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  Reviews by: AGeoJO  

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Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L

Review Date: Apr 13, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely ultra wide angle, sharp, built to last, fast AF on Canon bodies and easy to focus on Sony A7 series. It handles flares really well. Considering that it is actually a zoom lens makes it even more impressive.
Fairly bulky and heavy - Well, it is to be expected from a lens of these characteristics. Aaah, yes, the bulbous front element; you have to be careful to handle this lens. I can "tolerate" the cons, which are more of handling aspects but the pros, the image quality aspects that you can get out of this lens, are significant.

To my delight this lens became available before my trip to Iceland in March 2015. I received my copy about a week before the trip. Originally, I was planning to use this lens to capture northern lights and inside ice caves. I ended up using it a lot more. Well, it was easy to do so because that lens really delivered. Approximately half of my keepers from that trip was taken using this lens.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Review Date: May 22, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: $3,499.00

Pros: AF responsiveness and accuracy, accurate metering, high ISO capability, FPS, silent shutter mode, LCD display, customability, etc.
Considering past prices and improvement built into this camera, the price seemed to be reasonable. However, relative to that of the nearest competitor, the price is actually a tad too high.

I have had and used quite a few Canon DSLR cameras, including the professional-grade bodies, such as 1Ds Mark I through III and 1D Mark II through IV, which were more expensive than this camera. I have not been so enthusiastic about any camera than with the 5D Mark III. So, for sure, it is not because of the price and not because it is a new camera, but there are a lot of features built into this Canon 5D Mark III that I simply love and tremendously enjoy. Enough so and it makes me want to go out, be creative and take pictures. This is not a review of the camera but just a blurb about this, in my honest opinion, a great camera. Is it the best camera out there? No, not really but what is?

Here is a link of images captured with this camera:

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

Review Date: Jul 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, IS, speed of AF
Price and nothing else.

Very sharp at wide open without noticable drop off. Definitely better than the first version and it even beats the f/4.0 IS that I thought was really great. The IS is superb. It takes the 1.4X TC without any noticable degradation in IQ. The 2X TC is noticeable although still not bad. Way better in that respect to the first version. Probably it is the best Canon zoom lens at this moment.

A bit heavy but you know that from the get go and the price is on the high side although when I bought the lens it was pretty much widely avaialble and the price started to drop.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Review Date: Nov 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness at wide aperture settings, great colors, practically no CA, excellent build quality, etc.
Price would be it but hey, you got to fork out some serious money for excellence. Well, yes, I noticed vignetting up to f/2.0 but no longer visible at f/2.8 and it can easily be corrected during post processing.

It seems like Canon had paid close attention to the optical design of recently introduced lenses and most importantly, Canon seems to have increased the QC in the manufacturing/assembly process. I am sure they heard foot steps approaching... LOL. These factors have resulted in really top-notch performers. It doesn't come cheap though but at least you know what you are getting if you shell out big bucks for some glasses.

The classic 24L was a lens that I couldn't warm up to. Yes, it had to do with its performance, which again was actually excellent but I preferred my 35mmL over its wider sibling. Yes, the don't have the same FL but somehow the 35L got used way more back then. Now, the role seems to get reversed; the more I use this lens, the more I start liking it more and more. Whether the 24L II is worth upgrading from the classic one will vary on an individual basis. Is the new lens worth $600-$800 more? Only you will know the asnwer. For me, it is a definite "yes".

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

Review Date: Oct 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The abundance of sharpness :D, pretty flare resistant (must be the new SWC coating), allowing plenty of movement, more so than the other older TS-E design, the ability to change the direction to be parallel or perpendicular to each other done by yourself.
The lens cap is bulky but I couldn't think of any better design with such a bulging front element like that. I wish Canon would put in a simple gelatine filter holder at the rear, more for ND filter but I realized that this lens was designed more with architecture in mind rather than landscape. I don't care about the polarizing effect on an UWA lens anyway. So, that it doesn't accomodate any filter doesn't bother me much.

This has taken the first place of my favorite TS-E lens lineup formerly occupied by the TS-E 90mm. Granted, the two are completely different beasts but nonetheless :D.

Prior to this lens, I felt that Canon was lagging behind in the (ultra) wide angle arena, not only compared to Zeiss and Leica but even to Nikon. This lens has definitely changed my view about Canon's ability to produce great wide angle lenses. Canon must have felt the heat and finally came up with this unique and truly amazing lens. I gladly said good-bye to my 16-35 Mark II. In my book, this TS-E lens is comparable to my continued to be used Nikon 14-24, which is impressive being a zoom lens but this lens, with its tilting and shifting action, can do some tricks on its own.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Jun 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent in isolating objects, smooth bokeh
Bulky and heavy but for a reason: f/1.2!

This is a great portrait lens although on a FF camera, the focal length is a tad on the short side for my taste. If used at wide open aperture settings, especially at f/1.2, you have to pay close attention to select the point of focus. The chance of getting perfectly focused shots is greater, if you stop the lens down somewhat. Again, the rounded apeture up to f/2.5 helps.

Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

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

Pros: Superb optics; this lens could easily be the sharpest that Canon produced, plus the AF is fast and spot on.
The hood cannot be stored in reverse position with a QR lens plate. I ended up purchasing a replacement foot from RRS that allows the hood to be stored in that position. No big deal really.

The WOW factor of the images that this lens generates using wide open aperture is extremely high. Simply superb. The most used aperture range is f/1.8 to f/2.8; actually I have not used the lens at aperture of smaller than f/2.8.

As a "Johny-come-lately", I ended up buying this at a higher price than when it was still in production and readily available. Hence the price rating :D. It is still worth it though.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open, even with a 1.4XTC, fast AF, great IS, what more is there?
Couldn't think of anything at this point.

It is my only birding lens; this lens in combination with a sturdy tripod and a Wimberley head, you are set.

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

Review Date: Nov 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fairly compact, IS works great, great zoom range, etc.
A tad on the slow side but that's what you get for that size zoom

I bought this lens used and took it to a trip to South America, which included the Galapagos Archipelago, and came back with tons of sharp, well exposed images. I even used it in combination with a Canon 1.4X MkII TC and the results impressed me. This lens and the 24-70L are the two most used lenses out of five during this trip. As matter of fact, I only took only one lens hood and used the same hood (EW - 83F, the original hood that came with the 24-70mmL) interchangeably.

The previous owner, somebody I know personally on FM, assured me that it is a sharp copy and it is. Apparently, there is a fairly wide difference in optical quality of the lens. Just make sure you get/buy a sharp copy of this lens and you will be happy.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Apr 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact size, light-weight, superb IS and focusing speed
Price a tad too steep, although I bought mine used.

My copy of this lens is a stellar performer and I am pleased with the performance of this lens as a travel lens. I did urban shooting during a recent travel for an extended period and the images are superb after contrast adjustment and sharpening in PS.