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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Oct 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp. Range. Image Stabilization.
Cons:
Variability in copies of this lens

I am on my 3rd copy of this lens. The first copy was good but not excellent and was somewhat soft at 400mm. The second copy was very similar to the first. I finally made a switch to primes and sold all of my zooms, the 100-400 included.

More experience has taught me that there is a place for good zooms in my bag, so I made one more stab at this lens.

Wow!

The 100-400 that I've had now for 3 weeks (manufactured in September of 2005) is the sharpest zoom I've ever used. This includes my 10-22, 24-105 IS, and 70-200 f/2.8 IS. This copy is every bit as sharp as my 300 f/4 and 400 f/5.6 primes. It's so good that I'm thinking of selling the 300 f/4 and 400 f/5.6. The IS is superb. The push-pull zoom takes some getting used to but for me has become second nature. The range cannot be beat.

Obviously there are problems with variability in copies of this lens -- I know this from personal experience. I'd recommend you buy from a reputable dealer who will let you return the lens, and try as many copies as it takes to get a sharp copy. Once you do, it's zoom nirvana :-)


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Jul 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: tack sharp, L-quality images at a bargain price
Cons:
none

Just got back from the Bahamas on a family trip. I took my best lenses including mostly L primes from 24 to 400mm. I used all of the lenses and took boatloads (pun intended) of photos. When I sat down to review the images, I was blown away to find that the 50 f/1.4 was as a rule sharper and better in color and contrast than it's "L" 24mm and 35mm cousins. The pictures from this lens were simply perfect, even wide open. No CA, no softness, just perfection.

This lens (along with the Canon 85 f/1.8 and the Canon EF-S 10-22) is a must buy bargain from Canon. Highly recommended!


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Jun 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, sharpness, color, contrast and bokeh to die for. On 1.6 and 1.3 crop cameras, it's the perfect lens for portraits. Best bang for the buck in the Canon lens line.
Cons:
None

I have most of the Canon L lenses, and strongly believe that in terms of camera lenses, you usually get what you pay for. There are several exceptions to this rule in the Canon lens line. Notably the 50mm f/1.4, the 100mm f/2, the 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, and most of all the 85mm f/1.8 are great buys and in many or all ways equal to the L lenses.

To make a potentially long review short, out of all of my lenses, I'd rank the 85 f/1.8 better than most and just below the 135 f/2 and the 500 f/4 IS. For what I paid, it's got BY FAR the best bang for the buck of all of my lenses.

Buy one and you won't be dissappointed!