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Thread: Updating canon lenses

  1. #1

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    Updating canon lenses

    I would appreciate some good advice on choosing a new lens.

    Using a Canon camera EOS60D ( I also have an older 450D) I have got two kit lenses EF-S 15-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 as well as two good prime lenses EF 50 f/1.4 and Tamron DF 90mm f/2.8 Macro.

    I am willing to spend the money to upgrade to ONE high quality lens which will be a good complement to the lenses I already have and I am particularly looking at the Canon lenses EF 16-35 f/2.8 L II USM and EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II USM.

    My photographic interests are landscapes, macro, street and architectural scenes and occasional portraiture. The two prime lenses serve their particular purposes well and good quality telephoto zooms are on my horizon for the next millennium.

    Your advice most welcome.
    Patrik

  2. #2
    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Crop body camera shooting landscape, macro, street, architecture and a little portrait.

    Macro is covered. Portrait is covered with your 50mm prime, which is 80mm on crop.

    For what you shoot, your "weak" spot is on the wide end. The 18-55 kit lens could be improved on. (I assume you did not really mean 15-55)

    The new 24-70 is by all accounts a great lens, but that focal range is really geared towards a full-frame camera. The 24mm wide end is really not wide at all on a crop (38.4mm equivalent), especially for landscape and architecture, which you list as very important for you.

    The 16-35 would give you a huge boost in image quality, and also a little extra width on the wide end (16 vs. 18).

    Look here at The Digital Picture, where you can see the really incredible difference (side by side test pattern photos) between the 18-55mm kit lens and the 16-35 L II. Select the two lenses, then view image quality at different focal lengths and apertures.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ple-Crops.aspx

    (Be sure to compare lenses stopped down to f/8 and not just wide open)
    Last edited by Scott Stephen; 1st March 2013 at 05:29 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Thank you Scott, I agree with your way of reasoning and will shoot for the 16-35mm lens unless someone comes up with a more convincing suggestion. The link for lens comparisons amplified my convictions.
    Cheers
    Patrik

  4. #4
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    The L lenses are all designed for full-frame. While you can use them on a crop body, they are larger and heavier than is needed for an APS-C sensor--they're designed to project an image circle that covers a full-frame sensor. So it only makes sense to go for, say, a 16-35/2.8L II or an EF 17-40 f/4L USM as your walkaround if you are planning to go full-frame in the near future and will want an ultrawide on that body. But they're not particularly wide on a crop.

    To my mind, if you want an upgraded walkaround zoom and you're sticking with APS-C sensors, then the two lenses to look at, assuming you're not picking up a 6D in the next year, would be the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 or the EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. These are the closest crop-body analogs to the EF 24-70/2.8L and the EF 24-105/4L IS USM. If you look at those same digital-picture crops Scott links to, and compare the 16-35/2.8 II on a full-frame with the 15-85 on a crop, you'll see the image quality is pretty much the same, and the 15-85 is, what, less than a third the price of the 16-35L? [And if you compare the 16-35L II vs. Nikon's legendary 14-24, you'll like it even less.]

    If what you want is to go even wider than the 18-55, then get an actual ultrawide. And you HAVE to get an EF-S/crop lens here. The EF-S 10-22, the Tokina 11-16/2.8, Sigma 10-20, and Tamron 10-24 are the usual suspects.

    The reason I state a year as the cutoff is if you're going to be with a crop body for longer than that, then the time you spend with a lens that actually fits the wide end appropriately is going to be worth the loss you take on resale with a good lens, like the higher-end EF-S or the ultrawides. Think of the $100-$200 you'll lose as a year's rental with the right lens, and it will make more sense.
    Last edited by inkista; 21st March 2013 at 01:36 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    I agree with Kathy Li regarding the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens...

    To my mind, if you want an upgraded walkaround zoom and you're sticking with APS-C sensors, then the two lenses to look at, assuming you're not picking up a 6D in the next year, would be the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 or the EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM."

    My philosophy is to get the very best mid-range zoom I can afford; since I will shoot the majority of my images with that lens. I usually shoot about 2/3 of my images with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and about a third with my 70-200mm f/4L IS. The rest of my lens collection are used infrequently for specific applications.

    I love my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens as half of a 2-lens team on a pair of cameras. The other half of that team is the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens. I mention that I use the 17-55 IS lens along with the longer lens is that the 55mm side is not quite long enough for me if used as the only lens. With two cameras, I have instant access to the second lens with no lens switching required.

    If I were desiring to shoot with a single camera/lens; I think that I would opt for the 15-85mm (not the 17-85mm) lens because the 85mm side would be more useful. OTOH, I love the constant f/2.8 of the 17-55mm lens.

  6. #6
    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Now, I actually agree with both Richard and Kathy Li if you are looking outside the OP's stated ONE LENS criterion. But since both of the OP's single lens choices were quite expensive, you could get TWO for the price. Provided he will stay with the crop body.

    I have the 17-55 and I love the lens. I agree that paired with a Canon 70-200 of some kind it makes a good 2-lens solution if Patrik was willing to unload both his kit lenses and go with two new ones.

    However, his preference seems to lean to architecture and landscape, so he may really need a superwide for crop bodies, as Kathy says. A 10-22 or 10-20 from Canon or Sigma would fit the bill, the Sigma being less money.

    If he goes for the Sigma superwide, and the f/4 version of the 70-200, and sells both kit lenses, he could just about get all 3 for the price of the new 24-70mm L II if he buys used.

    But if he has any thoughts of going FF in the next 2-3 years, he should decide now, before he buys any more crop-only lenses. I am about to sell my 17-55, but I will keep my crop body for the reach.

  7. #7

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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Thank you guys for all the in-depth advice. It has got me thinking whether or when I may want to upgrade to a FF camera and so I will give this some more thought. It's great to be part of this CiC community where you can get experienced advice from so many different photographers.

    Cheers
    Patrik

  8. #8
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pat3pee View Post
    I would appreciate some good advice on choosing a new lens.

    I am willing to spend the money to upgrade to ONE high quality lens which will be a good complement to the lenses I already have and I am particularly looking at the Canon lenses EF 16-35 f/2.8 L II USM and EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II USM.

    Not being picky here – but the 16 to 35 will not be a complement to your existing lenses. From a practical perspective, the 24 to 70 is more a replacement also. In this case (of replacement), you have not really detailed what the issue(s) is/are, with your kit zooms.

    I understand that you have listed general OUTCOMES (what you like shooting): but you have not disclosed why the two kits zoom fall short in providing those outcomes.

    Both the lenses you mention are “better quality” than the two kit zoom you have: but I suggest you need to begin defining HOW those two kit lenses fall short and WHY they fall short of your needs.

    WW

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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I agree with Kathy Li regarding the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens...

    To my mind, if you want an upgraded walkaround zoom and you're sticking with APS-C sensors, then the two lenses to look at, assuming you're not picking up a 6D in the next year, would be the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 or the EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM."

    If I were desiring to shoot with a single camera/lens; I think that I would opt for the 15-85mm (not the 17-85mm) lens because the 85mm side would be more useful. OTOH, I love the constant f/2.8 of the 17-55mm lens.
    I agree regarding the 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM. This is a superb lens and very under rated. I have this lens as well as the 17-55 f2.8 IS USM. The achilles heel of the 17-55 is the high level of linear chromatic aberation across the frame. Sometimes it's more than the correction utility in Lightroom or PS CS5 can handle, so I only use this lens for "people" pictures and not for architecture or landscapes.

  10. #10

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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Thks for positive criticism Bill. I think as follows:. The kit lens I got long ago, the 18-55mm f/3,5-5.6 I dropped on the floor 3-4 months ago and repaired the damage, the AF mechanism, but it isn't working as smoothly as I'd like. So if I keep the crop camera(s) I thought I could get a shorter ( 16-35mm) good lens. Working happily with my two prime lenses ( 50mm and 90mm Macro ) and quite happy use my feet for positioning I thought this the easy solution. Now when I have to think whether to upgrade to Full Frame camera which is quite an investment, I'm not ready to make this choice and not sure that I need to go further with a new camera purchase. Where I live it isn't easy to sell used equipment unless I use eBay perhaps. If I stay with my crop camera perhaps the 17-55mm f/2.8 would be a good substitute ( or perhaps the 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 ) as I could concentrate on using this for say 70% of my shooting and the rest with my 90mm, which I have found excellent, even for taking advantage of making seamless photomerging in PP. The 55-250 lens is not used so much so telephoto shooting isn't a priority.

    On the right track or not? Remember it's all hobby work for me, I just want to get decent seamless hardware and concentrate on the more important stuff like becoming a good photographer .

    Patrik

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pat3pee View Post
    I think as follows: . . . [describes outline for reasons] . . . On the right track or not?
    Thank you. You have explained and now I understand some of the reasons as to why you want a replacement, for the 18 to 55 kit lens.

    You have Four main issues which I note, two of which you are addressing with your thinking and two you are not (at least you have not disclosed that you are thinking about two, you might be but you haven’t detailed those thoughts).

    The main issues I note are:

    1. Should I buy an EF Lens so I can use it on a FF camera?
    2. Should I buy a lens which is wider than 18mm?
    3. Do I require a lens faster than what I have? (Larger Maximum aperture)
    4. Does IS reckon in these matters?

    What I suggest you do, is make this list with those four questions and then argue (actually write down) the pros and cons for each question, as those pros and cons apply to YOUR situation.

    Then work our which argument wins for you - for each of thsoe four questions.

    Then you also should PRIORITIZE which issue is the most important and which issue is the least important, to YOU.

    Then you will have a template into which a lens or a couple of lenses will easily fit.



    WW

  12. #12
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    The main issues I note are:

    1. Should I buy an EF Lens so I can use it on a FF camera?
    2. Should I buy a lens which is wider than 18mm?
    3. Do I require a lens faster than what I have? (Larger Maximum aperture)
    4. Does IS reckon in these matters?
    Bill's suggestion is excellent. I'd like to add my two cents are far as answering some of his questions (but at the end of the day, I'm not Patrik, so who knows if this'll be helpful? ). In the interest of full disclosure, I own Canon EF 20mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, and 100mm f2.0 USM primes, a 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 zoom, and (mothballed) EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 and 55-250mm f4-5.6 zooms.

    1. Yes. The EF range covers enough ground that you should be able to buy only full-frame compatible lenses. Even if you're not thinking about going FF in the immediate future, this will keep your camera options open.

    2. Maybe. Again, full frame enters the equation. For architecture, 18mm works great, but wider is also handy. Doubly so if you're planning to stick with a crop camera for a while (if you decide to go really wide, and stick with crop, have a look at Sigma's $950 12-24mm).

    3. Running out of aperture is incredibly irritating. While I own two lenses with apertures slower than f2.8, they're essentially mothballed (but this is mainly because I do a fair amount of portraiture and low-light work). Then again, your 50mm f1.4 could fill this gap as long as you're okay with only having one focal length option.

    4. IS is handy, but not a deal-breaker. Seems to shine with longer focal lengths (100mm+ or so). For a wide lens, I wouldn't worry about it. I shoot action with an unstabilized 50mm f1.4 regularly, and I can't say I notice the lack of IS.

    Bottom line? From what I've read, I'd recommend the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II. The focal length range is great for your 60D and the applications you mentioned, and it's compatible if you decide to go full-frame. I strongly suspect you'll quickly fall in love with L-series glass - the image quality increase is palpable.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 4th March 2013 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Formatting & spelling corrections.

  13. #13

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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Many thanks to you both, Bill and Lex. I have thoughts along these lines and now I'll have to set up a Boolean algebra table to come to the right conclusion. It's easier to choose a political party I think

    Patrik

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Devil’s Advocate - for consideration on this point:

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    [Image Stabilization] for a wide lens, I wouldn't worry about it.
    Image Stabilization in Wide Angle Lenses, is exceptionally handy when one is shooting in low light, hand held where Tripods and or Monopods are not allowed or inconvenient.
    Photographing Interiors are typical examples.

    When one is close to or at the limit of ISO and Aperture, IS may be the differenece between making or not making the shot as in this example:

    Updating canon lenses
    Tech EOS 5D; EF 24 to 105 F/4 L IS USM
    Shooting (FL = 40mm) F/4 @ 1/13s @ ISO3200

    I note that FL = 24mm on a 5D is actually a wider FoV than FL = 17mm on an APS-C Camera (ref: comparing the EF24 to 70 IS and EF24 to 105 IS to the EF-S 17 to 55 IS).

    24mm on a 'FF' camera is about 'equivalent' to 15mm on an APS-C camera.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 4th March 2013 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Added last line to re-inforce the point about FL

  15. #15
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    On the other hand . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    Bottom line? From what I've read, I'd recommend the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II. The focal length range is great for your 60D and the applications you mentioned, and it's compatible if you decide to go full-frame.
    Indeed.

    I use a 16 to 35MkII as my walk around and “Standard Zoom” on my APS-C cameras:

    Updating canon lenses
    “For_Iftikhar_Ahmad”


    It is a truly wonderful zoom lens.

    However the Lens shines, when it used on a 135 Format Cameras (aka ‘Full Frame’)

    Having the F/2.8 (compared to the 17 to 40 F/4) is useful and worth the expense for me and for what I do.

    For example Available Light Portraiture, where the one stop more of fast aperture is employed to assist arresting Subject Motion:

    Updating canon lenses
    “Peter_Sesselmann_Artist”


    ***

    I knew from the day I planned to cut over from 135 Film SLR to Digital that I would buy, build and use a Dual Format Kit. (i.e. APS-C and 135 Format)

    I therefore employ ONLY EF Lenses and NOT EF-S Lenses, in my DSLR Kit.

    I have used the EF-S 17 to 55 F/2.8 IS USM - it is a wonderful lens also and I would not hesitate to buy that lens, if I only used APS-C Cameras. As I mentioned, the Image Stabilization is useful.

    I purposely mention the consideration of IS, as you (Patrik) stated "architectural scenes" as one of your main points of interest.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 4th March 2013 at 05:58 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Patrik,

    Since you like macro, you might want to think twice about going FF. At anything near minimum working distance with a macro lens, a FF camera will put far fewer pixels on the subject than a crop because of the lower pixel density. The only FF that comes close to current crops in this regard is the Nikon 800. At MWD, the image is 1:1, meaning it is life size on the sensor. I forget the exact pixel counts of the two cameras, but if you do the arithmetic, I think you will find that a 5D3 would give you about 40% of the pixels on the subject at MWD that your 60D gives you. This is the main reason I don't own a FF camera, despite having spent decades with 35mm film.

    I second the suggestion that you look at the 15-85. The extra 3 mm at the short end matters more than you might think. The optics are very good, and the focal length range is very good for a crop. It is my standard outdoor walk-around and landscape lens. the drawback (not an issue for landscapes) is that is slow.

    I half disagree with Kathy Li about EF lenses designed for FF cameras. it is true that all other things being equal, a lens designed for FF will be larger and heavier than one designed for a crop, but the difference is not always huge, and that is only one consideration out of many. I very happily use two EF lenses on my crop-sensor camera: the 100mm L macro, and the 70-200 f/4 IS L. If there were EF-S lenses that were truly equivalent, I might opt for those, but in fact, there aren't any that are truly equivalent. I am happy to lug around a small amount of extra weight to have such excellent lenses.

    Dan

  17. #17
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    ... Bottom line? From what I've read, I'd recommend the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II. The focal length range is great for your 60D and the applications you mentioned, and it's compatible if you decide to go full-frame. I strongly suspect you'll quickly fall in love with L-series glass - the image quality increase is palpable.
    Except. An EF 16-35 f/2.8L II is $1700 new. So, compared to an EF-S 17-55, EF 17-40/4L, and an EF-S 15-85, you're recommending that Patrik spend $600, $900, or $1000 more for the possibility that in the future he might go to full frame. While I'm suggesting possibly losing $200 or $300 on reselling the gear (and eBay isn't the only place you can do this. KEH.com will quote you for used gear, as will B&H and Adorama, and the POTN and Fred Miranda messageboards have very good reputable and lively Buy & Sell areas.) when he knows for sure he's going there. And with the 15-85, he can to both wider and longer, and realistically, he only loses a stop over the range the 16-35 covers.

    L lenses are good. But they're not magic. They're still just lenses. They're expensive, big, heavy, and conspicous. I own the 24-105L, the 135L, and the 400/5.6L. I love them all with a passion and they're my most-used Canon lenses, but I also own the 85/1.8 USM and the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro and I know the EF-S 60 is the sharpest lens in my bag. And that the optical differences between my 85/1.8 USM and my 135L are smaller than you would think from the pricetags.

    The 16-35 has gone through three versions (it began as a 17-35) and some folks say they still haven't gotten it right. The fact that Nikon spectacularly HAS gotten it right with the 14-24 just makes it all that much tougher to accept that a $1700 lens isn't the be-all end-all full-frame ultrawide.

    But then, on the full-disclosure front: I still don't own an ultrawide lens for my 5Dii, and if I were to get one, I'd probably go for the EF 17-40 f/4L, because it's clear to me, I wouldn't use one often.

  18. #18
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Except. An EF 16-35 f/2.8L II is $1700 new. So, compared to an EF-S 17-55, EF 17-40/4L, and an EF-S 15-85, you're recommending that Patrik spend $600, $900, or $1000 more for the possibility that in the future he might go to full frame.
    Your point is well taken, and I did consider the price difference. I would append the correction that B&H sells new 16-35mm f2.8L's for $1,460. Since the 16-35 is mentioned as a possibility in the original post, Patrik clearly has the budget for it, and it does seem to fit his needs very well. To my mind, glass is the best place to plonk down money as a photographer, so it seems silly to buy glass that might be incompatible with a future camera choice (forcing you to buy two lenses). So yes, the 16-35 is much more expensive, but I stand by my recommendation.

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista
    While I'm suggesting possibly losing $200 or $300 on reselling the gear (and eBay isn't the only place you can do this. KEH.com will quote you for used gear, as will B&H and Adorama, and the POTN and Fred Miranda messageboards have very good reputable and lively Buy & Sell areas.) when he knows for sure he's going there. And with the 15-85, he can to both wider and longer, and realistically, he only loses a stop over the range the 16-35 covers.
    On this note, Patrik might want to look at getting whichever lens he picks used. Three of my main four are secondhand, and have no optical problems, and negligible or non-existent cosmetic defects. Good point about the aperture trade-off - landscape photographers definitely have different needs from low-light shutterbugs like yours truly.

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista
    L lenses are good. But they're not magic. They're still just lenses. They're expensive, big, heavy, and conspicous. I own the 24-105L, the 135L, and the 400/5.6L. I love them all with a passion and they're my most-used Canon lenses, but I also own the 85/1.8 USM and the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro and I know the EF-S 60 is the sharpest lens in my bag. And that the optical differences between my 85/1.8 USM and my 135L are smaller than you would think from the pricetags.

    The 16-35 has gone through three versions (it began as a 17-35) and some folks say they still haven't gotten it right. The fact that Nikon spectacularly HAS gotten it right with the 14-24 just makes it all that much tougher to accept that a $1700 lens isn't the be-all end-all full-frame ultrawide.
    I defer to your experience here. I've only used two L lenses short-term (70-200mm f2.8L and 85mm f1.2L II), and only long enough for some experiments to try and detect the difference. The details are arcane, infinitely contentious, and arguably subjective, but suffice it to say that I was surprised at the difference top-shelf glass makes (I have a serious yearning for that 85mm prime). While there are definitely jewels among the mid-range lenses (likely my current favorite, the 100mm f2.0 USM), L series lenses exist for a reason, and to my mind, are generally worth the cost, weight, and bulk.

    We seem to have accidentally covered an incredible gamut of glass-buying philosophies and experience levels. So, Patrik, what say you?
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 4th March 2013 at 06:53 PM.

  19. #19
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    In the light of Dan’s and Kathy’s comments have added a last line to post #14 and edited one phrase from post #15.

    I made these alterations such that my meaning was quite clear on these two points below, which are interrelated, but I believe that I was not clear enough that I intended to relate them to each other:

    1. FL = 15mm on an APS-C camera is “equivalent to” FL = 24 mm on a ‘Full Frame’ Camera.
    2. Image Stabilization is important to consider for some ‘architecture’ Photography.

    I believe I was quite clear that I was avoiding making a suggestion to Patrik as to what lens he should buy – but rather I was explaining a mechanism by which he might chose a lens and I also provided examples of WHY I choose the lenses I have.

    WW

  20. #20
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Updating canon lenses

    This comment has been removed, because it is no longer relevant.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 4th March 2013 at 07:08 PM.

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