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  Reviews by: Denizen  

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Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jun 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Has that inexplicable, but impossible to miss magic. A real sweet spot in focal length. Solid build.
A tad bit short on a 1.6 crop camera and a touch short on Full Frame.

This lens was my most used lens on my 20D and now it's my most used on my 5D.

Now with full frame I don't feel near as much need for a wide angle lens but I do feel myself getting a bit closer to my subjects than I was accustomed to with portraits on the 20D. (close minimum focus distance is a blessing here.)

This lens seems to capture so many shots that have an incredible level of detail while having this incredible, flattering softness. Incredibly sharp, but somehow, very flattering.
I find it to be much like the 135L but with the benefit of being a zoom.

I do consider the 24-70 from time to time but when I realize that would mean parting with this lens, I very quickly come to my senses.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $800.00

Pros: Hands down. The single best portrait lens you can have on a Full Frame camera.
It can be difficult to resist using it wide open despite the narrow DOF. My girlfriend gets embarrassed when I put a little knit cap on it and take it on walks in a pram.

It feels a tad bit long (on 5D) when you first put it on but with enough room to work it quickly feels right.
The colors are rich and saturated, the images very sharp and detailed while still keep a magical sort of creamy, dreaminess to them.

For portraits this simply can't be beat and at less than half what you'd pay for an 85 1.2 I can't see why you wouldn't use this. (except on a 1.6 crop in which case I imagine this would be great for indoor sports or wild life ((although these aren't my forte)) ).

This is my favorite lens.
(Thanks Joe, you poor b*stard. :P)

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great focal length for portraits. F2 is certainly enough for low light and for a pleasing bokeh (at this focal length).
I give my 135 2L the edge over this lens but at over twice the cost I might have expected more than just an edge. None really.

I went to a local shop (My new favorite) to do a side by side comparison between the 85 1.2L and the 85 1.8. Christy being my new favorite sales person set me up with a card, reader and nice display screen to sample the results. (Must say, I could ogle the 1.2 for the length of time I was getting out of debt from it but really not any discernible difference between the two side by side. (at least not $1,550 worth of difference!)
Anyway, my new favorite sales lady, knowingly slid a 100 2 across the counter. With my trusty super model girlfriend along to help me test. I snapped some shots, put them on the display.... and WOW!

A clear winner.

I shot with this lens the very same day that I bought it and was amazed by how 3D of an appearance I got. My subject was 2-3 feet from the closest object with the rest of the background much further off and it was shocking how much she appears to be separated from her surroundings.


I feel like I will have to strap some weight to the side of it and paint a fine red stripe around the end to make me feel better but when I pull the images up I can't help but think of all of the money I will make on top of all of the money I've saved.

Markins Q-Ball M10

Review Date: May 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Perfection. Sturdy, smooth, secure, fast and easy to control even down to incremental adjustments.
Panning lock could be stronger.

I was avoiding spending the money for this but was suffering with lesser heads and that translated to never using one.
Now that I have the Markins, I don't regret the price one bit. Well worth the money.
The tension knob is adjustable and can be locked so that when it is loosened completely it is loose enough to move freely and easily but not carelessly flop over. Also, you can tighten the head to where firm pressure will make smooth, accurate adjustment without having to loosen then tighten.

Also, I opted to go with the RRS lever release plate and L bracket. This makes for an unbeatable set up!!

As noted by many others, the panning lock could certainly be stronger but for me it hasn't been a problem.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Apr 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Gorgeous! Has that flattering sharpness that's hard to describe but impossible to miss.
Seems to hunt a bit more than any of my other lenses.

Images are wonderfully sharp, with beautifully, buttery saturation.
Focal length would be too long for my tastes on a 1.6 crop, but on my new 5d, it's stellar!
I have found that it seems to hunt more than my other lenses, but again the 5d saves things handily. With the increased view finder, manual focus is easy and newly satisfying. Not to say that manual focus is that bad, but I do like to shoot in low light and that coupled with smoother surfaces would give any lens a hard time.
I might agree with the faster aperture comments that I've read, but honestly at 2 the depth of field is as thin as I could really imagine working with.
Doesn't really need to be repeated, but the 135 is a wonderful, wonderful lens!

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Mar 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredibly Sharp, Super Fast, Quality Build, Solid Feel without Excessive Size.

Although I find that this length was a tad bit long for my tastes with a 1.6 crop, this lens can't be beat.
At f1.8 you let in enough light to shoot in next to no light.
Build quality is fantastic. The lens has a wonderful weight to it that let's you know that you're using a top quality lens but it still manages to be compact.

If it has a flaw, it is that it may be too sharp! Portraits show every last detail.

Get one!!

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Nov 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, well built. Fantastic quality for a great price. The kind of camera where you're not afraid to use it and you know that you'll get great pics. Great battery life. Easy to learn and use.
Ergonomics are a bit cramped for my taste. I had a bit of a front focusing issue with mine but Canon dealt with it very quickly.

The 5D came out a few months after I purchased my 20D and I'll admit that I was aching to set aside the 20 in favor of the 5.
After a couple of trips to the camera shop though, I have to say I really couldn't justify the price of the 5D.
The 20D is really a fantastic camera and for the price you'll pay to pick one up now, it's hard to think of a reason not to love it.

Canon EOS Rebel (300D)

Review Date: Oct 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $990.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, easy to carry, great image quality for the price.
Very plastic feel. Image buffer is very small.

I just went walking through downtwon today taking candids with my 20D and my 16-35. Man. I was really missing my old Rebel today!
I used to do the same thing with a Rebel and 50mm 1.8 and it was much easier. I didn't worry as much and I didn't attract quite so much attention.

There's something to be said for a light, inexpensive camera with high image quality.

Now I'm considering picking up a used one for cheap.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Aug 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid, well built. Very useful focal range.
2.8 is very soft.

I really love shooting with available light so felt that I'd need the 2.8 capability.
The shots that I've taken from 4 through 11 are very nice but at 2.8 it just falls apart.