Ulan's reviews

  • Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM APO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Good build quality, fast and quiet autofocus, sharp, excellent contrast, light,
    minimal distance focusing is more than 1 meter

    I was rather worried to read about frontfocusing, chromatic aberration, softness at f/2.8. Maybe quality differs from one lens to another, but mine is quite OK. Images are crispy, contrast very good, excellent sharpness at almost all the focal range (especially at aperture smaller than f/4 and f/5.6). HSM autofocus performs very well.

    Zoom is light and easy to carry. Build quality very good. Focal range is ideal for APS-C, more convenient than a 70-200 mm.

    I am very pleased with this lens, a jewel. Just a pity it has no image stabilizer.

    reviewed June 28th, 2007 (purchased for $940)
  • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    constant 2.8 aperture, IS, sharp, accurate and fast AF
    expensive, distorsion, insufficient build quality for the price

    Canon 17-55

    When you look at the build quality of that rather expensive lens, you cannot avoid comparing with the amazing construction offered by Sigma EX lenses for a lower price. This 17-55 mm looks desperately frail especially when it is full extended at its maximum focal length. Even the Canon 17-85 seems to be stronger (and I tested this one in harsh environments in the coastal desert of Peru, in the Peruvian sierra and jungle. And when you add a hood (after buying it as a supplement!), the device is not very handsome visually speaking.

    Apart from this negative initial remark, the lens performs quite well and lives to expectation. The USM autofocus is fast, silent and very accurate. Image stabilizer is a damned fantastic asset which combined with a 2.8 aperture crowns it as a fantastic fast lens.

    No complaints about the sharpness or the contrast. I don't know what a L-lens quality means (I also have a Canon 100-400), apart from high build quality, but this 17-55 delivers ver

    reviewed June 30th, 2007 (purchased for $1,500)
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Not too expensive for its potential and flexibility, IS for spanning, good IQ, good AF
    heavy, requires handling experience

    I used this zoom in Peru last year. Thanks to it I managed to get good views of tiny mammals such as "viscachas" (a kind of chinchilla with rabbit ears), elusive animals such as vicuñas in the high mountains or rare river otters in the Tambopata, birds (scarlet macaws, paucas, tucan, and many others in the coastal reserve of Paracas). Also photographing interesting characters from a far distance.

    I agree, the zoom is not that easy to handle : it's heavy, push&pull is tiring and not always accurate at the right moment, you must not forget to switch the appropriate IS mode when necessary, and of course you draw attention on you as if you were a paparazzi (but that can be funny, no?). So it is a matter of experience to get the best of the lens. You have to choose an optimal aperture for the appropriate focal length, the ligthing conditions and the speed.

    I had some blur when using my knee as a monopode while "shooting" animals, but I hadn't switched off the IS.

    Contrast is very good, sharpness good.

    Very good build quality, that's also why the zoom is heavy (well, not that too heavy either, you get used to it). Push&pull can be ackward but you also calibrate your own manipulations.

    reviewed June 30th, 2007 (purchased for $1,900)