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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300_isusm
Review Date: Oct 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent zoom range, good contrast, almost as sharp as 70-200 f/4L.
Cons:
Rotating front element. Build quality is not the best. Hood sold separately.

Images from this lens were much better than expected. Comparable to the 70-200 f/4L in many aspects. IS works great. I have taken some excellent wildlife and sports shots with this lens. It is quite compact when in non-extended position, it is the only telephoto zoom that fits in my compact SLR bag.

 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Feb 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $464.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: More than 5x zoom range, very sharp at the tele end, IS really works.
Cons:
Distortion at the wide end, a bit heavy and big.

I was mainly interested in this lens because of the very useful zoom range on a 1.6x crop body (Rebel XT) and the IS feature. Canon initially offered this lens at a pretty expensive price point, but as soon as the street prices dropped below $500, I grabbed one. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pictures I am getting with this lens. 100% crops in the 50-85mm range look very sharp. It is also very decent in the 24-50mm range. The 17-24 range is where most of the distortion and CA problems crop up, but it is still good enough for me.

If this lens had a constant f/4 maximum aperture, it would get a 10 from me given the features it has for the price point.