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  Reviews by: dan212  

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Nov 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $459.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very light when compared to L glass. Tack sharp. Good value for money
Build not as good as L glass, but that is to be expected for price. Focus can hunt in low contrast

Bought my 100/2.8 as a combined Macro and portrait lens. I like the 135/F2 but it is just too long on my 20D.

This lens is a real bargain. After getting used to lugging around a 24-70 it feels like a feather. The macro functions work very well and it is extremely sharp at distance. I have an 85/1.8 and the 100/2.8 is quite a bit sharper - even wide open.

Compared to the 135/F2 the difference in contruction quality is very clear, but at half the price that is to be expected.

I did find that the AF focus can get lost at times and it will hunt until I give it a high contrast point to steer toward. This is usually when switching from a close focus to a long focus situation. The auto-focus will get lost and thrash in low contrast situations - especially when it starts badly out of focus which kills the contrast and probably explains the hunting mentioned above. This is not a real problem once the behavior is understood except in low light or low contrast situations.

I don't find that the auto-focus on the 20D works well in extreme macro mode (yes tried spot mode) but I get incredible results with manual focus.

2.8 is fine for Macro lens. I generally work with a tripod and stop down a bunch anyway, but I wish this was a 2.0 for walk-around / portrait mode. I am really happy with it.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Apr 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: tack sharp and fast
it isn't a zoom - golly

This lens is just so good compared to the best that the "L" zooms can offer. I have "L" zooms but this is better. The build quality isn't the same but zooming isn't alchemy. You compromise to zoom. I used to shoot 35mm mostly wtih a Nikon 105/2.8. This 50/1.4 is great for available light and moderately long on a 1.6 crop digital camera. It is a great available light lens. The 85mm 1.8 is also great, and matches what my 35mm eyes are used to, but the 1.4 speed lets you take available light shots without silly ISO speeds at great resolution. As you go longer that speed translates into shallow DOF and perfect focus is necessary. I have a Canon 20D. I can focus manually exactly where I want, but even the 20D can't automatically figure out where subject sharpness matters and drop off doesn't bother the eye.

The 50/1.4 doesn't have the same build quality as the "L" series, but it is an insane bargain and the budding photographer would do well to add it to their kit and learn to use it before zooming. Zooms are a guilty pleasure and a crutch. YES - I HAVE three "L" zooms, but I like available light shots and the best stuff I have gotten is with the 50/1.4 and the 80/1.8 both add up to less than a 24-70/2.8 (which I have)

The ability to shoot at 1.4 counts for a LOT.