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  Reviews by: andylaiphoto  

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Dec 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, price..
Cheap build

Of all my photographic purchases this one proves to be one of my favorites. When I want to get away from the commercial grind I put this on my 5D and just shoot. No rules, deadlines, or requirements. This combination reminds me of why I like to do what I do.

The image quality is excellent. Vignettes a bit wide open but so do all lenses on the 5D. I manual focus so I can't speak of the AF speed or accuracy, but I haven't had issues yet when I do my random AF tests....which are very unscientific or structured. Just once in a while I'll use the AF to play.

The only gripe is the build quality and materials used. I've been spoiled by L lenses and the focus ring on this feels like a Playskool my first 50mm.

Other than that this lens rocks. I couldn't justify the price difference between this and the 1.2 despite the L build quality. The image quality is not that far off from one another. And this one is less bulk.

I love this lens.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Jun 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, size, DOF, and no lens conversion factor.
Image dust, heavy vingetting, menu layout, LCD is horrible for detailed inspection of images, and ergonomics.

Have been a Nikon gearhead since day one. Bought the 5D for high iso lowlight performance. It's a hate love relationship. I hate the ergos, menu system, control, and overall feel of the camera. Nikon has a much better grasp on this end of the design realm.

But I am willing to overlook all that because of the surperior image quality. I have only been shooting with this camera for a couple weeks now. I always feel unconfident in the image review because the LCD is horrid, the mystery of what my image really looks like kills me. But when I upload the images onto my computer I am comforted by the wonderful images that this camera produces.

The AF focus points aren't as nicely laid out as the D2X.

Bottom line, I'm willing to make myself become accustomed to the Canon way of doing things just for the image quality. There's nothing like an image from full frame and the 85mm wide open.

Nikon D200

Review Date: May 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Large viewfinder, great ergos, huge LCD, almost all the pro features for much less money.
Battery Life, sensor issues, AF point layout, AF hunts in lowlight.

This is a good alternative for those that long for a camera with a "pro" build on a budget. Although this camera on paper is almost everything the D2X is for much less money, I personally don't feel it's even that much of an upgrade from the D70s in use. The only difference to me is the obvious build difference and ability to focus manually via the nice large viewfinder. Although it's a great camera I never have the feeling of excitment when using it like some other cameras.

For those looking to upgrade from the D70s think hard before you do it. For those in need of a backup for their D2X it's not a shabby piece of kit.
As a first camera it's a hell of a deal.

Sigma 135-400 MM f/4.5-5.6 ASP AF APO

Review Date: Nov 20, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Build materials and price.
Lens creep, horribly soft wide open, slow AF.

I wouldn't do it over again. It's a bargain but "you get what you pay for."

Nikon D2Xs

Review Date: Jul 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Feels perfect in my hands, operates fast, image quality, feature set, battery life, LCD size, viewfinder, built like a bomb, wireless capability.
TIFF files are slow to write, LCD can be off with color renditions, no firewire connection, poor high iso, image quality is so good it makes you realize how bad you are!

I bought this camera without hesitation. I don't usually make rocket purchases on such big items like this, but I did so with my D70 with no regrets and thought what the heck.

From the second I picked up the camera I knew I made the right decision. Feeling is believing so I won't try to explain how wonderful the ergonomics of this camera are. For the file sizes it can produce it operates surprisingly fast. Switiching between modes and settings is a breeze.

This camera inspires you (more like forces) to improve your shooting skills and attention to detail. With results like the ones from this camera it's paramount to be attentive to what you are doing.

The only real gripe I have is the horrible high ISO performance. I didn't think it would be as bad as it is and it's quite a dissappointment. Kind of denotes the fact that you can shoot 8fps in high speed crop, because if you have to shoot in low light settings for sports your images are going to need a lot of post production work. Using in camera noise reduction slows things down and drains the battery.

I have yet to experiment with the WiFi but look forward to it in the future. It's nice to know that the possibility is there.

The metering is usually spot on and the autofocus is rarely ever fooled.

In all this is without a doubt the best camera I have ever used and will last me a while despite the constant evolution in the industry. Money well spent for any who venture this route.

Nikon D70s

Review Date: Jun 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $999.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Quick, comfortable, reliable, relatively inexpensive.
No Nikon vertical grip, auto-focus is fooled sometimes.