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Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8D AF

Review Date: Feb 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, great depth of field control, light and small enough to carry around on long journeys. Built like a tank.
Should be bundled with the lens hood which is a must and can be hard to find.

A lot of good photographers dismiss this lens as being 'great optically but of limited focal length range'. I have a Leica Sumicron f2.0 35mm Asph lens which the world and his brother raves about as if it were an optical deity and no one says .. "great lens, but it has a limited focal length range". The Nikon lens I have is every bit as good as the Leica lens. Lovely contrast, sharp and generally my absolute favourite lens ever .. and there a lots around second hand. You can get a good 'D' version for under 400 Euro in Europe.

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Feb 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Helps you take sharp photos with good contrast and nice deph of field control. Cheap.
Heavy and not very ergonimic.

This lens is heavy and not exactly ergonomic. When new, the zoom ring is as stiff as my great aunt Agatha (but in her case the stiffnes is the net result of an unfortunate case of pleurosy), but unlike poor old Agatha, the Sigma loosens up with use. Build quality is OK, but it ain't top end Nikon, Canon 'L' etc. In fact this lens has only got one good thing going for it ... it produces beautifully sharp, contrasty images with great depth of field control. I bought my first one when an accident left me stuck without a lens on a trip to Crete. Now I have two, one which I use with a Canon 5D and one which I use with a Nikon F6. Both have the same quirky ergonimics, but both produce great photos.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Feb 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: The dogs proverbials .....
None really

Sell everything you have and buy one.

Many press professionals are moving down to the 5D from the 1 series because it's lighter and yet produces great quality pictures. If you're not taking photographs in the desert, on top of mount Everest or in the middle of the Atlantic ocean in deepest winter or Manchester, England on an ordinary day, then this camera can cope with all your needs. In extreme conditions buy insurance as it is not weather sealed.

My only caution would be - if you don't have a collection of Canon lenses, think about the Nikon 200D as an alternative - it's cheaper and just as good, although the full frame Canon is more fun with wide angle lenses.

One thing I have found, is that that my 5D seems more prone to getting dust on the sensor than any other digital camera I use, but 'blowing it off' according to the instructions has proven easy, effective and on occasion, deeply satisfying :-).

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Feb 7, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Very useful focal length range on a full frame body, light and user friendly
Vignetting up to about 35mm is pretty horrible. Not as sharp as other 'L' lenses.

Dear potential victims, heed my prophecy of doom ...

For I too have become a statistic. I was seduced by the photographer's Eden apple - the fixed aperture mid-range zoom for all seasons - and blindly parted with 1000 or so hard earned denarii only to fall into the eternal pit were there is vignetting, and gnashing of teeth

After an embarrassing accident on far away foreign shores which resulted in a deceased lens, I bought an 'emergency' Sigma EX DG f2.8 24-70mm. The Sigma is far better than my Canon 24 - 105L. It's much sharper and doesn't have the horrible vignetting problems displyed by 'that' L lens. This make me and my bank manager really sad.

And yes I know I can correct it in Photoshop - but that's like saying telling a man whose just had his leg amputated that 'they' can do wonders with prosthetic limbs these days.