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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Jan 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Perfect range for a one-lens lens on 1.6x. IS. Relatively light and compact.
Cons:
CA at the edges. Not quite as sharp as the top glass.

Now that my 17-85 has apparently died, giving me an Error 99 message on my 30D, I had to post in support of this workhorse that has been carried all over the world on a Rebel XT and now 30D. Probably has 10,000 shots on it or so. It has produced some great captures and generally exhibits good quality. In thinking about a replacement I rented a 24-70L but found it too big and heavy for the walkaround use that the 17-85 covered.

This is one of those lenses that you probably will not buy if you read the forums and maybe won't buy if you read the reviews here. It's very difficult not to get caught up in getting the best possible theoretical quality. But if you buy it and get out in the world and use it (particularly it's necessary to travel light) you will likely appreciate the overall good qualities of this lens.

That said, I'm a little disappointed that after those 10K shots I am getting the Error 99. It's not a very high number, really. There is a brief buzzing noise when shooting that probably has to do with stuck aperture blades. With Canon charging a base 110 (I think) fee to fix it, it's a good excuse to try something new and I just got the 17-55.

Still, with the price now down to less than $400, it's a worthwhile choice.


 
Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

113_small
Review Date: May 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $385.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARPNESS and clarity at all apertures, including 1.4. Solid build quality, nice looking. Fast, quiet auto-focus.
Cons:
AF/Man focus switch feels cheap. A little bit of motor feel in the manual focus mode.

Having read the various complaints about focus issues, I'm happy to say that I've had none of them. This lens is on my camera more than any other at the moment (although maybe that would change with a EF-S 17-55). Incredibly sharp and clean, even wide open, especially compared to both copies of Canon's 28mm 1.8 that I had at various times before buying this lens. At 1.8mm I found Canon's lens to have a bleariness that I couldn't stomach.