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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Dec 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $860.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, Color rendition, background blur ability for portraits, IS
Dust gets in easily

This is now one of my favorite lenses. The colors are great, the sharpness is great, resale value is great. Great for landscapes as well as portraits (advantage over the 17-40 is the extra 15mm on the tele end which matter for portraits). Here are some photos taken with this lens ...
Chandler Park, Tulsa, OK
Little Pigeon River, Smoky Mountain National Park, TN
Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Portrait sample 1

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Dec 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Beautiful background-blur ability and bokeh Sharp when used on tripod or higher shutter speeds Beautiful colors Build is solid
Very Heavy after a few minutes of use Huge

After years of trying different cheaper options such as the Canon 70-200mm f/4, the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 and other such tele-zooms, I finally caved and bought the 70-200mm f/2.8. And man, portraits taken with this lens have come out absolutely beautiful. Clients love the images taken with it. It is built very solidly and has the white coating, which I like. It comes with the hood and the tripod collar. It has the same 77mm filter thread as my 17-55mm IS, which makes it much simpler to assemble a filter-collection. I have a 77mm Nikon Circular Polarizer, a 77mm Canon 500D close-up and a Cokin P 77mm adapter/holder + Singh-Ray Reverse GND. Both lenses have same filter thread and this keeps things much simpler. The weight is a bother after just a few minutes of shooting, but then I think of the quality of the photos and I keep shooting. My copy is sharp even wide open, handheld, provided I am shooting at decent shutter speeds, in good light. I would definitely recommend this lens over the f/4 or f/4 IS versions, IF you're more interested in background blur and wonderful portraits, and less on ease of carrying it around.

Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Review Date: Mar 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid construction, sleek look, sharp, excellent bokeh, more working distance, tripod mount/sturdy case/hood included!
Focus hunting in lower lighting especially when focusing closely on small subjects, noticeably heavier than 100mm.

I had the Canon 100mm macro before and loved that lens. This one looks like it's a very capable big brother of the 100. Sharpness, color and bokeh are excellent. Focusing is a bit weak, especially when close-focusing. The increase in weight (2 lb) is noticeable, compared to the Canon 100mm macro (1.3 lb) or the 70-200 f/4L (1.5 lb). Still, macros are typically taken with tripods, so it might not be a big deal. Comfortable working distance makes it easier to chase after flies and insects. Bottom line: Sharp, good color and bokeh, high quality images, very nice focal length for macro work. The lens comes with the tripod mount, a very sturdy case and hood! Excellent value for the money, IMHO.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $580.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, sharp, nice bokeh, very reasonably priced L lens
Too long for a 70mm because the size remains unchanged even at 200mm, more prone to have focus problems on DSLRs than other lenses I've owned.

This lens is on my D60 all the time now. It's light enough and most importantly, sharp when it focuses right or when you get the focus and exposure right. It works well with the 1.4x Extender and this makes for a light and powerful 100-280mm f/5.6 L lens with not much drop in quality. Here are some samples:

<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40041694>Friend</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40508808/original>Car</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40508822/original>Car</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40461091/original>Bike</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a <a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40461108/original>Bike</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;

With and Without the 1.4x Extender
Image 1
<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40631170/large>Without Extender</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40631167/large>With Extender</a>

Image 2
<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40631172/large>Without Extender</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/40631169/large<With Extender</a>

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Mar 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, wonderful colors, creamy bokeh, 1:1 macro without attachments, can be easily enhanced with 1.4x or 2x Extender + an Extension tube for more working distance and/or more magnification. Doubles very nicely as a high-quality portrait lens. Very reasonable price.
Not enough working distance for insects.

I used this lens for nearly a year. Sold it only to finance the purchase of a 70-200 f/4L which I needed for the zoom. Regretted selling it immediately. Wish I'd kept it. Would recommend this lens to anyone interested in a minimal lens setup that includes a dedicated macro + portrait lens. Some folks say it's too sharp for portraits. I think sharpness is wonderful, because images can be made soft using software, but creating sharpness involves introduction of noise. This is one heck-of-a-lens! Here are some samples:

<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/38927992>Flower</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/38927991>Flower</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/38927995>Grapes</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/38927996>Leaves</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=http://www.pbase.com/saaketham/image/37106432>Folks</a>

Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical

Review Date: Jan 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: With just AutoLevels, this lens produces excellent color. Sharpness and brightness are awesome. Light, compact, good construction, no eye-sore colors. :-) Excellent alternative for the more costlier EF 17-40 L
Wish it went a little more telephoto, but no other complaints.

I was considering the Canon EF 17-40 L, but it was too costly for my blood. Then I came across this and bought it and it's given me very nice images. Am really happy with the purchase.

<img src=http://jja.image.pbase.com/u15/saaketham/large/38928830.HeavenlyDay1.jpg>
<img src=http://jja.image.pbase.com/u15/saaketham/large/38928831.HeavenlyDay2.jpg>