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Canon EF 35mm f/2

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

Pros: Small size, sharp, cheap
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

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.
'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

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

Pros: Light, reasonably cheap, good focal range
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

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
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

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
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

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

Pros: Ergonomics, picture quality (with qualifications - see below), build, price
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

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

Pros: Very sharp, good contrast, covers 5 focal lengths
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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