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  Reviews by: bkriete  

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Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Oct 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $595.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wide as you can get on a 1.6 body, useful (to me) zoom range, good optical quality, nice build, I love USM
Expensive, requires slim filters

I purchased this lens expecting to use it mostly at 10mm for fun super-wide-angle shots and landscapes. I have actually used it all through the zoom range, probably at 22mm just as much as 10.
I find 10mm (16mm equivalent) too wide for most landscapes, however it is great in portrait orientation for vertical features like canyons, waterfalls, mountains and trees. I also use it indoors in museums, etc, to capture the entirety of an exhibit or artwork from close range without including too many bystanders. At 22mm (35mm equiv) it makes a nice lens for group pictures or environmental portraits and the typical "wideangle distortion" (where close objects look huge) isn't objectionable to me. A much more versatile lens than I expected, even though I am not using it as I intended upon purchase.

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

Review Date: Oct 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: IS is extraordinary, useful range, good build, I like USM, effective "poor man's macro"
Optical quality is only OK, very prone to flare even with hood

I purchased this on the FM a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to test out the IS. Not expecting miracles, I was blown away. It does a fantastic job of stabilizing the lens at shutter speeds much lower than I would have thought reasonable. 3 extra stops is pretty easy for me, and if I am braced against a wall or chair 4 or 5 seem attainable.
I was disapointed by the picture quality outside. For some reason this lens seems more vulnerable to flare than even the 10-22 EF-S. Indoors it is much better, and the IS seems to compensate nicely for the relatively slow aperture. I think this lens will be a great "museum" lens, giving me decent depth of field and fairly sharp pictures in low-light.
I have been very pleased with this lens for closeups of the (finally starting to change) autumn foliage, flowers, etc. I think - though this may be just my perception - that the optical quality is higher with closeups than it is with infinity or mid-range focus. USM focusing is also nice, though I notice at 85 mm (5.6 is the max aperture) that it seems to have a little trouble focusing on low-contrast subjects indoors. It's still comparable in focus ability to my 50/1.8 under these conditions, and better at shorter focal lengths where it is at f/4 or so.
I have used this lens for some impromptu portraits and the bokeh is nicer than I would have expected at 5.6 when the subject is relatively much closer than the background.
Overall, it's a versatile lens, with acceptable optical quality, made pleasant to use by the USM and IS.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Oct 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $85.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatile, inexpensive, light-weight, nice picture quality and very fast, balances nicely on 300D
Focus ring is terrible for manual focus, seems to hunt in poor light despite being a fast lens.

This was the first lens I bought to use on my 300D. I have used it quite a bit for portraits, concerts, and even some landscape-type shots. It remained permanently attached to my camera for several months after I got it. For the price, it's a great lens; if it was twice as much it still wouldn't be a bad buy. I don't mind the plastic lens mount, and the build quality is perfectly adequate for my use. I have dropped it off my desk and dropped my camera a foot or two, lens-first, with this lens attached in an unpadded bag with no negative consequences.
The only drawbacks I notice with this lens are that the focus seems to hunt more in low-light than my USM-equipped lenses, even though this lens is twice as fast as any of them, and that the manual-focus ring is ergonomically very poor, being perhaps a 1/4" thick and offering a relatively poor "feel" to focusing.
I think it's a very useful and versatile lens, and certainly worth buying. I would be happy to answer any questions about my experiences with it, or provide sample pictures.