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  Reviews by: Damian_pro3  

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Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Jan 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: price, size, nice build quality, good color rendition, sharpness
loose lens hood, extends while zooming, af could be faster and more accurate

One ot those lenses, when you clearly see what you paid for. Of course, it could be more sharp, better built or have a better af, but at this price tag you won't find anything better. I've compared it with Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 and Tamron is a clear winner. Before its purchase, I was a bit concerned about its build quality, but my worries were gone after the first test. The lens is quite heavy which gives it nice, solid feeling, rubber rings operate smoothly (maybe the focusing ring isa bit too loose, but it's a hardly noticeable flaw).
When it comes to the optical quality, there is nothing to complain about. Sharpness is pretty good straight from f/2.8, corners are also decent. Of course, when I compare it with my Canon 200mm f/2.8 L, there is a big difference, but again - try to buy a better wide angle lens at similar price tag. Recently I sold this lens and bought a Tokina 16-28, which is much better lens in all aspects, but it's also much more expensive. All in all, after 3 years of using Tamron 17-50 I can recommend you this lens or if you can spend few bucks more, its younger brother with optical stabilisation (great thing for filming).

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Jan 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: sharpness, nice bokeh, f/1.8, price
build quality(!), slow autofocus, soft on f/1,8-2, problems with flaring

I always have problems with making a review for this lens when someone asks for my opinion about it. It's because you'll either love it or hate it.
For me this lens has always been a good tool, despite it flaws. And when you speak about flaws, there are wuite few. Starting with build quality, which is horrible! Made of cheap plastic and sucking dust like a vacuum cleaner, it's not made to survive in harsh conditions. When I hear Nikon users complaining about a quality of Nikkor 50mm 1,8 it makes me laugh. Try this one and you'll definitely complaining. The another annoying aspect of working with it is an autofocus. It's really slow even in good light conditions and hunts for a long time when there isn't much light. Hence, shooting with it during concerts can be quite annoying. This lens is also characterized by quite visible chromatic aberration and softness on large apertures. But it becomes usable from f/2.2 onwards, giving great results from f/2.8.
Despite all those negative aspects, one can make use of this lens and be satisfied with images it produces. 50mm is usable focal lenght, on FF you can use it for street or landscape photography, on APS-C it's great for portrait, product and semi-macro photography. As I've already written, it's capable of producing sharp images and gives nice bokeh for portraits. And since I use it almost only in a studio, take pictures of still objects, I don't have to complain about AF anymore.
Having said that, I don't feel a need for upgrading to f/1.4 as long as my copy works.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Jan 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: size, nice build quality, f/1.8, quick and accurate af, sharp, smooth bokeh
chromatic aberration from f/1.8-2.5

Specification of this lens makes is truly useful for many photographic tasks. I bought it as a lens for sports photography and it served me well, especially when shooting indoor sports, where lack of light was often an issue. USM is fast and rather accurate (I had some problems with shooting on AI Servo mode on 40D, but recently upgraded to 7D and they're gone), perfect for shooting pictures of action, where the short tele is needed.
Nowadays, I use it mostly for portraits and products photography, where its focal lenght is highly needed on both FF and APS-C sensors. It's sharp, reliable and gives a nice bokeh and colours.
When it comes to flaws of this lens, I can think of only one: huge CA on large apertures (from 1.8-2.5). I know that it's a flaw of many fast lenses, but it shouldn't be such visible.
Sample pictures:

Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX SD

Review Date: Dec 20, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: famous Tokina build quality, excellent sharpness, colors, price
rather slow autofocus, bad lens cap

This review could be a short one, because this lens is truly amazing!
It is build like a... well, like the most of Tokina's lenses. The first time you take this lens in your hand, you realize it's worth the money you paid. It's heavy, rubber rings well made and operate smoothly, but with proper resistance, I also like the af/mf switching by pushing/pulling the front ring. Some people used to Canon's lenses would not like it, but for me it's perfect. There are only two flaws when it comes to build quality: front lens is vulnerable, but you know that when you buy this lens. I also have to admit that after half of a year of working with this lens I'm surprised by a quality of coatings - removing fingerprints is easy and I do not see any scratches, even though i have incidentally touched it many times. A second flaw is a lens cap. As far as I know, Tokina sells this lens with a new, better lens cap, but the early versions (unfortunately also mine) were equipped with caps that seems to be a bad joke - very thin, loose, falling off the lens all the time.
When it comes to lens' performance there is only one flaw: rather slow autofocus. I mean, it is not bad, but it's far for being as fast or silent as in Canon lenses equipped with USM. But the AF is quite accurate, I do not have any problems with ff or bf even though I bought it via the Internet, without having possibility to test it before purchase. Having said that, I must admit, that an optical performance is really amazing! It's really sharp, especially for being an ultra wide lens. I use it on cropped sensors (40D and 7D), so the center of image is almost as sharp as borders, but had an opportunity to test it on 5D markII and it still performed great. The color rendition is also good. F/2.8 is fully usable. When it comes to CA, it's noticeable on f/2.8, but not as visible as in Tokinas 11-16 or 12-24.
To sum it all up: I had a hard time when my Tamron 17-50 broke and had to buy a new lens. Canon 17-40 did not impress me and f/4 is too dark for me and Canon 16-35 is definitely overpriced for its performance. Both those lenses have much better autofocus, but fail in comparison with the Tokina when it comes to the optical performance. I am also used to use polarizers and gradual filters, so it was also hard to decide to buy a lens with no filter mount, but recently I made a deatachable filter thread that allows me to use Cokin/Lee/Hitech filters, so this stopped to being a problem.
If you need a FF lens, can live without ultra fast AF and filter thread, I truly recommend you Tokina 16-28. Give it a chance and you will be delighted with pictures this lens produces.

Sample shots: