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  Reviews by: Rafi Abramov  

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Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef20_35mm_1_
Review Date: Jun 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: VERY lightweight, USM, 20-35mm, quite sharp
Cons:
Bit limiting on a 1.6 crop body- but once you learn how to combine them, not a problem.

I bought this lens second-hand off craigslist. It came with a it's dedicated Canon lens hood, a Canon EOS Rebel G 35mm body, 500 sheets of 4x6 photo paper, 400 sheets of 5x7 paper, and probably 50 rolls of various types of film. The entire bundle was $230, which I think is quite a deal.

On a 35mm (or full frame digital for that matter,) this lens is fantastic. 20mm gets a lot of picture in the frame. I can stand just a few feet away from a 15-story building and get the entire picture in the frame. The only hard thing with this lens on a full frame body is that it can be quite difficult composing the right picture- many distractions can come in the frame since the lens is so wide.

On a 1.6 crop body, this lens is quite wide as well. Testing out that 15-story building again, I simply had to take maybe 4 or 5 steps back to get the entire building in the frame. Personally, I like this lens on a 1.6 crop body better because I'd rather take a few steps back and get the entire building perfectly composed, rather than having to later edit out distractions and unwanted things that get into the frame in Photoshop due to a fullframe body.

Definitely get the lens hood for this lens (or any lens, really.)
I tried some test shots at f/8 without the lens hood where some of the sun was in the frame and there was very little, but noticeable upon further inspection flare. Throw the lens hood on and it's gone. The lens hood makes the difference of "almost perfect" and "perfect."

The USM focusing on the 20-35mm is SILENT. I put my ear up to it while it would autofocus and all I could hear was the peice from the distance scale moving back and forth. That's all.

I won't comment on distortion since I don't consider it to be a problem.

For your wide needs within a budget, definitely get this lens. I would get this lens over the 14mm and 15mm fisheye.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Jun 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $25.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: (I have the MK1 version) Metal mount, distance window, dedicated and easy-to-use focusing ring, inexpensive, light, f/1.8
Cons:
One thing about the focusing ring... read on

I have the MK1 version of this lens, and it is fantastic. I bought this lens second-hand off craigslist, attached onto a EOS 850 for only $25! Now that is a deal!

I'm sure you all already know, but the MK1 version has a distance window which is quite useful, along with a dedicated focusing ring. Not that I am complaining (for this price especially), but there is no full-time manual focus in autofocus mode. It's not a problem at all, but just something to point out. I use manual focus 90% of the time anyway.

Besides that, I think I'm safe to say that the superb image quality is comparable to a L-series lens, aside from the bokeh of course. Background blur can be pretty harsh with a 6-blade aperture, but I personally enjoy it.

Be sure to buy a filter to protect it at all times since dust and grit can easily enter the lens due to it's "dug-out" kind of construction. Shouldn't be a problem to buy a filter though- it's a cheap 52mm size- definitely a plus.

A must-have in every photographers bag. I'd say to spend a little bit more money and get the MK1 version. You'll understand why. :D


 
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef_24-85_35_1_
Review Date: Apr 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: USM, lightweight, sharp at f/6 and smaller, champagne color
Cons:
None for this price

I bought a Canon EOS IX APS film camera at the local pawn shop with this lens attached for $100, explaining the low price. What a deal!

Anyway, I've had the chance to compare this champagne colored 24-85 with my 28-135 on my XTi.

Images are a bit soft at f/3.5 at the 24mm end, but they get sharper at f/6 and smaller. The 24-85's USM focusing is always spot-on and quiet. Build quality is great- even for a 1996 copy. It's not L quality, but it's close. No zoom creep either.

Overall, this is a great all-around lens. It's perfect as a first standard zoom lens upgrade.



 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Feb 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great build quality, 28-135 makes a perfect walkaround range, precision Image Stabilizer, ultra-quiet USM, metal mount
Cons:
28mm seems a bit limiting on 1.6x crop bodies

Just bought this lens today.

This is the first lens I've purchased new and I'm very happy with it. This is my first IS (and USM, for that matter) lens, so naturally I'm pleased with it. The USM focuses silently right on spot every time, hasn't hunted one time. The IS is amazing and you can definitely notice a difference just from flipping the IS switch on. Sharp pictures every time.

Weight is perfect, new to the 72mm size but loving it so far. The filters can get a bit pricey though.


 
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

ef75_300usm_1_
Review Date: Feb 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $65.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to find, good focal range, light, metal mount.
Cons:
Focus hunts, mediocre build quality, noticeable chromataic aberrations.

I bought this lens second-hand off craigslist for just $75.

I have the non-USM version, therefore the autofocus is noticeably slow and/or innaccurate at times, but you get what you pay for. This lens is great for a beginner like myself looking for a cheap, temporary telephoto addition to the kit lens.

I've managed to get a couple decent photos with this lens but the chromatic aberrations really are a pain. The cheap build quality isn't surprising for a low-level consumer telephoto lens like such, it seems like a toy. Zooming sometimes isn't very smooth but you can manage.

Also, lighting can be another problem. If you don't have enough light, the lens won't work well at all, but if you have too much light, you'll notice chromatic aberrations.

All in all, I'd recommend this lens to a beginner that's needing a lens of this range. It's easy to find nowadays, (craigslist, eBay, or dare I say, a retailer) and is easy to sell when it's time to upgrade.