Very special lands. But for cannons, new five D s with 50 megapixels. If somebody really wants to squeeze all the quality out of they can of a Canon SLR camera, it would be these last two lenses. All right, let's move on to the Korean manufacturer, Sam Yang, which you may see marketed and sold as Rocca Non and Bauer. Now they use the terminology CS for a compact sensor. So if you have one of the compacts sensor cameras, the 1.6 crop pay attention to those letters So quick. Visual quiz. Everyone likes quizzes. What do you see? Different about these three lenses? What's different about him? And if your answer is the name on the lands that is correct. I am noticing some subtle differences in the reflection on the glass, so they were actually photographed in different studios. But these are the same lens with different names on them, and they're all coming from the same manufacturer. It appears that they are marketing with different names and different types of websites to see which way they're lenses sell the best, and so they're competing against themselves. Like Zeiss. I'm not gonna go into every single lens that they have these air manual focus lenses and these are very affordable lenses. In price wise, we're talking about things in the to $600 price range. And so if you said you know what, I'm young. I'm new. I don't have much money, and I really want a nice portrait. Fast portrait lands. I would really like an 85 1.4 where you can get in 85 14 manual focus lens here and this is going to run you less than 300 bucks, and it's pretty sharp. I mean, it's not the best in the world, but it's It's a nice, cheap option if you said I need a wide angle fast lens and so we got a 10 we got a 16. These CS ones are for the compact sensors, and you know, it's something I would have had a big section on 20 years ago. This is a mirrored lens cattle die optic lens, and so this works kind of like a telescope where it's bouncing light off the back off the front. But there's so few of these. I don't have any special illustrations on it. It's a very compact lens that has really weird out of focus highlights. If you want to try something interesting, you want a cheap 24 to 14 You could do this here for about 500 bucks. Compare that with the 24 14 from Sigma or Nikon tons cheaper and optically speaking pretty good. The main caveat. Manual focus. All right, this is this is just strange. Young, young, young, young, young, young No, no, I'm not even sure to pronounce it is a Chinese knockoff manufacturers. I don't if they're gonna get mad at me for saying that, but they basically take a cannon lands and they look at it and they say, OK, let's copy it and we'll sell it under our own name. And so they copied kind of, what? A 35 millimeter lens. They've actually taken the blueprints for the 51 and decided to make a 35 18 They don't have any special technology section, and their idea is to compete on price. And so when it comes to price, it is dirt cheap. You may not be able to find these lenses were easy. But if you said you know what I want to really cheap 35. It just needs something really basic. We're talking about just over 100 bucks in price, less than 100 $50. And so they have that for 35. And they also have that. I mean, this is not the canon lens. I did not cut and paste that photo here. This is their version of the lens, and they have copied the fonts where all the grooves are all the lines are and everything else. Which is kind of strange, because the canon lenses already pretty cheap at $125. But this is even cheaper at about 60 bucks. And so if you wanted a really cheap lens, you could get into these sorts of things very, very inexpensively. John, just to reconfirm d G lenses. They could be used on crops sensors, so all the lenses can be used on crops. Censors. It's You have to be a little bit careful when you get to the full frame sensors that you're not using one of the smaller ones. And so D G was their full frame lenses, If I recall correctly in D. C was their crop frame.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

What's in the Frame? HD
What's in the Frame? LOW
Field of View HD
Field of View LOW
Lens Keynote Parts 1-4
Lens Keynote Parts 5-8
Canon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


I so appreciate what a good teacher John is. I wish I would have known this much about lenses when I first started out buying my lenses. It was hard finding information about lenses. I didn't want to spend money on a lens I wouldn't use. The better understanding we have about our gear the better photographers we will be. I have never seen a class like this. Invaluable...yes I bought the class! I am really impressed with the high quality photography classes available on Creative Live!

Tami Miller

Have loved the other John Greengo classes I've watched & purchased - and this is another winner! Having been a high school/college science teacher, it is refreshing to take a course with someone who not only is extremely experienced, seems to be a computer having stored so much knowledge, but is equally concerned about making the information truly understandable to different levels. And he shares the information using every tool he can: slides, video, interactive presentations, and great quizzes. I learned so much about my Canon lenses - and lenses in general with their many components. I am excited about testing each of mine to see what macro ratio they handle, and especially appreciated the tutorial on testing each for their specific quirk that affects super sharpness. This class is great whether you own Canon lenses or not. Thanks John Greengo!


This was a great class not just about the lenses that Canon offers but also how each lens works. As usual, John's slides are alway informative and entertaining. There is a phrase: John has a slide for that! I am not even a Canon user and found this class to have great information for the use of each specific lens. Great work John! Thank you Creative Live for another great class!

Student Work