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  Reviews by: Vincent Armato  

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jul 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very light sensitive. Good price for the lens quality.
Build quality could be better.

A great lens for the money!

I used to use my 50mm f/1.8 'plastic fantastic' and was fairly pleased with it. The bokeh and loud, slower focusing wasn't too pleasing however so I decided to upgrade.

The 50mm f/1.4 is VERY sensitive to light...I love it! It is my go to lens for natural light conditions, particularly inside and in the evening outdoors.

Another handy use for this light sensitivity is fast shutter action shots when there is adequate lighting. Yes, you have a fixed length, but you can stop the action is a split second with adequate lighting conditions while staying at an ISO of 100 or 200. This gives great sports shots if you can place yourself in a key spot....for instance home plate shots in baseball.

The bokeh is stellar....very smooth for the price of the lens. The autofocus speed is quite adequate for most situations.

It is exceptionally sharp for me at f/2.0 or higher, but still adequately sharp at f/1.4. Sometimes I find a touch of sharpening with a good software package can really help if you want better sharpness and you need the shallower depth of field and more sensitivity to light.

The portraits are fantastic with this lens - definitely the lens I go to when I have a setup shot condition and I want the absolute best color, clarity and smooth background.

I also like the small and unobtrusive size of the lens.

If you are thinking that you don't need this lens because you are carrying an L zoom lens that covers the focal length, remember that this will outperform the L for sharpness at f/2.8 and most importantly can carry you into much smaller DOF and light sensitive scenarios.

Get it! It's a great value if you can't afford the 50 or 85mm f/1.2 L lenses.

- Vince

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jul 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Color, Contrast and Naturally the WIDE focal length.
A little pricey for an F4 lens....but quality costs!

After getting so much good input from others on my lens purchases I felt it was time to contribute to the groups. :-)

I already own a 50mm f/1.4, 70-200mm f/2.8 L and the 28-135 IS. I have been so impressed with the 70-200mm L as well as the 50mm prime, but the 28-135 always left the pics a little shy in color and contrast. I really liked the IS on the 28-135 and wanted to upgrade to a higher quality lens.

The 24-70 f/2.8 was what I wanted, but I figured I would wait longer and see if Canon was going to release an IS version of the lens like they did for the 70-200mm f/2.8 series.

Given everyone else's comments, the 17-40 seemed like a good general purpose lens for 1.6 sensors, so I made the plunge figuring I would reap the benefit an ultrawide with a larger sensor body upgrade.

Boy was I impressed! This lens is as good a quality as my 70-200mm L in terms of color and contrast. The zoom is only so much but the wide angle is great! I can finally get a whole room shot indoors where the 28-135 was failing me. This is going to become my lens for indoor shots and I'll use the 70-200mm for all events. The 17 focal length is definitely an advantage in landscape shots as well.

The weight of the lens is light and the size feels 'just right'. Not too light, not too heavy. The zoom and focus rings are top notch in terms of build quality. No loose rings here!

The 10-22mm EF-S looks like a good lens as well, but considering it doesn't come with a case or a lens hood, it is much more expensive and only useful on the 1.6 crop sensors. Stick with the 17-40mm L if you are a 20D or 30D owner!

- Vince