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

Review Date: Jul 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: image quality, reasonably light for a f/2.8, fast, quiet focus
IS isn't really needed, cost

Pictures taken with this lens look very good. No major complaints. For general shooting, the IS seems useless but still adds to the cost and weight.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Apr 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible sharpness, detail. Reasonably fast focus that is extremely accurate.
focus ring, build (minor), no IS.

The detail and the sharpness of this lens is incredible. f/2 aperature is useful and looks great.

I wish they had added a switch to turn off the focus ring, especially in AF mode. A large focus ring may be nice for MF mode, but in AF mode it is too easily to inadvertently move the ring.

The build quality is not bad, but it has a loose feel to it compared to similarly sized but heavier 'L' zooms.

With no IS, stability is important for getting sharp pictures at some shutter speeds.

It is expensive, but for what it does, it's worth it.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Oct 27, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Sharp, good range for general use
CA around the edges in wide-angle

Optically excellent in the 35mm - 85mm range. 17-24mm suffers from a lot of CA, even when stopped down, plus some distortion and vignetting around the edges. 35mm and up, CA is well controlled and this is a very sharp lens, closer to 'L' sharpness than many other consumer zooms.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Aug 10, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Extremely compact, lightweight, excellent balance and ease of use.
Front 'bokeh', very poor sharpness, picky

This is an expensive, niche telephoto zoom. Good for those seeking a compact telephoto zoom of this focal range (70-300). The pictures it takes are good when measured by any criterion except for sharpness. Compared to a cheap lens it has good color, excellent operation (IS, fast AF), very low chromatic abberation. Sharpness is no better, and sometimes worse than a cheap lens.

Also the lens is very 'picky', prone to glare outdoors, shots with significant backlighting are unacceptable, front 'bokeh' can destroy a photo as it tends to seep across the whole frame (unlike traditional optics).

If weight or size isn't a premium, one would do much better off with a 70-200 f/4l and a 1.4x TC, less expensive and much sharper.