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Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

efs55-250_f4is_586x225_1_
Review Date: Aug 6, 2011 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Good colour, contrast and sharpness, effective IS, lightweight, good value
Cons:
Build quality so-so, at 250mm could be sharper

This is the my second review of this lens based on a second sample. This one shows a marked improvement in IQ over the first lens I owned. I used to own a 70-300 IS USM and this lens is nearly it's equal for about a third of the cost. Would certainly recommend especially to beginners on a budget.

 
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

3_5-5
Review Date: Aug 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: High IQ, good handling, handy range, fairly solid, versatile
Cons:
Edges at 15-22 could be better, curvature of field? A little overpriced

Could not afford a new sample of this lens so took a chance on ebay and got what I think is a pretty good one. Previously had a Tamron 17-50mm so am missing the f2.8 rather but IS partly makes up for that. I admit I was pleasanly surprised by the IQ of such a wide-ranging zoom. Optimum performance seems to be just one or two stops down. Tested on 50D against a manual Zuiko 50mm macro of known quality there is no discernable difference in detail - impressive. My only criticism is the edge detail could be better between 15-22mm but it is a wideangle zoom after all. Sold my wonderful but hardly used 10-22mm after buying this lens- 24mm wide equivalent is wide enough for my purposes.

Overall a very versatile and practical lens, a tad overpriced. I have been lucky and have got an optically consistent sample.


 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300_isusm
Review Date: Sep 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp and contrasty, particularly from 70-200mm - practically L quality? Build not bad. Good price from Canon UK, refurbished. Handles nicely.
Cons:
No internal focus, slightly slow AF, pretty bulky. Not quite so sharp past 200mm but still impressive.

I have used many tele-zooms over the years: Tamron 80-210mm, Tokina 80-200mm, Zuiko 65-200mm, Zuiko 50-250mm, Canon 75-300mm Mk 1, Canon EF 70-210mm USM and non USM, Sigma 70-300mm APO, Tamron 55-200mm, Canon 55-250mm IS.

I would wager this lens beats them all optically, and most in terms of construction quality.

Having recently used a Canon 55-250mm this 70-300mm restores my faith in Canon. On my 40D I can confidently use it wide open at all settings - for me the mark of a good lens. Ok, at 300mm the edges go off a little but considering it's range this lens excels. Many have compared it to 70-200mm L glass - I have never used an L lens but I could easily believe this one matches pretty closely.

Texture is depicted with a clarity missing from most tele-zooms and contrast is high too. I might add that the IS seems to work better on this lens than it ever did on the cheaper Canon.

I'm yet to test it on a shoot- I've only shot a few frames at home, but I can safely say this is a keeper. I am surprised and delighted with it's clarity after persevering with the toyish 55-250mm for too long. Lucky for me I got a good price refurbished along with a guarantee direct from Canon on Ebay- 300GBP. It was a no-brainer- this lens will keep it's value. I will likely be able to get back what I paid for it for years to come. That's if I ever sell it, which is looking doubtful Smile

Recommended


 
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

efs60_28macro_usm
Review Date: Aug 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor sharp! Small and light, great wide open, internal focus, handy focal length on crop body.
Cons:
No negatives. OK, wider aperture would be nice

Wow- I've seen the light. The only prime I had used for years was the EF 50mm Mk1 which had a lovely sweet spot at middle apertures. This baby is so sharp wide open I think it out-resolves the sensor on my 40D. As another reviewer has noted, it's almost too sharp for portraiture. Haven't had the chance to take many macro shots yet, can't find my tripod Sad
Close-ups taken so far show it's great wide open near focus too.
This has to be one of Canon's finest. Recommended.


 
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

EF10-22
Review Date: Aug 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fairly light, nice finish, smooth controls, USM fast focus, sharp at all settings if used with care.
Cons:
Some colour fringing, not always sharp into the corners (but good for UWA zoom)

Got this one off ebay recently after using Sigma's equivalent for the last three years.
Immediately noticed it had a different quality to the Sigma - may be better contrast and colour, and the Sigma is no slouch.
This Canon is best at about f5.6/8. Diffraction seems to set in at smaller apertures.

I appreciate the (albeit slightly) wider aperture and range. Distortion is noticeably better controlled than the Sigma and vignetting is not such an issue. As you would expect from
any UWA zoom, sharpness doesn't really go all the way into the corners, but it's at a pretty decent level.

Lens is nicely finished but it's debatable whether build quality is any better than Sigma's - some may feel it is worse.
Focus accuracy is fairly reliable. I think these wide angle zooms can miss precise focus sometimes at the wider end due to big DOF. When focus is spot on it's surprisingly sharp wide-open. Sometimes wonder if my 40D might need focus checked, but maybe expecting 100% focus accuracy is unrealistic.





 
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

efs55-250_f4is_586x225_1_
Review Date: Aug 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light, mostly sharp, very usable IS feature, small filters, inexpensive, reasonable colour quality and contrast
Cons:
Rather plasticky, could be sharper at longer end, bit fragile

Have had this one for about a year now and overall I am pleased with it. Certainly, considering the price I paid for it, it performs admirably but it's far from perfect.
Pretty sharp at shorter end from 55 to about 120mm, but really needs stopping down to f11 at longer and longest lengths. However, due to the IS this is practical. Only drawback is that you then don't have desired control over depth of field.
In dull conditions if I set my EOS40D to about 1000 ISO shooting AV mode @F11 then sharpen and reduce noise in DPP or preferably Lightroom I can get pretty nifty results. Have got the feeling that other samples are sharper than mine at longest focal length (I've seen internet samples suggesting this) but as I say I'm pretty satisfied for the money paid.
Considering the range it offers for little weight/bulk or financial outlay, I would recommend this.
This is the first IS lens I've owned and I have to say it makes quite a difference particularly on dull days or at the long end in all conditions.
Effectively you have a 400mm lens with IS which opens up quite a few creative possibilities.


 
Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

1750diII
Review Date: May 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, nicely made, SHARP! Stiff zoom action.
Cons:
None yet.

Really pleased with first results after lens arrived today. This lens is truly sharp at all apertures and focal lengths with just a little edge softness wide open - quite an achievement for a zoom. The results look more like prime lenses have been used which is praise indeed for any lens of this type.
I had heard of Tamron's poor QC and experienced Sigma's at first hand but it looks like I have been lucky and got a good copy.
Balances very nicely on my 40D and focus seems to be pretty reliable. I had tried a Sigma 18-50mm 2.8 macro S/H but this had serious back focus issues and I don't think it was a sharp as this Tamron.
Now I have a standard lens I can take anywhere with confidence - I just wish it was a little longer - 17-70mm 2.8 would be a real boon for me. Then of course it would be larger, heavier and probably not so sharp.


 
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO

137_small
Review Date: Aug 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Versatile, consistently sharp, fast(ish) aperture, good focus, nice close focus, price.
Cons:
Build quality could be better, trombones ridiculously, F4.5 slightly slow at long end, a little noisy.

Very pleased with this lens- one of the best zooms I've ever used (the best was probably Canon 28-70mm L 2.8).

Extremely versatile, relatively compact, very uniform high standard of sharpness across apertures and focal lengths - I've only found one weakness, whereby edge sharpness falls off slightly circa 50mm- apart from that this optic is very hard to criticise.

Very handy close focus but quality not nearly as good as macro lens mainly at edge. I believe, having read many reviews, that this lens betters Canon's 17-85mm. I can certainly see that to be the case based on my sample.

My main gripes are: 1) Mediocre build quality - neither good nor especially bad. 2) Major extension of length when zoomed to 70mm. 3) F4.5 a little on the slow side max aperture at 70mm.

But I heartily recommend it to anyone unsure of Sigma- just try before you buy if you can as their QC is not the best, based on my experience with 10-20mm optic.


 
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

111_small
Review Date: Jul 16, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Sharp across frame, quiet & usually accurate focus, good flare resistance
Cons:
Slow max aperture, heavy

Further to my last post, I upgraded to a 350D body and had the same soft focus issue on the right hand side so I returned the lens (again) to Sigma UK who have just sent me out a much better quality sample.

It is sharp across the frame once stopped down 2 to 3 stops, although at 14-16mm the edges are not as good as at the extreme settings, but this tallies with what I have read on test reports.

Contrast and colour are both very good and at last I have a lens that is worth what I paid for it.

I commend Sigma UK on their willingness to accept the lens back twice and for testing and sending me a sample without an obvious quality control issue.

On that basis and the merits of this sample I would give a cautious recommendation of this lens.


 
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

111_small
Review Date: May 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Well built, sharp, 3 year guarantee (in UK), HSM focusing.
Cons:
A bit heavy, slightly inconsistent across frame, focus problems 10-14mm.

Finally orderded this lens a few weeks ago after reading most of the web reviews. Could not afford the Canon efs 10-22mm.

First copy exhibited poor flatness of field between 10-14mm unless stopped down to f11 and beyond- the right 25% was blurred. So I sent it back to the retailer who duly swpped it for another.

Same problem on repalcement so I sent it to Sigma UK who sent out a (tested) replacement.

I was pretty perplexed to discover this third sample had the same problem so investigated manually focusing between 10-14mm. Problem is mainly solved by the workaround of setting manual focus on infinity at these focal lengths. Now I get nice sharp images side to side at F5.6 onwards (though there is slight falloff in sharpness at edges at 10mm as you would expect)

It seems that my 300D front focuses rather on big depth of field setting at these focal lengths and this accentuates a slight problem of decentring. Maybe the internal focusing group of lenses is a little loose and is knocked out of skew by the autofocus action (that's my theory anyway).

But I would recommend this lens - Manual focusing doesn't really slow me down because at wide settings the lens has to be used with care anyway.

Build quality is as impressive as any Sigma I've seen, and the HSM focusing, above mentioned problems aside, is pretty good.

And did I mention what fun an ultrawide is to use? Great for architecture and interiors!


 
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

18-50f28
Review Date: Oct 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast, small and light, sharp, contrasty, usable wide open
Cons:
Focus not fully reliable, soft edges at 18 (unless stopped down), noticeable CA

Had this one for a few days now and have been impressed with it's ability. I had read a lot of good reviews but was concerned I might end up with a turkey due to poor QC. This one has some edge inconsistency at 18mm (one side slightly softer wide open) but I can live with that becasue it is obviously a quality optic. Wide open at all focal lengths its pretty sharp in the middle with softer edges that improve a lot with just one or two stops down. I had hoped it would make a good portrait lens and indeed it's pretty good at 2.8 50mm but agree with others that it's real focal length is somewhat shorter at the long end. Down at f8 it is snappy and consistent across the frame from 24-50mm and not quite so hot at the edges at below 24mm- good enough though and noticeably better than the kit lens I sold on ebay. Actually, I kind of wish I had kept that kit lens as I had a good sample, but the Sigma is definitely a keeper, albeit a bulkier and heavier one. Pleased to get a 3 yr guarantee here in the UK. Having also purchased the very good Sigma 70-300 APO DG I am going to get my kit insured!! Now I am hankering after the Sigma 10-20mm but canot justify it's purchase just yet.(Can't keep it secret from the wife!)