ken billington's reviews

  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    light in weight, excellent optical performance, fast focusing, sharp images, good vignetting performance


    1. Light in Weight - the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens is light in weight compared to the other Canon telephoto lenses . This is a huge advantage for bird photography, easy to maneuver when taking flight shots, not too tiring when trekking.
    2. Excellent Optical Performance - as a member of the Canon L Lens Series, the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens' overall optical performance is outstanding.
    3. Fast focusing - thanks to the Ultrasonic Motor (USM), the 400 f/5.6 L internally focuses very fast and very quietly.
    4. Sharp Images - the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens performs superbly in the sharpness department. Even wide open, the 400 f/5.6 produces very sharp images.
    5. Good Vignetting Performance - even the corners of full fame shots remain evenly colored without displaying any tendency to vignetting.


    1. Image Stabilisation - one of the compromises of this budget lens is that it doesn't have image stabilisation (IS). It can still be very successful for "handheld" or so-called "grab-shots" provided that a short exposure time and/or a higher ISO is used. When used together with the high quality EOS DSLR's recently introduced by Canon, this disadvantage can be compensated.
    2. Water Resistance - another disadvantage of this lens is that it isn't 100% water resistant like its more expensive cousins.


    The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens is hugely successful for bird and wildlife photography and especially for flight shots. It offers a good level of performance at a relatively low price.

    Check out my photos on

    reviewed December 6th, 2010
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Fast focusing, non-extending or rotating, sharp images, excellent optical performance, practical minimum working distance (MWD) of 150mm.
    Build quality not as solid as L-Series lenses, No image stabilization.


    1. Fast Focusing - Utilizing USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon 100 Macro internally focuses very fast, quietly and very accurately.
    2. Non-Extending or Rotating - When focusing at 1x subject distances, the lens does not extend, and the front element does not rotate.
    3. Sharp Images - the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is sharp wide open. The tiniest details in your tiniest subjects will come to life with this lens.
    4. Optical Performance - Flare is very well controlled. Color and contrast are excellent and distortion is negligible. Although vignetting is apparent at f/2.8, this rapidly disappears when the lens is stopped down.
    5. Practical Minimum Working Distance (MWD) - The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens gives an optimum MWD of 150mm. At the higher MWD of the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM lens (240mm), insects are not really close enough. At the lower MWD of the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens (90mm), insects may scare and fly away prematurely.


    1. Build quality - this USM Macro lens has a reasonable build quality although it's not quite as solid as the L-Series lenses.
    2. Image Stabilization - this lens does not feature the image stabilization present with the significantly more expensive Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens.


    The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is a very good choice for macro photography of butterflies, insects or flowers. It offers excellent optical performance and middle-of-the-road working distance, size and weight.
    Check out my insect stock photos and images on

    reviewed December 6th, 2010