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Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

ef_180_35_1_
Review Date: Jun 13, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Much better focus than original; very sharp, excellent color rendition; great bokeh; excellent build quality
Cons:
Slow AF

A while back I posted a review on the 180mm f/35. macro that I later got taken to task for. I'm updating my review NOT because of the "worthless" comment, but because of now owning a different copy of the lens. After using the used copy I had purchased for sometime, I ended up returning the copy and buying a new 180mm; the difference and been pronounced. Would I rate it a 10 now? No..it's not the "perfect" lens and a 10 is perfection...but it's very, very close. A 9.5 or 9.8...fast becoming one of my favorites lenses to shoot with.

 
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

ef_180_35_1_
Review Date: Apr 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,049.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Working distance in macro mode; sharpness, contrast, color...did I mention sharpness?; build-quality
Cons:
AF is slow..slower than I expected..not an issue when shooting macro, could be if used as a medium telephoto

I used the Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM macro for three years before lucking into this used. My 100mm hasn't been on my camera since, and I will probably end up selling it. I love the working distance, focus is slow but locks on very nicely, color, contrast, bokeh is incredible. I'm used to lugging around the 100-400 and 70-200 f/2.8, so weight is really not an issue; in fact, I was surprised after hearing so many complain about the size and weight...very usable, well balance lens. AF is very slow...slowest of any lens I own. Incredibly sharp...without a doubt the sharpest lens in my bag. Well worth the $$.

 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Mar 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,765.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, optical quality, IS, build quality - darned close to the perfect short-to-medium focal length lens.
Cons:
Notice I said "close to perfect"....Canon, drop the price by about $300 and it would be.

It's been said time and time again...an incredibly sharp, incredibly well made, incredibly well-designed lens. The weight, at least for me, is truly not that big an issue; I shoot regularly with the 100-400 and if you're comfortable with that lens, you'll be comfortable with this one. The one caveat...the price. Too much more for the IS as opposed to the non-IS version. The one surprise...how much more noise the IS in the 70-200 makes compared to the IS in the 100-400. Something akin to a constant whirring sound when the shutter is half-depressed; not really annoying, just...different.

This is often mentioned as the most-used lens for many people. It's easy to see why.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Mar 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $684.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Value, sharpness, hand-holdability, color reproduction, contrast...perhaps the best value in the "L" series line of lenses.
Cons:
Somewhat slow (f/4), no IS.

If you're just starting out and want to have good glass in the short-to-medium telephoto range, start here. This is simply an amazing little piece of glass for the money; one of the sharpest zooms I have ever owned. Parted with it only because I had a need for the speed (f/2.8) and stability (IS) of it's big brother; and even then I mulled it over for a few days. A lens that will become a much sought after classic if Canon ever pulls it from the starting line-up.

 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Mar 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Versatility of zoom range, image stabilzation
Cons:
Not as sharp at higher end as some alternatives; relatively slow max. aperature

This is an incredibly versatile lens, and while you do sacrifice some image quality in the 350mm-400mm range as compared to, say the 70-200 at the upper end of its range, it is still MORE than sharp enough for most uses. Excellent color reproduction, very good contrast, and the IS works wonders. The perfect zoom lens, a very, very good wildlife lens, and reasoable in-flight bird lens. Very good minimal focusing distance throughout the range; AF is very good, even in low light, if not as fast as some other "L" series lenses.

Yes, if money was no object, I'd have the 500 IS and the 300 f/2.8 IS and at TC...since money IS an object, this lens neatly fits the bill. Lens shade is not as big as a problem as some seem to think it is..at least for me. Tripod collar makes a nice finger loop when hand holding. Haven't tried it with the 1.4x TC yet, but intend to soon.

Excellent value in this lens; not cheap, I know, but a good lens for the range and versatility.