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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Screen_Shot_2013-11-16_at_5_30_13_PM
Review Date: Jun 21, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness stunning, weight, balance, size, contrast.
Cons:
Close focus distance. Build not as solid as Mk 1. Cost.

I have had a Mk1 version of this lens for over 10 years and it was used regularly at weddings but not elsewhere due to it's weight.
The Mk 2 version is now on the camera (5D III) all of the time and my 24-105L has been sold as it will not get used.
The Mk2 is far better balanced compared to the Mk 1 - it is not just that it weighs less, the balance is great.
The sharpness is simply stunning and you could not ask for more. Colour / contrast from the lens are a notch up on the Mk1 as well - and that was a great lens.
I am not in love with the cost - 1350 was a lot and that is less than many sellers in the UK offer it for.
I love the lens but notice at close focus it is not as good as the Mk 1 - it won't focus as close and at f2.8 is not as sharp. In all other ways though this lens is far superior.
The lens hood comes off easily and is much smaller than the Mk1. Canon copies of the lens hood are silly money but cheap copies can be had on ebay that are just as effective for only 10.
I had one copy of the Mk2 that was faulty .... so maybe build quality is variable but the 2nd copy was fine. FWIW the first one would not focus sharply at f5.6 let alone f2.8 !
I went away with the other half and we fought over use if this lens ... neither of us wanted the 24-105 we had taken as well !!
My tiny (and they are really) reservations apart ... Buy it, you won't regret it ! Possibly the best lens short of our 70-200 f2.8 IS we have bought over the last 15 years.


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $695.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, weight, not white ! f2 ... Cost.
Cons:
No 'IS'. Sharp but not as sharp as I expected given some reviews.

This lens is very good, as you have probably read from the numerous reviews on it by others (which I too read prior to purchasing it).
It focuses quietly, smoothly and quickly. It does not weigh much compared to other L lenses. It is black as opposed to white (I hate white lenses as everyone looks when you use it!).
It is quite sharp, but not as sharp as my 85 f1.2 nor quite as sharp as I expected - but is excellent nonetheless. f2 is wonderful to isolate and the background bokeh predictably excellent. I was expecting a lens with the sharpness of my old 180mm Macro after reading many reviews - but it is not that sharp. I think the 85 and 180 are the sharpest lenses I have ever used but that is to say they are truly superb as opposed to this bad in any way!
Colour and contrast are great.
Watch your shutter speeds as there is no IS. I am finding 160th of a second is not enough for me to get shots without movement being evident (something I don't normally find a problem.
It is great on my 5D Mk 3 and I would recommend it, especially if looking for this focal length and not wanting to pay for or use a large white 70-200 Smile


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

85II
Review Date: Jul 27, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,395.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp ....
Cons:
Weight, cost. Purple fringing.

I read lots of reviews, hired a copy and then bought one.

I love it. It is silly sharp with a silly shallow DoF which is great to take 'different' shots. Colour and contrast are superb. Focus speed is not too bad really- just don't use it for sports. It is certainly far faster than a 180 macro !

Yes, it weighs a bit but balances well on a 5D3 without the need for the BG-E11 grip.

Beware of the rear element - it is level with the back of the casing and vulnerable to damage. The focus is electric so only works when camera on.

It is a specialist lens which makes you think - it is great. I bought it along with a 50 f1.2 and 135 f2 to try and stop using zooms for a bit Smile


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Jul 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, weight for an L lens. Compact size. Image quality. f1.2 sharp for me !
Cons:
None so far.

I rented a copy of this lens before I bought it. I figured 38 for a day was fair given the write ups on the internet from various users are a bit variable to say the least !

I enjoyed using the rented copy so bought one. I am using it on a 5D Mk 3 and am used to using numerous L lenses as the wife is a professional photographer. Has this lens lived up to expectations ? Err, yes - in fact far more than I expected !!

It is built solidly and it not too heavy. Yes, far heavier than a 50mm f1.8 but then you can't compare the two. One is a pro lens and the other, though a good lens ... is the cheapest 50mm Canon make.

I weighed up whether to try the 50 1.4 but having read a lot thought the extra contrast and detail from the 1.2L was worth a go.

The copy i have is made in 2013 and whilst I think most of the issues people have with this lens are down to either it's design or inexperience I also think Canon has upped their quality control for it in the last couple of years. People now seem to have less issues than the first year or so it was out - back in 2006.

I am aware of the 'focus shift' issues and using it close up at f1.2 is asking for trouble. I haven't bought it for that but tested my copy and found it OK at 1.2 unless at the min focusing distance. Anything over 5 feet and f1.2 was quite sharp ! In fact, far sharper than the hire lens from Calumet. At the min focusing distance issues are a bit hit and miss but f1.2 is truly shallow and your target easily missed hand held.

It gives good clear images with excellent contrast, sharpness and colour. It is a nice weight on a 5D and a good carry around lens to make you think more. I generally use a 24-70 f2.8 or 24-105 f4 ... but am now thinking use primes to stop being lazy. This is only the 2nd Canon prime I have used ... but plan to make more effort in taking photos and using a super hallow depth of field that this lens offers.

I would definitely recommend it but if worried do what I did and rent first. It will not be everyones cup of tea but if considering a lens of this price I guess you know what it is capable of Smile


 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

70-300mm
Review Date: Apr 9, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, focus.
Cons:
Zoom ring the opposite way to what I expected. Cost.

I bought this lens when it was still rather expensive .... but don't regret it as it is so good. Some people wondered where it would sit in Canon's line up but I thought it was just what I wanted for my 5D II ... and I was right.

I use it for weddings and general photography and find it is not too slow in any way for the use I put it to.

The images are the sharpest I have seen from a zoom of this kind except the 70-200 f2.8L. The focus speed is good and the lens though heavy balances better on my 5D than the 70-200. The IS is great though takes a second or so to click in like most IS systems.

It is built like most big L lenses ... like a tank ... but feels OK.

The biggest issue I have with the lens is personal preference really - in that I love the twist zoom style like the 70-200 as opposed to the push pull of a 100-400. The problem is on this lens that the zoom ring is at the front of the barrel - the opposite way round to the 70-200 and I find it ungainly to use .. This is, however, a minor issue for what I consider to be a stunning lens and one I would highly recommend !


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

ef70-300_45-56doisu
Review Date: Mar 7, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Size, black casing.
Cons:
Poor sharpness, poor contrast and colour. Cost

I had high hopes for this lens.... small, not white and very manageable. Am I satified though - NO ! The images I have had from this lens have been poor at all focal lengths, soft and lacking in contrast. It has been very disapointing. I really wanted to like it. It is an ideal travel lens and marketed as 'near' L quality. Well, it isn't near the quality of any of my L lenses..... I have compared it to the 28-300, 100-400 and 70-200 - all of which are in a different league! To be fair they are all huge, heavy and white whereas the 70-300 DO is light by comparison, very compact and black. The trouble is the cost of this DO lens puts it up there with them and not say towards the 75-300 IS.

The size and colour make me want to keep it but I will probably sell it - the image quality just isn't up to the standard I want and am used to.


 
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

1dsmarkii
Review Date: Mar 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,769.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, build, handling, buffer & write speed.
Cons:
Cost, doesn't seem as 'snappy' as a 1D Mk II. Our first 1Ds Mk II was defective with a marked sensor (not dust). To be fair CPS were very good and it was replaced in 2 weeks - which was how long it took for Canon UK to get stock!

It does exactly what I expected it to do - the image quality is stunning. It is just like the 1D Mk II which I love but with a bigger sensor.... perhaps not quite as snappy in use as the 1D Mk II but it is aimed at a slightly different group of photographers.

Everything is spot on - if you are prepared to spend the money you won't be disappointed.



 
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

ef28-300_35-56lisu
Review Date: Aug 31, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, Range, Image Quality, Sharpness, IS
Cons:
Weight and cost..... oh, and weight again!

I bought this after comparing it to my 35-350. Though larger and heavier the IS is a great addition and the image quality was noticeably better than my 35-350 with much better sharpness, contrast and colour. The downside definitely has to be the weight as the image quality and flexibility the lens provides is great. I have no regrets in buying this at all - even if it is very expensive.

 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Aug 13, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,239.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp images, IS, build quality, range
Cons:
Weight, Cost, colour

I've only recently got this lens but have taken alot of shots with it already and been really impressed - I was concerned by some of the reviews saying it's a bit soft at 400mm but I have found my copy very sharp. I also have a 35-350 and though the scales say the 100-400 is heavier it certainly doesn't feel it.... The push pull on my 100-400 is smoother than the 35-350 but I am sure this varies with individual copies of the lens.

I have done a brief test of a static subject using a 70-200 f2.8 with 2x TC at 400mm, a 35-350 at 350mm and the 100-400 at 400mm f5.6. The result was that the 70-200 with the TC attached was clearly the worst for sharpness and contrast; which surpised me as the lens without the TC is a stunner. The 35-350 produced a very good sharp image (which I have come to expect from it) but the 100-400 was noticeably better - sharper and with more contrast.

I look forward to using this lens alot!


 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Jul 21, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,175.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness and contrast, build
Cons:
Cost and weight

I have been really pleased with this lens since getting it to replace my 28-135IS. I don't think the lens is quite as sharp as my 17-40 or 70-200 2.8 but it is very near indeed. It is certainly much better than the 28-135 and that wasn't that bad! The build is superb - but I try not to use the hood so haven't found the problems others mention. It weighs a bit but I don't mind that too much. It's black so doesn't get as much unwanted attention as my 70-200. It is my 'standard' lens when I am feeling sensible and not lugging my 35-350 around.

 
Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM

ef35_350_1_
Review Date: Jul 9, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,480.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Zoom Range, Build, Image quality
Cons:
Weight, Cost

I bought this lens to use on a 10D. I haven't had it long but have taken alot of shots and have been really impressed with the results - others said it was very soft but I have not found that to be the case. It is streets ahead of other 'standard' zooms for quality.... it is just very expensive and heavy!

 
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

ef75_300_1_
Review Date: Jun 24, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Image quality better than you would expect after reading many of the reviews. IS useful
Cons:
Cost compared to non IS version. Slow focusing.

I have just traded this lens for a 70-200L.... but that doesn't mean I didn't like it! I had it for a couple of years and found the image quality to be quite acceptable. If you read many of the reviews of this lens on the different forums you may think it's a bit of a dud - well I had no complaints re the quality. It doesn't cost the same as the L lenses so it is not fair to compare it with them.

The problems I did find were mainly related to the slow focusing ability of the lens. I also think it's a bit dear when you think how much the non IS version costs. The IS worked well but I found I just didn't use the lens that much - mainly due to the poor focusing.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Jun 24, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,570.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp images Quick and reliable autofocus Build IS
Cons:
Weight Attracts attention Cost

I bought this lens recently after reading so many good reviews.... and I can only agree with everyone else's comments. Yes it's heavy, white and costs alot but the results I have had so far show me what a quality bit of kit it is! I bought a converter to use with it and don't regret either purchase - a super lens.

 
Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

ef28_200usm_1_
Review Date: Jun 23, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: Zoom Range & overall flexibility
Cons:
Not sharp compared to other zoom lenses.

I have had this lens about 18 months and only really used it recently - I got it as an addition to my 28-135IS & 75-300IS. The idea was to use it for holidays so I would only have to take the one lens.

When I did start using it I found it produced images which were noticably not as sharp or clear at any focal lengths or apertures than my 28-135IS or indeed my wifes new tiny Tamron 28-200. I thought I may have just had a few bad days so set up numerous boring tests involving this lens and the folllowing to check its quality... the lenses I checked it against were Canon's 24-70L, 28-135IS together with Tamron's newest 28-200 and 28-300 lenses.

The tests showed me I should get rid of this lens as soon as possible - it was noticeably the worst of those I tested. Unsurprisingly the Canon 24-70L looked the best in my tests with the canon 28-135 and the Tamron 28-200 not far behind. The Tamron 28-300 was surpringly good though it only goes to a true 260mm due to its design. The Canon 28-200 was firmly last! Nothing was as sharp as the other lenses and it seemed to regularly back focus which didn't exactly help matters.

If you really want a 28-200 then seriously consider the little Tamron... it's quality is almost identical to my 28-135 and that in itself is not far off what I get from a 24-70L lens!


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jun 20, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness and cost
Cons:
None

I got this lens earlier this week as my first 'L' lens to use with my 10D and to say I have been impressed is an understatement - it is just so much sharper than my 'standard' lenses. I have read lots of reviews of this lens, some of which report softness but my lens is very sharp. Interestingly though, as I was so impressed with it I got a second mortgage and went out and bought two more 'L' lenses : a 24-70 and 70-200IS. The 70-200 is great but the 24-70 is disappointing; no better than my 28-135IS lens and compared to the other two 'L' lenses it is soft! I haven't got enough 'evidence' to return it and try another yet but it begs a queston about Canon's quality control ?????