Photoshop actions

  Reviews by: James pf Chow  

View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add James pf Chow to your Buddy List
Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Apr 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, 2.8L, AF speed, silent USM, top notch IQ, bokeh, 28/35/50 & 70 mm in one, colour saturation/contrast, and build quality
Discontinued model (what ashamed!) and not water-sealed

Looking for this walk-around gems for a while to fill in the gap between my 17-40mm f4 and 200mm f/2.8LII as I do not want to spend so much to pay for the 24-70mm f/2.8. I always wanted a f2.8 for this focal range rather than f4 after getting obsessed with the IQ of my beloved 200mm f/2.8LII. Found this excellent copy recently but the price still held up quite well. I partner this lens with 5D.

Initially I was not overly excited with the first impression of the IQ. After getting used to the characteristics of this lens by getting the parameters right for each shot, the IQ just pops up. The sharpness, colour saturation & contrast, and bokeh of the IQ are just fantastic. In addition, I am really impressed with the unbelievable speed of AF and the quietness of the USM, it is just so wonderful to use.

Apart from that, the build quality of this lens is excellent especially considering this is a used copy with the zoom mechanism and the exterior of the lens barrel are still in top notch conditions, even though there are some noticeable used marks on the hood and a couple of marks on the thread of the lens for the hood.

I am not really bordered with the weight of the lens. In fact, I love the balance of this lens with the battery grip attached to the 5D; the balance with the grip of the whole unit is just marvelous.

Overall, this is a fantastic and highly recommended lens, and it is definitely a keeper to me.

My recommendation is, if you come across any good copy, grab one immediately as Canon do not make this model anymore. I believe that its IQ is as good as, if not better than, that of 24-70mm f/2.8, and note that it cost so much less.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 7, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $550.00

Pros: Colour renditions, naturalness, High IQ, UWA (with 5D), affordable L, built quality, right weight, and weather sealed
No complaints unless you could afford 16-35mm for f/2.8

Followed up to our earlier review with cropped camera.

Teamed up with 5D full frame, it is astonishingly good, fast AF and real ultra wide at 17mm with full-frame camera. It is very sharp, contrasty, and the colours are wonderful. Juts love it!

A very good lens indeed for the price. It's also good for walk around, and on full frame it really pops and explodes to life. It is also perfect landscape with 5D.

Highly recommended. Go for it!

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Feb 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent IQ, AF accuracy with additional 6 Assist Points, high ISO & low-light performance, smallest & lightest full-frame sensor camera, right body weight, bright LCD, excellent for landscape, great DOF, 12.8 Megapixel, well built and ease of use. Great value!
None except a little flimsy card compartment cover.

It's hard to comment anything not already said about this excellent EOS-5D. At its current price point, it is one of the best value at any price point in digital photography regardless of brands.

This camera never stops to impress me with it's performance on IQ especially during low-light shooting condition. It has excellent high ISO performance which is unbelievable and it even excels at ISO1600 with excellent DOF.

A full frame sensor makes a world of difference in digital photography, and there are only a few dSLR brands currently offering similar sensor. One has to try it out yourself to really believe in it - by seeing the actual pictures even thru the LCD. There are many forums commenting that the differences are minimum but one wonders some of the reviewer had actually touched a 5D body before or just reading it from another report.

For some, the camera does not have all the latest the bells & whistles of more modern generation of DSLRs including EOS-40D. But, the newest bells and whistles such as Live View, Auto Sensor Cleaner, .... etc are nice to have but not a must as IQ is most important to serious photographers.

Highly recommended to anyone who cares about IQ and love high performer in low light shooting condition.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Aug 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $680.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, great contrast & colours, weather-shield and well built. AF is fast, smooth and quite. Great value for money. Excellent UWA. Love it.
None for what it is designed for. It should NOT be compared with the sharpness of Canon prime L-lens.

This is my 2nd L lens and obviously was anxious to find out how this Canon UWA would perform as compared to other L lens esp the only L lens that I own i.e. 200mm f/2.8L.

My initial concern soon disappeared after a few landscape shots I took at a nearby golf course. I was a bit concerned earlier on it's sharpness after reading some reviews that QC of 17-40mm might be an issue esp after seeing some testshots with 100% crops. Then soon realized that the 17-40mm is designed for wide-angle shots and it should not be compared to equivalent focal length prime lens. Wide angle photography can be quite tricky, great results when it is done properly. Do not get me wrong, 17-40mm IQ is very sharp and consistent! I am impressed with it as it's IQ is close if not as good as the same of 200mm f/2.8L in terms of color and contrast.

This lens is well bulit, weather-shield and definitely an L quality. Nice weight and not too heavy to lug around for travelling and trekking. Hood is slightly big but no issue for me as it could fit into my NOVA-1. AF of the lens is smooth, fast and quiet with the convenient and useful feature of full time manual focus.

The best of all is that 17-40mm f/4 USM is value for money at about half of 16-35mm f/2.8L price but with same if not better IQ. Great lens. Highly recommended.

Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

Review Date: Mar 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $168.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness and contrast. Light & flexible for walkaround, and solidly built for the price. Quite and fast ring USM focusing system. .
No complaint at this price point.

Good range, 28mm to 105mm, makes it a very good walkaround lens and for street photography. Optically, this is probably the best lens you can get at this price point with the good zoom range capability.

With a matching hood, EW63II, the contrast is excellent in a lot of outdoor shootings. Color rendering is smooth and natural. This lens, depite its low price, comes with a amazingly fast & silent ring USM motor. It's solidly built yet light and convenient with it's size.

Highly recommended for general purpose and walkaround. It is a keeper and always stays in my camera bag.

Sample shots:

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Feb 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ultra Fast AF, high sharpness and contrast, very good color rendition. Relative light in weight for an L Lens with excellent build quality, and it is BLACK.
None really for what it is designed for. No IS but no issue.

Read lots of FM review on this marvellous prime ...... I was considering between EF70-200mm f/4.0L IS USM and EF200mm f/2.8L II USM but decided to go for 200mm due to it's f/2.8, size/weight and BLACK, and never regreted buying it when an excellent copy was available in the market recently.

Sharp, sharp and sharp - this is a sharp lens with excellent bokeh and the AF is ultra fast. I seriously doubt even the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS differs much at all; maybe possibly due to it's IS function. 200mm f/2.8L is very consistent over a wide range of shotting distance and remain crystal clear optically even with no IS feature provided. No complaint on zoom capability as it is designed as a prime. The hood looks a bit big but does serve the lens well. No flare was noticeable with this lens with the said hood.

I strongly recommend this lens for what it is; a long, fast, consistent with good design ergonomy, and provide crystal clear images with excellent colour rendition and bokeh. Very user freindly lens.

This is quite remarkable lens for the price. Although not as versatile as 70-200 zoomers but optically at par if not more superior at 200mm.

It certainly gives sharp images with nice colours and good bokeh.

Some first few photos taken with my new EF200mm f/2.8L: