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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Jul 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, contrast, color
telescope desing--not a fan of those

Hard decision between this lens and the 16-35L (II), price was the main factor (around $600 cheaper), and all claimed the image quality is the same.

I have some L lenses and primes and this lens competes well agains them. I'm very satisfied with overall performance (sharpness, color, contrast, etc.). The build quality is great, not L standards, but definately better than say the 28-135. Telescope design is my only negative comment--hence the close call with the 16-35L. Although I'll guess it was needed with the focal range and attempts to keep the lens compact.

Perfect focal length for general walk around use a bit longer on the high side would be a plus, but 55 on a 1.6 body is OK for my needs--same with 17mm. 2.8 is fast and IS help in low light static image shots.

I would definatley buy this lens again. It's on my camera most of the time.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Razor sharp, exceptional build quality, deep colors, super value
none--worth every penny!

I bought this lens for my 20D for mainly sports stuff and indoor photography where zoom is needed with light is low. I opted for the non-IS because most of my subject matter is moving. I've found that I get a false sense of security with IS (on other lenses). At any rate this lens is super sharp. And I mean sharp. I was impressed with my 50mm 1.4 and 2.0 or above, and this 70-200 is excellent. It is worth every penny! I consider the AF fast enough--despite the comments below--but I've never tried larger more expensive lenses.

I recenly shot a few thousand pics of baseball and soccer games (day and night) and the keeper rate was exremely high (some 90% in focus and proper exposure--many with poor composition--but that's my fault). Many images reveal minute details such as dust being pounded off the catchers mit and the Rawlings name can be easily read. Some night shots were at ISO3200, 2.8, 1/200 -1Ev was a definate hit with my customer (decent focus and low noise given the settings). Simply put, this lens has proven to be sharp at 2.8 and above--I never have to worry if a shot will be soft at a specific f.

I have seen no issues with CA, light fall off, focus hunting, inaccurate focus, or exposure issues on my 20D. I only have only positive comments. It's build quality is exceptional--and I thought my 100mm 2.8MACRO was well built. It's a bit heavy and rugid but a very small sacrific given the image quality. Personally I could care less about the off-white color--getting good images are what I'm all about.

I did a bunch of research--talked to some wedding photographers, talked to some 70-200 ownes, and spent several hours on review sites. If you are shopping for a high quality zoom--look no further. Your decision will only be IS or not. I spent $1200 at B&H and feel it was well worth it. What I have seen and experienced, a 3rd pary lens isn't worth the risk.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Apr 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very very sharp at 2.0, 1.8 isn't bad, 1.4 ehhh. Excellent lens!
focus ring is a bit loose

I mainly bought this lens for my 20D indoor low light stuff like parties, bands at nightclubs, etc. And while 1.4 is a bit soft, it's sharp at 1.8 and superb at 2 or higher-and I mean supurb. I was very impressed at the image quality, contrast at a $320 price point (from B&H). I bought the hood for around $25. I find this lens on my camera the most, namely because of compact size, very good build quality--except that the focus ring is a bit loose, but not too bad, and the image qualtiy under both good and low light conditions. I'll probably start using it as a portriate lens as well.

I considered the 1.8, but the build quality is so much better with this lens--and a larger focus ring with USM, it was easy to justify the $220 or so more.

As you would expect this is a very fast lens, so it's well suited for taking indoor shots. I have not noticed any issues with light fall off, CA or any other anomalies found in "lower cost" lens--using L glass as the price standard.

If you are looking for a general purpose lens that excels with low light, landscapes, night shots, I highly recommend the 50m 1.4 lens. Knowing what I know now, I would definatley buy this lens again.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Jan 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $470.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: macro sharpness
portriate sharpness

After reading all the reviews claiming it's sharpness, I didn't investigate much further--I just bought it. After taking 300 or so shots and comparing with my 20-135 (yea you read right), the sharpness of the prime was less than the zoom. My comparison were by taking shots under exact conditions and camera settings, and cropping to see captured details. In all cases, the prime was not as sharp--I bought a second one thinking I had a bad apple--the second one was the same. I'm taking basic shots around the house--no studio grade or advanced setups.

Based on my tests, I don't consider this a portrait-grade lens, but the macro capabilities are a different story. Perhaps that's the clarity people are referring to. I would have to say I'm quite impressed with the sharpness and level of detail the lens captures. Rusty nails, rain drops on leaves, I even saw the reflection of my tripod in the back of a shiny bug.

Knowing what I know now, i would defiantly buy this lens again, but to set some expectations, I don't see the sharpness in portrait shots. But in combination with macro results (like what the lens is designed for) and a very well built lens, might be why people consider this near L-grade glass.

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Jan 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $419.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: great images/great price
lens barrels are a bit loose

I read many reviews before buying this lens for my 20D. Most claim its relatively soft but I have taken many sharp shots with it. I use this lens as a main walk-around lens, no studio grade setups, just pictures of trips, the family, etc. Some of the images on a sunny day show very clear details right down to facial hair at 10 feet (croping of course). It's not all that fast so you will need adequate light. in low light situations such as indoors with a flash, the clarity is still quite good.

I was a bit dissappointed with the build quality, you can feel (and hear) "slop" in lens barrels due to the telescoping design. You should not let that from stopping your purchase though.

Knowing what I know now, I definately would buy this lens again. For $419 (on-line), the image quality is very good--better than my 100mm prime. It's probably not as good as L-glass, but for the price, it's definatley worth a look.