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  Reviews by: camerafan123  

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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Mar 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $575.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight. Image sharpeness and colors are superb. Inexpensive for the quality.
Cons:
None

This lens produces pictures with amazing detail and color rendition (I use it on a 10D). It still impresses my after 2 years of owning it!

Although it is quite long (especially with the hood attached), I like how incredibly lightweight and 'usable' it is. I'm not sure how to exactly describe it, but it always has a comfortable feel to it.

When I need a lens in this zoom range and aperature, this is my 'go-to' lens without question.


 
Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF

20_f1_8_1_
Review Date: Mar 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Stopped down 1-1.5 stops, it's very sharp. Color rendition and boketh are very good. Solid build quality. Good 'bang for the buck'!
Cons:
Don't expect a usable, fast/wide open F/1.8 lens- it's not until stopped down. As mentioned by others, AF/MF switch and clutch are lame (although I AF most of the time).

Stop this lens down 1-1.5 stops and it's super sharp. Wide open it's useable, but only very minimally as it is not very sharp. I find the colors to be vibrant, accurate, and crisp on a 10D.

This lens has become a favorite of mine for general indoor close-up photography.


 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Mar 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp images, very good color rendition, IS works great, wide zoom range.
Cons:
Push/pull zoom is unbearably awkward! Front heavy and unbalanced when fully zoomed out on a 10D. A slow F/5.6 aperture starting around 250mm. A bit soft wide-open @ 400mm, but not bad.

I primarily wanted this lens for bird photography, and I had just sold a Sigma 100-300mm F/4 to purchase the Canon 100-400 L. Although the Sigma produced excellent pictures, I usually hand-hold my camera and hike around searching for birds. Thus the addition of the IS function and prospect of a (slightly) lighter lens, were the reasons for selling the Sigma and buying the Canon.

After reading countless reviews of this lens, I believed I could get past the push/pull zoom. However in reality, I could not. When using it to photograph small birds, it was difficult to locate the bird in the viewfinder, then zoom in on them for the picture (my preferred method when using zooms on small birds). The required 'pushing' motion was simply too much to keep the subject in the viewfinder. As an alternative, I tried keeping the lens fully zoomed (or at least in the 300-400mm range) most of the time but found the lens to be quite unbalanced and awkward to carry around on my 10D. Although this may seem like a minor ‘nit’, I found this constraint inhibited my abilities to take photos the way I wanted to, and the lens just never felt “comfortable” to use as a result.

I love the flexibility of zoom lens, but when I went back and reviewed the 400+ bird pictures I had taken last year, I not surprisingly, found that 99% of them were taken at full zoom with my 100-300mm Sigma lens. That observation led me to realize that I should not settle for a lens I would rarely zoom, nor felt totally at ease using. Thus, I sold the 100-400 for Canon's 300 F/4 IS L. I find this lens to be a much better alternative for me because it is lighter, a full stop faster at 300mm, and much less awkward to use. Even when used with a 1.4X TC, the 300 L is lighter and feels much more balanced.

Although I parted with the 100-400 L, it did produce very good images. The IS function worked great and really added to the flexibility of the lens. As with most photographers, I suspect image quality is the number one priority of any lens we use. Although this is certainly the case with me, I found out how important the “usability” factor of a lens is too. I realize this is strictly a personal preference however, so given that recognition, I would still recommend this lens to others- it just didn't suit my needs or shooting technique.