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Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) AF

Review Date: Nov 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, light, easy to travel, wide angle and excellent zoom
image is deformed at 18mm, quality may be poor at big apertures, zoom only usable in bright light

I've been pretty happy about the Tamron 17-250mm:
- it has the best trans-standard zoom, from very wide angle at 17mm to strong zoom at 250mm. It can be used in lots of different circumstances from architecture shots, holiday shots to portraits. It can also be used for macro pictures. I don't need to carry several optics with me anymore.
- it is very light and easy to carry around for travel. I used to travel with my Canon 17-55mm f2.8 but now I changed to the Tamron, being much smaller and lighter.
- it is quite cheap...

However, there are some setbacks that you need to be aware of:
- Aperture is not that good, especially when using the zoom. Sharpness is also not at its best when reaching maximum aperture, especially at 3.5.
- Due to low 6.3 aperture at 250mm, you can only use the zoom in bright light. Most of the time under 1/250s, your shot will be blury.

However, I have made quite a lot of nice shots thanks to the Tamron, so I definitely recommand it.

Here are some examples from my Mexican holidays:
18mm at f7.1 and 1/160s: (it's the best quality you can get)
18mm at f3.5 and 1/10s:
18mm at f3.5 and 1/2s: (you'd better hold your breath while you shoot)
23mm at f3.5 and 1/30s: (I had to sharpen the picture a little bit)
23mm at f5.0 and 1/80s:
29mm at f5.6 and 1/60s:
42mm at f4.5 and 1/13s:
129mm at f8.0 and 1/320s:
168mm at f7.1 and 1/250s:
250mm at f6.3 and 1/100s: (definitely lacking sharpness)
250mm at f6.3 and 1/160s: (a bit better)
250mm at f6.3 and 1/320: (not blury anymore but not best sharpness)
250mm at f7.1 and 1/320s: (better quality)

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

Review Date: Jan 3, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Excellent lens (!!!) - very sharp - Image Stabilizer - Build
Dust (!!!) - heavy

I have to change a little bit my review of this product (see below) because it is now back to Canon repairing after six months of use.

Ok, I still love it. It's the lens I use 99% of the time and the IS is really a life saver.

But there are definitely dust problems. I mean, some people don't have any dust problem. But, bad luck for me, I'm part of the people who have it and it just breaks my neck to have paid so much money for a lens, which sucks dust like crazy.
Of course, you can't see the dust on the pictures. So, no harm... But even though, when you want to sell your lens, you'll have to send it first to clean the dust otherwise noone would buy it. So, this is quite annoying...

So, now, if I had the choice, I would surely buy some L lens and not this one because you never know if you'll be part of the lucky "no dust" people or the unlucky ones...

In the meantime, I'll get it back from the repairing and it's probably going to stay my favorite lens for a while (until the dust is back Smile

Looks like people liked to have some shots samples. Here are more below. Night pictures were taken without tripod only with IS. It shows how powerful it is !! You can go as for as 0.5" handheld ! (at 2.8) (with IS) (with IS) (with IS) (really sharp, even though it's taken handheld with IS)

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

Review Date: Oct 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent lens (!!!) - very sharp - Image Stabilizer - Build
price - heavy - dust - vignetting at 2.8

To start with, I love this lens. Although I'm just eating plain rice for months now (1000€ is the lowest price in Europe), I'm so happy with it that I'm forgetting to use my other lenses (even my 50mm f/1.4).

What I love with it:
- the quality of the optic: it gives very sharp images at all range;
- the quality of the build (almost like a L lens). It's also big enough to fit comfortably in my big hand;
- the image stabilizer: it definitely is a real life saver. It really really makes a use difference. I can even go to 0,5 seconds and the image is still sharp;
- it looks good on the camera body (30D) :-)
- 17-55 mm is an excellent range for a 30D.
- 2.8 opening at all range. The DOF at 2.8 is excellent;
- it's the best walk-around less especially for travelling !

Here are some samples of pictures: (using IS) (using IS) (using IS)

That should be enough to make you wanna buy it !

But on the other hands, there are some bad points:
- It's very heavy. I mean it's ok at the beginning but after one month of travelling, you wish you had a lighter lens;
- It's very expensive. I'm still wondering if I should have bought a L lens for the same price (but no IS in the L Lens !);
- There are definitely dust problems : even if you can't see them on the pictures, it's strange to find dust in the lens after one month of (very intensive) use;
- It's vignetting at 2.8 but that's not a big problem.

So I definitely recommend it. It's the lens on my camera at all time. And I think it's going to stay like this for a while.

Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Review Date: Jul 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: build, picture quality, deformation

This lens is just amazing. I'll never regret buying it.

First, the build is extremely strong. Just when I bought it, I let the lens fall on a stone floor from a 80 cm height and it had nothing ! No mechanical problem, no optical problem, it was just good as new... (However I don't recommand that you test your lens the same way as I did)

Second, the image quality is really good. The colors are really bright. The focus makes a strange mechanical noise but you get used to it.

And of course, it has this special Fisheye effect that you are looking for.

You can see picture samples here :

Anyway, I love it !!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jul 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: picture quality, aperture, dof, price
50mm is a bit long for a digital camera

I bought this lens after reading the critics on this website and as a matter of fact, I was really not disappointed. I just love the quality of the pictures and the sharpness.
Its depth of field with the maximum aperture is definitely amazing. Within a few centimeters, it goes from sharp to blurry. The effect is quite amazing !

Here are some pictures to show you the impressive quality of this lens (taken with a EOS 300D):

However, I find the 50mm a bit long on a digital camera. It's definitely not a walkaround lens. I still prefer my 18-55mm for this. But when you know you wanna take good pictures or in the evening with low light, it's definitely making a good job.

So, in my point of view, it's definitely a must buy !

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

Review Date: Jul 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, practical, fast AF
Soft pictures

I don't know why the reviews are all so negative about this product.
For a cheap zoom, this lens can definitely do the trick. Light, practical, with a silent and fast AF, it's a very good zoom for beginners (like me...).
I never found it made soft pictures until I read those reviews here. I think I kinda like this soft effect and I think it still makes really nice picture and colors.
Of course, you really need to use it in sunlight on a bright day. Under 1/500, your pictures may be blury.

Just check the picture below for example of nice pictures I have taken with it:

So this makes me actually think it's a pretty good lens for the price you pay ! And I definitely recommand it !

My photobook: