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Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jun 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Feels like a real tool that just works and likely will work for a long time to come
Price - but read the above

I first set out to get a 300 2.8 back in 1992. I had actually ordered it and before it shipped I got cold feet and went for the f/4 version instead. Clearly I had wanted this lens for quite some time before I acquired back in November 2007. I have now had the lens for almost eight months and feel I can give some input.

First of all I debated between the 400 and 300 as I shoot a bunch of soccer. The weight and not at least the price made the decision quite easy though. Id have to say I am glad I went with the 300 as it is very versatile. I use the lens mainly with a 5D and the setup is much lighter than I expected especially if you take the grip and tripod collar off. Ive used it like that for a few cross-country ski races where I find myself running all over the place. For soccer I use the grip and stick the combination on a monopod.

The 300 2.8L IS is everything I knew it would be. Great color, great bokeh, focuses fast, its sharp and a delight to use. I rarely leave for a shoot without it. Ive shot a variety of sports, theatre, landscapes, birds and more.

Feel free to check out some of my shots in this 300 2.8L IS gallery:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Jun 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very pleasing and unique look to shots taken at 1.2. This lens does what no other lens can.
Price for sure will turn many shooters away, that including myself for a good long time. Slower focusing but the IQ more thn make up for it.

It is not easy to come up with comments which havent already been mentioned here hundreds of times. When I decided to go for the 5D a natural companion to this camera would be the 85 1.2L II. I had tested the original Mark I version a couple of year prior to taking the plunge for the Mark II.

Going back to the film days Ive had different portrait lenses over the years the FD 85 1.8, Nikkor 105 2.5, Zeiss 85 1.4, Zeiss 135 2.8. I have also had a couple of EF 85 1.8s. The way I recall it the built quality is still not up to the old Nikkor or Zeiss lenses but time may have erased some memory here. As for IQ it is also hard to compare but the 85 1.2L II has not disappointed. It is a tricky beast to shoot with. You have to know its strengths and limitations. The difference really comes in to effect when shooting at f/ 1.2 1.4 -1.6.

There is often debate about the 135L vs. 85L. The 135 has faster focusing and works better for close ups.. You can also add the 1.4x converter to the 135L which makes it quite versatile. Then why the 85L it is a pleasing focal length for portraits and the look of your f/1.2 will have you wondering how did I do that? Smile

I have only had the lens for a couple of months now but I will add more shots to this gallery as I get them:


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 26, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: A gem of a lens. It just feels rock solid and does what you would expect

Just a quick update to an earlier review.

After having used this lens now for about six months it is now clear that this was a good choice for me coming from a Sigma 15-30 and 17-40L. I've now had a chance to use the lens from bright scenics to a dark theatre. Especially focusing is much better than the 17-40L. The lens is sharp wide open. This is a keeper.

20D / 16-35 2.8L shots can be seen here:


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Just a solid performer. The lens I should have bought a long time ago
not yet

It took me a while to get to the 16-35 2.8L (scared off by the price). For more than a couple of years I was shooting with a Sigma 15-30 and I was actually quite happy with this lens. When my wife got into some interior photography we needed a second wide zoom. I jumped for a used 17-40 4L, which I was quite happy with except for a couple of issues. I think the main one was focusing. On the 20D the 16-35 2.8L just seems to get it right more often than the 17-40L. I guess this may have something to do with the cross sensor focusing kicking in with lenses f/2.8 and faster on the 20D. The other obvious advantage is the extra 1mm, which makes a huge difference on 1.6x crop camera.

I love the fact that the 2.8L is sharp wide open. I like it for portraits and it has IMO quite nice bokeh. I find it worth the step up and cant wait to use on FF or 1.3x body.

A few shots can be seen here:

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Dec 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: A solid no fuzz performer
Non yet

I finally added the 70-200 2.8L this fall after selling my 70-200 4L. While I have been happy with the 4L the 2.8L is a much better lens. It is sharper and the extra stop adds so much in the form of being able to control DOF and of course makes it possible to shoot at lower ISO.

I also have the 135 2L and the two are close in performance. The 135L still looks that little bit sharper to me but in most shooting situations the 70-200 2.8L adds so much in the form of versatility. I plan to keep both but while I thought I'd never sell the 135L it just may happen one day so that I can pick up an 85L, which I think may compliment the 70-200 better for me. On the long end I think I prefer the zoom for versatility and extra reach... for portraits I would still prefer a prime so we'll see.

When looking at the 70-200s the IS of course was an option but I chose not to get it after trying it out. I find the non-IS sharper and easier to handle.. Perhaps a non-issue for most but I found the IS just that little bit to heavy. While the IS is paramount to some I found it a bit gizmo like and found PQ better for the non-IS.

I've shot sports, some scenic stuff, a concert and much more with the lens and warmly recommend if you need a zoom.

Most of the shots in this Cross Country Skiing gallery were taken with this lens on either a 1D Mark II or 20D:

A couple of other shots here:

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jun 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $960.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid Contruction, sharp, fast f/2, light weight
Perhaps not as as sharp as I thought it would have been at f/2

If you hang here at FM for too long there is a good chance you will end up with this lens. Too many photographers just keeps showing great results obtained with it. I would like to think it's not just the lens. You do need to know what you are doing.

The 135L has a perfect weight balance with my 20D. I tried the 70-200 2.8L IS but found is just too bulky and cumbersome to lug around with my 20D. I do have the 70-200 4L but found I needed the two extra stops in many situations. The ability to throw the background out of focus is the other real strong point with the 135L as it produces a very pleasant looking bokeh. I've only had the lens for three weeks but I do find I use it whenever can over the 70-200 4L.

My favorite FOV is probably closer to the 85 range on my 20D so I got the 135L very much with the future in mind where I see myself getting a 1.3x crop camera or even full frame depending on what the future might bring.

The lens is not as sharp as thought it would have been at f/2 but I haven't done any brick wall studies on this. I find I get really good results and a pleasant look around f/2.5-f/2.8. It might just the very shallow DOF playing tricks with me to this point. I've had great looking f/2 shots as well so take this comment with a grain of salt.

You can follow my 135L progress and results here:

NB. now just tell your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend that this lens is a 'must have' :-)

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Oct 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The overall feel, AF speed, fast start up time, great at high ISO. These are the most noticable improvement over my D60.
Makes you want to buy more L lenses.... I've had some lock ups... but just did firmware upgrade.

This is a great upgrade from the D60, no doubt. I've been shooting at 800 and 1600 (even 3200) with confidence that I'll come home with some good stuff. It's funny how that faster start up time can be so important. The camera feels much better than the D60 in almost every aspect. I love the new shutter...faster and sound more solid - like my old EOS 1.

The 20D produces smoother more life like pictures. At first this takes some getting used to - especially coming from the D60, which would deliver sharp and somewhat color saturated images right out of the camera. I'm planing to shoot RAW soon to have even more control over post processing of my images. This of course means I need more CF card memory, Photoshop CS or Elements 3 and perhaps even a faster computer.... where does it all end?

The D60 takes great pictures in my opinion but the 20D is about getting some shots that I simply missed due to limitation in either ISO speed, AF speed or slower start up time.... I'm starting to repeat myself... better get out and take some more pictures.. I'm a busy guy - I've got two more megapixels to fill up for each frame I shoot.

Follow my progress at:

Canon EOS D60

Review Date: Aug 14, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid performer for my use. See link to my gallery below. First digital SLR at a reasonable price when purchased back in Oct. 02.

When D60 was intorduced I saw enough quality comared to the D30 that I was ready to make the plunge. Just 6 months later the 10D came out at a $1000 saving which was a bit hard to take but really I've had close to 30.000 exposures and the D60 is still a great camera.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Oct 21, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $821.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: All-round just a fantastic product. Feels great, works great. Superb color and sharpness all the time. Light weight.
Yeah - I guess I could use a 2.8 aperture from time to time but not at the added expence and weight...

I used to have the older 80-200 2.8L but this lens with the USM and lighter weight gets way more use as I can keep in my bag at all times. I know this should be much of an issue but I never hesitate to bring it along.

I wish more products in the world was as well thought out as this one. IS would be cool but it might add weight - a slight loss in picture quality and no doubt added cost.

This one is a winner.

Lots of shots at my are taken with this lens and my D60.

mfoto Smile

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Oct 21, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent color, very sharp, love the bokeh, great for low light situtation
At 1.4 you really have to watch what you are doing - Very little depth of field. Cost was hard to stomach compared to the 1.8 but I'm still happy I did it.

I never shoot with flash so this lens always saves the day for a good low light portrait for which I probably use it the most. I pull this lens out when I want the best possible sharpness. I love the USM and the quality build. I'll be keeping this for a long long time.

You should be able to see examples at

Can't go wrong with this one.

mfoto Smile

Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Oct 21, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good price in comparison to 16-35 which was the only real alternative when I puchased. Very sharp to my eye.
Sometimes hunts for the correct focus. The very front element (not the glas) is slightly loose... had to kind of screw it back in.

If I could add USM to this lens it would be great. I use this lens all time and it hasn't disappointed me yet. From bright snowy shots to interiors. Shows great color and it very sharp in my opinion.

I do like the heavy built. It feels like good quality. For me the extra 2 mm compared to the new 17-40 is worth it when using my D60.

All wide angle shots at are taken with this lens.

mfoto Smile