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

70-300mm
Review Date: Feb 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,529.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, compact, tank-like build, incredible AF and IS
Cons:
price, no tripod ring included, not compatible with any Canon teleconverters, zoom ring and focus ring flipped, telescoping barrell

Despite the cons above, I'm so in love with this lens. It is sharper than my 20-35L, 24-105L, and maybe even better than my 70-700 2.8L IS. The autofocus and IS work better than any Canon lens I've ever used. The contrast and color are terrific. While heavy, I like the wider shorter profile -- it fits very comfortable in my hands. It is going to take getting used to the focus ring being closer to the body than the zoom ring, but once you get your rings straight the MF is precise.

I have no complaints about the performance or build quality. My only gripes go to the design, which I suspect result from packing this focal range in this barrell. Not being able to use teleconverters stinks, as does having a telescoping, rotating filter mount. But the performance is so, so nice I don't care. If Canon would just cut the price by $300 and include the tripod ring, it'd be perfect.


 
Canon EOS 40D

40d
Review Date: Nov 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,299.97 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Improved focus sensitivity, image quality, dynamic range, speed (fps and processing), customizable features, ergonomics, build quality, higher ISO performance.
Cons:
LCD screen (blurry and over saturated relative to actual image); number of AF points; self-cleaning sensor good but not perfect

I upgraded to the 40D from the 20D, which was my first DSLR. The 40D improves most every feature of the 20D for which I felt there was room for improvement. First and foremost, as this IS a camera, the image quality is superb, and I think lightyears better than the 20D in terms of color, contrast, and sharpness (although I do find one needs to up the in-camera sharpness and saturation when shooting in .jpg). The focusing system is significantly improved, with far less low light hunting than I'd come to expect of my 20D. For those fearful of the 1DIII issues, AI Servo mode on the 40D works well, again better than on the 20D.

With respect to using the camera, the viewfinder is larger than on the 20D and thus much better for those who wear glasses (although I still recommend the Canon EP-EX15 viewfinder extender to make it even easier). Inclusion of the ISO setting within the viewfinder being a huge improvement. Position of buttons on the front, top and upper-right of the camera remains the same as on the 20D; buttons around the lCD screen have all moved and take some getting used to. Having a greater range of internally customizable options makes the change worth it.

The big, big drawback to this camera in my view is the LCD screen. While larger than on the 20D, my understanding is that the larger screen on the 40D uses the same number of pixels than the smaller screen on the 20D. The result are images that are mushier than what I'd been used to, and with color resolution that is inacurate. This adds guesswork to evaluating in the field whether a shot is a keeper. It isn't enough to make me regret my purchase decision, but it is enough to knock my evaluation from a 10 to a 9 overall.

I think if you are currently shooting with a 20D and like it, you'll love the 40D, and should upgrade if you can afford to do so.