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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

24tse
Review Date: Aug 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Stunningly good IQ - superb contrast, sharpness, CA and flare resistance and very high flexibility with large shift movements, tilt, and the ability to change tilt and shift axes on the fly.
Cons:
Price and the related cost of 82mm filters.

This is simply an amazing lens, with the best IQ of any lens I've ever shot with - Canon L's, Hasselblad/Zeiss SWC/M, Medium Format, whatever - it's just superb.

As shown in a number of the initial images posted on FM and the tests on the-digital-picture.com, this lens has very high IQ from f/3.5 and down, with virtually no CA, high contrast and extremely high resolution. Even the bokeh in out-of-focus areas is great.

Build quality is top notch - not as much metal as the old 24/45/90mm TS-E's, but very solid, tight and well assembled with no slop in the controls and secure tilt and shift locks. The lens also now includes a switch to completely lock the tilt control of the lens prevent the lens from accidentally tilting when not desired and ruining a shot by messing with your focal plane.

If you don't need the extra width of the 17mm TS-E this lens is highly recommended for architectural and landscape use as well as for creative depth-of-field control in wide-angle shots.


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Mar 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great lens - very good image sharpness, contrast and bokeh, fast and accurate focus in a small, light and easily portable package.
Cons:
Not much - see below.

Pretty close to the perfect lens at this focal length. Everything that can be said, has been said in other reviews.

Still, there's room for improvement, as the lens would be perfect if updated to include Canon's latest lens upgrades - circular aperture, weather sealing, and enhanced coatings to reduce high-contrast purple fringing (as per 70-200 f/4L IS).


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Dec 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb image quality, light, portable, very well built.
Cons:
None.

This is probably the best lens I've ever used with respect to its overall image quality. It's very sharp across the frame (5D), very contrasty, produces great colour and produces quite nice bokeh for its f/4 aperture.

It focuses quickly, it's light, has great build and is really versatile with superb IS. At f/4, my copy is virtually indistinguishable in terms of centre sharpness to either 100/2.8 USM Macro or 135/2L.

I moved from the f/2.8L IS to this lens due to weight/bulk, and found the f/4L IS lens has better overall IQ.

Highly recommended!


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Nov 29, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

Sorry for the repeated posts below. Please disregard second and third posts that follow.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Nov 27, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,259.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Superb optics and build.
Cons:
Less than satisfactory auto-focus.

This lens is like Jekyll and Hyde...

When it focuses on the subject, it's sharp, provides excellent contrast and beautiful bokeh. It's really well built and feels great on a 5D.

When it misses the focus on the subject ... which seems to be most of the time ... it's not sharp, and is intensely frustrating to use.

All 4 copies I've used demonstrate consistently inaccurate auto-focus with varying amounts of backfocus at all apertures - plus focus shift at f/2 - f/4 for close-in subject distances. My calibrated 5D which focuses just fine with 85/1.2L II, 100/2.8 USM Macro, 70-200/2.8L IS, etc...

I've tried everything I can think of to overcome this AF problem as the otherwise excellent optical and build qualities of this lens are hard to lose due to an AF problem. However, after hundreds of test images trying every possible combination of different focus points, servo vs one-shot, intentional front-focusing, etc., I've given up as I can't obtain consistently accurate AF.

Although manual focus can somewhat help to overcome the back-focus issue, manual focus still isn't accurate enough to shoot anywhere close to wide-open (even with an EE-S focus screen) and needing to focus manually means the lens can't keep up with my shooting requirements for this aperture and focal length.

Hopefully, others will find copies of this lens that don't have the general backfocus issue. After trying 4 copies that all perform identically, I'm giving up as I'm not prepared to pay this price for a lens that will not focus accurately.

With accurate AF this lens would be excellent, but with it's current AF performance, this lens is an intensely frustrating no-go for me.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Nov 26, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Superb optics and build.
Cons:
Major AF problems.

This lens is like Jekyll and Hyde...

When it focuses on the subject, it's sharp, provides excellent contrast and beautiful bokeh. It's really well built and feels great on a 5D.

When it misses the focus on the subject ... which seems to be most of the time ... it's not sharp, and is intensely frustrating to use.

All 4 copies I've used demonstrate consistently inaccurate auto-focus with varying amounts of backfocus at all apertures - plus focus shift at f/2 - f/4 for close-in subject distances. My calibrated 5D focuses just fine with 85/1.2L II, 100/2.8 USM Macro, 70-200/2.8L IS, etc...

I've tried everything I can think of to overcome this AF problem as the otherwise excellent optical and build qualities of this lens are hard to lose due to an AF problem. However, after hundreds of test images trying every possible combination of different focus points, servo vs one-shot, intentional front-focusing, etc., I've given up as I can't obtain consistently accurate AF.

Although manual focus can somewhat help to overcome the back-focus issue, manual focus still isn't accurate enough to shoot anywhere close to wide-open (even with an EE-S focus screen) and the slow-down in MF vs AF means the lens can't keep up with my shooting requirements for this aperture and focal length.

Hopefully, others will find copies of this lens that don't have the general backfocus issue. After trying 4 copies that all perform identically, I'm giving up as I'm not prepared to pay this price for a lens that will not focus accurately.

With accurate AF this lens would be excellent, but with it's current AF performance, this lens is an intensely frustrating no-go for me. One word advice: beware.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Nov 26, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Beautiful bokeh, very good contrast and sharpness wide open, excellent build.
Cons:
Major autofocus issues - consistent backfocus and focus-shift make this lens unusable for my general purpose use.

This lens is like Jekyll and Hyde...

When it focuses on the subject, it's sharp, provides excellent contrast and beautiful bokeh. It's really well built and feels great on a 5D.

When it misses the focus on the subject ... which seems to be most of the time ... it's not sharp, and is intensely frustrating to use.

All 4 copies I've used demonstrate consistently inaccurate auto-focus with varying amounts of backfocus at all apertures - plus focus shift at f/2 - f/4 for close-in subject distances. They were shot with my calibrated 5D which focuses just fine with 85/1.2L II, 100/2.8 USM Macro, 70-200/2.8L IS, etc...

I've tried everything I can think of to overcome this AF problem as the otherwise excellent optical and build qualities of this lens are hard to lose due to an AF problem. However, after hundreds of test images trying every possible combination of different focus points, servo vs one-shot, intentional front-focusing, etc., I've given up as I can't obtain consistently accurate AF.

Although manual focus can somewhat help to overcome the back-focus issue, manual focus still isn't accurate enough to shoot anywhere close to wide-open (even with an EE-S focus screen) and the slow-down in MF vs AF means the lens can't keep up with my shooting requirements for this aperture and focal length.

Hopefully, others will find copies of this lens that don't have the general backfocus issue. After trying 4 copies that all perform identically, I'm giving up as I'm not prepared to pay this price for a lens that will not focus accurately.

With accurate AF this lens would be excellent, but with it's current AF performance, this lens is an intensely frustrating no-go for me. One word advice: beware.


 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: Jan 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very nice build, good quality images, fast frame rate, reasonable viewfinder for a cropped image field.
Cons:
Problems with obtaining consistent auto-focus accuracy even after adjustment by Canon.

Great first dSLR with very good image quality and build, but somewhat lacking in AF accuracy with lenses that have narrow depth of field characteristics.

My 20D was constantly backfocusing with 70-200/4L, and sometimes with my 50/1.4 and 100/2.8 USM Macro, so I had the camera and 70-200 serviced (together) by Canon to obtain more accurate AF. AF was better with all lenses after servicing and adjustment, but instead of consistently backfocusing, it was sometimes ok, sometimes back-focusing, and sometimes front focusing. It just seems to be a characteristic of the 20D's AF system that it's not as precise as I'd like, and I could only really rely upon the centre focus point with One-Shot AF to provide reasonably accurate focus. I could never trust the other focus points or AF Servo as I could with my EOS3.


I've now replaced my 20D with a 5D which I find focuses dead on with all AF points, virtually all the time.

Also, presumably because of the very high pixel density, the 20D is a kills lenses that have less than optimal sharpness within the 20D's cropped image field requiring very good lenses to keep up with the capability of the sensor.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Jul 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great optics and build, light weight, portable, fast AF, compatible with Canon extenders, etc. etc.
Cons:
Nothing.

One of the best optical values in the Canon lineup. Excellent glass, very well built, in a light and convenient package that's about half the weight of either of the 2.8's.

Compared to the 200/2.8L that the 70-200/4L replaced, apart from slightly sharper edges and corners, the zoom was virtually the equal of the 200 with much better usability and flexibility.

My copy was slightly backfocusing on my 20D, but after a recalibration, it's AF is dead on at all focal lengths.

Highly recommended.


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Jul 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Absolutely stunning image quality, with very good build and fast AF.
Cons:
Very exposed front lens element that needs protection when shooting close-up. Hood should be included within the price. Loses some focal length at macro shooting distances - down to about 70mm by 1:1.

Superb optics with very high sharpness and contrast, and excellent colour reproduction. Very good build quality - very close to that of an L-lens.

Optional tripod mount enhance an already excellent macro lens by overcoming one of the major limitations of 100mm macros with easy re-framing of macro subjects.

Manual focus can be difficult for subjects out of the macro range as the focus ring throw is very short - AF is almost mandatory for accurate focusing at 1 meter or greater.

AF accuracy on my (calibrated) 20D is excellent, right out of the box.

With the internal focus design of this lens, it loses focal length as it focuses closer, but if that's the sacrifice to be made for USM and FT-M focusing, I'll gladly accept it.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Jul 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, beautiful colour, contrasty, light and very portable, and very inexpensive for the overall image quality. Much smoother background blur than 50mm f/1.8 with much more rounding to background out-of-focus highlights.
Cons:
Build could be better, and could be sharper wide open.

Superb lens once stopped down to f/2.5 or further. Quite usable wide open and to f/2.5, but sharpness and resolution are superb once closed down a bit.

Very nice colour reproduction and contrast. AF is fast enough for most purposes, but can tend to hunt a bit under low light. The bayonet attached lenshood is very secure - I wish the 85mm f/1.8 had a similar hood design.

I'm on my third copy of this lens, but not because of any dissatisfaction - quite the contrary, after selling the first I felt regret at losing it's capabilities and re-invested. After selling the second to help finance an investment in Medium Format, I'm back into a third copy of this lens for my 20D. All three copies have had the same superb image quality, but each had their own somewhat different feel to the manual focus ... this may be a good lens to purchase locally to look at various copies to ensure you're happy with the feel of the manual focus system, as some copies can tend to be less than smooth.

Before my first 1.4, I shot with the 50/1.8 (Mk I with metal mount). The 1.8 drove me nuts - the price was great, the lens was very sharp, but the buzzy focus motor and the harsh and cluttered out-of-focus background character led me to look at the more expensive 1.4. If you consider the quality of the backgrounds to your images to be important, I feel the 1.4 is a much better choice.

I've also shot with the 50/2.5 Compact Macro, and prefer the overall image quality of the 1.4 at similar apertures, with the fast AF and low light capability of the 1.4 making this a better decision for me.

I strongly recommend this lens to anyone looking for this focal length who needs speed and/or portability.