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  Reviews by: Ron Fischer  

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Nov 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $75.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, even full open; price; nice bokeh
Cons:
slow focus; cheap build (plastic casing)

This lens is truly Canon's best kept secret. I purchased this lens one month ago, in anticipation of the birth of my first grandchild, which occured last weekend. I wanted a lens that would take pictures in low light, without the need for flash. This lens delivers wonderful IQ, even full open at f/1.8. I used it with my Canon 5D, and an ISO of 800, and it provided beautiful pictures of my new grandson. See these examples:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=5128664&catID=&style=&rowNumber=6&memberID=125176

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=5120962&catID=&style=&rowNumber=7&memberID=125176

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=5103122&catID=&style=&rowNumber=9&memberID=125176

My only regret is not having purchased this lens 4 years ago when I got my first digital SLR.


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

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Aug 18, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: fast focus, quiet, sharp wide open, versatile zoom range
Cons:
hunting in low light

THIS IS MY SECOND REVIEW OF THIS LENS. SEE MY POSTING OF MARCH 11, 2007.

I have now had a chance to use this lens in warm weather, and my love of this lens continues to grow. I would say it is on my camera about 80% of the time. I find it very sharp, quiet, fast focusing (in daylight conditions), producing images with fantastic IQ, requiring minimal post processing.

While the lens is excellent for birding, I have been pleasantly surprised that it does well (with cropping of the image) for close ups of insects, including insects in flight. See, for example, the following:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4347110&catID=&style=&rowNumber=15&memberID=125176

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4353326&catID=&style=&rowNumber=14&memberID=125176

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4300767&catID=&style=&rowNumber=21&memberID=125176

At 100mm the lens does well for landscape photography, as shown in this example:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4038797&catID=&style=&rowNumber=62&memberID=125176

Although not as good as my Canon 70-200L4, this lens produces a nice bokeh for taking pictures of birds in thier natural environment. See this example:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=4317726&catID=&style=&rowNumber=19&memberID=125176

The only complaint I would register is that the lens will hunt in low light. However, it is designed to be used with daylight, and under those circumstances it shines. If you are looking for a sharp, quiet, quick focusing and versatile zoom lens, producing fantastic IQ, this lens was made for you.


 
Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

05_02_1_
Review Date: Jun 2, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Very sharp, great bokeh, good build quality, awesome IQ
Cons:
Hunting in low light

THIS IS MY SECOND REVIEW OF THIS LENS. I have had it now for one and a half years. I have used it on the Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT) and for the past six months with the full frame Canon 5D. I continue to be impressed with the IQ of this lens. I haven't noticed any decrease in quality from the crop sensor digital (350D) to the full frame (5D). For the price, I think this is one of the best 1:1 macro lenses on the market, and serves very well as a walk around lens, especially on the full frame Canon 5D. For some examples of what this lens can do on the Canon 5D see the following:

1. Water drop: http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=3332758&catID=&style=&rowNumber=104&memberID=125176

2. Landscape: http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=3900847&catID=&style=&rowNumber=7&memberID=125176

3. Butterfly wing: http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=3949234&catID=&style=&rowNumber=1&memberID=125176


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

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Mar 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast Focus, Sharp, Versatile, Great Build
Cons:
Heavy, Locking mechanism

After long study, and reading just about every review I could find, I recently purchased this lens in combination with the Canon 5D. I have not been disappointed so far. While the lens is heavy, and the lock mechanism can be a pain, the lens has performed very well under various conditions (including cold weather). I have used the lens both with the 5D and with my Canon 350D. You can see some of the images I captured with this lens on my web gallery at:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=125176

For an example of a cold weather capture, see this image:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=3394105&catID=&style=&rowNumber=26&memberID=125176

I have been pleased with the sharpness of the lens at various focal lengths. I will post another review after I have had a chance to use the lens in warmer weather conditions.




 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Aug 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $620.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good weight and size for a "walk around" lens. Good sharpness.
Cons:
None, so far

I have been using this lens for about 2 months now. I purchased it along with the Canon 70-200L f/4 lens. Overall, the sharpness of this lens is far better than the "kit lens" that came with my Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D). I have used the lens for wedding photography and landscape photography, and I have had no performance problems. You can view some of the photographs I have taken with this lens on my web site at:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=125176



 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Jul 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $589.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light weight, good balance, tac sharp, and quick focusing
Cons:
None

I have had this lens about 3 weeks, and it is the first L lens I have used. To say that it makes the other lenses I have owned, several Sigma lenses and the Canon "kit lens" that came with my 350D, look like kids toys would not be an understatement. This lens is incredibly sharp and fast focusing (even in low light conditions). I used it this past weekend at an air show, and you can see some samples of what this lens can do at:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=125176

I highly recommend this lens. For the price, it can't be beat!!


 
Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

05_02_1_
Review Date: Jul 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: I have had this lens for 7 months now and I love it! It is very sharp, and the colors are fantastic. I use this lens as my "walk around" lens. It rarely leaves my camera. To see what this lens can do for macro photography, take a look at the pictures posted to my web gallery at: http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=125176 This picture captured first place in the macro category in BetterPhoto's January, 2006 monthly contest: http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=1618768&catID=&style=&rowNumber=84&memberID=125176
Cons:
To acheive 1:1 macros you must be about 2 inches from the subject. This can be difficult if you want to shoot insects. Also, the lens "hunts" in low light conditions.

For those looking for an economical macro lens that will give you outstanding 1:1 shots, and will also serve as a good "walk around" lens, look no longer - this is the lens for you!