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  Reviews by: mateo_  

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Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

Review Date: Dec 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Aperture, sharpness, focus speed, color/contrast/bokeh, build quality, everything
Mount isn't weather-sealed, tripod mount is unbalanced without a replacement foot, discontinued by Canon

This lens singlehandedly transformed my photography. As the ultimate indoor sports lens, it makes my equipment transparent- all that limits me now is myself, nothing else, even in the worst of conditions. Aside from the brute force light and AF capabilities of the lens, it turns out unmatched quality in terms of sharpness, color, bokeh, etc. It also works superbly with the 1.4 TC, I haven't noticed any degradation with the combo both indoors and outdoors.

If you're a sports photographer and don't need IS, I would highly recommend this lens over a 300. Pair it with a 400 and you'll be in heaven. This lens is invaluable when it comes to my indoor coverage, and easily accounts for 90% of my shots.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

Review Date: Jan 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, size, build, price
Non-USM AF, little bit soft wide open

I really like this lens. It is quite sharp with excellent color, and while you get a significant boost at f/4, wide open is no slouch either. It is well built, with a metal barrel and lens mount and a securely fitting, well designed lens hood, and is very inconspicuous. The only drawback is the non-USM AF, but it's nowhere near as noticeable as it is on something like the 50mm f/1.8 II. If this lens had USM, it would be near perfect.

I would recommend this lens + a 50mm over a single 2x-70 lens any day. That two small prime kit will teach you loads more photography while matching, perhaps maybe exceeding, that mythical "L" optical quality.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Jan 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $75.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Excellent optical performance for the price, good focal on 1.6x sensors
LENS HOOD, AF, focus ring, very cheap build

I have very mixed feelings about this lens. Everything's pretty much been said about this lens already- great optics, crap build. Some of my best shots have come from this lens, and it has been an invaluable learning tool for getting my "feet wet" in photography. The optics are great, and it may be a little soft wide open but it's not that big a deal. @ 2.8 or above it's as sharp as can be. The bokeh is bad, but that's only because I own the 135 f/2L and so I've become a bokeh snob Wink.

What aggravates me to no end about this lens, and why I'll be happy when I get rid of it, is the build. I guess I'm anal when it comes to this sort of thing, but I can't help noticing how bad this thing is put together. The body and mount are plastic; I don't mind this part too much. The AF is loud and somewhat high-pitched, the focus ring and switch so small, and the movement of the focus ring really gritty. The kicker is the lens hood- you need an adapter ring for an awkward hood that kind of clips on. This clipping mechanism is so poor that it's nearly impossible to easily reverse the hood if you need to. My biggest pet peeve is that the hood adapter is made of some metal, I think, well something different than the plastic- when the hood rotates, rubbing against the adapter, or when you go to screw in the adapter, you can easily make a sound like that of nails on a chalkboard. I just really don't like the whole set-up.

Final thought: this is an optically great lens, but do what you can to swing for a 50/1.4, or one of the 35's. You probably will love using it a whole lot more, and physical usability is IMHO just as important, if not more important, as optical usability. Whichever one you get, stick it on your camera and keep it there for a while.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Nov 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color, AF, works with 1.4 exceptionally well, size, weight, red ring, Everything.
IS would be a dream, lens hood doesn't have the red dot to help you put it on ;)

I've shot with the lens for a just a week, covering HS sports, and I'm in love with it. I had contemplated the 70-200 IS, but the 135 is more flexible IMHO, despite being a prime. Its focal length and aperture are perfect for indoor sports, and with a 1.4 TC you can do field sports quite decently, although you're occassionally short. I also love shooting with primes, so it fits my style. There's nothing bad I can say about this lens, and everything good about it has been said. If you need anything in this area, get the lens. Period.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

Review Date: Feb 27, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp even wide open, perfect size to handhold, very flexible (regular usage to moderate macro), bokeh better than 50mm f/1.8, "built-in" hood. Very nice color, too.
Aperture vs other 50's, slow AF but only when it hunts now and then

The first ever SLR lens I ever shot seriously with Smile. On the 10D, its the perfect portrait/medium tele lens at 80mm- I use it as my primary prime for general shooting as well as a macro. I feel very comfortable shooting wide open, as its very sharp, but it does suffer a bit compared to the 1.x apertures of other 50mm primes- I have a 50mm 1.8 just because its a cheap way to deal w/ special low-low-light cases, but that's relegated to the bottom of the bag since its just outshined by the compact macro. I love the design of this lens, with the recessed element and "integrated" hood; its much more sturdy and gives greater protection, but also makes the lens big enough to handhold stably and comfortably without being too bulky- my 24mm and other primes are a bit small and my 28-135 IS is big, but this sneaks in right at the sweet spot. The AF mechanism is a bit tiring now and then, but considering the rest of the perks, I can live with that Wink