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

EF17-85
Review Date: Dec 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent range for Travel, IS System, Strong build quality, Great Fast USM Focus (no AF hunting!), Weight is acceptable, Very smooth focus ring.
Cons:
90% of the time its f5.6 (way to slow), focus ring behind the zoom (not the normal way of doing things), Focus ring isn't butter smooth, Large Size

This Canon EF-S 17-85 F4-5.6 IS USM lens is the best option for those wanting to take their XT/20D Travelling without swapping Lens' over to often.

Because it is the EF-S model - the crop factor works well making it a 28-135mm lens. Its very similar to the exact EF equivalent. Canon must have realised people wanted the same range offered by the EF model, so with some small adjustments gave us the 17-85mm EF-S.

After reading so much about distortion and CA wide open I was a little worried about how some landscape photo's were going to look. Much to my suprise foliage leaves and area's of high contast suffer very small abberation's.
Trust me - a small adjustment in Adobe Camera Raw and it solves the problem. To even see hints of CA you would need to make massive sized prints to even worry about it.

Sharpness is good, I am sure 8"x12" enlargement prints would be fantastic. The lens does get better stopped down to f8, and then the shaprness get's that little bit better and shows more details. Prime's are always better than a zoom in this department.

And the Image Stabilization is over rated. Sure it works, but the joke is f5.6 still is bloody slow in the first place.
In a fully lit room where f2 would give pefect hand held results - this lens just struggles. I found myself loosing so many indoor shots it was a joke - back to 50mm f1.8 I go for indoor shots.

Everyone must remember that IS does not suddenly stop camera shake 100% at insanely slow shutter speeds for handheld. Its a joke thinking WOW Handheld at 1/15th is just so amazing - its not. A fast prime will get the job done, this zoom will not.

The new Sigma 30mm f1.4 is looking to be a fantastic lens, I tried it today and loved the speed of it.

For comparison I tried the two lens (17-85 vs 30mm) to see what shutter speeds I could obtain for camera shake free photos inside the camera shop.

The Sigma 30mm was giving me 1/800th at f1.4 ISO 200 INSIDE!
The Canon was giving me 1/8th at f5.6 (at ~30mm) with IS ON.

The photo taken with the Sigma was very sharp and camera shake free. Sadly, the Canon had signs of camera shake even with the IS. A postcard print would not have shown the effect to badly so all is not lost but pefect results simply could not be obtained with this zoom due to it being so slow.

The other problem is people photography. This lens is a poor choice for any portrait. f5.6 holds far to much background information that distracts away from the subject. 85mm is the pefect length on crop factor camera's, but an aperture of f5.6 is not. You are much better to use, again, a prime lens to blur away the background nicely.

The build quality of this lens is fantastic - its very solid and I wouldnt be to scared to drop it outside. Of course great care should always be taken with glass! All zoom rings, mounts etc are solid and feel nice to hold.

For those who like to focus manually, the focus ring is thin and not butter smooth to use (like the EF-S Macro). It is placed behind the zoom ring which is hard to get used to when you have come from a Lens where its the normal way around (zoom first, then focus).

Being f5.6, the viewfinder is much darker than it should be. I found it very hard to focus manually in poor light conditions.

I should note that the Autofocus just works a treat in almost any light condition I have tried to use it in. The funny thing is my EF-S Macro lens which is much brighter than this zoom, hunts alot in low light where as this zoom manages to lock foucs no problem!

I think for anyone wanting the flexibility of a zoom and owns a XT/20D - this is the lens to buy WITH a fast prime aswell.

Overall if you can get some rebate or cashback - buy the lens and enjoy it outside on your travels. Just dont be to disapointed when the IS still isnt enough for inside!

Jeremy Barr


 
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

efs60_28macro_usm
Review Date: Nov 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $684.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very solid build, Internal focusing is fantastic, Produces wonderfully saturated photos and high in contrast, Bokeh is lovely and very smooth, Auto Focus is typical ring-USM with Full Time Manual focus being excellent and smooth. f2.8 Aperture, 52mm Filter Size
Cons:
I do feel Canon could reduce the price, however for this quality I don't mind paying for it.

I purchased this Len's thanks to reading the glowing FM reviews.

The Lens certainly lives up to all the comments, what a pleasure to use!

You notice the quality build straight away, quite solid but to not heavy.

Unlike the Sigma 50mm Macro, the Len's stays the same length regardless of focusing distance. The Sigma extends an incredible amount when getting near 1:1 Macro - which I find a pain to use and hardly convenient.

When I processed the RAW files of my photos, I noticed how wonderfully the colours were saturated. Very natural in colour, but add's the extra punch of colour. Contrast is lovely.

The sharpness is not out of this world, but sharp enough to show all the fine hairs on leaves and insects that you would normally miss.

Having a 'circular' (its not a perfect circle but damn close) aperture really makes those background cream away nicely. You can keep the tip of a flower in dead focus, but have everything else cream away softly.

Being my first ring-USM Lens, I was suprised at how quiet it really is, I never needed a quiet Auto Focus, but when you have it you appreciate not having a funny noise all the time. The speed is great when its somewhat in focus, just snaps into a accurate focus. Its when the Lens comes out from 1:1 to a subject 2 meters away it takes a while to adjust, but I find this acceptable - comming from such a close distance to 2 meters in a few seconds is hardly something to complain about.

I am used to the painfully slow Kit Lens of the EOS 350D, so using a fast 2.8 Aperture really makes a difference in low light. Would be great if it was faster, but 2.8 is great anyway

By having a small filter size of just 52mm, it makes the Lens compact and cheap to buy filters for. I do not know how people can even consider those Lens' with 77-82mm filters, It becomes simply far to large to have hanging off your camera. 52mm is what I am used to (comming from film), and it certainly helps to keep the Lens compact and not overly bulky

I think it is a must buy for anyone with a camera capable of EF-S Lens', I worked hard to buy the Lens but it is worth it!

You cant be disapointed with this Macro Lens!


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Nov 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Certainly a big difference in speed to the 350D/Rebel XT Kit Lens. The large aperture is nice when working with lower light, and when taking Portraits. Affordable for most, a worthwhile companion for any camera.
Cons:
Auto focus is much noiser than the Kit lens. I find the focusing ring a joke - however how often do you need to manual focus? Not suited to close ups photos, due it is minimum focusing distance being 45cm

I purchased this lens a few days ago, to go with my new Canon EOS 350D camera. After weeks of suffering from Point and Shoot quality photos from the slow Kit Lens, I had enough and purchased this lens.

It is fantastic value for money, affordable for most.

I love how the shallow depth of feild lets you be more in control of how the photos look - with the Kit lens you always seem to hover around [i]f/i]4.5-[i]f/i]5.6.

It seems to miss focus occasionally, with some photo's not being suitable due to missed focus. Be carefull when working with [i]f/i]1.8, I would suggest stopping down to even [i]f/i]2.8 just for that extra stop of detail in focus.

Poor 'Macro' abilities, it wont focus on a subject that is close to the lens - making it more suited for Portraits/Walkaround. Even the Kit lens can focus much closer than this lens.

The build construction is OK - it is nothing to worry about. Is a plastic mount really that bad? The lens is very light, and the mount is very solid. If the lens was heavier then perhaps the plastic mount would be a concern, but for a lightweight Prime lens it is suitable.

I will certianly be keeping this len's, great image quality wide open and even better stopped down.