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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Sep 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Extremely versatile, 2.8, sharpness
Cons:
AF could possibly be faster, price

I bought this beast mainly for weddings, and man, it is like bread and butter. It's so versatile that it's just amazing how many shots you can take.

However, I recommend you carefully think about your equiment and shooting situations before buying it. My review here is based on weddings. If you shoot on a 1.3 or 1.6 crop DSLR this lens is very appropriate, even though in some situations you may find yourself missing wide angle coverage. If you shoot FF, film or digital, the 24-105 may be a better choice, assuming image quality is the same. I shoot FF and at times I found myself lacking the extra 35 mm when trying portraits.

Other than this there's not much to say, I just want to leave a couple of lines about:

- weight and size. I didn't have much trouble carrying it around, the only thing about weight is that you probably won't be able to handhold the camera with long shutter times. As to size, use a battery for a better grip.

- AF. It is fast, not super fast, and I haven't checked it out in low light situations.

Now you may wonder why I haven't said anything about sharpness blah blah blah.... Before and after buying this lens I was a little worried because of the many complaints I read, here on FM and elsewhere... Well, apparently I got a good copy.

Overall this lens kicks ass, it does everything it is supposed to. Is it worth the extra cash when compared to other similar range zooms (eg Sigma 24-70)? I don't know, probably not, but it's nice to see a red ring on your camera...

Happy shooting


 
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

ef20mmf_28usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have had this lens for almost a year now, and I have shot enough pictures with it to say it is a good piece of glass.

I guess the main point I want to make here is that 20 is really wide and as such it presents you with a very steep learning curve. It is fun and excitement since you have to get VERY close to the subject to fill the frame, but then you have to think about the background too, since this lens catches almost everything. This of course poses some exposure issues as well, since the different part of the frame may be very differently lit.

Build quality is very good, the lens feels solid and compact at the same time. It's not light but it's not heavy either, so the overall feeling while shooting is that of steadiness.

The manual focus ring is maybe a little loose, but my copy is second hand, so it may be just due to usage. However this really hasn't been a problem at all.

AF is fast and accurate, even though it may hunt from time to time in low light or low contrast situations (just like all other lenses).

I haven't noticed any significant distortion, if you are parallel to the plane you're shooting at (walls...) lines will come out straight.

Resistance to flare may probably be better. I have tried a few shots with the sun within the frame and the outcome wasn't very good. In such a situation I have to recompose in order to cover at least partially the sun.

99% of the shots I took with this lens are BW so I cannot comment on its color rendition, but the few color pics I took didn't come out bad.


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

ef100mmf_2usm_1_
Review Date: Mar 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f2, sharpness, bokeh, FTM, compact, lightweight, quality build, price
Cons:
hunts in low light, long minimum focusing distance, bulky hood, usable only in a limited range of situations

This lens is a jewel. I have had it for about a month now and after shooting a few rolls I am amazed at the results. I chose the 100 f2 mainly for use in low light conditions, especially concerts, where one would expect its aperture and reach to be very useful. I wasn't disappointed.

I have been shooting extensively with the lens open wide at f2: image sharpness is excellent, bokeh astonishing, and any little object reflecting light forms a perfect circle, really adding some atmosphere to the picture. In this respect FTM also becomes useful as a sort of creative tool.

Combined with an appropriate film speed (or ISO setting if you shoot digital), the large aperture will grant you good shutter speeds most of the time, but the compactness and lightness of the lens will allow you to go as long as 1/45 or even 1/30 (provided you have a steady hand of course).

The price is a bargain, so if you think this is the kind of lens you want without breaking your bank, this is the one to go for.

Like many others I have found that the lens actually hunts under certain circumstances, but I guess that every lens would. So far, this has not been much of a problem to me, but no doubt this is another situation where FTM becomes useful.

A shorter minimum focusing distance would be nice, even though I haven’t felt the need so far. I guess Canon have reserved this feature for the macro version (100 f2.8).

The hood is quite big and can be cumbersome when moving around in the midst of a crowd. Also, you must be very careful when changing lenses (which is a problem I have since I only own one camera body and don’t like zooms very much): the hood is fragile to the touch so whenever I put my 100mm down into the bag I always fear I could break it.

One final word of caution to those thinking about the 100 f2. Though it is true that you always end up using what you have, at least until you realize you need something else, you should be aware that this lens is usable, at least in my opinion, in a limited range of situations, particularly portrait and performance photography. Trying a few shots outdoor I haven’t found myself at ease with the working distance this lens requires so I often reverted to a normal or wide prime.