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  Reviews by: DigitalBill  

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Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8

Review Date: Aug 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The versatility of this lens is unmatched by any other in my kit.

Sharpness with this lens is sharpness defined. Use the TS-E 90 from macro to panoramas and be dazzled. This lens injects a fun factor into creative photography that is alone worth the cost. If you haven't experienced tilt/shift, you will marvel at the phenomenal control. To me, the manual focus is a plus, not a negative. I've used this lens for everything from insects to panoramas with outstanding results. Using extension tubes, I've achieved razor-sharp macro details of the smallest components of a flower. I can't imagine another lens that packs so much creative potential. It renders full, rich colors. The TS-E 90 is highly recommended.

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

Review Date: Jul 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super Sharp, smooth zoom, rapid autofocus, stunning color rendition, versatile indoors and out. IS and 2.8 are an unbeatable combo.

If I had only one lens to carry, this would be it. It's impossible to list the myriad situations where you'll find this to be the 'perfect' lens. It can produce simply beautiful images. How good is it? I've shot major league baseball using both the 1.4 and 2X Canon extenders with spectacular infield shots. Just look at any national or international high-level news conference, and you'll see more shooters using this lens indoors (without flash) than any other. Regarding the 'heavy' comments -- it's all relative. If you're coming up from a consumer-grade light prime lens, of course it's heavier. This is a professional-quality lens, and feels like one. I believe its solid build and 'feel' are assets that enhance stability. As always, it's a good idea to try it first with your camera body at an authorized dealer to be sure it meets your individual needs. This is also a good idea, as the first copy of this lens that I purchased didn't meet my 'back focus' demands. Fortunately, I was able to exchange that one immediately for the lens I now own. I don't know that any lens can be called 'perfect', but this one comes very close.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Dec 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,499.95 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible sharpness, even with the Canon 1.4 extender. Manageable in a portable situation, and able to be hand-held.

I've only had the 500mm F4 for about a month, so this review will only deal with a few brief 'highlights.'
I gave very careful consideration to the 600mm, but went with the 500 due to the fact it is easier to carry and able to be hand-held.
Also a consideration is that the 1.4 Canon extender effectively makes this a 700mm supertelephoto.
I cannot detect any sharpness decline at all with the 1.4 extender.
This is especially valuable when birding.
My setup includes the Gitzo 1325 and the Wimberley head and this combination provides a fantastic platform for stationary shooting.
The camera and lens literally 'float', so it's very easy to follow birds in motion. I have also used it with some aircraft flyby shoots with the same exemplary performance.
I have used the 2X Canon extender, and noticed only a very slight decline in sharpness relative to the lens alone, or when using the 1.4 extender.
There are a few top-quality lenses around, but using the Canon 500mm F4 IS confirms for me its reputation as one of the world's best.
I recommend it without qualification.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

Review Date: Oct 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $379.99 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Razor-sharp, cost-effective, not heavy.
Get one that works with your camera body.

I went to the camera store several weeks ago, fully intending to purchase the Canon 24-70 F/2.8.
Fortunately, the manager suggested that I look at Tamron's 28-75.
I was instantly impressed with the image quality, and elected to save several hundred dollars and purchase the Tamron.
The store demo body and lens images were excellent.
The new copy I took home and used with my 20D delivered results of a lesser quality.
The images were 'good,' but to the critical eye they certainly weren't 'excellent'.
So I returned to the store Sunday morning. Their camera tech proceeded to do a very disciplined tripod-mounted test of my camera and my lense. He took multiple images at varying apertures and focal lengths.
This confirmed that the combination produced soft images.
Next, he did the same series of shots with the store demo on my camera body -- with the same 'soft' results.
Then, to test further, he put a Canon 24-70 on my 20D body.
The resulting images were an improvement over the two Tamron lenses, but not worth spending an additional thousand-plus dollars.
Then, he took out another 'new' Tamron 28-75 out of the box, placed it on my 20D body and -- like magic -- the results were stunning.
I found the perfect match!
The moral of the story, it's a great lens, but be sure it works with your particular camera body. It DOES make a difference.
If you purchase mail order, be sure they have a prompt and seamless return/exchange policy.
If you acquire the right one, you'll just love this lens!