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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Feb 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast, minimal distortion, no vignetting at least on 1.3x crop, don't miss any wide primes at all.
Cons:
82mm filters are expensive and you likely don't already have one, hood is pretty worthless and bulky.

Upgraded from a 17-40 4L, this is a bit better in every way... sharper, faster, weather sealing, nice MFD.

The go to lens for wide angle use, though not that great as a single walkaround lens. that's more of the 24-70 type lens anyways.

The 82mm filters are very expensive and it's annoying to not be able to share filters/caps with the more common 77mm and 72mm lenses.

Very sharp even at F2.8, don't feel that a 24mm 2.8 L is any sharper, in fact I thought mine wasn't as sharp so I sold it.

Some samples here:

http://russell.exphose.com/canon1635mk2


 
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

ef500mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Feb 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast AF, Great Contrast, Best SuperTele to actually hike with,
Cons:
IS is a little old, It's a little heavier than I'd like and is pretty spendy.

I used to feel that my 135 F2 L was my sharpest and best lens, and I'm starting to think that the 500 beats it. It's more likely to have atmospheric effects affect the image than the 135 but that's just physics... With a clear day it looks like you walked up a lot closer and took the shot with the 135.

I handhold it just fine and for walking around prefer to use it without a monopod. When light gets low or I'm setting up in one spot I'll break out the tripod with gimble style mount and it's so much better than a monopod when shutter speeds get low anyways.

I thought I would only use it for birds and wildlife but it's actually becoming a favorite for some landscape shots as well... When you see a nice scene but it's off in the distance or across a valley, the 500 really brings it in and you can get angles that hiking closer would lose. The isolation and flatness it can bring has a very nice style for some images.

You can see some sample shots in my review gallery here:

http://russell.exphose.com/canon500f4

The only think you'll regret is not buying it sooner and that you feel the need to use it all the time since you spent so much on it. Smile


 
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS

150-500
Review Date: Aug 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: stabilized 500mm for under $1k USD, good sharpness, handholdable, EX build quality
Cons:
Slower lens = slower AF, more hunting and OOF shots than with a 300 F4 prime and similar faster lenses, about the same as my 300 F4L IS with 1.4 TC. Loud OS, bulky but not unmanageable, zoom creeps quite a bit if not locked and positive pressure kept on zoom ring if shooting steep vertical angles.

I think this lens is quite worthy of a "9" rating if properly considered.

The 150-500 range is quite usable, one could easily get away with having only a wide zoom and this lens, and this would be a great start to telephoto lenses for the user who wants more reach than the typical 75-300 VR or 70-200 F4 IS can give them.

I'm used to only fast lenses, I used to only have F2.8 and larger, and now F4 with IS and larger. Going to a F5-6.3 is quite a loss in light, and this cannot be forgotten, but what you need to remember is that wanting faster than this by even a little bit gets you into the $3k-$6k price range and the 11lb behemoth in the pelican case to tote around with the sturdy tripod and wimberly.

Yes, obviously, it's no where near a 500 F4 IS. But it also is better to fill the frame with this 500mm lens, than take a crop from a 70-200 2.8 IS from the same distance. So it is quite a useful lens for someone who wants to travel light or take holiday without massive lenses and still take acceptably sharp photos when in decent light.

After understanding what I was getting with this lens, there were not many negatives for the price. The lens hood is a bit cheap, the zoom creep is a little annoying, it's not instantly snap focusing due to lower light, there's no focus limit switch, the OS off/on-1/on-2 switch is annoying compared to a dedicated OS on/off and mode switch. The 82mm filter size means expensive filters if you would use any, etc.

Proper shooting technique must be used as the 500mm, especially on a crop body, increases the amount of camera shake by quite a bit over a 200-300mm long lens.

All in all it's a great buy, and as a user with only telephoto prime lenses and no zooms, a great addition to the kit both for the flexibility and the travel size.

The only thought I had is the Canon 100-400L may be the better lens, but it is also 50% more expensive, 100mm shorter and only slightly faster, push-pull design, older IS system, and a bit better overall quality in build and optics. Not enough to have either lens blow the other out of the water, but I would consider the 100-400L if I had not had the faster prime telephoto's as well, because stopping action needs light, and every little bit helps. It is a good thing about this lens that it is a difficult decision.


You can see some of my shots from a local airshow:

http://russell.exphose.com/p964778700

and some shots in my lens review section:

http://russell.exphose.com/f861564365/

Thanks!