Lens Sharpness: Real World Test

This lens sharpness test was never in the plans. But curiosity got the better of me and here it is. This test is by no means a technical one but based on real world shooting scenario.



The top and bottom sections of Taipei 101 were captured only minutes of each other. The Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM was mounted on an EOS 7D and racked out from 160mm (top part) to 200mm (bottom part). The EOS 7D was then attached to a ball head tripod with the lens IS turned off. No remote shutter was used as it was left in the bag for absent minded reasons and the DSLR’s timer was utilized at 10 seconds for optimum stillness. Pushing the shutter by hand at this point would have spelled disaster in the form of blurred images. The images were, as usual, captured RAW, converted in DXO Labs software to tif file and further processed in Photoshop CS5 to upload quality.


Tight crop of the top photo. Click to view large.


Click to view large size


Click to view large size

Both close up images were cropped from the 2 original images in CS5 to show the sharpness in detail. The original images were at full 18 megapix@300 dpi. As you can see, the cropped images were a small part of the big picture (pun intended). Sharpness is no doubt a strong suit in the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM. Of course, the EOS 7D’s advanced focusing system made this happen in part.

Colors were saturated in Photoshop CS5 using the curves tool and to even out the contrast.

The biggest con of the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM is it’s weight and price tag. Lugging this thing around is no joke and having the tripod ring on this lens is definitely a must for tripod use. Purchase? Definitely but at the cost of US$2,500 it is perhaps better to take a look at the Canon EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM or the Sigma equivalent. Unless of course you are a pro photographer that can make the return in 3 projects.