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

Review Date: Jan 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent image quality, great zoom range, excellent stabiliser, relative small and light weight, virtualy no CA
Prone to flare in harsh conditions, no "L" build quality

I bought this lens last september but I waited with my review because I was a bit reserved at first. The image quality has never been an issue with my copy, but during a holiday in Tuscany (Italy) I had some trouble with the zoom mechanism especially at higher temperatures. The zoom mechanism became sticky and sometimes nearly blocked.

I sent it back for repair and it came back in a good condition (waranty). They said they have replaced something and the cleaned the lens. I expect it had something to do with the lens lock mechanism, because it didn't lock fully, I expect something broke off. This is why I don't rate this lens as L quality, the quality is good but not build like a tank as the 24-105 or 24-70 L lenses.

Since it was repaired the zoom operates quite smooth but not as smooth as my 24-105 L main lens. The image quality is in the same leage and it almost lacks CA. The only negative thing about this lens is that it's quite prone to flair (sunsets). As soon strong sunrays enter this lens, the contrast drops and flare becomes visable.

The main advantage of this lens is that it's small and there is no reason not to cary it arround, this can not be said from the white L super zoom leage, which are large and heavy.

I use the lens with a Canon 5D.

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

Review Date: Sep 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpnes, virtual no chromatic abborations, litle barel distorsion, excellent IS, fast auto focus, excellent build quality
Vignetting at 24mm

I am using this lens on a 5D (FF) and I like it very much. It is absolutely free of any faults.

I was used to a 350D with a 17-85 IS, which was a nice combo, but sufferred from chromatic abborations and barrel distortions.

The 24-105, shows no chromatic abborations in real life, has only little barrel distortion and is considerably sharper then my 17-85 IS.

The only down side is that it shows vignetting at 24mm when used wide open. The vignetting is gone at 35mm, or when stopped down 1 stop. As soon you know this, it is easy to work arround this.

The IS is very efective, I often shoot at ISO 800/1600 in churches using shutterspeeds of 1/8 .. 1/15 in it's entire zoom range and I get consistent sharp results (just like a 17-85 IS).

The lens is not cheap, but considerring it's quality, versatility and IS it is a resonable price.

For a full frame camera like the 5D, this is THE walk arround lens, that will never let you down.

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: Jul 24, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: 35mm is usefull, litle barrel distortion, price
Flare, CA, contrast, sharpness, focussing

Last year I bought the 350D together with a 17-85IS lens, which is quite a good general purpose combo. a few months ago I added the 35mm/2, because I wanted a faster lens for indoor use and creative shooting.

My opinion is quite negative, but it is my honest opinion about my copy of this lens:
- Very soft wide open and comparable with my 17-85 starting from f4, f5.6 etc...
- Lots of CA (purple fringing) when used wide open, which disapears mostly from f2.8, f3.5 etc...
- Very prone to flare, it shows up as lack of contrast
- Extreme lack of contrast as soon as an image is only 1 stop over exposed
- Focussing often hunts in less contrasty situations
- Focussing makes some noise, but thats only a small problem

In standard light conditions, this lens performs no better then my 17-85IS. In dark situations and using the larger apertures, it produces soft images. In more tricky light situations, this lens is close to unusable. Every time I pick up my 17-85IS lens in those *tricky* situations, it almost never lets me down, while this one is causing trouble time after time. Even an old 28-80 3.5-5.6 II lens performs more consistent.

If my copy is representative for this lens, I would not recomend it, especially when you are looking for quality at low f numers (f2 - f2.8).

Gitzo G1228 Mountaineer Reporter Mk2 Carbon Fiber

Review Date: Dec 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, weight, working height, folded size, ALR twist locks
Expensive, but it feels it will last for ever (which I hope for the price)

Remark: I am talking about the NEW G1258 6X carbon with the new anti rotating leg locks and rapid center column.

I paid 524 euro's for it in the Netherlands that is approx $445.

weight: 1.4 kg
Full extended: 154.5cm
Full extended center column down: 131.5cm
Three upper legs extended center column down: 100.5 cm (very sturdy)
Folded size: 55cm

This is a very robust trippod. It is dificult to decide between the 1298 Basalt and this one, but in the end this one seemed more stable and dampens vibrations better. A long story short; Carbon is stiffer then Basalt, but when you are less demanding have a serious look at the 1297 (very sturdy, comparable or better) and 1298 (less sturdy) trippods.

You should keep in mind that there is not one trippod that you will carry by plane with a big smile on your face. Also it's smaller brother the 1158 is still quite beefy (same overal diameter when folded) is about 7 cm shorter and 400 gr lighter...but by far not as sturdy as this one....and for the price difference...

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

Review Date: Oct 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very usable zoom range;sharp;much detail;consistent;good focus;
some purple fringing; distorsion at 17mm

I bought this lens together wit a 350D (Rebel XT) a month ago. I took it on a holiday to spain and made ~400 shots with it. Off course during daylight it works fine, but also inside dark churches (Mesquitta Cordoba, Alhambra Granada) I could take sharp pictures using shutter speeds up to 1/3~1/2 S! The amount of detail is also great.

Of course a 2.8 (L) lens would perform better under those (dark) circumstances, but as a general purpose lense it will surpise you in a positive way. For people without a steady hand (like me) the IS works definately.

I took pictures at night from a water fountain in which a lamp post was visable. Back home a could see some purple fringing around this lamp. The same happend when I took a picture from a tree with the sun shining through it. It should not be exagherated, but it is there... Just pay some more attention when the sun is shining towards you.

I would consider the new 24-105 L f/4 IS lens, and buy a wide angle lens with it (EF-S 10-22). However the 24-104 is also only f/4 and no f/ a 17-85 is not such a bad choice I think.