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Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jul 27, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


I wanted to add that this lens I rated was a Bargain lens from one of the major used sellers - often you can find excellent copies that may have been prior engraved (my case). I have a second copy that I have from a private seller that I will likely be sending to Canon, and depending on the outcome of that I may swap out or keep the original bargain lens. A word to the wise: check for soft focus, and check the elements, as many of these lenses saw a lot of professional use.

Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jul 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Nice feel attached, does not feel like a "brick" at all. Maybe thats because it is lighter and shorter than its wider newer brother.
Had time to do front and back focusing tests, and it came with a clean bill of health.

What more can be said about this lens. For years it was the standard "Wedding Lens" for pros. Still is for many. Got it for a moderate price in very nice conditon. Heartily recommend this lens after trying several copies, this now being my third (and hopefully last). Haven't tried a Nikon, but this Canon L by all appearances beats the others hands down.

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Feb 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: For a long range telephoto this is very light. For those interested in street shooting I would think this a must if you appreciate the quality of primes.
None that I am aware of - will see out of doors if the built-in hood does the job.

Just picked up a near mint Mk I for a nice price; hard to pass up for what you get - a real find. Looks like all metal body too. Took the old UV off and took some snaps, then poppped a new Hoya Pro 1 on it after cleaning out of the threads, front and rear glass. Nice.

Sharpness and clarity are everything you could expect wide open - this to me is the test of fast glass. I am already amazed at the sharpness and 3D of this lens. Yep, like looking with your eyes. Colors and contrast appear on first blush to be everything one would expect from a L prime lens. And the bokeh, ah yes the bokeh; well lets just say it is outstanding for a 2.8 lens. Slapped a Kenko Pro TC on it, and image degredation though present would not prevent its use. Would not be my first choice (thats why I have a 300/4L non-IS), but this looks to be a world class traveling and hiking lens - so a TC would come with the turf. More nature shots will tell the tale, and when it stops raining will get plenty of chances.

Now that I have this I am in the process of selling my 70-200/4 IS, which I never believed I would do. Still keeping the 'ol stallwart magic drainpipe - I have a gap between 105 and 200 in my travel kit now, but looking at my files I don't seem to miss it. The MD stays around home, as it is just too heavy to schlep around. it's compact, relatively lightweight, very balanced, and fast - hard to ask for much more. I was a bit of a skeptic at first as to my need for this lens, but no more. Highly recommended. Happy shooting!

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Jan 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Inexpensive and very good quality; as good as I can remember IQ wise compared to my 24-70L - contrast and color too!
A little bit jerky when focusing, but very easy to live with for the price.

Very nice lens, sharp - sharp - sharp, and contrasty too.
Disclosure: This is lens # 2 (you know the Sigma rule, don't necessarily expect a keeper the first time). This is my only third party I am currently using (I have a 30 1.4 that is currently living in its box). I am prety picky, but since this is more of a specialty lens for me I didn't want the weight of the Canon L or the hefty price (my everyday is a 24-105L).

If you don't need a red ring around the end this lens will do you right, provided you are prepared to send it in or get a second copy (third?). My first lens had focusing issues (general), and horrible flare. This copy handles both issues hands down. I got a 82mm Hoya collapsible hood for it (check the auction site), and Pro 1 UV filter. It comes with what I consider to be a whimpy stock hood. Yes, I would recommend the UV as there is a lot of glass sticking out there.

Fast to focus, no real hunting issues and is usually spot on. If you don't need the Canon name on a lens to feel good about yourself this one is a keeper. Just remember that if at first you don't succeed you may need to try again - the good news is Sigma has a renowned service dept, and most lenses sent in for calibration are reported to come back tack sharp. Good luck!

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

Review Date: Jul 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp and comparatively lightweight. I just got a 17-55 as a gift sent to me from a very well-meaning relative but will be selling it as this lens is just too good to give up and fits all my needs. I am extremely pleased. Read the Castleman review just below: My comments pertaining to review are that if you get a bad copy return it immediately for a replacement. I am not sure if I am overly fortunate but I got a stellar copy first time, and know several other owners of this Tammy with the same exact exerience. This is my only third party lens, and have several L's, both primes and zooms - so yes, you could call me picky. For the money I cannot think of anything better. (PS: Mr. Castleman, really love and appreciate your reviews - keep 'em coming!)
Build quality is adequate, but could be better; for the money it is reasonable however.

For a crop cam it is a wonderful addition to any kit. Highly recommend!

Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L

Review Date: Jun 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wonderfully sharp corner to corner. Don't hesitate if you can find a copy in excellent condition.
Paid less than half the price of a 16-35 (non Mk II), but still would have liked to have gotten it for less (who doesn't like a good deal).

Run, don't walk if you can find a copy in excellent condition for a fair price! Mine was near new - nearly abandoned by its former owner and forgotten on a shelf for several years no less.

You should be able to get one for less than half what you would pay for a 16-35, or maybe one third the price of a Mk II.
Crisp and sharp with minimum distortion corner to corner - you won't be sorry you made this purchase.