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  Reviews by: Bobbo Clark  

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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Mar 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, good color and contrast, well-built, fast focusing, lightweight for a 200mm/2.8, built-in hood is either a godsend or a PITA, black color doesn't attract attention like the white lenses
None, except maybe the lens hood, but I haven't had a problem with it.

I am reviewing the Mk.I variant. This is optically identical to the newer Mk.II. The only difference between late Mk.I copies and the Mk.II is the Mk.I has a built-in hood which is smaller (good for portability, some-what bad for flare protection). Some people like it, some people don't. Call me crazy, but I'm apathetic.

I shoot for newspapers. I don't make huge enlargements, and I don't "pixel-peep", so when it comes to absolute sharpness and photos of brick walls, I'm not the best person to ask whether the 135/2 or this lens has better resolution by 1 or 2 l/mm. Photography is where I get my income, and I don't have the time or the money to waste on testing 4 copies of a lens like some people on this forum.

I bought this lens for a special hockey game (it was the last regular season game in my college's 40-year-old rink against their archrival, so it was kinda important). I kept getting lots of out of focus shots, but I luckily found the focus limiter early in the game, and that made the AF almost perfect.

This is the best EF-mount lens I have ever owned. It is leaps and bounds above the 100-300 zoom I had before.

The tripod collar is not needed, especially if you have a grip on your camera (either an add-on or built-in). I keep it because I think it looks naked without it. I will say this: The tripod collar makes handling on a monopod infinitly better. I will never own a telephoto under 135mm ever again if it doesn't have one available.

Will I keep this lens? No. I need the flexibility of a zoom, and the quality of the Sigma and Canon 70-200/2.8 lenses are almost as good. I will look at Canon L lenses from now on, and I will probably never buy a lens for a DSLR that isn't one ever again (unless my 50/1.8 II dies...great lens that's lasted me 4 years of hard wedding and P/J work and has yet to let me down).

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Apr 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap as dirt, Sharp
built like a kid's toy, fills with dust

Well, if it wern't for my lens being filled with dust (spent too much time in a school construction project and travelling all over hell), this lens would be freaking awesome. I think i need to replce it soon, but it will probably be with another one of these. it's cheaper than if i were to spend my money on an old pre-1990 mark I for more than twice the price that could have just as much dust, if not worse.

yes, build sucks, but when i bought it, i couldn't afford enough for the hood, let alone a 50/1.4. mine is also damn sharp, even though it has enough dirt in it for an ant farm.

would i reccomend it? yup, but just remember you get what you pay for.

Bogen / Manfrotto 3001- Pro Tripod

Review Date: Mar 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Built well, easy to clean/tighten/fix/replace parts quickly, sturdy, removable column can be reattached three ways.
spiked feet an additional option, not a carbon fiber :)

i got this several years ago, and haven't looked at another tripod untill recently b/c i wold like a CF gitzo, but they cost too much.

some say it is too short, but i'm 6', and with an SLR and head on it and no column, it's high enough for me wiht a little bit of bending, but not too uncomfortable. why would you want a really tall tripod that can possibly wobble? kinda defeats the point of a tripod. same thing with the center column...i haven't used it to make the camera higher EVER, and only about 5 or 6 times to shoot some macro. PLUS the height of the tripod gives the camera less distance to fall if you slip up mounting it to head.

i found a 4-in-1 screwdriver that the hole for the bits is the same as the lever tension nut, so it's perfect for working on my tripod. i have to clean it every now and then, so i just unscrew everything with one tool, wash it, and put it back together. very nice!

all in all, the second best ~$100 i've spent on camera equipment, the first being the new bogen horizontal grip head.

however, you may not agree with my opinon, so go to a store and try it and other tripods out first.