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  Reviews by: bklyn_g  

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Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Glass, IS, color, range, f4 at 105mm, very smooth action, weather sealing, durability, weight, filter size.
f4 at the wide end, zoom creep, fairly big with hood on, but worth the penalty.

After owning the Canon 24-105 f4L IS lens for a few months I can safely say its the best lens I've ever had. It combines the usefulness of a zoom with the color and sharpness of Canon prime lenses...and it has IS, which makes the vast majority of shots keepers.

I pair it to my 50D, and was a bit concerned that I'd suffer with a not-so-wide 24mm (X1.6). At times, I do wish I had more wide end, but for the general lens tasks I use it for the focal range is adequate. It would surely be a great lens on a full frame format SLR, but I might miss the long end on the crop sensor.

The build quality is outstanding with a polished look and feel and very smooth zoom and focus ring action. The lens barrel has a nice dampened feel. Some have complained of overly stiff zoom rings. I seem to be having the opposite problem with a very loose ring and excessive zoom creep. I'll be sending it in this week for service, and Im sure it'll come back tight. The lens is also black, which is much more anonymous than a white L lens. Still, the lens looks very pro, especially with the hood, and does attract attention in what I feel is a worrysome way, particularly in urban environments. In the company of your shooting buddies, it is sufficiently swanky. For nature its amazing.

What matters most is the image, and this lens does not disappoint. The quality is simply superb, with amazing sharpness and rich subtle colors as only Canon can provide. The glass is clearly a step above the consumer grade canon lenses. In fact, I have become a prime-obsessed person, and can compare the 50mm f1.4, stopped down to f8 to this lens and the results are almost indistinguishable in terms of sharpness and color. Thing is, with this lens you can zoom, and it has IS. Of course you don't get 1.4, or even 2.8, which is clearly the weak point of this lens. But, in terms of keeper rate, I've never had so many. IS is an amazing feature that really affects results. Im officially a convert.

The down side, of course, is the aperture at the wide end. Don't plan on doing available light work indoors. People just move too much to capture a proper shot. Of course, thanks to IS, the background will be sharp! So, you can shoot static objects well, but not action of any kind. Still, having f4 at the long end is great in general photography and makes the zoom even more useful.

My cousin owns the 24-70 f2.8, which always gets compared to this lens. Its definitely bigger, heavier and has a much bigger hood. Quality is amazing, in both build and image characteristics, but I would rather have the IS than 2.8. Ill use my Sigma 30mm f1.4 or Canon 50mm f1.4 instead for low light...without IS.

In conclusion, I believe this lens is outstanding. I recommend it very highly. It, and the 50D, have provided the step I needed to take my photography to the next level. The zoom creep is annoying, but I'm guessing that a trip to Canon will solve the problem.

Here are some sample images taken recently in Argentina:


Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Nov 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: build.
soft wide open, CA, heavy, huge.

I had two copies of this lens.
Both were very soft with lots of halation at f1.4. I sold my Canon 50mm f1.4 thinking this was much better (based on reviews). I was wrong. The Canon 50mm f1.4 was sharper stopped down and wide open, while still soft, did not exhibit the halation of the Sigma. I returned it and bought the Canon again...

This from a true-believer in Sigma primes. I LOVE my Sigma 30mm f1.4. Its on my camera almost all the time. That lens is super sharp with insane color and brightness.

Probably just had bad copies, but had to post the truth...

Canon EOS 50D

Review Date: Nov 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: build, IQ, LCD, resolution, live view button, interface, canon quality...
noise at high ISO (2500+)

Updated from 400D.

This camera is nothing short of impressive. In feel, function and results, the 50D is rock solid. It has so many positive attributes that listing them all seems overwhelming, so I wont. Instead Ill let it stand that the 50D is everything I hoped for and more.

Images can be too noisy above ISO 2500. Still, the images are fixable in pp and often beautiful, overall, in low light.

a few samples:

Full-hearted recommendation from this user.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Oct 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp as can be when stopped down, light, nice bokeh, cheap.
soft to 1.6, flimsy focus ring, cheaper build quality.

My copy is sharpER than any lens I have ever seen at f8. This thing redefines what I thought possible as far as non-L sharpness. Opened up, however, it is very soft with the "dreaminess" everyone talks about. Not nearly as sharp as my sigma 30mm at f1.4...which is very sharp all the way through the range to f11 or so...

Build is average quality. Glass is surely high quality. For the price its a great lens.

Colors are saturated and accurate. Classic Canon in this regard. AF is fast and quiet and very accurate.

Here's examples (sharpened):

...Shot with 450D.

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Oct 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build, sharpness, speed, size, price
hood is not very tight when attached, squeaky AF on my 450D (not on 50D)

I waited for a while before reviewing this lens. I have used it on the 450D and my new 50D. Overall the qualities of this lens are favorable, if not excellent. The max. aperture and normal fl on 1.6 bodies are the best aspects. The EX build is also stellar.

The lens is sharp wide open and stopped down improves noticably. The sweet spot of my copy seems to be about 5.6.

The size and usability are great features. The lens is small and robust, a bit heavy for its size but with a solid feel. The focal length is perfect for a general use prime. Indoors its the perfect focal length (~50mm on crop sensor)...coupled with the f1.4 aperture, its a great social lens for parties etc. With the iso 12000 on the 50D it can basically see in the dark.

AF is fast on the 50D, not as fast on the 450D. One aspect that was odd was that the AF squeaked when on the 450D but not on the 50D. I guess the AF speed of the 50D put the frequency of the vibrations (that were making an audible sound) high enough as to be inaudible.

The first 10 or so pics on this page came from the 30mm 1.4 on a 450D:

Overall Im very satisfied with the lens. I may have considered the Sigma 50mm 1.4 because of its great reviews and more exciting focal length. The "normal" 30mm is not very exciting or dramatic...but has stellar capabilities and quality as an all-around prime.

for the price...its a definite recommend.