Canon Lens Reviews - Camera Buying Tips
Jim's Photography Background
In the mid 90's I replaced the Canon AT-1 with a Canon Elan film body. On the front of this Canon Elan, I used 2 lenses exclusively for several years. The lenses were the Canon 28-105 USM and the Canon 100-300 USM lens. These lenses fit most of the needs of my photography style at the time. Both the Canon 28-105 and the Canon 100-300 USM are inexpensive, light-weight and low cost.
In 2001, I bought my first digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 990. Once I had a digital camera, use of my film camera virtually ended. In June of 2003 I purchased my first digital SLR camera, a Canon 10D 6MP DSLR.
In 2007, I purchased a Canon 5D body. Since owning these Canon DSLR cameras, I've aquired several new lenses over the last few years. I'll get into the why I'd recommend these lenses and Canon cameras, further down on this page. My stock photos sell at a rate that helps fund new photography equipment. I also operate a successful 35MM slide scanning service business out of my home office. Visit my photos for sale site to purchase prints of my work.
Where do I buy my cameras and lenses?
B&H Photo and Video 1-800-858-4793
After buying several Canon cameras and lenses over a few decades, I've come to the conclusion that the absolute best place to purchase photography equipment is B&H Photo and Video of New York City. This can be done by browsing their Web site or by calling them at the number above. Look for their green background, multi-page ads in most photography magazines.
The second reason I promote B&H Photo and Video is that they reward me a monthly benefit. However, I would not personally promote any business unless I knew it was reputable. The service at B&H is impeccable! Did I mention that I buy all my photography equipment from B&H, as do millions of other photographers?
B&H offers a HUGE selection and may be the largest camera dealer on the planet! Prices are usually the lowest you'll find from reputable camera dealers. The service at B&H is second to none. If you have a problem with an item B&H returns or exchanges are easy. They even pay return shipping on most exchanges.
I've made dozens of purchases from B&H including cameras, lenses, software, HDTV, headphones, VCR-DVD recorder, etc. Never had a problem. Most orders ship the same day that you place the order. Here in Massachusetts, most orders shipped from B&H arrive in 1 day, even with UPS ground.
I would recommend B&H to all photographers. I was 100% satisfied with every purchase. You simply can't go wrong buying from B&H Photo and Video. All over the Internet, in the photography forums etc, people always recommend B&H.
It would be nice if all camera and electronics dealers were as trustworthy as B&H.
The Internet and photography magazines support many unsavory camera and lens suppliers. A higher-than-usual percentage of mail-order camera / lens dealers are less than reputable. With so many dishonest camera dealers, many consumers get screwed! Check reseller ratings.com before making purchases vial mail-order, or over the Internet, especially when dealing with unknown camera dealers.
Most professional photographers know buying cameras and lenses via mail-order companies often saves the buyer hundred of dollars. Most local camera stores just can't compete with huge camera dealers. Look in the back of any photography magazine and you'll find dozens of camera dealers who sell mostly mail-order. Many of these dealers have been around for years. Some camera dealers are reputable, others are not. With the growth of Internet shopping, the number of corrupt and crooked camera dealers has risen dramatically. Many of these unsavory camera seller lure in buyers by advertizing super low prices. Only after they have your credit card number do you find out the catch.
Corrupt camera dealers often do the following:
Unethical camera sellers know their target. They target naive buyers who seek the lowest price. For example, a friend of mine was looking to buy a new digital camera several years ago. I gave him my copy of a photography magazine and he proceeded to seek out the lowest price for the model he wanted, against my advice. I advised him that B&H would be the wise choice, but he found a different camera dealer with his model at a lower price. He went ahead and made the call to order his camera. After his order was complete he told me he was paying $100.00 for shipping, for a lightweight camera! Enough said!
Before buy anything over the Internet from an unknown supplier, check their rating at Reseller Ratings.
Canon Lens Reviews EOS
I own several Canon EOS lenses and all were purchased ay B&H Photo & Video.
Canon 50MM 1.8 Prime Lens Review
The Canon 50MM 1.8 prime lens is inexpensive, (compared to most other Canon lenses) and lightweight. It makes a great portrait lens on a cropped sensor camera, due to its ability to put the background way out of focus. I use my Canon 50MM 1.8 lens for a variety of subjects including portraits and my astrophotography. On a full frame sensor DSLR the 50MM is a great standard prime lens. Images from this Canon 50MM lens are very sharp and have good contrast, especially when compared to most zoom lenses, even L series zooms.
The "fast" 1.8 aperture makes the Canon 50MM 1.8 good for low light situations including shooting indoors without flash, night photography and astrophotography.
Pros: If the only lens you've used on your DSLR is a non L series zoom, you likely see a noticable increase in image quality with this lens. With the Canon 50MM prime lens you'll liekly see better contrast, sharpness and color. The 1.8 aperture will provide a brighter viewfinder image than slower lenses.
Cons: Canon's EF, electronic focus 50MM 1.8 is small. It's also very light weight. This gives it a cheap feel. It might not stand up to shock very well. It also does not have the USM focus motor so it's a litle bit noisier. To manually focus, you must change the AF / MF switch position, unlike USM lenses which can be manully focused in the auto position.
Canon 24-105MM F/4 L IS EOS Zoom Lens Review EF
The Canon 24-105MM review lens is my most used lens. I use it on a full-frame Canon 5D body. However, on a cropped sensor body like the 40D, it does not provide what most people would consider wide angle. I upgraded to the Canon 24-105 zoom after using a Canon 28-105 for several years. The improvement in image quality was amazing. Contrast, sharpness and color saturation is fantastic with the 24-105 espeically when compared to the non-L Canon 28-105 MM.
With a strong interest in night photography, the IS feature of this lens made it more appealing to me. I don't like lugging a tripod. IS, or image stabilization, reduces the effect of camera shake. This allows for hand held shutter speed at least 2 or 3 stops slower than a conventional lens. I've made many sharp photos with shutter speeds as low as 1/6 second.
Cons: The Canon 24-105MM is quite large and heavy. At wide angle settings, there is significant distortion, especially noticeable if you have the horizon in your image. As a follow-up to this review of the 24-105MM, the red ring came loose and fell off my copy of the lens. I lost it as well. Canon wanted over $100.00 for the front barrel section which would include the red ring. They did not sell the ring separately.
I bought this Canon 100-400MM telephoto zoom l lens because I enjoy wildlife and bird photography. It's also a fantastic lens for air show photography. The image stabilization feature, IS, provides the user with the ability to get sharp hand-held images at slower shutter speeds, than equal focal length non IS lenses. The Canon 100-400MM lens is large and heavy with a very solid build.
Cons: I encountered one problem with both copies of the lens I received. There is a rotating zoom friction adjustment collar around the lens. This is designed so that the user can adjust the push-pull zoom friction. After setting the zoom friction to a nice resistance at the 100 end, upon sliding the zoom toward the 400 end, the resistance changes. Friction gets greater as you push toward the 400 end. I returned the first copy of the lens because if this. The return went very smooth with B&H. The second copy had the same issue, but slightly less. I decided to just deal with it. It is as if the lens barrel has a taper, causing the zoom friction to change toward the 400 end. This condition does not exist on all copies. Two of my friends have the Canon 100-400MM lens with no variance in the zoom friction.
The photo of David Ortiz at right, was made hand-held, at 400MM, with a shutter speed of 1/125 second on a Canon 5D body. Without the IS feature of this lens, it would be nearly impossible to get a sharp, hand-held photo at that shutter speed. ISO was set to 1250.
Canon's 100MM Macro lens is....To be added soon...
Other Reviews by Jim