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  Reviews by: 8bit Barry  

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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jul 26, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Clarity, edge sharpness, weight, price, quality images, wow factor, drool factor, slick operation.
Tripod ring price, sod all else.

Well the trouble I went through in choosing this over the f2.8 (non IS)version was very worth it in the end. For those of you who have to save rather hard to get yourself L glass, take this from someone who did a bucket load of research.... buy it! The first question I think that everyone thinks is that the f4 will be considerably darker in the viewfinder. It isnt at all, it is bright and pleasing to work with. The second question is that weighty gear is usually quality gear and that this will be like a cardboard tube or something. Well it isnt, and it balances really well with an EOS body and the weight difference in comparison to the f2.8 makes it the easy winner. Third thing has to be that you will be compromising image quality, you wont. It is fantastic and from reading other reviews the results are identical to the f2.8. The focusing is extremely quick, the zoom and focus rings are smooth. Fantastic stuff.

I cannot recommend this lens more highly. The results are superb, images are full of colour and crisp edges and it is a joy to use. The longest lens I own is a 300mm f2.8L, it will now be taking a backseat as the versatility of the range is addictive and my camera bag is now light and roomy once again. I would use a tripod especially at the long end as it will enhance your quality a treat, but hand holding at 70mm is far easier than the 70-200mm f2.8. Ask yourself why you need f2.8 anyway. For a landscaper like me, if you enjoy travel, weekend walking and hiking, this is the one for you, forget the heavier big brother. You will not regret it once you buy it.

The only bugger is the tripod ring. 80 is a real killer, but if you want great shots it is worth getting, plus it fits the 300mm f4 and probably others as well.

Top notch, 10/10. I can't wait for more cheaper L series quality optics.

Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Jun 27, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: All of it! Fantastic quality when stopped down, sharp and great colours

Top lens, fantastic to use, light and get great results with a tripod stopped down. If you are a walk around f2.8 L sort of person then softness could be a problem, but at this price it is a worthy competitor to the 17-40 (which you disagree with me on). All I have had is great results from this lens and at half the price of it's L series brother, at f11 to 16 there will be very little in it. Save your money and by this lens.

For some pictorial examples look at any wide angle shots at

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jun 27, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Quality glass, dust seals.
wads of distortion at both ends.

If you are a digital user having a 27-63mm lens must be a great relief, but for a film user like me the distortion (no crop factor to hide it) was rather excessive in comparison to the 20-35mm f3.5-4.5 lens which I ended up with. With detail and colour rendition being the wow factor of this lens, I have to say that I think that Photoshop has to be the last word and something to remember when choosing any lens. I have had excellent results with the 20-35, better distortion control by far and stopped down it produces pin sharp images. BUT saying all this I think for us UK purchasers, if I could get one of these for 300 (like you lucky US photographers) I would probably be all over it. At 600 it just doesnt cut it for me.