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Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF

20_f1_8_1_
Review Date: Dec 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Fast, Cheap, and solid build, excellent control of linear distortion, nice warm colour rendition.
Cons:
Soft(unusable until f/2.2), Awkward rubbery finish, size and weight, AF hunts in low light

Great value for the money,

First thing to note is the build quality, this lens is heavy but it feels solid in the hands. However it has an odd rubbery finish what I'd be afraid to scratch off with my nails or something. It also came with a nice case and a lens hood that fits nice and tight.

First took a shot at f/1.8 LOTS of light fall off, made the image very soft. f/2.0 still the same but marginally better. f/2.2 is a dramatic improvement, still a little soft. f/2.8 much better, now at the point of being usable.

here are some comparison shots I did in a zip file:
http://efm7.24ppqn.com/misc/sigma20mm.zip

I bought this lens for the purpose of nightlife photography, AF is useless in low light without an AF assist beam, so for the most part I ended up shooting with a flash with an AF illuminator, shooting at f/4, which kind of takes away the initial appeal of the lens in the first place (the ability to shoot in low light at big apetures without flash) still a little soft even at higher apertures, maybe I had a bad copy as everyone seems to have different experiences with this lens.

I no longer have this lens as I traded it in for a Canon 24mm f/2.8, which is not as wide or fast but it is sharper and smaller.


 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Dec 4, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $516.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: IS helps in in handheld operation, good range, USM, Very Sharp
Cons:
HORRIBLE light fall-off at wide and tele ends, second gen IS, heavy, bad build quality, moderate chromatic abberations

At first I got the 28-105mm 3.5-4.5 USM II and I loved it, and I thought that if I got the 28-135 with IS I would love it even more since it has an extea 30mm of reach and has IS, so I exchanged the 28-105 for the 28-135, took it home, did some typical test shots I do with all my lenses. Took it out for the weekend, took a few hundred shots, big dissappointment.

It's just as sharp as the 28-105 but a lot more light falloff at the wide end and and even more at the the long end. (worse than my 18-55 kit lens!). There are noticable chromatic abbertations. Mild at the wide end, severe at the long end, even when stopped down to f/9.

IS was nice, although it had a slight learning curve (technique) compared to a 3rd generation IS lens, I found it worked best at 1/15s and faster.

Overall most of the shots were low contrast due to the light falloff. This lens made me miserable.

I think canon failed to understand that a physically bigger lens would require a little bit more structural integrity in its design. The built quality of this lens is sloppy. The barrel was loose and the zoom ring warped if I held it tight. When zooming it would make a squeaking sound. and the zoom would creep between 100mm and 50mm. And the lens hood was a little loose.

I ended up taking it back to the store and getting my 28-105 back, now im happy

Perhaps I had a bad copy, because I did buy it used and I noticed a huge scratch in one of the IS elements, meaning the guy who had it before me must have opened it up, maybe to clean it, and slipped with whatever tool he/she was using. Either way i'm glad it's gone.