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Tamron 24-135MM F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Review Date: Nov 21, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Cheap, Range
Build quality, Bokeh, Softness, Zoom kreep

This is the first lens I returned the day I got it.

After reading many positive reviews about the
sharpness and range I decided to give it a try.

To my disappointment the sharpness was only
good in the center. And the rest of the frame
had a distinct fuzzy rendering. Especially in the
out of focus areas. All on 5D2.

I previously owned a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8,
a 90mm Tamron and a 180mm Tamron Macro.

All of these lenses were good or great, in
both image quality and build quality (regardless
of being a bit plasticly). The 28-135mm feels very
light but also very fragile/flimsy in comparison.
The front element plastic ring with the imprinted
lens specs on it came off on the first day. Zoom
creep was an problem as well.

The only good thing about this lens in my opinion
is it's range and cheap price.

I don't know if the 5D2 is just a bit too demanding
for this lens, or if I am expecting too much or got
a bad sample. I don't know. But I know that I'd take
a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 over the sample I tried any

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Review Date: Oct 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything (sharpness, bokeh, colors, build, flare control, f/1.4)
Needs a filter go be fully weather sealed

There is nothing I could add that hasn't been said before.

Its an amazing lens. Very sharp in the center wide open
almost unreal at smaller apertures throughout the frame.
Not as sharp as the 24mm TS-E II unshifted but very very
close. I don't hesitate to shoot this lens wide open, although
you can get a bit more punch (contrast) by stopping down to f2.

The lens also handles flares gracefully even when shooting
directly into the sun. It feels nice and compact and renders
colors and blurred backgrounds very lovely. Some LoCAs can
be seen in wide open shots but that had to be expected.

Did you ever try to zoom into one of your new lens test shots
not realizing they were already showing at 100% on your screen?

This is one of those lenses...

Sigma 28mm f1.8 EX DG Aspherical Macro

Review Date: May 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small and light, sharp wide open (center), MDF, and splendid bokeh
Slow focus, soft corners at all aperatures (FF), AF/MF switch mechanism is a 2 step process

I bought this lens used from amazon but will return it because I
find it too expensive for what it delivers. The reason why I bought
it was that it had better bokeh than the Canon 28mm 1.8. But
soon found out that I would not be happy with this lens. The one
and only thing that I hate about this lens is how slow the AF is
and how hard and unpractical the switching from AF to MF is.
You need to hit the AF/MF button on the lens and then you need
to pull back the AF/MF clutch mechanism. It's idiotic because this
makes the lens unusable for any type of shooting where you want
to change from AF to MF quickly or get something into focus fast.
The lens becomes even slower when you are trying to shoot
available light at night. When Sigma decides to update this lens
with a faster AF I would certainly give it another try because I
really like the 28mm perspective.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM

Review Date: Feb 7, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: A wonderful lens that ...
... challenges you to master it.

I am using this lens on a 5D Mark II, here are my observations:

The lens becomes a diva if you open it up more than f/2.0. It can yield
stunningly sharp images and utterly smooth backgrounds wide open.

But if you don't pay attention to the scene you can get ugly
ghosting at highlight edges mixed with lateral ca and purple
fringeing which you cannot automaticaly fix in post because
it can be more than 20 pixels wide!

But more often than not this behaviour does not show. You can get
very crisp eye and hair detail at f/1.0 if you manage to nail focus. A
slight bump in contrast or clarity puts you in the ballpark even when
pixel peeping a 21MP file at 100% magnification. When you go down
to f2.0 everything becomes tack sharp and contrasty, CA's are also
very much absent in real world images.

The other thing that surprised me is just how sharp the lens becomes
when stopping down. It rivals the plastic fantastic at f/5.6 and that
is saying alot.

The only caveat is that the lens performs less good at greater subject
distances. Things become muddy if they are 20 or 30 meters/yards
away from the camera and are shot wide open. At f2.0 or 2.8 things
are starting to become crisp again after f/5.6 or f/8.0 no further
improvent can be detected as it is already pin sharp.

All in all I am very happy with the lens and can only recommend it.
The fact that the lens has such strong characteristics (some would
say personality) just makes me appreciate it even more. It is a great
lens to have and a callengeing tool to master. Highly recommended!

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

Review Date: Jan 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: superb IQ (Canon's sharpest 24mm lens?), tilt and shift axis can be adjusted independently of each other, lens takes filters (82mm)

I wanted a TS lens for my landscape photography (5D2) since a long time
mostly to be able to control perspective distortion (trees etc.). Even if
this lens seemed a bit expensive at first I am glad I bought it. The images
just have a special kind of look to them without converging lines. Now I
know why some ppl say that any serious landscape photographer should
own perspective control lenses.

Opticaly performance and build quality are superb. The lens is a pleasure
to use too (it's manual focus only btw). Highly recommended.

Tamron 90MM F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF

Review Date: Dec 5, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: optical quality, inexpensive, light, nice handling (manual focus), hood and pouch included, came with 5 year warranty
loud and slow af and pasticly build quality give this lens a cheap feel

I bought it and sold it. I previously owned the Tamron 180mm f/3.5 SP Macro 1:1 but sold that one because of it's size it would only come along when I planned to shoot macro subjects. So the plan was to get a shorter macro that would also be a nice short tele for non-macro shooting (like portraits). But what a dissapointment. The lens just feels very cheap which I attribute to the build quality and the slow-, hunting and loud af. I am now switching to the non-extending Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro which I have already tried in a shop. It is faster and has silent AF. The premium I have to pay for this worth ot to me. If you don't plan to use the AF on the Tamron, I would actually recommend the lens, because it handles quite nice in manual focus mode. Otherwise I would recommend to look for another lens with better build quality and more capable af.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Nov 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: small and light, versatile, takes 77mm filters, weather-sealed, relatively inexpensive
huge (mostly useless) hood. corners below 20mm are won't sharpen up when stopping down

I bought this lens used for at a very low price. While does not beat my old 24mm f/2.8 prime (distortion, sharpness on 5DII) I can't complain. It comes very close when stopping down. The versatility certainly can't be beat and thats why I find myself using this lens more than the prime. I would recommend this lens to anyone who's looking for a quality super wide angle zoom with an f4 aperature.

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Nov 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: f1.4, sharp, bokeh heavens, comes with hood
only worth it if you buy it for the bokeh, strange wave like distortions

After reading about the focus issues and soft copies I almost didn't go for this lens. But after trying it out in a shop I soon changed my mind not to buy it. It is sharp (on 5DII) wide open (center) and gives a lovely creamy bokeh that realy makes the subject in focus pop. Something my 50mm f/1.8 coudn't do. The only thing I don't care for is the wave like distortion. But this only shows up when photographing something with straight lines going from side to side in the frame. Overall I would recommend this lens to anyone who wants the sharpness and bokeh.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Nov 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, light, fast, cheap, sharp.
Need to buy hood extra. Some CA wide open.

I'm using this lens on a 5DII ... it is alot of fun to play with the shallow depth of field. I usualy stop down to f2 for sharpness but f1.8 too isn't bad at all. It's a lot of lens for the money. Highly recommended!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Apr 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: cheap, sharp, lightweight, needs no hood, quick focus
for the price none

Lacking a 50mm prime I initialy wanted to buy the new Sigma 50mm/1.4 EX HSM which has been discussed here in the forums. But after checking out the Canon 50mm/1.8 II I quickly changed my mind. Side by side the Sigma wasn't worth the 300 EUR premium. It was better build but not sharper. The Canon performs very good on the 5D II from f1.8 (ok) to f2 (already sharp) onward to f5.6 (razor sharp). A colleague of mine has the lens too but it is noticeably softer than mine. I would recommend this lens to anyone who wants a light/cheap/chap fifty for fullframe ... if you can test before you buy.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

Review Date: Dec 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, Lightweight, Sharpness, Speed, Contrast
for the price none

I bought this lens used on eBay for my Canon 5D Mark II as an unobtrusive wide angle lens. The lens is made of high quality plastics and has a metal mount. It feels light but adequately well build. I was skeptikal about the performance wide open (I bought it for shooting stoped down) but was very pleased when I took at few shots with it. The lens is very sharp at f2.8 and super sharp at f4. Beyond f4 I cannot detect any improvement. Rememer I am talking about performance on the 5D Mark II. The color might not be L but it is good. Contrast again is very good. For the price paid its a bargain. I highly recommend this much overlooked lens.

Sigma 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX OS APO

Review Date: Dec 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build Quality, OS, Tripod Ring, Range, Optical Quality, Price (especially used), Black Color, Neck Strap attaches to Tripod Ring
For the price none! (nit picking: could focus a bit faster, needs expensive 82mm Filters)

I was looking for a long range telephoto lens for landscape and some zoo photography. I previously owned the Canon 70-200mm/2.8 L which I sold because it was too heavy for me. The Sigma 100-300mm/4.0 EX HSM I tried was very impressive, but I didn't need an f4 lens that is only 100mm longer and weights about the same as my old 70-200 did and it had only 100mm more reach. So the next lens on the List was the Canon 100-400mm, but I quickly learned that even used it doesn't sell under 900. Then I came across an offer at my camera shop of the Sigma 80-400mm. It had OS, covers more range than the previous lenses and costs less then half on the used marked.

I bought it and am very happy with the results I am getting. Sharpness is very good on my Canon 5D Mark II from 80mm at f5 to 400mm at f8. Wide open performance is not that impressive, but still more than just usable in my opinion. The OS works very well too, I like it alot although I prefer using a monopod (zoo) or tripod (landscape) to get the weight off my shoulders and be able to use MLU. Talking about Tripod - the tripod ring is very nice, it has more clearance between the foot and the lensbarel than the Canon ones. I like it. The lenshood is also well constructed and feels solid, much unlike the hood on my Canon 70-200mm/2.8 L. I highly recommend this lens if you are on a budget and are willing to stop down for maximum sharpness. If you have more money you might go with the Canon 100-400, it is said to focus faster, but also to suck in dust due to the push pull design (the sigma has a twist zoom).

Sigma stopped producing the lens some time ago, chances are that you can find a used on in good condition for little money. This is the best bank for the buck since the Canon 50mm/1.8 II. At least for my uses Smile

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Nov 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: build quality, overall responsiveness, fast AF, bright viewfinder, high iso performance, buffer and writing speed (with sandisk extreme), very good awb
top LCD backlight could be a bit brighter and stay on longer. On/Off Button has a cheap feel to it.

The image quality is stunning and the operation fast and (for me) intuitive. I shot some night street scenes at ISO3200,4000 and 6400 and am more than delighted with the noise performance. 4fps are more
than enough for me. The AWB surprised me, it seems to be right on
most of the time.

Above ISO 3200 a bit of NR clears the image nicely when in pixel peeping mode. If your software doesn't support the new RAW files of the 5D Mark II you can convert them to DNG with the free Adobe DNG Converter 5.2.

I really like this camera and would recommend it to anyone who needs an overall fast and capable fullframe camera.