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  Reviews by: SheepDog  

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: SHARP SHARP SHARP! Excellent color, excellent focusing motor, excellent value, excellent construction
NONE (the first lens I cannot find any negative aspect of it)

Perhaps price is slightly too high as a "consumer" lens, but this one is definitely the closest to a L lens. In that sense, you are really getting a good deal. Resell value was unbelieveable. I got 95% of my money back after owning it for one full year.

Even at f/1.8 I was able to get some good shots in low light. It gets sharper and sharper as you stop down. Photos consistently come out great. I thought I would keep this lens for as long as photography remains as my hobby. But it became too long all of a sudden when I switched to a digital body. Nothing's wrong with a "136mm" lens, but my daily shooting don't go to that range. I had to get some cash for a L lens too, so this lens was sacrificed. You can't imagine how painful it was handing over my favorite lens to a buyer.

Anyways, words are cheap. Try this lens yourself. If you are not fully satisfied with its sharpness or any aspect of it.... I can't offer you a full money back guarantee, but you will end up paying few hundred bucks more (or even a grand more) for a L prime.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: PRICE. SHARPNESS (above f/5.6). Lightest lens you can ever find.
Poor construction, poor color saturation, toy-like

Cheapest prime lens out there. Whether due to curiousity or whatever, you should pick up a copy. It doesn't hurt you anything to try it out. You will be amazed by its sharpness (except for wide open). Do not hope for more though. Focusing is noisy and slow. The lens likes to hunt too. Color balance is on the low end. I play around with photoshop a lot, so color has not been a major issue. Sharpness counts for the most part of my shooting.

Grab a copy today and have fun with this little razor blade. It's sharp!

Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp when stopped down to f/8. Light weight. Very satisfying color at mid-range. Fast USM. Good zoom range.
Very soft when wide open. Don't shoot at 105mm unless you really have to. Poor color saturation and resolution at the tele end.

It's probably the "cheapest good lens" you can get. The performance per dollar ratio is unbeatable. I had so much great experience with this lens, but make sure you don't push it to its limits. At wide apertures and at 105mm, you are wasting your film (or memory space if you are on digital). In my opinion, this lens performs at its best around 35-85mm and around f/8.

After switching to a 24-70/2.8L, I truly miss this lens. It's very light in my palm, and my hands never got sore after hours of continuous shooting. I wished I could get this lens back and get a 17-40/4L instead of a 24-70/2.8L.

Construction wise, this lens is on par with some other consumer zooms, which is satisfying.

Whether you are a beginner or a developing photographer, this lens will meet your many demands.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: May 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light weight, Price, Construction, virtually everything about this lens
I hope IS will become available on this lens in the near future

Cost only half of my 24-70 2.8L, but optical performance is identical. It feels so good in my hands; very light weight and a good size for my palm. I have tried other heavier L zooms, which give me sore arms the next morning. Construction is solid and like a little cannon (a Canon cannon). With internal zooming, there is no way any dust particle can get in my baby. Sweet~

Shooting portrait with this lens is another sweetest thing (on my old Elan 7 film body). Some might argue that f/4 doesn't give enough blur to the background, but I personally like the result.

I have only shot around 50 images with this lens after switching to a digital body, but I know for sure that it's the best tele-zoom out there. I am glad I got the biggest bargain... $650 for a L lens that matches 70-200/2.8L and my 24-70/2.8L in terms of optical performance. It's not as fast as those 2.8L lenses, but trust me on this, f/2.8 is useless in any regard. That's why I opt for a 4L this time, after owning a 24-70/2.8L.

If you are thinking of buying a tele-zoom lens, look no further. Try this one out before spending $1000~1200 on a 70-200/2.8L.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp around f/8; color balance and tone are the sweetest things. Tank-like construction. Fast USM focusing. The best optical performance (resolution and color saturation) zoom lens; of course, with that kind of price.
VERY SOFT when wide open, pictures look slightly washed-out. f/2.8 is nearly useless. Sharpness incompariable to virtually any prime lens, even the cheapest 50/1.8.

Since I picked up this lens, I have been shooting 90% of my pictures with it. Except for my 70-200 4L, I have nearly forgotten about my other lenses (50 and 85/1.8). It's just so good across its entire zoom range that I get lazy swapping lenses.

It's definitely the best zoom lens you can ever find, of course with its price. The "red rim" guarantees excellent color saturation and tone. I am very pleased with the vibrant color on all my photos.

Despite a brighter viewfinder, f2.8 is nearly useless. Photos turn out somewhat washed out, not to mention the word sharpness, when the aperture is wide open. Sharpness is just not up to my expectation with the money that I paid for. It is better than all other zoom lenses, but still way below other prime lenses in terms of sharpness. To get decently sharp images, I always find myself using f/8 to f/11. Many reviewers suggest replacing multiple prime lenses with one of these... I would say "No No".

Hours before I write this review, I tried my prime lenses on my 7 year old nephew. As I have gradually convinced myself to live with softer (less sharp) images, these primes reminded me the definition of "SHARP". So much detail pop up instantly I swap to either one. By losing a little bit of color saturation, which can be restored with some photoshop, my images look razor sharp.

I love this lens, but I hate to say that it's still not up to my expectation. As a developing photographer, i will live happily with my present setup. When my pocket get deep enough, I will pick up two or three more primes.