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Canon EF 35mm f/2

ef35mmf2_1_
Review Date: Jul 18, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Sharp
Cons:
None

I would like to update my review after some additional testing of this lens and Canon EF 35 f/1.4 L

1. 35 f/2.0 has a comparable sharpness to 35 f/1.4 L (the copies, I tested) when both are wide opened (f/2.0 vs f/1.4). I may even say that 35 f/2.0 is slightly sharper
2. 35 f/2.0 is comparable in sharpens to 35 f/1.4 L at (both) f/2.8 and better at f/5.6 (especially at longer focusing distances)
3. 35 f/2.0 is better than 35 f/1.4 L as far as CA (lateral in particular) is concerned. 35 f/1.4 L is terrible wide opened.
4. 35 f/1.4 L has a slightly better contrast and colour although is "cooler" than 35 f/2.0. I prefer warmness of 35 f/2.0
5. 35 f/1.4 L focuses more reliably
6. f/1.4 is important when you need it Smile
7. 35 f/2.0 is nicely small and very cheap for what it represents.

I say that unless you need f/1.4, 35 f/2.0 is a winner.


 
Canon EF 35mm f/2

ef35mmf2_1_
Review Date: Jul 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp. Good colour and contrast
Cons:
Nothing really when factoring the price.

I am giving this lens (my current copy) 10. It is much sharper than my previous copy and most of my other primes (especially at longer focusing distances). I have to admit that I use this lens mostly in f/3.5 to f/6.3 aperture range (it peaks at f/5.6) but the results at f/2.8 and even f/2.5 are very good (my very sharp copy of 85 f/1.8 is significantly better at f <2.5). The contrast is surprisingly good for a $200 lens and sharpness at f/5.6 (and longer focusing distances), is comparable with Carl Zeiss 28 f/2.8 Distagon T*.
This lens is also much sharper (again, at longer focusing distances) than very good $1000 lenses such as 17-55 f/2.8 IS and 70-200 f/4.0 L IS, which (although different focal length) I consider some of the sharpest zooms Canon made.
I thought many times about getting 35 f/1.4 L but each time I look at my landscape (or even portrait) pictures, I cannot imagine that I would get better sharpness, colour and contrast. I do appreciate the other qualities 35 f/1.4 L brings.




 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Aug 13, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $980.00

 
Pros: Very sharp, great contrast and color
Cons:
Some issues with MFD and 200 mm

This is the follow up to my previous review in which I rated the lens relatively low (8). I have checked three copies of this lens and kept the third, although they were all practically the same. I have done some extensive shooting with the lens and I think that it is very, very good. I have been practically using it all the time and I would increase my rating to 9.8, if I could.
The issue, that I focused on in my previous review, remains. The lens is less sharp at 200 mm and MFD (1.2 m). I use it either up to 170 mm, if I need to shoot at MFD or increase my focusing distance to at least 2.5 m, if I need 200 mm. I am talking about achieving prime like sharpness. With this exception, the lens is "perfect".
Those who rate it below 9 (me included), do not know what they are talking about. To give it "5", because the copy may be defective, is completely ridiculous and a person doing this should be banned.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: May 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very good sharpness in the range of 70-150 mm. Good colour and contrast in this range. Very good IS
Cons:
Problems with sharpness at the close focusing range and 200 mm

One of the reasons, I purchased this lens was its maximum magnification of 0.21 (Minimum Focusing Distance of 1.2 m at 200 mm). I was disappointed to find out that although this lens performs spectacularly at 135 mm:

http://mfurman.smugmug.com/gallery/2842902#152315863-O-LB
http://mfurman.smugmug.com/gallery/2842902#152519487-O-LB

(these are just average shots)

it fails at 200 mm (or I would say at >180 mm), at f/4.0 and focusing range 1.2 m (< 1.5 m). The lens gets better (200 mm) at focusing distance > 2.2 m.

http://mfurman.smugmug.com/gallery/2842902#152748740-O-LB
http://mfurman.smugmug.com/gallery/2842902#152519312-O-LB

(these are the best shots out of 50+ taken)

I am not certain if it is a loss of sharpness or contrast problems because of spherical aberrations but the lens is not very good at its maximum magnification.

I thought that it may have been a unique problem of my copy but there were a few other lenses having the same issue, that I learned about.



 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Jul 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very (!) sharp. Good contrast and colour. Very good range on crop cameras
Cons:
Build

My copy of this lens is very sharp. It is sharper than 50 f/1.8 mkI at 50 mm (f/2.8), comparable with Carl Zeiss 28 f/2.8 Distagon T* and sharper than 17-40 f/4.0L (I am not mentioning 24-70 f/2.8L - no contest at < 40). I like the range very much (I have to be realistic to expect it longer than 55mm), f/2.8 is a must for me and IS allowed me to take very sharp pictures at 1/15 s and 55 mm. The focus speed and precision are very good.
I did not see any excessive CA and did not notice flare problem (although I always remember to avoid conditions inducing it). I would prefer to pay more to get "L build" and dust sealing - this is my main complain about the lens (apart from the fact that I would prefer it not to change the length when zooming). The maximum magnification is good but not outstanding.


 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: May 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Very good build.
Cons:
Copy problems - QC problems.

I am trying to be as objective as possible and that is why I am not including the negatives of the lens I purchased. Let's consider them a specific copy problem. Nevertheless my copy of this lens (UU0327) was very bad: sharp at 70 mm but only acceptable at 50 mm and soft at 28 and 24 mm. After seeing horrible barrel distortions at 24 mm (I was checking it for an hour), I returned the lens. It could have been probably repaired but I think that an L lens (it was new, out of the box) should never be that bad. I decided NOT to get another 24-70 f/2.8L.