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Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD SP

Screen_Shot_2013-11-15_at_10_26_09_AM
Review Date: Oct 14, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Decent build quality and a very useful zoom range
Cons:
My copy has issues and I'm not sure a good copy would be a worth the asking price

I'm currently renting this lens and several others for another round of testing ahead of my next purchase. I had high hopes for this lens but my rental copy is not sharp on the right side of the image and it's quite obvious. For one of my test images I had a prominent figure on the right which really pointed out the flaw in this copy. Discounting what is hopefully a QC problem or poor treatment by another renter I would still find it hard to recommend this lens. For Canon users a trio of the EF 24mm 2.8, 35mm f2 and 50mm f1.8 will give as good or better IQ for less than 1/2 the price. My Tamron 24-135mm SP might not be as critically sharp in the center as this lens, but has much more even performance across the frame and can be found used for a small fraction of the price asked for this lens. In comparison to the Canon 24-70 LII which I'm also renting, this lens somewhat competitive in the center of the image, but I still wouldn't recommend it for the very critical user. A better copy might change my mind, though there are other options for a lot less $$ as mentioned above. I have had overall good luck with Tamron lenses over 30+ years so hopefully this rental copy is an outlier.

 
Zeiss 25mm f/2 Distagon T*

zeiss25f2
Review Date: Oct 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Top Notch Image Quality
Cons:
Price - but at least you get what you pay for.

I'm currently renting this lens and several others for another round of testing ahead of my next purchase. On my 5Ds the IQ is very strong and does not disappoint. I'm also renting the Canon 24-70 LII which has almost equal IQ and may be a better buy, but for my work this MF lens is probably the better choice and easy to recommend to the most critical users.




 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

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Review Date: Oct 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Top notch image quality
Cons:
Price - but in this case you get what you pay for.

I'm currently renting this lens and several others for another round of testing ahead of my next purchase. On my 5Ds the IQ is very strong and very, very close to the performance of my 35mm f2 Zeiss ZE and the 25mm f2 Zeiss ZE that I'm also renting. I'll probably stick with the Zeiss lenses, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens for the most critical users. Ben Egbert has a link to his review below and I agree with his findings.

 
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

2843009
Review Date: Oct 14, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid performer but not in relation to the price.
Cons:
Over-priced

I'm currently renting this lens and several others for another round of testing ahead of my next purchase. Bottom line - this lens is no better in terms of IQ than the $200 version it replaced. Considering that you can probably get good copies of the 24mm f2.8, 35mm f2 and 50mm 1.8 Canons for less than the price of this 24mm USM IS I would find it hard to recommend. If it were a bridge in IQ between the old EF 24mm 2.8 and top flight lenses like the Zeiss ZE 25mm f2 or 24-70mm LII then I could recommend it and would likely even buy one, but it is not and the difference in price over the older 24mm would be better spent elsewhere. My Tamron 24-135mm SP is almost as good and a much better value.

 
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

ef24mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Feb 29, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $240.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small / Light / Cheap / Sharp. An outstanding value.
Cons:
Plastic - Uninspiring but adequate construction.

My favorite lens for the last 30 years has been my YC Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Distagon - as this is how I see the world. While that lens has served me very well in many, many situations, it has also been the recipient of somewhat severe criticism. Be careful what you believe - I've got 40" prints made with that lens that stop people in their tracks. My guess is that many photographers do not understand how to use WA lenses correctly.

More to the point: My copy of the Canon 24mm f/2.8 is a very good performing lens. Small, plastic and uninspiring - it none the less produces images on par with lenses costing many times more. I donít know how long it will stay in my kit as I generally prefer manual focus to auto focus and this lens really isnít designed that way, but while I do have it I will feel confident in the quality of images it produces. It is sharp across the entire frame on my Canon 5D bodies Ė which is my primary concern.

Iíll give it a 7 for build quality, a 9 for image quality and a 10 for value. I have filters that cost more than this lens.

Cheers


 
Tokina 17mm f/3.5 AT-X 17 AF PRO

atx17afprot
Review Date: Feb 28, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding Performance at a reasonable price
Cons:
No longer made

First off - I think there are a couple of Tokina 17mm lenses that have similar names, but are not the same lens, at least physically. My lens looks like the one pictured on this review page.

I bought mine new as NOS from Sammy's about 3 years ago. I don't remember what I paid, but I think it was somewhere between $250 and $350.

This lens is an absolutely unbelievable value. I just tested it against a Canon 17-40mm L at 17mm and it's so much better in almost every way compared to my copy of the Canon that it's actually embarrassing! Sharper in the center - though both lenses are very critically sharp. Sharper across the middle frame - noticeably is some parts - and so much better in the corners that it's a joke. I bought the Canon 17-40 hoping to simplify my kit for some upcoming travel - but it looks like my WA primes are not going to a new home and will hit the road with me once again.

I'm a long time Zeiss fan and rented the 18mm Distagon ZE in 2010 to compare with the Tokina 17mm. The Zeiss is a better lens and I'll likely purchase one some day, but the Tokina is close enough in performance to the Zeiss that I'm not in any hurry to switch and will put my money into more meaningful upgrades in the meantime. BTW - the Zeiss 18mm Distagon ZE is an outstanding lens in spite of it's poor rating on this site. Rent one first if you are seriously interested and make up your own mind.

Back to the Tokina 17mm. This is a well built lens. I use mine almost exclusively as a MF lens, but the AF works just fine on both my 5D bodies. At f/8 my copy produces stunning 14" prints, excellent to excellent+ 20" prints and very good 30" prints. I come from a large format background and sell prints of my work for a living - so I'm quite critical. I also do color, BW and IR imaging - all of which this lens does very well.

Distortion is well controlled, particularly in comparison to the Canon 17-40, though I discount this because simple distortion (as with the Tokina) can be corrected in PS or similar and complex distortion (as with the Canon 17-40) can be corrected in DXO.

In summary: I love this focal length on a FF body and don't believe there is a better value out there for the EOS mount. For that matter, I'm not sure you can buy a lens of this approximate focal length that performs even equally as well for under $1000. If 10 is the top of our scale for performance - I'm giving this a 9.5 based on my 30+ years of experience and an 10 overall because of it's solid construction and outstanding value. I've also decided to keep this lens as long as I stick with the Canon bodies because even when I eventually get the Zeiss 18mm Distagon ZE (or ?), having this lens as a backup or mounted on a second body will be much more valuable to me than the couple of hundred dollars I would get for selling it.

Cheers


 
Tamron 24-135MM F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical (IF) Macro

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Review Date: Feb 28, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, Image Quality, Zoom Range
Cons:
No complaints for the price, but this lens does have some heft to it - which I prefer - though I know others don't.

I don't remember what I paid for this lens, but I think it was around $230 used. I've had it in my kit for at least 2 years and have never even used it. I just wanted an AF zoom lens on hand in case I needed one. I use mostly prime lenses and manual focus (even if they are AF lenses) with my 5D bodies on a tripod.

Wanting a smaller and simpler kit for some upcoming travel I just acquired a mint condition Canon 17-40mm L. Testing the 17-40 against my prime lenses, I also thought it was finally time to see what the Tamron can do since I've been lugging it around all this time without knowing if it's any good or not. Well - this lens is a keeper - without question! You can read my just posted review of the Canon 17-40, but to cut to the chase - I'd pick this lens at the 24mm and 35mm focal lengths any day over my copy of the Canon 17-40 L. It is not as critically sharp in the center of the image as the Canon, but has much more even performance across the frame with very satisfactory sharpness overall. I sell prints of my work for a living - and at least for my own satisfaction - have to have lenses that perform well in the corners as well as in the center.

I tested the Tamron at 24/35/135mm and the results were solid all the way. So now I have a great FF walk around setup that I know will deliver images that I won't be afraid to make large prints of. I don't do much hand held work - but maybe this will even cause me to loosen up a bit? I wonder where I put those camera straps?

Compared to my best prime lenses the Tamron 24-135 is an 8 in terms of image quality. For value I'd give this lens a 12 if possible. Overall I'm giving it a 9 for very solid performance and incredible value. We all know that QC varies - even with very expensive lenses, but if you can get a good copy of the Tamron SP 24-135mm (and I've had very good luck with Tamron lenses) then I think you will be thrilled with the price to performance ratio of this lens with a very desirable zoom range.

Cheers


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Feb 28, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size. weight, build quality
Cons:
My copy not sharp at the edges of FF body

I want to simplify my kit for some upcoming travel and thought the 17-40mm L was a logical choice. Nice size, nice build quality, reasonable price and most importantly it covers the 3 focal lengths I use the most - 17/24/35. Unfortunately my copy is not sharp at the edges - at any focal length or f/stop - and this is critically important to me as I sell prints (larger and larger these days) of my work for a living.

On my 5D bodies my copy is very sharp in the middle at the above focal lengths, and the sometimes noticeable distortion can be corrected in DXO. However, at 17mm my Tokina (17mm AT-X AF Pro f/3.5) is so much better in every respect that it is somewhat embarrassing by comparison. At 24mm the results are comparable to my humble but very solid performing Canon 24mm f/2.8 (other than the edges). At 35mm the performance is once again acceptable (other than at the edges) even when compared to my Zeiss ZE.

I'm giving my copy an 8 overall because of the good qualities listed above and the hope that other copies perform better. If not - then this lens won't work for those want or need sharp corners in their images.

As an aside, I also tested my Tamron SP 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 for the first time in conjunction with the 17-40mm. While the Tamron is not as critically sharp in the center as the Canon, it is a sharp lens with much more even performance across the entire frame. I've carried the Tamron in my kit for a couple of years and have not used it once. I just wanted to have an AF zoom lens on hand in case I needed one. While it won't replace my prime lenses, I now have a FF walk around setup that I won't hesitate to use - knowing that I'll be able to make large prints of satisfactory quality. BTW - given my copies - at 24mm and 35mm I would choose the 24-135 Tamron over the 17-40 Canon without a second thought because of the more consistent performance across the frame. FYI


 
Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon T*

18mm
Review Date: Jun 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: I am currently renting this lens and an 35mm ZE from BorrowLens.com. I have very good lenses (selected Zeiss/Contax lenses) to compare them to and am satisfied that these are the next step up in quality. While expensive, you more often than not get what you pay for and these are the best that I've yet to experience. Are they perfect - no. Are they the best you can get - very likely! 35+ years of serious work can be found at www.Image-Circle.com Cheers
Cons:
Lens cap is nice looking - but problematic as others have stated. Buy a generic at your convenience give the Zeiss cap to a fellow photographer with ambition.



 
Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

35mm
Review Date: Jun 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: I am currently renting this lens and an 18mm ZE from BorrowLens.com. I have very good lenses (selected Zeiss/Contax lenses) to compare them to and am satisfied that these are the next step up in quality. While expensive, you more often than not get what you pay for and these are the best that I've yet to experience. Are they perfect - no. Are they the best you can get - very likely! 35+ years of serious work can be found at www.Image-Circle.com Cheers
Cons:
Lens cap is nice looking - but problematic as others have stated. Buy a generic at your convenience give the Zeiss cap to a fellow photographer with ambition.



 
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

EF10-22
Review Date: Jun 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $620.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: I owned one of these for a couple of years and found it to be a competent lens of professional quality. I had originally purchased a Sigma 12-24 prior to the availability of the Canon 10-22 and while my copy of the 12-24 was a sharper in the center, it was horrible at the edges (even though I was using it on a crop sensor Canon and the lens is designed for a full frame camera). Returning the 12-24 to Sigma only resulted in additional frustration and the lens was quickly sold. The Sigma lens problems resulted in my beginning to do "brick wall" testing for the first time in 30+ years of serious work and have been a revelation. I now test every lens that I'm considering for purchase. Back to the Canon 10-22: On an absolute scale it is probably a 6 or 7 (compared to my Zeiss lenses). On a relative scale (compared to viable alternatives that I have experience with) I would give it a 10. In summary it's likely the best WA zoom for your crop sensor Canon and I recommend it to my students without hesitation. Cheers
Cons: