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  Reviews by: CorruptedSanit  

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Lowepro CompuTrekker AW

Review Date: Aug 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $91.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very weather resistant, strong , space for laptop, perfect size
straps are not detachable (waist) learning curve on attaching tri/mono pod (no instructions in manual)

Fantastic bag, very strong and optimum quality material. It holds my 20D, Simga 50-500 , 50 f/1.8, 17-40 L, Giottos Rocket Blower, 2 chargers (1 includes car charger), couple of filters, hoods fit perfectly. Came in handy when trekking in Northern Pakistan and it rained in the forest/mountains.

The tripod attachment needs a little bit of practice. You can unbuckle the buckles on the tripod cable, lay the tripod on the bag with the feet in the pouch and then kinda wrap the unbuckled cables around the tri/mono pod and then buckle and pull tight. Same for the top. As I said, this technique just developed after 4 days of use. Here is a tip, the tri/mono pod gets wrapped around a 2 loops (and 2 loops on the top part near handle) when buckled. Unbuckle and the tripod comes free. Very convienient when learned. ill post instructional pictures soon.

Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

Review Date: Aug 3, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: very sharp wide open, versatile 10x zoom. built like a tank, strong/large tripod collar

After having this Sigma 50-500 f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM APO for sometime, I feel I can provide a better review.

1-weight, its not THAT heavy (just less than 2kg), but its not your regular 17-40 or 24-70 L. It weighs a little more than the 70-200 L IS. Also @ 500mm, its effective FOV is 800mm. Thus, I reccomend a tripod for those slow shutter landscape shots. Otherwise, shooting handheld during the day for sports ( I shoot jet ski'iers a lot) its fine.

2-its sharp, very sharp wide open. Check out the above picture, you can see the outline of the trees and trust me, those trees were pretty far away. But none the less, sharp. Look at the bird flying, its TINY right? So you can imagine how far away it was. What am I getting to? It has fantastic and sharp Depth of Field

3-10x ratio, (500 / 50=10). So its like 6 primes in 1 zoom lens.

I was considering the EF 100-400 IS before this, but the reviews and comparisons I saw between the lenses did not convince me that the Canon 100-400 was sharper or had better contrast, the difference in price was related to it being an L lens and the built-in IS. I would rather have the 50-500 now and save up for a 200 / 300 / 400 primes. Im personally getting into primes. So I didnt want to go all out and pay the extra 500$ for IS when I plan on getting primes later. But again, these two are generally the same optically. ( I have the DG version )

Some of the cool features:

1-Sturdy tripod collar, Sigma has two types of collars. A smaller one and a larger one. The Bigma (50-500) is supllied with the larger one. In fact, I often find the collar a perfect handle for handholding this lens and shooting.

2- Comes with a large case, a shoulder strap that ties intot he bottom of the collar for hanging the camera over your shoudler when this lens is attached.

There is a little switch lock to prevent zooming. So when its locked, the lens wont zoom in/out.

3-It accepts both Canon and Sigma Extenders 1.4x and 2.0x. So imagine the possibilities.

4-The tripod mount allows the lens to be moved to a vertical position very easy. So if you ever felt the need for vertical shooting, just loosen the tripod collar and twist the lens to get it into vertical shooting. Without having to remove it from the camera or tripod.

1- Its got an 86mm filter thread, its huge, looks like a good plate(quarter plate on th side), and these tend to eb expensive. On the other hand, to me personally its not a drawback. Because I learned that filters (supposed UV protectors) do nothing but degrade images and rarely "save" my lens from severe damage. What? A pole that is poked towards the front glass will not break the UV filter?
I did buy a filter though, I know it may sound contradicting.But I bought a Marumi UV filter because I am from the Middle East and often ehad to the desert and beach to photography. So, the only time I use filters on my lenses are to protect from sand and sea water spray. Other wise I never use UV filters. So depending on your train of thought. This could not justify as a drawback.
I really like this lens for what it is. Very versatile.

Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

Review Date: Jul 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: extremely sharp , even @ 500mm lovely 10x zoom
a little heavy, but from 50-500, what did you expect? a little stiff zoom for first few days of shooting

As others have mentioned, it is rather heavy. No doubt tripod usage is ideal. But you can hand hold it. I'm 6'1 (185cm), so handholding this lens is not a huge problem from focals such as 50 to 350, the remaining 150 is not hard, but weight and shake is a problem because it extends to almost twice as long.

A tip for handholding, get a battery grip, sometimes I find removing the tripod collar (which is very good quality) helps in shooting. Other times I prefer to place my left hand under the tripod collar and shooot.

Also as others have mentioned, first few shooting days with the zoom were stiff. I found that actually squeezing or compressing the zoom ring and twisting does not help. Actually try gently twisting it to zoom in or zoom out. When you put pressure and try to twist it, it feels like you are squeezing the ring onto the barrel and causing too much friction for it to move. Lightly hold it and twist. Anyways, this lasts for 1 or 2 days of shooting.

On the picture quality, I shot some amazingly sharp pictures @ focal length 500mm, the guys on the jet skii were frozen in place, you could see every droplet of water splashing.

Very good lens!!! For price paid it is cheaper than the EF 100-400 and many (myself included) state that picture quality is the same.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jul 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $740.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: feels very solid, not too heavy, lovely feature of being able to manually focus after it autofocuses without having to switch to MF. comes with a hood and nice suede/leather case

I think it is wonderful even on a 20D (1.6x crop), the all time focus is wonderful too. I enjoy that I can focus it a little more after it autofocuses without having to switch it to MF.

I cant wait to use this on a full frame camera. Since i am more of a Landscape photog, the 1.6 crop is a killer.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Jul 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp, light weight, fantastic value for price.
the AF/MF switch feels loose, yet stiff

As mentioned, excellent for portrair (shoulders and above), fantastic wide aperture value.

Cons: the AF/MF switch seems loose in the sense that I can jiggle it around in either AF/MF, but tryin to switch it from MF to AF or vice versa seems a little stiff. But for 75$, what more was I expecting?

Just because of it's price, I think every photographer should own one. Because its great value and as a thanks (financial thanks) to Canon for providing such great lenses.