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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Jul 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,139.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: built, sharpness, color, contrast, fast autofocus
Cons:
took two tries to get a "good copy", some focus problems at 24mm

I am very pleased with this lens, and it lives on my 20D 80-90% of the time. The build quality is amazing. Color and contrast are great, the images need very little adjustment in Photoshop. This lens doesn't seem quite as sharp as my 70-200mm f/2.8 (non IS), but when I compare it with my 50mm f/1.4, it's not a lot worse.

Autofocus is silent and very fast. I do experience some focus accuracy problems at 24 mm. Given the large DOF at this end, they hardly manifest themselves in OOF pictures, but for critical shots, I either focus manually, or at least check the focus indicator window on the lens to make sure it's in the right ballpark. At the normal and tele focal length, focus accuracy seems good.

Unfortunately, there indeed are bad copies of this lens in circulation. The first one I got was worse than my 18-55mm kit lens, the second one was fine.

I find this lens incredibly versatile. On a 20D, even ISO 3200 is perfectly usable, and at 2.8 this lens gives great low light performance. Also love the macro. I do not mind the weight. To the contrary, I cradle the lens in my left hand, and I think the weight gives me more stability. I have gotten very usable images at 1/10 to 1/20s even at the long end (50-70mm).

I would highly recommend this as a general purpose walkaround lens, but either buy locally, or at a store with a good return policy in case you get a bad copy.

Compared with the competition (Sigma, Tamron) this lens does seem rather expensive.