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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Apr 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Quality, weight, price, ideal range for landscape on full frame.
Cons:
None.

I use this lens on a 5D and it is far better than my 24-105 in terms of image quality. The colours pop, the images are crisp, the skies are awesome. I didn't do any sharpness test, but it is plenty sharp for me (printing up to A3). I use it a lot on a tripod, closed down from F8 to F22.

The range is really great for landscape on a full frame camera, from super wide to almost normal. Coupled with a 70-200 I have all I need when I know I can spend time on setting up my tripod, change lens, etc.

It is truely a joy to use with a 5D, and if you are using a tripod and good technique you can quite easily obtain great, great, great results from this lens. Be carefull with polarizers, don't use them at full strength at 17mm otherwise you'll get strange looking skies!

On a 1.6 camera I think there are much better alternatives (17-55 2.8 for instance, or the Tamron alternative). 17 is not that wide on these cameras, and 40 feels short compared to 55, so in my opinion it does not qualify as a good walk around lens on these bodies.

The equivalent of this lens on a 1.6 camera is a 10-22 or 12-24.

It was really designed for full frame.


 
Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

rebel_xt
Review Date: Jul 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cheap. Small. Lightweight. Amazing potential. Solid. Great image quality.
Cons:
Ergonomics, but you get used to it. Kit lens is awful.

This was and still is my (first) DSLr.

I don't do sports so for me there was no point upgrading to either 10D, 20D or 30D. Megapixel count and noise performance are identical or too close to call (it's the same CMOS and DigicII processor, so it should be expected).

Upgrading to 400D/xTi made no sense either considering the identical image quality and noise performance, and the uneffective sensor cleaning feature.

The viewfinder could be brighter and bigger, and the ergonomics more user friendly. These two points are the only real world difference with 10D, 20D and 30D in my opinion.

JPEG out of camera is quite good, but RAW files give more post processing flexibility.

I am thinking about upgrading to full frame 5D for other reasons, but if I had to buy a new non full frame canon DSLr today (july 2007) I would pick up a rebel xT again witout any hesitation.

Owning this camera the quality of your image will only be limited by your eye, technique and lenses. Excellent!0

The kit lens is crap, but for the first shots it's alright. If you want better quality buy the 17-85 IS instead.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Jul 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Affordable fast lens, lightweight, sharp, excellent portrait lens on a crop body (85mm equivalent).
Cons:
Build quality, slow AF, AF/MF switch looks fragile.

I had never owned a prime and this cheap little thing made it possible.

It obviously looks very fragile, but on the other hand it's lightweight enough to be with you all the time. With a xT or xTi you end up with a great set up to shoot portraits. No bulk, no weight.

I have no experience with primes, so I was obviously blown away with the followings:
- fastness (1.8 allows for handeld shots in very, very, very low light with no flash)
- sharpness : close it down a bit and it's really sharp.
- creative possibilities : selective focus with back and foreground blur.

This is really an excellent starting point for one who is curious about photography but does not want to spend a lot of money on his first prime.

The AF obviously tends to hunt in low light, and the lens looks very fragile, but the prixe and image quality compensate for that in my opinion - at least for a beginner like me.

I think it's the ideal beginner "real lens". I think that zooms make you lazy and may inhibate your creativity. This lens will open up a new world and not only in low light conditions. On a 1.6 crop body this lens becomes a 85mm 1.8, which is ideal for portraits.

Obviously if you have money you'd better take a look at the 1.4 or 1.2 L, but for a beginner or a student this will work fine, and with a little care this lens should last for a little while.

I rate build quality at 1/10, price at 10/10 and overall rating is 9.

Here is one of the first portrait I shot with it:
http://www.gobages.net/gallery/3/grandfatherBW.jpg