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

70-300mm
Review Date: Dec 28, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: image sharpness, build quality, compact size
Cons:
price

I've been searching for a good tele-zoom to use in my travel photography and finally decided on the 70-300 L lens. This lens exceeded my expectations and is extremely sharp with IS that works very well. Before I got this lens, I used either the 70-200 f/4 L IS or the older 70-300 IS (non L) lens. However, the 70-200 always seemed to be too short and the older 70-300 had very poor image quality.

When I got the 70-300 L, I tested it thoroughly and my hope was that it would be close in sharpness to the 70-200 f/4 L which has received very good reviews. I was surprised to find that on a full-frame camera (5DII) that the 70-300L was actually superior to the 70-200 f/4: in the center their sharpness was similar but the 70-300L had much better corner performance. You can see 100% crops from the lens at http://bayimages.net/blog/reviews/canon-70-300mm-l-lens-review/

There is some chromatic aberration at 70mm (red fringing) and 300mm (blue fringing). For me, this is a relatively minor issue as it can be corrected easily in software.

Unfortunately the lens doesn't come with a tripod collar which would help improve stability for tripod mounted shots. Canon sells this separately for nearly $200, which seems outrageously expensive for item that should have been included.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Aug 20, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, IS, very useful focal length range
Cons:
vignetting, distortion, size

This is by far my most used lens and I have taken thousands (probably tens of thousands) of pictures with it. I will probably hang on to this lens forever -- it is that good.

The lens has some negatives like the f/4 max aperture, vignetting and distortion. However these are not necessarily big drawbacks for the type of photography I do (travel). I'm often stopping down anyway for DOF, and vignetting/distortion can easily be corrected in post processing.

Although I often stop down, the lens is still quite good wide open. Go to http://bayimages.net/blog/reviews/canon-24-105mm-f4-l-lens-review/ for 100% crops taken from the lens.

My only other comment is that the lens seems quite big especially with the hood on.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Aug 20, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: inexpensive, lightweight, sharp in the center
Cons:
poor edge/corner sharpness

I was very excited about this lens because it fills a very useful range for travel photography. However, I've gone through two copies of this lens trying to find one that had good sharpness out the edges. While stopping down a lot helps, I remain unsatisfied. You can see crops on a full frame at http://bayimages.net/blog/reviews/canon-17-40mm-f4-l-lens-review/