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  Reviews by: Rajan Parrikar  

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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

100-400
Review Date: Dec 19, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,199.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent optical performance throughout the focal length range, outstanding image stabilization, improved auto focus speed, minimum focus distance, robust build.
Cons:

This updated 100-400 L IS II is superior to the older version by every measure. The difference at 400 mm is there but it is not dramatic; that is because the older lens was no slouch to begin with. Where the difference is especially salient is in the 100-350 mm range. Besides overall sharpness, other areas of improvement are a reduction in chromatic aberration and a more pleasing rendering of out of focus areas.

The latest generation image stabilization implemented is exceptional and makes possible sharp handheld shots at 400 mm at speeds as low as 1/40 seconds, and possibly slower.

My use for this lens will be primarily for landscape photography in the 250-400 mm range, and after a couple of days of play I have concluded that this is a worthy upgrade.


 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Apr 4, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance, Versatility, Build, Portability
Cons:
Relatively slow, Clumsy hood, Older generation IS

I bought this lens primarily for landscape photography. My copy is very sharp even at 400mm. Overall optical performance is first rate. Its combination of high image quality, reach, versatility and portability makes it a terrific bargain.

A newer version of this lens could do with the latest IS technology and a re-design of the hood.


 
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

Screen_Shot_2013-11-14_at_11_59_39_AM_copy
Review Date: Nov 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,950.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Corner-to-corner sharpness even wide open, exceptionally corrected for aberrations, colour, admits thread-on filter, build.
Cons:
Expensive.

Optical performance of this ZE 15 f/2.8 Distagon is astounding. It is manual focus and demands a deliberate approach to conceiving and framing compositions.

The Canon 14L II has AF and is a fine performer. The Zeiss, however, is superior with its precision focus ring, flatter field, and sharp rendition right out to the corners. I expect the Zeiss to excel in photography of the northern lights.

I noticed that infinity focus on my Canon 5D Mark III is not at the hard stop of the focus ring. Furthermore, the AF confirmation beep is not reliable even with micro-adjustment. To extract the best out of this lens, use Live View.


 
Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

100mm
Review Date: Apr 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,843.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance, drawing style, bokeh, versatility, build.
Cons:
None.

The Zeiss ZE 100 f/2 Makro Planar is a fantastic lens. Its remarkable performance both close up and at infinity makes it probably the most versatile lens around. I was somewhat dis-sastified with the performance of the Canon 135L f/2 for landscape photography (it is a terrific lens for portraits). After comparing it with the Zeiss - well, there is no comparison. The micro-contrast and detail that come out of the Zeiss are nonpareil. This is as good as it gets. If you value the finest in optics, reach for the Zeiss 100 f/2 MP.

 
Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

50macro
Review Date: Dec 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,283.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, Sharpness, Micro-contrast, Bokeh
Cons:

I am a Canon shooter and this was my first Zeiss lens. There are many Zeiss & Leica fanboys, most of them great gearheads and mediocre photographers. I did a good bit of research before deciding on the ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar. All I can say is, it lives up to its hype and reputation. Sharpness and micro-contrast are outstanding and the bokeh at f/2 is delicious. Build is world-class. This is a versatile lens, serving Macro, street and landscape photography. I am glad to have made this purchase.

 
Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

24tse
Review Date: Aug 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,199.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic optical performance, Tilt-Sift capability, Mechanical construction.
Cons:
None.

Along with the TS-E 17L, this is the finest wide-angle lens in the Canon line-up. Edge-to-edge sharpness is exemplary, as is the minimal CA. For those wanting the very best from their glass, this is it!

 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

ef70-200lisiiu_586x225
Review Date: Apr 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance, f/2.8, Image Stabilization, Mechanical Construction, Versatility
Cons:
Weight

I had the original version of this lens and it was already an outstanding performer. That this Mark II version is even better is a tribute to Canon engineering.

Outwardly the look and feel is the same as the original version, but there is a discernible improvement in image quality and IS. The hood is also of better make.

This is an exceptional tool, and makes possible all manner of images, from portraits to landscape to photojournalism.


 
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

17tse
Review Date: Apr 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb optical performance (contrast, colour, sharpness, minimal distortion), Outstanding mechanical construction, Ability to Tilt and Shift
Cons:
Cost, Not amenable to filters

This lens makes possible images that were hitherto difficult to score. It is an indispensable tool for architectural and landscape work. This is not a lens for the casual shooter. Optimal use and mastery of it take practice and time. The end result - the images it helps create - is pure joy.

TS-E 17 has a bulging front element that protrudes out, so care in handling is called for.


 
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

EF14
Review Date: Nov 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,020.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ultra-wide focal length, outstanding optical performance, superb build.
Cons:
Some chromatic aberration (but easily fixed in PP), price premium.

In the area of ultra-wide angle lenses, Canon is yet to catch up with its rival Nikon. Only one design in Canon's line-up stacks up against Nikon's remarkable 14-24 mm zoom at the widest end: Canon's 14 mm f/2.8 L prime. The frisson of looking through the viewfinder of a full-frame 5D mated to 14 mm is an experience in itself. This is a magnificent lens optically. But wielding it effectively demands care and experience. The corner-to-corner sharpness is excellent even wide open. There is CA to contend with in contrasty situations but it is easily fixed in post-processing. Ultra-wide angle lens design is a challenge and it is reflected in the price. Until Canon matches Nikon's 14-24 zoom with one of its own, this 14 mm prime will remain the best ultra-wide option in Canon's repertoire.




 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Nov 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance (colour, contrast, sharpness), build quality, versatility.
Cons:
Some barrel distortion at 24mm.

The 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens paired with my Canon EOS 5D body forms a versatile walkaround combination. I have used it effectively for landscapes, street shots, architecture and even portraits. This lens and the renowned 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS ought to be part of any serious photographer's armoury.

 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Oct 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance - speed, colour, contrast, sharpness - and build quality.
Cons:
None.

I purchased this lens primarily for low light indoor and outdoor photography and it has not disappointed. Autofocus is quick, the colours and contrast outstanding. This is a versatile lens and a valuable addition to my arsenal.


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Oct 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance - colour, contrast, sharpness, background isolation - and build quality.
Cons:
None.

Someone has written earlier, perhaps on another site, that this lens was "crafted by the hand of God." That is no exaggeration. The 135mm f/2 L is a magnificent portrait lens on my full frame Canon EOS 5D. The pictures straight out of the camera are stunning requiring virtually no post processing. Many have remarked on its smooth and pleasant bokeh and I can only nod in affirmation.

 
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

ef300mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Oct 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Exceptional optical performance (resolution, colours, contrast), superb build, integrated lens hood, IS.
Cons:
None.

I needed a lens for compressed landscape photography and narrowed down my selection to three: 300mm f/4 L IS, 400mm f/5.6 L, and the 100-400mm L IS zoom. I am glad that I made the current choice of 300mm. There are legions of glowing reviews of this lens all over the web but true satisfactions obtains when you experience the 'lens goodness' for yourself.

Summary: This is a magnificent lens.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Sep 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: This is an exceptional zoom exhibiting superior optical performance and a superb build quality. It is wholly deserving of its cachet in the pantheon of zoom lenses, with its magical capture of detail and colour. I have tried it both handheld and on the tripod, with and without IS. I have had it, along with my 5D, for a couple of weeks now and it hasn't come off since the time it was first mated to the body. I shall have to soon wean it off to test my other lenses.
Cons:
None. It is a little on the heavy side. Does one expect anything less with a maximum aperture of 2.8 and IS?