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Review – Canon 24mm 1.4L USM Lense

Freak Out - Carnival Ride

As I set out to take photos for Ottaway Amusements at Winfield, Kansas’s Wheatfest on Saturday, June 9, something special was added to my arsenal of photo gear. I recently purchased the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L lense and could not be more happy with the results.

I also packed a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and a Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP. I was having so much fun with the 24mm wide angle, the other lenses stayed in the bag for the most part.

The 24mm lense was not cheap. I found a great deal on a used 24mm lense with only minor wear. The street price for this lense new is about $1,500. But new or used, this lense is worth every penny. The 24mm f/1.4 is an L series lens, meaning that is made with premium material and top-shelf craftsmanship.

I was considering the purchase of the Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 DC HSM lense. You won’t be able to find a zoom lens of this range offering an f-stop of 1.8 anywhere. The reviews of this lens were largely positive with the exception that several people had noticed that the lens had a difficult time with targeting the automatic focus. For that reason I decided to stick with the 24mm prime lense.

Having recently graduated from a crop to full-format camera, I can take advantage of the full view of my lense. I was at first worried that a 24mm prime lense would not be able to be wide enough for landscape shots, yet narrow enough to be able to capture events. After use, I was convinced that everything was going to be just fine. The 24mm lense has a very subtle barrel distortion (warped pulling at the corners). Additionally, the lense adds a tremendous amount of vignette at the f/1.4 speed but gradually disappears at about f/2.8. Both of these distortions can be remedied by using post-processing software.

The bokeh (depth of field) on the 24mm is superb! Before owning the 24mm, I only had a Canon 18-55mm f/4 kit lens on my APS-C camera and increasingly became frustrated that only macro shots could achieve a bokeh effect. I can now get the same great depth of field that I have with the 50mm f/1.4 – but with a wide capture.

As with any Ultrasonic Motor (USM) the 24mm lens is able to focus quietly, accurately, and quickly. This was the tipping factor that led me to choose this lens over the Sigma 18-35mm lense.

I highly recommend the Canon 24mm f/1.4 for those who are wanting to graduate to the next level in wide angle photography. If you need the extra zoom range, I suggest renting out the Sigma 18-35mm and trying out the automatic focus before you purchase.

Below are some photos that I have taken from the Canon 24mm f/1.4L lense:

Skee Ball Carnival Game
Ducks Carnival Game
Riding the Freak Out
Darts - Carnival Game
Flying High
Cars - Carnival Ride
High Swings - Carnival Ride
Freak Out - Carnival Ride
Carousel - Carnival Ride
Spinning Carnival Ride at Night

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