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  Reviews by: cjwhitsett  

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Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: Dec 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $580.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price, sharp, fast, quiet, well built without being too heavy, did I mention price
Long minimum focus distance, though the 1.4x TC helps

I have the non-DG version of this lens.

Okay, I haven't had this lens but for a couple days of messing around, but I think it's great. Focus is fast, silent, and spot on; IQ is a new kind of awesome for a zoom.

Keep in mind that this is my first "really good glass," so I'm probably prone to be a bit more enamored than a more seasoned photographer.

Throw on the Sigma 1.4x (also non-DG) TC and this lens hardly misses a beat. The two make an excellent couple. Sharpness and focusing are still awesome.

My only nit--and it's a small one-- is that the minimum focus distance is six feet. It just takes a little getting used to. With the TC however, semi-close shots are still very possible.

I did notice a little bit of CA on this lens shooting a contrasty scene, but, really, it just wasn't much at all, but that's just me.

Given how much the Canon and Nikon alternatives cost, I have to believe this lens is quite possibly one of the best values around. This lens is made to perform without slaughtering your wallet.

Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) AF

Review Date: Dec 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, light, amazingly flexible, IQ at mid range and stopped down a couple stops, reasonably fast focusing in good light, ability to take satisfactory close-ups.
A bit soft at 200-250, distortion at wide end, small max apertures, not low-light friendly, CA

I like this lens. It was my only lens for about 1.5 years.

When I first started putting together a kit, I told myself that I wanted a setup that could do reasonably well (keep in mind "reasonably well" means very different things for someone starting out compared to a pro) in most shooting situations. I bought this lens and have had few regrets. I've used it for landscapes of all sorts, portraits, outdoor sports, wildlife, macro stuff ... just trying out all sorts of different avenues of photography, and for all these avenues, it has done reasonably well and allowed me to take home some photos I can be proud of.

Obviously, it's not going to compare to lenses of less ambitious focal length, but don't write it off, especially if you can't afford multiple lenses. It's not a "bad" lens at all.

Unless you think a large chunk of your work will be indoors and/or shooting architecture at wide angles (where there's some noticeable distortion), I'd recommend this lens to you.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Dec 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, sharpness
Build, occasional focusing issues, on a crop body (350D) it's a little longer than would be ideal

Portrait shooting isn't exactly my top photographic priority, but I still wanted something that could serve me reasonably well for portraits. 90% of the time, it's this lens.

Yeah, the build quality isn't good, but as long as you're not in situations where you can't be somewhat careful, I think this lens will be fine, even though it is something of an unnecessary stress to have to be a little extra protective.

Focusing is sometimes tough at wide apertures, but this has as much, if not more, to do with my ability to use the lens and nail focus EXACTLY where I want it than it does with the lens itself.

Were it more expensive, my rating would be lower mainly due to build quality, but at the price point, something's gotta give. Again, just be a bit more careful with it.