It’s that time of year again. Some of you can’t stand it, and some of you love it. Kinda like holiday music blasting everywhere you go this time of year, I imagine.
Like it or not, it’s time for the 2013 rumors. And we’ve got a biggie to start with! Ever since Nikon announced their stellar 14-24 f/2.8 AFS-G in August of 2007, Canon users have been jealous. There was simply nothing that could truly compete; even the Canon 14mm prime was far softer than the 14-24, effectively squashing the old notion that “primes are always sharper than zooms”. Nor have Canon’s 16-35 or 17-40 proven to be equally sharp performers, especially when shooting wide open for things like night time “starscapes” and such.
So, the thought of a Canon 14-24 is quite exciting for Canon users. Of course for now this is just a rumor, and even if the lens becomes a reality it still has a lot to prove in the sharpness department. However I believe it is safe to guess a few things based on Canon’s recent history:
- Price: Probably between $1999 and $2499. The Nikon 14-24 MSRP’d at $1800 when it first came out, and rose to $2,000 as of late, possibly due to Nikon’s “MAP” (Minimum Advertised Price) and recent rises in inflation… My bet for a Canon 14-24 f/2.8 is, $2199.
- Sharpness: Almost flawless. Canon has never been able to do ultra-wide sharpness that perfectly; every single one of their lenses wider than 28mm has a pretty decent amount of corner softness wide open, although some can achieve perfect sharpness when stopped down to f/8 or f/16. So my prediction is that a Canon 14-24 will be roughly as sharp as the Nikon 14-24, or almost as sharp. If it were any other focal range, I would guess “as sharp or sharper” instead, but Canon’s track record of ultra-wide sharpness is holding me back from predicting “totally flawless” image quality, especially at 14mm. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, of course! It is absolutely possible for Canon to pull out all the stops and deliver the best ultra-wide lens ever.
The next rumored lens is a Canon 35 f/1.4 L mk2. Not as exciting as the prospect of a 14-24 f/2.8 L, but certainly a potentially momentous update. Right now, the current Canon 35 f/1.4 L is already built as solid as any other L lens, incredibly sharp even wide open, and has the usual gorgeous colors, clarity, and bokeh. So, why even bother updating such a lens? Well partly just to remain compatible with the next generation of (possible) 40-50+ megapixel full-frame DSLR’s, which will undoubtedly surpass the resolving capabilities of many lenses designed more than ~5 years ago, and also because there is still a little room for improvement in the current 35 L. Sure, central sharpness is great on the current 35 L, but the corners get pretty soft at f/1.4, and there can be some wicked field curvature issues which make most copies of the lens practically useless for photographing stars.
So this is probably going to be a lens update similar to many of the other recent lens updates: Desirable for some specialty shooters or for those who wish to truly push the limits on high-resolution, but not enough to be worth buying for many of the average shooters out there who are already quite happy with their soon-to-be “mk1” version of the lens. Here at SLR Lounge, we’ll probably get the usual flood of “meh, I’m sticking with my mk1 version” comments. Here are my predictions for a Canon 35 f/1.4 L mk2:
- Price: Probably between $1599 and $1999, my bet being $1799. This is just a guess however, it is simply based on past L prime lens prices in that range, and the relative prices of other recent mk2 lenses.
- Sharpness: Like the 24-70 f/2.8 mk2, I think Canon will simply be improving on an already great lens. While sharpness is already quite decent, Canon will focus on improving other things such as reducing field curvature, coma, and chromatic aberration. (Side note: I bet it will match, or beat, the recent new champion- the Sigma 35 f/1.4 EX)
Well, that’s all for now, folks! We probably won’t know more about these lenses until closer to January 8th, when they are rumored to be announced. I predict that within a few days of that date, however, the announcement will either be rumored to be delayed, or the announcement will not happen at all. We do have a few photography related trade shows coming up though, so January and February are still good months to watch out for these lenses.
Take care, and happy clicking!