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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, amazing IS, flexible, build quality
Costly, weight makes it a serious tool not a casual stroll-around

I moved up from the non-IS F4 version. That lens, one of the cheapest Ls is a marvel in itself. Beautifully sharp and every bit as good WITHIN ITS LIMITS as any other L.

I wanted something that could hack it indoors, in low light, and have a wider aperture for even greater subject isolation.

The 70-200 2.8 IS hasn't disappointed after a couple of months of use. The IS is ridiculously effective. With steady technique you really can pull off unfeasible tripod-less shots. It's the first Canon IS-lens I've owned. If Canon's other IS offerings are this good then, wow.

Before I bought I was worried about the 'soft copy' stuff you hear on web forums. I believe 90% of this to be pixel-peeping nonsense as so often people post 100% crops fretting that they have a 'soft' copy that look perfectly normal. The 10% with genuinely slack copies can easily get them fixed by Canon. All zooms are sharper stopped down, the question is whether wide open gives a usable result. The 70-200's 2.8 is very, very good - in a word, sharp. You can use it with confidence.

As an outdoor portrait lens it's superb. For creative wedding work it gives you the confidence that you're going to love what you take. It puts that beautiful 'L-series' cinematic gloss on everything.

I like zooms. I've always used zooms since I was a kid. Zooms are part of my creative process. Yeah, maybe one day I'll get heavily into the prime thing but with lenses like the 17-40, 24-70 and 70-200 2.8 IS around I'm in no hurry.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Aug 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Jaw-dropping sharpness when compared to everydaylenses. Light for an L-lens. Useful length for a walkabout lens on a cropped sensor. Very good build quality.
Thought it a little 'rough' on the zoom ring when new, but got smoother. Other examples I've tried seemed the same so maybe expectations were too high. Not's not f2.8, but that's nit-picking.

Bought this as my first 'L-lens' together with the 70-200 f4.

It was all my budget could take and I was wondering if I'd often feel the need for f2.8 but so far have not missed it at all as it's so easy to simply up the ISO on Canon DSLRs with little or no noise being introduced.

Compared to most run-of-the-mill lenses (by which I mean anything not strictly pro) the 17-40 is jaw-dropping. Sharp, beautiful images right across the zoom range, even wide open. It's a useful zoom range for a walkabout on a cropped sensor camera like the 30D. I've also put my 17-40 on a 5D and there it function as a brilliant true wide angle with only minimal vignetting you'd only notice if pixel-peeping.

I've used it for travel photography involving street scenes, architectural shots, landscapes and cityscapes and for these it is exceptional. It's also great for group shots, portraits (although f4 and a smaller focal length make it harder to get big background blur), and strolling around events. It focusses close so brilliant for snapping little detail shots too.

It's a cliche to say that it's the photographer not the camera but if you want to render your compositions with as much quality as possible, check out lenses like this.