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  Reviews by: Dean Treml  

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Canon EOS 50D

50D_1_
Review Date: May 19, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

I just discovered that there is a custom function to switch the functionality of the AF-ON and the * buttons (CF lV-2) which cures the problem I moaned about below! Ok so now the preview zoom out button is now the AF-On button but this is a small price to pay for having good operations while shooting.
Reading the manual can be helpful, I should try it more often!


 
Canon EOS 50D

50D_1_
Review Date: May 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: File Size - Image Quality - AF - Frame Rate - LCD - Build Quality
Cons:
Lack of AF Lock via vertical grip (see below)

Firstly, this camera is absolutely PHENOMENAL value !

Second, a bit of history, in the DSLR world over the last 10 years I have owned - D2000, D30, D60, 30D, 1DMk1 & 1DMk2. I have spent a bit of coin and experienced a few different levels of quality and responsiveness.

Thirdly, and finally, the features and overall quality that you get from this camera is outstanding. The 15MP files are big, sharp and usable, the 6.3fps is plenty quick enough for most things, the AF is fast and accurate, the ISO is pretty nice and the ergonomics are good. I tried a loaner 5DMk2 and was VERY impressed but none were available at that time and I wanted some more megapixels for some upcoming jobs so I grabbed a 50D for the interim. The result is I bought a second 50D and my 1DMk2 is now my backup body and the 30D needs to find a new home.
Sure the 1D is a pro body and does nothing wrong for a 5 year old camera but the 50D file size and general workability is so good I really don`t see much advantage in using the 1D. I also don`t think I`ll get a 5DMk2 now, instead I`ll have fun with my 50`s, which collectively cost much less than a 5D, and wait and see what the 1DMk4 has to offer whenever we see it.

My only gripe about this camera is regarding a functionality change that Canon has made, which effects the way I use a camera but wont bother most people... however, I have always used the shutter release button for AF, and the * button on the back for focus lock. Canon have added an AF ON button to the back which is now used for focus lock operation, which is no biggie, but the vertical grip does not incorporate the AF ON so shooting vertically I have had to get in the habit of retaining a horizontal hold, which is a bit of a pain. For the 2nd body I didn`t even bother getting the vertical grip for this reason.

It`s a great bit of kit and stupidly cheap.




 
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

ef15mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Jul 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Light, Fun Fun Fun!
Cons:
The lens cap is pretty much a waste of time.

A great piece of glass, very sharp throughout aperture range, tough and durable, insanely cheap really, considering what you can do with it. It's loads of fun and very useful.

 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Sep 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast aperture, great af.
Cons:
Not much springs to mind...

A terrific piece of glass, I'm often looking for an excuse to use it. Very sharp throughout aperture range. Great for portraits obviously, good for indoor sports, and generally useful. For the money it's a lens well worth considering even if you have a zoom in this range.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Sep 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, light & CHEAP.
Cons:
None for the price

Everybody should have one of these, best value lens Canon make.
I always made a habit of carrying a 50mm but went a couple of years without after a kit re-shuffle, but have since mended my ways.
Similar weight to a lens cap, very sharp and at f1.8 a great low light rescue lens. AF works well, ok it's got a plastic mount but it's not holding any weight and mine has not deteriorated a bit in a year of use.
These used to be standard lenses on SLR's for good reason.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: Sep 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp throughout aperture range, fast af, manageable size.
Cons:
um....

Have been using this lens for three months and it destroys the 17-35mm I had previously. Very sharp even at 2.8 and edge to edge is very good too, no drop off anywhere. Solid build and has already handled a decent knock with no side effects. Very quite also, so much so that you can put it on the camera and take a few shots before you realise that you've bumped the af/mf switch to mf and the focus is miles out, must tape that switch....
A quality lens.


 
Canon EOS D30

D30
Review Date: Apr 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $8,000.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Durable, nice image quality, well featured & capable.
Cons:
Slow AF, noise at high ISO.

OK, I bought a D30 shorthly after it was released so it cost a kings ransom (approx $5000 US) and I replaced it with a D60 2 years later, but if someone's looking for a good entry level DSLR there's not a lot wrong with the D30.

Battery life is excellent, it's well featured and handles a knock pretty well. Mine had 65,000 exposures put through it and had only set me back a US$200 repair in the time I had it.

The AF is slow, so it can be a bit of a lottery with moving subjects.

But most importantly, 3.2MP is not as bad as many may think.
It's relevant if you are a point & shoot person thinking of jumping up to a digital, while a lot of newer P&S digitals are 5+ MP, their sensors are smaller than the sensor on this camera so it will still produce a better end image.
For a hobby/family shooter it will produce an A4 print quite happily. I had a half frame crop (so effectively 1.6MP) used on a magazine cover with no visible image degradation - you cant tell that it's a digital shot.




 
Tamron 28-105MM F/2.8 LD Aspherical (IF)

28105mm_1_
Review Date: Apr 1, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Good range for a 2.8, can produce insanely sharp images.
Cons:
Sometimes soft/CA at wide aperture in certain lighting situations, slow AF.

Being desperate for a 2.8 that could marry up to my Sigma 120-300 made me buy this lens.
It's solid, seems well made, and weight is acceptable for a 2.8 with this sort of range.
The AF is very slow and I generally use it manually for moving subjects.
It is a Dr. Jeckyll/Mr.Hyde lens when it comes to results. It can produce some of the sharpest images I have ever seen in 70% of the situations I use it, 20% it is merely average and 10% it's crap ! At it's worst when shooting backlit wider than f5 or when shooting something white in bright sunlight wider than f5.



 
Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM

ef35_350_1_
Review Date: Aug 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Zoom range, versatility.
Cons:
One touch zoom, sharpness.

This lens is a bit of an enigma. It spends a lot of time in my cupboard. It is a terrific range and I use it for specific jobs. It is great for outdoor, slow-moving sport, such as yachting, especially in the pre-starts where one boat can be some distance away while another one is right alongside. It is also good for news jobs that have constantly changing shooting situations, again outdoors only. This lens is not the fastest focusing L lens off the rank, and the one touch zoom is a bit violent at times !! My other comment would be that while this lens is OK for digital use, it is not sharp enough on tranny, particularly at the top end, 330-350mm range. Good to throw on your camera when you want to travel light and have no specific requirement, but I suspect the new 28-300mm replacement with IS will be a much more usable lens.

 
Canon EOS D60

D60
Review Date: Aug 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image size & quality, value for money, well featured.
Cons:
Low light autofocus.

Having gone through Canon D-SLR's such as the D2000, and D30, this camera represented a huge jump forward in image quality when it was released. At the time I tossed up over replacing my D30 with a D60 or a 1D. I came very close to buying the 1D, but decided that despite the amazing speed and strength of the camera itself, the image quality just didn't stack up for me.
I never regretted that decision. Knowing that Canon had all that technology wrapped up in the 1D, and then to pull a 6.3MP image sensor out of the hat in a widely used by pros but still essentially consumer D60, there had to be something better around the corner. Sure enough the 1D mk II is that camera.
In the interim the D60 served me well. It has a few weaknesses for pro use, particularly in news and sports where the AF is slow, especially in low light conditions, but while you miss a few shots, you get plenty. Even the brilliant Mk II produces out of whack images.
For sports the image size is also much more croppable than the original 1D, and allows you to shoot subjects which otherwise may be too far away to pull up satisfactorily.
The 550ex works very well on the D60, unlike the 1D which is a bit of a flash lottery at times, and the camera is generally well featured. Seems to take the odd knock quite happily too. It handles very well with the additional vertical grip, and the battery life of the CMOS'd D60 is excellent, unlike that of the CCD'd 1D.
I had the opportunity to buy a 2nd hand 1D a few months back, but sold it shortly afterwards. It just confirmed all my original suspicions. It is a very good camera and was revolutionary for a D-SLR function wise, but the CMOS 6.3MP of the D60 spoils the experience. Conversely somebody going the other way would no doubt find the AF and FPS of the D60 disappointing.
I would not hesitate to recommend the D60 to anybody looking for a cheap D-SLR to get into digital, or even as a back up body, which mine currently is. It has exceeded 100,000 exposures to date and has only required one small US$90.00 repair in over two years of use.


 
Canon EOS 1D Mark II

1D2
Review Date: Aug 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sturdy, image quality, well featured.
Cons:
Not much.

This is the D-SLR sports and news photographers have been waiting for. All the features and response times you would expect in a pro film body. Image size and quality that is good for almost any use full frame, and can be happily cropped (sometimes severly) for newspaper/magazine use. Rugged, good balance and layout. Canon seem to have beta tested functionality on the D2000/1D and CMOS on the D60/10D and come up with this beauty.
Slight softness of images can be disconcerting initially, but is easily overcome with a bit of a fiddle, and unsharp mask is as much a part of taking a digital photo these days as anything. Just think of it as the last slight adjustment of the focus ring !
Amazing low noise at high asa/iso.
New ETTL 2 flash excellent, especially after the flash exposure lottery that was the original 1D
This camera may be 1.5kg, but it's still lighter than the old 2MP D2000's (DCS520) that we used to happily lug around a couple of years back. It's has a build-quality feel that reminds me of the Nikon F5.
While the battery is not the newest technology, it lasts forever - 1920 exposures from the first usage before it showed "Low" power.
Other than a couple of personal preferences (e.g. I would like a shooting speed in between 3fps and 8.3fps) I have no complaints with this camera.
It's nice to be able to shoot a series of shots and be able to use them in the manner that you would have had they been shot on a film body. While it is still not "film quality" it may as well be for all but the most extreme and exacting applications.
My EOS 3 is now history.
Cheers Canon.


 
Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

120_300_1_
Review Date: Aug 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, Sharp, Versatile.
Cons:
Looks funny with a white Canon 1.4x ...

After 18 years of sport, news and commercial photography this is the best lens I've ever used. How many times I've been stuck with a 300mm prime and wished I could have zoomed back to 200mm I couldn't begin to imagine.
When this lens became available I bought one and put it up against my Canon 300mm f2.8 USM during a sporting event using a combination of stand alone and converters. The Canon 300mm is now no more. The Sigma was as sharp and as fast, if not faster and the added versatility of the zoom made it no contest. The contrast of the Canon glass was a little superior, but if you are shooting digital this does not matter as it may with film.
At 2.6kg it's 300g lighter than the Canon 300. If you are used to amateur spec lenses you might find this heavy, but from a pro-user point of view it is a good weight and very easy to hand hold. The lens hood is not unnecessarily long and the general handling ergonomics are superb.
This lens is so great for shooting the everchanging dynamic of sports, in any light condition, and if I thought this lens was good on the EOS 1D, it's even better on the EOS 1D mk II. Having said that, it still preforms brilliantly on the D60.
Thanks Sigma, now could I please have a 35-120mm f2.8 to marry up to it !