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Canon EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS

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My beloved lens, because I just have this lense. The quality of image so far so good. The quality over the price I think. But because the component of this lens not from steel, it make the body looks like weak.

Canon’s 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS is the latest in its line of inexpensive dSLR kit lenses which began with the original 18-55mm in 2003, as an accompaniment to the groundbreaking EOS Digital Rebel/300D (widely considered to be the camera which started the affordable dSLR revolution). The focal length range was chosen to be equivalent to the popular 28-90mm kit lenses then available for entry-level 35mm SLRs, and lightweight plastic construction was used to keep costs down. The design was slightly refreshed with the introduction of a mk II version to accompany the Digital Rebel XT/350D, however this only really featured subtle cosmetic changes, with no improvement to the optics. And those optics were never the strong point of this lens, which gained a reputation as a somewhat mediocre performer, with many users looking to upgrade fairly rapidly.

But Canon has now produced a major upgrade in the shape of this IS version, which looks destined to become the new standard kit lens for Canon’s APS-C dSLRs such as the EOS 450D. IS stands for Image Stabilization, and the new lens features a wholly new, simplified optical image stabilization module, which Canon claim offers similar performance to that offered in their higher end (and hitherto much more expensive) IS lenses. This new lens is a clear response to the competitive threat posed by other manufacturers offering sensor-shift stabilization in relatively inexpensive dSLR bodies, so the big question is whether it can deliver the goods in terms of image quality, in the face of some strong competition at this entry-level point.

Changes compared to the non-IS versions

Side-by-side comparison of the 18-55mm IS to the non-IS mkII version suggests that it offers more than simply the addition of an IS unit. The new lens is slightly longer than its predecessor (70mm vs 66mm), and the front element is substantially larger in diameter (44mm vs 37mm); the optical diagram reveals that the next three elements are also larger, presumably to accommodate the demands of the optical IS unit. The aperture diaphragm has been moved rearwards in the lens assembly, and the lens coatings also appear to have been changed. However the lens remains impressively lightweight and compact; addition of the IS unit adds nothing to its diameter, and just 10g to the weight. As an added bonus, the minimum focus distance has been reduced from 0.28m to 0.25m, offering a welcome increase in maximum magnification from 0.28x to 0.34x. Overall this represents a pretty impressive technical achievement by Canon’s lens designers.

Headline features

* 29-88mm equivalent focal length range
* Optical image stabilisation – 4 stops
* EF-S mount for Canon APS-C dSLRS only


Written by Dimas A. Nugroho

January 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

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Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II

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The Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II is the least expensive lens currently available for the EOS system, and has been in the lineup since late 1990. It’s a simplified version of the original EF 50mm F1.8 of 1987 (often referred to as the ‘Mark I’) which was supplied as standard with some of Canon’s earliest 35mm EOS SLRs; however it can trace its lineage back a lot further than that, as the company has been making 50mm F1.8 standard lenses since 1959. Like its predecessor, it uses simple symmetric Gaussian optics with six elements in five groups, in a well-proven formula which is known to offer excellent correction of aberrations.

Although designed as a ‘standard’ lens for 35mm film, these days the 50mm F1.8 is far more likely to be seen doing service on APS-C format DSLRs, on which it behaves like a short telephoto portrait lens (80mm equivalent). With its remarkably low (sub-$100) price, it tends to attract the interest of Canon SLR users looking to start experimenting with fast lenses for low light and shallow depth of field work, or simply hoping to get sharper results than those which can be provided by the kit lens bundled with the camera body. It’s also a potential option for those seeking a near-disposable lens to use in adverse conditions.

f course this isn’t the only lens of its focal length in Canon’s lineup, and potential buyers will often also be tempted by the EF 50mm F1.4 USM which we reviewed recently, despite its significantly higher price tag. So the question we’ll be asking in this review is whether the slower lens offers such compelling value for money that it’s an unmissable bargain, or if instead the inevitable compromises involved in hitting such a low price point are too much to tolerate.

Written by Dimas A. Nugroho

January 10, 2010 at 8:09 am

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM

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Back in July, Canon took the distinctly unusual step of announcing a new technological development completely in isolation from any products. The subject was a novel ‘Hybrid’ optical image stabilization system designed to compensate for two distinct types of camera shake. You can read more about it here, but in essence the stabilizer is different from existing systems, which only detect and correct for changes in the angle the lens is pointing, by also compensating for vertical and horizontal shifts in the position of the lens caused by handshake. This has little benefit at long focus distances, but as the subject gets closer it becomes progressively more important, and in principle offers maximum benefit for macro shooting.

In September the company duly introduced the first lens to feature this new technology, and to no great surprise it turned out to be a 100mm macro. The EF 100mm F2.8 L IS USM Macro joins Canon’s impressive short-telephoto lineup as a supplement to (rather than a replacement for) the existing EF 100mm F2.8 USM Macro, and at a significantly higher price. Alongside the latest and greatest IS technology it gains all the usual benefits associated with the premium ‘L’ badge, including robust, weathersealed build and the use of exotic glass for the correction of aberrations. The optical construction is of 15 elements in 12 groups, including a single ultra-low dispersion glass element, and the 1:1 maximum magnification is achieved at a minimum focus distance of 0.3m.

Canon makes some quite specific claims for the effectiveness of its new IS system, and it’s worth looking at these in detail. The stabilizer is supposed to give a 4 stop advantage at longer focus distances, dropping to 3 stops at 0.5x magnification and 2 stops at full 1x magnification. The first of these specs is pretty much par for the course for Canon’s current IS lenses, but even with the Hybrid system it’s clear that the level of stabilization at close distances is expected to be relatively low (this despite Canon’s publicity material claiming that it ‘enables photographers to capture stunning close-up shots without the need for a tripod’). So the question potential buyers will surely be asking is whether the blend of features offered by the new lens is sufficiently compelling to justify buying it over the older, but well-regarded non-stabilized 100mm macro.

Headline features

  • 100mm fixed focal length; F2.8 maximum aperture
  • Macro focusing: 1:1 maximum magnification
  • Hybrid’ image stabilization system for increased effectiveness at close focus distances
  • Canon EF mount for full-frame and APS-C DSLRs

Written by Dimas A. Nugroho

January 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens Review by The Digital Picture

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Because it is a very high quality but moderately-priced ultra wide angle zoom lens, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens is one of Canon’s best selling lenses. The 17-40 f/4 L fills out the bottom focal length range of Canon’s f/4 L zoom lens series. It is the lightest L lens currently made (1.1 lbs / 475g) and is the smallest L zoom lens currently produced (3.3″ x 3.8″ / 83.5mm x 96.8mm – DxL).

As indicated by the “ultra wide angle” designation, the 17-40mm focal length is ultra wide on a full-frame DSLR. Let’s take a look at a focal length comparison.I know, the 30mm focal length is a somewhat unusual choice for this comparison, but … I didn’t plan to use this set of images this way – I was just shooting the scene. Obviously, 17mm is vastly wider than 40mm.

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Written by Dimas A. Nugroho

December 2, 2009 at 10:24 am