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  Reviews by: Lance Couture  

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jan 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ is excellent, good price, accurate AF
IQ can be poor at very wide apertures (halation/CA's - read below), bokeh is nervous with busy backgrounds.

I have owned this lens for nearly three years, but I didnt start using it regularly until I bought my 1D2 and 5D some time ago.

I have used it on a 30D, 1D Mark II, and 5D, so I have a very good feel as to how this lens performs.

On the 30D, it is it an odd-ball focal length, and I was never really comfortable using it. The focus was reasonably accurate wide-open, and it is a solid performer. Bokeh with the crop can be a little unsettling.

On my 1D II, this lens took on a new life, and I really fell in love with this lens about two years ago when I started using it to take pictures of my (then) new-born son. Again, not an entirely "natural" FL, but the AF on this lens with my 1D2 was dead-on under all conditions. The AF of the 1D2 really made this lens sing under any condition.

On my 5D, well, this is my lens of choice, 90% of the time. The AF accuracy suffers a little, but the IQ is outstanding for such an inexpensive lens.

The achilles heel of this lens is the wicked halation and horrid CA's at 1.4, but this is only *under very harsh light* where there are very high contrast borders.

Under most other lighting conditions, the CA's (mostly purple and green fringing) and halation are non-existent at 1.4 and are all but gone by 1.8.

Bokeh on this lens is quite good, but I have found the bokeh to be quite nervous with a busy background, so one must take care to really watch your background while shooting with this lens. This condition is made worse with a crop, in my experience.

My copy of this lens is very sharp at 1.4 and eye-bleedingly sharp by f/1.8 to f/2.2.

All-in-all, I love this lens, but I do wish it had USM. If it did, it would be damn-near perfect, imo. However, as it stands, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an AF 50mm for their Canon body. It's a winner.

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

Review Date: Aug 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Wonderful IQ, build quality, light weight
Focus/friction ring, slow aperture

I bought this lens to cover a large dog trial event. Each of the 4 days went from approx 5 AM to 12 AM, so I was able to shoot with this lens from dusk until dark every day.

Coupled with my 1D Mark II, it was an outstanding combination for daytime shooting. I would not recommend this lens for shooting fast-moving subjects around dusk or dawn. f/5.6 is deathly slow for shooting when the sun is going down, and even under stadium flood lights. If you are shooting with a camera which can do 3200 ISO an above cleanly (1D3, 1Ds3, 5D2), then you should be able to mitigate this somewhat.

The push/pull aspect is absolutely nothing to get used to. I was immediately comfortable with it, and I can honestly say, for shoots fast-moving subject which are travelling in many directions, I actually prefer it now to twist zoom.

The thing which I do not like about this lens, is the focus ring and zoom friction adjustment ring are back-to-back. A couple of times, I had wanted to adjust the friction, ended up moving the focus ring, which was enough to put the AF too far out of whack before it could re-adjust, and I lost the shot.

So, I ended up just loosening the ring all the way, and quickly tightening it if I needed to move place.

The IQ on this lens is great. It's in the same ball park as my 70-200/2.8. I have a very late model one (May 09 date code), so that may have something to do with it. Colour/contrast are very good, and it is *sharp*.

This lens is much lighter to use than my 70-200/2.8 as well, which made it very easy to use hand-held. I used it 80% of the time on a monopod though. The IS worked very, very well too.

I have even tried some macro with it as well, coupled with my 500D close up lens, which turned out far better than I expected.

Personally, I wouldnt mind if this lens was a little bigger if it meant some increased speed at the long-end, but that would most likely alter the price quite severely.

Overall, this lens is a bargain at its price. I highly recommend it.

If you wish to see shots taken with this lens, you can go here:

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Aug 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Stunning IQ, smooth bokeh, wonderful contrast and colour, IS, wonderful low-light performance, 77m filters, L-quality glass
COST!! No lens hood, non-L

I bought a 30D a few weeks back - my first dSLR.

I have had high-end PnS's for a few years, and was into film a bit when I was in high-school (about 20 years ago).

I originally bought a Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC macro as my walk-around lens for my 30D. After a couple of weeks frustrated with soft, barrel-distorted images on two different Sigmas, I took them back and test-drove the 17-55 around the camera store and the building in which it was located.

I was blown away by the quality of the images. The colours/contrast/sharpness/bokeh reminded me of my 70-200 f/2.8L - they were that good.

I have noticed a very slight barrel distortion at 17mm, 2.8, but it only requires a very minor correction in <insert your fav PP application here>. I have not noticed the vignetting which many people see, but I have not taken any shots where I have a very uniform, bright background.

I'm not concerned about this being an EF-S mount lens. If I decide to go to a FF or 1.3 crop, I will buy an EF mount L lens, and leave this one on my 30D and keep both - its that good.

The cost of this lens is ludicrous. For this price, it really should be an L lens, considering its glass is pretty much L quality. The only things that this lens is missing to make it an L, are the metal body, weather sealing, and a hood.

Yes, the non-included hood is a rip-off at this lens' price, but honestly, big deal. I hopped on eBay and bought one for $24 + $8 shipping. For anyone who's buying the $80 over-the-counter hoods at their local shop, check your head, and buy it on-line.

I have not noticed any dust collecting in the lens yet, and I'm hoping that I will not come across that issue.

The IS has been a boon for low-light shooting, and also for my wife. I can hand-hold shots up to a second long, sometimes longer, and have them turn out - something which should not be possible. My wife on the other hand, has a terrible time HH'ing shots even in good light. With IS, she is happily able to use the camera now under most normal conditions.

I would like a bit more reach, but if I really wanted it, I would have bought something else.

All-in-all, imnsho, this is the best walk-around lens you can get for your EF-S mount camera, although, it might be a bit big for the Rebel series, depending on one's taste. The cost though, will be a deterring factor for many.