Daily Archives: November 18, 2012

40-Acre Lake, A Tripod, Three Cameras and Three Lenses

5570_Becky At The Pier

The weather here in my part of southeast Texas has finally started to cool down.  During this past week, the mornings have been crisp, cool, and humidity-free.   Since it was my Friday off (my company gives us every other Friday off in return for working 9 days, 10 hours each day), I decided it would be the perfect time to make a morning trip out to Brazos Bend State Park for some sunrise images and some camera/lens comparisons.  I also wanted to see what kind of birdlife was still out there.  You see, it’s winter here.

Winter at Brazos Bend State Park means  there are fewer people (at least, on a week day), the water levels are much lower, and much of the water vegetation has died off.  For all of this, though, there is still the cacophony of hoots, honks, caws, and tweets filling the air from the attendant birdlife within the park.

As I drove to the park, I could see in my driver-side mirror the glorious golds, reds, blues and pinks of the sunrise.  I hoped it would still be as colorful upon my arrival, but I’d resigned myself to whatever Mother Nature provided, since I wouldn’t get to my chosen spot until a little after 7AM.  I got a front-row parking spot at 40-Acre Lake, where I traipsed down to the fishing pier and set up my tripod.  Needless to say, I was pleased to see some color and contrast still around as I started to photograph the lake scene.

With the swampy sunrise of 40-Acre Lake before me, I compared the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM II lens and the Canon 24-105mm f4L USM lens on both the Canon 1DX and 5D Mark III.

I’ve been wanting the 24-70mm for quite some time – particularly since I’ve read it’s a good event lens suited for low-light circumstances (weddings, parties, other groups)  I eschewed the original version in favor of the newer mk II version (but not the even-newer version with IS, because that is not fast enough for my needs).

Following are the original raw images for each lens and camera, followed by their respective 100% crops, followed by my final edited version.   Every image here had the same settings of 1/60, f5.6, and 250 ISO.

The Canon 1DX and 24-70mm lens

At 24mm:



H5T3545_40-Acre Sunrise

At 70mm:



H5T3548_40-Acre Sunrise

The Canon 1DX and 24-105mm lens

At 24mm:




At 70mm:




The Canon 5D Mk III and 24-70mm lens

At 24mm:



_U9A2189_40-Acre Lake Sunrise

At 70mm:




The Canon 5D Mk III and 24-105mm lens

At 24mm:




At 70mm:




Since I brought it along, I also ran some shots using the Canon 5D Mk II, but only with the 24-105mm lens.  By that time, the sun and its supreme colors had run their  course, so the edited images below don’t have quite the same color as the edited images above, taken just a little bit earlier (this is a good example of why photographers need to be at their sunrise locations before sunrise, since optimal sunrise lighting is so quick to run its course).

At 24mm:




At 70mm:


5560_5DMKII_Raw_24-105_70MM 100PCT


Here’s my opinion, and you can take it for what it’s worth, since  I’m not a technical expert.  What I do notice from the raw images is that every image needed a little Unsharp Mask as well as some “oomph” added to jazz up the colors and more accurately depict what my eyes actually viewed.  My eyes did indeed see brilliant, saturated colors that morning.  The camera just can’t completely pick up on what the eye sees – at least not in the somewhat low light of the morning.  And, I probably need to work with my camera’s white balance settings – I just haven’t gotten around to that  yet.  When I photographed other things throughout the morning, as the light got better and I increased the aperture from 5.6 to 7.1, the images produced needed hardly any processing at all.  I think it’s all about the light.

So, these lenses are not sub-par for L-lenses, simply because these sunrise scenes needed some processing.  Far from it.  They are awesome lenses – both of them.   I think that the 24-70 is sharper than the 24-105, and portraits look great with this lens.  The 24-105 lens is a great overall lens to use and carry around, and has a greater reach at 105mm than the 24-70mm lens (and, it is an L-lens with all of the quality that goes with the moniker).  Plus, the 24-70 lens doesn’t have IS.  That being said, I absolutely LOVE my 24-70 lens and it was worth the price of admission for me.  Personal opinion.

So what’s that third lens I mentioned in this post’s title?  The Canon 100-400mm lens.   I used it with the 1DX.

H5T3647_Great Blue



H5T3893_Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

H5T3886_Three Dudes

I don’t promise that this will be the last comparison post I ever make (in case any of you are getting bored because you aren’t Canon owners or else you just don’t give a rip), but I do promise my next post will be a scenic trip to Anticline Overlook in Utah, with no camera or lens comparisons at all.

U9A2242_Taking A Break


Filed under Photography