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Lens Review: EF11-24mm f/4L USM in Landscape Photography

In the world of landscape photography, the demand for wider and sharper lenses seem to be echoed by professional landscape shooters all around the globe. Answering these demands is the EF11-24mm f/4L USM, Canon’s top-of-the-line ultra-wide angle lens for full-frame DSLRs. Armed with this and an EOS 5D Mark IV body, photographer Shirou Hagihara gives us his take on what makes this lens such a must-have for landscape photographers everywhere. (Reported by: Shirou Hagihara)

 

Experience the world of wide angle far beyond the scope of the naked eye

There were three times where I found myself stunned by the EF11-24mm f/4L USM. The first time was when I first purchased the lens. As the price of this lens is top-of-the-line even among the L-lens lineup, it certainly made its impact on my wallet. The second time was when I first held the lens after purchase. This lens is not exactly known for its light weight and compact size, but holding it in my hands for real, I realized just how much it was going to make its presence felt, especially for shoots that involve moving it around.

The third time was when I first saw the images that I had shot with this lens. The amazing image quality was enough for me to laugh off and forgive the first two instances. 

Image sharpness is more or less a guarantee here. What is more amazing than anything else is that even at a focal length of 11mm, straight lines are generally depicted straight, and there is no hint of unnatural distortion even at the peripheries of the image. Even chromatic aberration is suppressed to a level lower than other conventional ultra-wide angle zoom lenses in the same class. This lens will probably shine brightly, especially in genres such as landscape photography which demand the highest detail reproduction power possible.


Check out the following article for more about zoom lenses! 
Lens Basics #1: Zoom Lenses

 

11mm

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF11-24mm f/4L USM/ FL: 11mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/16, 1/160 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
Shooting at an aperture of f/16 produced a beautiful starburst effect without any trace of flaring, while ghosting is still slightly visible though remaining in the tolerable range. The edges of the image are depicted free of distortion, making it extremely pleasing to the eye.

 

Nonetheless, it would be better to know the features of this lens before making a purchase. Firstly, as the front element of the lens is rounded and protrudes out, you will not be able to use it with conventional screw-on filters. Instead, you will have to use a rear gelatin filter, which you insert into the filter holder at the rear of the lens. Secondly, the lens design integrates a petal lens hood. Sunlight can still enter lens easily, however, so there might be some scenes where ghosting may still occur. Thirdly, when mounted onto a large DSLR body such as the EOS 5D Mark IV, the entire setup becomes rather front-heavy, thus, a sturdy tripod and tripod head are essential. 

However, these points are likely to be insignificant when the impressive image quality is taken into consideration. This is a lens that you will definitely not regret buying.

 

24mm

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF11-24mm f/4L USM/ FL: 24mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/320 sec, EV-0.7)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
On the other side of the 11mm end of this beast of a lens, the telephoto end sports an easy-to-handle 24mm focal length, which allows for faithful portrayal of scenes. Image quality is sharp from corner to corner, with exceptional performance when stopped down to f/8 or f/11.

 

Lens construction diagram

A: Aspherical lens elements
B: UD lens elements

 

SPECIFICATIONS
Lens construction: 16 elements in 11 groups
No. of aperture blades: 9
Minimum shooting distance: 0.28m (at 24mm)
Max. magnification: 0.16x (at 24mm)
Filter diameter: Rear insert-type
Size: approx. φ108×132mm
Weight: approx. 1,180g

 

Check out the following articles to learn more about the EF11-24mm f/4L USM!
[Part 1] The Unprecedented Ultra-wide Angle World of an 11mm Lens
[Part 2] Optical Design that Fully Mobilises the EF Lens Technologies
[Part 3] Excellent Usability and Expressive Power of the 11-24mm Focal Length Range
[Part 4] Pursuing a High Level of Durability & Dust- and Drip-Resistance

 


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Shirou Hagihara

Shirou Hagihara

Born in 1959 in Yamanashi. After graduating from Nihon University, Hagihara was involved in the launch of the photography magazine Fukei Shashin where he worked as an editor and a publisher. He later resigned and became a freelance photographer. Currently, Hagihara is engaged in photography and written works centring on natural landscapes. He is a member of the Society of Scientific Photography (SSP).

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