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Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS

150-500
Review Date: Sep 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: The price is great. The lens is adequate quality and the stabilization system works very well.
Cons:
Horrid quality control. Very heavy lens. Very. Heavy.

I was expecting a 50-500 replacement so I probably set myself up for disappointment a bit. This lens isn't as sharp as the 50-500, and is a bit heavier. But then at the price, and with excellent stabilization it is a reasonable value.

Quality control totally sucks though. And even when I got a working copy (the third try - one stabilization was defective, one would autofocus with a horrid grinding sound and get stuck) I found it was just too heavy for me. Others may not but if I'm going to carry this much weight around I'll go with a better quality lens.


 
Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM APO

sigma_50-150
Review Date: Sep 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great concept, does well if you get a good copy, feels well built
Cons:
Went through 3 copies to get a good one. It started frontfocusing after a couple of month's use.

I really, really wanted this to be a great lens. Of 3 copies one frontfocused to the point of unusable, one had a defective zoom, out of the box. The third was just right - for a month, then started frontfocusing and the zoom became stiff.

If you get one that works its great. Getting one that worked wasn't worth the hassle for me.


 
Nikon 200mm f/2G IF-ED AF-S VR

200f2
Review Date: Jan 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazingly sharp, near instantaneous focusing, break bokeh, and reasonably sized.
Cons:
None. Its perfect.

Faster than Paris Hilton, sharper than my ex-wife's tongue, more contrast than a Presidential debate. This on a D3 is damn near a night vision device. On a D300 it may be the ultimate indoor sports lens. I've owned the legendary Canon 200 f1.8 and this lens is every bit as sharp plus it has VR. Worth whatever it cost. Truly.

 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Jul 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,390.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb sharpness to the edges, low distortion, flare resistance is very good.
Cons:
None, within reason.

I've had the Mark I and it was a good lens in the center, weak outside of that. I'm one of those who adapted a Zeiss 21mm to get good edge sharpness on my full frame bodies, the Mark I 16-35 just didn't cut it.
The new version is a totally different beast - far sharper out from center, good sharpness to the edges. Not quite Zeiss 21 sharpness, but close and the Canon has less distortion, and, well, it zooms! This is an expensive lens that is worth every single dime. Finally a full frame wide zoom that's as good or better than anything else out there.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: May 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Wonderful from 22mm - 35 mm. Very smooth, sharp images even at f2.8 in this range. Great lens, as good as my 24L prime at that range.
Cons:
Below 22mm f 2.8 is quite soft, needs to be stopped down to 3.2 to sharpen up.

I bought this lens for use on a FF which made my 17-40 seem soft in the corners. Very happy with the difference above 22mm, the 16-35 is clearly better. At the wide end the 17-40 is just as good.

 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

ef70-300_45-56doisu
Review Date: Sep 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, killer IS, well built
Cons:
Good images require shooting RAW and postprocessing. JPGs are not a lot better than the consumer 70-300s, but you can get really good shots with a little work

I NEED this for a travel lens. It took me a couple of days practice to learn to use it, and when I did it works well for me. Some people have trashed the sharpness and I found several things that could account for that:
1) This lens doesn't like UV filters.
2) The lens is not very contrasty. The detail is there but it requires some postprocessing to bring out. This isn't a 135L that you can print shots right out of the camera. I've automated a workflow for the lens in PS that makes it pretty easy. Basically you've got to up the color contrast (I use an "Overlay" layer at 25%, then a wide radius, low amount USM (40 pixels, 20%). At that point the image is usually pretty good, I sharpen as normal and I get very nice prints.

It holds its own very well till about 250mm but past that it does get pretty soft.

Overall its a very good, but pricey travel telephoto. At home I leave it in the box and take one of the Ls.


 
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

1ef200mmf_28_1_1_
Review Date: Jun 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $575.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Relatively small size, very sharp, nice bokeh, quick to focus, reasonable price
Cons:
None that I've found.

I purchased this after falling in love with my 135L and I'm not disappointed. It seems every bit as sharp with good color, focuses well on my 20D. Its signficantly smaller than my 70-200 f4 and I find myself taking this and a teleconverter as my "long lens" for travelling because its such a compact combination. To my thinking this is the best bargain Canon has on the long end. This and the 135 have me planning to sell my 70-200 - I just rarely pick it up anymore.

 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Apr 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $579.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Relatively light, awesome pictures, just awesome.
Cons:
None really (I don't have a white phobia)

This should be everyone's first L. Best price to bang ratio in the lineup. I find myself moving back so I can use this lens instead of something shorter. No IS, but I love the light weight - if IS made it heavier I'm not sure I'd want it. OK, I would, but still this lens is a great deal.

 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Apr 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Nice size, great price for IS, good range
Cons:
Has to be stopped down for sharpness

I used this lens frequently for a year. Its a nice walkaround, good range (althugh something wider is nice) good color, adequate sharpness once its stopped down. And the IS is really useful on a walkaround. I moved to the Tamron 28-75 though, which is just better, albeit not quite as long. However, I kept the 28-135 as a travel lens when I'm only taking one lens and might want a bit more length.

 
Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

2875mm
Review Date: Apr 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $335.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: small, inexpensive, sharp, fast - what's not to like?
Cons:
backwards zoom ring

Easy to carry, fast and very sharp. Autofocus is accurate, if its slow I haven't noticed it. Great images - sharp even wide open with good color. Manual focus works well once you get used to the reverse ring.

 
Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 with Softfocus

ef135mmf_28soft_1_
Review Date: Apr 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $265.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, inexpensive, tack sharp. And really, really small.
Cons:
I had trouble getting pleasing effects with soft focus, but I really wasn't that interested in it.

I won't comment on the soft focus part, but as a cheap 135 prime it takes great shots, sharp, lovely Bokeh. Probably not too sturdy, but I can buy 3 of them for what the L costs, so I can replace as needed.