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Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Very sharp, f2.8, exellent distance for shy insects, also for portraits, built like a tank
Slow AF

Had this lens on my 40D in past, it focuses slow, but macro is mostly manualy focussing.

I tested it for portraits also, very sharp. Working distance is better than 100mm if you want to take pictures of butterfly's or other shy insects.

I sold it cause we actually have no insects here in the city and I have no time for nature walks, behalf of that mosquito i portraited on our window :-D

Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Unique 50-500 range (almost collector's item), cheap, built like a bazooka
range would be +-460mm according to tests, image quality at longest tele very poor and a lot of light needed at f6.3! Sigma has some problems with OS versions, repairs take up a long time up till 1 year!

I had this lens in past on my 40D, this is a "walkaround bazooka" from portrait to 460mm (according to online tests it would only be +- 460mm). With 1.6 cropfactor it's a 80-736 lens.

In the beginning it's fun that you have so much range, but after a while you realise the weak points of it, where it should be great. So the fun doesn't last so long if you're a bit aware of pure image quality.

At 50mm it's good for portrets,further it's still good, but if you shoot in longest tele (where people would like to use it for), then the stabilised pictures are not so sharp, chromatic aberation and the f6.3 needs a lot of light (or higher iso if you can reduce the noise). Especially birds and smaller things are not so great.

So in general the image quality is not so good at longest tele, not the "wow" pictures you expected. Canon doesn't even produce lenses at f6.3.

The only good affordable zoom is still the Canon 100-400L IS.

Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: 10mm (16mm on your cropcam) is very wide, cheap, good price/quality
lenshood needed in sunny situations (or flare).

Had this UWA on my 40D in past, very wide on 10mm (16mm crop), only had some rainbow marks in my pictures (flare) but I forgot to put on my lenshood.

Second hand it's a great budget lens, but I sold it cause I didn't use it often and went to fullframe. I realised there aren't many amazing landscapes in the neighbourhood Smile

As usual from Sigma good built quality.
Also check Tokina's 12-24 which is a bit more expensive.

Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, f2.8, fast AF, cheap, recommend above cheap kitlenses!!!
Loud AF (like Robocop that moves)

I started with a 40D + Tamron 17-50 2.8 + Canon 55-250 IS + Canon 50 1.4.

My both friends now bought this same beginners set and are very happy with this for the price.

It's ideal if you're on a budget, the best you can get for the money. Don't buy lousy kitlenses like the Canon 17-85 and definitely no superzoom lenses if you're a bit aware of image quality, but immediately buy this Tamron 17-50 2.8 as your standardzoom.

Most important : it's f2.8 + supersharp + fast AF.

Most "startersmistake" is that people want to have only 1 lens, then you don't need a dslr, buy a 18-270 or something then, a dlsr is made for changing lenses to maintain quality!

If you have more cash, get the best : a second hand Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS. This is the best standardzoom for crop cameras!

I replaced my Tamron with this Canon cause I found a good priced 2nd hand Canon. The only negative point about the Tamron was the loud AF, it reminded me of Robocop walking around :-)

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Amazing f1.2 bokeh, super lowlight, built like a tank, the portret lens for weddings and people for fullframe!
Very slow AF, heavy, expensive

THE lens for portraits & weddings, next to the price is the slow AF the biggest problem for moving subjects.

It's slow if you have to take pictures of moving subjects like overactive kids Smile If you have an model that can pose for you it's no problem offcourse.

I bought version I for $1050, the MKII would not be so much faster. It's a lot of glass that your camera has to move which results in the slow AF.

At first sight the diameter of the lens is very big, probably to let more light in for the f1.2 bokeh.

WCastleman compared this lens with the cheaper f1.8 version with fast AF, but you can't see the bokeh and image quality differences so good on the pictures with the dolls.

With the f1.2 you can do amazing things that no other lens can do, dreamy portret/wedding pictures.

It's sharp overal, so you don't have to worry.
As some people say, you have to learn to work with this lens.

I use it together with the 135 2L, the fastest AF in a Canon lens ever, but cannot chose between one of the two, they are complementary. The 135L is more for candid pics+sports.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: feather light, compact, super range, sharp, IS, cheap

Price rating is definitely a 10, you get so much for the price!!!
Just like the 'fantastic plastic', best price/quality.

Had this one on my 40D, superlight, cheap, sharp, IS and great range (250mm x 1.6).

The ideal budget starter together with the Tamron 17-50 2.8!
My 2 friends both this set to start on my recommendation and are very happy with this!

Don't spend your money on a kit with 17-85 for example, better buy a body only with above 2 lenses!

I had to sell it cause I went to fullframe, but I was just on the edge to sell it for a 70-200L f4 IS. This is a class higher, it's white but it's also light.

With this lens I took one of my best portrait pictures at 200mm with great bokeh, so I have good memories on this lens Wink

Now for the 55-250 range I use primes 85-135-200mm.
Don't mind to change lenses, for the best image quality ever Wink

Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The best standard zoomlens for fullframe, primesharp pictures at all mm's, f2.8, solid build, cheap 2nd hand
Old (probably difficult to find replacement parts if needed) so take care ;)

I just bought the 5D MK II and I had not much choice for a great standardzoom, on my 40D it was easy, the 17-55 2.8 IS.

I tested the 24-105 F4L IS, but too much vignetting in the corners and only f4. Then I thought about the 24-70 f2.8 but this one isn't so perfect either (some copy' not sharp, expensive and heavy).

I didn't even know the 28-70 f2.8L existed untill I saw a second hand advertisement from a university teacher for only 600. First I doubted cause this lens was 12 years old (but as new, not so much used).

When I checked the review and saw the highscore on this site, I knew this would be the one.

Prime-sharp pictures on all mm's with nice soft f2.8 bokeh, a truly amazing lens that I would immediately buy again!

I have no problem with 4mm less wide-angle, it also doesn't have vignetting from 28mm, don't miss the IS either, that's more interesting for long telephoto lenses +200mm.

Forget that 24-105 & 24-70, think about the quality on all mm's instead of a bit less range and check the secondhand photography markets!!!

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great range for full frame users that miss a extra range due to no cropfactor, IS, good built quality.
Too much vignetting on 24mm (fullframe), for crop users as a "walkaround" less interesting cause they lose the wide-angle.

I bought this 24-105 for my 5D, the range was the best for a standard Canon zoom, a good walkaround lens, but I sold it cause there was too much vignetting, especially at 24mm.

I took pictures of a boat festival, all corners of the air were black. This was not so pleasant. Now I have the 5D MKII which has a function to correct this lens error in the camera itself, so that the vignetting is gone in jpegs, but I only use RAW.

I sold it for the 28-70 2.8L (for the sharpness but also to have the f2.8 back, love that bokeh, had it in past also on my 17-55 f2.8 IS). In fact f2.8 is my highest f-value on any lens, and i'm going to keep it that way.

First I doubted with the newer 24-70 2.8L, but this one has some bad copies which aren't all sharp if you read further reviews.

I got this 28-70 2.8L from a teacher from the university (12 years old but not so much used) for only $600 as new.
The 28-70 2.8L is the sharpest standard zoomlens for fullframe, but more difficult to find, as it's older. See also the highscore on this site, it's really the best. If you see the sharp pictures without knowing which lens, you think it's a prime.

Next to my case, the 24-105L is a very popular lens thanks to the range and IS if your not too picky for the vignetting and f4.

Some people with cropcams buy it for the range, but only realise later this is more a fullframe lens, with the 1.6 cropfactor they lose the wide-angle and then it's not so "walkaround" anymore, zoom starts at 38mm, almost head/shoulders for portraits.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Ideal portrait lens for starters, lowlight, great bokeh, cheap, compact.
sharp from f2

This was my first prime on my ex-40D together with the Tamron 17-50 2.8.

I chose body only cause kitlenses are mostly not so interesting, I'd rather have a lowlight f1.4 or sharp f2.8 than the 17-85 for example..

I bought a dslr especially for the birth of my daughter and with this 50 1.4 I took her amazing first pictures. Thanks to the f1.4 DOF very dream baby-pictures!

Not flat like with bridge or compactcams but more 3D effect, you get more "wow" reactions from your family Smile

But watch out, at f1.4 the DOF is very narrow, you easily have only 1 eye sharp with headpictures from the side.

Best is to take all pictures at f2 or f2.2.
It's great for the money and definitely a must for starters with a low budget.

Had to sell it for the 85 1.2L for fullframe, which is sharp at f1.2. The AF is not so great on the 50 1.4, but on my expensive 85 1.2L it isn't either, very slow with so much moving glass Smile

But definitely a recommende portrait prime, keep on priming Smile

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tack sharp, great bokeh/colours/contrast right out of the lens, superfast AF, more compact than 70-200, built in lenshood (version I), great built quality.
no IS, fixed focal.

The best price/quality & most underrated Canon L!
I have the version I with built in hood, it's almost perfect!

It's produced in the age when IS did not exist, but version II also doesn't have IS, this isn't much a problem cause it's relative compact and stable to handhold.

This was my first L, thanks to this lens I got addicted to sharp primes with low f-values (maximum f2.8).

As I was so amazed by the 200L (and 135L) that I had a problem with the 1.6 cropfactor,they were meant for fullframe.

Therefore I bought a fullframe, especially to get the maximum out of both "beast-L's".

I sold my 17-55 f2.8 IS, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50-500, Sigma 150. Great rangers, but I hardly used the last 3 Sigma's and left Sigma definitely. I'd rather have image quality than a lot of mm's with less quality.

I used the 200 2.8L for tele/basketball pictures on my 40D & 5D2. So much detail, you can see the sweat on the players foreheads sharp from far away with amazing bokeh of the audience behind!

These pictures can be published immediately in a magazine, without any PS corrections or whatever needed!

It's hard to believe, but this red ring changed my whole photography, crop to fullframe and all L's now :-)

This is the compact Canon black lens with longest mm's, the 300 2.8 is white, I don't like long white lenses practically Smile

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fastest AF ever, f2 bokeh, lowlight, supersharp, exellent candid portrait-lens for fullframe, compact, black, great built quality
fixed focal length, on a 1.6 cropcam is 216mm noman's land

In my 40D age, I had a difficult relationship with this toplens, to sell or not to sell : with 1.6 crop 216mm was nomans land.

Now on my 5D2, it's the best candid portrait lens ever, it's focuses superfast, it's razorsharp, compact and a great lowlight lens.

I have Canon's other "golden two" (85 1.2L & 200 2.8L).
As high quality portrait lenses are expensive, I planned to keep only one (85 1.2L), but I found out the 135L is complementary so I have to keep it!

The AF is superfast in comparison with the 85 1.2L (even the 85L II stays slow cause it has so much glass to move).

When you click the shutter, the 135L immediately focuses and takes pictures ultrafast without any delays, also in lowlight no hunting or any trouble.

I use it to take pictures of my daughter from a further distance or other candid pictures. A lot of people use it for sports also. With the 85L you're closer to your model, which can result in less natural pictures. But with the 85L you can do amazing things, thanks to the 1.2 DOF.

I doubted to sell my 135L for a 70-200 f4 IS, but I don't like long white lenses + i'm afraid i will dislike the f4 bokeh.

I could also buy the 70-200 f2.8 II IS but I'd rather work with the 85 1.2L - 135 2L - 200 2.8L. I don't bother changing lenses in favour of image-quality, bokeh, compactness.

So this topprime is really a keeper, made for fullframe portraiture.