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  Reviews by: David Israel  

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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Nov 28, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,669.00

 
Pros: This is the sharpest lens that I own. Ultrafast, quiet, accurate AF. Amazing sharpness, color rendition and contrast for a zoom.
Cons:
Price.

Much has already been said about this outstanding lens that I don't need to repeat, so I will just share my personal experience with the lens.

This is my favorite lens. It is so sharp and produces such great pictures, it makes me look better than I really am with the camera. The range of uses for this lens is really broad, making it a very versatile lens to own. This lens replaced my EF85 f1.8 for closeup portraits. It simply does a better job. Candid's is not one of it's strengths as the lens does garner attention, however.

Landscapes, flowers (with or without a 500D), SPORTS!, wildlife, and even school plays (if the lights aren't completely off) are all great uses for this lens. It is also a geat Zoo lens (along with the EF 100-400). The weight is not bad for me and I can hand hold this lens for extended periods of time, though it does help (at the baseball field, etc.) to have a monopod to share the burden.

I only have 4 primes (30mm, 50mm, 85mm and 100mm) and this lens equals or betters them in virtually every respect. The IS is such a valuable feature, especially if you plan to hand hold this lens. The AF is very fast and can track sports and even birds in flight! The AF is also very quiet. Full time manual focus is also a handy feature (more useful when trying to shoot indoor sports such as volleyball, etc, where the lighting isn't so great).

If you are always going to use a tripod with this lens than you may not need the IS and could potentially save some money with the non-IS version. This is my current most expensive lens and it was worth every penny. I rated it 10 for build quality and overall rating, 7 for price.

If you can afford this lens, I don't think you will have any regrets with the purchase once you see what it can do for you.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Nov 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,669.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The sharpest lens I own. Ultrafast focus, accurate focus, quiet focus, outstanding ability to isolate your subject from your background, build quality. Awesome contrast and color rendition.
Cons:
Price. +/- for the weight.

Much has already been said about this outstanding lens that I don't need to repeat, so I will just share my personal experience with the lens.

This is my favorite lens. It is so sharp and produces such great pictures, it makes me look better than I really am with the camera. The range of uses for this lens is really broad, making it a very versatile lens to own. This lens replaced my EF85 f1.8 for closeup portraits. It simply does a better job. Candid's is not one of it's strengths as the lens does garner attention, however.

Landscapes, flowers (with or without a 500D), SPORTS!, wildlife, and even school plays (if the lights aren't completely off) are all great uses for this lens. It is also a geat Zoo lens (along with the EF 100-400). The weight is not bad for me and I can hand hold this lens for extended periods of time, though it does help (at the baseball field, etc.) to have a monopod to share the burden.

I only have 4 primes (30mm, 50mm, 85mm and 100mm) and this lens equals or betters them in virtually every respect. The IS is such a valuable feature, especially if you plan to hand hold this lens. The AF is very fast and can track sports and even birds in flight! The AF is also very quiet. Full time manual focus is also a handy feature (more useful when trying to shoot indoor sports such as volleyball, etc, where the lighting isn't so great).

If you are always going to use a tripod with this lens than you may not need the IS and could potentially save some money with the non-IS version. This is my current most expensive lens and it was worth every penny. I rated it 10 for build quality and overall rating, 7 for price.

If you can afford this lens, I don't think you will have any regrets with the purchase once you see what it can do for you.



 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Nov 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $329.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Reasonable Price, wide aperature
Cons:
Softer than my L Zoom lenses, occassional front focusing

The EF 85 f1.8 has become my least used lens (by me, anyway. I have a friend who does portrait photagraphy and she borrows this lens from me all of the time). My EF 70-200 f2.8 L IS has virtually replaced this lens, for me. The Zoom is sharper at 85mm than this prime is, so I hardly ever use it. In spite of this, however, I do still recommend this lens. Why?

My EF 70 f2.8 L IS cost over $1,700.00 and this lens cost me $329! There is the "Law of Diminishing returns" to consider. If you can pay 200% more to get 20% better performance, is it worth it to you? Would you pay 400% more to get 10% better performance? Each person has to make these decisions for themselves.

Our most respected local photography studio uses this lens (with great results, I should add). I thought that, surely, they must use the 85 f1.2; but they don't, they use this lens!

This lens is a little long for full portraits on my 1.6 crop factor body (I'll bet it would be perfect on a 5D), but makes a decent head and shoulders lens. My biggest complaint about my lens is that in lower light it seems to front focus a little, requiring some manual adjustment. It does focus quietly, however.

If you are coming from a package lens (i.e. 28-105 f4-5.6 lens) than the 85 f1.8 will really feel like a stellar performer. If you are accustomed to a red stripe on most of your lenses than the image quality may seem more "adequate" than exceptional.

My opinion of this lens changed over time. When this WAS one of my better lenses, it was the bomb! When this became one of my more affordable lenses, it compared less favorably to other lenses in my bag. However, when you take price into consideration, I still feel that this lens delivers a lot for the cost. I would still recommend this lens to a friend and I'm still not quite prepared to part with it (and that should tell you something).


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

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Nov 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,355.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Zoom range (up to 400mm), relatively sharp for a non-prime, IS makes a Big difference, very fast and quiet AF
Cons:
Can be a tad soft at the extreme focal length, push-pull takes a little getting used to, push-pull may invite dust, Best results really require good lighting

Overall I have been very pleased with the EF 100-400. I chose this lens over the 300mm and 400mm primes. It was less money than the combination of the two primes and offers more flexiblity.

Unlike my EF 70-200 f2.8, which stays really sharp throughout it's entire focal range, I find that EF 100-400 starts to get a tad soft at the extreme end of the focal range ~380-400; but nothing dramatic. This lens really requires good light to work it's best. AF is fast and quiet...IN GOOD LIGHT. It can hunt a little when the lighting is not strong.

I have used it with both the 1.4x and 2x TC's (both are new copies), but I am unhappy with the results. Although fun to play with (this lens plus the TC's), I would never post any of the photos obtained by this combination.

On my 1.6 FOVCF, this lens has pretty good reach. I have some really exquisitely sharp and contrasty shots of a male and female cardinal taken @ 350mm (on a well lit day).

The push-pull design took me a few weeks to get used to but, in the end, I must admit that I ended up liking it. Although I do worry about the push-pull design sucking dust into the lens, after 7 months of use I haven't noticed any dust build up....yet.

I find the weight very manageable and IS makes it a very hand-holdable lens. It is too big for my wife to hand hold, but she is rather petite.

I have no regrets purchasing this lens and I feel that it gets a reasonable amount of use, making it worth it's purchase price. I only wish that I could borrow the two primes and do some comparison shots.

This is also a reasonably good lens for outdoor sports, as the autofocus can definitely keep up (again, if the lighting is good). I use mine "mostly" for wildlife and have been very pleased with it, so far.


 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Nov 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,058.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fabulous picture Quality (what else do you buy a lens for?), IS, fast enough to use indoors (church, school plays, etc.)
Cons:
For me...none.

I absolutely LOVE this lens. This is the lens that sits on my 40D, routinely. My EF 24-105 f4 L IS is usually sitting in my bag collecting dust, ever since I purchased this lens (~ 6 months ago).

The sharpness across it's focal range is every bit as good as I was getting from my EF 24-105 L in the equivalent range. Color and contrast are excellent. Though this is an individual thing, I even like the size and weight of this lens.

I added a B&W UV MRC filter and a lens hood to mine. I have not had any issues with flare, even in direct lighting situations.

The lack of weather sealing is not a major issue for me, though it might be for others. As far as I am concerned, this lens is an L class lens without the red stripe. Next to my EF 70-200 2.8 L IS, this would be my next favorite lens. I couldn't be happier with this lens (unless I had purchased it used for even less money).


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Nov 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $76.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Price! Light weight (I'm looking at that as a pro) and sharp.
Cons:
Cheap build quality.

The EF 50 1.8 II is absolutely the best value I have found in any lens that I have purchased. The money was definitely put into the optics and not the body. This lens is at least as sharp as my EF 85 1.8. Color and contrast are good. Focus is much noisier than my USM lenses but, hey, what do you expect for this price?

The lens feels cheap and even has a plastic mount, but the pictures it takes far exceed anything that I expected from a lens in this price range. I don't use this lens often, but when I do it continues to provide pleasing results (especially considering the price).



 
Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

113_small
Review Date: Nov 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $427.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great center sharpness (great edge to edge sharpness when stopped down to f2), good contrast, fast and accurate focus, price
Cons:
None (at this price, anyway)

My copy of the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is very sharp and produces excellent colors. It is the only non-Canon Lens that I own. This lens performs favorably to my Canon L lenses and better than my 85 f/1.8.

A few people noted that their copies tended to front focus, though I have not had that problem. Suparman noted that he had problems with focus when he combined this lens with his 40D. I have been more fortunate with my copy, as I use it on a 40D with no problems. This lens costs me less than half of what the EF 35L would have cost and I am extremely pleased with the results.

I was a little apprehensive prior to purchasing this lens, fearing that I would be disappointed with the performance. However, having seen so many positive reviews, I decided to give the lens a try. That was 6 months ago. I have not regretted the decision to purchase this lens. The 30mm f/1.4 represents one of the better values I have found in a lens. I use it often.

I now find myself seriously considering other Sigma lenses. Perhaps Sigma has a QC problem. In either case, I'm one of the lucky ones who got a good copy. For the price I paid for this lens, I couldn't be more pleased.