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  Reviews by: Michael Sanche  

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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

1ef200mmf_28_1_1_
Review Date: Sep 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp. AF is breathtakingly fast and accurate. Color and Contrast is outstanding. Lens is visually attractive. Light. Small compared to 70-200. Built like a tank.
Cons:
None.

After many years with zooms.....and having to set MFA as a function of focal length to get reasonable sharpness wide open due to common focus shift with zooms
(or before MFA existed having to live with softness wide open) .
.... I decided to use primes for key photographic opportunities.

Hence, I bought this lens for a trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone with wildlife photography in mind. I chose this prime due to the many AF issues I had with Canon zoom lenses, and, the reputation of this particular prime for design (AF and lens). After receiving this lens I carefully checked the focus accuracy as a function of fstop and distance.

In every case the MFA = 0 with center point AF only. This is a result you simply will not get with any 70-200mm zoom for all focal lengths. This prime lens design, coupled with AF accuracy, makes for a truly "sharp" lens (where sharpness is the convolution of focus and native lens sharpness).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54098006@N05/6108737652/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Additionally, the color and contrast are phenomenal. Several of my shots, that include water/sky, almost appear as if shot with a polarizing filter on the front.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54098006@N05/6108766708/

In addition to actually capable lens function (AF and lens sharpness when properly focussed, and color), the lens is visually beautiful to look at, is reasonably light and can be handheld in most situations (with proper management of ISO and shutterspeed). With today's higher resolution cameras (50D for me) and the sharpness of this lens you can crop and obtain great photos where a 400mm would otherwise be needed. An example of baby Osprey's in their next at near 100% crop is here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54098006@N05/6108782878/

I even managed a few shots of BIF (Osprey) (no examples posted), with center point AF. Perfect focus.

The lens feels solidly built and, I think, will last my lifetime. It is a lens to feel proud to own and has no downside or compromises to work around.

It is not a zoom, but, zooms have so many compromises, from my perspective, for me, they are not worth the perceived benefit. I would rather work the image content with a capable lens like this prime, and my feet, than manage around a zoom's limitations to get half the quality of this lens.

Finally, I bought this used on this site from a reputable member at a fair price. This price makes this lens a stunning value given it's capability.

If you are thinking of a prime, this is one of Canon's premier offerings.


 
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

ef20mmf_28usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 5, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Focus, at f2.8, required MFA = 0 on 50D, and, is reliable in low light indoors, unlike some of my other wide aperature lenses. At f2.8, this lens enables great indoor pictures without IS (not needed since you can shoot at 1/20 or 1/30). It is true that I have to use default sharpening in pShop, or a little more, to get good sharpness at f2.8, but, with that sharpening, the resultant pictures are pin sharp at f2.8. At > f4, the lens is as sharp as a tack without sharpening. After living with the focus problems of Canon zooms, and the Canon 50mm f1.8, for years, this lens is a breath of fresh air where focus is concerned (it just works). I purchased the lens, used, on this site, and consider it a fantastic purchase if I include price paid. If you need a wide angle lens, and are fatigued by the various issues focus of Canon zooms, this is a good lens to obtain.
Cons:
Colors, outdoors, in sunlight, are slightly desaturated. A lens hood or polarizer would fix this, but, I have not purchased one yet.



 
Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

ef_28-105_35
Review Date: Dec 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $228.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: USM focus is accurate and fast in good lighting. Passes focus test chart testing at all focal lenghs wide open. Independent manual focus ring is a good add.
Cons:
Extremely soft at f3.5 and 28mm. Borders on unusable. For the most part, the lens is really only sharp at f8.

I bought this lens with my Canon EOS 350D in Sept. 2007 and have used it as the main lens on the camera since then.

In testing utilized the well known focus test chart with this lens and the EOS 350D, and, although there is noise in the focus outcomes, the focus point is always within the depth of field for this lens with any aperature choice. Something that is not always, or even often, true with the kit lenses.

At 105mm wide open portraits, outdoor and in good lighting, are OK with a good blurred background.

At 28mm the lens is soft at all aperatures and, honestly, not really usable at f3.5 unless one is willing to accept images that look post processed with a softening filter.

The range on the lens, 28-105, is not wide enough really for the crop sensor.

I would not recommend this lens for the crop sensor cameras for Canon. I am trying to move to another lens but this is a challenge as I read about some people obtaining 5 copies of a lens and finally getting a good one.