I’ve previously documented difficulties in obtaining both Canon and Nikon lenses— right out of the box lenses showing a variety of optical problems. See Brand-new Blur.
This particular sample was shipped from B&H Photo in New York City to me in California. Could shipping damage a lens? It seems rather doubtful the way the lens is packed in its box, and if it were so easy, no lens would survive very long in real usage. So I think it’s fair to assume that Canon’s quality control is at fault, which is consistent with past experience.
What can be learned from a bad sample?
I made several comparisons with the 100/2.8L in Yosemite (to cross-check as I always do), enough to show a problem, documented here on this page. The problem can vary in degree, depending on where the lens is focused. Even when a lens is “off” some conclusions can be drawn. For example, central sharpness is top-notch with the 100/2.8L, even wide open.
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