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

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Apr 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, excellent clarity and colour. If my 24-105L was this sharp, Nikon would be put out of business.
Cons:
Heavy and "white".

I bought this lens several months ago but hesitated posting a review until I have used this extensively. The review is from a point of view of a keen amateur photographer and used primarily on a 5D.

Without a doubt, this is easily the best lens I have. I have a copy of the 17-40L and the 24-105L and the cheap 50mm f/1.8 but this 70-200L really blows them all away. It is much sharper with less distortion, better colour and most importantly I find the pictures with the 70-200 has a 3D feel to it. Bokeh is also excellent. I find the lens sharpest at f/8 to f/9.

The IS works very well and I can get decent shots at 1/30 most of the time, but in order to ensure you bag 100% of your shots, you should shoot at a faster speed especially at longer length.

My gear is purchased primarily for travels. I find that this is too heavy to carry around and seldom bring it out on holiday unless I know there is an obvious need for it.

I also have the 1.4x teleconverter and find that the image quality decrease substantially when using it. I won't say the image is terrible (still better than than the 17-85 IS which I had awhile back), but it's ranking amongst my L lens will drop from #1 to last.

I have several friends who travel extensively. They decided to sell this lens for the 70-200L f/4 IS because of the weight. They did not notice any image quality difference. If the cost/weight is going to bother you, I suggest going with the f/4 route.

A toss up between the f/4 and f/2.8 IS? If you are rich, built like a tank and need f/2.8, get this. If not, get the f/4. Image quality is going to be the same.

The white lens bothers me. From what I read, some actually like it as it gives them the "feel good pro factor". I am not a pro and don't feel the need to feel like a pro. My concern is not wanting the lens to be more prominent than it already is. After all, this is a pretty big lens! It is hard to get a natural/candid shot of the subject at times because they are usually stumped by the size of a big white lens pointing at them!!

Last thing to note. When I use this lens on my 20D, the AI Servo does not work. I don't have this issue with the 20D with other lens and the AI Servo on the 5D works with this lens. This seems like an isolated accident but you should check it out if you have a crop camera.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Oct 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp and great colour. Really quite incredible.
Cons:
None yet

In UK, the benefit of this lens compared to the price is somewhat debatable, but you can pick it up for 150 cheaper in the US.

Absolutely no buyer remorse whatsoever. I have a 24-105L on my 5D and thought I buy a 17-40L to be used with my old 20D. This combo certainly give the 24-105/5D a run for its money.

Rich true colour with incredible sharpness. If this came with IS, this would be a perfect travel lens with a crop camera for those dark churches or museums. It might be WA, but none IS lens is just not very effective in church or museum.

The only downside is a damn huge hood though.

Cheapest L lens but definitely top notch. If you only want to get one L lens and a crop body with limited budget, I think you can't go wrong with this.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Brilliantly sharp with great colour rendition
Cons:
Vignetting and very small CA.

This is my second review after using this lens more extensively.

This is a significant improvement to the EF-S 17-85MM. Incredibly sharp with great colours. The only thing I am not happy about is vignetting which is evident even after stopping down. This isn't a major issue as it can be fixed in CS but annoying all the same as it is a L lense and issues like this should be non-existent.

Ideally if it is f2.8, it would be the ultimate walkaround lens with a FF camera/ I won't deduct any points as I know that it was an f4 when buying it since it was advertised as f4!!

I am not sure if it is my imagination, but some of my pictures feel very 2D. Maybe it is "too sharp"??? Seems a little weird.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: May 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Substantial improvement in sharpness, colour rendering and CA over the Canon EF-S 17-85.
Cons:
Minor CA in some photos (still being verified). I would sacrifice some focal length on long for f2.8 but nothing is perfect.

My previous lense for EF-S 17-85 IS which is a fantastic focal length for the 20D. This new L lense matched with 5D is almost identical in terms of focal length, and makes a perfect SLR + lense combo. My initial plan was to buy the L lense to use on a 20D, but with the 1.6 crop makes the lense not very useful for travels. (which subsequently meant a second mortgage in order to buy the 5D)

It was a hard decision between this and the 24-70, but the latter weights a tonne and lacks IS which is pretty important as I use this camera for travels (normal sightseeing, churches and museums). 24-70 is reputed to be better optically and obviously f2.8 so the choice between the 2 is dependent on your needs.

The lense is a substantial improvement to 17-85. I notice improvement across most levels (sharpness, colour and CA), with the exception of vignetting which I don't think improved at all. Grant you, this L lense cost 1.8x more, so it should be better. I thought my cheap 50 f1.8 prime is sharper, but the L lense had better colour.

I must admit I was slightly disappointed at the poor vignetting at f4 wide (only in some instances), but this is nothing that can't be fixed in CS.

I did notice some minor CA in some of my photos. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect as this is my first L lense, but I did expect higher level of performance from a L lense, as CA is almost impossible to fixed. Don't get me wrong. The CA is still substantially better than 17-85, and you can really only notice it if you are pixel hunting, or blow up the photo for printing.

To compare sharpness level, have a look at the photo below which compare the 17-85 to the 24-105. The top is the former, and bottom is the 24-105. They are both shot using a 20D at 50mm at f5.6. Its like day and night.

<a href="http://users.bigpond.net.au/silmaril/CanonLenseCompare.jpg" target="_blank">http://users.bigpond.net.au/silmaril/CanonLenseCompare.jpg</a>