Canon’s 11-24mm f/4 Confirmed. Will It Outdo Nikon’s Famed 14-24mm?

Jan 16, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Canon’s 11-24mm f/4 Confirmed. Will It Outdo Nikon’s Famed 14-24mm?

Jan 16, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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An illustration of the Canon 11-24
An illustration of the Canon 11-24mm f/4

Canon Rumors reports that the existence of the EF 11-24 f/4L has been confirmed and several retailers have been provided with info about the lens.

Expected to set you back $2899 ($3100 in Canada), Canon’s new ultra wide angle will be the widest rectilinear lens ever produced for DSLRs.

Despite a maximum aperture of f/4, will this lens put an end to Canon shooters jumping ship in favor of Nikon’s legendary 14-24?

Sigma has been doing an amazing job lately with their new Art series, but while they focus on primes, their 12-24mm lens is about to lose its title as the world’s widest angle rectilinear lens available in Canon, Nikon or Sony mounts.

While breaking a record is definitely a great achievement Canon’s main goal was most likely to try and outdo Nikon’s 14-24mm, and they have done so by a whopping 3mm. That might sound like an oxymoron, and telephoto shooters won’t understand the fuss, but at the wide end of photography 3mm is a whole new world.

Nikon 14-24. Will it remain the best UWA lens?
Nikon 14-24. Will it remain the best UWA lens?

On the other hand, many people will be disappointed by the lack of an f/2.8 aperture.

One could argue that cameras today are able to shoot at very high ISO settings and that will make up for the loss of one stop of light compared to the Nikon. One could also say that such a lens will often be used for architecture photography, where no photographer will be caught shooting wide open anyway.

True as that may be, astrophotographers will sorely miss that extra stop and so will some landscape photographers who shoot wide open. Admittedly most landscape photography is done with an aperture smaller than f/2.8, but with a lens as sharp as the 14-24 it can definitely be done. For those who use UWA lenses for the great perspective they offer, this most likely won’t be a deal breaker.

Another gripe from landscape fans will be the bulbous front element of the lens. This is no surprise, though, has the narrower 14-24mm suffers from the same design. The bulging lens prevents the use of screw-on filters and makes your several-thousands-of-Dollars investment very susceptible to scratches, bashes etc. This means you will have to lay out some serious cash for a big, expensive and complicated filter system that you will have to lug around, instead of carrying a small filter or two in your bag or pocket.

Speaking of money, the $3k price tag is sure to amass complaints and criticism. Is $3000 a lot of money? Absolutely!

But is $3000 a lot of money for the world’s widest lens you will be able to mount on your full frame DSLR? Probably not. This is especially true when you take into account that this lens will most likely be weather sealed, and more importantly, was probably designed with the expected 53MP sensors in mind.

Another issue that is sure to arise is the lens’s lack of image stabilization. To those of you asking about this, please refer to the previous complaint about cost. There is also not much need for IS in such a wide lens, and adding it would most definitely complicate the design of the lens.

It will be interesting to see if Canon users will keep switching to Nikon (or use an adapter) for the larger aperture, or will Nikon shooters start crossing over for the wider angle?

Another compelling alternative will be Tamron’s expected 15-30mm f/2.8, which is rumored to cost just $1500 – $500 cheaper than the Nikon and 50% cheaper than the Canon.

Of course for the same price as the Canon you could buy two or more excellent primes to cover the focal lengths most important to you, and enjoy an f/2.8 aperture as well.

Assuming the lens will be released as rumored, which option would you go for?

[via Canon Rumors]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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13 responses to “Canon’s 11-24mm f/4 Confirmed. Will It Outdo Nikon’s Famed 14-24mm?”

  1. Michael Hauck Avatar
    Michael Hauck

    Nice-over $3000 I’ll stick with new 16-35.IS does make a difference on a WA. 4 astro photos 14mm Samyang a better bet.

    1. Liron Samuels Avatar
      Liron Samuels

      You’d have to be shooting in ridiculously bad conditions for IS to be needed at 11/14mm, which is where most people (will) use the 11-24mm and 14-24mm. I’m not saying it would never ever come in handy, but I’m happy people aren’t paying for a feature that will add more cost and weight than benefit.

      The 14mm Samyang is a no brainer if you’re on a budget. If not, I’d personally prefer the 14-24mm and possibly the 11-24mm. I’m waiting to see photos from it before I decide if I prefer the extra field of view or an extra stop of light. :)

  2. Justin Avatar
    Justin

    “On the other hand, many people will be disappointed by the lack of an f/2.8 aperture.”…

    Isn’t this the real test of a high performance lens? Let’s be honest here, 3mm wider is not that important to dare I say, most photographers. Rather any ability to separate the subject from it’s background, I believe, is of paramount importance. By the time you’ve decide an exaggerated field of view is more important to the shot, then a fisheye would be a more natural choice. I think it’s rather telling that Canon was unable to ‘finally’ come through with a super wide zoom limited to f4…

    1. KTX Avatar
      KTX

      Lets see how well you can separate your subject from the background at 11mm… even if this was a f1.4 lens, it would be hard to tell if your background is out of focus or still sharp.
      At these focal lengths it’s almost impossible to get a really nice separation. The f2.8 aperture would barely be different from the f4… well it would be 1 stop brighter but with todays high ISO abilities and no need for a particularily fast shutterspeed you’d have no problem to get a sharp shot even at 1/20 sec. If you have steady hands you could even go as low as 1/5 sec at 11mm and still get sharp results (and I bet some people could go even slower).
      And well, 3mm on the wide end will give you so much more than 3mm on longer lenses… I mean whats the difference between a 50mm and a 53mm or a 800mm and a 803mm? Diminishing. But between 11mm and 14mm there is worlds of field of view.

    2. Liron Samuels Avatar
      Liron Samuels

      Having an f/2.8 aperture definitely says something about a lens, but I wouldn’t say it’s the real test for a high performance lens. On a 70-200mm or a similar lens, sure. But the 500mm f/4 is a superb lens and so are the 600mm and 800mm lenses.

      I guess you could compare the extreme end of the wide angles to the extreme end of the telephotos – would you prefer a faster lens (14mm f/2.8 / 400mm f/2.8) or a more extreme focal length (11mm f/4 / 600mm f/4)? All four lenses are great, but they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

      Most photographers wouldn’t find an extra 3mm to be that important, but this lens isn’t aimed at most photographers. This is for those who want WIDE – and this is as good as it gets.

      An exaggerated field of view is not the sole purpose of a wide lens. Had this been a stop faster, this would be the ultimate astrophotography lens (assuming the IQ meets expectations).

      As for the depth of field, the difference is negligible with such a wide lens. I’d say that in almost all cases when you shoot an UWA wide open it is for more light rather than subject separation.

  3. chris Avatar
    chris

    Canon’s EFS 10-18mm lens for $300 is plenty good enough for my t5i. I’m not saying this other lens won’t be great for full frame, but the cheaper lens for crop sensors kind of eases my lens lust for this one.

    1. Liron Samuels Avatar
      Liron Samuels

      The Canon 10-18mm seems great but, putting aside the inferior aperture and IQ (expected, under certain conditions), remember that at its widest this lens is equivalent to a 16mm lens on a full frame camera… The APS-C counterpart of a FF 11mm lens would be just under 7mm! Rectilinear, of course.

  4. Paul Menard Avatar
    Paul Menard

    itll have stabilsation on e mount with adapter :p
    11mm is crazy wide tho, id want that :(

  5. Laurent Roy Avatar
    Laurent Roy

    Who cares ? Canonists will buy the Canon lens, Nikonists will buy the Nikon one, and all will enjoy, and hopefuly get some great shots…

    1. Liron Samuels Avatar
      Liron Samuels

      Not necessarily. Ever since the 14-24 was released in 2007 Canonists have been using it with an adapter or buying a Nikon camera specifically for this lens.

      I know Canonists who will keep their Nikon just for the f/2.8 of the 14-24, while I also know of a few Nikon shooters who don’t need the wide aperture and are looking at picking up a Canon in order to have access to an 11mm FF lens.

      Most users will stick to their own brand, but both lenses are amazing enough to cause some people to switch sides.

    2. Azety Photographe Avatar
      Azety Photographe

      i agree but a lot of people switch brand for this kind of material.

    3. Laurent Roy Avatar
      Laurent Roy

      I really think it doesn’t worth it… having to replace the camera(s) and ALL the lenses you already have is really very expensive !!! And all this money spent just to have a slight improvement your customers will probably never notice looks crazy to me… :-(

      1. Liron Samuels Avatar
        Liron Samuels

        Some will keep their current kit and simply buy one camera of the other brand.