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Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Aug 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $620.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great IQ, Great Zoom Range, USM, IS, Solid Build, Good Walkaround Lens.
Relatively Slow f/3.5-5.6, Silver "Ring" on Zoom Barrel is Pinstriping that Comes Off.

I use this on a T1i as a general purpose outdoor lens.

This was my second general purpose outdoor lens purchase, after I used a 28-135 for a while. I loved the 28-135, well -- until I bought the 15-85. The 28-135 is now gone.

This lens produces great quality images. It's sized right, and with the Canon rebate going on at the time I bought it, was at a comfortable price point.

Its downfall is that it's slow. For example, f/5 shows up just north of 35mm. So, for me, I use it outdoors only. (I prefer shooting without a flash and at ISO400 and lower.) The 17-55 resolves this problem with a constant f/2.8, but it's a noticeably larger lens, and it's priced higher. ...I'll rely on my fast primes for days that my 15-85 won't do the trick.

Now, a minor downer... For as solid as this lens is built, the silver decorative ring on the zoom barrel is just a cheapo pinstripe. Mine peeled off very quickly. It's amazing how much better the lens looks with it there. I'll miss it. I'll ignore this and give the rest of the lens the "10" build quality rating it deserves.

This lens does what it advertises. I'd recommend it.

Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i DSLR

Review Date: Jun 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great Picture Quality with HD Video Capability in a Small Package at an Affordable Price.

I purchased my T1i, 2-lens kit in November '09 (new).

I'd been a very happy Canon P&S user for years. With a toddler and a baby on the way, I was ready to step up to DSLR. The T1i brought HD video to the mix, which at the time still wasn't commonly available on cameras.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this camera. It has served as a great foundation for learning photography (f/stop, SS, ISO, etc), and the image results far exceed what I was getting before with P&S. I use the camera a lot more for stills than video. Still, it's nice to have HD capability for when I want to shoot a movie.

Honestly, I don't think this camera has any real negative aspects. Probably most people are just listing "missing" features that are otherwise available on higher-priced Canon models. Let's not lose sight that this is a very high-feature Rebel at a very reasonable price.

Now, perhaps with the release of the T2i, the T1i won't be available for much longer new. Who knows. Regardless, there will be many used copies out there, hence why I think it's worth the time to review. (I cannot believe that there are only 7 reviews on this camera!)

I would recommend this camera, without hesitation. Great IQ. Great price. Smaller Rebel size is a whole lot easier to carry and pack than Canon X0D and XD bodies.

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

Review Date: Jun 9, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: $375.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Good-looking lens. Zoom lock.
AF is consistently off, hunts a lot, and is very loud.

I own a T1i. The Tamron 17-50 was my second lens purchase, following the 50mm f/1.8 II. I was drawn to it by its performance likenesses (on paper) to the Canon 17-55 and its price. But I was sorely disappointed with the Tamron.

1. It mis-focused probably 75% of the time. I suppose I could have had it calibrated, but there were other issues with the lens that calibration would not have fixed...

2. Its AF hunts a lot in low light. I bought the lens primarily for use in low light situations, not for shallow DOF outdoors.

3. Its AF is very loud. So loud that there are you tube videos capturing how loud it is. Ouch. I mainly shoot family and friends, and candid shots are uncomfortable when the lens is super noisy.

4. It's a good-looking and heavy-constructed lens. In the end though, I think that's all it has going for it.

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

Review Date: Jun 8, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Bang-for-the-Buck, Accurate AF, USM, IS, Good Walkaround Lens.
Wobbly Zoom Barrel.

I use this on a T1i (APS-C) as a general purpose (walkaround) outdoor lens for when I want additional reach over my 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM.

This was my first general purpose outdoor lens, before I bought the 15-85. I loved it, well -- until I bought the 15-85.

I have taken a lot of great pictures with the 28-135. If this FL range suits your needs, and you have a limited budget, I highly recommend it. However, if you can afford the 24-105 f/4L, get it instead. It is sharper, and it is faster at the longer FL's, even though its max zoom range is slightly less (105 vs 135). I rented the 24-105, and did witness its ability.

Regarding the Barrel Creep... I don't think it's as big a deal as people make it to be. It's there, but if you're mindful of it, it's no big deal.

I ended up shelving my 28-135 in favor of the 15-85 due to the minimum FL on my APS-C. 28mm = 45mm on full frame. I missed group and close-subject shots because I couldn't fill the frame with everything I wanted. However, I made shots between 85-135mm, that I'll have to foot-zoom or crop now with the 15-85.

Conclusion: If you're an Rebel owner, like most of us are that would be considering this lens, and don't have $600-700 to spend on the 15-85, or $1000 to spend on the 17-55 or 24-105L, then this is a great step up from the usual 18-55 kit lens. See how well the 28-135 zoom range suits your needs. Its IQ belies its low cost of ownership.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Jun 8, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IQ, USM, Accurate AF.
Poor design on rear (camera side) of lens.

For super wide angle on APS-C bodies, there really is no better option. No "L" is available in this low a FL range. Therefore, given its great IQ and no other Canon alternatives, it gets an Overall Rating of 10.

Leaving a filter on the front of this lens makes a lot of sense. It essentially weather- and dust-seals the objective lens, which moves back and forth during zooming.

Now onto the rear of the lens body... I don't know the name of the of the glass nearest the camera body, so whatever's it's called -- it also moves fore and aft during zooming (like the objective lens). But when this glass moves, it creates a big gap at the back of the lens (inside the lens). Now, this area would never be exposed unless you're changing or cleaning the lens, but it's there no less. Easy entry for dust and/or those sometimes stray filaments from your favorite cloth lens wipe. You could drop a pebble down in there, it's such a large gap. So, being ignorant to the in's and out's of lens design, and the limitations therein, I give it only an 8 on Build Quality. Outside, the lens feels solid and well-balanced. Just don't store it without the rear cap on.

All this said, I am happy with the lens, and would buy again. I've found it great to use for landscape photography. I also use it with people scenes, yielding a sometimes wild and fun perspective.

Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Jun 8, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $459.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good for Low Light, USM is Fast and Quiet, Focuses Accurately, Nice Size, Reasonable Price, Good Colors, Equivalent FL is near Standard Lens on APS-C.
Can be soft at f/1.8 and f/2.0. Sharpens at f/2.2. Very sharp at f/2.8. Bokeh can be nervous when shooting near wide open and the blurred background objects are a only few feet away. (Bokeh improves substantially as the background objects are farther away.)

I use this on a T1i (APS-C) primarily as my indoor lens, never with a flash. My primary subjects are our two young children. (Fast-moving targets.) We live in a relatively dim-lit house, so I use this lens at f/1.8, f/2.0, and f/2.2 most of the time at ISO200 and ISO400.

I started out with the 50mm f/1.8 II, but found its reach too long for indoors. I checked out the 35mm f/2, but was discouraged by how noisy that non-USM lens was. Noisy focus distracts my subjects -- whether they're kids, friends, or family. No one liked candid shots taken of them by a noisy camera. (I realized this when using the 50mm.)

So I opted for the more expensive 28mm f/1.8. No regrets. The keeper rate with this lens is high enough to be satisfactory for me. In fact, last weekend I rented the 35mm f/1.4L, to test the water. I'd rather have the reach of the 35mm, and wanted to see what f/1.4 and f/1.6 looked like, as well as "L" color and depth. It was enjoyable to use, and some pictures turned out great, but in the end I didn't feel it was worth $1,000 more than the 28mm.

My 28mm f/1.8 is a great lens. From reading some of these posts, it does seem that there may be a QC issue, as the reports are all over the map. I'd recommend giving it a shot. If it doesn't meet your expectations, try another copy before throwing in the towel.