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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Jul 31, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,130.00

 
Pros: Great useful focal length range, F/2.8 constant, fast autofocus
Cons:
Image Stabilizer broke twice and has been repaired once... Still waiting for it to return for the second time.

Updated:


About 9 months into owning it, the image stabilizer crapped out and started acting very unstable. The image would jump around in the view finder. I sent it to Canon and they repaired it under warranty by replacing the IS and USM assemblies.

2 months after the first successful repair, the IS began malfunctioning again. It's currently out again for replacement. I wish there were some equivalent lens with the same great aspects but without Image Stabilizer.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Jan 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Don't worry about breaking: Just buy a new one!, sharp at all apertures (see text), good for reversing on the front of my macro lens
Cons:
slow autofocus, only F/1.8, 50mm is a bit long on a DSLR.

I like most aspects about this lens: the wide aperture for the low cost, the sharpness of the images, and the background blur. It's not a lens i can use all the time, since it's too long for most walk-around applications.

Sharpness: I was surprised to find that this lens sharpens up faster than the F/1.4. I tested the F/1.4: it gets extremely sharp at F/4 and begins to degrade around F/8. I also tested the F/1.8 in similar conditions: it reaches peak sharpness around F/2.2, and all other subsequent apertures are about as sharp (at least up to F/8). I cannot be totally sure, but I believe this lens does not get to be as sharp as the F/1.4 lens. This is probably because the 1.8 has a 5 element design, while the 1.4 has a 6 element design. Also, this lens has a 5 blade diaphragm while the 1.4 has 6 blades.

This lens is good for reversing and placing in front of a macro lens. I was able to get magnification of better than 2:1 using this in combination with my 1:1 macro lens.

The bokeh is very nice, especially compared to my sigma 105 macro lens. It's soft and flatter, as opposed to sharp and crunchy.

This lens is a good value over all.


 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Aug 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,129.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Useful F2.8, High quality images at all apertures, Image Stabilizer, Super quick focusing, Decently Built
Cons:
Large (Heavier and Longer than my Sigma 70-300mm when not extended), 77mm Filters, Price

Very useful in all situations! Worth every penny, if you've got them to spare. The image quality is stellar, and the handling is much better than any other lens i've used. The "keeper" rate with this lens is easily double what it was with the 18-55 kit lens.

The image stabilizer is incredible. With sure footing, i'm able to hand-hold a shot at 55mm for 1/8 second! Combined with the F/2.8, I never need to use ISO 1600! Good bye noise.


 
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

05_105mmEX_1_
Review Date: Sep 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, Good working distance for insects
Cons:
Autofocus is slow and noisy, Autofocus switch is cumbersome

I purchased the DG version of this lens from B&H and it arrived the next day. I couldn't wait to use it. The first great thing you notice about this lens is that it feels very solid.

Currently, I use it for anything from large flowers to miniscule insects. Here's a Jumping spider i caught with it: http://www.deviantart.com/view/22956361/ The long focal length is very useful (much more so than if I had chosen the Sigma 50mm Macro). Working distance is great for insects especially since the flash on the Rebel XT is tall enough to use even when focusing at 1:1 (about 6 inches from the lens barrel). So I don't yet need to buy a ringflash to shoot at F/16 at a decent shutter speed.

I also enjoy shooting medium sized flowers from about 1 meter away wide open, the bokeh is very nice (but not as creamy/smooth as I expected). Here's an example of the bokeh i'm talking about: http://www.deviantart.com/view/22870191/ The flowers just behind the plane of focus look like their edges have separated into multiple lines, rather than a smooth gradation.

Overall, I love this lens and can't wait to use it for portraits