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Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

efs55-250_f4is_586x225_1_
Review Date: Jul 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, image quality, stabilization, weight
Cons:
focus speed not as fast at USM

You will not, I repeat NOT, find a zoom lens at this price point that provides you with finer images. Sharpness is outstanding, and color/contrast very good, but if you need more, it is simply a matter of you working your camera or software a bit. Set yourself a nice custom picture style in your Canon menu, and get nice, punchy and sharp images with no post processing. I.S. works great. For approx 200 US Dollars, this is the best you will get. Just buy it already unless you plan to spend much more.

Of course - my review assumes you are using a crop body, not full-frame.


 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Jun 18, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $175.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Versatile zoom range, IS, full-time manual focus over-ride, fast, quiet focus
Cons:
Zoom Creep, 28mm not wide enough on crop body

The 28-135mm IS is a worthy lens in my opinion. Lens creep can be a bit annoying, but it isn't a very long fall and the versatility of zoom range, quick and silent auto-focus, and outstanding Image Stabilization make it well worth dealing with a few inches of creep. And don't forget, you also get full-time manual focus over-ride, and that is EXTREMELY convenient.

I find the lens sharp and the contrast very good. I personally use a Custom Image Parameter setting and beef up the in camera sharpness a couple of notches.

Biggest drawback is 28mm is not much of a wide angle on a crop body, but I like zoom flexibility more, so it is worth it to me. Buy a cheap, used or refurb 18-55 IS if you need extra wide angle for 100 bucks.