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  Reviews by: J Rabin  

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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

Review Date: Jun 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, responsive manual focus ring, independent T-S movement, ability to use 1.4x TC, close working distance and class leading max native magnification for "thing its place" wide angle environmental close up, uncompromising overall quality, contrasty sharp at full open f/3.5 aperture
Maybe weight, cost of 82mm filters, cramped working area with 1.6 sensor camera, nothing really

A class leading lens. I've a feeling this may be a "signature" Canon EOS system lens. I mean, if you wanted its use, this lens alone might be reason enough to become a Canon owner. We think of Canon's signature lenses as long IS teles, or 70-200 f/2.8 IS II (certainly not Canon wide angle lenses).
I do not use wide angle lenses much, but when I do, I frequently make wide angle environmental close ups. As long as the 24mm focal length is wide enough (some people would say not on 1-D 1.3x or 1.6x format bodies), this T-S lens is unparalleled with regard to performance at close distances. It is an amazing chunk of optical glass, engineering design, and workmanship.
It's not a lens to throw in the bag and head out. The learning curve complexity of independent T-S movement requires practice.
While I might wish it was an f/2.8, so when using it with the 1.4x TC you were not at f/5, this is a minor nit to be ignored, since the in-out focus plane can be adjusted.
In the interests of disclosure, I use it on a 1.3x 1-D body, not 35mm, and I've been on FM for 7 years and this is the first review submitted. It's stellar.
The price is not out of line. I've been wondering whether the new Lens Baby Composer Pro with the Sweet 35mm optic might give this a run for the money for casual users who want to throw a lens like this in the bag and play. The weight and size and complexity makes this not a lens to just have in the bag for play or without a purpose.

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

Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Most recent ('05) best 3-stop IS. Fast rear element USM focus and no front element rotation compared to equal consumer zoom. Pointed at subjects in good quality light results in excellent photos. I have some sharp photos @300mm & 1/15. Absent CA.
Photographing subjects with out-of-focus background consisting of fine details results in "cracked-up" bokeh. Mixed response with filters and polarizers. Takes excellent photos, then frustrates at moments under adverse light conditions, when needed. Price vs. performance expectation better at $800+/-.

After 6 months use, I placed my user experience with 70-300mm DO in captions of these 13 images:
70-300 DO likely to always remain controversial. A keeper as my elite "Travel" lens, but not for everyone or all situations. If you've shot sports with professional 70-200L zooms, the DO frustrates because you're accustomed to internal zoom and DO front element weight creeps. So, don't do that. DO has amazing lack of chromatic aberrations.
Users complain about flare. I'm not convinced it is flare per sae, but rather how the fresnel DO lens element renders OOF backgrounds with fine detail. Downright ugly, so I don't do that. Focused foreground details are excellent. See my images in link.

DO owners advised to shoot RAW, adjusting contrast, and using PS Edge Sharpening routines (PhotoKit Sharpener, Focalblade, etc.) in workflow. DO images demand, benefit from, and tolerate immense levels of local contrast enhancement sharpening.

I obtain excellent images with it - traveling - but I do not attempt use for money shot - must get - images at work. It is a keeper for me, but if I only owned one zoom as a consumer, this might not be it.