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Sigma 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX OS APO

Review Date: Nov 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, but not wide open. Stabilizer enables wider range of handheld use, but...
Heavy as hell. Difficult to handhold well due to weight.

This replaced my EF Canon 70-300 IS USM, which was adequate but nothing special. I wanted the longer reach of the Canon EF 100-400 IS USM, but I didn't want to pay the exorbitant price of $1,4000.

Due to an "essential tremor" in both hands I have difficulty holding the camera stable, so I pretty much have to stick with a stablized lens or use a tripod or monopod. (I'm OK hand-holding my EF 17-40 USM as long as the light is good, but not otherwise.)

Because the Sigma 80-400 is so heavy at 3.6 lbs, I still have to use a tripod in most cases so the IS capability that I paid for is a moot point.

The Canon EF 100-400 is 3 pounds; would the 1/2 pound weight difference improve my ability to hand-hold? Probably.

Is that improved usefulness worth approx the approximately $400.00 in increased cost? That depends. Maybe, maybe not.

How does one draw up a theoretical cost/benefit analysis that realistically quantifies the benefit of being able to hand-hold the camera in certain situations as opposed to having to use a tripod or other support? What comparison parameters are valid, and how does one define said parameters and then validate them to ensure an accurate comparison between the two choices?

Once the testing methods are designed and validated and the values are defined and the calculations are done, how does one 'proof' the resulting answer?

Given these uncertainties, it appears obvious that such a comparison cannot be made accurately in an abstract environment. A valid comparison between the two lenses must therefore be done using real-world experiences.

Therefore, given these sundry circumstances beyond my control and in the interest of Truth, I will now pop over to Adorama and purchase a Canon EF 100-400 IS USM.

Neat, huh? Smile

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jul 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, clean, good build quality

This is a step-up lens for me; sold off an EF 24-85mm I used extensively, and an EF 100mm macro I didn't use much.

The 17-40mm is MUCH sharper, better contrast than the 24-85, especially wide open. Suprisingly good DOF wide-open, not quite as good closed down, NO chromatic weirdness at either end.

No lens creep, feels good and tight.

Due to an inherited hand-tremor, I can only use the lens handheld in good to bright light, but that's me not the lens. It's pretty much replaced my EF 28-135mm IS as my walk-around lens except in lower light shots. For lower light situations, I continue to use the EF 28-135mm IS.

These two lenses, along with the recent addition of a Sigma 80-400mm OS, pretty much cover the gamut for me at present. (The Sigma heaves below 150, but that's another story.)

Bottom line: good lens.

Canon EOS 10D

Review Date: Jun 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: It's a solid, well-made piece of equipment.

Others here can comment more intelligently than I regarding the specifics of the performance of this camera and how it compares to similar cameras. So, I won't review it from that aspect.

I've owned mine for nearly a year now, and I'm very pleased with it. I began 3 years ago with an HP P&S, then moved up to a Minolta Dimage 7, now I have the 10D.

The 10D, compared to my earlier cameras, is much more sensitive and demanding; much of that is due to my using it exclusively in manual mode and to shooting in lower light situations. It's very sensitive to inside light color and temperature mixes, especially at ISO 400 and above. Outside, that's not as much of a factor. I use custom white balance as much as possible except in sunlight. So I use Levels and Color Balance a lot in PS, also ColorWasher or ICorrect to deal with color casts.

I haven't had the focussing issues that were so much discussed earlier (are they still?) One caveat, though about focussing: you WILL learn to get the most out of your lenses' focussing capabilities, again because there's less (more?) room for error because of the camera's greater capabilities.

I use the 28-135 IS 90% of the time along with the 75-300 IS and a little with the 100MM macro. These are good lenses, but not, apparently, the best lenses; I have an inherited hand-tremor that make the IS necessary.

But there's an upside there too: otherwise, I'd have a bunch of L-grade primes and lens cases and stuff and then I'd REALLY hear it, "What? Again with the packages from B&H?" Smile

Would I recommend it to someone else in my shoes? Absolutely. Are there issues to nit-pick about? Sure! I hear that the lack of a spot-meter is bad, so I suppose it is; but I really wouldn't know.

I'm too busy shooting and shooting to care about no stinking spot-meters, man!

Peace to ya'll