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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Nov 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, small, cheap for what it covers
Cons:
silly pointless lens hood, f4

A great lens.

Not the widest, not the fastest but reliable, sharp and small. Covers 17,20,24,28,35 lens ranges and is excellent at them all (from a couple of stops down).

Not perfect wide open, but still very good.

'people' love to bash this lens, I rely on it nearly every day


 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Oct 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small body size for full frame, excellent image quality, wonderful big LCD, fast in use, nice big viewfinder, ISO in V/F when changing, good focusing, quietish shutter. A true state-of-the-art dslr
Cons:
Expensive for what is a 20D on steroids (over twice the price!)- but a ground breaking camera nonetheless. Still has cheapish CF door, awkward terminal/pc covers. Silly mirror lock up. Dreadful Canon software as usual

A 20D shape but about 15% bigger, I didn't even need to open the manual to know how every feature works. It still has the annoying need to delve into custom functions to lock the mirror up, but at least that can be saved in the custom mode, along with ISO and most other settings.

Everything where it needs to be, lenses are back at their correct focal lengths, focusing is good and fast if not quite 1 series standards. Wonderful image quality. Fantastic new LCD screen is just so much better.

Canon really have raised the bar recently, I now have 3 of their current models and they all give excellent quality, good reliability, fabulous battery life.

A bit pricey but it is still a new item. Go on, go mad buy one


 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

EF17-85
Review Date: Sep 13, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Quite sharp and medium and long zooms
Cons:
Woeful at 17mm

I got this lens stupidly cheap, a deal that was too good to miss, although I'll be selling it shortly.

I wanted something a bit wider than my 24-85 Canon and thought this might be it. I was wrong, it is WAY overpriced and awful at the wide end. at 50-85 it isn't bad - not in the same street as my 24-70L and about the same as the 24-85 it was supposed to replace.

It is so big considering it is SO slow (85mm f 5.6, my large format lenses were faster than that) OK, it's got IS, so what.

A very ordinary, very overpriced optic.


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Sep 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast maximum aperture, good quick focusing, sharp from f 4.5 down, not too expensive for an 'L' lens. Nice manual focus ring & decent big hood included.
Cons:
Not that great at full aperture or until f 4.5, still need contrast 'adjustment' on digital. Silly lenshood fitting - not strong enough (not the only Canon lens with this issue !).

A very good lens, but not the 'astonishing' performer I had hoped for. Much lighter and obvously faster than my 70-200 2.8L but optically not really that different. Not quite as good at or near wide open as I'd been led to believe and therefore much the same as the 70-200 when stopped down. I previously had the 135 F2 FD series lens, which was just as good if not slightly better - perhaps the lead free glass now used?

I'm not absolutely sure I will keep it. Shame, the reviews are just *so* good I had hoped for a tiny bit more.


 
Sigma 18-125mm F3.5-5.6 DC

4882618_125dc_1_
Review Date: May 1, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: Light & small
Cons:
Everything else, absolutely dreadful, BY FAR the worst lens I have ever owned (and I've had a few stinkers)

Awful, just plain awful.

The lens apparenty thinks infinity should be 15 feet away. Flatly refuses to focus on anything more than that far away. Distant hills, mountains, birds, all are apparently within spitting distance according to this sad optic.

Apart from being hopelessly slow (f5.6 from 60mm to 125 - even my 5x4 lenses were faster than that!) The 'focusing' is both noisy and innacurate and the image has a 'chroma' around it making it look terribly digital.

Nor is it particularly sharp (when you switch to manual and actually focus it properly). I couldn't trust it take a picture if my life depended on it.

I'm too embarassed to sell it on ebay because I think I'd be a fraud - shame it came mail order from overseas and I can't send it back - not that I'd really want a replacement anyway.

Terrible, terrible, terrible.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Apr 5, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Sharp from 2.8 down
Cons:
Awful build for 'the best standard lens' that Canon make. Graunchy focusing, plasticky, not A PATCH on the old 50mm 1.4 FD lens

Nowhere near as good as I'd hoped. Bought to upgrade my 1.8 II 50mm as I needed the extra light, this lens is not worth the extra money.

Though a good solid performer, sharp and with goodish quiet autofocus, the build quality isn't much better than a consumer zoom. The focus ring is 'rough' and not easy to use.

As this is the 'best' 50mm Canon make it should be MUCH better.

If you have the other slower 50's, don't bother to upgrade.



 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Apr 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent lens, one of the best I own
Cons:
None at all

In a previous life I owned the FD series 85 1.8 and it paid my wages by shooting concerts. Those days are long gone but it's replacement, the EF 85 1.8 is probably even better. It's one of the sharpest lenses I own (mainly L lenses) and has THE best contrast.

I really love the thick focusing ring and the build quality. It is the equivalent of a 135 f1.8 on my 20D - brilliantly fast.

Excellent lens, excellent value, hard to fault in any way


 
Canon EF 35mm f/2

ef35mmf2_1_
Review Date: Mar 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small size, sharp, cheap
Cons:
buzzy focusing, can't refocus in auto mode (need to switch to manual)

A good prime lens. Not spectacular but a useful length on a 1.6x crop (used mainly for social & general work). 'Buzzy' but accurate focusing and a shame one cannot refocus manually at all in auto mode but a good buy nonetheless and will be used a lot on my new 20D. Useful distance scale. Glad I bought it.

 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: Mar 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Silky smooth, sharp images, fast in use (even with RAW), light weight. Great battery life, rear dial, accurate focusing.
Cons:
'clunky' (but fast returning) mirror. Doesn't feel as well made as 10D - a bit plasticky, especially the CF door. Smallish LCD screen, 1.6x crop Ugh!

I have a 1D2 as my main pro camera. The 20D is my backup. It is a vastly superior Dslr compared to my previous backup 10D, it feels much more snappy and up-to-date.

It also feels lighter and not quite as well made - especially the CF door which is very flimsy on such an expensive camera.

It does everything extraordinarily well and quickly. I can process the files in C1 and achieve more or less the same quality as the 1D2 without having to lug the big beast around.

I HATE the 1.6x crop, as soon as we are out of this phase and onto sensibly priced full frame the better. I bought the kit lens (18-55) as it was effectively free and it isn't that bad, and it is very light - not a patch on proper glass but ok for snaps.

To me it seems that the 'digital camera' has more or less come of age now- the new 350D is almost as good as the 20D, smaller and a lot cheaper. I went for the 20D because I like the rear dial, the focus point layout the bigger finger grip and the obvious 1D2 similarities, but we are really nit picking now. These modern cameras can do everything we could ever wish for and the differences between all of them are very small. Taking very good quality photographs has never been easier.

I'm sure the 20D will be superceeded soon, but I don't think I will change until the 1.6x crop goes, there really is very little I can't do with a current 20D! Excellent camera.


 
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

ef_24-85_35_1_
Review Date: Oct 26, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Light, reasonably cheap, good focal range
Cons:
Slow, soft, pretty awful on digital actually

I've owned the lens for ages but only recently taken it back off the wife to try on my 1D2 as a general purpose lens.

It doesn't do. It isn't fast or sharp enough at any aperture to get much out of the camera.

The barrel is rather flimsy and is distinctly 'prosumer'. I can't recommend it.

Buy a Tamron 28-75 2.8 instead, much better.


 
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

28-75mm
Review Date: Oct 26, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Really cracking little lens. Quite tight and well built, sharp from a stop and a half down through the range, good value, hood included. SO much smaller & lighter than the Canon 24-70 and still 2.8 AND 1/3 the price - excellent
Cons:
Focusing barrel rotates during autofocus, can't refocus manually (not USM) & lens extends on zooming. Not much to worry about

Needed a lighter companion for my 24-70 2.8L and this was recommended by the guys here on FM. A really good buy so far - I'm sure it will become my 'everyday' lens. Astonishingly small & light compared to the big Canon lens. No flaws found (yet)

 
Canon EOS 1D Mark II

1D2
Review Date: Sep 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,495.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, weather sealing, speed of use, battery life, mains adaptor included -almost everything
Cons:
Dust on sensor problems, silly way to select other memory card, can't get ISO & shots remaining on rear screen, that would be nice. Still has a 1.3 crop, silly access to personal functions via pc- hardly anything, superb kit

State of the art. Not as many pixels as a 1Ds but better shadow detail IMO. Fast accurate focusing even at maximum aperture, good buffer, selectable RAW & jpegs, in-camera backup. All great stuff. Canon software still nowhere near C1. A true gem.

 
Canon EOS 10D

10D
Review Date: Oct 8, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,249.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ergonomics, picture quality (with qualifications - see below), build, price
Cons:
1.6 crop, small viewfinder, 6v pc limit, image qualty with average lenses (see below)

The 10D is in many ways a strange beast, a year before it's launch a camera of this quality at this price would have seemed impossible. Canon have made some compromises, particulary the use of an average quality focusing unit (I bet they regret that now) and the absence of a spot meter, which I don't use anyway. The focusing is fine from a stop or two down though and auto-focus is a luxury I'm not used to anyway coming from medium and large format.

IMHO the thing that stands out most about the 10D is the difference in quality obtainable by using good lenses over average ones. Put a standard Canon consumer zoom on this camera and you may well be disappointed with the results, put a good 'L' lens on and it is an entirely different story, fantastic medium format-equalling quality can be the result, my feeling is that the smaller sensor needs more 'information' from the lens than film did.

That is not to say that the results out of the camera are perfect, post-processing is de regeur with the 10D. I always use RAW and Breezebrowzer to get the finest quality I can. It takes some work but it's worth it. Others will espouse Capture One and others but I have not tried them so can't comment.

I have a few 'beefs' though, what is the point of giving us a pc socket if it can only take 6v ? My standard-issue Elinchroms put out 12v so I need a Wein safe-sync in the hot shoe, so why bother putting the pc socket there.

I really don't like the 1.6 crop either, it makes the viewfinder image small and I find myself constantly trying to work out which lens is which by mentally multiplying by 1.6. The sooner they manage to build standard size sensors at a sensible price the better. Using wide angle lenses as standard just isn't the answer, they are not built to do the same job.

The 10D is fantastic, requires an amout of re-learning and is the shape of things to come in photography, no doubt. Buy one.


 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Jul 25, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp, good contrast, covers 5 focal lengths
Cons:
BIG, very BIG for a short zoom, silly lens hood coupling not going to stand pro use, big filter size

I used to own the best-ever FD zoom, the 35-70 2.8. It was very sharp and expensive, so was this. The FD was an excellent lens and so is the 24-70 with a great focal length range but it IS SO BIG. Most of my work is on a tripod so it isn't a huge issue and it does do away with 24,28,35,50 & 70mm lenses. I didn't have its predecessor the 28-70 which was almost as big but it is quite a shock to find a short zoom this size and weight. Great optics though

 

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