about | support
home
 


  Reviews by: gberger  

View profile View recent posts View reviews Add gberger to your Buddy List
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Mar 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: price, weight, wide angle coverage on full frame, reasonably sharp, build quality
Cons:
Not the sharpest lens in my bag, very soft in the extreme corners at F/4, distortion.

I bought this lens used when I moved to full frame and could no longer use my Sigma 10-20 (which I loved). The 17-40mm range is perfect for shooting functions in tight spaces on a full frame body. Sharpness is excellent but not up to the best 'L' lenses. On the other hand, for this price I don't think it's reasonable to expect that kind of optical quality. Images respond well to sharpening in post so as long as you are not expecting to publish straight out of the camera (who does?) you'll be fine.
Most of the frame is as sharp wide open as it is stopped down. Extreme corners are soft wide open but acceptable stopped down. If you're shooting landscapes or architecture you will be stopped down anyway. Real-world it doesn't bother me, it's only obvious when pixel-peeping at 100%. On a cropped body I would expect this would not be an issue.
There is distortion at the wide end, I'm not sure how it compares other lenses but it is definitely there. If I was shooting architecture for a living I'd look around before jumping into this lens.
Overall it's a very good lens that provides a very useful range of focal lengths for those times that you need it. It just doesn't bowl me over the way my other L lenses do, but again it's a fraction of the price.


 
Canon Extender EF 2x II

Extender_2x2_1_
Review Date: Nov 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: No noticeable loss of IQ
Cons:
2 stop loss, but that's part of the deal. Need to manually focus lenses that are not f/2.8 or faster.

I have used this with a 300mm F/4L and 70-200 F2.8L IS II, and there is no noticeable loss of IQ with either lens. I've photographed dragonflies with it on the 300mm and a 100% crop of the eye shows the individual facets clearly defined. Of course manually focusing these shots is difficult, but when I get it right the results are terrific. I have no qualms about using this, I'm never worried that I'm sacrificing IQ for reach.

 
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

EFS18-55_35-56IS
Review Date: May 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, sharp, IS
Cons:
It's not an "L" lens (duh)

I bought this lens for a friend on a limited photography budget. A few test shots showed it to be more than acceptably sharp, in fact I was surprised at how good it is. I own the Tamron 17-50 and while I didn't do any side-by-side testing the Canon seems to be pretty close in IQ. The IS is a big plus, and the light weight can be a benefit for some people. Overall this lens is a bargain.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Jan 27, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $50.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Cheap, light
Cons:
Inconsistent focus accuracy, a little soft on the far right (mine at least)

I bought this lens used from local Craigslist, planning to pass it on to a friend who is trying to put together a kit on the cheap. I've read over and over again what a bargain it is for the money and thought it would be a good starting point for him.

Pro:

- When this lens focuses properly, it is very sharp indeed. Just a little softness on the far right of the image, but not too bad and inconsequential if taking shots of your kids.

- Super light

Cons:

- Flimsy build (see 'super light')

- Major inconsistent focus problem. Using center spot, the camera will confirm focus while the lens is front or back focused. This happens on about 1/2 the shots. Not an issue with my other lenses.

Bottom line: Maybe it's just this example, but I would recommend staying away from this lens. $90 may seem like a bargain, but missing shots because of poor focusing is not worth it.


 
Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

1750diII
Review Date: Nov 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $370.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp lens, half the price of Canon.
Cons:
None really. It is a little noisier focusing than Canon, but to me this is nitpicking.

I had to return the first copy of this lens, it was out of focus in the top left 15% of the image. The second copy, however, is sharp as a tack. Just an incredible lens. I was ready to go for the Canon version after the first copy, I"m glad I didn't. I wouldn't mind spending the money if I thought I was getting something for it, but this lens leaves nothing to be desired. IS is great, I love it on my 70-200L, but for this focal length and size I don't feel I need it.

 
Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Sigma_150_macro
Review Date: May 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredible IQ at a reasonable price, lens hood and tripod collar included, feels and looks solidly built.
Cons:
Slow focusing, but I knew that going in from other review here.

I bought this lens because I needed more working distance than my 50mm CM provided. I was scaring too many bugs, not good for them or me. I considered lenses in the 100mm range, including Canon, Tamron and SIgma, but concluded that I would be better off going to a 150mm. Based on the reviews here I decided to try this lens. I'm not disappointed. Iit's every bit as good as everyone says it is. The IQ is just amazing. Build quality looks and feels excellent, I suppose time will tell. A beautiful lens hood and a tripod collar are included with the lens (along with a nice case which I will never use).
The big drawback of this lens is indeed the slow focusing. Wow, but this lens can be slow. Sometimes it will snap right in, but those times are the exception. If ever a lens demanded manual focus, this is it. But it is after all a macro lens, so I'll be using manual focus most of the time anyway. Still sometimes you can grab a shot before it gets away with AF, but you can pretty much forget that with this lens. Of course, knew this going in form the other reviews, but I was still kind of surprised at just HOW slow it can be.
But its NOT going back. No way.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Feb 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $985.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Superb IQ, not too heavy, IS is wonderful, useful zoom range. I love it.
Cons:
Expensive, tripod collar should be included, leads to major lust for other, longer focal length Canon L series lenses.

Wonderful lens, extremely sharp even wide open, although there does appear to be some degradation at minimum focusing distance. Beyond that it's a dream. The relatively light weight lends itself to hand-holding, and the IS really comes in handy when it's off the tripod. I've had some minor twinges of regret wondering if I should have gone for the 2.8, but the extra weight and dollars ease those little twinges.
However, seeing what this lens can do has made me start looking at some of the longer and faster Canon primes. If this was my profession, it would be an easy decision, but it's not so I do need to exercise some discretion. I may have to join or start a support group along the lines of AA.


 
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

111_small
Review Date: Jan 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, great focal range, price
Cons:
None, but obvioulsy others have experienced QC issues.

I've had this lens for about a year now. My first test shots were inconclusive, but once I started using it regularly and became accustomed to it I was very impressed. Stopped down and on a tripod, this lens is extremely sharp. It produces some really stunning auto interiors. I'[ve never used the Canon so I can't compare the two, but I see no reason to go shopping for something else. Here's a link to a coupl of interior shots taken recently (exterior was taken with a Canon 85mm F/1.8 - a GREAT lens). The car was not really prepped properly, so I just grabbed a couple of quick shots:

http://gberger.smugmug.com/gallery/4115038#240012138


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Sep 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $369.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: After reading the reviews here, my question was not "should I buy this lens?", it was "How fast can I get my hands on one?". I've just finished spending the morning fooling around with it, and it's every bit as sharp as everyone says. Stopped down to f4 or smaller it is stunning. A previous reviewer commented that "nothing is in focus at F1.8", so I ran a test. I photograped a detailed 3-dimensional small sculpture at the closest distance I could get to it, with the camera on a tripod of course, at f-stops ranging from 1.8 to 16. Depth of field is indeed very shallow at F1.8, as you would expect, but there was a definite plane of focus. This lens is an excellent value for the money, I'd have to think long and hard about whether the small increment in sharpness in the "L" lens is worth the money before making the move. For a pro it's a no-brainer, but for hobbiests like me this is a fantastic lens. Over 35 years of shooting, have used many lenses, L and others, and I think this baby is one of the best. I can't give it a 10 while the L series is out there, but I'd like to give it 9.7.
Cons:

I used to have a 135 f/2 Canon FD manual lens that I really LOVED, and I have been looking for a reasonably priced replacement. After reading the reviews here, my question was not "should I buy this lens?", it was "How fast can I get my hands on one?". I've just finished spending the morning fooling around with it, and it's every bit as sharp as everyone says. Stopped down to f4 or smaller it is stunning. A previous reviewer commented that "nothing is in focus at F1.8". I ran a test to see what he was talking about. I photograped a detailed 3-dimensional small sculpture at the closest distance I could get to it, with the camera on a tripod of course, at f-stops ranging from 1.8 to 16. Depth of field is indeed very shallow at F1.8, as you would expect, but there was a definite plane of focus.
This lens is an excellent value for the money, I'd have to think long and hard about whether the small increment in sharpness in the "L" lens is worth the money before making the move. For a pro it's a no-brainer, but for hobbiests like me this is a fantastic lens. In over 25 years of shooting I have used many lenses, L and others, and I think this is one of the best. I can't give it a 10 while the L series is out there, but I'd like to give it 9.7.


 
Canon EOS 30D

Canon_30D
Review Date: Jun 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Controls very easy to use, spot metering, fast burst rate, able to set white balance without going into menus, in-camera flash compensation, AI servo in all modes.
Cons:
Display impossible to see in bright light.

I upgraded to the 30D from the original Digital Rebel. The 30D makes the Rebel seem like a toy. Spot metering, MUCH faster burst rate (like a machine gun), flash compensation, AI Servo in all creative modes, switchable autofocus modes, bigger and better display are the main advantages. Not to mention better picture quality! I used to shoot with the F1N back in my film days, now I feel like I am back to that level of functionality without breaking the bank. I'm a big fan of spot metering, and sorely missed it in the Rebel. I don't know if it's worth upgrading from the 20D (the salesman told me he had half a dozen 20Ds traded for 30Ds as soon as the 30 came out) but for Rebel owners who are considering it, let me tell you it's a no-brainer! I agonized over this for while, but now I know it was worth every penny. Great camera and not very expensive when you consider what you're getting.

 
Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

2875mm
Review Date: May 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $379.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: - Very sharp lens, continues to amaze me - Value for the money
Cons:
Build qaulity not up to par with the best Canon lenses (can't have everything)

This is my second review of this lens, the first was posted soon after I bought it. Having given it some use since then, I feel compelled to come back here to tell everyone what a great lens this is. I take a fair amount of flower shots. When I put this lens on a tripod and stop it down to f/11 or f/16, the results are stunning. Don't get me wrong, it's extremely sharp at anything smaller than f/2.8, but I need depth of field so I'm frequently shooting at smaller apertures. I leave it to the professional reviewers to make comparisons to Canon's L lenses, all I can say is that this lens will knock your socks off without mugging your wallet.


 
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

ef75_300_1_
Review Date: May 6, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $349.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, IS is nice, if you work around its shortcomings you can get good results.
Cons:
Slowest AF in the west (or any other direction). Hunts endlessly in low light. Can't depend on AF for shooting birds. Soft at 300mm unless you put it on a tripod and stop down almost all the way.

This lens is a real mixed bag, which should not be a surprise given the low price. It is soft at 300mm, as others have noted, unless mounted on a tripod and stopped down to f22. Under those conditions it's actually not bad. I've also gotten some pretty good shots of birds while handholding it, thanks to the IS.
However, it has let me down big time more than once. Focus hunting in low contrast lighting is a MAJOR issue, and has cost me more than one shot. In addition, focus speed can be SLOWWWW... Sure, you can switch to manual focus, but why should you have to? Isn't this the AF age?
Overall, it's not an awful lens, but it's not a great one either. If you are careful with it you can get some great shots. But I can see myself getting tired of fighting with it and working around its weaknesses as time goes by. Using a lens in this focal length and these slow maximum arpertures is tough enough without the added problems of slow focus and endless hunting. My advice would be save your money and get a better lens, either a Canon L series or one of the better Tamron lenses. If you are dead set on one of these, you can buy mine.


 
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

28-75mm
Review Date: Apr 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $370.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I also bought this lens because of all the positive reviews. I'm very happy with it. It's much sharper than my Canon 28-105 USM, and just as sharp as my Canon 50 1.4 and 50 macro. I've had many lenses over the last 25 years including some L lenses. I don't think any of them were appreciably sharper than this.