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  Reviews by: Ralph Conway  

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Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD SP AF

Review Date: May 7, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: My copy seems to be sharp over the whole range, VC works excellent, AF hits well. 5 year warranty! Build quality feels excellent to me. The price is a joke. The lens is pure pleasure.
AF could be faster. But I guess it could always be faster. Zoom and focus rings exchanged. I prefere the focus ring at the lenses front end.

I needed a long zoom lense for a business shooting. I was thinking about Canons 70-300 again, but it still felt to bulky, to heavy and way to expensive (and white) to me. So I went to a german technics discounter and asked for the Tamron. They had two and after 3 dozend testshots with the first copy I purchased it. They all looked very sharp.

After earlier bad experiences with multiple 3rd party lenses including Tamron I never again wanted to get one. But this lens was already working good with my 5D II and in combination with 6D it convinced me immediately (I have to say that all my lenses work faster and more reliable then before with this body).

The build quality rating of "8" was given by me because a sealed lens "feels" better to me. Not that the missing one caused any problems the last 4 month.

Canon EOS 6D

Review Date: Feb 15, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,054.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: All better than 5DII which still is a great camera. Imo better than 5D III and 1DX if using center AF only - what I do. This camera gives me everything and much more I wished from a 5D II successor 1.5 years ago. ISO 12.800 usable! Silent mode! Best feel of any bodies offered (imo again). 30% cheaper than I had to pay for 5D II. Better results with any lens I used in the past.
I thought I would miss the joystick. After a week I saw it is no dealbreaker. Would be nice, but I got common with the MF wheel. And I guess Canon needs at least SOMETHING in common for a 6D MK II. Like 1/8000 shutter speed and any faster flashsync ( I do not need or even wish both. Who takes this camera and uses flashes regulary should buy a bridge camera. who needs more than a 180th sync imo does not know anything about using flashes). So far I feel, there is only one real con: 50k shutter cycles less, than 5D II and 5D III! Does not look like a big deal breaker (I shot 75K with 5D II within the last 4.5 years). But does not really feel good - the only thing, that doesn´t.

The best body I held in my hands the last 37 years. And I paid more than 1.135 $ less, than I had to for the 5D II.
Canon IS a genius. They gave me a 5D II and with 6D they added the follow up that deserved all my wishes.

I do not do sports or BIF. For that 5D III or 1DX might be the right decission. For landscape a Nicon D800 might be. But for everything what I do - people - in real athmo (without flash) 6D is the camera that works. Imo there is no competitor. If I use AF, I still use the center one and recompose. That worked excellent with 5D II and works even better with 6D (ISO 12K is a dream here). I never tested a better camera in this case.
To explain: I did never need to push shadows for 2, 3, 5 or more stops. Shooting at ISO 6.400 or ISO 12K gives me most of the freedom. "Exmor" is not interesting for me. Every offer at ISO 3.600 ore above is loosing against Canon. There is no sony sensored camera on the marked that supports MY NEEDS. Next to that I never met any shooter, who was as fast as me in choosing any different AF point then the center one - and got the important shot!
My "customers" regulary are not waiting for me to get ready (while switching to any outer one). And even if they are, they feel very comfortable, that I already did my shot.

6D is genius!

Before I forget to mention it: I do not have any use for now, but may be I will try Video, WIFI and GPS within the next 5 years. The idea to have it than, still using the same body feels good.

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD SP

Review Date: Sep 6, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, speed, IS (VC), Scharpness, aperture, weight, build, prise, guaranty.
Do not see any now.

Yesterday I tested this lens. Amazing! Three years ago I decided to buy not again any 3rd party lens. This decision has gone.
The Sigma 24-70 imo is by far better than the Canon "L" in any aspect. It may be topped in IQ by the new announced II Version. But this one is priced 2.5 times as much and lacks an IS. And Tamron next to this offers a 5 year guaranty, too.

This lens is my choice for this range. I was shooting the 24-105 L before (because of IS and weight). The Tamron outperformes the 24-105 IQ easyly (and the 24-70 2.8L ones imo, too) and adds an fantastic IS. Imo there is no competitor for this Lens in the Market.


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Review Date: Jun 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, AF-speed, weight

Excellent. The only con I have to say against this lens is that my dealer gave me the new 70-200 2.8 L IS USM II for a test, too. Right, the 100 prime is better in resolution in the corners in 100mm. And I do not do macros. The 70-200 II is a monster in size and weight. But it´s superb, too. And I already started a special training lifting that thing. And a financing plan next to it ...

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Nov 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent IQ, Bokeh, colours, sharpness wide open
I tested 5. All had a FF with my Canon Eos 5D MK II. My dealer sent in two copies for calibration. Nothing changed. I bought two and brought them to sigmas service together with two bodies (5D MK II). They calibrated both lenses, which are excellent now!

I owned a great EF 50mm 1.4 (here I tested 7 and bought the best). I was happy with that lens, except its weekness (??? - sorry about my english) at 1.4. Then I saw some pictures of sigmas competitor. Its bokeh looked superb and the pictures seemed to be sharp wide open, too. So I went out to check it and ended up with a horrible FF of 30 mm within 50-70cm distance. Jere I read that many happy customers had the same issue that was fixed by factories recalibrating. So I bought one after my dealer promised he would take it back, if I am not happy with the result.

There is still a FF of 6-7mm in nearest distance. And I first fixed it with lens adjustment. It was sharp in that area after but not in further distances. So I set adjustment back to zero and founf out that the FF does not make any problems in daily use.

The opposite is fact. This lens now is an excellent peace of glas. crispy sharp even at 1.4 great colours, contrast and bokeh and a fantastic smooth gradient to blurring.

It even feels better then the Canon equivalent. The manual focusring is imo fitting to tight, but this feels more comfotable to me than Canons "loose" one.

They could have sealed it better to make a great competitor against Canons "L". But for me it is the better choice.

Great lense after calibration to my body.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Aug 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Imo best IQ on the market available! At an affordable price. For me the AF fits perfect.
Nothing. But the aditional battery grip is prised 1/9th of the cameras body. This may be acceptable at a 1000 $ Body. For one priced at $ 3.300 (here in germany) it`s just "robbery"!

I bought it 3 month ago and did 7500 shots now. No Problems!
Great IQ with my 24-105 (what became a 24mm again :-)), perfekt over all with the 70-200 4.0 IS USM L. The problems mentioned by some customers below did not happen to me (pressing my thumbs for the future). And I am not really carefull with my gear. They are just tools and have to work under extreme conditions.

In my opinion this camera is the best available one on the market for now. Nothing else beats it in IQ and low light situations (maybe D3x does in "normal" light conditions, I guess - but for its price I would prefere 2 bodys and 2 new "L" lenses.
I shot marriages in available light at ISO 3200 and after developing the raws, they where much sharper and did show more details and less noise than my 50D did at 1600 (what was even low). The fullframe sensor gave me back my analog lense ranges. 21 MP the full freedom to print out even HQ posters.

Since I started doing pictures 32 Years ago - for lightmesuring and later AF - I never used any else then the center point. And this one in my opinion is working perfect: Fast and accurate.

- the aditional battery grip is by far overpriced
- the memory card cover is cheap and bad fitting
- I do not see, why AutoIso is still not adjustable.
That would be very usefull in extreme fast lightchanging
conditions. Hopefully a firmware update will offer this.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Sep 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Perfect! The best lens I ever had. Sharp like hell. IS is fantastic. And its weight is a great advantage when you walk around 8 hours a day with your cam. Excellent price, too
That Canon wants to charge me an additional 15% for a simple (piece of shit) tripod ring is an unbelieveable shame. Thats why I did not rate the price at 10 only.

I wanted to purchase its small brother just when it came out. I did a test and got a perfect sharp image open and using IS at 1/20th.
Than it was mine. I added the additional € 350 with kissing hands.
I shot a couple of times with the 1 stop higher big brother IS. Fine, too. But this lens is better. Its weight is half less, the missing stop in low light is fixred by the great IS in 80% (except fast moving objects only. But what I can not fix with a 20th is seldom caught much better with a 40th).

Today when bodys reach the point offering affordable ISO 1600 this Lens belongs to ALL my needs. Build/and handling is perfect.
IQ is fantastic. the sharpness over the whole area is a dream. That lens saved me several hundrets in primes 85/100/200 2.8!

Its worth any cent. The only point of critic is that canon sells the tripod ring (one do not really need - the lens is made for shooting handheld - but some people use tripods) seperate (else as with 70-200 2.8). At a horible bargain of € 130,-- (near 15%). That is a shame for an add on that surely does not cost more than 3-5 € in production. Instead they might have kept the lether bag that I never needed. The included lenshood looks like a flower pot and could have been shaped mor betaifull, I gess.