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

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Dec 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IS, build quality, range, did I mention IS?
Cons:
Softness on the right side of some shots, f/5.6 kicks in at 100mm

I've been using this lens for about 8 mo. now. It's extremely versatile and a great all around consumer level lens. Please don't compare it to "L" glass, because it's not. That would be like comparing a Mercedes to a Toyota. It's simply not a fair comparison. If you want the quality of "L" glass, save your pennies and wait it out. I have yet to see any of the widely reported CA or zoom creep with my copy. However it is occasionally soft on the right side of some shots. I haven't taken the time to check out what the settings are when it's happening, but I suspect it is a defect in the lens itself. Yea, it's a bit on the heavy side, but I've walked around with mine 4hrs at a crack and it's never bothered me. Some have recommended not to use it on a 20D. I'm not really sure why that is and no one has taken the time to explain themselves. I've found it to be a great walk around lens for my 20D.

The IS works great, though there is a bit of a learning curve. I wish I had realized that when I bought it. I blew a lot of good shots because I didn't understand what the effect of the IS would be. I would not recommend this lens for sports, at least not with the IS on. I fins that it also focuses a little slow for dealing with action shots. It will do OK in a pinch, but there are certainly better sports lenses. And DON'T use the IS when it's mounted to a tripod. I found that out the hard way. I was getting very soft pictures even when stopped down. This was very disappointing and I was getting ready to dump the lens. I didn't realize that it was the IS that was causing the issue. For much of the photography I do, the IS has been a real asset though. I've been able to shoot reasonably sharp photos at f/5.6 1/30sec. Also, keep in mind that IS is no substitute for a good tripod.

Much of what I use this lens for is stationary work. Landscapes, architecture, that sort of thing. This is where the lens does it's best. I might eventually replace it with something better, but this one will be in my camera bag for a long time.


 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: Apr 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,369.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast startup, easy controls, excellent battery life, solid feel
Cons:
DOF Preview button is in a clunky place, no ISO reading in viewfinder, strap leaves something to be desired, the "joystick" is a pain to use. Yes, these are very nitpicky items. Not enough for me to give this a low rating.

Keep in mind that I haven't used an SLR for over 20 years, so I'm effectively a newbie. It was a toss up between the Rebel XT and 20D. I'm glad I chose the 20D.

I was very impressed by the feel of the camera when I took it out of the box. Although it's heavy in comparason to the advanced compacts, it's comfortable to hold and use. I walked around with it for 4 hours last weekend, most of the time hanging around my neck. Controls were easy enough to find the basics (manual mode, shutter, aperture) in about 10 minutes w/o the manual. Ten more minutes got me in deep enough to spend an afternoon shooting all sorts of stuff.

I honestly have more to learn about the nuances of my lens than the camera, which is frankly the way it should be. The few items I don't like are far outweighed by the positives. This is a great camera, I'd recommend it to anyone.