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Gitzo 2220 Aluminum Explorer


Review Date: Nov 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Off centre column that allows user to angle it in almost any direction. Very stable up to 10kg.
Cons:
Heavy tripod. Not meant for use on long treks. Bulky. Three locks for the legs need to be opened and locked each time you move to a new location.

I have too many tripods but I bought this one because I needed a new macro tripod. My other tripod was getting long in the tooth and much too light (Giotto).

This tripod looks and feel like its made of good materials but some reviewers have mentioned broken screws so something need to keep an eye out for.

The locking mechanism, bulk and weight makes this tripod quite difficult to use in the field. Which is fine because it was not meant to be a field tripod for me.

When the three top locks are opened and locked to configure to its position, it does not close naturally like other tripods when lifted off the ground. So you need to unlock to close the legs to move to another position - unless you are able to move the legs around without knocking into things. Quite cumbersome. But in the field, because of uneven ground you need to readjust each time you move anyway so its quite tricky.

Also at full height, its not a tall tripod for its size. Fortunately for me, for field work, I use the Gitzo 2530.

Apart from this issues, this tripod is a first class macro tripod. Highly recommended for that function alone.

Thanks for reading.


 
Markins Q-Ball M10

1817
Review Date: Nov 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent build quality, materials and workmanship. Does what it claims. Consistent performer.
Cons:
Expensive for first time buyer - but - readily buy it again if I lost this ballhead in a heartbeat.

The Markins Q10 is the medium between the Q3 and Q20. It was a hard choice between it and the Q20 because I bought it for a specific purpose. It was to replace a lousy Benro head that I had owned and used for some time. Maybe I am not fair to Benro because it performed well enough when I used my 5D with non L lenses. But when I acquired the 70-200L and the 100-400L, it just could not cope.

I spend many weekends shooting animals at the zoo and with my Gitzo 2350 matched with the Markins, its a marriage made in heaven. The head never failed me and with its sweetspot control, I have a lot of means to keep the lens moving yet keeping it stable.

If I ever acquire a 500L it will come with a Markins Q20. No hesitation. No question. I trust it now implicitly.

BTW - I dropped my tripod and head once with a loud bang. But to my surprise, the head was undamaged apart from a small dent to the plastic knob. It works without any problem. I am now a true Markins believer. There are other great ballheads but Markins does it for me.

Thanks for reading. :-)


 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Jan 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build Quality, great image quality output, fast focussing, almost the widest aperture available.
Cons:
Almost too expensive for a prime, big lens for its focal length, a tad soft wide open.

It may seem weird to some here but I was only attracted to this lens after having bought, used and enjoyed the Sigma 30mm f1.4.

That lens is wonderful (although I had to try 3 before getting a good one) and I use it on my 20D for lots of creative work in low light as well as indoors in day time. Its a great lens but has some faults (like it will misfocus when focussing at infinity). When I read all the great reviews of the 35L I thought it would be a great glass to upgrade to.

It costs 3 times as much as the Sigma but I estimate the improvement is about 15% (thats how good I think the Sigma is). That 15% is in the sharpness at f1.8 and the saturation of the colours compared to the siggy.

I have plans to acquire a FF body - which is why I am keeping the Sigma (which apparently is not FF compatible).

Oddly enough, I found the size of the 35L a tad big. This may be because I am too used to the Sigma 30mm. However, on a pro body the lens will feel perfect.

As for the image quality, I find my conclusions are very similar to many others posts here.

So far I have no regrets with this lens and I recommend it for those who genuinely need a good quality fast wide lens.



 
Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

2875mm
Review Date: Mar 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, useful range including macro capability for general photography, f2.8 through range is a feature not found in most zooms. Quality of output is good to outstanding.
Cons:
Lousy back cap that comes loose, noisy focussing, focus ring moves during AF, overal build can be better but still good for the price.

I have this lens for about two weeks and have been using it everyday. Wanted to acquire this lens for sometime since I tried the Canon L 24-70mm. I did not want that lens for its size and weight and knew that this Tamron existed. Was willing to bet on this lens to see if it come up to my hopeful expectation. It has. The lens has been faithfully good for difficult shots in bad lighting. The f2.8 is proving to be a real winner for me so far. On my 20D it becomes a standard 50mm to telephoto range. This focal range is most useful for photojournalism and portraiture.

My immediate grouses is the noisy focussing (which I am fine with really), moving focussing ring (which is a bit of a bother as the ring must not be obstructed when focussing or it will potentially burn out the motor). The awful back lens cover which is a pain to use when trying to change lens.

Will submit another review in 6 months when I have stretched the legs on this lens. Thanks for reading.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jan 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build Quality, Colour, Sharpness at mid stops
Cons:
f4 is slow and not useable in low light and evening indoor events. Size.

I researched a long time for a solid best bang for the buck wide angle zoom and narrowed to this model and Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4. It was a very close call and decided in favour of the f4L because I liked my other L lens very much. I have had my lens for about a month now and I think its no where as good as everyone makes it out to be but its still a good wide angle zoom lens. Unfortunately it does not perform equally well all through the zoom distances as well as f stops. It is unuseable as a party camera or for low light indoor shots.

But if you can get good light, this lens works and very effective.

I will keep this lens because its good for the money paid BUT I am not sure I would buy another one in the future. I would go for a wide angle prime instead.

BTW - I am not sure if the Tamron would have performed any better with my type of use. Having a 2.8 is not much more faster IMHO. The real difference can only be seen under f2 for low light situation.