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

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Aug 31, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, flexibility
Cons:
Weight

My review is for a limited group of people, parents of kids playing sports. If you need or can only justify one lens to capture good shots of your kids playing junior and high school sports, I highly recommend this lens. You really do need the lower light capabilities the 2.8 gives you. The IS is very useful to those of us who do not shoot enough to master good lens holding technique.

This lens is great for everything except football at night. It is not quite long enough. It is a good low light lens but football at night is tough. Fortunately the new camera offerings from Canon (50D and beyond) with high, usable ISO will help. This lens with any current Canon camera is perfect for soccer, baseball, tennis, softball, etc. Yes, more reach is always nice but bang for the buck this lens is a great choice. The f/4 lens is great except I believe it is too slow for sports in gyms (they are always dimmer than they look) and outdoors at twilight.

Combine the IQ and large aperture of this lens with a good crop camera with usable 1600 ISO and you can upsize/crop in post processing and get good action photos of your kids sports. The lens is tough, my 13 yr old dropped it on a parking lot, with no ill effects.

If you are looking to upgrade from your kit lens (or the first cheap large zoom you bought) this lens merits your consideration. Its expensive but it will cover nearly all your needs for kids sports and you won't outgrow it as they go onto sports under the lights later on.


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

85II
Review Date: Aug 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp everywhere
Cons:
heavy

Its not the equipment, its the photographer. Except for this lens and the 300f/2.8L IS. These two may be this best in Canon's stable right now. I am one of those guys who always buys the next grade down from the top. There are very few times when buying the "best" translates into proportional returns. This lens is the exception to my rule. After renting one for a week I ordered one for myself. It has been worth every cent. There may be a little learning curve but the best people shots I have taken to this point were taken the first day I put this lens on.

If you are serious about indoor people photography you need this one. The only problem you will have is all of a sudden your existing lenses will see less use as It is hard to take this one off the camera.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, good focal length for indoor people shots on crop camera, light
Cons:
Only dependable after 1.8

When I first got this lens it was pretty bad between 1.4 and 2.8. Sent it to the Canon service center in Irvine. Now it is still soft at 1.4 but good at 1.8 and great at 2.0 and above. At 2.0 it is still a fast lens w/ great IQ for a little over $300. I love this lens on my 40D. Focus is fast in all but the darkest conditions. In my case if it won't focus it is too dark to shoot. Everybody is different but I am happy as I would bet the IQ at 2.0 and above is comparable to the 50 f/1.2L for a $1000 less.

I would pocket the savings over the 50L as they seem to have quite a bit of lens variation and put it towards the 85 f/1.2L II for your future full frame camera. That lens is spooky sharp everywhere.


 
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef300mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Jun 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything
Cons:
Nobody will leave you alone when in public while using the lens.

Bought this lens based on the reviews here. Handles very well on a monopod. My 13 yr old daughter lugs this around at the zoo for hours at a time so yeah its heavy but not crippling. I am new to wildlife photography but with this lens I will be carrying my camera into the field instead of my gun for many of my future hunting trips.

I bought this lens for high school sports but have not tried it for that yet. For the zoo and backyard wildlife it's a hoot. I simply cannot believe the images my daughter an I are getting with this lens and a 40D. I have not tried any of the other big primes so I can't compare it to them but it would seem to be impossible to best the 300.

My plan was to start with the best big lens I could afford for my most intended use. So far so good. The 400 f/2.8 is probably better for outside sports but was too expensive and too heavy for me and I need it for volleyball and basketball also.

I will take this one with me to the grave. Sell a kidney, its worth it.


 
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

EF10-22
Review Date: Jun 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fun, surprising IQ
Cons:
Not quite L lens build quality

My knock around bag contains my 40D, a 24-105 f/4 IS, a 100 /2.8 macro, and this one. The 24-105 for street stuff, the macro for flowers and little critters, and the 10-22 for interesting landscapes and for a different perspective. I find I am using this lens more and more as even a hack like me can turn everyday items into interesting images. I get a larger percentage of "this one is good" from my friends out of this lens than the rest. I may have got a good copy because the IQ is very, very, good. A tad soft at the edges at 10mm but I am very happy with mine.

For those of us looking to eventually upgrade to a full frame, I plan on keeping my 40D as a second body so the lens will always have a place in my gear. This is a fun lens to use.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Jun 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, light, good zoom range.
Cons:
Daughter always wants to use it.

The perfect vacation lens. Stays on the camera 80% of the time. Light and quick. If you are going on a "pure" photography outing then its hard to beat the primes. If you are going out w/ the family and want memories then this one is hard to beat. I love my 70-200 f/2.8 IS but it is a little much to lug around. The 24-105 draws less attention than a truly big lens but still packs a big IQ punch. I am still amazed by the amount of keepers I get with then lens.