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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Jan 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, great contrast and colours
Cons:
Heavy, attention grabbing lens hood (ie nothing to do with the final photo quality)

I got this on a whim because I saw it going cheap on Ebay and I wondered if it was better than the 24-105mm F4 IS L that I already have......

...Well, it is and it isn't. I prefer it at 24mm because it produces less distortion than the 24-105mm. It is also razor sharp in the middle range and works well with bounced flash at f2.8. And of course it is f2.8 all the way through. I find f2.8 important, not for the shutter speed, but for the bokeh I can get with it.

But sometimes I want a lighter lens that has a slightly longer reach and in that case I go for the 24-105mm. Plus that big old lens hood gives the game away at times. I've found my version to be slightly soft at 24mm (worse than the 24-105mm), but that was tested using newspaper on the wall, and frankly none of my best photos come from this kind of subject. For 'real' photos, 24-70mm at 24mm f2.8 is still great.

There is a lot of debate about which lens to buy, so here is what I have found:

24-70mm: I take this when I use it for indoor people photography (eg parties, weddings); or specifically for arranged portraits; or if I also have the 70-200mm F2.8 with me.

24-105mm: I use this for travel and for snapping (candid photography). Image stabilisation is also useful for interior shots where flash is not appropriate. I find the 24-105mm more comfortable to use with my 5D without the battery grip, and attached to the 5D it fits into my messenger bag more easily than my 5D + 24-70mm. So I tend to take it out more when I'm wondering around.

The bottom line is that I haven't found a way of selling either of these lenses, and they are the ones I use the most.

I'd recommend it in an instance.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: May 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Focal range; image stabilisation; sharpness; contrast; no obvious CA problems.
Cons:
For the price; focal range; build quality and IS, nothing. Well maybe just a tiny bit too much distortion at the wide end, and a bit of vignetting wide open on a full frame 5D but that is not disasterous.

A brilliant lens. Big enough; solid enough; sharp enough at either end (and the focal ranges in between).

Every now and then I wonder about the 24-70mm; but I know I'd miss that extra 35mm at the end more than I'd miss the extra stop.

Get in close for portraits and the bokeh is great at f4.

Yes, barrel distortion is high at the 24mm end but that can be taken into consideration when composing the photo. And it can be removed using software. Or you can use the 17-40mm lens; but to be honest I rarely use that lens now I have this one, and the 17-40mm (which I find softer, especially in the corners) is likely to be up for grabs on Ebay sometime soon.

Yes, there is vignetting wide open, but again this is not as big a problem to me as not having the right focal length on the camera.

I didn't think I'd really use IS, but it is useful. In fact I was surprised that I found it more useful than on my 300mm f4 IS lens which usually sits on a monopod and is mostly used for wildlife/action where IS is not useful.

My honest opinion is to get the 24-105 unless you shoot lots of photos with lots of action in the 24-70mm range. I prefer street/travel/potrait photography and I think this lens suits these needs better.

FYI, my gear contains:

Canon 5D
17-40mm f4
24-105mm f4 IS
70-200mm f2.8
50mm f1.4
100mm f2.8 macro
300mm f4 IS


 
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

EF10-22
Review Date: Mar 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: It is light, and one of the few (but growing) lenses that offers ultra-wide angle for 1.6x crop cameras. Fast focus;
Cons:
Not as sharp as I had hoped; doesn't feel too tough


It is very tough judging a lens after using an L lens (I can only afford the 70-200mm f4). I like this lens for interiors and landscapes and it is fast to focus (not usually an issue with these pictures) and has a reasonably wide aperture. But if I am honest it is not as sharp as I had hoped. I haven't done any real tests but I think my Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 is probably sharper and I prefer the colours that come out if too. Having said that it is not a bad lens and 10-20mm (equivalent to 16-35mm) is just so useful.

Maybe there are better copies out there; but if I was to buy another lens like this I'd definitely check out the competition more.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Feb 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good build; light weight; sharp; great colours; great contrast; fast accurate focussing
Cons:
non that I can think of, other than I would prefer it in black.

My first 'l' lens, and man oh man does this lens rock. I bought it to go travelling around Kazakhstan with my 20d, and it produced some superb pictures that I am very proud of. The weight is just right for travelling, and I wouldn't have wanted the f2.8 version because of this.

Fast, accurate focussing, combined with acute sharpness, excellent build quality, wonderful colours and contrast, and a reasonable price. I can see why this is one of Canon's popular lenses.

I suppose now they have made an IS version I will have to save my pennies and get that eventually, because if IS works then I can see that it will be very useful (one or two pictures in Kazakhstan suffered because I was pushing it to the limit and beyond when hand held).

Get one on the second hand market -people are flooding it as they upgrade to the IS version I guess. But I don't think you can blame this lens if you take a bad photo.


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Feb 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp; light; fast; excellent bokeh; lovely contrast; cheap; fast focus
Cons:
Perhaps only that there is no hood in the box; maybe not as solid as an 'l' lens

Well I now have a 70-200mm f4 l lens, so I reckon I know what is sharp and what isn't. And the 85mm f1.8 lens is sharp. A truly excellent portrait lens for not very much money. Fast focus, which is also accurate.

I use it on a Canon 20d (giving around about 135mm f1.8) and it is simply brilliant. I agree with other users who argue that it is the best non 'l' Canon have made. I would be surprised if there is a better one.