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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Feb 2, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautifully sharp, great bokeh, nice IS, good zoom range, solidly built
Cons:
Not quite smooth zoom action. Slightly more prone to flare with bright lights in frame than the 17-40L.

You pay a lot for the high image quality, IS, and aperture of this lens. As often remarked, the build isn't quite up to the standards you'd expect from a lens of this caliber. I have no complaints about it from a functional point of view, and it is a very solid feeling lens, I just wish it was a bit smoother (like the 17-40L).

The image quality is superb, and that's really the bottom line. It's truly top notch. Just be a little careful in situations where flare can be a problem; it's a little more prone than the 17-40L.


 
Lowepro Pro Mag 2 AW

Pro20Mag
Review Date: Mar 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Carries a lot of stuff; big front pocket to store miscellany, deep enough to seat camera with long lens in upright position for easy access. Pretty easy gear access. Belt is more useful than it sounds; you can remove the bag from your shoulder, swing it around front and let it hang from the belt if you have to do any deep rummaging. Has one of the better (easier to access) all weather covers on a lowepro product I've used.
Cons:
Like all other lowepro bags the internal divider system is kind of bulky and tends to shed a bit of fiber (velcro stuff, plus some little white circular flakes that seem to come from the foam internal components). I've used several different lowepro systems and this hasn't really caused me too much headache (nothing inside my lenses or anything) but I do wish it wasn't there! Don't like the external look of the thing; not exactly incognito (neither are those stupid crumplers, unlike what the salesmen tell you in the stores - they scream "yuppie fashionista with laptop and/or camera gear"). I'd rather have a plain green army-surplus canvas bag, but the carrying features and usability of this bag work for me so I'll suffer with the working-pro black camera bag look. Price. It's a freaking cloth bag. $150 is a bit high! I guess these are lower volume, highly specialized products though; camera bags are always expensive.

I bought this principally to carry a lot of gear, and mainly for the following purposes:

#1. Macro. I use a complicated macro kit and it's been a hassle to transport it. I've been throwing stuff loose into a big hard case but that's really not ideal. This solves that problem.

#2. Travel and casual shooting; I can put a pretty big diversity of gear into this bag (including a 1930s 9x12 plate camera - large format that tucks into a corner of my 35mm gear bag, how cool is that!).

#3. Airplanes. I haven't tried it out for sure but I'm 99% certain this will go into almost any overhead compartment on any airline I've ever flown on, even dinky little short-trip turbo-prop planes.

#4. Paid work, if I ever decide to actually seek it out again. Will easily carry a spare body and lots of necessary accessories. This is not too likely, but the utility of a bag for this sort of thing is an added bonus.

It's pretty much as ideal as a bag can get for any of these. A removable backpack-style strap system would be cool but I may be able to jury rig something like that anyway.


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Sep 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $469.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Built like an L lens (same materials and quality), sharp as hell, internal focus, 1:1 magnification, focus limiter switch for fast telephoto use. Amazing background blur for portraits. Please note that I don't own any other fast telephoto lenses to compare to, but it's L quality "bokeh" for sure).
Cons:
AF hunts a bit especially in lower light or with low contrast subjects (both macro and non-macro, though this is a non-issue for macro since I manually focus). I think this is just because the focus mechanism travels much further than on a regular lens, so that hunting is more noticable. No hood included! Cheapo canon! Bah! It's a piece of plastic, you could give it away and still make money.

I ordered this to canada from B&H as the canadian price is $699 and all told it came out to around $530 cross borders including tax and currency conversion.

This is a fantastic macro lens and I don't regret buying it. The lens is very high quality and stands on its own as a great fast telephoto without the macro capability, but macro is what it's built for and macro is where it shines. High overall lens quality aside, macrophotography opened up a whole universe I scarcely believed possible before. Now even the most boring yard or manicured park contains millions of photographic opportunities.

The working distance with this lens is quite nice - insects move fast and can be skittish, so it's nice not to have to get too close (challenging enough anyway). AF is a mixed bag with this lens - though I'd say it's very good for a macro lens. It hunts a bit, and it's not quite as fast as something like a 70-200 f/4L, but it's still fairly fast and good. For macro use, manual focus isn't too hard with the tiny DOF at f/2.8. It's abundantly clear where your focus sits Smile

It should have come with a hood (and hey, a case too). It is L quality in all respects except for not including a hood in the package. Hoods are just cheap plastic and felt. I know business empires aren't built on kindness, but c'mon Canon. A hood should be standard. I would have given it a 10 overall and for price except for this.





 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Sep 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Autofocus amazingly snappy (better than other USM lenses I've used). Resolves to the power of my sensor (350D). Awesome contrast. Lighter and much (much!) cheaper than the f/2.8 versions. Comes with a nice leather bag.
Cons:
In canadian terms, this lens is almost $1000.

This lens deserves its stunning reputation as the best zoom canon makes. It's sharp! It's fast! It looks cool! It will cost you a lot of money, but is also the cheapest L lens available. The poor man's "L" (and even the rich man's, if he doesn't want to haul around several pounds of f/2.8 IS), yet it really does perform. No USM lens I've ever used autofocuses this fast (incl. the 28-105 USM and the 70-200 2.8 IS USM) on my rebel XT. From infinity to 1.2 meters in a tiny fraction of a second! SNAP!



 
Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

ef_28-105_35
Review Date: Jun 15, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: $250.00

 
Pros: Incredibly sharp, light, useful focal length range, sturdy. Fast focusing.
Cons:
None really worth mentioning.

Below is the text of my previous review. I'm not sure if this one will replace it, or if it will still be listed. Anyway, I have the following update. I have since purchased a dSLR (350D / digital rebel XT) which offers, among other things, the opportunity to scrutinize my lenses in a way I have never dreamt of with film (for better or worse).

This only confirms my observations that this lens is very very sharp! It compares very favourably in resolution to my 50mm f/1.8, especially at around f/5.6 and higher. I thought I would not make use of this focal length range so much on a dSLR (not wide enough) but honestly, it's the lens I use most often (out of a 50, a fisheye, and the 18-55 kit lens), just because the results are always so beautifully sharp.

I've even dropped it - broke the polarizer that was attached, even. Still working beautifully.

===
I got this lens in a package deal with my first film SLR, an elan 7n. Yes I'm am amateur, but I'm not an idiot. This lens is sharp and well built for a lens in its price range. Overall image quality is comparable to my 50mm prime. It feels solid and the mechanical focus ring and zoom work smoothly and solidly. The USM autofocus motor is very fast and very quiet.

There is very slight barrel distortion at 28mm, but nothing dramatic, and certainly much better than other comparably priced zooms I've looked at. In most situations it is not even noticable - the only time I've ever detected it was when photographing a thunderstorm in the prairies, where I placed the perfectly straight horizon near the very bottom of the frame. In this case the emphasis was on the cloud formations, so the slightly curved horizon didn't matter to me. I've photographed ocean scenes with more traditional composition (horizon ~1/3rd up from bottom) without appreciable distortion.

It's very light, and again it's cheap. Perfect for daily use. I don't anticipate replacing it for a long time.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Feb 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, good optics, very lightweight, useful focal length.
Cons:
Feels like a toy, useless manual focus ring, slightly noisy autofocus motor.

I really can't say much that hasn't been said about this lens. I bought it because it was a very cheap way to get a fast maximum aperture of f/1.8. The depth of field is, of course, amazingly tiny at that aperture, which in practice means you have to be careful with focus if you use it. I love the low light capabilities of this lens and the ability to get such a narrow DOF.

Honestly I can't see any major improvements in optical quality over my 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM zoom (at this focal length) though. It might be slightly better, but that's really not why I use it. For me, it's mainly a low light or dramatically small-DOF tool.



 
Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

ef_28-105_35
Review Date: Feb 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, inexpensive, fast and quiet autofocus, covers a good range of focal lengths.
Cons:
Slight distortion at extremes, mainly noticable at the wide end with a very flat horizon off-center.

I got this lens in a package deal with my first film SLR, an elan 7n. Yes I'm am amateur, but I'm not an idiot. This lens is sharp and well built for a lens in its price range. Overall image quality is comparable to my 50mm prime. It feels solid and the mechanical focus ring and zoom work smoothly and solidly. The USM autofocus motor is very fast and very quiet - all you hear is a quick "sh," and you've achieved focus.

There is very slight barrel distortion at 28mm, but nothing dramatic, and certainly much better than other comparably priced zooms I've looked at. In most situations it is not even noticable - the only time I've ever detected it was when photographing a thunderstorm in the prairies, where I placed the perfectly straight horizon near the very bottom of the frame. In this case the emphasis was on the cloud formations, so the slightly curved horizon didn't matter to me. I've photographed ocean scenes with more traditional composition (horizon ~1/3rd up from bottom) without appreciable distortion.

It's very light, and again it's cheap. Perfect for daily use. I don't anticipate replacing it for a long time.