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Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Nov 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $430.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: amazingly sharp, f/1.4, perfect for crop sensor, Full time manual focus (FTM), build quality, AF Speed
bad online reviews for chart shooters, a bit expensive, MFD is a bit long compared to other lenses in class

Iīve had this lens for 6 weeks and have taken it on a few trips and I have been impressed with the results.
30mm is the perfect walk around lens for my shooting style and the f/1.4 lets me get photos that I would either need a tripod for or would miss.
All of the bad reviews on the net about how unsharp the corners are and its only good in the center I found are a bit overblown.
First when shooting at f/1.4 who cares about the corners? They will be blurred into bokeh anyways at short distances. At longer distances I havenīt noticed any problems with my corners at f/1.4 (example photos below). When you stop down to f/8 to shoot landscapes the corners are much better and will yield good results.
Build quality is solid, feels good and heavy in the hand and even feels more solid then my Canon EF 100mm L macro lens.
For all of the negative reviews out there I guess there are some bad copies, however my first copy was perfect and sharp at f/1.4 while my Canon 50mm f/1.8 I need to stop down to f/2.0 to get good results.
If you need a lens in the 28-35mm range there really arenīt that many options for Canon. The 35L is a great lens but is three times the price of this lens. The Samyang 35mm can keep up with this lens and even beat it in the corners but its only manual focus.
I chose this over a Canon EF 28 f/1.8 which was even more expensive and I didnīt look back. After shooting with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 I knew that I needed something a bit wider and faster and for me the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is the perfect choice.

Sample Photos
Nightime 3 shot panoramic at f/1.4 no tripod used
Landscape at f/8
Another Landscape test at f/8
Bokeh test (MFD at f/1.4)
Another Bokeh test at f/1.4
Shooting inside dark church no flash
Another inside church shot
First shot with lens (at f/1.4) and cropped 50%

The Minimum Focus Distance (MFD) is a bit long compared to other lenses in its class but this lens is so sharp and the resolution is so good that you can crop photos and still retain a solid image.
Highly recommended!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Aug 27, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $99.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: inexpensive optics are worth twice the price fast lens excels in low light colors are better then kit lens sharp
cheap plastic feel manual focus ring difficult to use because it is small fragile lens

This lens has been recommended by many people to a beginner photographer as the first lens after the kit lens.
Iīve had this lens for a year and have had sort of a love / hate relationship with it.
The cheap plastic feel and the almost impossible to turn manual focus ring are the main reasons for my dislike for this lens.
It does make a great portrait lens and after some practice you will be taking much better portrait shots with this lens then with the kit lens.
However where this lens really excels, and the reason why this small lens always has a place in my photography bag is because it is really incredible in low light night photography.
I normally shoot this lens at f/2.0 as I find f/1.8 a bit soft but still somewhat acceptable when needed in a pinch. Shooting at f/2.0 in AV aperture mode with 800 ISO produces amazing night time results with my 450d/XSi.

Some night time shots to backup my review

This shot has been cropped by about 75% and still the results are acceptable

Nature Panoramic shot

Portrait shot

Shot through a restaurant window

Handheld 4 shot panoramic at dusk

Summery: Although the build quality leaves much to be desired, I have not experienced that many Autofocus problems, even in low light and have gotten photos that I would have otherwised missed.
For a beginner photographer on a budget highly recommended performance for the price.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Review Date: May 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great lens for the price Great range, picks off where the kit lens leaves off Better quality then the kit lens Lightweight with 4 stops IS Colors are good for the price Lens is sharp except around 250 but still very acceptable
Cheap plastic feel A bit soft at 250mm Not too much else at this price

Donīt let the cheap price fool you, its a great lens if you follow the photography fundamentals and is capable of some amazing shots.
Build quality is a step above the kit lens and the image quality is about 2 steps above.
Its a great lightweight lens and I have used it as a Zoo lens and I find that it covers the range that I need when I go to the Zoo.
This lens will probably always have a place in my bag even though I have more expensive lenses, the price, quality and weight make it very attractive for me.

My favorite shots with this lens:

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

Review Date: May 12, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp Lens Nice Colors Extreme Wide Angle of View USM

I really wanted a good landscape lens and this one works well. As an ultrawide lens it does enlarge what is close and push back what is far but this can be used to an artistic advantage.
I use it mostly for handheld HDR as at 10mm and with AEB you can fire shots off fast enough without the need for a tripod.
The lens is a specialty lens and therefore is expensive, but if you need an ultrawide for a Canon Crop camera this one is worth it.

Some of my favorite shots with this lens:

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Review Date: May 11, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Iīve had this lens for a week and already I have noticed a huge improvement in colors and sharpness compared to my other Canon lenses. My flickr set is here: My photos require no post processing, the color is natural and the most I have to do is crop the photo on my 450d/XSi.
I was originally put off on the cost but after owning it and seeing the results it is actually worth every penny paid.

Well worth the money paid as it feels like I have a new camera. Handheld macros are a reality and my friends do not believe that I have taken the photos.
The best upgrade that I have made since I have purchased my DSLR, even though this lens has cost more then my original DSLR purchase.
Color rendition and sharpness are absolutely fantastic.