Every photographer has a go-to lens that’s a permanent fixture in their kitbag. Whether they’re shooting wildlife, sports, portraits, or any other kind of professional photography, the quality and reliability of the lens is paramount to success.
In the field, in sometimes challenging conditions, professionals need a lens they can depend on to deliver precision autofocus, speed and weather sealing to truly make the difference between capturing an iconic image and a wasted opportunity. Professional photographers of all stripes naturally turn to Canon’s L-series lenses for their excellent quality and reliability.
To anyone who knows anything about lens manufacturing, that won’t be a surprise. Sci-fi style robots, fault-hearing engineers, anti-static shoes – Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory is a hotbed of innovation and precision. Canon’s L-series lenses are known around the world for their professional-quality build and sharp results, but to produce such outstanding lenses requires impressive levels of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a few surprising practices, including the hand-testing and calibrating of every Canon L-series 16-35mm lens – not just the samples – ensuring that each lens meets the high standard expected in the premium line.
Here, the world’s leading photographers tell how the craft behind the lens helps them tell their story.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
NORWEGIAN photographer and Canon Ambassador Audun Rikardsen says that Canon L-series lenses help him capture the majesty of nature in his photographs of whales during Norway’s polar night. “In the last few winters, hundreds of humpback whales have arrived at Tromsø in Northern Norway to feed on overwintering herring,” says Audun. “They come during polar night, where there’s no sun above the horizon, making the light and the weather conditions challenging. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is my favourite lens for photographing the whales during this period because of it robustness, large aperture and accurate focus during low-light conditions. It always delivers, even in the most challenging conditions!”
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
CANON Ambassador Christian Ziegler, meanwhile, captured this stunning image while he was walking through the rainforest in central Panama, and a small group of white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) appeared. “A mother with her offspring was the last in line and I had just a few seconds to get the shot before they disappeared,” says Christian. “I took the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens with me because it’s light but powerful. I usually walk a lot when taking wildlife photographs, and it’s hot and humid in the jungle, so it’s best not to carry too much weight and bulk.”
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
TAKE this impactful profile, shot by Canon Ambassador and documentary photographer Alessandra Meniconzi, of a Mongolian eagle hunter. Alessandra had wanted to photograph these hunters for 18 years, fascinated with their hunting techniques after first meeting some in Kazakhstan in the late 1990s. In October 2017, she travelled to the Altai Mountains in Mongolia to realise her dream. “The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM telephoto macro lens is great for flattering facial proportions, and the f/2.8 aperture creates excellent depth of field,” she explains. “It’s also very light and discrete. Moreover, the lens has been created for small details – the images really are razor sharp! And finally, you can get closer to your subject.”
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
ANOTHER photographer making good use of Canon lenses is Canon Ambassador David Noton, who captured this shot of Durdle Door in Dorset, England while the galactic centre (the brightest part) of the Milky Way was visible. “For night sky photography – when the maximum amount of starlight needs to be captured in an exposure lasting less than 20 seconds – quality lenses are a must, and the wider and faster, the better,” says David. “I’d previously tested the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens and been impressed by its corner-to-corner performance at its maximum aperture of f/2.8, even at its widest focal length of 16mm. This L-series lens now resides virtually permanently in my camera bag. I had a composition in mind that would balance the arc of the Milky Way above with the sweep of the beach and Durdle Door below. With my EF 16-35mm lens at its widest angle and aperture, I composed, then focused on the lights in the distance, zooming in on Live View to check accuracy, then locked focus by switching to Manual. I dialled in the settings, checked all was level, fine-tuned the composition and waited for the magic moment.”
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