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Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef17_35_1_
Review Date: Mar 2, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $598.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: •L quality build, color, contrast, and saturation •silent, fast focus •cost/value •2.8 throughout •full time manual focus
Cons:
•not as sharp as other L glass that is 3x the price. •I'll only buy L lenses from now on (they're expensive)

I was on a budget and needed a fast wide-angle zoom for hand-held available light photos. I purchased this lens after agonizing for months over what to buy.
I read all the reviews, compared all the wide-angle lenses, and was unimpressed with the build quality, whiny zoom, and reversed mechanics of the Tamron 17-50. I passed on the Tamron, paid $200 more and have been extremely pleased with the value for what I paid.
For $600 (a steal, in my opinion) I have L build quality, low light focus that always works (unlike the Tamron), great saturation and contrast, and full time manual focus. The images aren't quite as sharp as my 50mm prime, but they are sharp enough for my needs.
If you're using a full-frame camera, I can see how distortion could be a problem. However, on my 30D this lens exceeded my expectations.