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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Jul 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Handy focal range, acceptable sharpness (especially when you stop down), good IS, satisfying build quality
heavy distortion at 17-20 mm focal range, not luminous lens

I bought this lens two years ago to replace the 18-55 mm kit lens that came with my new Canon EOS 30D and was rather soft. I used it in Peru and it performed its duty as expected. It resisted extreme conditions in the coastal desert and in the Amazon, no dust, no problems either wit the altitude, the AF always responded fastly, accurately and adequately. Build quality seems better than the 17-55 mm f/2.8 which looks rather frail in comparison. Sharpness is OK when you stop down. At lower focal range, distortion is dramatic and it's not easy to correct in post-production. Colours are well restituted, contrast also. Of course, not the tremendous optical quality of the 17-55 f/2.8, but you must consider the price which is twice as cheaper... The focal range makes it an appropriate walk around lens.

Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM APO

Review Date: May 24, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, crispy and contrasy images, fast AF, light, easy to carry along, good build quality, not too expensive
no IS (but you know it before buying it)

An underrated lens, yet I never had to complain about it, except in low light (indoor) when an IS would be so useful to allow higher speed. Everything works well : I never experienced front focusing, actually my sample is pretty AF accurate, silent and fast. Pictures are cristal clear. I took it on my trip to Yucatan instead of my Canon 70-200 IS 2.8, as the Sigma much lighter and easier to carry (yet I really love the Canon lens, images are fabulous). Bokeh is wonderful, colours are well treated, good contrast, very good sharpness.

Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

Review Date: May 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, very sharp, wonderful pictures
AF hunts but I always use macro with manual focus

Seeing the results I understand what the word "prime" means for a lens.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: May 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp pictures,fast, accurate and silent AF, very well built, good IS
expensive (but worth it), heavy,focal range is more suited for full format than APS-C (but it is according to your use)

Pictures are cristal clear, very sharp, excellent even at 2.8. Un piqué splendide ! as we say in French. Bokeh is nice, contrast and color are wonderful. Before buying it wouldn't believe the reviews and the hype about the lens, but I must I am deeply impressed. I don't use it as a walk-around lens as it is too heavy and on trips I rather use Sigma 50-150 which is lighter but with focusing not always accurate and without IS), yet good pictures quality. This 70-200 L IS is a jewel.

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: May 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, fast, very good IS and AF
expensive (no hood included), moderate build quality

So far, I haven't had dust problems. Optic is very good, no complaint about it, except distortion at lower focal. Didn't experience flare nuisance up to now. IS works well and helps at lower speeds (yes, you gain 3 stops). f2.8 helps you isolate your subject from the background while quality is very good at the centre (and good at the edges). Really harp pictures at closed apertures (f5.6). AF is fast and accurate.

Build quality is not up to the price, it could have been a L construction even if it meant a little more weight. And you have to pay an extra money for a hood (which, by the way, is not very resistant, mine split too easily in two in one of my luggages...).

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: May 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp pictures, good contrast,well built,excellent IS and fast AF, very useful focal range
heavy, not tropicalised,expensive

I travelled with this lens to the coastal and amazonian part of Peru, to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico (visiting natural reserve of Punta Sur in Cozumel and Siaan Kan) , to the Zwin in Belgium. The lens resisted the humid weather, the sand of the beaches and the sea wind. I could obtain sharp pics of birds, crocodiles, mammals (especially at f/8, which means you need a good light). IS proved to be very helpful when I suddenly needed to take a photograph without having time to use a tripod or a monopode. With a monopode and IS off, I could get good pictures of birds (stalks, egrets,...). I like the colors and the contrast of the images obtained. AF was fast and acurate.

I had no problem to get used to push and pull system, except when switching to manual focus. The tigth/untight lock is sometimes annoying but one can adapt.

It is a heavy lens, but what else can you expect from a versatile lens with such a focal range ? It is expensive, but you pay quality and buid quality though I think Canon should have tropicalised the product.


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