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Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

17tse
Review Date: Apr 8, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, good flare control, no CA, great build. Amazing versatility and creative potential. Stitched, shifted shots can be made enormously wide.
Cons:
Hair-raising front element. A bit bulky. Price. No filters.

I recently succumbed to the temptation of my first T/S lens and have only had this a few days. It's challenging to use with a steep learning curve but very very sharp, not quite so good in the corners when shifted to extremes but 12mm is a hell of a lot. Chromatic aberration is virtually absent and flare control seems very good given the nature of the front element.
It feels to be of very high quality. Other than the price, the biggest limitation is the difficulty using filters but that's the nature of the beast. Looking forward to using this for landscape on the 5DIII and 1DIV.


 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Oct 9, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast aperture, great colour and contrast, good bokeh for a zoom, built like a tank, useful range on FF and 1.3 crop.
Cons:
Sharpness at f2.8 not up to the standards of Canons latest lenses, heavy, no IS. Must be due for a make-over soon.

A real workhorse lens which won't let you down but also won't thrill the pixel-peepers. Would really benefit from IS. Range not really suited to 1.6 crop cameras IMO and performs better on FF/APS-H rather than the latest high pixel density smaller sensors. It's heavy for what it is but well balanced on pro camera bodies/gripped cameras.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Oct 9, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good value, very sharp from f2, small and light.
Cons:
Soft wide open, OK build quality, AF not quite as fast and accurate as L primes (though much better than the 50 f1.8II in my experience).

A very good lens for the money but only usable for smallish prints wide open. Stopped down past f2 its as sharp as any L prime. Bokeh not as good as more expensive options. Build is not too bad but the micro-usm focus motor shows its age and is rumoured to be prone to failure.

 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Oct 9, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good range on FF. Decently sharp wide open, great stopped down, IS, not too expensive, especially used.
Cons:
Not such a useful range on crop, slow variable apertue, colour not as vibrant and contrast lower than more expensive alternatives. Build is OK but nowhere near L quality. IS only 2 stops, zoom creep. Distortion.

Decent value, much better optically than some of the cheapest EF-S lenses but range not great for crop cameras. Build is so-so. Surprisingly good optically on the 5D if you're willing to use a little PP. Punches above its weight when its price is taken into consideration.

 
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

3_5-5
Review Date: Dec 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp and contrasty, nice colour, great range, not too heavy, very effective IS, nice build, its only optical imperfections are easily dealt with automatically in LR/Photoshop.
Cons:
A bit pricey, hood should be included at the price, variable aperture, not weather sealed.

Probably the best available walk around lens for 1.6 crop. It is every bit the equal of the 24-105L IS on FF IMO and a much more flexible range on a 1.6 crop.
IQ is excellent with great sharpness across the frame at all focal lengths. There is some distortion at the wide end, it vignettes a bit and there's some chromatic aberration at the edges but these are only a minor inconvenience in the digital era - These are probably design compromises which allow the production of a lens with such a great range which is this this sharp and still keeps size and weight to a minimum. Canon seem to be designing lenses which provide great contrast, colour and sharpness at the cost of some vignetting, distortion and lateral CA which can be easily fixed in post. I'm very happy with this compromise.
Constant f4 aperture would be nice but I can easily live with variable aperture in return for the performance throughout the range and its compact dimensions.
I've seen some complaints of zoom creep but mine doesn't do this at all. It's the best built EF-S lens I've come across. Very effective four stop IS greatly mitigates the effects of the slow aperture, though obviously it's not the best for action shots.
It's a lens that does exactly what it sets out to do and does it very well. Really no complaints at all about this one (apart from the almost criminal failure to supply a hood on a lens costing close to 600).


 
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

canon1dmarkiv
Review Date: Nov 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Resolution, Colour, AF, speed, build, fantastic overall image quality. A camera which can truly do it all.
Cons:
Price, slightly clumky video implementation. Not FF (but I'd only want FF if I could keep the same pixel density, IQ and frame rate so for me it's a worthwhile compromise and one I'm used to).

This has replaced my 1DIII and happily it is very similar ergonomically. It's a big step up in resolution and a sizeable improvement in the already excellent high iso performance. AF is even better and noticeably more usable straight out of the box but AF settings are even more complicated.
So far it does everything well, no real weak points. I'm not terribly interested in video but quality is very good. The implementation of video is less easy to access than on the 7D however. For me it hits a real sweet spot for resolution/reach and image quality. Yes 102000 ISO is only good for 6x4s (after NR) but that literally allows shooting in the dark and turns night into day.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

ef70-200lisiiu_586x225
Review Date: Sep 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp and contrasty edge to edge at all apertures and FLs, excellent IS, Fast AF, nice bokeh, great bulid, hood's a little nicer.
Cons:
Expensive (though price is falling a little), weight.

No question this is a superb lens. 70-200 f2.8 has been a staple lens for many for a very long time and this is an all round upgrade which most improtantly is bitingly sharp wide open.
I don't own it and am not sure I will because I value lightness a lot. I have become a fast prime and f4 zoom kind of shooter. Having said that if it suited my requirements I've no doubt it's the best available and really enjoyed trying it out. It provides what the f4 IS provides but at f2.8 and without the slight softness at MFD. Highly recommended.


 
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo

mp_e65_28_1_
Review Date: Aug 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, solidly built, unique functionality, perfectly suited to the MT24-EX. Great fun.
Cons:
Nothing that isn't inherent in the concept. Demands specialist lighting to get the most from it. Tiny dof and a virtually black VF image at 5x. At 5x theres a constant trade-off between dof and diffraction softening. Hand holding beyond 3x is a serious challenge that I'm not really up to.

It's very difficult to use, quite expensive, MF only and completely wonderful. Really needs a focus rail and tripod mounting at 5X lifesize. Brings new meaning to the term 'learning curve' even if you're accustomed to normal macro lenses.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Mar 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic colours and bokeh, build quality, sharper than its given credit for at wide apertures. Closer MFD than 85L.
Cons:
Soft edges on FF wide open, LoCA. No sharper than 50 1.4 at apertures smaller than f2.8. Lots of internet noise about focus shift. Vignetting. Expensive for a standard lens

Buying this lens was a leap of faith for me but I'm very pleased with it on FF, APSH and APSC formats.
It has the best colour rendition of any lens I've used and the bokeh is really smooth, similar to 85LII. The much talked about focus-shift problems just haven't been a problem for my uses. LoCA is its biggest optical limitation but it shares this with most other very fast lenses. The other optical flaw is heavy vignetting wide open but thats easily fixed so not of great concern.
I tried several sigma 50mm F1.4 before giving up due to focus problems. The 50L worked straight out of the box with no MA on 1DIII and 7D.
This lens is all about bokeh and low light IQ - if you value these then look no further.


 
Canon EOS 7D

canon_eos_7_d
Review Date: Nov 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: A D300 for Canon shooters. 1.6 crop.
Cons:
Not quite a 1 series. 1.6 crop.

The best 1.6 cropper available. Lots of resolution when you use the lenses and aperture to take advantage of it. Fast and responsive with great reach for wildlife. Nice build. Better IQ than I expected but some graininess at mid ISOs.
Diffraction is no more an issue than with any other camera. Yes you can see the effects of diffraction more easily but only because it resolves more. It's just as good for landscapes as any other 1.6 cropper.


 
Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 AF DX Fisheye

atx107dx
Review Date: Feb 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, high contrast. Works on APS-H from 12mm, FF from about 15mm. Light, well built.
Cons:
Haven't found any, maybe the focus is a bit buzzy but AF is not much of an issue at these focal lengths.

It's an acquired taste but it does what it does really well. If you know you want a fisheye you can't go wrong.

 
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef_24-85_35_1_
Review Date: Jan 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small light, nice range, quite sharp even wide open, good contrast, decent colour, very fast focus.
Cons:
Some distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, not L build, no IS.

Excellent for the money, good performance even on FF. Zoom a bit wobbly but as with most of Canons mid range consumer zooms it seems pretty tough despite this. Mine is six years old and still going strong.
Shame it's a bit slow and has no IS but what do you expect at this price.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Jan 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharper than most primes across whole zoom range, lightweight, excellent build.
Cons:
f4, no tripod collar included.

No complaints about this one, it's as good as everyone says.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Dec 11, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap, sharp at centre from f2, sharp across the frame at f4. Small and light.
Cons:
Terrible AF accuracy and precision.Cheap build, Very soft wide open.

I could have liked this lens a lot if it were not for the awful AF. It may be I have a bad copy but I just couldn't live with it, so I got a 50mm 1.4 instead which is much better in every way bar price.

 
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

l3a_copy
Review Date: Oct 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Zoom range, pretty sharp wide open, very sharp stopped down, good contrast and build quality, nice colours, excellent value, works on FF.
Cons:
Maybe a bit flare prone but this comes with the territory. Filter use difficult but again that's what you expect at 12mm. Corners a little soft on 5D wide open but this is nit picking.

Very pleased with this on 1d3 and 5D. Acceptable sharpness wide open and very sharp at f8-f11. I like the colour rendition. It's not too big and feels well built. I also have the 15-30 which is good too but wasn't quite wide enough on the 1d series and is much more flare-prone. 15/16mm on a 1DIII is wide enough for me but on the 5D its unbeliveable.
Excellent value. I feel fortunate that my first copy is a good one after reading all the horror stories. My luck with Sigma lenses has been good and I'd recommend this lens on FF and APS-H.


 
Canon EOS 1D Mark III

1DmkIII
Review Date: May 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: AF speed and accuracy, image quality, high ISO quality, viewfinder, solidity, ergonomics, highly configurable, general responsiveness.
Cons:
Heavy and costly (bought post sub-mirror fix and latest firmware installed so no AF/tracking issues).

Coming from a 5D, I have been very satisfied with IQ. Fractionally less resolution but even better colour and high ISO. I get the impression DR is a bit wider.
General feel and responsiveness is on a whole new level and AF speed and accuracy is spectacular. Burst rate is faintly ridiculous! I've had no tracking problems since the latest firmware was installed and nothing I could really distinguish from user error even before the update. It just feels very high quality, does the job and inspires confidence that it can handle whatever you throw at it. Highly recommended.


 

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