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  Reviews by: Allen Ko  

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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jul 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $575.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build, price, fairly good optical quality, light
f/4, short range (comparing with 17-55 f/2.8 IS)

I bought this lens to use on my Rebel XT as a general purpose lens. It has good build quality, fairly good optical quality and not too heavy. But it was not as sharp as my 70-200 f/4 L or 60mm macro. Sometimes I wish it has a longer range for portrait and a faster speed for indoor. When the new EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS came out, I put my 17-40L on eBay because the new lens is sharper, has longer reach, IS, and faster aperture.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Jun 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $375.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp. Probably one of the sharpest primes that Canon has. Light weight. Can use it for both macro and portrait.
Hunts sometimes in low light

This lens is extremely sharp. According to Photozone, this lens has better MFT values than most Canon primes including 100 macro. It is light weight and you can use it without a tripod with good light. It is great for macro work and portrait. When doing portrait, you have to be careful. A good skin or photoshop skill will be needed because it is so sharp that it will show her skin defect. This lens hunts a little in low light and have some flaring when there is strong light source like the sun. I have the 17-55 f2.8 IS and 70-200 f4, both very good lenses and cover 99% of my need. But this lens is so special that I have to keep it.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jun 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $580.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent picture and build quality, light weight
F4 may not be sufficient for low light indoor

Excellent lens for outdoor use and travel. Very sharp, nice contrast and rich color for $580. What else can you ask for? For indoor and low light the f2.8 IS will be better if you don't mind the weight (and price). According to Phtozone, the F4 has slightly better resolution that the f2.8 and f2.8 IS on the bench. I like light kit for travel so I did not buy the f2.8 version.

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

Review Date: Jun 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,069.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp and high optical quality. F2.8 and IS combination is great. The best general walk around lens for a 1.6 crop.
Some flaring when shooting at a very bright light such as spot light or the sun

Optically speaking, this lens beats or matches all the L's and primes that Canon made. I think is is the sharpest zoom lens Canon has. Based on my testing, it is one step sharper than all of these lenses: 24-70 f2.8L, 70-200 f/4L, 70-200 IS, 50 f/1.4. It is two steps sharper than my 17-40L. Comparing to the ef-s 60mm macro, in my opinion the sharpest prime that Canon makes , it is very close in optical quality. When I use my 17-40L, I need to do some moderate sharpening with Photoshop CS2. With this lens, minimal sharpening is needed. My tests are confirmed by numerous other users, the and Photozone. As a matter of fact, this zoom lens has better resolution than almost all of Canon primes according to Photozone. After using this lens for one week, it has displaced my 17-40L as the general walk around on my Rebel XT. Before I bought this lens, I thought of buying a FF and 24-105 F/4l one day. This lens postpones that decision indefinitely. One weakness of this lens is there is some flaring when shooting at a very bright light such as a spot light or the sun. CA is minimal on this lens.
Is this lens too expensive? The Nikon 17-55mm has a better build, a lens hood but no IS at about $1,150. I bought mine at Badgers Graphics for $1,069 plus $44 for a lens hood, for a total of $1,113. If you consider IS should worth the same as the better build plus a lens hood, then the Canon is priced close to the market. I personally like the IS feature better. This lens weighs at 22.8 oz, certainly not light, but the Nikon weighs almost 25.6 oz. I don't think you will regret buying this lens.