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Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very good build quality, weather sealed, good zoom range, very sharp (even at f/4), good contrast
Vignetting on the wide end, even when stopped down

I'm using this lens on a full-frame camera (the 5D). I mainly do travel photography, where I usually don't have a lot of time to carefully set up a shot: I often need to capture moments quickly.

The zoom range of this lens is nice; I like the fact that it goes up to 105mm, and I would feel restricted by for example a 24-70. The build quality of this lens is very good, it feels very solid and the weather sealing is very useful to keep out dust and moisture.

It's an L lens, which means that I expect the lens to have great image quality across the whole zoom range and aperture range. With regard to sharpness and contrast it meets my expectations - even wide open the sharpness is very good, and colors are vivid and have good contrast.

However, this lens is not perfect. One major flaw is that it vignettes quite a lot on the wide end, between 24mm and approximately 30mm. Even when stopped down to for example f/8 the vignetting is very apparent at 24mm. I find this disappointing for an L lens. You probably won't notice the vignetting at all when using this lens on a camera with a crop factor.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Feb 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, also at f/4. Very good IS. Good build quality, weather sealing. Relatively lightweight, relatively small.
Expensive compared to the non-IS version.

The quality of this lens is excellent. It's very sharp, also at f/4 - as I expect from a Canon L lens. The build quality is very good, with weather sealing to protect the lens and camera from dust, dirt and moisture.

Size and weight are important factors for me, as I mainly make photos when I travel. The 70-200 f/4 L IS is a lot smaller and almost half the weight of the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS.

Compared to the 70-200 f/4 L without IS, this lens is expensive. I paid 930 for the version with IS, and the version without costs around 650 here. That's a lot of money to pay just for IS, but it's worth it - the IS works really well and makes the lens a lot more useable.

I use the lens on the 5D and together with the 24-105 f/4 L IS this makes a great travel photography kit.

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Mar 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp wide open, good colours and contrast. Fast AF. Good build quality. Relatively light and small. Black, so it's not as conspicuous as other L tele lenses. Good price for such a great lens.
It would have been even better with IS. No rubber weather sealing ring.

I wanted an L tele lens and considered the following options:

70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM - Great lens, but very big, heavy and expensive.
70-200 f/4 L USM - Also very good, but f/4 and no IS. I wanted at least f/2.8 or IS.
300 f/4 L IS USM - Ofcourse also very good, but big and heavy.

So I chose 200 f/2.8 L II USM because it's f/2.8, it's relatively light and small (only half the weight of the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS) and it's not too expensive (about the same price as the 70-200 f/4 L). I also got a Canon EF 1.4x extender with it, which makes it a very good 280mm f/4.

Ofcourse IS would have made this lens even nicer.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Aug 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $449.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, great image quality, very fast AF, light weight, internal focussing

This is a great lens - the image quality is super, better than any of my zoom lenses and better than my EF 50 f/1.8 II.
I don't understand the comments below about slow AF. The AF is very fast with this lens on my 10D.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Aug 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,299.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, black, inconspicuous, good optical quality, very good image stabilizer, zoom lock
High price, relatively heavy, not super sharp most of the time

I wanted a high quality telezoom lens.

I've read many reviews about the various Canon EF 75-300 lenses and in most reviews people complained about the lack of sharpness, especially at the long end.

I know the 70-200 L lenses are optically excellent, but because they are big, heavy, white and very conspicuous, they are not very practical in some circumstances - for example, when I'm on holiday it would attract too much attention and would be too big and heavy to carry around all day.

The 70-300 DO was just what I was waiting for: small, easy to carry around, inconspicuous and high optical quality. The 2-mode image stabilizer works great and another plus over the 70-200 L's is the extra range up to 300mm.

Con: It's expensive for a non-L lens. Most of the time it seems to be not as sharp as my other lenses (17-40L, 28-135, 50 f/1.8 II, 100 f/2.8 Macro).

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jan 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $699.95 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, affordable "L" quality, doesn't extend or rotate when zooming, rubber sealing around lens mount, small and light, ideal for digital SLRs like 10D and 300D
77mm filters are expensive, focal length of 40mm is sometimes too short for me

This is my first "L" lens. Compared to my 28-135 IS USM (which also isn't a bad lens!), it has much more a look and feel of high quality, because it's made of metal instead of plastic and it isn't a bit loose, like the 28-135. The 17-40 doesn't extend and the front element doesn't rotate when zooming; the zoom mechanism is entirely internal. That's good, because it doesn't suck in dust or dirt when zooming. It also has a rubber weather seal around the lens mount to prevent moisture and dirt from coming into the lens and camera.

I haven't done any specific tests, but when I develop my RAW images (using CaptureOne), I can see that with my default settings, the images taken with the 17-40 look a bit over-sharpened - it looks like the 17-40 is noticeably sharper than the 28-135.

For general, "walk-around" use on my 10D, the zoom range is very useful but I find that sometimes 40mm isn't long enough and I have to switch lenses.