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Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) AF

18_250mm
Review Date: Aug 24, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Size, range, price, great wide angle images
Cons:
Horrible zoom images, lack of image stabilization, f/stop not consistent across range

I had high hopes for this lens after reading the reviews. My experience with it was quite different. I have used it extensively for a year now and am lucky if I get 20% usable shots. It has a great wide angle with no vignetting and most wide shots are sharp and contrasty---I love it. BUT, as soon as I get over 70mm my shot ratio decreases terribly, even in shutter speeds of 1200-2500 and a normal ISO of 200-400, the pictures are overwhelmingly soft. At a family picnic in full sunlight, it was embarrassing that the point-and-shooters got more quality pics than I did with my "big, expensive camera". I bought this lens for the versatility of events like that and for traveling but you just can't hand-hold it and get good shots on the fly. Too bad because I love the size package of the lens and the idea but the execution is not worth losing great pics to.

 
Sigma 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX OS APO

Sigma_80-400_OS
Review Date: Jun 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: LOTS of range, seems to be built very well and strong
Cons:
Heavy of course. Soft edges across all apertures, colors are entirely too warm to the point of obviousness.

Wide open images were near useless, totally soft and noisy no matter what aperture I was shooting. It seems all images were totally too warm in coloring that I had to use a "cool" filter plug-in in Adobe to tone them down. Just made everything look so unrealistic. Of course I loved the range but none of my images were keepers. If shooting higher ISOs is normal for you and you need the extreme range and don't mind lugging a battleship cannon in your hands, then this lens will work for you.

 
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

1ef200mmf_28_1_1_
Review Date: Jan 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fastest focus I've ever used. Killer-sharpness. Well-made.
Cons:
Be nice if Canon made an IS version

Best lens I own. Coupled with my 50mm 1.8, 17-85 IS---I've got everything I need. This lens focuses near-immediately. I push the shutter release and it's on it man. Even in low-light, it focuses super-fast. Sharpness is fantastic. Size is VERY manageable. Not too heavy and the metal build is super solid.

I just hope Canon makes an IS version someday as I've lost some good shots hand-holding this lens.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Jan 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $69.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Uhhh...SHARP! 1.8! Inexpensive!
Cons:
None. Perfect product for the money you pay!

You can't go wrong with this lens and every Canon owner should have one. Why this lens isn't classified an "L", I don't know? It is as sharp and maybe sharper than my 200mm L prime. It makes the most buttery smooth bokeh for portraits. The indoor and outdoor pictures I have taken of my son are incredible. They always get a huge "WOW" factor.

It would have been awesome if it was capable as a macro lens but for the price, you cannot complain at all about it. Reviewers that give it low marks for it's plastic case (it's very sturdy, almost metal feeling) or it's lack of macro shouldn't knock their review marks down as they are forgetting the price here. If this lens was $200+ then I would expect those things.

Again, for the price you will not find a better lens. Even forgetting the price, you get a hell of a sharp lens better than most L lenses I own.


 
Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_28-70_28s_1_
Review Date: Jan 27, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: 2.8, Sharp but barely a step above non-L lenses I own, well-made and solid
Cons:
Too big and heavy for the quality it provides. For the price, sharpness needs to be improved.

I bought this to replace my 18-55 kit lens. Immediately on receiving this lens, I did some outdoor testshots versus the kit. Using identical aperature, shutter, ISO, etc. I took multiple outdoor and indoor shots. Upon comparison, I could not detect any improvement with the 28-70L over my kit at normal perspectives. It wasn't until viewing the 3456x2304 images at 100% on the screen could I see a minute difference in the L lens. To me, that would be silly to spend that much $$$ for that kind of outcome. Not too mention the huge size/weight increase of the L. Focus was not as quick as I would have liked. For those reasons, I would not recommend this lens.

I don't like to play the game of "copy-swapping". When I buy an $800 lens, I expect to have the best product and not have to try out multiple copies of it.

Where this lens came in handy is shooting indoor hockey and basketball games at 2.8. However, the short reach of 70mm made 75% of the shots I wanted "out of reach". All in all, the money I paid for this lens did not justify keeping it. I sold it and bought a 50mm 1.8 prime (WHAT A LENS! SHARPER THAN MY 200mm L PRIME!), and a 17-85 IS to replace the kit. I plan on trying the Sigma 70-200 2.8 when the springtime sports seasons arrive.