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Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

EF14
Review Date: Oct 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,715.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Smallest, lightest ultra-wide for full fame dslr - very sharp, virtually zero distortion, an engineering marvel
Cons:
no filters, front element easy to scratch

This is a specialized lens. If you like ultrawides, there's really no other lens like it. People who complain about the flaws of this lens don't understand lens design - there has never been an ultrawide lens with this much coverage so sharp with so little distortion EVER made, period. Not Leica, not scheider, no one. If you've never used an ultrawide, I would definitely rent one before buying - they're quite difficult to use well. The field of view is astounding - on my full frame 5Dmk3, the detail is remarkable. No flair so far, and very, very little distortion. All ultrawides have significant falloff, that's unavoidable. It's easily corrected in lightroom, etc, with lens profiles.

For reference, the other ultrawide I use is the Schneider 47mm XL for 4x5 on a Linhof Master Technika with a $350 center filter. It obviously has better resolution overall, but it's amazing how close this lens comes in such a small, light package. While it takes me about 5 minutes to take a single shot with my 4x5, this can go with me everywhere. It's my new favorite lens. Great for interior shots. Very expensive, unfortunately, but there's nothing better. The nikon 14-24 is a monster comparatively speaking.


 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Nov 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ
Cons:
none

Stepped up from a 40D to this and WOW! Huge difference in low light and in color overall. More detail, more color. All the bells and whistles of the 40D / 50D (live view, blah blah blah) I was frankly happy to be rid of. I learned how to use all of that stuff, but then as soon as it was gone, I didn't miss any of it. Sure sign of a marketing gimmick. The only thing I would consider replacing this with is the 5D mk2 in a few years... Wink

 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Nov 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great range, color, sharpness
Cons:
speed

Loved this lens, especially on a 40D, believe it or not. Very useful, workable combination. You lose the wide, but you still have basically a 35mm and go all the way past the 135mm portrait. So that was great. I owned the 17-55 2.8 IS first, and sold it to get this. Just liked the color and the range better. That and the IS on a lens this short is a little gimmicky - sure, it's good, but it's not really that important. Nothing like how important it is on the 70-200, for instance.

But when I got the 5D, I no longer liked the lens. It was no longer that long, but the speed was bugging me. People say this is so light, but honestly, I don't feel a big difference between this and the 24-70 I replaced it with. The 24-70, on the other hand, is my god lens. I wish I had just started there instead of going through every other lens canon makes in this range. Even sharper than the 24-105 and the 2.8 does three big things: 1) brightens your viewfinder, 2) makes focusing faster (and focusing in low light possible), and 3) makes shooting indoors at iso 1600 and 3200 a breeze. Indoors at 3200 with the 24-105 was hit or miss. It's possible, but I just didn't like it well enough to stay. The 24-70 is the real deal. It's worth the extra money.


 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Nov 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpness, range, IS
Cons:
build, color

I liked this lens well enough. It's very sharp. But it struck me a little bit like a Tamron I tried - sharp, but missing something. I think it was color. I really don't know, but once I tried the 24-105 and then the 24-70 L lenses, I never thought about going back for a second.

 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Nov 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $840.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Unrivaled sharpness, color and contrast, and speed for a zoom. This is why you buy a Canon FF.
Cons:
some people find it weighty. I find it wonderfully solid ;)

People asking for a redesign of this lens are missing something about the fundamental nature of optics. There are trade-offs involved. This lens is INCREDIBLE. I wish I hadn't screwed around trying every other regular zoom lens canon makes and just gone straightaway to this. Well, actually, no I don't, because now I'll never be tempted by a lesser lens. The 17-55 2.8 IS on the 40D was good. But I liked the 24-105 4 IS on the 40D better for some reason - for a crop body, it was nice to be able to get all the way into the portait lengths. Color was better on the 24-105. Yes the 17-55 was very sharp, but sharpness is only one of many attributes to a good lens. When I moved up from the 40D to the 5D, I liked the 24-105 at first, but longed for a take-everywhere low-light lens. This is it. I'm so happy. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to shoot in low light at 2.8 anyway, and so would do better to just go with primes. No. I can even get shots at 1600, but the 5D does so well at 3200, it's fine. And being able to move fast from 24mm to 70mm is gold. I'm not knocking a 35 1.4 for low light - with enough money, I'd love both. But if the sharpness and contrast and color are this amazing with a zoom, I'll just stay here and leave carrying a bag of primes (and switching out lenses constantly) to other people.

The 2.8 makes the camera find focus so much faster, even in low light. The already bright viewfinder is that much brighter. It's a revelation. I was worried with all these horror stories of how heavy it is and how it's never sharp. Well, my new copy was razor sharp, and I don't find it heavy at all. And I LOVE the backwards zoom - the action is super smooth and quick, and the lens hood is the accurate coverage for all focal lengths, rather than most which are only giving you 1/2 the coverage on the long in order to keep from vingnetting on the wide end.

I would give this lens an 11 if I could. Colors, sharpness, build quality, lens hood, everything. If you're serious about your images, get this and stop whining about the weight. It's balanced and fine on a real camera. (though on an XSi, it would probably be ridiculous.)


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Jan 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, Sharpness, Bokeh, Focus
Cons:
if you've only used zooms, you'll have a learning curve

This is simply an outstanding lens. I had my doubts about buying a prime given the new technology in zooms, but after using this a few times, I couldn't imagine selling it. Incredibly fast focusing and great low-light behavior. The Bokeh is the best I have ever seen - it really makes a difference that I had not understood before. I use this with the Rebel XT as a portrait lens, and I think it's much better than the 50mm. It's true that, indoors, you have to keep a distance from your subject, but that's usually a good thing. And it gives you the extra reach for details. Build quality is much better than the 50 1.4 - the thing is built like a tank. Mine is sharp wide open, though your focal plane is so narrow there, that you have to work to keep the focus spot on. I use this and my 10-22 exclusively, and have been thrilled with both. Eventually I may move up to the 24-105 IS for 3x the price, but for now, I'm perfectly happy.