Further from my conversation with Chip, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a mark II version of my 24 prime. These two test shots were made at the location where I bought the lens. My camera – Canon 5D2 mounted on a tripod. Setting – f/4 iso 800 for both lenses. Both images have very little processing in terms of sharpening. No noise reduction has been applied.
Of course they look identical so far, but let’s go in for a closer inspection…
This is a nice comparison because there lots of elements such as contrast, Chromatic Aberration(CA) and sharpness of detail. The detail in the shop window behind is probably the best indicator of a sharpness improvement (although at iso 800 it is hard to tell). Where the rock meets the yellow door frame is the best indicator of CA improvement.
Next we will look at Chromatic Aberration because this was the main reason for the upgrade.
This clip is taken from left centre of the image. CA is usually worse at the edge of the scene at high contrast areas (Look at the purple and green fringing on the edge of the white vertical). Both images has CA, but it is noticeably less on the Mark II. These comparison images indicate a flaw in my test because the Mark II is focussing closer than the Mark I.
Next we compare the ability to control flare from the blazing shop lights.
It is easy to see that the Mark II controlled the flare in this high key area much better than the Mark I. There is also better sharpness and contrast.
The next clip looks at colour contrast for both lenses.
There is much better contrast on the Mark II and the colours are much brighter. They look a bit washed out on the Mark I.
The improvements are definitely noticeable although further comparisons are required with different conditions and better focussing controls.