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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Feb 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The image it gives, inconspicuous while having good reach, very fast, build quality. Very sharp at 2.0, sharper than my camera at 2.8.
Cons:
Price, a bit long on a crop body for portrait work, dof makes you paranoid about EXACTLY where you're focusing

This is my second 'L quality' lens (17-55 IS being the first) and I am actually blown away. This lens will really make you other lenses feel soft and insufficient much like the effect a Victoria's Secret model in runway getup would have on your average (female) fast food patron.

Its barrel is chock-full of glass in a wonderful way and it's a stop faster than your average expensive fast tele but it's still (comparatively) light and compact. While it does get sharper 1+ stop down, at 2.0 it's still much sharper than many other lenses.

I really do love this lens and I am ever-impressed with the results it returns. Using it is a newfound source of pleasure in my life and while I feel it's expensive, it's very close to justifying its premium. It has opened up new options as its bokeh/dof combo, color rendition, and sharpness give me the ability to get 'that look' effortlessly where I would previously have to concoct a deliberate circumstance to achieve similar results, even with my fast 30 and 50mm primes.

I've looked at comparison ISO 9000something charts online and it's sharper than the venerated 70-200 L lenses–a stop faster. 2.0=2.8 and 2.8=4.0! It really is a joy to use and it performs like no other lens I've used so if you're considering it and can afford an L, I heartily recommend it.

P.S. As an added bonus is inconspicuousness–people aware they're being shot will be less self-conscious and other will be less likely to notice.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Aug 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $65.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARP, light, teeny, CHEAP, non-intimidating
Cons:
MF switch/ring, build quality is just OK

This is my favorite lens, though the 10-22 is really close. For low light, sports you can get near to, people, candids, fun, or if you just need a sharp pic of something, this is your lens.

I got mine used for $65 on ebay, and despite the cheap plastic build, I've NEVER had any sort of quality problem with it.

It is quite easily the sharpest lens I have, and was the least expensive.

It took some of the best shots in my HS yearbook. Fast+sharp=great for event photography. It comes out to 80mm on a crop body, which is very good IMO. While it's not your 'normal' length, it is long enough to rely on when your tele-zoom (mine is a cheap, 5.6 one) gets too dark & slow for the event.

Indoor gyms, night games, etc., this lens let me keep my shutter speed up and my ISO down when others were struggling to get a sharp picture.

I HEARTILY recommend this lens to EVERYONE. I really love it!


 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Mar 3, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Fantastic range, good weight, IS is a wonder, srarp, good looking results straight from the camera.
Cons:
Could be better at the wide end, should be faster, seems a bit over-priced.

While imperfect, this lens is excellent as a 1-lens solution, or a general in a bag of primes. I feel that it's quite good and quite consistent, especially for a compact 5X zoom. That said, it's not exactly tack-sharp, and I feel that the wide end is the weakest part of this lens. The IS has helped me out in a number of situations, and I love the full-time manual focusing.
All in all, a very nice lens, and a very big upgrade over the kit lens. While I haven't tried the sigma options, for the price and zoom range, this might be the best lens option on Canon EF 1.6 crop cams.


http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/2930/picture63eg.jpg
This shot is a small 100% crop @ 85mm. 1/200 sec @ 7.1 and ISO 200 on my dRebel.


 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Aug 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $539.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, very useful zoom range, circular aperature creates great blur, IS is awesome (3 stops!) great color and contrast, good heft and build quality, both rings provide rewarding tactile feedback
Cons:
Speed means you need that circular aperature, price near that of an L lens, but no weather sealing. A wider aperature would also make the IS all that much better...

I'm upgrading from the stock 18-55, and i couldn't get as poor results with the 17-85 if i smeared vasoline on the front element. This lens is great. It's a little slow, and about $100 too expensive, but other than that (and some occasional flare and purple fringing), this lens is good enough for a pro. A bold statement yes, but for half the price of many L lenses, the 17-85 dleivers 90% the performance. One of the really great things is the zoom itself. It's got two aspherical elements, and ther ange is pretty much perfect. The performancce is very sharp throughout, and the rings are very grippable (but not too grippy) and easy to find. I've been with my new lens for about a week, and it was second nature after day two. Versatile, shapr, IS, etc. It's the perfecct 'all purpose lens', making very few compromises in a feild of other lenses that make far too many.