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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jun 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $639.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: • Sharpness • Build • Contrast • Detail
Cons:
None

Simply a great lens and, considering the quality, something of a bargain at less than $700. There's really not much more I could add to what others have said. First-rate all around.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Jun 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $70.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: • Sharpness • Detail • Contrast • Accurate color • Price!
Cons:
None

A great lens at three times the price. If you have a Canon, then you need to have this lens. It's as close to the 50mm f/1.4 as you can get (except for build) without having to pay the f/1.4 price.

 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300_isusm
Review Date: May 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: • Sharpness • Range • Image Stabilization
Cons:

This lens replaced by older push-pull 70-210 f/4 (which had served me VERY well; quite a good lens and a great value at today's ebay bargain prices) and my 100-300 f/4.5-5.6...also a good lens, but not a great one.

I'm very impressed with the new 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 IS and find it significantly better than I expected. I can agree with one reviewer at photozone.com who called this lens "a hidden L lens." This same review settled once and for all my back-and-forth decision process between the 70-300 IS and its more expensive DO cousin. The DO version was tempting because of its compactness (the only real reason to consider the DO as far as I can tell). But the review was decidedly in favor of the less expensive 70-300 for its ability to deliver the same quality as the DO but at significantly lower cost and less weight. The build of non-DO version is apparently not as good as the DO, but it is certainly good enough. This is NOT a cheaply made lens.

My first few pics were very sharp indeed and rich with contrast and good color. I've been able shoot at quite low speeds and still retain sharpness. As I say, I am truly impressed and intend to use this lens often. It's always in my bag...and that's something I'd never been able to say of my other tele-zooms.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: May 12, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,149.00

 
Pros: • Excellent build • Good balance on FF cameras • Useful range • IS comes in handy
Cons:
• Excessive barrel distortion at wide angle • CA and other artifacts are very noticeable • Somewhat "flat," 2-dimensional imagery

This is an update to my earlier, initial review of the 24-205L f/4, in which I rated it a "10." Now that I've used it for a time, I'm no longer quite as enthusiastic as I was (the honeymoon is over!) and, in fact, I find myself rather disappointed in this lens on several levels.

In nearly every instance where I've photographed people against a solid, light color or even medium-tone background (and I'm referring to commercial work, not snapshots), a quite visible but hairline-width gray to black line appears around the heads and along the body line of those wearing light-colored clothing....sort of an outline of the figure. I do not see this with any of my other lenses, so I must necessesarily assume it has something to do with this particular lens' design. Additionally, the colors rarely turn out quite as richly saturated as with my other Canon lenses, including primes. The colors are not at all washed out nor are they faded, and contrast is not diminished with this lens. It's just that, after shooting sessions with this lens, I find myself increasing color saturation in PS much more often and to more of a degree than I do with my other Canon lenses.

What has bothered me more than anything, though, is the lack of depth when shooting with this lens. Many times I get results that look more like cardboard cutouts of the real thing as opposed to the life-like, almost 3-dimensional photo of the real thing that I'm used to and expect regardless of which lens I've used. I know my cameras are capable of that (1Ds and 10D), but the 24-105L doesn't ever seem to achieve it. This is a very noticeable shortcoming to me.

All in all, the 24-105 f/4L has to be considered is a good lens, but I don't think it's the "great" lens that so many reviewers have characterized it as; and in quite a few respects I don't think it's the equal of many of my other lenses, some of which cost considerably less. I actually find myself enjoying my 28-105 "consumer-grade" lens than I do the 24-105 f/4L.

Now....before you jump to the conclusion that I managed to get a "bad copy," be aware that I sent the lens back to Canon for examination and adjustment where needed and if necessary. It was returned as being ok and within specs. I was surprised. On the other hand, I'm beginning to see that this is a controversial lens and that others are having issues with it as well.

Yes, it's a sharp lens, and it picks up a lot of detail. Aside from the slightly undersaturated colors, it's relatively color faithful, and skin tones are very good. I think f/4 is an over-estimated aperture compromise for a constant aperture lens. I decided that when I bought my 70-200 f/4L. I constantly found myself wishing it were an f/2.8. I would say the same about the 24-105L, IS and all. Sometimes I don't want to use IS because I'm concerned about battery drain. At a time like that, and at other times, f/4 is just barely large enough. I also prefer to shoot at low ISOs whenever possible, in much the same way that I preferred to shoot ASA 25 & 64 transparencies during my film days.

Anyway, at this point, overall, I'd rate the 24-105 f/4L an 8....and an expensive 8 at that.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Feb 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

This is my third "L" series lens, and my first Image Stabilized lens. It replaces (maybe supplements is a better word) my trusty 28-105mm, which is actually a very good lens and a bargain at the price.

The new 24-105mm f/4 IS is very, very sharp; it's probably my sharpest lens. It's capable of rendering an amazing amount of detail. In fact, I didn't think my EOS 10D was capable of that much detail (which once again tells us just how important the glass is).

The 24-105 f/4L IS is quick, silent, contrasty (but not exaggerated contrast) and very easy to use. The AF is much faster than any of my other lenses, including my 70-200 f/4L. IS works better than I expected. I took some initial indoor shots at 1/25 and they were just as sharp as could be...and nicely exposed, too; perfect right out of the camera. This lens is heavier than I thought, but I got used to that pretty quickly. Still...be prepared for the fact that it isn't really a "compact" lens in the same way as the 28-105mm f3.5 or similar lenses in that category. The 24-105mm f/4L IS is more like a 17-40mm f/4L in terms of heft and feel.

I've found myself underexposing by half a stop in many brightly lit situations, particularly when there's a white highlight or two or serious reflection from a white surface. The lens seems more prone to blowing out highlights than I'm used to. The minor amount of underexposing seems to help. (I should add that I have not yet used the lens with its supplied petal hood.)

What is most impressive about this lens is its color faithfulness. The color is dead-on accurate; better than any of my other lenses in this regard, and by a wide margin. I was really taken back by this color accuracy when I opened my first files of shots.

All in all, this lens is a pleasure to own and use and so far has lived up to the positive reviews and accolades. It's a great walkabout, though the range on a 1.5 to 1.6 crop-factor camera — adequate for most shooting sessions — can seem limited at both ends under certain circumstances.


 
Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

ef_28-105_35
Review Date: Sep 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: • Excellent build • Good features, including full-time manual focus • Excellent value
Cons:
None that I can think of

I don't know if I got an extremely good sample of this lens or if others who rate it less highly got less-than-good samples, but I am very happy with the 28-105...pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the build and the final pics. I can't give it an Overall 10 or rate the Build as a 10 because it isn't a true 10; not when compared to some of my better and far costlier lenses. But it comes awfully close! That's why it gets a 10 for price. I think it's a tremendous value.

Yes, there are times when I wish the lens was slightly faster, slightly sharper and could go a hair wider and a hair longer. But most of the time...I'd say 99% of the time...it suits my needs just fine and gives me results very close to my 70-200 f4L; indeed, sometimes the results are even better than my 70-200 f4L! Fortunately, I'm using the lens with an EOS 10D, a camera that is quite forgiving even at ISO 1600. I never hesitate to turn that camera up to 800 when speed is needed in low-light situations, and I often MUST go to ISO 800 when using this lens.

I almost always focus manually with the 28-105. I find there's a critical improvement in sharpness if you fine-tune after using the lens in AF mode. And I do sometimes find the contrast and color saturation wanting. But both of these characteristics have almost always been easily corrected in PhotoShop or other processing apps. The contrast and saturation isn't ever that far off the mark; not with my sample anyway.

Is it the ultimate in sharpness? No. Does it capture every ounce of detail in a scene or situation? No. If you were to look at quality prints of quality pictures taken through this lens, would you suspect they were taken with a $230 consumer zoom? No.


 

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