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Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

canon1dmarkiv
Review Date: Feb 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,850.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Rock-solid, fast AF(but see below), outstanding images up to 400 ISO, good range of custom functions.
Cons:
"Movie" mode should be one button, higher ISO not great, AF no real improvement over 1vHS.

As much as I love this camera, I don't think it represents a significant step over the III. IQ is not much better and
compared to the competition it actually lags in the all-important (to me) area of high ISO performance.
Frame rate is awesome, no complaints, I have had no grief with the AF and I'm getting 90% 'keepers'.
Movie mode is pointless as, with the fiddling you have to do to set it up, you might as well bring a videocam.
Live-view of dubious value (again to me), but I can see its attraction.

Although having said that, its a Canon pro-bodied DSLR with which its hard to go wrong, but I would have like to have seen more effort go into refining the ICIP software and simplifing the controls.
If I wasn't already geared-up with lenses, and this was my first exposure to a pro DSLR, I would really have to think hard whether it, or the D3S, was the way to go.
Sorry big 'C', but, compared to the opposition, its just not that great.


 
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef300mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Aug 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Build Quality, Focus Speed, "X" Factor
Cons:
Price,Weight

Though slightly less sharp wide-open than I had hoped, you only have to stop down to f3.5 to hit its maximum sharpness. This is on a 1.6 crop, so a FF may be better. Apart from the obvious (price, weight), there is nothing to complain about here.
I have used it on everything from motorports to landscapes to wildlife, and it has yet to let me down. Its not the portable "Bush-Buster" the 300f4 IS is, but its virtues more than compensate. Only in the dimmest of light does it hunt, otherwise it is blindingly fast and hand-holdable for a half-dozen shots or so. I think, however that most shooters would benefit from a monopod at least.
If you can take the hit to your wallet, and the crick in your neck, then I highly recommend this lens.


 
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

ef500mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Jul 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor-sharp. Little difference between wide-open and stoped down. AF / IS all its cracked up to be. 400% enlargements? No problem! An absolute gem. One of the worlds best optics.
Cons:
Heavy - so what!

Other than it's weight, there is no downside to this lens. If you are after sports, wildlife or birds, it simply cannot be beat! perhaps the 600 has more reach, but the 500 is hand-holdable for a couple of shots at a time. I've tried it on both film and digital (30D) and it handles both with ease. I thought that moving from an FD 400 2.8L, it might be a bit of a let-down. No. Its as good as they say, and maybe a bit better.
It comes at a price, but its more than worth it.


 
Canon EOS 30D

Canon_30D
Review Date: May 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great pictures. Useful features. Spot metering. Low noise up to 800 ISO. AF accurate even with slower lenses (but see below). Lightweight and sturdy. Good BIF (a surprise!). Good battery life. Perfect size and weight for all-day shooting.
Cons:
Annoying amount of fiddling to change settings. No viefinder display of settings unless shutter depressed. AF Servo "off & on". One Shot-> Af Servo->One shot functions only with Super-telphotos. ISO sensitivity + by about 2/3rds

I love the RESULTS from this camera. Even on 'Program' setting with no adjustments, it takes a great shot. However the range of in-camera adjustments means you can adapt it to virtually any situation or customise for creative effect. Particularly useful are the adjustable Colour Temperature and WB Bracketing. The AWB is good and copes with most conditions, but better results come from tailoring.
Spot metering is a welcome and overdue addition that's perfect for tricky lighting. The built-in flash is surprisingly effective and works very well outdoors especially in poor light. Five fps deals with almost anything and with a BG-E2 grip its the perfect size for me.
I don't, thank God, seem to be experiencing any noise issues. Even with a 3x loupe I can find nothing to whinge about on A3 prints at up to 320 ISO. Up to 800 ISO noise is just noticable but very usable at A4. At 1600-3200 you can still get a good result. Just don't peer to closely.

Alas its not perfect. Canon still hasn't got out of the push-twiddle-push habit for changing settings. On top of that its not always clear what you've changed 'from', 'to'.
In 30 years of picture taking I don't think I've ever accidentally changed a setting,but there have been plenty of times I've needed to do so quickly - this isn't the camera for that. Very possibly the most useful quick change function I can think of is from a One Shot mode to an AI Servo mode. In one of those fits of techno-snobbery, Canon has restricted this to its hyper-expensive 'L' Superteles.
Focus lock / Exposure Lock work fine but are not indicated very well.
The 3 postion on-off switch is just plain silly and the camera sometimes refuses to 'just take the shot' in low light even in Manual mode (this requires switching the lens to manual focus).
The ISO is more sensitive than advertised (IMO). I generally have to compensate by about -1 to 1 1/2 stops to avoid blowing the highlights. The AI Servo is hardly ever accurate even when the moving object is head-on. I may have to have these last two checked out as no-one else seems to be bothered by them.
All-in-all, despite the niggles, its an extremely capable camera that with a bit of practice and familiarization can yield some stunning results. Highly recommended as an upgrade from a 300 or 350. From a 20D? Hmmmmnnnn!?


 
Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX Aspherical DG DF

15_30f35_45_1_
Review Date: Jan 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $440.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Useful range for landscapes and indoors. Light-weight, sharp & contrasty Interesting & fun on FF camera. A real bargain and an ideal walk-around for a 1.3 - 1.6 SLR.
Cons:
Slightly noisy AF. Distortion on FF (but what ultra-wide doesn't). Odd filter arrangement and vignetting at wide end.

I wasn't expecting this lens to be particularly good, but was happily surprised. It handles flare much better than I thought it would, and while barrel distortion is quite evident at the wide end on a FF SLR, this tends to flatten out on a 1.3-1.6 crop.
At 20-30mm, f5.6 - 11, this lens just can't be equalled for the money. It IS quite noisy on AF, but really: this is an ultra-wide that you can practically point and shoot at f8 and above.
All-in-all a great little all-rounder for DSLRs and a lot of fun with FF or film.


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Jan 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: The best Macro lens ever??? Perfect for FF or 1.6 crop. Film or digital. Does what it says on the box.
Cons:
Slightly flare-prone and needs hood for non-macro shots. Should come with tripod collar.

This lens delivers exceptional results as either a dedicated Macro or medium telephoto / portrait. Beautifully built and well balanced on my 30D & EOS 5. Like any dedicated lens, it takes a bit of work to get most out of it, but you will not be dissapointed. Buy one!
Bought recently & happily from addy616 on FM Smile.


 
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

ef300mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Nov 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARP! Light(ish). AF fast even on my EOS 5. Great colour and SHARP! IS very helpful for my kind of shooting (see below). Decent macro.
Cons:
Some hunting in very low light but my 70-200 2.8 does as well.

I shoot mainly wildlife and macro. This lens is perfect for a twilight stroll through tight bush. Long enough to let me stay hidden and small enough it doesn't snag on every tree and shrub. IS lets me leave the tripod in the car and its not as noisy as my 28-135. Though it can hunt in very low light, I tend to pre-focus then tap it home at the last moment. I stuck a 10x close-up lens on it and was very surprised at the quality. HIGHLY recommended for wildlife snappers who work in close quarters or as an all-rounder for anyone not wanting to lug an f2.ache around all day. Until the 200mm 1.8 fairy shows up at my door, this'll be my lens of choice for most evening outings.