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Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S Nikkor

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Review Date: Dec 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp. Actually sharper than any prime in the range by *any* maker. Seriously...
Cons:
This ain't yo grandma'a 17-35. This is a very specialized lens that requires more care than the average lens. It is also big and heavy.

I had major hesitations in getting this lens as it is large and heavy *and* the front element is very exposed needing more care. I own all kinds of wide angle glass from Nikon, Canon, Zeiss, Leica and Hasselblad and this lens smokes all of them in anything comparable in the range. From 14-24 is is tack sharp all the way to the corners at 5.6 and beyond with very little difference from Center to edge. This lens is simply the best way to go if you need to go wider than 28mm. Wide open it simply sets a lofty new standard that nothing can touch. Handling is great, manual focus is smooth.

The zooming mechanism is most likely more delicate than most would imagine as it is moving the entire front element group to and fro in the zoom range so regular maintenance under pro use should be strongly considered to keep the tight tolerances of an ultra wide in play at all times.

This lens in no way replaces the 17-35 as it is much larger, heavy, more exposed and far more specialized. I intend on using this lens for aerial work, ultra wide advertising or anything in which there is low risk for scratches, inclement weather or hard environment PJ work.

Considering how much the Canon 14mm 2.8-II and the Nikon 14mm 2.8 are in price, this lens is a bargain as it simply blows away anything in the same focal lengths with ease at any aperture.

While it won't be going with me to the summit of Mt. Everest, I will be using it for a lot of things when practical to do so.

So Canon fanboys take heed: This lens is only the start from Nikon. One by one, Canon's optical lead will fall as each new well thought out and crafted Nikkor emerges.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: May 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Much better than the old version, better sharpness overall, especially from 16-22mm. Fantastic flare control, even better than Nikon's 17-35 2.8.
Cons:
82mm front filter size, but that is what step up rings are for.

I think what has happened in the digital and internet age is that we now have a bunch of cat and bird photographers who work in the software development field by day and do lens tests by night. So it is no surprise that everyone seems to be an expert when they do not know squat about optical limitations. Any ultra-wide 2.8 zoom is going to have limits and this one is no exception. But....the performance is indeed exceptional, well worth the price in my line of work. I would have paid $1,800 for this lens. Canon is the world leader in the digital photography world and this lens is yet one more reason why. Nikon simply can't touch the great lineup that Canon has. All the anti-full frame hype is just that: Hype. In real world use, this optic is outstanding. The color saturation, contrast and sharpness are only second to primes in the same range.

 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

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Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Most lenses can be compared on several levels of criteria. This one can not. At 1.2 is can not be compared, it is pure magic!
Cons:
Size, weight, focus by wire? Really quite minor.

I own the 85 1.8 and love it. I is small, light, fast focusing and sharp.
But this 85L, whoa man what a lens! I shot a 4 day advertising job with it and did not use another lens. Brilliant careers have been built on the look of this lens at 1.2 and now I can see why. On the 5D, there is no such thing as bad light with this lens.

It weighs a ton and is not easy to hide as a street photography lens, but man! Is it worth it.


 
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

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Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Widest 1.4 out there. Insanely sharp thanks to an exceptional copy. My favorite lens by far.
Cons:
A bit big for a wide prime, but that is due to Canon's near-medium format sized mount I would suspect.

I fully tested and compared a buddy's 35L & 24L before I decided on this lens. I just use a 24 far more than I do a 35. While the 35 is a good bit better in the corners, remember, this is a 24mm lens folks. At 28mm or wider, it gets REAL hard to make a lens faster than F2.0 optically perfect without some radical design that would make it the size of the 85L. I am still going to get the 35 but the 24 will remain at the top of my chart....and I even own the sweet 85L.

So I got a phenomenal copy. Critically sharp in the center at 1.4 and better than I expected in the corners. In fact, if you take a small, detailed object and stuff it in the very corner of the viewfinder and focus on it, you might be surprised at how sharp it turns out to be.

I have a two page spread in a magazine this month shot with my 5D at ISO 1,600 at f 2.0 that is truly incredible. The focus is about 1 foot away and it looks like you could fall into the page.

Great, great lens!!


 
Canon EOS 5D

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Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,050.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This is a real 35mm camera that does not weigh a ton or cost a mint. A true bargain for the adventure / travel / ultra-light conscious pro.
Cons:
Still has that lame CF based mirror lockup. Still has that lousy, easy to scratch and hard to clean non user replaceable Canon eyepiece design. Come on Canon, get a real screw in eyepiece for once.

First off, let's get some amateur hour misconceptions out of the way:

1. This is a pro camera, nothing less. Build is super solid but not "Ford-tough" excessive like the 1-series are. I have put about 16,000 frames on mine since 9-30-05. The lack of weather sealing is a minor consideration as a good extreme condition pro knows that proper gear care is far more important than a sealed camera with a wet lens that is not getting you the shot. In other words, for 90% of my National Geographic shooting friends, sealed cameras are kind of gimmicky. My 20D has 70,000 frames on it and was routinely exposed to constant elements. Sure, it all helps, but is not the gospel some of you preach.

2. Canon needs to work on new wides since this exceptional camera, like the 1DS series, reveals the limits of wide glass more than a film rig would. But.....it is far better than I expected. I went and ordered a 24 1.4L and 85 1.2L and they are both well more than useable wide open. In fact, they are exceptional. The 24mm is my favorite lens and is *killer* wide open. If you have a really good copy like I do, try putting a object in the very corner and focusing on it manually. You might find, it is far sharper than you think.

This camera has set many of us free. Many who were trapped in the digital world with the obviously temporary fix of cropped cameras in the real world. It is small, light, well made and gives a truly talented photographer the most versatile and powerful 35mm camera every made. Big fat 1-series cameras have no place in my line of work. I have waited 10 years for this DSLR and I am SO pleased with it and so are my editors and art directors. I have not told them that I am using a different camera, they have told me that they see my vision true to it's style once again. Two page spreads all the way up to ISO 3,200 with my super secret way to reduce noise are turning out stunning. I would have lovingly paid up to $5,000 for this camera so $3,000 is a flat out bargain for me.

Just like any camera, the 5D is not for everyone. But for many pros and advanced amateurs, it is what we have been praying for.

Outstanding Canon!