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

Review Date: Mar 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, handling, range, reasonable IQ for price
variable and somewhat slow max aperture, some distortion and CA at 17mm (fixable in PP)

I have used this lens for a very large number of shots over the almost 3 years I have owned it. It really has never let me down. I have done travel photography with it as my main lens on a trip to Europe, I have done landscape stuff back here in the states with it, as well as people pictures.

- The IS is great. It was literally the difference in getting decent shots or not in many dimly lit churches and museums in Europe.
- The 17-85 range on a crop body really is quite excellent for a walk around lens
- For me, the IQ has really been good. Granted, up to now I have not really has any L quality glass to compare it to, but I have take a number of shots I am very happy with with this lens.
- The size and weight are very manageable, and it has a nice balanced feel on my 40D.

- some CA and and distortion, mostly at 17mm. I fix it in PP
- Sometimes there is just not enough light (even considering IS), to get the shot with this lens.

Are there better lenses than this one out there? Absolutely. But for the money, it is a nice package of range, reasonable if not outright stellar IQ, and price. I think this lens gets somewhat of a bum rap, it can take excellent pictures.


Canon EOS 40D

Review Date: Mar 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Handling, live view, AF, image quality
small preview jpgs used on back LCD for preview, LCD resolution, no lens microadjust

I have had my 40D for over a year, and have shot about ~4,000 shutter clicks wit it, so I decided to review it for anyone out there trying to decide if they want one.

The camera is an excellent model from a already very mature camera family. If you have used any of the predecessors to this camera, it will feel very familiar and easy to use right away. I think it is currently in a very sweet spot of Canon's lineup when price, features, and IQ are concerned. While the 50D does have some nice features the 40D lacks, the price difference is not trivial - over $300 (using current B&H body only pricing as a guide...)

If I still had my 350D and wanted to upgrade, it would be a tough decision between the 40D and 50D. But for me now, I find that the 40D noise, resolution and image quality are very good, and I just am not compelled to consider an upgrade at this point. The 40D is an exceptional photographic tool, and I will have to get a lot better before I find it limiting my results in any significant way.