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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Feb 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build, Sharpness & Contrast, IS, Zoom
Cons:
CA, loud autofocus

I made a progression from 70-200 f/4 to the f/2.8 and finally the 2.8 IS. I don't regret it one bit. Build quality is superb. Auto focus is dead on and fast realative to most lenses in this range.

The sharpness & contrast is excellent. Some people say that the non IS is sharper maybe it is, but it's not noticable unless you put them side by side and pixil peep. Also when I had the Non-IS my arms got tired after long hours of shooting and was more prone to camera shake. IS works like advertise! All my lenses now have IS and love it. Sure it wont help to freeze action but I'm not a sport shooter and most of my subjects are stationary anyways.

The only things I didn't like about this lens is the loud autofocus, but that is common with all the teles I've used by canon. The USM on this lens, the non-IS, the f/4 and even my 300mm f/4 is noticably louder than my shorter lenses and even my old Sigma 100-300 HSM!

The other thing is CA. Maybe I have a bad copy but it is noticable compared to the other versions I had. The CA is the only thing that kept me from giving it a 10.

All in all, it is a superb lens and definately worth the premium over the non IS version if you can afford it.


 
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

ef300mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Jan 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast focus, Lighte weight, L build and optics!
Cons:
Loud IS!

Had the lens for a week now and after some testing I gotta say that this lens is all it's cracked up to be. Sharper than my 70-200 at f4, good color reproduction is about even. I love the retractable hood. That makes it easier to use polarizers if needed.

IS is the main reason I bought it. I was having trouble getting stable images at 300mm on the Sigma with a 1.6x crop camera. I figured I shoot mostly at 300mm (since I have a 70-200 already) and IS would be nice to control camera shake. When I first held the lens I thought, WOW this thing is light. Compared to the 70-200 f/2.8 IS and the Sigma 100-300 f/4 and this thing is like a feather. On paper it doesnt seem much of a difference but in my hands it does. I thought I would need the IS, but it's light enough that I probably wont need to worry about camera shake too much. But indoors it should be bennificial at school events where I won't have room for a tripod (haven't tried it yet but got some events comming up).

This lens has the older IS without a tripod sensor, so when mounted on a tripod you have to turn it off or your pictures will be blurred.

The only downside I see is the focusing is loud even though it's USM. Both the 70-200 & this lens are louder than my other canon USM lenses and even the Sigma 100-300 HSM is quieter. And when you turn the IS on it's annoyingly loud. I don't mind it too much when I'm in a busy place were the noise can overshadows it. I'm just worry about the times I need to use it in a quite place indoors like a school play. People might look around and wonder what that noise i...but then again a big white lens doesn't neccessarly blend into the crowd either.

No other complaints about the lens. If I were to do it again, I might get the non IS and put that money towards another lens.


 
Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Sigma_150_macro
Review Date: Jan 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: quality build, great included accessories, tack sharp even at 2.8, silent HSM
Cons:
SLOW AF!! Thats it

I had both the Canon 100mm f2.8 & the Sigma 150 f2.8. They are both fine lenses. Sharpness and color was a little better on the Canon but you really had to pixel peep to notice the difference. The extra reach was nice too.

Being an EX lens build quality was excellent. Also Sigma includes the lens hood, tripod collar and a nice padded case. So it becomes a better value than the canon. I wish Canon would follow suite.

The biggest difference was the AF speed. Yes this is a macro and for macro shots usually best to use MF, but it would be nice to be able to use this as a tele lens. The AF was really slow. The Canon was noticably faster.


 
Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

100-300if_1_
Review Date: Jan 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $625.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build, image quality, included accessories (hood, tripod mount, solid padded case), tripod collar removable without take off the lens!!
Cons:
contrast drops when paired with a sigma 1.4x tc, heavy

That was one of my favorite lens and the only reason I got ride of it was because I wanted to have IS.

It was very sharp and had good contrast. The HSM motor was fast and silent, it was even quieter than my 70-200 f2.8!! Build quality was excellent. No problems with paint chipping. I like how you can remove the tripod collar without detaching the lens. The included padded case (like in all the sigmas I've purchased to this point) was awesome.

The only downside to it was when I used a Sigma 1.4 TC the contrast suffered some loss. Still good enough and a quick fix in PS helps. It's a bit heavy and long (size wise not focal length) for me so I had trouble with camera shake hence the change to IS. Great lens for a bargin price!


 
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Jun 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Solid build, sharp, good colors
Cons:
dust problem, back focus, price!

I'm new to DSLRs and was looking for a good walk around. I had already bought a 100mm macro (my favorite lens so far) and wanted to replace the kit lens. It was between this, the 17-40 4L, and the 24-70 2.8L.

After reading the reviews on photozone.de and the-digital-picture.com, I decided to check this out. I like the fact that it is faster and has IS. I bought at Penncamera which has a 14 day no question ask return & exchange policy. I figure, if I didn't like it, I could just exchange or return it. Here are my impressions.

The build: Lens is solid like my 100mm macro, but wished that it would have been weather/enviroment sealed. I think there was a QC issue on my first copy. Noticed a few specks inside the lens after the first day, but didn't care since I had 2 weeks to try it out. I figured I could just exchange it later anyways. Good thing I could, cause the lens was full of dust particles at the end of the trial period. I exchanged it for a new copy. But none the less, I wouldn't have mind pay and extra $150 for a red ring and weather sealing and hood even keeping the S designation.

Optics: Centers are very sharp wide open. Corners are real good. Stopped down it's great across the board. Of course, the only thing I can compare it to is the kit lens, so anything would look good. Light fall off is a slight problem & not a deal breaker. This is because it can't take advantage of the "sweet spot" like non S lenses. CA is well controlled. The second copy I got had back focus problems, so I exchanged it again. 3rd times a charm. No dust or back focus after 4 days.

In the end I decided to stay with this lens even with it's downfalls. From what I've read, it still has better preformance on a Crop, than the 17-40 L F4 or 24-70 F2.8 on FF cameras. I think this is the best walk around lens available for canon crops. For those who are hesitant to buy it over the 17-40 f4 L, because it is not full frame compatable, just remember the following:
17-40 on FF does not perform as well compared to the 17-55 on a crop.
The 17-40 is really wide on a FF, and may not be a good range for a walk around lens for your purposes. You would have to trade in for a 24-70 F2.8 for that.
The 24-70 may not be wide enough for you on a crop.