Understanding Canon Lenses

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The 5D Mark II Is compatible with the Canon EF mount lenses but not with the EF-S lenses designed for the cropped sensor cameras from Canon. The 5D Mark II has a full-frame sensor that's equivalent to a 35mm film frame, 24 x 36mm, or simply a 2:3 ratio. There's no focal-length multiplication factor, so wide-angle lenses are truly wide angle, and telephoto lenses are true to their focal length just as they would be on a 35mm film camera.

Although this full-frame sensor allows you to use the lens to its full extent, the cropped or subframe sensors use lenses at their sweet spot, allowing for very sharp frame corners, depending on focal length and aperture. By contrast, on a full-frame camera, the optics must be superb to deliver the same edge-to-edge sharpness while minimizing chromatic aberrations, distortion, and vignetting.

When you shop for lenses, the terminology and technologies can be confusing. The next section reviews key lens designations and technologies.

6.1 Although zoom lenses are versatile, prime lenses are often smaller and lighter. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens, shown in the center, is one of the lightest and sharpest lenses in the Canon lineup. This image shows the size comparison of the 50mm with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens (left) and the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens (right).

6.1 Although zoom lenses are versatile, prime lenses are often smaller and lighter. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens, shown in the center, is one of the lightest and sharpest lenses in the Canon lineup. This image shows the size comparison of the 50mm with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens (left) and the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens (right).

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