cjbowlsby's reviews

  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Optical quality, speed and acuracy of focus, IS, build quality, and brightness
    Wife won't give it back :)

    Shooting weddings sporadically for the last 3 years, I've been renting this lens, but I finally decided to purchase it this summer.

    It's the perfect focal length for indoor candids & portraits. The combination of open aperture & telephoto provide beatiful selective focus. Even in a relatively dim light, the IS & bright 2.8 aperture allow for shots without strobes.

    It is large and white, which kind of makes you stand out conspicuously for candids, but the telephoto capabilities compensate for that.

    Of course, now my second shooter/assistant/life-partner thinks it's hers, so I might just have to get another one :)

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $1,700)
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    size, weight, construction, optical quality, brightness, sharpness
    umm... no weather sealing? No macro.

    Love love love love love this lens.

    Almost makes me want to switch to primes entirely.

    What surprised me first about this lens was how sharp it looked, JUST THROUGHT THE VIEWFINDER. I've been pleased and displeased with how things look through a lens before, but this blew my socks off.

    After using a friends for a while, I tried out the 100mm 2.0 and 135L 2.0 and found the 100mm a bit more useable indoors on a 1.6x crop sensor. The 135L gets a little long.

    Perfect for portraits and candids. So inconspicuous compared to my 70-200IS, and every bit as sharp. And it cost about a quarter as much!

    True, I'd like to be able to focus closer, than 3 feet, but that's what you pay for a 2.0 versus the 2.8 macro. I just really needed it as bright as I could get it.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $380)
  • Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Macro 1:2 AF

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    size, weight, range, macro capability
    build quality, slippery zoom ring

    I've had this lens for about a year now, and I'm surpised by how much I enjoy using it. It's light with and exellent focal length range for candids & portraits, as long as there's enought light.

    The macro capability, though soft in the corners, is surprisingly good for a lens this inexpensive; just make sure a tripod is used! Hand holding a macro shot between 180mm & 300mm is very difficult.

    My only real complaint is that the zoom ring has almost no ridges to provide friction, so I have to grip it very hard in order to zoom. That's one of the big plusses for the new Di version of this lens.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $130)
  • Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical IF SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    size, weight, constant 2.8 aperture, price, SHARP, included lens hood.
    a little slow to focus in low light, Wish it was 24mm instead of 28mm.

    This lens is a complete steel.

    Although it's 1/3 the price of canon's 24mm-70mm 2.8 L, I actually prefer the color and sharpness from the tamron.

    The constant 2.8 aperture is fantastic for portaits and low light work. Although acceptable for small prints at 2.8, it's sharpness is fantastic from 4.0 and up.

    My only real complaint, is that it's focus motor is a bit slow.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $380)
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    CHEAP, strong optical quality, light, bright, small
    CHEAP (meaning build) plastic mount, no focus range markings

    If you have an EOS you should have this lens.
    There's no real excuse not to, unless you can already own the 50mm 1.4 or 1.2.

    It's innexpensive, light, you can carry it anywhere, it's unotrusive.

    it's the perfect focal length for portraits and close-ups with a 1.6x cropped sensor. and it's a perfectly addequate normal lens for a FF sensor.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $70)
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Impecable optical quality, wider than other standard zooms, fast focus, black body
    price, size

    Boy, what a monster!
    But you can't beat the best now can you? Sure Tamron and Sigma have their competition, but they don't have USM or weather sealing.

    Fantastic build quality. It can certainly take its knocks. It really does need the lens hood. Especially on a film or FF digital.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $1,200)
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

    4 out of 10 points and recommended
    cheap, decent wide to moderate telephoto range, light
    not very fast, soft wide open, cheap construction

    The main reason I have this lens is for its wide angle capabilities. I can't wait to replace it with the 17-55 2.8 IS. But that's a bit down the road.

    It's a fine lens for indoor close quarter shooting as long and one doesn't mind using flash. It's very light & small so it travels well. If I stop it down, it can actually be a pretty decent landscape lens.

    reviewed November 28th, 2006
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    good focal length range, bright, solid construction, fast focusing
    heavy, a bit soft wide open, not as wide as I'd like

    Using this on my 20D, I kept wanting it to actually get wider than it was. That 1.6x crop factor is a bummer sometimes.

    I really did like how fast it would focus, and for outdoor shooting where I had enough light to stop it down it was really a pretty solid performer.

    But for true wide angle bright, I found myself renting the 14mm 2.8 L instead.

    reviewed November 28th, 2006
  • Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR Di Aspherical IF Macro AF

    5 out of 10 points and not recommended
    size, range, weight, price
    wide open performance is soft, 28mm on the wide end is restricting on a 1.6x crop

    It's not bad for a 7x zoom that's REALLY cheap. But then... it's REALLY cheap. It's soft especially at the long end while wide open. If you stop it down to f8 to f11, it's acceptable.

    If you really need the telephoto capability, the either of the most recent 70-300 tamrons are significantly better performers for a similar price. If you NEED the zoom range, I'd strongly suggest shelling out for the more expensive 18-200 or 28-300, both of which are far better performers, although they are nearly twice as expensive.

    reviewed December 14th, 2006 (purchased for $180)
  • Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    weight, image quality, focal lengths
    price, it could have a wider aperture

    Fantastic piece of glass.

    Sharp even wide open.
    I've rented this for my last 2 weddings, and have really enjoyed capturing everyone in the room in one shot on my cropped frame cameras. I feel like I can finaly put the film cameras away. (I still can't afford a FF digital)

    Focus is fast and accurate.

    It would be great if it was a constant 4.0 or 2.8, but at these focal lengths, if I have to drag the shutter a bit, it still comes out pretty sharp.

    Highly recomended.

    reviewed December 27th, 2006
  • Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    size, focal length, built in hood, wide aperture, speed of focus
    flare, goofy lens cap

    I really like this lens. It's REALLY fast & accurate to focus. It's 2.8 aperture is very usefull in dark environments.

    It gets pretty soft in the corners on a full frame wide open. But on a cropped sensor, it's a very useful 22mm equivalent, and sharp to boot.

    I keep flip-flopping between keeping this on my 20d, or the 10-22. They are roughly the same size. The 14mm is brighter, but the 10-22 is less prone to flare & has the flexibility of zoom (and is less expensive).

    I dislike the large metal lens cap. It doesn't fasten to the lens very well.

    reviewed December 28th, 2006
  • Tamron 28-105mm f/2.8 LD Aspherical IF SP AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Bright, BEAUTIFUL BOKEH, Sharp sharp sharp, zoom range
    SIZE, speed of focus

    I really like this lens.

    First of all, it produces GORGEOUS pictures. Remarkable really. Almost all of the focal lengths you'd ever want for portraits. It's bright and clear with beautiful bokeh. It's a bit soft wide open on the wide end, but from 40mm on, it's really exceptional for an off-brand 2.8. When it's stopped down to 4.0, is fantastically sharp.

    The autofocus is quite slow, I'll admit, especially in low light on thelong end. But it doesn't really hunt. It knows what it's focusing for, and gets there with determination and really startling accuracy.

    On the down side, it's huge and ugly. I dislike the texturing (or more appropriately, lack thereof) on the zoom and focus rings. It feels slippery and cheap. The huge front element makes me very nervous. I haven't found a lens hood for it, but a high quality UV filter is an adaquate second choice.

    But at half the price of the canon 24-105 2.8L IS, with a usable extra stop, it really is a bargain.

    Highly recomended if you can accept the slow autofocus (and can find one... it's discontinued)

    reviewed December 28th, 2006 (purchased for $650)