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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Apr 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, nice color balance, and very nice range. Futhermore, it's light and compact compared to my L lenses. A perfect, all around travel lens.
Cons:
The build quality is lacking. The lens has a rather unsubstantial, plasticky feel to it, and I'm not completely confident it would hold up in difficult conditions. There is noticable softness in the corners with some CA in certain situations.

I must say I am somewhat surprised at those who have commented that this lens is soft. I simply haven't had any issues in this regard, and as a rule I am very picky. The results from my lens have been excellent so far. I am used to my 24-70mm L and 17-40mm, and I've seen little difference from these optics in everyday shooting. I was looking for this lens to underperform, and it's excellent performance simply shocked me. Furthermore, I was expecting to stop the lens down to f8-11 for acceptable results, but this hasn't been necessary, as I'm shooting wide open quite often, with more than adequate results. The IS feature on this lens is excellent, having obtained excellent results at 1/8 and 85mm. However, one should not expect tack sharp results in these conditions, IS is superb, not miraculous. That said, shooting at 2 stops below 1/focal length will result in consistent, critically sharp images, when carefully taken. I have consistently seen CA with this lens, which I've seldom noticed with my 24-70mm, so this is a negative for me (shooting in raw does not make them miraculously disappear, as some have suggested). Finally, $600 is unecessarily steep for this lens, considering the build quality, and I think if it was priced in the $450-500 range, it would be a better value. However, I would recommend this lens without reservations. I've used this lens for a few images in my gallery.

 
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

EF10-22
Review Date: Jan 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $799.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice, relatively sharp lens with good color balance.
Cons:
Poor sharpness at the corners, even stopped down. Some CA. Do not expect L performance and the price is rather high.

I bought this lens recently due to the niche it's designed to fill. Having the 16-35mm L, I was able to make some observations. With regard to sharpness, they are similar, although the L has better performance in the corners. With the 10-22mm, I noticed soft corners even with the lens stopped down to f11 and 16. As far as center performance, both appear to be capable of resolving well beyond the capabilities of the 20D. With some careful USM, the lens produces sharp, beautiful files. However, I have noticed some CA at the edge of the image with the 10-22mm, but have noticed few with the 16-35mm (this is a rather subjective observation).

I have used the Nikon 12-24mm lens, which has decidedly better performance at the corners at like apertures. However, the Canon is much better with regard to distortion, as the Nikon produces a rather unusual "handlebar" signature which is difficult to correct. Although the 10-22mm has observable barrel distortion, it's rather subdued in the final image. If one were to compare the 16-35mm or 17-40mm in this regard, the 10-22mm would be slightly preferred.

Bearing in mind the above caveats, I would highly recommend this lens to those in need of this focal length. Although it's Canon's only offering here, they've produced a very nice optic.