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Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Review Date: Jun 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $430.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Battery door, lock mechanism, silent operation, weather sealing, performance.
Still uses AA batteries. How about a Canon rechargeable battery? On/Off Switch (liked the old one better).

I had the first 580EX, and loved it. I love the 580EX II even more. I am not a guru with all the settings, but most of the changes are welcome improvements to an already great flash.

I am not sure if the recycle time is really 20% better, but the silent operation is very nice.

Very minor, but I liked the old on/off switch better. It was up/down, the new one is sort of like the power switch on the 20D/30D camera body. The new one is probably designed that way because of the weather sealing.

I would still love to use some Canon rechargeable batteries (like the kind that you must use with your camera) rather than AA. Looks like that day will not come, probably because there are different batteries for different cameras, although it wouldn't bother me.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Once sent to Canon, very sharp, nice color, and great bokeh.
On 1.6X crop, not wide enough at 24mm (38mm) and not long enough on the other end at 70mm (112mm). Canon - can I see an EF 10-135L f/2 IS for $500 please? ;-) Had to be sent to Canon for major work. Caused me to feel that my photography skills were inferior! Well, maybe they still are, but a bum lens doesn't help...

I bought this lens about a year ago along with a 70-200L f/2.8 IS. I am using them with the 30D body.

I was impressed with both, but being fairly new to photography, it has only been in the last 2-3 months that I have really understood what sharp & soft mean, and what front & back focusing mean.

Took this lens and the 70-200 & 10-22 on a recent trip to the Southwest USA. While they all performed well, the 24-70 definitely was soft and had some autofocus issues. The 70-200 was sharp, but again had some autofocus issues. I was able to get some acceptable photos between good luck, manual focusing, and tweaking in Aperture. I learned a hard lesson though. BTW, the 10-22 probably gave me some of the best keeper photos - and it is "Non-L" & "Non-IS" !!! :-)

Sent both of the L lenses back to Canon recently - they both had issues (24-70 had the lens element replaced, the 70-200 had backfocus issues and was adjusted). Now? What a difference! Focus better on both, and both are very sharp.

As sad as it is after spending several thousands of dollars on Canon gear - here is my recommendation:

As soon as you buy your new Canon Lens, send it to Canon for calibration (take a couple of shots for comparison later if you want). There is a very good chance they will find something wrong, and fix it. Then start shooting and measurbating and pixel peeping. That is how bad Canon's QC seems to be. Some even report having to send it back 2 or 3 times before getting the problem resolved. Do it if necessary, especially on these very expensive lenses of the L class. Otherwise you may learn a hard lesson like me. Also don't forget that the body can sometimes be to blame.

Now you know why I gave it a low rating. I rated it on how I got it out of the box - not it's real potential. In that case it would get a 9 overall.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: May 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,219.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Range, IS
f4, not what I expect from an "L"

I have a Canon 30D and new to photography (at least with an DSLR), so my review is not a professional one but just my impressions.

I have bought and returned many lenses for this camera in an effort to see what I really need and like. I have finally ended up with a 70-200L f2.8 IS, a 10-22 EF-S, and the 24-70L f2.8. That being said...

One little test is my cat indoors with natural light as well as with artificial light and my 580 flash to get an idea of how each lens behaves. I also take it outdoors for some general shots.

Outdoors, this lens is nice. For all the reasons stated before, it seems like an obvious choice for a walkaround lens (and perhaps over the 24-70 even). I agree with this.

Indoors however, I had some problems. It was not as sharp as I expected, and the outlines of subject had a weird red/blue haze. I pulled out the 70-200 as a sanity check, and at 85mm on both lenses, the 70-200 blew it away. I now bought the 24-70 which is also awesome.

I was sure that extra reach of this lens would be worth the trade-off, but for me it wasn't. I am just now using the 24-70 with excellent results.

Maybe we can hope for a 24-135L f2.8 with IS someday.