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Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Sep 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, image stabilisation, focal range, fast precise focus, superb quality between 35-85mm at all apertures. Incredible anti flare capabilities.
Cons:
Slight distortion at 24mm and not at its sharpest there either. 105mm not brilliant until stopped down a bit. A tendency towards chromatic aberration that is not seen in my prime lenses, but easy enough to fix during processing. Although it's a great lens, it's still rather expensive.

I purchased this lens a few months back as a replacement for my Tamron 28-75mm and I have been extremely happy. I have posted a full review on my blog at:

http://www.nudephotopro.com/blog/2009/08/canon-24-105l/


 
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

28-75mm
Review Date: Feb 24, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Competitively priced and good optics
Cons:
badly let down by poor quality control

I bought this lens about 2 years ago for use with my 1Ds II on a specific job where it wasn't convenient or pragmatic to regularly change prime lenses. At first it was very good and I was more impressed than I expected for a lens of this price.

Roll forward about a year and I noticed that the lens was suddenly front focussing which it hadn't done before so I called Tamron who agreed to adjust it but at a cost of over 60 and it took them a month before it was returned. All seemed much better when it returned and I used it back in October for a studio shoot with a model and saw that the results were very close in sharpness to my 85mm Canon prime, but it didn't last...

A couple weeks ago I wanted to use it again and fired off a few test shots just to see how it was handling and discovered that it now appeared to be back focussing but when I looked closer I saw that the right side of the image was in perfect focus while the left hand side was now really soft and the middle was focussed to the rear of where I intended. It seems like that a lens element has moved and its now next to useless requiring another trip to Tamron.

I shall call Tamron about this and see if they will repair it again under guarantee but frankly I have lost patience with this lens if the build quality and reliability is this poor. In 20 years of professional photography I've never had a lens go wrong like this and especially after so little use. This is the 2nd Tamron I have bought in the last few years and on paper they look like excellent value but both have been huge disappointments so I shall not be buying their lenses again.

The real shame in all of this is that when it was performing well it was clearly a very capable little lens and very useful. Wide open it wasn't perfect on the full frame 1Ds II but after stopping down a couple of stops it was pin sharp.

This morning I took delivery of a 24-105L and its a lot more money but the initial test shots show that it can compete on an even footing with my primes at all apertures and the focus is absolutely precise. I guess you get what you pay for in the long run.


 
Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical

sp-af17-35
Review Date: Apr 19, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: It feels good in the hands and its covers a nice range. Focus seems to be accurate and the finish is more than adequate.
Cons:
I think I have a serious lemon here. The central part of the images is good once I stop down to about F8 but the edges are appalling at all apertures. This is optically the worst lens I've ever used.

After running some test, I have contacted the dealer who has agreed to replace the lens (albeit with a few weeks wait for delivery) but I wasn't too impressed by the Tamron service people when I contacted them about this problem. All they could do was blame Canon but all of my Canon lenses are 1000% better at all apertures.

No doubt though that this would be a great lens if you can get a good copy. I just wonder about the number of times I hear users talking about about this lottery for getting good & bad lenses from nearly all makers and have to question the state of quality control these days.