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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Dec 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good Value, Excellent Build, Versatile, Very Good Optical Quality
AF hunts in poor light.

I owned this lens for several months and used it with increasing frequency.
Value for money this an excellent lens and capable of taking excellent pictures. It is not fast but you know that when you buy it and it delivers a very well priced versatile 400mm.

I have seen several unfavourable reviews of this lens but the problem seems to be that as a lens favoured very much by the consumer end of the market it gets blamed for what is mainly poor user technique. Front / Back focus problems and "poor copies" are seldom experienced by pros but invariably dog the less experienced who having spent 1000 on a lens expect it to take perfect pictures inspite of their technique (or lack of..).

This lens is easy to use if you take the time to bond with it. The pull push zoom is easy to use, if someone can't use it that is down to an inadequacy in them not in the lens.
The lens is sharp, most of the unsharp images I see are taken at too low a shutter speed for a 400mm focal length lens and suffer from camera shake.

The lens is hugely versatile, if I don't know what to expect at a shoot I always pack this lens, it has never let me down.

Built like a tank.

Users have to be realistic, 100-400 is big range and no zoom covering that will match the shorter zoom ranges or a prime for sharpness.
At 400mm even with IS you need reasonable light - this is not a low light lens, the AF hunts in poor light and at f5.6 and 400 you need to bump up the ISO to get a decent shutter speed for anything that is not stationary.

That said IS has meant that I can shoot at 1/125 at 400mm on a moving subject and still nail the shot.

All is all this is a great lens but not foolproof.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Sep 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, fast AF and very sharp. Excellent for Macro work and a quality walk around lens.
Bit pricey compared with its peers.

I bought this lens with only macro work in mind but it has stayed on camera a lot more than I might have expected. It is light and makes a good walk around lens. The macro capability is outstanding, it is slightly prone to hunting but that goes with the wafer thin DoF when shooting small insects using AF. On larger subjects the AF is fast an accurate. The quality it produces is outstanding, very sharp, bright, this is a lens that can be used effectively even when hand held, for very small subjects.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Apr 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, very cheap, very fast focus.

This has to be Canon's best ever value in a lens. I love it, razor sharp, fast response, excellent build quality. At twice the price it would still be very good value.