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  Reviews by: Tom Steele  

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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: It is well built, with good crisp L glass and is a solid performer.
It does not have IS and it is fairly large and heavy.

I wanted to love this lens, I really did. I researched it like crazy and was excited to use it. But I find myself reaching for my 70-200 f/4 L IS most of the time.

I'm an amateur and camera shake is still my enemy. I have gotten some very sharp images out of this lens (even at 1/80), so I know I have a good copy, but I also get too many images that aren't crisp.

It is me - not the lens, but it still says something that I can pick up my 70-200 f/4 L IS or 100-400 L IS and take excellent, crystal clear photos while this lens leaves me with more throwaways by far.

In short, there is nothing wrong with the lens, but I believe it would be much more lens for the money if it included IS. If I had it to do over again, I might have gone for the 24-105 f/4 L IS lens. I'm going to hang onto it for a while though, and see if I can improve enough to take better advantage of this lens, and if not - someone here can take it off my hands and make magic with it. It's a good lens.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack sharp, great IQ and the IS is rock solid. Very carryable. A pretty decent zoom in a lens that is reasonably able to be considered a long, but not too heavy, walkaround lens.

This is probably my favorite all around lens so far. It can do so much and is a very reasonable walkaround lens. It is physically long, but not too heavy or fat. I'm sure the f/2.8 version of this lens is nice for folks who need the speed, but for people who need the lighter carry factor of this lens, the f/4 aperture is the only downside to this lens.

It takes outstanding pictures and is extremely versatile at 70-200. The f/4 isn't terribly slow either, especially with the IS.

I would gladly recommend this lens to anyone looking for a 70-200 and not wanting the weight and price penalties of the f/2.8 version.

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

Review Date: Jan 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Simply astonishing IQ handheld at 400mm. This is a great lens for under $1,500 and 400mm reach.
A bit heavy. Push pull design is less than ideal, but usable.

I am simply astonished at the IQ of this lens. I can take handheld shots at 400mm and get crisp shots every time. As is typical of the L series lenses, color is vibrant and sharp every time. For the price, this is simply an amazing lens for what you get.

The only downsides as I see it are the weight, which isn't terrible but I wouldn't call this a walking around lens, and the push pull design. I don't find it to be the overwhelmingly distracting irritant that some users seem to find it to be, but it isn't as nice as a rotating ring.

I guess it could be faster too, but then the size and price would go up.

While I'm at it, the "locking" mechanism isn't ideal, but the tightening ring is usable.

Overall, an incredible bargain for the money. If you are looking at the 300 f/4 IS, the 400 f/5.6 and this lens, then it really boils down to application. With the 400 prime, you may get a tiny bit better IQ and bokeh, but no IS and no 100-399 range. The 300 f/4 IS is faster and has IS, but doesn't reach to 400. This lens has it all, with only the push pull, slightly more jagged bokeh and slower aperture as the tradeoffs. I was pleased with this choice.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jan 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $289.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack sharp and well made.
A little pricey, and you have to be careful with such a shallow DOF at close range. Can be a little long for indoor shooting on a 1.6 crop factor camera.

This lens is very sharp. DOF gets very shallow as you get below f/2.8 at close range, but you can easily take no-flash photos indoors with this lens and have them turn out excellent. Did I mention that this lens is very sharp? Great portriat lens for the 1.6 crop factor cameras.