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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Nov 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IS, sharp wide open, IS, great build quality, IS, weight and balance, IS, and I can finally use a 70-200 indoors (because of IS!)
Cons:
Price... but with the pics I'm getting, I don't mind at all :)

Purchased this lens last weekend in Singapore, and I've shot off a couple hundred frames already. I used to own the 70-200/4 non-IS version, so I already knew what to expect... but WOW. IS is a godsend! I never got to use my old 70-200 indoors, even at ISO 800 (think dark offices lit by pale fluorescent). I tried, but I'd ALWAYS get blurry shots. Now, shooting at 1/20 is a breeze!

I own the 17-55 IS (and used to own the 17-85 IS), so I'm no stranger to image stabilization... but it's only with the tele range that I fully appreciated IS. Yes, I've tried the 70-200/2.8 IS, but only for a short while - that beast was too heavy to keep hanging from my neck for long. Compared to a 2.8, the bokeh may not be as pretty, the aperture may not be action-stopping, nor may the autofocus be as fast. But this lens is perfect for my needs.

Highly recommended.


 
Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

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

 
Pros: Great entry-level DSLR, good high ISO performance, excellent image quality, solid build quality (at least next to the 300D), fantastic price.
Cons:
Setting up custom white balance can be a pain. No PC sync. No Kelvin setting. Some accessories aren't compatible with higher-end models. Small LCD. Smallish grip. These are all minor quibbles though - for the price, you still can't go wrong :)

I got my 350D around August of last year. This was after a trip to Europe with a digicam -- after seeing all the sights, I promised myself I'd take up "more serious" photography. Luckily I got one of these DSLRs for my birthday.

After a year with this baby, I can't remember life without it! It's taken around 15,000 pictures already -- some crappy, but mostly amazing! Moving up from a compact P/S, the differences were night and day Smile I also got to use a 300D while "waiting" for the 350D, and I love the latter's build quality. The shutter sounds more solid, and the body is definitely less plasticky (albeit a bit more compact).

After reading a lot on the internet, I wisely held off on upgrading my body, instead concentrating on upgrading my lenses and accessories - first a 50/1.8, then an EF-S 17-85, then a 430EX, then a 70-200/4L, then a 580EX, and finally selling all my lenses and purchasing an EF-S 17-55. And with each successive lens my "Oohs" and "Aahs" just kept getting better.

I finally had the chance to play with a 30D for an extended period of time recently... and strangely, I found it less user-friendly than the 350D. I know people have complained about the menu system of the 350D vs. the more "intuitive" dials of the 20D/30D. But I guess I've just gotten used to the button pressing that comes with the 350D.

My complaints are few and far between. Lack of a PC sync slot means that I'm stuck with Canon Speedlites for shooting off-camera (don't really want to use hotshoe adapters). The LCD didn't bother me before (back when 1.8" was standard), but now it's really small for a DSLR. Some accessories are "350D-only" (i.e. infrared remote); these won't work if I decide to upgrade. Setting a custom WB can take a while -- and why can't it have the Kelvin setting (same as the 20D/30D)? The grip was kinda small when I started out, and felt even smaller after getting some "larger" lenses -- solved this problem with the battery grip.

(On a related note, after using the grip for many months I've forgotten how to take blur-free pics without a vertical shutter button!)

I'm saving up for a nicer telephoto lens before getting a new DSLR (probably a 70-200/4 IS, or a 2.8) -- but I'll probably keep the 350D as a dedicated 2nd body. Lots of memories that have been blown up to 8" x 12", or 12" x 18" Smile

I'm giving it a 9.5, so rounded up that's a 10. You may disagree with my '10' rating -- but at the time I purchased this, you couldn't find anything comparable for the price! Sure, some other bodies were tougher, larger, less plasticky... but how much more did they cost? Smile


 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Jul 31, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,080.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great range, sharp sharp sharp, L-like saturation
Cons:
EF-S (not a con for me, but for most everyone else), price (c'mon, where's that lens hood???), not an L (not in name at least)

Great lens! I used to have the EF-S 17-85 IS, and while this was a great walkaround lens I always ended up switching to a nifty fifty (50/1.8) whenever the sun went down. f4-5.6 is tough, even with IS. I also had to stop down a bit to get that sharpness I wanted.

However, this new lens blew away my expectations with it's wide open performance. Pictures are sharp straight from the camera, and when I view them I remember the first time I shot using a 24-70L -- the shots are comparable wide open! Smile I miss some of the range of my old lens, but all in all this is quite a keeper!

For the price, however, I was hoping for a lens hood...I ended up paying an additional $80+ for that little piece of plastic. A hood similar to the 24-70 would have been nice (extending barrel with non-extending hood).


 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Dec 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great range, IS really works, FTM
Cons:
Price, doesn't come with a lens hood

Got this lens a few months ago to replace my kit lens. At first the reviews on this site made me hesitate, but I'm glad I took the plunge. The range is perfect on my EOS350D! I think image quality is ok, and sharp enough once run through a decent digital workflow with USM. This isn't an L, so I don't understand why people keep comparing it to a 24-70... :P

Wish it came with a lens hood though... I had to buy one separately, adding to an already significant price. However, you can't fault the build quality Smile

Highly Recommended