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  Reviews by: jhsymington  

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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality and image quality

Like its wider brother the 24mm f1.4 L this lens is great. Image quality is very good wide-open and stopped down it is blemishless. It should be too for the price but I definitely got what I paid for.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well-built and delivers sparkling results

I tried to skimp by buying the 28mm f2.8 and I also got an expensive adapter for my Zeiss 28mm but neither of those were great (not bad but not good enough...yes even the CZ to my surprise). Stopped down a bit the 24mm L blows them away and is crystal clear and sharp into the corners of my 1Ds II and 5D. Expensive lens but very worth it.

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8

Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap, light, decent image quality
Nasty buzzy AF, cheap construction, image quality not good enough for a prime

This lens takes decent pictures but when I buy a prime I do so to get excellent image quality. My copy certainly could not deliver sharp results in the corners at any aperture so I ended up getting a 24mm f1.4 L which certainly does.

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: Apr 6, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap. Focusses quickly.
Cheap. Buzzy focus. Not sharp in the corners.

I want to like this lens and perhaps I have been unlucky and picked up a bad one if such a thing exists. The reason I buy primes is to get better image quality than I would from zooms and most of the time that is the case.

However, although you would expect a certain amount of fuzziness wide open, at f8 and focussed at infinity you still get an unnaceptable degree of softness in the corners with this lens and so, for my purposes, this lens falls at the first hurdle.

I had hoped that at f8 this lens would outperform the 24-105mm at 35mm wide open and it doesn't. This is probably more of a testament to how good that zoom lens is though. But a medium wide angle prime should do better, even at the very low price of this lens, so I just couldn't recommend it.

I will need to try the 35mm L I suppose and just bite the bullet.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Nov 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, relatively light, IS, built-in lens hood.

I cannot fault the results I get from this lens (landscapes almost exclusively). It is also well made and balances well on big SLRs like the 1Ds Mark II on the rare occasions I use it handheld. Thoroughly recommended.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

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

Pros: Very useful zoom range, lightweight, IS invaluable occasionally, well built.
Not as sharp as I could have hoped for - even stopped down.

I sold my 24-70m f2.8 L to buy this as the zoom range is much more useful to me and the weight and bulk of the f2.8 L was unacceptable for my purposes (hiking + landscape photography).

From an image quality perspective my view is that you do pay a price with this new lens versus the 24-70mm. I don't think it is quite as sharp (marginal), it vignettes more (indisputable) and produces a more distorted image (also indisputable).

As most of my photography is produced at f8 at the very widest the vignetting issue is irrelevant to me. By f8 it is minimal and at f22, where 80% of my shots are taken, it is gone. The wide end distortion is fairly pronounced and care must be exercised in how far off horizontal you use this lens for the sake of straight horizons. Correctable in PS of course but I'd rather not have to.

On balance I am pleased with this lens but it is not by any means an overwhelming improvement on the 24-70mm. I will keep it and continue to use it simply because of its longer zoom range and lighter weight. It is simply a jack-of-all-trades. If pure image quality is your overriding consideration then the 24-70mm may still be the way to go.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Nov 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Can't find a bad thing to say about this lens. Light, sharp, good colour rendition, great build quality and a decent price.

A must have for photographers out and about in the wild. The lack of a tripod collar is a non-issue as far as I am concerned - it is so light that I cannot see the need. This is a no-brainer lens to buy - particularly for landscape photographers like me who don't often need IS or f2.8.