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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300_isusm
Review Date: Mar 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good optical quality, decidedly better than its predecessor especially near the long end. Nice zoom lock to avoid zoom creep when carrying the camera. Good stabilization, with the added bonus of an additional setup for panning. Acceptable mechanical quality. Low weight.
Cons:
Fron element rotates while focusing, so if you use a polarizing filter you may have a problem. USM micromotor is quite slow and does not allow full-time manual focusing. Maximum aperture is f/5.6 at the long end

This lens replaces the 75-300 IS USM which I sold last year without regretting too much.
I've field-tested it both with a film camera (EOS 3) and with a digital one (EOS 20D) and I'm frankly satisfied. I'm pretty sure that I've bought the right lens for the right price (which is an essential consideration).

Sure, an L series lens (say the 100-400 IS L) is better, but the price is not comparable, especially for one (like me) who is not a professional photographer.


 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: Oct 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Silky smooth images, low noise level even at ISO 1600, handling, ergonomics (as one would expect from a Canon EOS), burst speed and capacity. Definitely a high level EOS.
Cons:
LCD screen is too small: why not a 2.5" unit ? Screen visibility not very good in sunlight. View angle crop factor of 1.6 is definitely a disadvantage especially if one uses both a film and a digital camera and loves wide-angle lenses. Auto white balance not so good with tungsten lamps.

I like this camera very much, for its versatility and also for its ability to go up to ISO 1600 without too much noise: this is very good for available light shooting, especially indoors if one wishes to preserve the atmosphere of the subject.
Ergonomics is excellent and so is software and documentation.
Build quality leaves very little to be desired.

On the debit side, the 1.6 FOV crop factor: I have some wide angle lenses which I would like to stay wide also on 20D. I guess it's not yet the time for a full-frame sensor on an affordable SLR. Time (and patience) will tell.