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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Aug 19, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $925.00

 
Pros: Perfect. In color, contrast, sharpness wide-open and bokeh.
Cons:
None

Can't say much more than this lens does not disappoint in any way. Lots of bang for the buck. One of Canons bargains.

 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Aug 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,275.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, Sharpness very good wide open as well as overall color, contrast
Cons:
Vignetting even on 1.25x crop, but livable. Cost. QA

I bought this lens to fill a FL void. I like it very much. Great color, contrast and sharpness.

Vignetting is livable (and I even like the effect, but of course I would rather have none and add the effect in PP than the other way around). But to be expected at this aperture and focal length,

It was off by 12 MA clicks out of the box. Works fine adjusted on my 1D3, but unusable on 1D Mk2n. Need to send it in, shouldn't have to have.

Would have been a 10 if I didn't have to send it in.



 
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N

1d_mkii_n
Review Date: Nov 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: AF accuracy and speed, frame rate performance, build, good ISO performance
Cons:
Older battery tech, not ergonomic, LCD display needs better resolution, no "real" iso 3200

Once I got the back-focusing and banding isues fixed (one month - and I bought it instead of the Mk3 to avoid AF issues!), the camera is finally performing to my expectations.

The pporly thought out control ergonomics are particularly bad for super-telephotos - you can't adjust ISO without supporting the lens by some means because you have to use both hands, ugh.

Other than that it seems solidly built and performs very well, does what I need it to. Hope it holds out.

If I wouldn't have had initial quality control issues with it I would have rated it higher. It took two trips and 3 weeks to fix the banding (replaced lots of components including the sensor assembly).


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Nov 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, light, sharp, lovely smooth DOF transistion
Cons:
close backlight or lightsouce can flare

I bought his for shooting low light, no flash permitted, indoor sports for use with my 1D Mark IIN. It hasn't dissapointed. A little long on the 1dmk2n in some situations.

Would make a great indoor candid lens on a full frame. To long for a 1.3X, but somewhat useable for that. Great portrait lens even with the 1.3x crop body.

Looking forward to many more applications with this beauty.


 
Gitzo G1327 Mountaineer Mk2 Carbon Fiber

G1327_1_
Review Date: May 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1325 (no column) very stable, light
Cons:
twist lock legs, cost

I use the 1325 (same as 1327 but with no center coumn) with my Canon 500/4L, and Arca Swiss B1, and Wimberly sidekick. It provides a very stable platform for this equipment and the buit-in level is fairly useful.

I am almost 6' tall and this provides adequate height even for birds in flight.


 
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

ef500mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Jan 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Pruduces beautiful images, very sharp and good contrast, fast focus, IS, hand hold in a pinch
Cons:
Cost, fairly hefty, lens cover

I am using this lens for wildlife photography, mainly birds, either hand-held or with an Arca-swiss B1+Wimberly sidekick.

I bought this lens because of the images I've seen produced with it. This and the 600/4's image quality have a unique and very pleasant look. I haven't been disappointed.

The next sharpest long lens I have is the 400/5.6. While it is very sharp in fine detail, the sharpness seems "harsh" compared to the 500/4, and the 500/4 shows better detail even when projected on a 6MP sensor - so the MTF for this lens must really be something. I think it must be that the 400/5.6's contrast falls down in the mid spatial frequencies, whereas the 500/4's contrast is great across all frequencies.

I mostly shot flight shots handheld with the 400/5.6 before this. It is taking some getting used to shooting flight with this big lens off a tripod, but I am having a ball learning something new.

The lens cover is horrendous though - its just too difficult to take on and off. I bought a strech cover I can put over the hood in the field, so that works out OK.

I can't wait for spring to bring the migrating birds for me to shoot with this lens! Here is a gallery of samples from this lens (Eagles etc.), including 100% crops:

http://www.pbase.com/gaocus/500f4_sampler



 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Dec 12, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,399.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp throughout most of the range for a zoom. Push-Pull is Great for fast zooming. Excellent "L" clor and contrast. Decent weight.
Cons:
Older generation IS that has quirks and prone to failure. Not good bokeh under certain conditions. f5.6, TC not very useful on non-1 class cameras. Softer wide open @ 400mm.

I used this lens for over a year as a general wildlife walk around lens. It was always hand-held except for a few instances after the IS failed. I don't use it now because after Canon fixed the IS, the images were too soft.

I got lots of wonderful images from the lens that I couldn't have got dragging around and setting up a tripod through prairie grasslands, woodlands and forests.

The lens is a bit softer wide open at 400mm. I usually shot at 380 (thats where the mark on the barrel lines up with 400mm on the scale, which I got in a habit of setting the zoom to) and at f6.7 or above with good results. I am able to get pretty close to the birds I photograph so I frequently made use of the zoom function (e.g. to zoom out for a bird taking flight).

The push-pull is much better than the alternative of multiple ring twists - you can zoom in or out quite quickly. Since you also have one hand at the end of the barrel, the lens is well balanced throught the zooming.

The AF is not the quickest (say as compared to the 400/5.6) such that the number of flight shot keepers is less than faster AF lens (I have only compared to 400/5.6). It is a bit heavy to hand-hold for intensive flight shooting, but its pretty doable. I've used it full days to shoot eagles in flight, but my 400/5.6L does that job now - its much lighter and its AF is faster.

There have been quite a number of reports (including mine) of "Error 1" lockups with this lens that seem to be IS related. The lens has to be reseated to unlock the camera. My IS failed completely after 7 months, and I have seen numerous others with this problem as well, some not long after purchase.

This is a very good "starter" wildlife lens, you can do a lot with it. If mine were still working properly I would be using it along with my 400/5.6 and soon to be 500/f4. I got sharp pictures hand-held at low shutter speeds right out of the box with little experience with telephotos.

I can only give it a conditional recommendation because of the IS problems I and others have had, along with the slight softness wide open.

Here is a link to my 100-400 sampler gallery (mostly birds) , with some 100% crops at various focal lengths and aperatures.

http://www.pbase.com/gaocus/100_400l_samples

Gene



 
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

ef400mmf_56_1_
Review Date: Dec 6, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,099.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open as any other aperature, great contrast, fast AF, lightweight, realtively inexpensive
Cons:
Not the greatest bokeh, No IS, f5.6, 11ft miimum focusing distance

This is an excellent buy for wildlife photgraphy. It is sharp as a tack wide open, and as sharp wide open as any other aperature. You'll only want to stop down for DOF - sign of an excellent lens.

It is light and slim and the AF is fast which combine to make it a great hand-held flight lens. This also makes it easier to hand-hold for stills as well. I'd say compared to the 100-400 IS which I also own, the prime's sharpness wide open and its weight and slimness combine to beat down the 2 stop IS advantage to one stop or less.

The only nitpick I have about it is the bokeh could be better, but it isn't too bad, comparable to any other lens at this focal length and price. The minimum focus doesn't affect me too much.

Here is a sample gallery (birds) with 100% crops from this lens, mostly wide open, for your perusal:

http://www.pbase.com/gaocus/40056_sampler_gallery

Gene Oleynik