jlam's reviews

  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

    6 out of 10 points and recommended
    Light weight, quick focus, silent, good image quality for the money
    Too slow (aperture)

    The image quality is surprisingly good. Ok, I'm talking about for everyday use - family, kids, in the yard or park... not charts or brick walls. As a kit lens for my XT, I was struck with how fast and quiet it focuses.

    The build quality is noticeably cheap but adequate. Since I don't use the manual focus ring, it is no bother. Neither is the plastic mount construction. It's been working fine for the last 1-1/2 years without chips or cracks. (Yes, I do swap lenses with my EF 28-135mm IS.) In fact, I didn’t realize it has a plastic mount until I started looking into the EF 50mm f/1.8 II recently.

    I recommend this only for the first time dSLR buyers. It is simply the most affordable way to enter the dSLR world with reasonable quality and versatility. Otherwise, look for an alternative with constant f/2.8 aperture.

    reviewed December 16th, 2006
  • Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    Affordable, well built, equiv. 216mm for dSLR users at the long end, IS, quiet
    Slow (aperture), equiv. 45mm for dSLR users at the short end

    This is currently the primary lens on my XT (as of 12/06). I’ve had this lens for 1-1/2 years now. The first thing you notice is the weight. There are times when I have to hold and shoot with one hand. That’s hard. This is not a flaw. It’s just fact of life.

    The image quality is not noticeably different than the kit lens in practical use which, in my view, is good enough for everyday use. There is always a slight softness in the pictures (I use the max. aperture whenever possible). The saving grace for this lens is IS.

    It’s too bad that Canon offers this affordable walkaround lens for 35mm users but for APS-C users, the equivalent (17-85 IS) was $200 more (not to mention the slightly slower aperture) at the time of my purchase. Yikes!

    All in all, this is a worthy investment given that there is no other affordable IS lenses to choose from!

    reviewed December 17th, 2006 (purchased for $395)
  • Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    f/2.8, light weight, shape, fast focus, 17mm on wide end
    Blue fringing, zoom ring rotates opposite to Canon’s, ends at 50mm

    I’ve had this lens since X’mas 2006. Because of the large aperture, I was able to photograph my toddler kids indoor without flash – something that I struggled much more previously with my Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS.

    Having mentioned that, I do miss the IS capability. Large aperture doesn’t make up for IS, or vice versa. You just have to keep different things in mind when you shoot your subjects.

    I’ve noticed strong blue fringing (at the edge of overexposed areas) roughly 1/4 radius from the center. This is surprising to me because I always thought that this would happen further away from the center.

    I also tend to turn the zoom ring the wrong way. I don’t find myself getting used to it any time soon.

    I was considering Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 as my primary lens. It is not quite wide enough for indoor but the Tamron is not long enough to be a walkaround lens outdoor. I only wish that there were such a lens as 18-70mm f/2.8 out there.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $422)