Ric Tapia is a freelance professional sports photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. Ric graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelors of Arts. Publications & Clients: Nike, Under Armour, Hyundai, Subway, Direct TV, Skechers, Sports Illustrated, NFL and ESPN.
When I took out the Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens from the box the first thing I notice is the how big the front element is. Canon did a ok job with the front lens cap. The cap snaps into place very easily. I wish it were made out of metal instead of hard plastic. It also does not fully cover the built in hood on the lens. Once you pick it up you feel the weight of the lens. It is much bigger than my 16-35mm f/2.8 II. I borrowed my friend’s Nikon 12-24mm f/4 to compare the size and it was close to the same size but the Canon’s front element was still bigger. When I attached the lens to my camera it further emphasizes how heavy and how big the lens truly is. I would not recommend having the camera strap around your neck without a visit to a chiropractor.
For the first test of the lens I traveled to beautiful Lake Tahoe. I was looking forward to the cooler mountain air with the sunrays against my skin. However this was not the cause. It was in the low 70s, still very pleasant but it was overcast. I wasn’t going to let this impede the test. I stopped at the famous Bonsai Rock with my good friend and photographer Fielding Cathcart. I paired the lens with my Canon 1DX. After shooting for several minutes two kayakers were leaving the cove. I photographed them with the rock in the frame. I set the lens to the widest setting at 11mm. It was amazing to have both kayakers and the rock in the frame with plenty of room to spare. Although they were not traveling at a fast rate of speed the auto focus quickly responded.
I wanted to see how fast the auto focus would respond with a faster moving subject. There were many groups of people enjoying the beauty of the lake. A young boy was among the group playing and having a good time. With permission I got behind the man as he throw the young boy in the air. The auto focus was able to quickly react to the fast moving object. Luckily no one was hurt as the boy fell safely back into the arms of the man.
The final and most important test I had for the lens was the ever so popular selfie. If you follow me on social media you know my obsession with stadium selfies. I travel to many different stadiums throughout the year and I always take a selfie. I did not buy this lens for selfies but I will have fun with the added range.
After looking at the images on a retina display MacBook Pro I was impressed by the sharpness and overall clarity. This lens is a great tool for any professional photographer with a full frame body needing something wider than 16mm or does not want the distortion of a fisheye. It is slightly expensive at $3,000 but there is no other lens like it currently available. It is a little heavy but it has 16 elements and is well built. The auto focus is on par with any of Canon’s other L series lenses. I would prefer a heftier front cap but it seems to be doing just fine. Canon did a great job and I cannot wait to see what they make next for me to test.