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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Jun 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $530.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good build, a very good all round lens @ 100mm
Cons:
The lens hood ought to be included

Of course it's excellent as a macro lens (you already knew that) but so was the older nonUSM version. However this USM version is also excellent at infinity, wide open at f2.8. First short focal length lens I owned that is usable on starscapes at f2.8 on a 1Ds, yielding coma-free stars right into the corners, and no violet halos anywhere. That cannot be said for the 28/2.8, 28/1.8, 50/1.8, 50/1.4, nor the older nonUSM 100/2.8 macro. To see what I mean by star-sharp at infinity, wide open at f2.8, including 1:1 crops:
http://www.geocities.com/ultimaoptix/deneb.html


 
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM

ef600mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Jun 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, even with extenders, corner to corner. IMHO comparable to high-end astronomical APO refractor scopes, but with the addition of a very flat image field, fully covering the 35mm format
Cons:
Heavy and big. A 500/8 mirror lens looks like a toy thingy next to it.

Checking out its suitability for astro use:
http://www.geocities.com/ultimaoptix/c14firstguide.html
Checking its ability to take extenders, the 1.4x, 2x, and the two stacked, wide open:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=8729070
IMHO the stack does yield more detail than either extender on its own. This is quite different from whether the prints will all look equally sharp. A lot depends on atmospheric seeing (shimmer). If you need more reach, just stack the thingies :-)


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

3029ef_50_18_1_
Review Date: Jun 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cheap and very sharp when closed down a "little" bit
Cons:
Not sharp enough to shoot digital starscapes, even at f2.8, but then, neither is the 50/1.4

For tongue-in-cheek examples of what can be done with this lens (actually the Mark I), including macros, panos, and extra-galactic photography (honest!), see:
http://www.geocities.com/samirkharusi/mighty_50.html