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  Reviews by: Hrow  

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Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM

Review Date: Sep 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $699.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Has the potential to be very sharp, great fun to play with
Lower left corner a developed serious focus issue

Let me start by saying that the lens was an absolute hoot to play with and had it been reasonably sharp across the frame it would still live in my bag. Unfortunately, it started to develop a problem where by the lower left corner of the frame turned to mush at 8 mm.

If you get a good one, I think this lens has lots of potential. It is very sharp in the center and the edges are decent (except as noted above). Distortion is very well controlled as was flare. If you use the lens properly it has the potential to take very unique images.

The exposed front lens element is more of a concern than I originally thought. It requires that one be really carefully when carrying the lens - you need to remember you have that lens on your camera while walking around and that is not as easy as it seems or perhaps I am just getting more forgetful.

Build quality appears to be very good but, if it was, then I wouldn't have had a focus issue so it gets a low rating in that regard.

Like any ultra-wide, you need to use this lens properly for best results and even though I had problems, I would not discount this lens as having the potential to be a really nice addition to one's lens collection. Just buy it from a place that has a good return policy and test it properly to make sure it is good across the frame.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

Review Date: Jul 19, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Size
Lack of sharpness wide open, serious focusing problems on anything over 15 feet away. Cost as any price is too high if the lens can't perform its most basic functions.

Given the widely differing opinions of this lens, my best suggestion is to buy it from a shop that accepts returns. Obviously, many people are very happy with their lenses but I was not.

The two problems with mine have been mirrored by others, exceptionally soft at 2.8 and errartic focus problems on subjects over 15 feet away. The focusing issues were just strange. Sometimes it was dead on and other times it was seriously out of whack. With no way to predict whether a shot would be in focus or not, the lens went back and was replaced by a 24-70L. In addition to it being MUCH sharper at 2.8 and 4 (about the same at F8) and actually being able to focus on the subject, the L has a subtle but significant extra something that makes the images come alive that the Tamron lacked.

I certainly acknowledge that my bad Tamron, great Canon experience may not be duplicated by everyone else. In fact, given some of the concerns about the 24-70L, it is very likely that my experience has probably been experienced by someone else in reverse. Again, probably the smartest thing to do is to buy either from a vendor where returns won't be a hassle.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jun 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: An absolutely incredible lens.
Wish I didn't have to sell one of my kids to get it. Oh, well - saved on college tution!

Let's deal with the common complaints about this lens first...

1. It is heavy. It may be but it doesn' feel that way in use. Very well balanced.

2. It is white. I have no sympthy here, people knew it was white before they bought it.

3. It is expensive. It is but again people knew that before they bought it.

4. The IS switch is poorly located. It is. Reading the reviews I didn't understand why this would be a problem but after accidently turning my IS off without even noticing I now know.

On to the good stuff...

The sharpness of this lens is beyond outstanding. It is simply amazing and hard to believe this is a zoom.
The images have that wonderful "L" look to them; very lush and alive.
It is an easy lens to use, balances well and the IS is a dream.

This lens is going to be with me until I depart this earth and even then I may have it dropped in the box with me as you never know what photographic opportunities exist on the other side.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning image quality, build, it just feels good in your hands
Expensive and heavy but you know that going in

The images that are coming off my copy are a far cry from those who are complaining about the lack of sharpness. The detail in hair that this lens picks up is unbelievable and it makes the entire image come alive. On non-haired subjected, the lens produces equally brillant images that have a "lushness" to them that was lacking on the Tamron 28-75 that I returned prior to buying this. This lens requires very little post processing which may be an important factor for working pros as the time savings starts to add up quickly.

Yes, it is heavy but it feels good in your hands and balances well. You get used to it pretty quckly. Besides, if you don't know that it is heavy and expensive before getting it home that is your fault, not the lens'. An earlier reviewer liken it to high-end audio equipment and he is right. The good stuff does cost and weigh more for a reason(s). On paper, my 85 lb subwoofer is only 10% "better" than a 20 lb sub costing a quarter as much.
Do I wish mine were cheaper (and lighter - the thing is nasty to move)? Of course, but I was willing to pay the piper and to me, that 10% is what makes the whole system sing. It is the same thing with this lens. It may only be 10% better than the Tamron but to me I can see the difference and it is worth paying for.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Feb 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $579.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: VERY sharp, reasonably light, very well made
Wish it weren't white and about an inch shorter so I didn't have to buy a new case.

This is simply a great lens and its virtues are clearly indicated in many of the other reviews. That said, I am going to focus my comments for those who might be considering the 70-300 DO instead of this lens. In a word... don't.

There is absolutely no comparisome between the two with the 70-200 winning by a mile. Yes, it is that much better. I bought and returned a 75-300 DO because it simply wasn't sharp and both the colors and the contrast were flat. I really wanted to like the lens but it just didn't cut it.
After that experience, I was a bit gun shy because I didn't really see how a lens that costs half as much could be better and boy am I sorry I waited. The 70-200 is razor sharp and produces brilliant colors. When I got the first images on the screen I just smiled.

For potential DO purchasers... save yourself $600 bucks and put up with the slightly larger lens. I know the lure of small size and IS is attractive but it is not worth the severe loss of image quality. If you use some of the balance for a 1.4X tele you will be near the 300mm of the 70-300 DO with plenty left to get a decent tripod. If you do, you will be smiling too. This lens is that good.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Nov 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $659.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Just about everything.

Certainly one of the bargins of the Canon line. This lens is sharp, the images have good color and contrast and the build quality is superb. It just feels "right" on the camera. There is no other way to describe it. I love this lens.

No, it is not a 2.8, but then again I didn't pay for a 2.8 either. For my shooting, the extra stop wasn't worth the extra cost of the 16-35 2.8L. That 17mm may not be wide enough for some on a 1.6x camera should not be viewed as a negative against this lens. It is what it is and does what it does superbly.

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

Review Date: Nov 30, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: It is not a big white monster. Very easy to carry. Nice handholdable lens. IS works well.
It is not a big white monster. Lack of sharpness was what sent this lens back to the store. For $1200 bucks Canon can and must do better. Zoom ring can get very tight depending on camera angle making it not a very pleasant lens to use.

I am glad others are happy with their DO but I have been shooting w/ this lens for 3 weeks and it is going back to the store. I really wanted to like this lens and it was purchased as a replacement for the 75-300 IS. Wanted to upgrade the quality and was concerned about size and weight of the 70-200 and 100-400 L IS lenses. I was thrilled to find that it fit perfectly in my belt bag w/ a D10 and 17-40L. How could life be better?

Well, for one thing, the image quality could be at least reasonable. I have been comparing images and my old 75-300 IS actually sharper to the eye. I am not willing to bet the farm that it would win a true resolution test but when viewing real world prints it is the clear winner. Part of the reason seems to be that the DO suffers from not only from a lack of sharpness but also from a decided lack of contrast and saturation, the combination of which fuels the overall sense of softness. Yes, both can be popped up in PS but for $1200 bucks you shouldn’t have to “fix” each and every image.

Perhaps most telling is looking at thumbnails from the same shooting spree where both the 17-40L and the 70-300 DO have been used. The 17-40L images are bright crisp and sharp whereas the DO frames look soft and flat. It almost seems that the lighting has to be perfect to get good results (and I have - to be fair to the lens) but if conditions are less than ideal then things go downhill pretty quickly.

I know the 75-300 IS is not the greatest lens in the world (which is why I was trying to upgrade) but it really isn’t all that bad. I certainly can't see paying $1300 bucks for no performance gain. At this point, I am going to keep the old zoom for times when I need easy carrying and trade the DO for a 100-400 L for times when lugging a monster around isn’t a big deal.

Like I said, I really wanted to like this lens and I hope I just got a bad copy so that others can enjoy the size and weight advantages that it offers.

PS. I have experienced problems with flare (be careful w/ hairlights in the studio); the luminous glow that people have described (the back of a white swan really showed off the problem but it was isolated to two out of thirty shots); the strange bokeh; and the tightness of the zoom ring. None of these problems would have been severe enough to cause great dissatisfaction if the lens had produced the quality of image that a $1300 lens should.