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Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 with Softfocus

ef135mmf_28soft_1_
Review Date: Feb 21, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light, sharp without SF effect, good value, decent AF speed and not too noisy. Considering the age and introduction of the lens, it still holds its own like the 50/2.5 Compact Macro -- two great lenses.
Cons:
None, knowing what you are buying.

The lens is really quite sharp without applying the SF, from f/4 on. The SF can be decreases with smaller apertures. The #1 setting at f/5.6 only has a hint of softness and halo. The #2 setting is pretty "normal" at f/8. The SF effect is enhanced as the lens is opened up toward f/2.8. For me, the effect is too strong at #2 setting f/2.8 and needs to be nearer to f/5.0 to not seem too overdone.

Very good balance on 1D-series cameras like the 1Ds3.

This should make a nice companion to my 50L.


 
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

3_5-5
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Most useful focal range for travel. Great IQ. Light weight.
Cons:
None

It's not an "L" lens in build and sealing, but the IQ of mine equals L. I've used this on my 60D for a number of events with terrific results, although I generally prefer full frame. This lens lives on my 60D. I've heard of sample variation, but this can be used wide open. At f/8 its amazing throughout its entire range, making it a terrific travel lens. Equal to 24-136mm in full frame. The IS helps make up for the f/5.6 minimum aperture around 85mm. I wish Canon made an equivalent full frame version -- I'd buy it in a second.

 
Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM

ef35_350_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Amazing color rendition -- great for skin tones. Very nice focal range. Super build quality.
Cons:
I like IS and the wider 28-300L, but I think this has the better imaging of the two. Yes, it's heavy and big -- duh!

I loved this lens and would have kept it, but moved up to the 28-300L instead because:
1) IS (possibly snappier AF)
2) 28mm

Otherwise, I think this lens had slightly better IQ, and certainly a richer, warmer image tone. Really some elegant images from this lens. Even though it's softer from 300-350, I miss that range. At f/8, this lens really shines throughout its entire range.

A real bargain for L quality below $1000.

I had to sell to pay for the 28-300L, but thought about keeping it anyway!


 
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

ef28-300_35-56lisu
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,700.00

 
Pros: Amazing range and IQ. Great rendition of skin tones, with great tonal transition. Built like a tank.
Cons:
Obviously it's heavy and bulky! :) You know that going into it!

I bought used and consider this one of the best deals I've gotten and it is one of my very favorite lenses. I know this goes against the "prime crowd", but I find this lens so very useful for covering events and activities. It is an amazing "people lens" with great skin tones and soft transitions of edges -- but still a very sharp lens.

Can be used wide open with good results -- that's why it's an "L".

Coupled with the 16-35L II, there are very few tasks these two lenses can't handle.

Works best on a large 1D-series or 5D-series with battery grip.


 
Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

ef28_200usm_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $225.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Pleasantly surprised, good focal range, decent IQ, very compact.
Cons:
Loose fitting build, not great on sides/corners.

After trying the 28-105 and 24-85 and getting very poor results, this was a step up in quality and image range. I had been using the 24-70L, and knew this was not in the same league but was looking for a wider range for event coverage. This lens got me interested enough to buy the 35-350L, which I was blown away by, leading me to buy the 28-300L. Although you get what you pay for, this lens covers a lot of the same ground as the 28-300L at a small fraction of the cost, and is better IQ than the two lenses listed at the beginning here.

 
Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

ef_28-105_35
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very appealing focal range.
Cons:
Disappointing optical performance.

I had hoped this would be a good light weight knock-around lens, but optical performance wasn't adequate for me.

The final straw was a helicopter assignment near the beach on a very hazy, but sunny day with distant views. I shot this lens side by side against the 24-70L, and this was terrible away from center for sharpness at f/5.6-8, and it had color shift as well. Granted, these are extreme price and quality lenses, but the 28-105 can't be recommended for anything other than snapshots.


 
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef_24-85_35_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Good focal range.
Cons:
Disappointing optical performance.

I bought used to see what the lens would be like. It offers a useful range, but unfortunately, not optical performance that can be used for top quality, or even good enough for professional work. Spend the extra to get a 24-105L.

 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great coverage of the most-used focal lengths for activities. Fast aperture. Very sharp.
Cons:
Bulky and heavy.

My most-used lens for all sorts of events and activities. Not the greatest as a travel lens due to its size and weight, but performance is impressive, and unparalleled for quite a long time.

Still a contender for great shots, I don't feel any need to trade up to the new version II just yet.

Mine has impressive IQ over the whole length, and acts almost like a macro at 70mm with its close focusing.


 
Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef17_35_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great value as a used lens.
Cons:
Older design and optics.

I used this lens for many years as my extreme wide angle zoom. In conjunction with the original 24 TS-E I covered all sorts of architectural assignments, covering both indoors and out.

The lens has been superseded in IQ by the 16-35L II. But the 17-35 is still viable, especially with LR3 and LR4. As a used bargain lens at this time, it surpasses almost anything else in its price range and is quite usable at f/2.8 for the center of the frame.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazingly versatile lens.
Cons:
Soft corners -- check for decentering.

One of my all time favorite and most-used Canon lenses.

There are reports of unit variation, and mine had slightly de-centered element, which was repaired by Canon under warranty, giving me a kick-ass lens. The center is very sharp at f/2.8, and corners are very good at f/8. So, if you aren't happy with IQ, send it to Canon -- you should expect the lens to perform well.

This is may preferred travel walk-around lens -- I can go all day without camera bag or additional lens.

Combined with the 28-300L, these two lenses can cover almost any assignment when you don't know what you are walking into, giving 16-300mm coverage.


 
Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

24tse
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing lens -- a must for anyone who enjoys outdoor or architectural photography.
Cons:
Bulky

One of my very favorite "core" lenses. I'm the perfect demographic for this lens: I like outdoors and buildings, and I insist on excellent detail and image control. Coming from 4x5 shooting, this is a natural fit, but it is easy enough for beginners to pick up. Great images can be had without any adjustments -- it is one of Canon's premier lenses within all the "L" lenses.

Although bulky, it is not overly heavy, and I do a lot of shooting hand held.


 
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

efs60_28macro_usm
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: An absolute gem! Amazing IQ -- super sharp. Magnification slightly beyond 1:1! Possibly the very best APS-C lens Canon makes with regard to IQ.
Cons:
None

I sold this after buying the 100L IS for my full frame gear -- this was redundant at the equivalent of 96mm, without IS. But if I hadn't bought the 100L, I would have keep this lens. I miss it, but wouldn't use it enough.

I think this lens has the best IQ of any Canon APS-C lens.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

ef_50_25c_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing IQ at a bargain price!
Cons:
Older EF lens design: slow, noisy AF, tiny focus ring.

One of my favorite Canon lenses. Superb IQ from 1:2 to infinity. Plenty fast enough to use as a general lens. Loved the look on a 1D-series 1.3X crop -- great for detail shots and vignettes.

The AF is a bit creaky, but it is precise and that's what counts in my book. I want keeper shots, and this lens supplies them.

Of course it would be nice if it were updated and had IS, but he cost would go up to $700 then, instead of the pleasing $200 it can be found for used or refurb.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Terrific imaging, great size.
Cons:
Micro USM motor, older EF lens design.

Great lens for the price.

Often criticized, but it is hard to fault the imaging. I've read some Zeiss fans say the lens is "flat", but I disagree. The lens has very nice tones and is very sharp. I prefer it to the ZE 50/1.4, and it doesn't have that lens' severe focus shift.

If I sound bitter about the ZE, I am. Wink I sold this Canon to help finance the ZE, only to find out it was no better in imaging for my needs, and had the worst focus shift I'd ever seen. Sold it, and that adventure left me without this nice Canon.

Needs to be redesigned and rebuild for the mechanics, but the optics are first class.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing bokeh, IQ is incredible from soft wide open to sharp smaller apertures. Size is manageable, not too big or heavy. Impressive build quality.
Cons:
Price? It's been out of my reach for a long time.

Amazing lens! Beautiful bokeh (and I'm not a bokeh fanatic) and smooth tonal transitions up to 2.8. From there it is as sharp as you could hope for from a 50mm.

I've only used it through the CPS program to shoot a wedding and do some prep shots and personal stuff afterward, but I absolutely fell in love with this lens and its images, especially from f/1.2 to 1.8 on a 1Ds2 -- such lovely transitions between tones, but also super sharp at f/4!

I've got to buy this lens, even though I'm usually an f/8 kind of guy, this won me over.


 
Canon EF 35mm f/2

ef35mmf2_1_
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very handy small size, impressive IQ.
Cons:
Older EF lens design, small focus ring.

I bought this lens second (or third hand) after seeing comparison against more expensive lenses, including the 35/1.4L. The IQ is extremely good from f/4 on, and has pleasing OOF areas more wide open -- it is a handy AF lens to shoot at f/2 -- completely usable. Small and light weight with a terrific price -- what's not to like?

 

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