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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Apr 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wide, sharp, clear, fast
Cons:
Price (but worth it)

I really wish this lens cost a little less. The price prevented me from buying it for a long time. Finally I got brave and bought it last fall so that I could shoot game 3 of the semi-final between the Sox and Indians. I was extremely happy with the lens. If you want to go wide... get this lens! You won't regret it. I've been told that for the most part 3rd party lenses can be as good as anything you buy from Canon unless you are looking at L glass.

When buying this lens I also considered the 10-22mm EF-S, but opted against it because I was suspicious that I would upgrade my XTi to a full-frame camera.

A month before I bought, I saw the older version of the 16-35mm f/2.8 L for sale for under $1,000. I was really tempted to buy it, but didn't. My understanding is that on a full-frame camera you want to get the version II because of the 82mm diameter. Apparently it helps eliminate vignetting... I can't say for sure.

While I was shooting on an XTi at the time it never really got as wide as I would have wanted. However that it an issue with the XTi and not the lens itself. I have upgraded to a 5D and am amazed at how well this lens performs.

I posted some of Fenway Park shots on my blog if anyone is interested in seeing some samples: http://web.mac.com/halfordchris/



One of the great things about a wide angle lens like this is that you can shoot with low shutter speeds. You really just have to keep it faster than 1/16th of a second (at the wide-end) which gives you a lot of freedom.

I love this lens. I highly recommend it.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Mar 24, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light, sharp, inexpensive, fast. Did I mention sharp and fast? Yup... it is!
Cons:
None at all.

This was the first lens I ever bought. I love it.

I had a hard time deciding between this and the f/1.8. I ended up buying the f/1.4 for myself and months later the f/1.8 for my wife.

Beside the obvious speed difference, if you are trying to decide which to use, consider the f/1.4 if you have any concerns about the AF hunting in the dark. The f/1.8 does hunt, but the f/1.4 seems to work out fine. Honestly this lens can almost see in the dark!

I've read a lot of comments bout the f/1.8's build quality. Do consider that this is a trivial issue as you can buy 3 of those for the price of the f/1.4. You may consider buying both as the f/1.8 would be an adequate backup in case something nasty happened at a shoot.

I haven't had the fortune of testing the 50mm L yet, so I cannot comment on the differences (other than price!!!).

I posted a sample image on my blog in the page titled "Creative Looks". The image has been enhanced a lot, but for a 1/30th sec hand-held shot you can see that it really does a nice job (even before tweaking the colour).

http://web.mac.com/halfordchris/


If in doubt, buy this lens anyway - you will not regret it.


 
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

ef400mmf_56_1_
Review Date: Mar 24, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Easy to hand-hold, inexpensive. Sharp sharp sharp!
Cons:
Lack of I.S. and slow (f/5.6)

This is a fantastic lens. I read a lot of reviews before purchasing it, and I wasn't unhappy.
I used this for my son's soccer games and got amazingly crisp shots. I've recently picked up the 400mm f/4 DO, and will post some comparisons.

A problem I had with this lens and the x2 converter was related to loss of AF and loss of more sharpness than I wanted. However this may be due to the x2 converter and not the lens itself. The x1.4 might have been better for the job, but AF is still lost.

I posted some sample shots of the lunar eclipse a few weeks ago. They are OK, but not great.

http://web.mac.com/halfordchris/

The important thing about this lens is that it has great reach and is very easy to handle without a tripod. I prefer more opportunistic shooting, so needing a tripod isn't always a good thing for me. I like this lens for the freedom and quality you get with it.


 
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

ef15mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Mar 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wide, wide, wide!
Cons:
Lens cap is a joke. Really Canon - shame on you!

This is a fun lens. I think it is actually my favorite of all my lenses. I've read reviews that talk about how the "fisheye-effect" gets old... Well, this is a fisheye lens and it will get old if you don't use it right. But if you want to get creative with it, you can really hide the fact that there is so much distortion. Make sure to keep horizons in the middle of the frame and you can get amazing landscapes!

I posted some shots on my home page. Check them out - maybe they will inspire you.

http://web.mac.com/halfordchris/


The lens cap is bad. Absolutely. I use the soft case from Canon and wrap a rubber band around it. The first time I opened my camera bag and saw that the hard metal cap was off and bouncing around I decided that Canon had done us all a real disservice. Someone has to make a really effective 3rd party cap to replace this with. Very very bad planning here. Could it have not even twisted on with a thread on the outside of the petal hood? Such a shame.