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Tamron 28-300MM F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC AF

28-300vr
Review Date: Aug 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: small, light
Cons:
plastic, slow aperture

I got this lens for my 20D and 5D as an alternative to my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS.
I used to have a 70-200 f/4 L and had trouble getting it into some sports venues (LA Colosseum, Seattle's Safeco Field) so I knew I was going to have trouble bringing in the 2.8. Some venues (AEG's Staples Center and Home Depot Center) SPECIFICALLY won't allow fans to bring in lenses longer than 3". So the hunt was on for the longest focal length lens I could get for three inches!

The 28-200mm version of this lens is exactly three inches according to the specs, but I couldn't find one in LA's large camera stores, so I decided to give this one a shot -- it's 3.25" so I thought I might be able to sneak it in.

Put it on my 20D and took it to the Home Depot Center last night. I got in the door (that's a big plus right there!) and was able to to shoot with decent results... http://www.hermosawavephotography.com/events/photos.php?ID=182

I'm surprised how good this lens is actually. Not RAZOR sharp but perfectly acceptable. Yes, the build is all plastic, but it's very nicely done, everything moves smoothly.

The big problem with this lens is that you're shooting at 300mm @ f/6.3, so between the lens opening and the image stabilizer you're giving up approx. five stops compared to the 2.8 IS (@ 300mm with a 1.4X converter or at 200mm without). The result is you end up shooting at very high ISO to get the shutter speed up to the point that you can hand-hold it.

For someone needing a small light duty lens I would not hesitate to recommend this one. It's small and light, has a big range, works nicely and is decently sharp. But if image quality is your overriding concern, I would probably spend the extra $200 and get the 70-200 f/4 L.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Jan 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, great bokeh, IS
Cons:
Weight, price, size

I love shooting wide open for as little depth of field as possible. I also love the IS on my 24-105mm f/4L. Finally traded up my 70-200 f/4 for the 2.8 IS.

For the first few days I was really wondering if I had made a mistake. The weight of this thing! My back was aching, my arms, wrists....
I must to have learned how to hold it, somehow the weight is not a problem anymore.

Very sharp, but not only that -- the color and contrast are far better than the 24-105 for example, just every image looks awesome!

A recent example:
http://photos.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.php?path=2006/&photo=612_IMG_3900.jpg


 
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

ef15mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Nov 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $560.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Wide!
Cons:
The lens cap thing...

I'm using this on my 5D, it's great fun! You can get a very wide image (duh!), There is some vingnetting and some flare, but nothing unreasonable.

I bought it with the intention of de-fishing the images, but the de-fish process adds distortion and reduces resolution with all the pixel bending involved, so I started trying to avoid it. Holding the lens straight to horizon helps quite a bit ;-)

On my 20D there is almost no curvature, you can use it straight up like a regular 24mm wide angle.

All in all, I'm using it all the time for landscape shots, a lot more than I thought I would. If you like wide angles, this should be in your bag.

Here are some samples:
http://photos.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.php?path=2006/&photo=610_IMG_1730.jpg
http://photos.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.php?path=2006/&photo=610_IMG_1356.jpg
http://photos.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.php?path=2006/&photo=609_IMG_0970.jpg

Need to pay special attention to keeping the front element clean.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jul 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Wide, very wide
Cons:
corners, but that is a problem with every wide angle

Got this lens as a walkaround lens for my 20D and 300D, where it worked admirably -- much better than the kit lens.

I've kept it for use as an extreme wide angle now that I've upgraded to the full-frame 5D. I also have the 24-105mm f/4 so I almost never use this lens at the long end of it's range anymore (the 24-105 is sharper but larger, heavier, more expensive and has its own issues).

The people that complain about the corners and vignetting on this lens are right of course. At 17mm and f/4 (where I use it) every picture needs work in Photoshop. Stop down or zoom in a bit and these problems go away.

But how else can you make super wide photos except with a lens like this? http://photos.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.php?path=2006/&photo=IMG_1070.jpg

So on an APS sensor, it's a good choice but there are several other ones now that I haven't tried.

On a full frame, this lens fills a unique need that very few other lenses can. Until someone makes a sharp prime in the 16~18mm range (and no the 14mm f/2.8 is not it) this lens will stay with me, although not in my bag every day...


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Jul 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, light, small, inexpensive.
Cons:
Doesn't focus very closely, but that's not why you're buying this lens.

I really like the 85mm focal length, so when I moved up to the 5D from the 20D I needed a new full frame prime to compensate. I use this fast prime for concerts and sports where things are moving too fast in low light for my 24-105 f/4 or 70-200 f/4.

I considered this lens, the f/1.2, the 100mm macro, the 135mm f/2 L and upgrading to the 70-200 f/2.8 IS. Because I couldn't decide, I decided to go for the 85 f/1.8 as a temporary solution.

I couldn't be happier with my choice, this lens really surprised me.

Focuses much faster than the f/1.2 II (at least in the store), very sharp wide open, good bokeh, great for portraits (http://photos.hermosawave.net/enlargenext.php?ID=96&selection=14 - 1/160 @ f/1.8 on the 5D)

On the 20D, this lens is a 135mm -- long, fast and inconspicuous! A real bonus. Check out this shot: http://photos.hermosawave.net/enlargenext.php?ID=94&selection=6 - (1/8000 @ f/1.8) you'll see the volleyball and the girl are tack-sharp and everything behind is a blur. I could not have created this narrow depth of field with my other lenses...


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Jan 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,145.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, perfect range, IS
Cons:
flair, heavy, expensive

I have one of the first "post-recall" lenses. I've used it both on the 20D and 5D.

I almost always use the lens wide open. Very sharp at 24mm f/4, maybe a bit less sharp at the long end, but nothing serious.

I can consistantly handhold at 1/4 sec. at 24mm with the IS <i>no problem</i> (a sample: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hermosawave/75427938/)

My copy on the 5D vingnettes a bit at 24mm@f/4@infinity - stop down, zoom in or get close, and it goes away. Also easily fixed in Photoshop.

The only real issue with this lens is flare in an environment with point lights in the frame - in this shot for example (24mm-1/15@f/4 ) http://photos.hermosawave.net/enlargenext.php?ID=76&selection=32 - or with the setting sun.

This is the lens on my camera almost all the time, I would recommend it both for the full-frame as well as croped sensor bodies.


 
Epson Stylus PRO 4000

StylusPro4000
Review Date: Feb 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,795.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great large prints! Big ink carts. Variety of paper feed options.
Cons:
Manual feed is a bit squirrelly, can't print smaller than 8x10. Vacuum suction feed is noisy.

After using the 2200 for the past two years, this printer is the Big Time! It's huge!

I'm glad I can use the semi-matte paper, but why only 16"???
The only 17" papers are the Photo Quality Ink Jet (not useful for anything serious) and the Lustre (good for weddings, but otherwise too much texture)... HELLOOO???

The 4000 is a halfway point between the 2200 and 7600... large photo prints, but it still has a paper tray for the normal stuff you print. Fairly viable as your only all-around printer, whereas the 7600 really isn't.

Don't need the RIP, Photoshop driver is all you need.

Manual feed from the top is pretty much useless, feed from the front works great.


 
Epson Stylus Photo 2200

StylusPhoto2200
Review Date: Feb 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $695.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent print quality. Versatile paper options. Not real noisy.
Cons:
Small ink cartridges mean one is almost always running out. Wish the SemiMatte paper was available for it.

I've had a 2200 for almost 2 years. I've printed hundreds of prints from 4x6 to 13x36. Finally a warning appeared, "Parts inside your printer have reached the end of their serviceable life," and it wouldn't print anymore.

Into the shop, where the Ink Pads were replaced. Evidently this is the most common service for this printer. $35 of parts but $150 of labor to take the printer apart and put it back together again.

While in the shop, I upgraded to the Epson 4000. The 4000 is a more professional printer, faster, bigger, noisier. I thought I would sell the 2200 when I got it back, but now I'm not so sure... The 2200 is really viable as your single printer for everything - emails, cheques, documents, as well as photos.

But $20,000 of photos off a $700 printer is a good investment anyway you look at it!

My favorite papers are the enhanced matte and semigloss.


 
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

ef24mmf_14l_1_
Review Date: Jan 31, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,195.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, bright image
Cons:
Heavy, expensive, some CA in the corners

This is a great lens if you're shooting in dark situations such as music clubs or at night. I'm using it with a 300D Digital Rebel - perhaps an unusual combination since this lens costs more than the body, but I consider the camera only a transitional model, while I expect to keep the lens for a long time...
In any case, with a 1.6x crop factor, this becomes a 35mm wide angle. With this lens I can shoot in near dark clubs at 1/60th sec (@asa 400/800) and still have a pretty respectable image.
The edges are perhaps a bit soft at 1.4 but the center is very sharp. Also focuses very close. The small amount of CA is easily adjusted in Photoshop cs.
Expensive, but those 2 or 3 extra stops make all the difference!

Some examples: 1/60@f/2 (iso800) http://thenoise.hermosawave.net/enlarge.php?photo=010204/IMG_2946.jpg
1/50@f/1.4 (iso400) http://www.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.asp?photo=CRW_3171.jpg
1/800@f/1.4 (iso100) http://www.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.asp?photo=CRW_3191.jpg


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Nov 18, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $589.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Relatively light, sharp, contrasty.
Cons:
Nothing really

Sold my 75-300 and 28-105 to buy this lens instead - definately worth the modest investment.
Although it's long, it's not much wider than a 50mm, so it fits easily in my tiny camera bag (haven't been able to figure out how to stow the hood though, maybe in a larger bag ;-).
I have had flare shooting into sunsets, but the flare is softer than other lenses and I still retain enough contrast to make for a good picture.
I'm more of a wide angle guy, but I'm finding lot's of uses for this lens. It's easy to hold on my Digital Rebel, not a problem at all.
Everyone else talks about how inexpensive this lens is, but I consider this lens expensive, at twice the price of the consumer zooms. Nevertheless, I will agree that this lens is the best value for the money. Unless you're a sports photographer and are willing to lug around some heavy glass for an extra stop, I think this is the only Canon telezoom to consider.