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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Nov 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $445.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredibly sharp, true 1:1 macro, fixed lens barrel (won't extend or turn), large focus ring, price, aperture speed
Cons:
AF tends to hunt in certain macro instances (usually means you need more light), wish it has rubber sealing like my L lenses, 58mm instead of 77mm threads

For a $400 lens, this thing is insanely well priced and versatile. It's incredibly sharp, well constructed, and has a fixed barrel length like most L lenses (won't extend or turn). However, it doesn't have the rubber seals like my L lenses have.

It's got a true 1:1 Macro size, which gives it the ability to shoot amazing macro shots. The AF in macro shots tends to hunt a bit if you don't have enough light. Even if you have a flash, maybe manual focus it first, then let AF go, or just go full manual with a narrow aperture (f/11+).

It's also great for headshots. I have the ABR800 ringflash and my EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS is way too big to be mounted on that for portrait, but this suits the job perfectly. Since it's a prime lens, the sharpness is insanely great! Take the same ringflash with the moon unit, and it becomes the perfect macro setup for shooting objects and jewelry without the need to setup a full blown light tent!

This lens could easily pay for itself with just a gig or two!


 
Canon EOS 30D

Canon_30D
Review Date: May 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,069.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: spot metering, 5fps for 11 fps consecutively (RAW), EF-S allows it to use the really sweet EF-S 10-22mm, build quality, large LCD
Cons:
IR remote sensor like the one in the rebels would've been appreciated, not full frame (but that's ok as the 10-22mm lens makes up for that), doesn't have the XTi cleaning function (although we know it doesn't work anyways so who cares), can only use max of 8gb CF cards

I simply love this camera. Spot metering, 5fps for 11 fps consecutively (RAW), EF-S allows it to use the really sweet EF-S 10-22mm for really wide angle, great build quality, large LCD. I don't really care that it's not full frame as the 10-22mm lens makes up for that, and the lack of the sensor clean is a gimmick anyways. However, with CF card prices dropping like a rock, it can only handle a max of 8gb cards. Granted that you can still shoot 900 shots in RAW on that 8gb card, but it'd be nice to have the 16gb and never worry about storage on a shoot or miss a shot to swap a card. For those who complain about not being 10 MP, I found the images sharper per pixel than those on the XTi. Essentially it's more efficient its use of pixel capture.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Apr 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp lens (Better than my L zooms)!, Fast AF, fast lens: shoots in almost any tiny bit of light, beautiful bokeh, ideal portrait lens on a 1.6X crop sensor, for it's price best bang for the buck for sharpness/speed
Cons:
Lack of Macro capability (easily fixed with tube extensions), AF although very fast sometimes misses when open wide due to shallow DOF (not a big deal though), hood not included

Bought this lens and it quickly became my favorite lens of all time. It's sharper than my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 50mm f/4. Sample photos of my comparison available here:
http://www.accessphoto.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=5123&pid=57325&st=0

For the price, it's one of the sharpest lenses out there I've encountered. Also at this speed, it can take some insane hand held photos with barely any light. I've taken some insane night shots handheld with this lens.

Also note that on a 1.6X crop sensor (300D/350D/10D/20D/30D) put the equivalent of 80mm on it. With such a shallow DOF, it's an ideal portrait lens for those cameras.

Also note that wide open when shooting close up the AF may have a hard time getting a correct focus. You'll need to help it a bit at times, but this is more of a function of such a shallow DOF so it's somewhat expected. (check the posts on the 50mm f/1L which is nearly impossible to get AF to focus properly).

While the lens lacks macro capability, adding Kenko tube extensions jacks it up to an insanely sharp macro lens. Unfortunately you can't leave the tube on since it won't focus except for close ups. Wish this came with a hood, but for $300 how could you go wrong? Smile

This lens will spoil you, and will make you wish that all your lenses were this fast and this sharp.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Mar 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,037.92 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Extreme versatility (wide focal range + IS), Sharpness, build quality, contrast, Fast AF, f4 through the entire focal range
Cons:
Price (but totally worth it!), weight (testament of build quality: Solid), very slight distotions at the very ends of the focal range, but any zoom is prone to that, but on this lens is extremely barely noticable

I was shooting at the Nationals comptetition of Westminster Kennel Club where I saw 99% of the staff and professional magazine photographers using this lens. I already was researching the lens, and chatted with a few of them why they chose this particular lens over the fast 2.8L offerings. All replied exactly with the same answer. Pure versatility. While I was there swapping lenses between shots missing a few good opportunities, they were popping away. With such a wide range of focal lengths that extends into the short range telephoto you don't need to swap lenses. I was sold, and finally bought it for myself as an early birthday present. With L grade glass, you get the sharpness that almost approaches the quality of primes (not quite as sharp as primes, but is quite close). See my benchmark on that topic here where I bench it against my EF 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm f/4 & f/8:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/371271/0/3163627

With IS you get stability in low light conditions (although not fast enough for action shots in low light), so you won't necessarily need a tripod/monopod in some situations. If you have a steady hand, you can still get good pictures at 1/15th.

The lens is heavy and large, but for what it's worth, it's expected and warranted for its versatility and it's sturdy (metal) construction. Some argue that it's pricy, but you get what you paid for.

What could I reallly ask for? Well if it was f/2.8 it'd probably be the ideal walk around lens as with that speed, it'd be better suited for low light. However, as it's stands it's the near perfect walk-around lens. It will be the only lens I take with me to my honeymoon in Hawaii so I can travel light. Smile

Highly recommended. You simply cannot go wrong.