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Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_28-70_28s_1_
Review Date: Apr 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, excellent contrast and wonderful image quality. The hood design is neat and lens-hood couple actually makes kind of "perfect hood" matching zoom range at almost eevry given focal point. Made very sturdy - would withstand prefessional treating (read abuse). Very quete and AF is fast (at least when cuopled to my EOS-3). Direct manual focusing even durign AF is great (though all ring USM are featured by that). Internal focusing make using adjustabel filters no fuss at all.
Cons:
The internal barrel extends beyond the outer shell during zooming that may seem potentially somewhat weak point for hard abuse (dust prone environment), however this feature makes up the "perfect hood".

I really wonder why the 28-70L entry is till empty.
Are al the potential mid-range L users betrayed this top-notch performer in favor of its yong brother 24-70L ? :-))

Now seriously.
You would only be able to realize how good it can be once using any other zoom, even of pro-gare caliber.
Once I became happy owner of this lens I realized how blind was I trusting the image quality performance of my previous Tokina
28-70/2.6-2.8 ATX PRO II (this is is also consideerd as a pro lens).
Not that teh Tokina wasn't sharp, but the sharpness and contrast difference was obvious even at 4x6 prints !
Even though some online reviews claims the new 24-70L is marginally sharper, the 28-70L is real jewel, especially when can be found used for quite affordable pricing (just over 800 US$).
This lens is my workhorse on EOS-3 body.



 
Canon Speedlite 550EX TTL

CA550EXU_1_
Review Date: Mar 31, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Versatility, precision (direct flash), enormous amount of modes, build quality is very tough
Cons:
Tends to underexpose once bounced (by 0.3-1.0 stops) - Omnibounce device helps greatly, High-Speed syncronization must be switched on manually (why not to be activated automatically once higher then maximum X-Sync is chosen ?), cumbersome tilting/swivel - must press separate tilt/swivle button per each move - bothering if quick work required.

Despite all the negative sides I'm lamenting above, this is professional tool. I was extremely pleased with the fill-flash performance of the unit once coupled to EOS-3 - very natural, ballance with ambient lighting is perfect. Direct flash is also excellent, producing power just enough for most balanced appearance even at very close distances to the subject. I guess this is nature of ETTL.
Many compain about totally improper falsh exposure people get often get not realizing how Canon's ETTL system work. Pay attention, the ETTL is heavily biased towards active AF point per each particular shoot, so be sure to focus right on your main subject !
The old and trusty "focus and recompose" technique will not work in ETTL !!

What somewhat dissapointed me is the performance of bounce flash. It tends to underexpose noticeably, perhaps using Stofen Omnibounce would help though (have yet tested that).
Be sure to explicitly enable the High Speed Sync on the unit prior to shooting with fill-flash at bright ambient conditions, it doesn't automatically enable that (quite annoying, must admit).

Having said the above, still admire the stable performance delivered by the unit (again, I guess I would talk about EOS-3+550EX combo rather then the flash alone) and recommend the unit to any high-end Canon user striving for flash performance to match Canon's high-end bodies.