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Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

113_small
Review Date: Feb 13, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, colour, contrast
Cons:
Misses its focus periodically

After humming and hawing for a couple of years I finally went out and bought a 50mm for my 7D. I figured that it would be an awkward focal length on a crop body and, after spending a year with it, I found that I was right. The shots were good but the field of view caused me problems. For Canon crop cameras there isn't much out there in the "normal" range, especially if you like a fast lens and don't want to spend $1,000+. I had already owned the Canon 28 1.8 which was a POS that I sold so that really just left the Sigma 30 1.4. Naturally I'd read about the focusing issues and, having had a couple of Sigmas already, I was very familiar with them. Still, I decided to take a chance and buy a used one. My copy came with a warranty and it had already been in for calibration. The 7D allows for micro adjustments to focusing which I played with and to my relief I found that the lens was already bang on in that department. Compared with my 50 1.4 centre sharpness is better on the Sigma and MUCH better in the corners. The saturation and contrast are also miles ahead on the Sigma. There really is no comparison. The only complaint I have about it is that it misses its focus in low light probably one in every 4 or 5 shots. That could be a problem since low light is where this thing is going to be used a lot. We'll see but knowing this I've been getting in the habit of shooting a few extra frames just to be sure I got the shot.

 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

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Review Date: Apr 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, great colour and contrast.
Cons:
Heavy and expensive. No hood.

I agonized for weeks over which lens I should buy to replace my tired 17-85 and finally settled on this. I just wasn't sure if I could be happy with 30mm gone off the long end. I also kept hearing about how it's a dust sucker and that concerned me so much that I looked up ways to take it apart and clean it before I ordered it. Finally I took the plunge and I have to say that I made the best choice. The difference in my shots is amazing. Having said all that though, this lens is a heavy sucker. My Tamrac Velocity 8 holds my 40D with this lens attached, my 70-200 F4L and my 580EX2 and after a few hours of lugging it all around I feel it. I haven't measured the weight difference but it seems to me that the 17-55 is about twice the heft of the 17-85. It really makes me think twice about those "what if" items I usually carry around.

If you have a Canon crop body I think this is the best all purpose lens in the lineup.


 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Jun 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great range, solid build and IS
Cons:
Wicked barrel distortion at 17mm.

This lens replaced my 18-55mm kit lens so by comparison it's absolutely fantastic. Way better colour accuracy, faster and great range. Seriously, you can't beat that range. Too bad 17mm is nearly useless without Dxo software. The barrel distortion is tragic. Still, colour accuracy is very good, it focuses accurately and quickly and the IS is great to have. It's a bit pricey given that it's not an L. I've thought about the 24-105 F4 L IS but I just can't get my head around the price, the size and the weight. I don't know if a thousand dollars plus is worth the difference. Guess I need to try it out. As an all around lens you'll be happy with it but if you're picky you might want to look at something else.

 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Jun 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,064.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wicked sharp corner to corner and at all ranges and apertures. Fast, lightweight and great IS. Solid build.
Cons:
None

I live in Canada where the price of this lens was over $1500 when I bought it. I was very happy, therefore, to get it from Amazon for just over two thirds that and without tax (don't tell the border gestapo!). Man, the things I can do with this lens! I bring it out to my daughter's soccer games where I get great action shots and look cool. Outdoor dusk and night time shots are great too. I tried it at my daughter's dance recital recently and found it to be just fast enough. If she becomes a star I might need something faster. You need a standard zoom like this and with 4 stops of IS and L quality you can't beat this lens. Ok, you could get the 2.8 but you'd better hire a shurpa to carry all your gear.

 
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM

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Review Date: Jun 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.88 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: lightweight, fast and quiet. Nice blur and sharp enough stopped down. A nice 50mm equivalent for a crop sensor.
Cons:
Not as sharp as I expected from a prime. Pretty soft wide open but for the price you won't find anything better.

I bought this lens to be a low/available light indoor shooter. First tried it out at my kid's birthday party and the pictures were beautiful. Sharp, good contrast and great colour. I love the creamy backgrounds at wide appertures too. Prints from this lens look great up to 5x7. I haven't tested it at sized greater than that but from what I've ready I probably don't want to. Really though, would I tell the difference when using my inkjet? Who knows. While I've been tempted to drop the coin on a zoom in this range nothing appears to rate much better (except the 24mm 1.4) and nearly all of them are much more expensive, bigger and heavier. If you're on a budget and/or already carrying 80lbs worth of crap you'll appreciate this lens.