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Canon EF 28mm f/2.8

Review Date: Jun 20, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: It's small, light & cheap
Consumer quality

This is a consumer range lens, at consumer pricing. It works 'ok' (and only just 'ok') on a 1.6 crop camera (e.g. 20D), but it's really no better (or not much better) than the EF-S 18-55 kit lens.

Colours are reasonable, focusing in noisy (though it's a very short focus burst on a wide lens), CA was in the same range as the kit lens, but overall I would pass this one by.

I also tested it on full frame (1Ds2) and the results were very poor, especially in the corners. While there was some limited detail in the centre of the lens, the extreme corners were almost smooth (think gaussian blur!) due to the loss of any detail that should have been there, at any aperture you care to select.

Sharp is not a word I would want to use under any circumstances to describe this lens.

My advice is to skip this one unless all you are making is 6x4 prints from a 1.6 camera.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Feb 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light wieght, cheaper than the f2.8 version, has IS, built in hood

This is a good lens, a very good lens, but it's not perfect.

Many people buy this lens to use with a 1.4x TC instead of the 100-400L, or the 400 f5.6 which lacks IS.

In my testing (both handheld and tripod/MLU etc), the 300F4 only 'slightly' exceeds the quality of the 100-400L (at 300mm) when 'pixel peeping', but in terms of real world prints (up to A3), you would find it hard to tell the difference. The 300F4 focuses a little faster, but after that you have really look very closely to see any difference at all.

If I had known this before I bought the F4 (given that I already had the 100-400L), I would not have bought it. I always wished I have spent the extra and bought the f2.8 version.

When adding the 1.4x, my 100-400L seems better, focuses at least as fast, if not faster.

With the 2x, it is better than my 100-400L + 1.4x.

Don't get me wrong, this IS a good lens, and I have no real complaints about it, but if you already own the 100-400L, do yourself a favour and skip this one, and go for the 2.8IS version instead.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Jan 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Field of view, Size, Weight, Sharp in the middle
Soft towards the edges, some unwelcome CA. Price.

I bought this lens to add to my travel kit. My main camera is a 1Ds2, (which ofcourse this lens does not fit), and for wide angle I would use the 17-40L.

However, I have put together a smaller/lighter travel kit for times when I do not want to lug around a 1 series body (or don't feel safe using it). That kit is the 20D with three lenses, the EF-S 10-22, EF 24-105IS and EF 70-300IS.

When I first got the EF-S 10-22 I compared it to the 17-40L in the 17-22 region. The 10-22 held up well, although the colours were not as saturated at the 17-40L, and the 17-40L (at the same aperture) was a tad sharper, but only just. For 'normal' printing you would never tell the difference.

The colours/saturation can be mostly fixed in Photoshop, and the difference is not enough that I would not have bought the lens, but was worth mentioning.

Given the reviews I read prior to purchasing this lens, I was dissapointed by the amount of CA, even at f5.6. I had to manually remove some of this (as much at 5 pixels from a church steeple against a pale blue sky) using photoshop. ACR could not remove it all using the lens tools alone, so photoshop had to be called in.

For what it is intended for, i.e. ultra wide angle on a 1.6 crop it does it's job very well. The edges can be soft, or even very soft wide open, but the centre is ultra sharp. You just have to be careful with the edges. Stopped down the edges come back nicely. Wide open, they 'are' soft.

I see a lot of people say they won't buy this because they may 'at some point' buy a FF camera. Well, the lens is the right tool for the job in hand today, and what you may or may not do in the future is for the future. You may get run over by a bus tomorrow, and you missed shooting the wide angle today. If/when you buy a FF, will you sell your 1.6 crop camera? If so, sell the 10-22 as well. Otherwise, keep it! A lot of people are keeping two bodies now, so don't dismiss the idea of keeping this lens long in to the future - even if you buy a FF as well.

This lens is a keeper, simply because it makes up my travel kit to cover the ultra wide stuff I had been missing for so long.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

Review Date: Jan 6, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: It's cheap
It's soft

Hmmm..... I only used this lens for a few weeks (on 1.6 crop body) before I became so unhappy with it that I bought the 100-400L, which completely blows this one away.

This lens is on the soft side, especially when you are viewing at 100%, but in the right conditions 'can' produce some pleasing images.

For a beginner, just trying to figure out focal lenths etc, OR for some one who is not a pixel peeper, OR for some one who only prints 6x4s and 5x7s etc, this is an idea 'cheap' - 'get you started' lens. The guy I sold mine too seems to be 100% happy with it !!

I have some A3 prints from this lens that 'non critical photographers' find amazing. I guess I am just too picky now that I have better glass. However, I have also 'sold' shots taken with this lens, so it can't be all that bad.

On the final verdict though, if this is all you can afford, then it's a good start. If you can pay the extra - get the 70-300 f4-5.6 IS instead - it is far superior!

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Jul 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, Range, Weight. Reaosnably sharp - especially when stopped down a little.
A little soft and some CA when wide open (stop down a little) - but no worse than a 24-70L !.

I got this lens after reading lots of negative things and just a few positives.... then I saw some shots taken with it, and thought I would give it a try.

This lens works well, on my 300D, and 1D2, but alas, the 1Ds2 does show up some shortcomings. Nevertheless, this is a good walk around lens, coping with all but the really wide stuff (get the EF-S 10-22 for the extra wide stuff if your body is compatible).

This lens is perhaps a little on the soft side at 28mm / f3.5, but gets much better at f5.6 and f8. At 135mm f5.6 it's not too bad, but again, stop down a couple of notches and it's pretty good. This is where the IS helps, because you can survive the stopping down / slower shutter speeds, whereas on other glass without IS, you may get a little shake.

The IS is only single mode - ON or OFF (not mode 1 & 2 like some later glass), which means you can't use it when panning (normally mode 2 on newer glass), and you should also turn it off when on a Tripod. As stated in an earlier review, if you are looking to shoot moving targets, turn the IS off. Don't forget to turn it back on!

The zoom ring is smooth and large (and no zoom creep), but the manual focus ring is little narrow, and not always easy to find without having to take your eye of the subject and look around the body to figure out where it is. Eventually you get used to it....

There is the usual distance meter on the top which is lacking from most of the consumer lenses.

There is some chromatic aberration at 28mm when wide open and shooting trees against bright skies Wink but this is mostly gone by f8.

I also bought the EW-78BII hood, which helps with flare on the 1.3 crop and FF bodies. I am not sure it made any difference on the 1.6 crop.

I should perhaps mention that I did all my tests WITHOUT a filter attached (it takes 72mm). I am using filters less and less, because I have noticed a drop in sharpness when using them. I tend to only attached them if it is raining etc, to give a little extra weather protection.

It goes without saying that it is not as sharp as the 50 f1/8, 85 f1.8 or 135L f2 primes, BUT as an all day walk about "with only one lens", especially on a 1.6 crop, it does a very decent job.

Giving marks is always difficult, because it all depends what you are used to, and what you are comparing it with!

So, as for marks, overall I gave it an 8, because for the price it is a good buy (at least mine was! YMMV!). Build quality I gave an 8, because it feels reasonably sturdy. It was not lose at all. Price, again and 8 because with IS, and stopped down a little, I think this is a good comprimise walk about lens.

Canon EF 28-105mm f/4-5.6 USM

Review Date: Feb 18, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Cheap
Consumer quality

I was hugely dissapointed with this lens. I bought it as a spur of the moment thing, and will never do that again!

It is no better or worse than the 18-55 kit lens. I used it only once - and that was enough to tell me that I will never use it again.

Shots were soft (consumer) across the whole range.

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

Review Date: Feb 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Reach, Sharpness, Push/Pull, IS
Price, Slow appeture.

This was my first L zoom, and all others bought since have disappointed me, because I got such a great impression with this one.

My copy is sharp all the way from 100 to 400. Sold lots of shots taken with this baby. I have compared it to my 70-200L 2.8 IS, the 28-300 and 70-300DO and this is the sharpest of them all at mid f stops (i.e. f8 - f11) at mutual lengths (100-300).

It would be nice if it were a little smaller (for carrying around) hence I bought the 70-300DO, but the 100-400 is MUCH better than the 70-300DO.

It is easy to hand hold. I have hand held this lens for several soccer games, the whole 90 mins, no problems. The push pull is so intuitive. Contrary to popular myth, push/pull does not get any more dusty than twist zooms.

My only gripe is that the tripod collar does not come off while attached to the camera. I would have preferred it to have the same collar as the 28-300.

It works OK with the TC 1.4x on a 1 series body, but will not AF on the 300D (without taping the contacts). It also works with the TC 2x on a 1 series body, but in my experience, you better have it on a tripod.

If I could only buy one zoom lens - ever - this would be it.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Feb 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small (ish)
Not so sharp

I bought this lens so that i could walk around without a large white lens that attracts attention.

Some shots are sharp, but others are out of focus, or very soft. Not sure why yet .....

Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Oct 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Versatility.
Heavy !!!

First of all, this is a heavy lens. Make no mistake about that.

I bought it because I had several days on the run where I got sick of changing lens every five minutes because as we were walking around (vacation) I needed to change the focal length beyond what was already on the body.

It took some getting used to. For some reason the first few shots were dissapointing and not sharp, but probably due to bad light. The next day I was super impressed by how sharp my copy was.

Did I mention that this was HEAVY ? On my 300D it was ok, on my 1D2, man that combo is heavy. Weight is the only thing that makes me think twice about having this as my every day walk about lens.