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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

ef500mmf_4_1_
Review Date: May 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything bar the size and weight
Cons:
Size weight

Simply awesome quality. Almost no need to process a RAW image. Incredibly sharp. Handholds well (for a short time). If only it wasn't so big and heavy, but then it wouldn't be a 500 f4!!

 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: May 1, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Nice range IS
Cons:
Horrible barrel distortion at the wide end

I have had the 24-70 f2.8L for a few years. I love it for its sharpness, clarity and relative lack of distortion. However it is bulky and heavy so I wanted a more "walkabout" lens particularly for when on holiday. Thus I bought the 24-105. At first sight it is good. Familiar L build quality and weather seal, lighter, IS (lacking on the 24-70) compensating for the slower speed, and a longer reach. Then I started using it.
It is sharp, not as sharp as my 24-70, but still more than sharp enough, the colours are good, but the barrel distortion at the wide end is far more than I expected and makes any architectural photography (and buildings feature heavily in holiday snaps), or indeed anything where you expect a straight line, rather a waste of time. I certainly wouldn't dream of using it for anything more serious at the wide end.
It has a place if accompanied by a 16-35 or 17-40 and you train yourself to change lenses at around 35mm (unless just shooting a pretty scene), but for me it isn't a 24-105, It really is effectively a 35 or 40-105, and whilst I got a very good sale deal on it and therefore probably won't sell mine, I wouldn't buy it again.
In fairness I use mine on a 5D2 (which it is often paired with) and a 1D3. The former really shows the distortion, but if paired with a 1.6c crop , I guess it would be reduced somewhat.


 
Canon EOS 1D Mark III

1DmkIII
Review Date: Aug 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ especially on highlights Live view Ease of Use
Cons:
None other than price and weight

The IQ is noticeably better than my 1D2 especially the way it can handle highlights (with the highlight tone priority), and the general ease of use is much better too.
RAW shots straight out of the camera require much less adjustment too.
Live view makes architecture and landscapes much easier (as well as macros)

Other than price and weight (which to be fair are comparable to the 1D2 when I bought that) nothing negative to say.


 
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

ef_180_35_1_
Review Date: May 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very very sharp
Cons:
max aperture -- f2.8 or wider would be nice to make manual focussing easier

Incredibly sharp, and works very well with the 1.4x Canon extender or extension tubes to increase the magnification beyond 1:1.
I find the AF obviously slower than my zooms, but not horrendous as some would have you believe. The internal focussing is a boon as is the length over my previous 105mm Sigma. -- I prefer to be further back from things with stings!!


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef70-200_28lisu_1_
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed of lens, speed of focus, sharpness, IS
Cons:
Weight and price

One word -- Awesome.
Given the price in the UK I swallowed many times, walked round the block, gulped and then nervously handed over the plastic. I haven't regretted it for a second since.


 
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

05_105mmEX_1_
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp
Cons:
Slow to focus

I have had superb results with this lens, and despite being a Canon fan, I feel no need to trade it for the Canon equivalent. My only problem with it is the speed of focus which really means that any subject needs to be anaesthetised before taking it's photo.

 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp and fast, both in terms of aperture and speed of focus
Cons:
a little on the heavy and bulky side for a "walkabout" lens

Sharp, fast.
I have had superb results from this lens even wide open (where I use it quite a lot when I haven't a tripod and flash isn't an option).
My "standard" lens which I wouldn't swap.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness and speed
Cons:
1st copy was out of alignment

My first copy was decidedly out of alignment, replaced under warranty, and the new one is simply wonderful -- I probably use it more than any other lens now. Sharp with good contrast and clarity. Very good wide open too, and when stopped down to f16 on a tripod, the results are almost 3d like in their clarity. The fact that it doesn't vignette with the same polariser that I use on my 24-70 is a very useful bonus. The speed is also very handy when tripod or flash isn't an option.

 
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

l3a_copy
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Width and lack of distortion.
Cons:
Front element

My first one was replaced after 1 week when the HSM died. The replacement has proved reliable. -- At least it still works a year later. Minimal distortion at the wide end on my 1.3x crop factor camera. Optically quite good, but not in the league of my 16-35L where they overlap.
The bulbous front element makes me nervous though. I keep it capped whenever it is on the camera, and it doesn't allow the use of a filter (unlike the 16-35 which uses the same 77mm filters as the rest of my lenses)


 
Sigma 17-35 mm f2.8-4.0 EX DG HSM

sigma1735
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Optically it is reasonable -- no more.
Cons:
Reliability -- total lack of.

Mine has been used for a total of maybe 200 shots, and is on it's 3rd HSM motor. Bearing in mind my 12-24 had it's HSM die after 1 week of ownership, I have some doubts about them.