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

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Jul 2, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,050.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Usable zoom range, very sharp wide open, fast & quiet AF, 3-4 stop IS, great contrast and color
Cons:
Distortion and vignetting wide open (especially on full frame), a little soft at 105mm, can develop zoom creep but that is fixable

The old phrase, "Get the shot," applies perfectly to this lens. Canon's 24-105/L served as my primary walk-around lens for years on my 1D MkII and continues to do so on my 5D MkIII. It's reasonable weight, excellent IQ, practical zoom range, fast focus and stable IS have enabled me to quickly capture great images on the go. The lens' range is most usable on full frame but I rarely found myself unable to shoot what I needed on my 1D's 1.25x crop. I believe, however, that a 1.6x camera would really need something wider. The vignetting and barrel distortion on the wide end can easily be corrected in post but, unfortunately, the minor softness on the long end cannot. All zooms have their compromises but, overall, the 24-105 excels.

 
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

sigma50-14jpg
Review Date: Jun 13, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Sturdy build, beautiful background bokeh
Cons:
Quality control

After my well-taken-care of Canon 50/1.4's focus motor took a dump, I decided to look for alternatives and found this Sigma to be a very attractive option. What's interesting is I didn't have problems with accurate focus on my 5d MkIII (after a little micro-adjustment tuning, of course) but, alas, my copy likely had an element or two askew. It was noticeably softer on one side and the focal plane was uneven. Compared to my Canon, it had a nicer bokeh but couldn't touch it as far as sharpness was concerned. I reluctantly sent back the Sigma and am now getting my Canon repaired. I'm bummed because I really had high hopes for this lens.

 
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

18-50f28
Review Date: Nov 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $385.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: F2.8, sharp when stopped down, well-built, light weight
Cons:
Soft wide open, noticable CA, some vignetting on the wide end, AF can overshoot its mark

Very good walk-around lens for 1.6x crop cameras. I had mine rechipped to fix AF issues on my 20D. Since then, it focuses more accurately but still sometimes requires an extra press of the AF button or two. This has the typical Sigma warm color cast but that can be a plus, depending on how you like your photos. Overall, a great lens for the money that gives you F2.8 speed and excellent sharpness from F5.6 onward.

 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Nov 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp! Great contrast and bokeh, fast USM focus, relatively small size yet still built like a tank.
Cons:
No IS, F4

Worked beautifully out of the box on my 20D. As said before, this is an absolute bargain L lens that delivers in every aspect. If this had IS it would be perfect!