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Wide Range Zoom Options

Table of Content

Introduction

Overview

MTF Study

Conclusions

 

Introduction

In this section I want to look at the performance tradeoffs for wide range zoom lenses. The general approach will be to compare the interpolated performance at various focal lengths with an equivalent prime and zooms from the main lens study. Here the plots used will be the average of the saggital and meridional MTFs to provide a less stringent estimate of the lens relative performance. The idea is to find a zoom lens that, although not providing the best performance, is not too band and has a sufficiently wide zoom range to be useful.

Back to TOC

 

Overview

The below two part table provides an overview of the lenses in this section.  

Points to note are that the cheaper lenses often have rotating and extending front elements and no focus distance indication.

The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM are push-pull zoom actions. Users of DSLRs have noted that the action tends to pump air through the mirror box increasing the rate of sensor dust contamination.

Make

Model

Min f

Max f

Zoom Range

Dia mm

Length mm

Volume mm^3

Mass g

Filter Size

FE Rotation

CANON

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

100

400

4.0

92.0

189.0

1256398

1380

77mm

 

CANON

EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM

100

300

3.0

73.0

121.5

508524

540

58mm

 

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

75

300

4.0

71.0

122.0

483021

480

58mm

Y

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

75

300

4.0

71.0

122.0

483021

480

58mm

Y

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

75

300

4.0

78.5

137.2

664023

650

58mm

Y

CANON

EF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II

80

200

2.5

69.0

78.5

293534

250

52mm

Y

CANON

EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

70

300

4.3

82.5

99.9

534027

720

58mm

N

CANON

EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM

55

200

3.6

70.4

97.3

378746

310

52mm

Y

CANON

EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

28

200

7.1

78.4

86.6

418061

500

72mm

 

CANON

EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

28

300

10.7

92.0

184.0

1223160

1670

77mm

 

CANON

EF 90-300mm f4.5-5.6 USM

90

300

3.3

71.0

114.7

454119

420

58mm

 

CANON

EF 90-300mm f4.5-5.6

90

300

3.3

71.0

114.7

454119

420

58mm

 

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/2.8 L USM

70

200

2.9

84.6

193.6

1342324

1310

77mm

 

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/2.8 L USM IMAGE STABILISER

70

200

2.9

86.2

197.0

1149663

1470

77mm

 

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/4 L USM

70

200

2.9

76.0

172.0

780271

705

67mm

N

CANON

EF 24 70 mm f/2.8 L USM

24

70

2.9

83.2

123.5

671434

950

77mm

 

CANON

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

18

55

3.1

69.0

66.2

247540

190

58mm

 

CANON

EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

17

40

2.4

83.5

96.8

530076

500

77mm

N

CANON

EF 16 35 mm f/2.8 L USM

16

35

2.2

83.5

103.0

564027

600

77mm

 

CANON

EF-S 10 22 mm f/3.5-4.5  USM

10

22

2.2

83.5

89.8

491744

385

77mm

 

CANON

EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS

17

85

5.0

78.5

92.0

445263

475

67mm

N

Make

Model

Focusing

AF Actuator

FTMF

Distance Scale

DOF Scale

Zoom Control

Max Mag

Closest Focus M

Price

CANON

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

LE

USM

Y

Y

N

PP

0.2

1.8

£1,149

CANON

EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM

RFS

USM

Y

Y

N

FR

0;2

1.5

£239

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

FGRE

MM

N

N

N

RR

0.25

1.5

£128

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

FGRE

Micro USM

N

N

N

RR

0.25

1.5

£169

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

FGRE

Micro USM

N

N

N

RR

0.26

1.5

£360

CANON

EF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II

FGRE

MM

N

N

N

R

0.16

1.5

£129

CANON

EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

RFS

USM

Y

Y

N

RR

0.19

1.4

£849

CANON

EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM

FGRE

Micro USM

N

N

N

R

0.21

1.2

£189

CANON

EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

IFS

Micro USM

N

N

N

R

0.28

0.45

£339

CANON

EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

IFS

USM

Y

Y

N

PP

0.3

0.7

£1,649

CANON

EF 90-300mm f4.5-5.6 USM

 

Micro USM

Y

Y

N

RR

0.25

1.5

£149

CANON

EF 90-300mm f4.5-5.6

 

MM

Y

Y

N

RR

0.25

1.5

£119

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/2.8 L USM

IFS

USM

Y

Y

N

RR

0.16

1.5

£899

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/2.8 L USM IMAGE STABILISER

IFS

USM

N

Y

N

RR

0.17

1.4

£1,370

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/4 L USM

IFS

USM

Y

Y

N

RR

0.21

1.2

£599

CANON

EF 24 70 mm f/2.8 L USM

FFM

USM

Y

Y

Y

RR

0.29

0.38

£930

CANON

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

OLE

MM

N

N

N

REFE

0.28

0.28

#N/A

CANON

EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

 

USM

Y

Y

N

RR

0.24

0.28

£529

CANON

EF 16 35 mm f/2.8 L USM

IFS

USM

Y?

Y

N

RR

0.22

0.28

£999

CANON

EF-S 10 22 mm f/3.5-4.5  USM

IFS

USM

Y

Y

N

FR

0.17

0.24

£555

CANON

EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS

IFS

USM

Y

Y

N

FR

0.20

0.35

£499

Back to TOC

 

MTF Study

In this section plots are presented for the lenses and reference lenses in several focal length groups for maximum aperture and f8,10 and 30 lp/mm.  

The Canon MTF plots are computer models and do not include production tolerances. In comparing zooms and primes it should be remembered that zooms, and in particular wide range zooms will have more degrees of freedom and thus suffer from production tolerance issues more resulting in a reduced MTF performance compared to the prime. The same can probably be said comparing L zooms to non-L zooms.

28mm

55mm

85mmA B

100mmA B

200mmA B

300mm

400mm

 

Back to TOC

 

Conclusions

Make

Model

28mm

55mm

85mm/90mm

100mm

200mm

300mm

400mm

CANON

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

N/A

N/A

N/A

Good

Avg

Good

Avg

CANON

EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM

N/A

N/A

N/A

Avg

Avg

Poor

N/A

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

N/A

N/A

Good

Good

Avg

Poor

N/A

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

N/A

N/A

Good

Good

Avg

Poor

N/A

CANON

EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

N/A

N/A

Good

Good

Avg

Poor

N/A

CANON

EF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II

N/A

N/A

Good

Avg

Avg

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

N/A

N/A

Poor

Poor

Avg

Good

N/A

CANON

EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM

N/A

Good

Poor

Poor

Avg

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Avg

Avg

Poor

Poor

Avg

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

Good

Avg

Poor

Poor

Good

Avg

N/A

CANON

EF 90-300mm f4.5-5.6 USM

N/A

N/A

Avg

Avg

Avg

Poor

N/A

CANON

EF 90-300mm f4.5-5.6

N/A

N/A

Avg

Avg

Avg

Poor

N/A

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/2.8 L USM

N/A

N/A

V Good

V Good

V Good

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/2.8 L USM IMAGE STABILISER

N/A

N/A

V Good

V Good

V Good

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 70 200 mm f/4 L USM

N/A

N/A

V Good

V Good

V Good

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 24 70 mm f/2.8 L USM

V Good

V Good

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Good

Good

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

V Good

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF 16 35 mm f/2.8 L USM

Avg

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF-S 10 22 mm f/3.5-4.5  USM

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

CANON

EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS

Good

Good

Avg

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

The above table gives an indication of the relative MTF performance of the various lenses. It seem fairly clear there are no obvious across the board winners.

This limited zoom range L series lenses clearly  are good but do have a limited zoom range as well as being heavy.

The EF-S 17-85mm performed quite well and has a good zoom range or the shorter end of the focal length range.

Most of the wide range zooms performed good to average at the wide end degrading to poor at the long end. An exception to this rule was the 70-300mm which was good at the long end but poor at the wide end.

The 100-400mm scored average to good at all focal lengths.

However, it needs to be noted that the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM are push-pull zoom actions with problems of this construction.

Despite the variable performance the EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM provides a 7X zoom in only 500g package at a modest price and might fit the bill for a compromise lens for occasional use where a wide zoom range is needed. The lens is light enough to be packed as an “in case” option.

The EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM provides a 10.7X zoom but is heavy and expensive (1.6Kg £1600) with fair to middling performance. This might be a good choice for an essential situation where a really wide range zoom is needed.  

Back to TOC

Back to MTF TOC

 

Last Updated 05/06/2008

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