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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

ef70-300_45-56doisu
Review Date: Oct 25, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Fast AF Easy to handle Good bokeh Great CA control
Cons:
Price Lack of contrast Lack of sharpness wide open, especially at longer FL's Lens seems more prone to flare than others in its range

This lens handles very well. The AF is nice and fast and easily keeps up with birds flying past or people running around. The IS is very effective and really has come in handy for me on several occasions. The build quality is good but not great. CA is very well controlled and the bokeh is usually very nice.

Unfortunately the biggest negative with this lens for me is its optical performance. I am not saying the lens canít take a good picture but I have certainly seen better performance out of lenses with similar specs at much lower price points. The contrast isnít great and sharpness wide open, especially at the longer focal lengths, isnít very impressive. The lens seems to be more susceptible to flare than other lenses I have used in this range. It has usually not been a problem but to does seem to come up. Also the OOF highlights can sometimes look a bit odd. This has hardly ever been a problem in my pictures but it does happen from time to time. I donít think it is anything that will ruin a picture and I havenít had much trouble getting rid of it in PS. Use of the hood with this lens does seem to really be a benefit. Unfortunately the supplied hood is quite large and defeats a lot of the small size that this lens is supposed to afford. The cost is very high for this lens considering the optical performance.

The whole size and weight savings aspect of this lens is a bit of a enigma for me. This lens is heavier than the new 70-300 IS and is larger in two out of three dimensions. The DO gives you a lens that is 1.7íí shorter in length but is significantly bigger in diameter. I found that this lens benefits from the use of the hood but the hood is unfortunately very large. The day I got the lens I was out testing it out and someone who saw me shooting commented that I sure had a big lens!

This lens certainly does have the gee-whiz factor and the technology is very exciting (for me anyway) but it is apparently a pretty tricky technology. I think eventually we will see DO zoom lenses with L like performance but my feeling is that this one just isnít there yet in the optics department.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

ef_50_25c_1_
Review Date: Apr 22, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, light, inexpensive, sharp
Cons:
A bit flimsy build (what do you expect for $230 new?), slow AF (big deal, itís a macro lens!)

This is one of my favorite lenses of all time. I used it a lot on my 1D and like it even more on my 10D. A lot of people say it doesn't give enough working distance for nature-type shots but I have not really found this to be the case. This lens is so light and small that I usually always have it with me. For this reason it sees a lot more action than my other macro lenses. This lens is VERY sharp and works well with extension tubes. I think it is a great value and don't hesitate to recommend it.

 
Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 with Softfocus

ef135mmf_28soft_1_
Review Date: Apr 2, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $280.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Very sharp with soft focus turned off, soft focus
Cons:
Cheap feel, Soft focus not as good as I expected, but better than any screw-on filters I have used.

I had high hopes for this lens when I got it but was a little bit let down once I started using it. At wide apertures the SF is a bit too much for my taste, even at the 1 setting. When stopped down to f/5.6 or more I have a difficult time seeing any difference between the 1 and 2 setting. At f/2.8 the 2 setting is unusable, the pictures produced with this setting look awful to me. I would recommend the 135mm f/2 above this lens unless you really want the SF feature, and I strongly recommend testing one out before you actually buy one.