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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

70-300mm
Review Date: Jan 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp wide open corner to corner on APS-C . Useful range. Confident 4-stop IS. Fast, accurate AF. Bombproof build.
Cons:
No tripod collar included. Bit expensive, but you pay for what you get.

What a L lens! It is super sharp, and has also great contrast at all focal lengths and aperture settings from wide open to f13 on my 7D. Then starts to soften due to defraction. I love the 35mm equivalent of 480mm, and can crop heavily still giving great images.
Colours are vibrant and accurate. The focus and zoom rings work well for me (I like holding the lens by the zoom ring and/or end of the barrel, and having the focus nearer the camera, as some of my other lenses have, eg Canon 15-85mm).
My previous telezoom was a Canon 100-300mm USM. Didn't have IS (so handholding required high ISO or good light). The 100-300mm does not have good sharpness or contrast beyond about 170mm. The 70-300mm L is just such a different beast, being sharp at any setting.
It's noticeably heavier, but I find with the weight and 4 stop IS allows good photos (I even have some good photos at about 1/30 sec at 300mm) . It's extra handy that lens IS stabilises the image in the view finder, to allow more confident composition.
I love Canon's true ring-type USM focus (as opposed to micro-USM), and the 70-300mm L lens doesn't disappoint in that regard either - lightning fast & truly accurate. Even faster than my 100-300mm's already fast USM focus.
Bit of a shame for the price the tripod collar isn't included, but I'll probably buy a non-Canon brand one for about $25 from ebay rather than $200 odd from Canon. The lens hood is deep and works well. It makes the lens look even more impressive with the lens hood being on it.
Very little flare problem, low vignetting and minimal chromatic aberrations (the latter two are correctable in post processing anyway). Bokeh can be quite good, especially when the subject is relatively close up.
The lens just reduced in price the day I visited a camera shop, and I received a good deal (including a 67mm Hoya Pro CPL) - so decided to buy it, and very happy with it's performance! Balances well on my Canon 7D (even will sit on my sturdy Manfrotto tripod ok without tripod collar). When used with my Canon 350D, it feels like I'm attaching the body to the lens - and the smaller grip makes it somewhat uncomfortable. However I will be using it with my 7D 99% of the time anyway. Highly recommended!


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Feb 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Good low light POSSIBILITIES...., also useful as a portrait lens
Cons:
poor build quality, many bad (inaccurate focussing) copies - mine was one of them

I would be able to rate this lens MUCH higher if my copy was not one of the dreaded "front focussing" ones. At any apertures less than say f5.6 it makes it very useless at close range, where the shallow depth of field makes the subject blurred. I wanted to use this lens for indoor (low light) and portrait work, but it front focusses so badly I can.

However having said that I have seen other people making great photos with this lens. And if I'm outside and stop it down or don't focus on a close subject (so the depth of field is very big) it can give me beautiful, clear and sharp results.

I hope to get my lens replaced or repaired when I'm next in the UK (where I bought it from). But as I live in Romania I can't get it serviced under warrantee here. Even for a cheap lens, the build quality should be better, and not so many copies with bad alignments. Also, sometimes the focus ring gets "stuck" especially at the "closer / macro" end of things, and I need to go to manual focus, move it out and then it will AF again correctly.


 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Feb 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: 5x Zoom range, accurate AF, sharp (esp stopped down a bit), USM, useful IS
Cons:
No f2.8 aperture (but then it would be bigger & more expensive!)

After reading various reviews, tests and most importantly seeing real life photos others had made with this lens, I bought it in November 2005. And have been VERY happy with this lens since then! After over 4 years with digital point and shoot cameras, this was my first lens for my first DSLR.

For me it has a very useful zoom range (with a 1.6x crop factor on my Rebel XT / 350D) - I know this is a personal thing, with many people saying the 28mm (=45mm) is not wide enough for them. However my style of photography tends to go for the medium wide to telephoto end of things more (it's reach gets the equivalent of 215mm in 35mm terms). Anyway I have the kit lens which does a satisfactory job for when I really need 18mm (=28mm) wide angle.

Sharpness is good, especially so in adequate light and stopped down one or two stops. The sharpness of my lens seems to match the test results that this website found - I get good sharpness at all focal ranges and even wide open apertures are very decent at all zoom levels.

Of course I would like it to have a constant f2.8, but then this wouldn't be a decently priced, medium weight consumer lens would it! I'm very happy with it: build quality seems ok (not brilliant, but acceptable by my standards). I've heard of people using it for years as their workhorse lens and I can see the same for me. For low light work I have the 50mm f1.8 mark II.

This 28-135mm lens is on my camera most of the time (about 95% of the time.) It focusses well, has a flexible zoom range, is sharp and has USM as well as IS for added useful convenience too.

For the price I think this is a great lens: I get good edge and corner sharpness and very good centre sharpness. Maybe copy to copy quality does vary as I've read, so I think I definitely got a very decent copy and I'm thankful! Of course if I was a professional with a big budget I'd probably use an L lens, but as it is I find this lens does a great job in meeting the needs for nearly all of the landscape, nature, portrait / people and even some of the close up photography that I do.

Well done Canon with this one!