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  Reviews by: tdarnall  

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Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS

Review Date: Mar 11, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Surprisingly sharp, even at corners. Relatively light and compact. Very good IS. Zoom lock an advantage over 24-105. Better optically than 24-105. Very good feel mechanically.
A bit pricey, but at current discounts not a bad value for good glass. Canon's lens hoods could be sturdier; they seem a bit flimsy.

I must have a very good copy of this lens, as the extreme corner performance on my 5D III is very impressive when stopped down a few clicks. Even wide open the lens does very well. My only qualification here is that so far, most of my tests so far have been within the 24-50 range. The macro feature is quite good considering that this is more of a general purpose "normal" zoom. The locking feature is a big plus compared with my 24-105. A great walk-around lens on a full-frame body. Highly recommend it. If you can get a local dealer to let you have 2-3 copies initially and then test them and keep one that is best, as always.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Oct 18, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Zoom range, size, weight, IS, performance below 200mm
Performance above 200mm; very soft left edge below f/11, build quality (smooth operation, just feels flimsy).

I have been using the L-series "tanks" (24-70, 70-200) very successfully with my 1Ds and 1Ds MII for several years. I recently decided to put together a lighter weight combination, using a 5D, for longer hikes, etc. I was very eager to see how this lens performs. I just tested a 75-300 DO, but returned it to the dealer because of soft performance above 200mm. Based on the other positive reviews here, I'm wondering if I got a poor "copy". I will likely return it and get a second one to try out. Meanwhile, I'm very excited about the 24-105 f/4L IS. It's an excellent foundation zoom.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Nov 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Zoom range is ideal on 20D, IS, fast/quiet focusing, size and weight, build quality, balance on 20D, decent (though not exemplary) optical quality, and just plain usefulness.
Edge sharpness at wide apertures, some CA, lens hood not included (and hard to find at first), would be great if it was even a tad faster.

I bought this for a take-anywhere lens when I didn't want to bother with a lot of gear, and didn't want to have to worry about carrying a tripod. I didn't expect L-series performance, and I decided to view the lens differently...more as a tool to take away my excuses to not carry a camera with me. It covers a practical focal-length range and has an excellent feel on the 20D, particularly with the battery grip.

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Oct 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,995.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Relatively light weight (vs. 1D/1Ds), responsive/fast, very low image noise at moderately high ISO settings, 8 MP resolution, good build quality, multiplier factor for telephoto work, EFS lens compatibility, fast autofocus, excellent battery life, improved flash height vs 10D, new EFS IS zoom (zoom range, IS, decent quality).
Multiplier not ideal for existing normal/WA lenses; had lock-up problem with 1.0.2 firmware (updated now); smaller/dimmer viewfinder compared with 1D/1Ds, no interchangeable focusing screens, build quality on battery grip; 17-85 EFS IS lens is a bit pricey for its quality compared with 17-40L; 20D body shape/size not ideal for me (I like the light weight, but if I could choose, I'd prefer a body style more on par with an EOS A2 or EOS-3...clearly a subjective thing).

I bought this as an upgrade to my 10D, but also to hold me over now that I've sold my 1Ds, and before I purchase a 1Ds Mark II (or the new Mamiya, perhaps). I've tried more compact, non-interchangable SLR-type models for lightweight uses (e.g., Minolta A2), but I've not been happy with the noise at higher ISOs, or with the EVF viewing systems. So, I was happy to see the new 20D with the 17-85 EFS IS lens, and I'm impressed with its performance when stopped down a few clicks. I wish the camera had an anti-shake feature on the sensor (like Minolta). If Canon could do this with a new DSLR, it would be a huge step forward. All of this said, I would recommend this camera without reservation to a friend; the EOS 20D is an excellent value, considering the alternatives on the market today.