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  Reviews by: Alek Komarnits  

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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

l217_efs1755
Review Date: Oct 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,030.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Constant 2.8 rocks, fast/accurate focus, razor sharp image quality on 7D
Cons:
Slightly heavy and pricey ... but what 'ya expect for both?!?

Not much to add beyond what other people have written. I have wanted this lens for a long time, but finally broke down and got it - wish I had done sooner. Nice on my 50D, but deadly on my recently acquired 7D

As others have said, get a lens hood, but one of the el-cheapo 3rd party knockoffs seem to work fine for me.


 
Canon EOS 7D

canon_eos_7_d
Review Date: Oct 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast AF, lots of pixels, 8 fps, big viewfinder, video, solid feel
Cons:
Nothing major - add HSS master control to on-board flash, ultra-high speed movie mode with smaller image size - i.e. why not 640x360x240fps?

This is going to sound like a Canon fanboy review, but the 7D is a pretty darn good camera

I've owned an XTi, 40D, and 50D. I've taken some semi-decent pictures with them (example: Antarctica cruise) but the 7D certainly seems to be a step up even compared to the semi-recent 50D. I ordered one a few hours after it went on sale, so got mine pretty early and have had it for several weeks now and fired off several thousand frames.

The increase from the 50D's 15MP to 18MP doesn't seem like much, but it's like another zoom level in Photoshop. Noise levels on a per-pixel basis seem slightly less (see high ISO 7D vs. 50D) so on a per-image basis, it's a definite improvement and the banding is much better controlled. Sure, noise is there, but more finer grain and less objectionable.

While 8fps may not seem like much more than 6.5, it again is a noticeable difference and appreciated ... but man, can you end up with a ton of images fast! And while a minor aesthetic thing, the shutter sound is more pleasing.

My 46 year old eyes appreciate the bigger viewfinder and I like the transmissive LCD which only highlights the autofocus points that need to be highlighted.

I have only shot a few dozens videos but this opens up a new ballgame as the HD quality is amazing. Nice to have this ability and mix of image size/speed such as 1920x1080x30 and 1280x720x60 ... Canon should have a firmware upgrade for ultra-high-speed - i.e. 640x360x240!

Autofocus seems quicker and more accurate ... but an FYI that the focus system is much more complicated and worth a good read of the manual and lots of hands-on familiarity.

Ability to use the on-board flash as a master controller has been a long time coming ... Canon should add HSS ability via firmware. Better yet, ditch the whole optical communication and go RF!

Bummer having to get new batteries (it uses LP-E6's rather than the 40/50D BP-511A's) but the percent charge showing is helpful. The electronic level is a gee-whiz features, but I actually have used it a number of times.

Yep, it's a good camera and glad to see that Canon didn't majorly cripple it somehow in order not to hurt 1-Series sales.

Enough rambling for now as I should go out and shoot some pictures! ;-)


 
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

efs55-250_f4is_586x225_1_
Review Date: May 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $270.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light weight, small size, cheap price, good IS, great range, good IQ.
Cons:
It's fairly slow at F/5.6 on the long end, more than a bit of vignetting wide-open, non-USM focus ... but HEY, what do you expect for under $300!

I did a mini-review of the 55-250 lens and you can see some sample images.

This lens provide a heck of a bang for the buck. Sure, it's not a 400-F/2.8 ... but it's a LOT lighter, smaller, and cheaper. I have mine attached to a 40D and it makes a fairly compact package that I can easily take most places and end up getting pictures like a Dog chasing a Coyote away on casual walks.

I'd recommend getting the ET-60 Lens Hood which fits quite nicely on this and for a whopping total of $300, you have a 100-400IS (actually 88) on your crop camera that will take some great pictures and


 
Canon EOS 40D

40d
Review Date: Sep 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,299.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Reduced high ISO noise, Autofocus is quick/accurate, 6.5 fps and huge burst buffer is nice, my older eyes like the bigger viewfinder & LCD, and just general solid feel. Nice looking images too - happy buyer!
Cons:
LCD should have been higher-res. Wish they would have brought across the "eye sensor" on the XTi that auto-toggled the LCD shooting info screen. Could have done better with the weatherproofing. No micro-autofocus adjustment (maybe in a firmware upgrade).

I was coming from a Rebel XTi ... so this was a step up for me ... and a very nice one at that. So much so that I write my review of the Canon 40D versus the XTi. As noted above, the good IQ at high ISO is impressive and the autofocus is quick/accurate - here is some AI Servo testing where it seemed to track pretty darn well.

And "Buzz Lightyear" says the 6.5 frames/second is like a machine gun! ;-)


While a few areas where it could be improved (see Cons), I'm overall very happy with the 40D (gawd, I hope I don't sound like a Canon fanboy!) ... and can't help but think that with all of its capability and mid-range price, it will take some sales away from the 1-Series.

P.S. Actual price paid was $1,499 {ordered through Amazon - funny saga there) but that was the kit price which includes ("for $200 more") the 28-135 lens.