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  Reviews by: GungaDin  

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Canon EOS 1D Mark II

Review Date: Aug 5, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: A fast "image machine" of outstanding imaging quaility
1st product obtained faulty, service scare me (almost) to death

This is with regard to my review dated July 29, 2005. After some correspondence with their management they showed "goodwill" and replaced the faulty camera.
In consequence I'd now give the camera an overall rating of "9", and if I had received a flawless product in the first instance, it would have been a "10", and I'd also recommended it w/o reservations.

Canon EOS 1D Mark II

Review Date: Jul 27, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Great camera, fast & responsive, solid "pro" feel, 1.3x crop factor better than APS-C.
Unacceptable production and service quality issues - at least in my case. PLs. see below.

I bought the 1D Mark II 3 weeks ago as a replacement for my 20D - as a first step towards a scalabel "pro" system. First tests in broad summer daylight with a not-so-fast WW zoom showed pleasing results. So far so good. Indoor shots and out-of-the -window shots with fast lenses fully open showed that the images were increasingly blurred from the center of the image to the left side of the frame. Since this occured with all of my fast lenses wide open, it was clear that either the sensor (imager) or the bayonet must be askew. Then the horror began.
I sent this brand new, immaculate camera to the German Canon central service facility to have it fixed under warranty.
It's there now for two weeks. The most shocking part of all this is that they sent me an "estimate of cost" of 2,000 Euros for the repair - they stated a mis-aligned body (bayonet mount) and insisted that such a fault must be the result of misuse, ie "shock or drop" of the camera body. Ridiculous!

- I bought a brand-new camera for over 3,200 Euros which arrived in a completey undamaged box
- I received an immaculate camera therein without any visible outer blemishes
- I used the camera solely at home, never transported it in any way, never took it outdoors
- I did of course never drop the camera or hit any hard objects with it
- I took approx. 400 test shots within 6 days, with lenses already used on the EOS 20D
- I detected that the camera was faulty and documented the fault
- I packaged the camera very safely cushioned for shipment to the Canon Service Centre
- I thus sent the same unblemished, immaculate camera, just as received, to the Canon Service Centre
- I included a detailed description of the fault encountered, including test shots (CD-R)

I have already described the result thereof. Funny? I don't think so. If a D1 body is not rugged enough to survive well-cushioned parcel transport, it does not deserve the term "professional". But, of course, is not true. I think they're just trying to dump QC issues onto their customers. Very disappointing. The arrogance of a "market leader"? Perhaps. They're perhaps "leading" technology-wise, but in all other aspects they're not. Can I recommend this "package"? Certainly not. Sorry, folks ....

Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X 287 AF PRO SV

Review Date: Apr 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, fast and quiet AF, usable at f/2,8 (fully open)
heavy and large, large filter dia (77 mm), front element rotating (focusing)

After a disappointing interlude with the Tokina AT-X 24-200/3,5-5,6 I was more than happy to have some of my faith in TOKINA restored after having tested the TOKINA AT-X 28-70/2,8 SV lens personally.
This Tok is a good performer that shows decent sharpness already wide open, and improves a lot when stopped down to 3,5-5,6, where center and edge shaprness become very good. Even though it is not on par with the wide-open sharpness of the Sigma 18-50/2,8 EX DC or that of it's direct opponent, the TAMRON 28-75/2,8 XR Di, it has it's advantages, since it doen't show the latter's overly harsh contrast and red-ish color cast, and thus renders more detail in highlights and shades, and also shows IMHO more neutral colours - more Sigma-like if I may say so. Stopped down beyond 5,6, it's amazingly sharp!
The build quality of this lens is excellent, it's AF is fast and quiet - closer to USM than any other 3rd-party lens I know - perhaps a result of the Tok's "AF/MF clutch" mechanism, which completely disengages the outer manual focus ring when pushed into the forward "AF" position. The handling of this lens with the 20D + BG-E2 combo is fine for me, even though it is a bit heavy and bulky.
To me, this Tokina makes an ideal "walkaround lens" for daylight use, and it's price/performance ratio makes it a real bargain, too!

Tokina 24-200mm AT-X 242 AF

Review Date: Apr 13, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: Build quality, zoom range, AF quiet and fast
Catastrophic optically.

Had received this lens today and taken over 100 test shots, the results thereof made me return it immediately. The were NO sharp shots whatsoever achievable at focus lengths below 50 mm, regardless of stopping down to f/11 or f/16. Above 50 mm, and with increasing focal length, the lens began to deliver results that were "acceptable", but only if stopped down to f/11 and beyond, and only so in the near-focus range. BTW it produced an "err99" message two times whereby it locked up the camera, and showed abnormal AF behaviour (hunting from end-to-end) twice. Contrast / brilliance were poor even under perfect daylight shooting conditions, flare-proneness was obvious. However, I couldn't notice any visible, obvious distortions and vignetting - most likely due to the fact that these tests were carried out with the Canon 20D DSLR, a 1,6x crop camera.
Build quality, "look and feel", handling, AF quietness and AF speed were very good, giving me the impression of a well-made, sturdy, "non-plastic" lens. Truly a pity that this lens isn't a performer even though it seems to look the business.

Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

Review Date: Feb 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: price : performance ratio, fast, tack-sharp, solidly built
AF a tad slower and louder than Canon USM

I have used this lens now for a couple of days and I can say it's a keeper. Yes, building a zoom that's not too wide spread (only 28mm to 75mm) isn't exactly 'rocket science', but this lens is a great performer, though. Color cast is fairly neutral, centre sharpness is amazing even fully opened (f/2.8), corner sharpness improves when stopped down to f/4, contrast is great. AF Works flawlessly on my dRebel and the 20D even under adverse lighting conditions. A real bargain.

Tamron 28-300MM F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC AF

Review Date: Feb 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Versatility (Range), Price
Slow, 'Tamron' Color Cast

Using this lens for three weeks produced mixed results, from 'very useable' between 35 and slightly over 100 mm to 'precarious' beyond the 200 mm range. However, under perfect lighting conditions it performed much better than I expected from a "Super-Zoom" of this range. AF was reliable and sufficiently fast, but sharpness tended to fade away beyond 200 mm (using a monopod or tripod). What eventually couldn't make it a 'keeper' was it's Tamron-typical red-ish color cast, which seems to be more pronounced with this lens than with most others of the Tamron range. The results were overly contrasty and somewhat over-saturated images, with blue tones shifted towards purple and green tones shifted towards brown, whereas the brighter mid-tones appeared to stand out unnaturally. Nevertheless - if I REALLY needed a single, compact all-purpose lens badly, this Tamron zoom would be my choice.

Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC

Review Date: Feb 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast, tack-sharp fully opened, compact
AF not up to USM speed

A truly amazing lens that works flawlessly with my Canon dRebel and my 20D. Stunningly sharp at f:2.8, stopping down a little brings up corner sharpness to "L" level and way beyond most other "prosumer" zooms, can almost match prime lens quality at 50mm. AF is a tad noisier and slower than "true" Canon ring USM. An outstanding lens and a bargain.