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Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4 L II

Review Date: Dec 16, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,799.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as a tack even at f1.4! Solid build No fringing wide open Awesome bokeh Fast accurate focusing Much better than original model
Much more expensive than original

The more I use this lens, the more I like it! I had the old 35L and it mostly sat in my bag since it wasnt that great wide open. The new version could make you want to sell your wide angle zooms and just use your feet. The sharpness and bokeh are so awesome at f/1.4!! The focusing is faster and more accurate than the v1 as well. The new lens is significantly bigger than the old one but balances nicely on a gripped body, imo. The only downside is it costs a lot more than the original. I believe it is worth the difference because I am getting so much more use from it.

Canon EOS 5DS R

Review Date: Nov 18, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding resolution, some weather proofing, easy interface, fantastic focusing accuracy and speed, large number of focusing points, integrated focusing light, two card slots, surprisingly good low light performance, 1.6X-1.3X-1.0X cropping on the fly!!, fast write speeds, new quiet low vibration shutter, electronic level in VF.
weak battery life, no gps, no 4K vid, slow fps, requires good technique and lenses to get best results more than other bodies, low published DR, limited iso, files challenge my computer, need new fast/large cards.

I purchased this body as an update for my 1DsIII. I can say with complete confidence that the 5DsR is superior to the 1Ds3 in almost every important way! I have not had a new body since 2007 so I cannot say from experience how the 5DsR compares to other newer Canon bodies. (I also have no knowledge of Nikon products). The 5DsR has more than twice the resolution of the 1Ds3 but yet blows it away in high iso performance! The new body files look better at 12800 than the 1Ds3 looked at 3200! I know this is 8 year old vs current tech, but it is still amazing to me. Another major advantage is the focusing... The speed is of course better, but it is the accuracy that carries the day, imo. Trying my different lenses on the 5DsR on the body, I find that no correction has been required on any so far! On my 1Ds3, all lenses required some correction for optimal focus. The speed and accuracy of focus tracking is also improved.
The iso and AF improvements would have been enough to justify the upgrade but you get class leading resolution and cropping on the fly to boot!! One of the first things you need to do when you get one of these bodies (after you turn off ability to take photos without a card) is to set the mfn button to cycle through 1.6X-1.3X-1.0X-square crops. 1.6X gives a ~20Mp file and 1.3X gives ~30 Mp file. The whole 50 Mp file is preserved if you shoot in RAW! This gives incredible versatility!

Now for a few nits. The battery life is lower than expected but can be doubled by using a grip. The 1Ds3 did not shoot any video, but some will miss 4K video on this body. I dont shoot video so it didnt matter to me. I have read that DR is low but understand its better than on other Canon bodies with the exception of the 5D3. I have not found this to be an issue in my photos. The fps is slow for this day and age but is not bad considering the amount of data being pushed through. I wish it did have faster fps on crop modes but it does not. The 5DsR is less forgiving for bad technique and lenses. I would advise the best glass you can afford. For hand holding, use your best technique and SS that are twice the focal length. The RAW files can easily be over 70 MB so be ready to increase your storage and processing capabilities. My computer is fairly new but still requires 30-40s to convert RAW into fine JPEG. High end JPEGs are over 30MB! I also appreciate the inclusion of an electronic level in the VF. Not only did the 1Ds3 not have this feature, but the VF and the sensor where misaligned by 1 degree or so! Unfortunately, the level is only present for landscape holds and not for portraits. Finally, I have read a review that took issue with the 5DsR's ability to write burst files to cards. My experience is that if you use the newest cards with high write speeds (ie 90-95MB/s SD and 160MB/s for CF), the 5DsR will exceed published burst capability in RAW. Dont bother paying extra for UHS-2 cards for SD as camera cannot utilize these for additional write speed.

Overall, I am delighted with this body! It does everything I need it to do better than the 1Ds3. Its weather proofing is not as robust but still more than adequate for my needs. It is truly a worthy replacement for the 1DsIII!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Review Date: Apr 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent sharpness Super IS performance Fast, quiet,and accurate focusing Fantastic color rendering Solid construction
Weight and Girth - what do you expect? High price - but you get what you pay for...

I have owned the lens for about a week. Spent some time setting up micro AF with my body. Now the lens is accurate like a rifle. You put that focus point somwhere, you get super fast quiet focusing that is tack sharp!! Even at f/2.8 it is prime level sharp. I did a comparison with my 135L both being set at f/2.8 and the zoom was noticably sharper eventhough the prime had the advantage of being closed one stop! Of course the prime still has the advantge of being lighter and faster but that is an incredible achievement for a zoom! Color rendering was also a notch above the prime.

The IS is top notch and allows handheld shots 200mm shots at 1/30! It spins up quickly and is also very quiet. Construction is top notch but of course that is to be expected. Its big, heavy, and expensive which is also expected. LOL! What I did not expect was this tremendous performance which can quite frankly put some L primes in the shade. It seems crazy to suggest but I feel the lens easily justifies the price and shows what current state-of-the art is in zoom technology.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Review Date: Jan 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,999.94 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 1. Built like a tank. 2. Great user inferface. 3. Great iso performance for given resolution/pixel size. 4. Weather sealed. 5.Large viewscreen. 6.Very customizable. 7. UDMA support. 8. 5fps. 9. Super fast accurate focusing. 10. Awesome viewfinder. 11. fantastic resolution. 12. AF microadjustment (IMO, the best new feature) 13. too many others to list...
1. Stout learning curve from 5D. 2. Cost 3. Raw files about choke my computer. 4. No mirror lock-up button. 5. No quick way to change white balance. 6. Heavy, but does not feel any heavier than a 5D with grip and 2 batteries.

An excellent camera, but one that took me a few days for transition. The interface is excellent (alot like the 5D) but it took me a while to get all settings customized to my shooting and familiarize myself with the camera before I could get the results I was accustomed to with the 5D. The AF is a significant step up from the 5D (duh). I suspect it is on par with what one would expect from a 1-series body (this is my first).
The images are nothing short of breath taking in their detail (even at iso 1600-3200). Though I may need a new computer to efficiently process RAW images. These monsters range from 20-35MB and can take a minute or so to sharpen or convert one on my system. They consume alot of hard drive space as well but I knew all this before buying.
The feature that makes this purchase really exciting is the micro AF adjustment feature. I have gone through most of my lenses now and have found some room for improvement in nearly all of them. Now the images are just that much sharper.
I should mention the UDMA support being significant given the file sizes. If you are considering this camera I would recommend the fastest card you can get you hands on. I bought the Sandisk Bugatti 8GB card. I noticed I can fire 14 RAW images before the buffer fills compared to 12 advertised by Canon. The 5 fps will probably satisfy many action situations but not for the die hard sports photographer.
Iam very pleased with the camera. It should exceed my needs for the forseeable future.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Review Date: Oct 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid Build, Weather-proofing, quick recycle, great white balance, accurate exposure, almost silent.
No master-slave switch. Poor manual.

Works very well as long as you understand how to operate Canon flashes (and the manual is very little help). Having the master-slave control in the menu is a little harder to manage than the 580EX. Those nits aside, it's an excellent flash gun and a significant improvement over the 580EX.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Mar 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,598.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great feel and build. Quick silent focus. Sharp though-out focal range and aperatures. Not too much more $ than the mk1.
Expensive filters.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Dec 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,443.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp even at low f numbers. Excellent construction. Fast and accurate focus. Awesome bokeh
May miss focus at very short range (extensively discussed) Definitely into "diminishing returns" area of cost.

Iam very pleased with this lens. Like others I have compared with my 50f1.4 finding that the 50f1.2 is sharper than the 1.4 in the f range equal to and below 2 which is were I most need it. Above f2 I cant really tell any difference in center sharpness but the 50L still has an advantage in color/contrast imo.
I plan to use the lens for portraits. Since it is a little wider than the 85L, I can get full body shots or family sized groups easier in typical sized locations. Its exactly what I wanted but many will find its cost hard to justify since it is such a niche product.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Oct 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid build, Oustanding image quality and iso performance. Great view screen. Excellent focusing performance. Full frame. Large viewfinder.
Not as sturdy as a 1 series. Low frame rate. No weather sealing.

This camera is perfect for me. Iam a hobbyist that shoots portraits and an occasional wedding. I dont need high frame rates. If conditions deteriorate I put the camera away. This model gives me what I want most - image quality, full frame, iso performance, and great focusing.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Oct 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome speed and sharpness. Legendary bokeh. Substantial build. Great color/contrast.
Slightly slow focus. Hard to manually focus. Heavy. Easy to damage back of lens.

Lens is a pleasure to use. It looks like the Hubble telescope from the front. Greatest portrait lens I have had the opportunity to use or own.

Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

Review Date: Oct 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: compact size, light weight, surprisingly durable, relitively low cost, good iso performance, good battery life, 1.6X crop makes telephotos longer.
Kit lens is bad, menu/button interface awkward, 1.6X crop makes wide angles tough.

I purchased this camera to reintroduce myself to photography after a 20 year hiatus. Once I found I wanted to pursue photography as a hobby again, I wanted a more substantial camera. I currently use this for a backup for my 5D. I frequently use it in situations where Iam using long telephoto/zoom lenses. I also use it in situations where Iam afraid my 5D might become damaged or lost. My wife (who has no hobby interest in photography) uses it for her primary camera for school/children photography.

Canon i9900 Photo

Review Date: Nov 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautiful output. Fairly fast. Easy interface. Reliable. Can handle volume.
Uses moderate amts of ink but you can replace only the tanks that are empty. Likes Canon papers.

Overall an excellent value. The output is quality is awesome. I have used for six months with no problems. I printed a decent sized job (140 4x6s) with no issues. The printer is quiet. It uses a fair amount of inks esp photo cyan and photo magenta but you can replace these individually for about $10 each so operating expense is reasonable imo. For this price point I think this is a very good machine.

Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX

Review Date: Nov 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Attaches securely to lens. Provides adjustable, reliable, and even illumination to subject area. ETTL is great. Weight is resonable. Give an outstanding new dimension to macro photography. Well built.
Its expensive.

This device is simply an epiphany for macro photography. I use this for all my macro shots that are taken in less than direct sunlight. The flash just is so good at evening out illumination and lowering shadows. It also just makes colors pop. It is very powerful thus allowing higher fs to be used in macro shots. It allows me to use the camera hand-held for quicker shot acquisition and more chances to get a keeper from a frequently moving creature.
It requires an adapter for most lenses including my 180mm Canon macro. It attaches very securely through the adapter. The individual in the review below obviously needs the adapter so I would take that criticism with a grain of salt.
If you are serious about macro photography and dont mind spending the $,dont hesitate on this one. You will see great results immediately!

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

Review Date: Sep 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,239.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp even wide open. Gives great working distance. Very well built and good looking.
Slow AF. Moderately heavy. Fairly slow (3.5).

I bought this lens primarily for macro work. In this area the lens is excellent. I can find no fault with its macro ability. Some users may find the f3.5 to be a bit slow. I use a MT-24EX so light is not a problem. Also the DOF is so thin at 3.5 I doubt many would like the results of shooting macro at that f or lower. The AF is really slow but this is not likely to be employed in serious macro shooting. Some (especially those with full frame cameras) may want to let the lens double as a long portrait lens. The AF will work adequately for this mission provided you set the focusing distance switch to 1.5m-infinity. The lens will not do at all for any fast action like sports because of the slow AF and f3.5. I use this lens on a tripod with a focusing rail for macro. If lighting is less than sunlight I throw in a ring light as well. In this area I doubt you can find a better lens for anywhere near the price.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Aug 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,390.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great range, Solid construction, Image stabilization, Good sharpness for its range, Nice case and hood, fast focus, great contrast and bokeh.
Nothing I did not already know... A tad soft wide open, heavy, relatively slow aperture, will not auto focus with 1.4X TC II.

This lens does exactly what I expected. It is very sharp for a zoom of this range and I feel it lives up to the L designation. It is slightly soft wide open but sharpens up immediately if you close down even a little. If you use the 1.4X TC II you will have to focus manually. The images are noticibly softer with the TC but are usable for the most part. Iam using the lens on a 1.6 crop factor camera so I dont really even need to use the TC much. Thus, this is not a significant negative to me. The focus is fast and accurate as I expected. As long as you have read the expert reviews that are out there before buying I dont think you will be disappointed with the limitations of the lens.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jun 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent focus speed and sharpness. Rock solid construction and asthetically pleasing appearance. Awesome color and contrast.
Fear - from reading some of the reviews below, otherwise no problems.

I ordered this in spite of several scathing reviews posted on this site. These reviews made me consider the 17-40 f4 L or the 16-35 f 2.8 L but neither of these offered the great usability of this 24-70 focal length. I really wanted a lens which I could leave on my XT almost all the time (except when I need a stronger telephoto for sports in which case I switch to a 70-200 f4 L +/- the 1.4 X tele). I ordered this lens with great trepidation from a dealer that I had dealt with before. This dealer had accepted a return from me several years ago. Immediately when the lens arrived, I went out and shot about 50 pictures and examined them carefully. With one exception they were outstanding for sharpness and contrast. Many reviews extol the virtues of this lens and Iam now a believer. Is it possible that I just happened to get a good example? Of course it is. However, this level of performance is worth some risk as long as you know the dealer has a fair return policy. After seeing first hand how much better this lens is than the kit 18-55 I would audition and return as many of these babies as it took to get one that functions like the one I received!