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  Reviews by: ralph m  

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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Dec 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compared to the kit lens, better color, contrast, USM, very quite focus, IS is a big plus. Prices are coming down and it is on the current rebate list.
On an XT, it is not a "small" lens. It is hefty and makes me think that the optional grib may be in order.

This is a very good step up from the 18-55 kit lens. It is my perception that the color and contrast are much improved over that lens. The IS is great as it is in all the other Canon lenses. Focus is fast and accurate. I have checked and I do not have any front or back focus issues. My lens appears to be right on. Like a lot of others, I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a kit upgrade. Since the 1970's I have never bought a third party lens and had misgivings about doing it now. I finally bought this one and am not sorry I did. I wanted the extra length that it affords and it is considerably less expensive than the L cousins or the newer 17-55 EFS. It is not a small lens on the XT. However, consider that in the past I carried about 5 lenses to cover this guy's range.. it ain't all that bad. It does have distortion at 17 to 24 but that is easily corrected. Even PS Elements 5 has that correction screen now. Like a lot of others, I have short spurts of travel and a lot of time for general photography... parties, anniversarys, weddings, etc. For me, this is a good choice. It covers a lot of bases, delivers a quality image at a decent price.

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

Review Date: Mar 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very good optics. Big improvement over previous 75-300 class lenses.
Build quality is good but when the lens is racked out to 300, I find myself being very careful. It seems a little vunerable.

I have used this lens for about two months now and I find it to be a very good performer. As noted by others, the price is close to the 70-200 L and that is a choice you have to make. I wanted the 300 end so I gave this lens a try. The IS is really a life saver for this lens. When you half press the shutter button and the IS kicks in... you got to be impressed. The jitters disappear. I have used the 75-300 non-IS versions and this lens is a huge step up. Also, this lens was in the fall 2005 Canon US rebate list so I did get the benefit of the price break. I would recommend it to those interested in this class lens. The build quality is good but as I noted in the neg. section, I tend to want to baby this lens when it is extended. It is a long extension and it seems a little vunerable to me. It has a lock to keep it closed when toting it around and that is a good feature. It is most likely capable of taking more abuse than I give it credit for, but I will treat it with some care and I think it will give me good performance for a long time.