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Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Review Date: Jul 9, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent IQ, Great AF, Build, Dual cards, controls, customization options, light weight. weather sealing.
Should have been called 6D to avoid confusing the armchair critics.

As a long time Canon DSLR user I have enjoyed the improvements in the bodies over the years. I have also watched the discussions evolve as to what users want.
When the 1Ds was introduced, users raved about the FF and IQ. Subsequent models were also praised.
When the 5D came out it set the standard for affordable FF excellence. The complaints came quickly though with users wishing for the AF, weather sealing, dual cards and build of the 1 series cameras but at the 5D price. Of course they should be buying the 1D camera but they didn't have the money but did have the ability to complain.
Canon really did listen. Over the years the message was distilled into "We want lots of res but high speed IQ and thus not too much res. And we also want better AF, weather sealing, dual cards etc."
In short, they wanted a 1D series camera at the 5D price. Canon actually has delivered that camera in the 5DmkIII.
Their only failure was in not calling it the 6D as it is now compared to the 5DmkII and thus seems expensive.
What it really is is an evolution of Canon's lineup into two FF bodies. The premium 1D body is still available at $7K and the studio version (in the 5Dmk3) is $3.5K .
Once you think of it that way it is a bargain.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jan 17, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $344.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Small, light, sharp at smaller apertures
Won't focus at infinity. Iffy AF at distances greater than 20 feet.

I did a lot of research on 50's as there seems to be no clear winner in this field. There are the MF options from Zeiss and adapted alt gear. Then there are the AF offerings from Canon and Sigma. MF is not for me no matter how splendid the optics. Thus my choice were winnowed to the Canon 50 1.4 and the Sigma.
On balance the Canon won for having the best mix of performance (allegedly) and price.
When my Canon 50 1.4 arrived I immediately shot a series of test images to verify that my copy was a good one. I shot mostly wide open and had a lot of good shots but maybe only 25% tack sharp ones. I attributed this to user error. However placing the camera on a tripod and focusing on still life objects I found that at anything over 5 feet distant was soft and infinity focus was unusable. Clearly there is a problem with this lens. More testing at smaller apertures demonstrated that it is capable of extremely sharp images but because of the focus problem I can not trust this lens in a professional situation.

I wanted to like it but I am going to swap it for a Sigma and pray that I get a good one.