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  Reviews by: Nick Nishizaka  

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Oct 15, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Build. Color and Contrast. Bokeh. Weather sealed. IQ when AF is not misbehaving.
AF problems (i.e. Focus Shifting) when shooting within 4-5ft or so between the apertures of f2.0-f2.8, even up to f4 and f5.6.

The 50L can be a GREAT lens for those who typically shoot outside of 4-6ft. For those who shoot closer than that, it can be a nightmare.

While there seems to be copy variations, from my experience the issue of focus shift is due to the design, hence cannot be completely eliminated. On some copies the shift is small enough that it never goes beyond DoF limits, effectively hiding itself.

I have tried and/or viewed samples from copies from UU, UV, and UW date codes and there is absolutely no pattern to this problem. Buying a lens with a UW date code doesn't guarantee anything.

An easy way to test is to shoot something with a block of text, or perhaps a Canon lens box from 2-3 ft away between f1.2 and f4. Make sure you are at a 45 degree angle to the subject and focus on something with text on both sides. At 1.2, you'll find it a little soft, but focus in where it should be. It's not bad up to f1.8 or so. Once you get into the f2-f4 range you will see what you originally focused on is no longer in focus! This is different than a regular front/back focus issue and cannot be compensated for either via micro-adjustment or MF!

It's very real...but only reveals itself in specific situations. When you are far enough from the subject DoF basically hides this problem and the lens works great!

Also, make no mistake that a) Canon knows about this issue b) Has no fix for's a "design feature".

You can send in your lens 10 times and it will come back the same. You can send in your lens, your body, and all your other lenses...won't make a difference.

If you happen to have a copy with less shift than usual, then hang onto for dear life. You've got a great lens.

When things go right, it rivals the 85L in every way. Unfortunately for many, things don't go right too often.

Make sure you buy from a place with no-questions-asked return policy. Otherwise you are in for a potential headache!

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

Review Date: Dec 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $975.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IQ. Quiet and fast AF. Has some "L" optics inside. Build not as bad as some would indicate. Constant f/2.8 with I.S. Only lens out there with these features for 1.6x crop DSLR.

It's been a few months now and I don't yet have a dust problem. I do have a UV filter always on the lens.

The constain 2.8 and 3 stop IS makes this lens extremely flexible, especially in indoors and low-light situations. The lens is very sharp and in many ways, this is an "L" lens except the build/housing.

There are some who would balk at the price just because this lens is labeled "EF-S" and doesn't have the red ring.

Personally, I think if Canon did in fact made this as an "L" lens, it would have been $1500-$1600. The 16-35 is $1300+ so just imagine adding IS to it.

Keeping that in mind it is actually a pretty good price, if you look beyond the fact that ALL Canon lenses (L or not) are probably overpriced for profit.

If you need something in this range, constant 2.8 and IS, there is simply no other alternative, PERIOD!

As for the future of 1.6x body, I don't worry about it. I worry about getting the best lens for the job. The 17-55 fits the bill.