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  Reviews by: jvarszegi  

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Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Jul 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Cheap for what it is supposed to be
Not cheap for the performance actually delivered; sharpness, especially wide open; color cast; AF accuracy

My copy front-focused on two bodies, had a warm color cast, and just wasn't sharp at f/2.8 . This is the last time I fall prey to the hype over bargain lenses.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jan 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $260.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, size, price
low contrast at f/1.4

This lens is great. It is used to good effect by professional photographers the world over, and its reputation for sharpness is well-founded.

Most copies (perhaps all?) of this lens are a little dreamy wide open, but become excellent from f/2 and up. Mine is no different. I use it below f/2 without worry, but knowing that it will be a little softer.

AF speed is pretty good, although it's not as fast as my 100mm f/2. AF accuracy is good. Build quality is solid. It is in all ways a nice lens, and a great value for the price.

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Nov 19, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $429.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: Optical and build quality
Focus accuracy, focus loudness, focus speed, ergonomic design

I wanted to like this lens, but I can't. Like the 18-50 EX DC I wound up eventually selling, my 24-70 EX has horribly inconsistent focus. Sometimes it will back focus, sometimes front focus; usually, pressing the shutter halfway will result in a major focus adjustment each time, but the focus will still be incorrect. My body has perfect focus with several Canon lenses.

In addition, the focus is slow and VERY loud. People describe the Canon 35mm f/2 with terms like "wasp in a matchbox", but I estimate that the 24-70 EX is at least 2 to 3 times as loud. Put this together with the slow focusing, hunting, and altogether missed focuses, and it becomes a major annoyance.

Although I rate the build quality fairly highly (the lens is tight although not weather-sealed), it is not perfect. The zoom is not perfectly smooth throughout its range, for instance. In addition, the manual focus switch is extremely confusing and not supported by the meager manual. You have to zoom to 24mm, then flip the switch to manual, and then slide the manual focus ring backwards to engage manual focus. This sliding focus ring is also apt to slide back into the "automatic" position during use, leading to a missed shot and maybe a damaged lens if you're not careful.

Mine was acceptably sharp for a $400 lens, but not as sharp as copies of the 24-70L and Tamron 28-75 I've seen.

I exchanged it for the 24-70L (because B & H was nice enough to let me do that two days after the exchange period ended!). I gave it such a low rating because a lens that can't focus gets no benefit from sharp optics or a low price, and neither does its owner.