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  Reviews by: Tom M.  

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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jul 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: super sharp, good af, quiet, good build (feels good), good on chromatic abberations, awesome bokeh/dof, f2 gives many options
price if any

it is worth what you pay for it, though i wish i was fortunate enough to pay somewhere in the 700's like some people here seem to have. though i got it new.

this lens is by far the sharpest I've ever shot with. It is my first L lens though.

I use it on my 20d which of course makes it more than 135mm but that's ok by me. I like taking photos from a distance and I can even get some braver wildlife as is, I'm sure more if I get an extender. Indoor might need a larger area =) but that's ok. The lens really forces me to make better decisions compositionally than some of my other lenses which are more wide angle.

I can hold it fairly steady (though I have horrible hands, I need to practice) though if it was a touch lighter i'd probably do better...but then again i like the weight of it because it feels sturdy.

I JUST got this lens and took a walk around my block to take some photos. I was not disappointed what so ever.

Like everyone says here great bokeh/dof, great sharpness, color, etc.

I'm not a "professional" photographer, though I have some nice photos. I don't take as many photos as I'd like and this is an inspiring lens. It will always remain in my collection and will still be there when I upgrade camera bodies.

This lens won't make you a better photographer, but it will most definitely give you sharper, better color/contrast, and more pleasing photos. I think because it's a prime, it forces you to think more about what you're doing and do less snapping and zooming in/out and just losing focus/framing with what you're doing.

IF you really can't afford this lens AND you take more portraits, then look at the 135mm Soft Focus. I personally wanted the versatility over the SF though. I tested both lenses today and the L is noticeably sharper but the SF is perfectly fine too for being an older and less expensive lens.

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

Review Date: Dec 31, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $450.00

Pros: Sharp, IS, Construction
Distortion, Digital lens (not compatible with full frame)

I don't know why some people dislike this lens. You have to really understand what you're getting here. If you don't know much about digital photography then you're going to be unhappy with this lens. Likewise, if you don't do much low-light shooting, or don't often use filters, you'll also miss the value of this lens.

Most digital SLR cameras come with a comparable lens in terms of your zoom. You'll see "similar" images so most people don't understand why get another lens with the same range?

Well...first, the apertures are a bit should have some larger ones. BUT the IS is the biggest thing and most important. Aside from better glass than the cheap kit lens.

The IS is extremely underrated. It's not just so you can take photographs inside without a flash or even with a flash but with better results (less blurry photos). The average user will think that's it's only use...granted it's a popular one.

However....if you are like me and like to stack filters then the use is infinitely greater than having a lens that opens up wider.

For example, I used a circular polarizer and enhancing filter to take a photo at ISO 100 on a sunny day an the exposure was 1/40th? I don't know, less than 1/60th of a second. What happened? PERFECT crystal clear crisp photo with wonderful colors because of the filters. This is something you would need a tripod for normally.

The thing is...I can stack filters and shoot outside in a bright sunny day and STILL get acceptable exposures...furthermore, I can shoot at lower ISO which always yields better photo quality. So because of all that, this lens is extremely valuable.

But it won't be valuable to someone who always shoots at ISO400 + and rarely uses filters.

It's just a matter of knowing how and when to use the lens. However, it is a terrific everyday walk around lens due to weight, zoom range, and IS.

Don't underestimate this lens.

The minor happens, use software to correct. Happens with most lenses. But if you're using a non-full frame camera, you can sometimes avoid some distortion by using a lens made for a full-frame camera because you're not using all of the glass. Don't mistake other lenses like that for being better in just may not be seeing the imperfections yet until you jump to a 5D or something.

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

Review Date: Nov 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image Stabilizer - Price - Range
Distortion at low end.

I got mine "used" (but brand new with registration card) at a camera show. So REALLY good price, but even at $500-550, it's still worth it.

A lot of people seem to have some superficial reservations about this lens, but I really think it's perfect for what it is. It's an it is or Rebel or d60 or whatever flavor you like. It's not meant for the newer 5D or full frame camera. So if you're SUPER concerned about the details and being "professional" - step outside the "pro-sumer" market. You're not quite there yet for super professional grade with this lens or any of the cameras you are going to use it on for that matter.

So - apples for apples the lens is perfect in my opinion. IF it was an L lens, it'd be even better...and that's the only thing I wish that was different.

The range is perfect for an everyday lens. It stays on my camera always - swapping out for a Sigma 50-500mm when I need that kinda coverage...but as you could imagine that's heavy. THIS Canon isn't. It's perfect.

No lens hood doesn't bother me, I have found myself holding my hand over it a lot - but no biggie. There is in fact barrel distortion - but that comes with all wide angle's called Photoshop.

There is some crhomatic abberation on it - more common with digital and when shooting at something bright or backlit. Again, Photoshop and many other pieces of software fix that.

If you aren't prepared to do some post-processing digital work - then don't get this lens and don't get any camera that it mounts to. Go for a 5D or go film. However you're still going to have to do some post-processing work always. It's just part of photography.

The most valuable thing that people underrate is the image stabilizer. It's NOT JUST for low-light. I need it in the brightest time of day. Huh? Why? Because I like to say that I "simulate" darkness....when I stack a bunch of filters on the lens. So it becomes very very handy in those situations.

Again this is the perfect walk around lens because with it, you won't need to lug around a tripod for as many circumstances. PERFECT lens for a 20D, etc. and perfect replacement for the kit lens. Looking back, I'd buy just the body and this lens...or some places even have this as a custom "kit" and sell the 20D with this lens. Honestly - if you said you had a 20D, I'd say this is your must have lens. If you said 5D, I'd say 17-40L or something else of course =)