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

Review Date: Jan 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,050.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal range, build, IS
Some CA, distortion at wide, flat colors

I bought this lens to replace my Tamron 24-135mm, not a bad lens. It has nice build, fast AF, good focal range on a 5DII. While it shows CA and distortion at the wide angle side these are correctable inside LR. The image quality is not bad, and this lens is a good compromise for what it has to offer. Colors were a bit flat in RAW but this is all fixable inside software by boosting saturation and contrast

Based on my negative experience with QC of the 17-40mm zoom, I tested two lenses, both were good performers to my surprise. Below are some images taken with this lens:

Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

Review Date: Jul 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $860.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Works great on 5 DII, only lens to do true 12mm, little linear distortion. Sharp where it counts.
Quality control on the lens is not great.

I take images of landscapes and cityscapes. My 17-40, an OK lens, has significant linear distortion at the wide range. The Sigma is one or two steps up in this regard even at the 12 mm range. Wide corners at the 17mm are sharper in the Sigma (based on testing 4 Sigma copies) compared to my 17-40. The Sigma has nice construction, fast AF, takes fairly sharp images at 12mm up to 24mm.

Unlike some of my other wide lenses, this lens seems to take more light, thus I find underexposing by two stops gives me better skies.
One of the copies I tested was defective on one corner, the other had overall softness from the 12-20mm range. Overall, I am quite pleased with this purchase.

Here are a few images with this lens, mostly at the 12mm many showing linear distortion is well corrected for a lens of this type.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Truly a kick ass bad boy lens.
Only negative is the close focus point, but will take close up tubes.

As good as it gets in the Canon camp. Perfect with 1.4 extender, razor sharp by itself, delivers very good quality with a 2X an good long lens technique, better than my 500mm and 2X. Super light, extremely portable, true legendary bad ass boy, tripod not required unless you attach a 2X.

Camera backs attached to this lens I will get rid off at some time, lens will come with me to the crematorium. I almost prefer this one over the 500mm....never thought I could say that. Maybe I will just take both to my burial ground.

Life is short, get it and enjoy.

Sample images, used with a 1.4x and 2x at Galapagos.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome image quality, portable, can be used hand held.
I can not afford two of them. :-)

Quite difficult for me to make the investment at first. After a year of using this lens, I am glad I purchased this lens. I debated between the 500mm and 600mm. The portability issue, coupled with the fact the 600mm is not a lens I can hand hold, made me decide for the 500mm. Easy to hand hold, portable, great bokeh, can take a 2X with good technique.

Other than the 300mm 2.8 IS, this is about the sharpest lens I have used.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Review Date: Mar 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Best entry level birding lens in the market, sharp, very light, quick AF.
Not the best under low light such as heavy canopies, rain forest. Not a real close focusing lens, close up tubes can be added

Got this lens a couple of years ago, supra sweet lens. Sharp wide open, reasonably priced, great with 1.6X back. Toy lens that truly delivers.

IF F5.6 is too slow for you, the F2.8 is a better option for an extra $5,000, minor detail I guess. :-)

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Mar 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp lens, L level in terms of image quality, great macro lens. Good price.
Maybe it is too sharp for a non L lens? :-)

I have owned this lens for a couple of years +, still love it as I did on my first day.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: May 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, colors, contrast, size.

Great overall performer. I like the sharpness, contrast and the price.

Presently using it to do tango parties where flash systems are prohibited. Works quite well under low-light conditions.

Link to tango images:

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

Review Date: May 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $290.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, price, portability.
Some flare shooting into the sun.

I've had this lens for a couple of years. I got this lens as I found the kit lens to have soft corners and center. This lens is sharp, center and corners, very portable and a terrific value at his price range.

I get some flare if shooting into the direction of the sun but this is not a major problem. The old hat trick works well for this problem.

Overall, a very good low-cost performer.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: May 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $640.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Contrast, CA control, build quality, fast AF
Overall soft images, defective right corner in my copy.

I purchased the 17-40mm to use for landscape shooting. I had purchased a 24mm 2.8 about two years ago as I found the kit lens way too soft at the corners and not great at the center.

My initial impression was that the images for the 17-40mm were just OK. I liked the color contrast, CA control on the lens, AF response and general feel. Unfortunately, the image quality was not there. I felt the images were a step down from my Canon 10-22mm lens.

I decided to tripod test the lens against the kit lens and the 24mm 2.8. The 17-40 had better CA contrast and resolution at the center and left corner compared to the kit lens. The kit lens, however, had better resolution and contrast at the right corners! The 24mm 2.8 was much better than the 17-40mm at the center and corners by far.

I decided to return this copy and still believe that this is a good lens for landscape shots. However, I would only purchase this lens from a vendor that has a no questions return policy just in case.

I have given this particular lens copy a 4 due to image quality. Can Canon calibrate the defective corner? Maybe..but mine was
returned within the 14 day trial period.

After the return, I purchased two more copies, found another defective corner and returned that one. Kept the other. Would change the overall rating to a 7 due to QC issues.