drwho9437's reviews

  • Canon EF 35mm f/2

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Light, fast, inexpencive, sharp
    Somewhat noisy motor, build good but not great.

    Really this is probably the prime lens to get for a crop digital Canon. Don't let the fact that it is more than 50mm effective put you off. Its really quite a nice lens. Combined with a 400D/350D you have a compact and light weight set up that works very well. In the time before zooms were common this would have been all many people used. Doing so builds photographic skill if nothing else. The focusing ring could be better damped and the build won't please everyone. Its a very old lens design, as such you just live with these shortcomings. For the cost I think it is probably second to none. F2.0 is just wide enough for some DOF isolation at this focal length. The 28 2.8 is nice too, but lacks this, a bit more.

    Bottom line, the best single prime to buy in the EF lineup. Doubly so if you are on a budget.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $230)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    WIDE!, sharp, hood, HSM
    lens cap

    Its not perfect, but as far as ultra wides go this is the best deal, I think. I had the Tokina 12-24 for a short period. It was so heavy. I kind of wanted the Canon 10-22 but its so much more expensive that I tired the Sigma and I'm glad I did.

    I pretty much got this lens for a trip to New Zealand. 10mm its just great for both architecture and landscapes. You will need to level off for most shots, but not doing so makes for interesting play with the prospective distortion of such a wide lens.

    The build it nice, the focusing ring was very tight when I got it. There are some complaints about QC on this lens, but my copy is fine. HSM is quick and quite. I do wish the throw on the focusing ring was longer so manual focus was more possible.

    This lens isn't fast, but for its target (outside landscapes and arch) it doesn't really need to be. One annoyance is the lens cap. I have tiny fingers so I can get it off with the hood attached, but there is a trick to doing so. I got a Tamron center pinch 77mm cap but sadly the back gets a bit too close to that curvy front element. If I got a UV filter with threads I would use a Tamron cap.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $480)
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

    7 out of 10 points and not recommended
    Inexpencive, fast, light
    not fun

    Ok its really inexpensive lens, and it performs ok, to great depending on where you have it stopped down too. But photography for me is for fun and this lens isn't much fun.

    Lots of people try to get old MKI f1.8 and I would agree with that probably, but I'd probably get a 1.4 at this point if I really needed a 50mm on a crop body all the time.

    This focal length is good for portraits, so if you want a ok prime for a lot of them ok you can't go wrong. That said I don't shoot many portraits and I think the 35 f2.0 is a much better lens, it does cost 3x as much, but really neither is expensive for what you get.

    As a side note, the focusing mechanism on the 50 here is at least quiet.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $70)
  • Canon EF 28mm f/2.8

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Light, sharp, flare resistant/contrast
    A bit slow, noisy

    I use to have one of these. Its a fine lens, but I felt my 35 f2.0 all but replaced it. This lens has very few elements in it. I say this because I noted when I used it that it was a good performer looking into the sun, pretty flare resistant and maintained contrast pretty well compared to lenses I had used up to that day.

    I would only complain really that it is 2.8. At this focal length that doesn't give you quite enough DOF control I don't think. You can't really isolate a subject as well as with the 35 f2 or the sigma 30 1.4 etc.

    Its still a fine lens though and has its uses, find the DOF chart and see if it suits you. It like all its twins in this series has a noisy focusing motor but its quick and gets the job done.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $160)
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

    6 out of 10 points and recommended
    Useful range, light weight
    Not very fast, not much fun

    What to say about the kit lens. Humm well I had a pretty good copy I guess from an early 300D. It was my only lens for quite a time actually. I followed it with a 50 1.8 then the 28 2.8 then the Sigma 10-20 and the 30 2.0. I sold this lens with my 300D body. Sold the 28 as well as the 30 subsumes it.

    What does all this have to do with the 18-50? Well when I got rid of the 18-55 I tired to get by but really its quite hard too. So I had to get a replacement, I choose the Tamron 17-50 2.8. Stopped down to about f 8 this lens delivers fair results actually. If you are going for landscapes it can be quite fine. Certainly its low weight was welcome on long mountain accents.

    I would say the biggest draw backs are its build and that it is slow. Slow and the image quality are pretty much standard for this kind of kit lens. But take a look at the Pentax kit lens and you will see, you can make a decent feeling lens for kit. Even the new D80 lens feels worse. Hats off to Pentax for this.

    This lens doesn't try to be the best at anything, it just trys to be acceptable at everything. I think it probably comes close to doing that actually. I certainly could be worse. That said, I've seen some very bad "test shots" with this lens so QC might just vary wildly, and I might have lucked out.

    In the end it will get you started, but you probably won't get one if you don't get it in the kit, which might make this review pointless.

    While some people are enthusiastic about the 17-85, I find some qualities of that lens more disturbing than this one, though it has many significant obvious advantages. Too bad Canon charges 2x as much for a nice 17-50 than the 3rd parties (with IS) because at 500 dollars such a lens would be owned by every person who had an EF body.

    reviewed November 22nd, 2006
  • Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Price for 2.8, compact, good performance
    Focusing mech

    When I dumped my 300D for a 400D I didn't get the kit knowing this lens was out there.

    I have only had it for a short time, but here is what I can tell you to date. First off the most annoying thing about the lens is the focusing mechanism. The throw in the ring is tiny about a 1/4 turn. Some fellow said he MF with it, I should think that rather hard to do. The AF motor is very loud for a lens of its era.

    Other than that the build is fine. You get a hood and a nice center pinch cap.

    As for performance, I haven't noticed any large issues. It seems to get the job done. Having 2.8 across the range is very nice. When you don't have this you often end up shooting at wide and wide open in low light and cropping.

    All in all it probably lives up to its billing.

    reviewed November 26th, 2006 (purchased for $430)