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Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef_24-85_35_1_
Review Date: Sep 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Light, fast focusing, rather sharp at f8, good walkaround range on 1.6x crop factor, price, color and contrast. Fits in the semi-soft 300D carrying case.
Cons:
Not sure wide open, really needs to be between f8 and f11 for sharp shots. Slight zoom creep.

I purchased this lens after a long debate between it and the Tamron 28-75 as my first "decent" zoom lens on my Canon 300d (I got it with the kit 18-55, a borrowed 75-300 and a 50/1.8).

The main reason I chose it rather than the Tamron was the slightly wider 24mm wide end. On a 1.6x crop factor 300D, this makes a big difference and I find the extra 4mm necessary to make it a walkaround lens for my purposes (just barely).

The good sides of this lens are the color and contrast of the lens as well as the speedy and silent USM focusing. It is also rather light (depends what you compare it to) and complements the 300D quite well giving it a nice bulk. It is also reasonably sharp at f8.

The bad sides are that it is not overly sharp when wide open and really needs 2 stops to become sharp which means that it requires quite a bit of light to use without a tripod. This is my biggest gripe and if you want to have a shallow depth of field, you also get a subject that isn't particularly sharp.

For fun, I tested the resolutions of my various lens, and ironically, though it makes more pleasing pictures than the 18-55, it is no sharper in the centre at similar apertures. That being said, the confort of use, range, speed of focus, bulk and pleasing color and contrast as well as no purple fringing (which is pretty bad on my 18-55) have made this lens, up till recently, the one that is on my camera the most.

Here is an example picture taken hand held with this lens:

http://bonnard.macminicolo.net/www/gallery/main.php?g2_view=core:ShowItem&g2_itemId=70

I have owned it since February 2005 and only recently decided to purchase a 17-40 (and 70-200). These two lenses have even better color and the advantage of being sharp wide-open. Walking around cities taking pictures, the 24mm is occasionaly not wide enough which is what prompted me to chose the 17-40.

I imagine that I will be using the 24-85 less now that I have the 17-40 (at least when taking pictures of architecture in cities) and am intrigued as to its future with the arrival of the 24-105 IS.

For its price, I can't think of another lens with as many qualities for 1.6x crop cameras.