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

28-300vr
Review Date: Nov 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, Range, Price, Size, Weight, Internal Focus
Cons:
Soft at extreme zoom ranges, AF sometimes hunts, plastic mount

Bear in mind that I have never had any L glass, and this lens replaced the Canon 70-300 kit lens.

This lens feels really sturdy despite being plastic, while the Canon 70-300 felt a bit like a toy. It has a really nice zoom and focus grip, and the whole lens just feels like quality (although I'd prefer a metal mount). I didn't like the way the zoom ring goes the opposite direction from Canon lenses to start with, but I've got used to it. It's nice having a lens hood which can be stored on the lens, and that the lens cap has a clever design so you can still take it on and off when the hood is attached. The lens is much smaller than the Canon 70-300 despite having a longer range. It's nice having internal focusing as well, so that my filters don't spin round when I focus.

At extreme wide angle and telephoto the images are a little soft, especially around the edges, but when it's used on an EOS 300D you don't use the very edge of the image, which improves the quality a little. In the middle of the range the images are very sharp.

The autofocus is generally very fast and accurate, although in low light and when focusing on sometime far from the current focus point the lens sometimes hunts around without finding anything. When that happens I release the shutter button when it nears focus and then try again - the lens can normally focus easily then.


 
Canon EOS Rebel (300D)

300D-2
Review Date: Jul 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing picture quality. Great user interace. Built like a tank. Super-long telephoto is cheap.
Cons:
Super-wide is expensive. Evil focus assist flash strobe.

I took several months to decide whether to get this camera or the Nikon D70, and until I got it I wasn't sure if I'd made the right decision. I now have it and I don't regret a thing. It's even better than I was hoping for.

The first thing I noticed when I picked it up is how solid it feels, especially compared to my previous film EOS 300. I then connected the battery pack/vertical grip, which makes the grip more comfortable even for horizontal photos. It makes it easier to hold the camera steady while long lenses are attached, and as an added bonus, it also makes the camera look cooler!

The buttons are all in exactly the right places for my hands, with everything you need while taking a photo accessible while holding the grip with your right hand and the lens with your left. The column of buttons down the left of the LCD are only used for reviewing images and setting up the camera.

Being able to change from 100 up to 1600 ISO on the fly is really nice, and even at 1600 the graininess of pictures actually looks quite nice (to me anyway).

Not having ever had FEC or mirror lock up on any of my previous SLRs, I don't miss it here. I've also never had really expensive lenses, so the kit lens seems fine to me. And my old 75-300 lens, which got really soft and dark at the edges on my film camera, is much better on the 300D because of the sensor being smaller and not picking up the edges. However, I am looking forward to getting the new Sigma 18-50 EX.

The only thing I don't really like about the camera is the way the flash pops up in the basic modes when it's dark, to help with focusing. I'm used to avoiding those modes anyway, from experience with the film EOS 300.

At the moment I'm shooting fine large JPEGs, as the quality looks good enough at that setting, and it's a lot more convenient that wrestling with RAW files. I then save as TIFF files while working on photos to stop losing quality through repeated lossy compression.

All in all, I think this is an amazing camera and would recommend it to anyone.

(The 700 I paid included the kit 18-55 lens, the battery pack, two extra batteries and a 1Gb memory card.)