9 out of 10 points and recommendedLightweight, Sharp, Excellent Bokeh, quick focus, good lens hood, inexpensiveFocus Ring turns when autofocusing, noisy focus,
I have only one gripe with this lens. Mine broke just before the two year mark. It started to stick a bit while turning the zoom ring, then one day it would no longer zoom to the wide end or telephoto end. It's now a 45 to 70mm zoom, not what I paid for!reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $250)
But I did take quite a number of shots with it. It was the lens most on my camera other than my EF-S 10-22. I never understood why this lens gets panned so much. I found it to be very sharp. At least comparing it to my 50mm 1.8 or my 70-200 F4/L, I didn't see any advantage to those at comparable focal lengths, at least on my 300D or 350XT.
Actually, I think the build of the lens was fine. I give it a 5 above because it didn't quite last two years. If that hadn't happened, I would have rated build a 10.
The only regret I had with this lens was that I would have liked image stabilization and more range. I was jealous when they came out with the 18-200. And now I have my eye on the new 18-200 OS. But I do have some "worries" about whether that lens, which is about twice as much as I paid for the 18-125, will last.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, relatively light, quick focus, very little distortion, great contrastPrice, doesn't include hood, 77mm filter size (cost of filters at that size)
This lens has been somewhat magical for me. It's a blast to use, and I've done my best work with it.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $725)
I rated it only a 9 in construction because it is plastic. Sometimes I worry when screwing in a metal cokin adapter ring, it feels like it's resisting and I'm worried about accidentally rethreading the plastic. But it hasn't happened, and the lens has been holding up well.
It focuses quickly. But one hardly needs to focus at this focal length.
My only minor gripes:
It didn't come with a hood, and the hood is a bit pricey and hard to find. (At least it was when I got the lens--I haven't looked lately, since I've had the lens so long, and lived without the hood this long..)
This was my first lens with a 77mm filter size; boy 77mm filters can be expensive. I would have been happy if it used the same size filter as my 70-200/F4L (67M)
I guess as long as I'm listing "wishes" it could be a fixed aperture 2.8 lens. And come with IS (sometimes you just can't bring that tripod with you!).
8 out of 10 points and recommendedSmall, IS, focuses quickly and accurately, can be very sharp with some extra postprocessingVery prone to flare, needs extra processing to realize the sharpness, zoom creep
I bought this lens after being dissatisfied with the size of the 70-200/F4L. This lens is much more usable than that lens, in my opinion.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $1,125)
The form factor is great. It's very small (though it grows when zooming). It uses 58mm filters, which are relatively inexpensive. It focuses fast and quietly.
As I read about this lens on Luminous Landscape before I bought it, I was prepared to do some extra processing to ensure sharpness. Local contrast enhancement processing (via USM) does help a lot with perceived sharpness (and overall contrast). With that in mind, I've gotten some very nice, and very sharp images from this lens.
And most importantly, it fits in my very small Lowepro PhotoRunner bag along with my 10-22, Sigma 18-125, and my filters and accessories. Although it's pretty heavy for its size, it's no problem to bring along. I always left the 70-200 at home because it was too big.
One issue I did have with this lens: if you point it up, say to shoot a plan, the zoom creeps--more like falls--back. You have to hold the zoom ring to keep it from doing that.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedSmall, Light, Sharp, F1.8 and inexpensiveNo USM, focus ring is small
This is a good lens overall with nice bokeh.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $80)
My only gripes are with the slow and noisy focus, and the size and feel of the focus ring when you are manually focusing.
Other than that, I really don't find this focal length as useful as I thought it would be. As an F1.8 lens, I thought it would be great indoors, but it's really to long for that on a 1.6x crop camera. Next time I would buy a 20mm or 24mm lens with the widest aperture I could.
Of course, at almost 80mm equivalent on a 1.6 crop camera, it's probably a pretty nice portrait lens, but I don't do many portraits!