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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Oct 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,729.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing IS, constant 2.8 aperture, versatility
Cons:
Easily noticed (this could be a pro depending on the situation)

I needed this lens to enable me to shoot in lower lighting including weddings and indoor sports. I was not sure how this was going to perform compared to the borrowed 2.8 non IS version that I had borrowed previously and left me unsatisfied.

This past weekend I put it through the paces in a wedding and was simply amazed at the difference between the IS version and its non IS cousin.
My findings are as follows:
-Very sharp image quality at 2.8 compared to my 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 (which I never use indoors) I expected softness at %100 zoom, but found a much clearer image than expected!
-bokeh is pleasing and better than expected, though not quite as good as my 50mm 1.4
-Weight was not an issue. It weighs about the same as my 100-400 IS and I would expect as much from a professional series workhorse.
-The only con with is that one really stands out in a crowd with a white lens. I was shooting a VERY camera shy bunch. Every time I would move, the guests would watch where I was pointing the camera. I was amazed how many people got that "deer in a headlights" look. I lost several priceless candids due to people's awareness of my presence. I might consider buying a black sleeve to camouflage it.

I will let the results speak for themselves after putting in this final plug: I now understand why this has earned the reputation as the workhorse it is!

Here is the portfolio for my recent wedding using this lens (with the exception of the ring macro). http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Portfolios/Wedding-Portfolio/10057403_mYGvA




 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Oct 30, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,400.00

 
Pros: Push-pull zoom, IS, silent motor and IS, fast focus, versatility
Cons:
Need to use manual focus with a teleconverter, soft focus under 5.6

I have been using this lens for 1.5 years and this was my first "L" lens. My goal in buying this lens was to enable me to take much higher quality sports and nature images.

First Impressions:
The push-pull style felt a bit awkward and odd at the store, but the price for a 400mm zoom and the FM reviews sold me. I also managed to buy this a week before the Canon prices jumped in May 08. I was astounded by the super fast focusing, silenced motor, quality and the "beef of this lens. (I now also own a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS L and both lenses feel like they are the same weight).

Results:
During my first sporting event, I fell in love with this lens! The push-pull zoom was absolutely outstanding allowing me to instantly frame and lock onto my soccer subjects. One technique I quickly developed was to leave a bit of tension on the tightening ring and to use my thumb on the backside of the ring. This provides friction and prevents the zoom from sliding when I achieved focus lock. This works real slick and is second nature now. I never shoot my sports on a monopod since a mono slows me down and I miss some shots that I could have made handheld. That being said, I do not notice the weight when shooting single events, but after a looong day my shoulder muscles ache! I have shot all kinds of events with this lens including basketball and volleyball without flash. I do not recommend it for indoors, but did enjoy pushing its limits. Here is a link to my recent baseball images shot without teleconverter: http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Sports/High-School-Baseball-09 .

The IS on this lens is fantastic allowing one to shoot close to dusk. One con is that this is a bit soft under 5.6, but for the speed that this provides outdoor action shooters with, I don't think this is much of a con given the subject. I do tend run into the softness factor when I shoot wildlife early and late in the day. I also strongly wish this lens could use a teleconverter on autofocus, but for now I will have to settle on MF.

Nature and teleconverter:
I have been able to take some fantastic images of songbirds with a teleconverter the past couple of months that have been due to practice and experience. The following galleries were shot with Canon 5D, Lens in review, 1.4x teleconverter, monopod, manual focus, and about f8.
Here is a link to proof the quality: http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Nature/Birds/Song-Birds/10114674_t9qeo#688509875_9DAJP .
Turtle images: http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Nature/Animals/Nature-Hike-10-21-09/10046842_qLg95#688506462_muTXA

Summary:
I love the versatility that this lens adds to my bag and even given the slower shutter speeds, this is never out of reach. I plan on owning this lens for a long time.


 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Oct 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast focus, Push-pull style is very fast for action, Solid build, great price for a 400mm lens with L quality
Cons:
Have to use MF with a teleconverter, focus is a bit soft under 5.6

I have been using this lens for 1.5 years and this was my first "L" lens. My goal in buying this lens was to enable me to take much higher quality sports and nature images.

First Impressions:
The push-pull style felt a bit awkward and odd at the store, but the price for a 400mm zoom and the FM reviews sold me. I also managed to buy this a week before the Canon prices jumped in May 08. I was astounded by the super fast focusing, silenced motor, quality and the "beef of this lens. (I now also own a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS L and both lenses feel like they are the same weight).

Results:
During my first sporting event, I fell in love with this lens! The push-pull zoom was absolutely outstanding allowing me to instantly frame and lock onto my soccer subjects. One technique I quickly developed was to leave a bit of tension on the tightening ring and to use my thumb on the backside of the ring. This provides friction and prevents the zoom from sliding when I achieved focus lock. This works real slick and is second nature now. I never shoot my sports on a monopod since a mono slows me down and I miss some shots that I could have made handheld. That being said, I do not notice the weight when shooting single events, but after a looong day my shoulder muscles ache! I have shot all kinds of events with this lens including basketball and volleyball without flash. I do not recommend it for indoors, but did enjoy pushing its limits. Here is a link to my recent baseball images shot without teleconverter: http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Sports/High-School-Baseball-09 .

The IS on this lens is fantastic allowing one to shoot close to dusk. One con is that this is a bit soft under 5.6, but for the speed that this provides outdoor action shooters with, I don't think this is much of a con given the subject. I do tend run into the softness factor when I shoot wildlife early and late in the day. I also strongly wish this lens could use a teleconverter on autofocus, but for now I will have to settle on MF.

Nature and teleconverter:
I have been able to take some fantastic images of songbirds with a teleconverter the past couple of months that have been due to practice and experience. The following galleries were shot with Canon 5D, Lens in review, 1.4x teleconverter, monopod, manual focus, and about f8.
Here is a link to proof the quality: http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Nature/Birds/Song-Birds/10114674_t9qeo#688509875_9DAJP .
Turtle images: http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Nature/Animals/Nature-Hike-10-21-09/10046842_qLg95#688506462_muTXA

Summary:
I love the versatility that this lens adds to my bag and even given the slower shutter speeds, this is never out of reach. I plan on owning this lens for a long time.