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Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

2875mm
Review Date: Dec 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great image quality. Small for a 2.8 zoom. Great price.
Cons:
Focus may not be fast enough for some sports shooting. No FTM focusing.

I have had this lens a year now, so I feel qualified to review it. My copy is a very sharp lens. It is the sharpest zoom I have owned. It is also pretty small and fairly light for a 2.8 zoom lens.

The build quality will never be confused with a Canon L, but the photos it takes can be. I am very pleased with mine from a sharpness stand point. The ONLY thing I really miss with this lens is the fast and silent USM focusing of a Canon L. I have used this lens for some indoor HS basketball, but it is not really the best lens for that. For that type of usage I think the 85 1.8 would be better. Otherwise, this lens is on my camera most of the time. If the focal length works for you, and it does for me, buy with confidence. Sure, I'd love the Canon 24-70L, but it costs almost three times as much and is much larger and heavier as well. For me, I just couldn't justify the extra cost. I have not regretted my decision at all.


 
Tokina 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF 193

af193
Review Date: Nov 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $135.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Price, solidly built, sharp with nice colors.
Cons:
Limited zoom range, needs flash indoors, focus ring turns when autofocusing.

I bought this when I gave my Rebel and kit lens to my daughter and bought a used 20D. I needed something to replace the kit lens, but my budget was busted by the 20D. The camera store had a used copy of this lens and I bought it without knowing much anything about it, very unsual for me. They gave me a week to test it out and bring it back if I didn't like it, so I have only had it a couple of days, but I have been using the daylights out of it.

I think it is built very well, especially considering the price. The zoom ring on mine is overdamped, actually a bit tight to turn, but it is very smooth. The focus ring is a bit scratchy though.

It is a slow zoom, so it needs flash indoors, but I have to say it makes very nice photos. The photos have been very sharp and contrasty, with good color. I wish it focused a bit closer. The kit lens definitely focused closer, which made flower photos nice. Still, I will keep this lens and eventually add a 2.8 zoom. With this lens to cover the wide side when necessary, I will be able to buy a 2x-7x 2.8 zoom like the Tamron 28-75 and just pull this lens out when I need a wide shot. For now though, it will be paired with my 50 1.8 for a walk-about combo.

Bottom line is that I will not be returning this lens. I wish it had a wider zoom range, but this thing takes nice photos and the price was definitely right.


 
Canon Speedlite 550EX TTL

CA550EXU_1_
Review Date: Nov 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Strong flash, manual controls
Cons:
Price compared to third party units

I bought this flash used off of ebay and it was one of my best purchases ever. This flash is fantastic. When I bought it I did not know much about flash other than turning it on and letting it go. It works ok that way, but on my DRebel, it consistently underexposed the flash leaving the edges dark. I learned that you can change the flash exposure compensation on the 550EX, which you cannot do on the 420EX. By increasing the FEC 1/3 to 2/3 the pictures are in another league. Unfortunately, the DTebel does not allow you to set the FEC on camera, as some bodies do, so if I had purchased the 420EX I would have been stuck. Setting the FEC is also very easy on the 550EX. At the advice of some others on this forum I spent about 1/2 an hour with the flash manual and my camera and the 550EX and the results are that my flash photography is 100 times better. Making the settings is stupidly easy and just a small bit of experimentation with the immediate feedback that digital provides was a great teacher. The bottom line is that on the DRebel I could not have made these changes with the 420 as it does not provide the manual controls the 550 does. If you can find a 550 buy it. If you can't find a new one, look around for a used one. Mine has been completely trouble free. It is the second Canon flash I have bought used off of ebay and both units have performed flawlessly.

If your camera allows FEC to be set in camera, as many do, maybe the 420 would be fine. All I really know is that the manual controls of the 550 have become invaluable to me. Also, some complain about the size of the flash. I would never have thought to complain about that. It does not bother me at all. I also do not have an issue with the refresh time as long as my batteries are fresh. For me, I have been more satisfied with the 550 than with any of my other camera related purchases.

Dan


 
Canon EOS Rebel (300D)

300D-2
Review Date: Sep 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, great entry level dslr, good photos, plenty of versatility
Cons:
photo noise at high ISOs a bigger problem than with 20D, has a cheaper feel than 20D (but then it is cheaper), can't take as many photos before pausing to write to card as 20D

This is my first DSLR,as I imagine it is for everyone who owns it. I had a film Rebel before and when Canon came out with the DReb I had to have one. I had avoided buying a point and shoot digital because of some of the limitations of the breed such as long shutter lag and terrible picture quality in low light situations. I am so glad I waited for the DReb. It does not suffer from either of those problems. I am glad I had not found this web site before I bought my camera, though, because I may not have purchased it based on some of the negative reviews this camera has received. I honestly don't understand them. I have had absolutely no problems with the camera whatsoever. I have obtained sharp photos and great results. When the pictures have turned out poorly it has been my fault or me asking a lens to do something it is not capable of. Experience has taught me what works and what doesn't with this camera and the lenses I have. It has been great to learn on. One day I hope to get a 20D or something like it, but for the near future I will be using and enjoying my Rebel.

 
Tokina 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF-II

atx840af2
Review Date: Aug 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Compact for the focal length, good price, better quality than I expected
Cons:
I have had the AF hunt some when trying to close focus, the close focus distance is longer than I would like

I have used this to take pictures in a variety of circumstances. I first used this lens to take pictures of extremely distant objects with a 2x converter and mounted on a tripod. The results were OK considering the difficult conditions. I next used the lens at a high school football game at night where I got much better results than expected considering the light conditions and the speed of the lens. Finally, I tried to use the lens to take pictures of butterflies in my butterfly garden. The lens was practically useless for this purpose. The AF speed was too slow and most times never did focus. I think it was a problem with the minimum focus distance of the lens. I found my much maligned 75-300 to be much better for this role.

So, it does some things really well, others not well at all. But what choices do you have at this focal length in the price range?

Dan


 
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

ef75_300usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $175.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Cheap, light, small for a tele zoom of this lenght, can produce decent photos
Cons:
Pretty slow, sometimes focus hunts, quality of shots not up to L standards

This is the first lens I purchased for my old film Rebel (my first SLR) and I still have it and it still works. Everyone complains about the build quality of this lens, but I hauled it all over Mexico for two weeks six years ago without any problems and it is still working.

I think you can be happy with this lens if you understand what you are buying. It is an inexpensive, light, slow telephoto zoom. It is for outside in good sun. If you have those conditions, the pictures can be very pleasing. I took the lens out today and took some very nice shots of butterflies in my flowers at 200mm. The bokeh was nice (in my opinion), the colors were bright, some of the shots were excellent. I also took this lens to my son's high school graduation where I was forced to sit in the rafters. At 300mm hand held, inside, I took some decent pictures of him on the floor of the auditorium. I am sure the pictures would have been better with a 300 L, but I can't afford a 300L and probably never will. I am purchasing the 200mm 2.8 L and am sure it will take better pictures than this lens also, but I have to say this has been a good lens to learn and grow with. I have learned about light, shutter speed, f-stop, and so on with this lens. It has been easy to carry, so I have taken it everywhere. It works on my Digital Rebel much better than it did on my film Rebel. It is longer and I can use high ISOs to get more light which this lens needs.

Anyway, if you can't afford an L but want a zoom and will have good light most of the time, go ahead and buy and enjoy.