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Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM

ef600mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Apr 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp images, great bokeh at even f/8, takes pictures like no other Canon lens.
Cons:
It could weigh less :-). The first one arrived with a huge front focus issue, second one is perfect. A family member's first one was soft, not quite sure where focus was.

It's a huge monster to drag around but it you need it, or think you need it, there is nothing like it. Shooting Ironman cycling the bokeh was incredible even at f/8. For surfing it has excellent reach. Feather and fur details are excellent.

The 600 works equally well with a 1D2N or a 5D. For extra apparent reach hang a 1.6 CF camera on it. For shooting looser hang a FF camera on it. Image quality with an Extender 1.4 II is still better than many lesser lenses. It's even fun shooting closeups of kids in the backyard (from the other side of the yard!).

It does take some technique to master it. I found it much harder to use than my 300mm f/2.8 IS. The narrow view angle means that IS is less effective than with wider view lenses. As much as I like my 300mm there is just no comparison to the look of images taken with the 600mm.

If Canon could deliver properly adjusted products to the final user my ratings would be 10. Two out of three copies that I've personally tried were not unsable. My replacement, from B&H of course, is perfect.

My advise? Get one but get it about 30 days before you really need it so that any quality issues can be dealt with.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jan 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Works beautifully on my 1D Mark II N but on the 5D it's something else. It's small, light, built like a tank and just plain works great.
Cons:
Slightly soft in the edges, lots of distortion wide open, a fair amount of CA

I bought mine in April of '04. I had just sold my Digital Rebel with its 18-55 lens and I needed "wide" for my new 10D. It did the job and has always been a favorite though not very much used lens.

Then I bought a 5D. The 17-40 is terrific on that body. A 5D and a 17-40, that's what real 35mm photography is about. Whether it's a room full of kids or a championship HS basketball team facing photographers and TV people all crowding in for their shots the 17-40/5D gets the job done.