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Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM

ef28mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Dec 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $475.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Dead-bang AF accuracy at all settings. Tack-sharp center even at f1.8, corner to corner sharpness by f4.0 or so. Build quality excellent for a non-L lens.
Cons:
Somewhat pricey. Corner softness / CA wide open, also a little halation wide open - but both (a) expected in a sub-$500 lens and (b) disappearing after stopping down a bit.

An excellent lens that met or exceeded all my expectations.

I was expecting some softness wide open, but the 28 f1.8 surprised me with center sharpness that's better even than the 50 f1.4 at f2. Sure, the corners are somewhat soft - but even here it was better than expected. For low-light situations where f1.8 counts, it's likely that the corners are going to be far out of depth-of-field anyhow. (Some of the reviews I've seen don't seem to get this, and insist on pointing out soft tree branches in the corner of a landscape ... that no sane photographer doesn't shoot at f5.6 in the first place.)

Stopped down to f2.8 or smaller apertures, the 28 f1.8 can hold its own with any L-series lens I own.

The AF accuracy is simply phenomenal; hits focus like a sharpshooter every time. This in sharp contrast to pricier products like the Sigma 30 f.14, which can't hit focus in the @ss with a bass fiddle most of the time.

Absolutely great "normal" lens for an APS-C sensor. Can't recommend it highly enough.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Dec 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $65.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Sharpness, fast, fabulously inexpensive.
Cons:
Plasticky ... but whaddaya expect for $65?!?

I've spent $400 on lenses that didn't deliver the sharpness and contrast and overall good results that this inexpensive little gem does.

For the price, you simply can't go wrong.


 
Canon EF 35mm f/2

ef35mmf2_1_
Review Date: Dec 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great sharpness, inexpensive, good build.
Cons:
Would love to see USM on this lens. AF loud & obnoxious.

I use this as my primary lens. Brilliant sharpness & contrast, only softening just slightly wide-open.

I tested this lens carefully with a borrowed 35 f1.4L, and darned if I can see any difference in the resulting photos that's worth an extra grand. Stopped-down to f4 or so, I couldn't tell which lens produced which image.

The only thing to dislike is the "buzzing hornet" focus geartrain; this lens positively cries out for an update to USM.

Overall, this is pretty close to the best $200 I ever spent, photo-wise.


 
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef_24-85_35_1_
Review Date: Dec 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $265.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Light, inexpensive, good range, USM/FTM, produces decent images if not pushed to its limits.
Cons:
Build quality a little weak, images soft wide open.

Not a bad walking around lens in bright conditions or for general grab shots. Much better than kit 18-55, particularly stopped down.

Want pin-sharp results throughout the zoom range and a usable f2.8? Time to shell out that extra $1,000 and get the 24-70L.


 
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

18-50f28
Review Date: Dec 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: Nothing.
Cons:
Can't find focus with both hands and a hunting dog...

The lens couldn't focus. What else is there to say? Optics and build quality and magic beans can't help ya when every single image is OOF.

Tried it on five (5) camera bodies, and it consistently misfocused (front focused) on every one of them. And none of these bodies had any problems focusing with other lenses.

What did Sigma have to say? "Must be your camera."

Uh-huh. Bye now.