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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Feb 23, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,749.00

 
Pros: Image Quality, Bokeh, Sharpness, IS, Build Quality, functionality of the IS, great book (manual), comes with Tripod collar, hood, bag... I happen to like the white barrel, weather sealing is a nice touch...
Cons:
I don't like the feel of the hood when I go to mount it, perhaps that will go away with use.

Well, paying retail for this L lens it is still worth every penny. I am using it to shoot weddings and it will pay for it's self shortly.

Some people complain about the lens being white, but I feel like it is important to have your client know that you have purchased the best out there for the job. Perhaps if I were out in public more trying to get candids it would be important to me to have a subtle lens, but that isn't why I picked this gem up.

The weight is nicely balanced with my 40D, and I am sure that it would be even better with a little more bulk on the cameras end.

I never understood what people were saying about a lens responding well to post sharpening, or that it has great colour, but once I downloaded my images (RAW) to my PC and began to edit them in post I realised how much they come alive. The images are extrodinarily vibrant and sharp to begin with, and in post they come alive even more.

I don't know if the bokeh from this lens comes more from the sum of the elements, the 8 blade apeture, it's shape or what, but prior to owning this lens I thought that once you have blurred the background that you're good... not quite the case, sure my 50mm f/1.8 makes the background go away, but the 70-200 IS makes the background turn into art.

Prior to purchasing the 70-200 2.8 IS I considered the 2.8 L (non IS), two copies of the sigma 70-200 2.8 and the tamron 2.8.
I was impressed with the 2.8 L non IS, but felt that the sigma or Tamron could probably do as great of a job for less money, and I would end up getting the IS version later on down the road, so I had sort of ruled out the 70-200 2.8 L on those merits, and decided to test the 3rd party offerings...

The tamron got ruled out immediatley because I didn't like the push/pull to go from manual to autofocus,it was noisey, and I didn't like the feel of the lens (but the price was great).

The first sigma I tested front-focused, and I felt like the contrast was rather flat.... sort of like the look of snow a week after the last snowstorm when all the soot and exhaust dust has settled on it and there is this vague sense of yuck, but it's still pretty..... the second one wouldn't even lock focus (and we tested it in the store on my 40D, a 50D and a xsi).

After the second sigma I tested I decided to finally pick up the 70-200 2.8 IS, and as soon as I heard the subtle *ching* of the IS kicking in, and saw that at 200mm focal length 1/30 shutter speed is possible handheld (versus struggling for 1/120 without the IS) I was sold. I broke out the plastic and purchased the lens which I knew I would end up with after all (just a lot earlier than I expected)

This is my first "L" Lens and I am impressed with everything on it. The only thing I can really complain about is that the hood mounting and removal doesn't seem to come as naturally as it should, I feel like I try and drive the hood over a burr unless it is seated perfectly in the slot.

Also, the USM is silky smooth and quiet, and I have yet to accidentally bump any of the IS or focus switches on the side of the lens. The first thing I did when I picked this lens up was to mount a 77mm UV filter to protect my investment.

Happy shooting!


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Feb 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IS, great colour, beautiful bokeh, Build quality, Finish, includes Lens Hood (felt lined), Includes tripod collar, includes bag, well written manual, looks professional, full time manual focus.
Cons:
I don't like the way the hood fits on the lens, maybe time will fix it.

Well, paying retail for this L lens it is still worth every penny. I am using it to shoot weddings and it will pay for it's self shortly.

Some people complain about the lens being white, but I feel like it is important to have your client know that you have purchased the best out there for the job. Perhaps if I were out in public more trying to get candids it would be important to me to have a subtle lens, but that isn't why I picked this gem up.

The weight is nicely balanced with my 40D, and I am sure that it would be even better with a little more bulk on the cameras end.

I never understood what people were saying about a lens responding well to post sharpening, or that it has great colour, but once I downloaded my images (RAW) to my PC and began to edit them in post I realised how much they come alive. The images are extrodinarily vibrant and sharp to begin with, and in post they come alive even more.

I don't know if the bokeh from this lens comes more from the sum of the elements, the 8 blade apeture, it's shape or what, but prior to owning this lens I thought that once you have blurred the background that you're good... not quite the case, sure my 50mm f/1.8 makes the background go away, but the 70-200 IS makes the background turn into art.

Prior to purchasing the 70-200 2.8 IS I considered the 2.8 L (non IS), two copies of the sigma 70-200 2.8 and the tamron 2.8.
I was impressed with the 2.8 L non IS, but felt that the sigma or Tamron could probably do as great of a job for less money, and I would end up getting the IS version later on down the road, so I had sort of ruled out the 70-200 2.8 L on those merits, and decided to test the 3rd party offerings...

The tamron got ruled out immediatley because I didn't like the push/pull to go from manual to autofocus,it was noisey, and I didn't like the feel of the lens (but the price was great).

The first sigma I tested front-focused, and I felt like the contrast was rather flat.... sort of like the look of snow a week after the last snowstorm when all the soot and exhaust dust has settled on it and there is this vague sense of yuck, but it's still pretty..... the second one wouldn't even lock focus (and we tested it in the store on my 40D, a 50D and a xsi).

After the second sigma I tested I decided to finally pick up the 70-200 2.8 IS, and as soon as I heard the subtle *ching* of the IS kicking in, and saw that at 200mm focal length 1/30 shutter speed is possible handheld (versus struggling for 1/120 without the IS) I was sold. I broke out the plastic and purchased the lens which I knew I would end up with after all (just a lot earlier than I expected)

This is my first "L" Lens and I am impressed with everything on it. The only thing I can really complain about is that the hood mounting and removal doesn't seem to come as naturally as it should, I feel like I try and drive the hood over a burr unless it is seated perfectly in the slot.

Also, the USM is silky smooth and quiet, and I have yet to accidentally bump any of the IS or focus switches on the side of the lens. The first thing I did when I picked this lens up was to mount a 77mm UV filter to protect my investment.

Happy shooting!


 
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO MACRO HSM

145_small_1_
Review Date: Feb 10, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $799.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Fast focusing (HSM), great build quality (solid feeling), comes with hood and tripod mount.
Cons:
Quality control- tested two before giving up and not buying one for myself.

I really wanted to be able to purchase this lens. Unfortunatley (for the canon mount) I didn't have much luck.

(I tested both lenses on my new Canon 40D)
The first lens I tested at one local shop front focused, perhaps my test wasn't too scientific, but I centered my focus mark on an open book page (with the book at an angle) and you could see that the main focal point was well in front of where I had focused. That and there was some pretty bad CA in the text. The only reason I mention this first test is that I had an opportunity to duplicate it with a canon L and you could see the focus spread both in front and behind my center point. The first lens was the better of the two.

The second one I was really rooting for, in fact I had looked at the Tamron (too plastic feeling, and the AF is too noisy) and the canon non IS (too expensive). When I went to duplicate the same test as I had with the first one the lens simply began focus hunting and would not lock focus. We tried to use the lens with a 50D and a xsi with the same results. At that point I decided that I had might as well bite the bullet and went with the canon 70-200 2.8L IS.

Perhaps the sigma could have been a great lens, but if you do decide to buy one I would either try and buy it locally where you can test it extensivly or order it well in advance to when you actually need it as I would have been furious if I had ordered this lens before a big event or trip only to find that it wouldn't lock focus at any focal length or apeture.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.


 
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

111_small
Review Date: Feb 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 10mm on the wide end, lightweight, HSM, the rectilinear doesn't screw with lines if you're looking straight at something (versus fisheyes), Great build quality, comes with case and pouch, great value, plus plenty of other things I can't even think of....
Cons:
Hard to think of any.... if anything I wish that the near focus distance was 6" versus 12" to be able to mess with perspective even more.... that and I would GLADLY PAY twice the price for a f/2.8 version. It's only good on a cropped sensor camera....

First off, I have owned this lens since August, 2008, it's now February 1st 2009. I have had NO PROBLEMS with my 10-20, and I use it daily. I can't imagine anyone complaining about this lens. I have used it on a rebel "300D" and a 40D.... more on that later.

Now for my review:
This is a fun lens! Keep this in mind when you want to use it, it screws with perspective.... the closer things are to the lens, the bigger they are, and this can make a big difference doing a simple portrait with someone holding something "in your face" at arms length.

I have used this lens for industrial photography as well as the flickr 365 project, and it is very versatile, when photographing CNC machines it is often the case that they are so big that with a "normal" wide angle zoom (18mm) won't come close to letting you get the machine in one frame, so long as I set up with a tripod and keep it level, the lines really do appear square to the point that only small adjustments are needed to fix anything.

A lot of people complain about the finish, and a lot of people love the finish. I'm with the other half who loves the finish and the build of this lens. I am also grateful for the HSM's full time manual which makes me comfortable handing the camera over to an ametuer to frame and shoot me (they always grab the focus ring to try and zoom in!!!)

I think very highly of this lens. In fact when I was looking to move to a new camera I was considering a used 5D or the 40D new, and decided to go with the 40D based on the fact that I wanted to continue using this lens while I build up my glass to go with a FF body.... and I intend to keep the 40D to still be able to use this lens.

Yes, pointing at the sun will cause abberations (sun-spots), and you can lose some (a lot) of contrast if you're not concentrating on your setup, and you can forget about using the on-camera flash.... not that this is a bad thing as you should have at least a decent speedlite by now anyway ;-)

Bottom line: go for it. If you have any sort of a sense of humor you will have a blast with it. If you have any sort of imagination there is no limit with what you can do with this lens. Also, if you don't have a speedlite yet, not to worry, this lens is great in most light, but it gets better with a nice speedlite.


 
Sigma 28-300 f3.5-6.3 Macro

28_300_macro
Review Date: Apr 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $249.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: A lot of Zoom for the price, Zoom Lock, Macro Feature, Compact, Lightweight, Great softness for portraits
Cons:
Slow focus on my 300D, noticably better on a 400D... Shallow focus field, with lots of hunting. (this is a Macro Lens, so is that really a con?), the 3.5 seems okay, but on the zoom end, the F6.3 eats up a lot of light.

I have had this lens for 4 months now, and I would purchase it again in the same situation, or any other situation.

Yes, the 28mm is a bit too long as a short lens, and on the long end the F6.3 makes the lens a light hog, in the bright sun, it's a great lens, and you cans stop it down and get some great shots.

The one thing that I feel that most reviewers miss about this phenominal lens is that it is a MACRO LENS. So, I would imagine that the focus would be a bit soft, and shallow, but I have taken some great portraits with this lens, and I regularly use it to take some pretty nice wildlife shots.

I am by no means a Professional photographer.... I think that I understand Bokeh, and how stopping down a lens will lend it's self to clearer shots with a greater DOF, and this lens certainlly does what is asked of it: Focusing on an object UP CLOSE will allow the lens to focus on it just like a Macro Lens and blur out the background (hence the softness complaints?)

Having seen/heard all of the complaints about the lens being a light hog, I will agree, and suggest that one take the money saved on the other lens you would have purchased (28-70 and 70-300mm?) and spend it on a decent tripod, and a really nice Flash Setup complete with wireless slaves to combat the lack of light and make you lens a bit faster. (someone told me that a flash will be more bang for the buck than faster glass, and I think that they were right)

I hope that this sounded like the positive review it was meant to be, I really like this lens, I do wish that I went to 18mm, and went down to 2.8 for the whole range of the zoom, but didn't pay for that, so I'll get a nice 17-35mm f2.8 with the money I saved to round out my glass package.
-Mark