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Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Feb 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast, fast, fast, great fit for 1.6x
a bit heavy and lots of money, but the value is still great

This is a great lens - sharp, fast and very good range for the 1.6x crowd.

I am using this on a 350d/rebel xt, which is probably not the most typical combination, but I decided it was more worthwhile to invest extra money in the lens than the camera upgrade.

I have been thinking about this lens for 2 years before deciding to take the plunge, so it wasn't an easy choice. I had the 50 1.4 before and loved the speed for low light activity, but missed the wide angle for PJ, family and baby photos. My other lens was the 17-40, but it was just too slow for my applications.

Given the 1200$ price tag, this was not a easy call for me. I researched this lens on all the available forums, reviews - I practically read all the search results you can find when googling this lens. For comparison I read all the reviews of comparable lens 24 2.8, 28 1.8, sigma 30 1.4, to really check whether I cannot save minimum 500$.

In the end I figured this would be the lens for me and if decided to go for any other solution it would be a compromise and I would continue dreaming of the 24L and feeling that I could have gotten a better suiting lens for myself.

So I decided to go for it and I do not regret the decision even one bit. I got myself the lens I really wanted, the angle is just what I use the most.

Value is there - you get a super sharp lens, workable in low light, with small DOF when needed, superb colors and contrast, L build. The value gets even better when you realize that you can sell off the 17-40, because you are not satisfied with the sharpness nor contrast anymore - as someone wrote is some previous review - 17-40 is good for a paper weight in comparison to the 24L.

On the way to the decision: I also got myself into thinking and reviewing the 35L, which is apparently even better. But the 24 is a much better viewing angle for the 1.6 in my opinion, so I cut this thinking very fast. Even if the 35L is better - why would you want a one-notch better performing lens, if you would not see all that you want to see through it because it is too narrow.

Bottomline, I wholeheartedly recommend this one to everybody. If you have the rebel, any other lens and $500 to invest into your equipment - sell the lens, and get yourself the 24L. Upgrading your camera to the 20d/30d (which I also considered) will not stepchange your photos as much as this lens.

One more happy user.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: May 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stellar build and picture quality, walkaround range, well balanced on 350d/rebel xt
Need to replace hood with EW 83DII. Wish it was 1.4...

I am using this as a standard walk around lens on my 350d/rebel xt and I am very satisfied with the build and picture quality, as well as range.

This is my first L lens and I find the stellar build quality truly addictive (as some have called it). I find it very well balances on the 350d - supporting the camera by the lense actually leaves your right hand free for all the settings on the camera body.

As probably many others, I am constantly considering whether to move to 16-35 or 17-85. Here is my rationale for not moving to either of these:

16-35: I find the one-stop difference not menanigful enough for double the cost and losing 5mm at the longer range. When I am in a low light situation, I often check whether a 2x faster lense would be enough to manage handheld, but usually it comes out that even the 16-35 would not be enough to handhold with the speeds required for handheld. My other lense is a 50 1.4 and while it is somewhat long on the 350d (with 1.6x factor), I usually prefer to use this one at around 1.6-1.8 aperture to give me the speeds I need.

17-85: while I find the longer range and IS very appealing, I just can't yet decide to lose on the build quality the 17-40 gives and I am concerned on the battery life with the IS. The 17-85 feels very wobbly to me and having had the 28-135 before I know how much of a dust sucker it is and would like to avoid it with the sensor dust issues present in dSLRs.
Additionally, my key interest is travel photography and having had the 28-135 before I know that the IS is a fast battery killer, requiring to take more batteries than with a standard lense. I just prefer to switch to the 50 1.4 if I really need the longer range.

Hope this helps and I look forward to any reviews commenting above discusson points on the lens selection. And thanks to all the previous FM contributers - this was the source of knowledge which convinced me to get this lense.