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Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO Tele Macro HSM

Review Date: Jan 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very well built, metal body, focus ring has wide grip, fairly sharp wide open, neutral color reproduction, HSM focusing (not quite as fast as USM), handy tripod mount, short focusing distance for a long telephoto (approx 5ft), black finish not as obvious as the white L lenses, inexpensive
F5.6 sometimes a little too slow. HSM focus not as quick as USM, at f5.6 not tack sharp, it's sharp, but not tack sharp. okay, i'm nitpicking... Sigma customer service is not great either

I originally had one for my Minolta Maxxum system. It was great for the price and met my long telephoto needs. It's not a light lens, but it's not terribly heavy either. So, I got one with a Canon mount when I switch over. I was disappointed to find out that it didn't work on the 10D, unless I got it rechipped. So, I called Sigma USA, they said they were out of stock and I was out of luck. But, I kept the lens since I could still use it at f5.6 in "one shot" mode. Then I got a 1D Mk1. I was please to find out that it works perfectly with this camera. So, now, i'm happy as a bee... Good quality long telephoto for $300, what more can you ask for...

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $965.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open, high contrast, versatile focal range, heavy duty/sturdy build quality, fast focus, silent USM, weather sealed, large hood, close focus distance.
Pricey and a little heavy.

I had the Tamron di 28-75mm f2.8 and I found that 28mm was just too long on a 1.6X crop camera, at f2.8 it was soft, the focus speed was okay for inanimate objects, but too slow if you have to track your subject. I found this to be the case on both mine and my friend's.

So, being a little disatisfied, I rented the 24-70mm L to see what the difference was. Well, for one the lens is noticably sharper when shot at f2.8, the build quality is much, much better, focus speed is much faster and the extra 4mm does make a difference at the wide end. It's sharp at both ends of the focal range. The 24-70L is 3X more expensive than the Tamron, but worth it if you have the extra money. You won't be disappointed. You get what you pay for. I waited til Canon came out with their rebates. Now, the 24-70mm is on my camera 80% of the time.

I've read on a few forums that the QC has been inconsistant with this lens, but I have not experienced any of this. The rental lens I had was tack sharp, my copy is the same, my cousin's is perfect, and my photography partner's works fine. So, I haven't seen any problems. But, if you are worried about getting a bad lens, I would go down to your local camera shop and check it out in person before buying.

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: Nov 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $210.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super lightweight, sharp wide open, short minimum focus distance, fast AF. Decent bokeh. Super cheap when compared to it's 35mm f1.4 L brother.
no silent USM AF, AF motor a little buzzy, bokeh not as smooth as a circular bladed shutter, but not that bad. no internal focus.

My new favorite lens! This lens is so small, compact, and light that you can walk around with it all day. On the 1.6X crop cameras, it's field of view is close to a normal lens. You can get really close to your subject because of its short minimum focusing distance. Great low light lens. You can hold it steady because it's sooooo light. Great picture quality. Sharp and smooth bokeh. Inexpensive. Awesome little lens.

Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 with Softfocus

Review Date: Nov 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $270.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp at f2.8, soft focus settings 0-2, lightweight, internal focusing, good AF performance, decent build quality for the price, relatively inexpensive (especially when compared to it's 135mm f2 L brother)
Long minimum focus distance. No silent USM AF, AF motor a little buzzy

Others have said it before, but I'll say it again. This is probably one of the most underated Canon lenses. It's pretty sharp wide open, and gets sharper when stopped down, f4, f8. AF is pretty good considering that it's not USM. At setting 1 and 2 you get the dreamy effect of the soft focus. For those of you who can't afford the 135mm f2, this is a great mid-telephoto lens to have. It's less than 1/3 the cost of it's "L" brother. The trade offs are: 1) no silent USM AF 2) long minimum focus distance of 4.3 feet 3) cheaper plastic barrel 4) no red ring found on the lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Oct 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $65.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, small, compact, lightweight, fast, very inexpensive (cheap), good AF speed
Cheap plastic build, cheap plastic mount, buzzy AF motor, focus ring very cheap feel and bad ergonomics, slightly clumpy bokeh

Excellent cheap lens to have around, especially for street shooting. You dont' have to worry about it attracting attention. The buzzy AF motor is a little annoying, but nothing terrible. Sharp lens, f1.8 a little soft, f2.8 and on very sharp. On a 1.6X crop camera, you can use it as a head&shoulders portrait lens. Bokeh not as smooth as the 50mm f1.4. But, with photoshop, you can smooth it out. Very high performance:price ratio. Wish Canon would just build it with a little higher quality platic and a metal mount. The Minolta and Nikon cheapo 50mm lenses blow this out of the water in this respect even though they're only slightly more expensive. But in the end, this is a good lens at a great price.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Oct 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $269.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, well built, silent and fast AF, smooth bokeh, good price (bargain compared to "L" lenses
not as contrasty as "L" lenses, CA seen on my 10D when shot wider than f4 in highlights, never saw any CA on film though.

Excellent lens that can give you "professional" results for a "non-professional" price. The bokeh on this lens is smooth. Sharp wide open. The AF is fast and silent, you should never miss a shot. Excellent lens for portraits, product, and nature shots.