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  Reviews by: Griffin  

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Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L

Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Inexpensive for an "L" since you could almost only find it in 2nd hand departement; AF resonably fast (on D30); strongly built; outstanding image quality; constant apeature of f/2.8
No USM; implies no simultaneous AF and MF; noise and slower AF; minor flare;

I get mine from the 2nd hand market since I have a need to fill the 18 - 49 mm gap. The price is good for at that time, it is about half the price of a EF17-35mm f/2.8 L USM and a quad of the new EF16-35mm f/2.8 L USM, which I cannot afford neither. The image quality and the built are good as expected.

Of course, when there is no USM, there are quite a few issues to cope with. Well, I find it is okay to me. Since the old EF17-35mm f/2.8 L USM, has dropped even further at the time of writing, may be the best logical choice if you cannot afford the new one.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Large aperature; tick sharp; inexpensive and light-weight for features;
Plastic; USM not in par with others; extending front element; rear element unprotected

Probably the best "standard" 135 lens your money can buy, after testing from other manufacturers. Sharp, light, and a f/1.4 gives you the ability to shoot in almost all sort of lighting condition and still gives superb results. It is very useful in almost all sort of applications like portraits, candid and street photographs.

The minor issues I come across is quite a few: first, the USM is not as fast, even compare to other non-"L" lenses like EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and EF100mm f/2.8 USM Macro. May be due to price consideration, the rear element is too close to the mount and is very subject to scraches. The front element extends on focus, but not rotate, and could induce possible dust problem.

But so far, no complaints!

Metz Metz 54 MZ-3 / MZ-4

Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Easy to operate; more accurate flash output, even on a D30; flash colour is just right
Expensive, more bulky, don't work with Canon wireless flashes

I have used Canon 550EX, Sigma EF500S and this flash unit gives the best results so far. The "A" mode is very good casual and candid shots. If you are in more serious photography, there is TTL/ETTL mode. In general, this unit provides better results than 550EX. There are no CF or a series of buttons operations like Canon and Sigma, just one button and a dail are all you need to give the settings. However, there is a price to pay. The flash is considerable more expensive than a real Canon.

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

Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very flexible lens in outdoor use; Strongly built (but no-one tells you to drop it!); IS, handholdable; very easy to carry; somewhat personal-biasd
Reserved about push-pull design; IS is somewhat dated; wished it would be a f/4 @400; draws too much unnecessary attention when used;

My first and only lens for most nature works. Used it almost two years and all I could say is "stay with me". The lens could have been better but how I could ask for more with a 400mm zoom with dual mode IS! It is quite sharp @400 but ok the primes are hard to beat -- but the flexibility can't be beat! Enough said. Smile

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Life size (1:1) marco with quiet AF, light, reasonable sharp, reasonable priced, versatile and handy to use
Plastic body, AF hunts somewhat (on D30), no IS :)

After using 500D coupled with my EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, I think it is time to get a "real" macro lens. This lens is a logical choice. A 180mm f/28 macro lens may appeal to more afforable user but this one, the price is just right. I have used this lens before and find it also a very good portrait lens for its wide apareture.

As my current default lens for macro work, I cannot express in words what a new world of close-up photography this lens shows me. I personally don't find it necessary to use a collar even I have stacked a 25mm extension tube with a 1.4x TC (non-Canon) without probelms. I secretly wish it has IS. Nevermind.