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  Reviews by: JohnnyMelbourn  

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Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Review Date: Nov 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: AMAZING SHARPNESS!!!! Beautiful build. Blisteringly fast AF

Best lens ever made IMO.
Ive tried most of the L Primes over the years, including this ones predecessor.
This lens is as sharp wide open in the corners as it is stopped down in the centre, even on my 1dx (whilst viewing at 200% on DPP)
I've tried the lenses that everyone speaks about when they say it doesn't need to be stopped down and this is literally the only one that has IMO ever lived up to that billing.

I've been using it now for about 6 months, often with the 2xTC III (which btw adds practically no loss of IQ!!!) and i'm still as wowed by its images now as when i first got it.

Just a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful piece of glass.

It is massively expensive, but don't think there is anything comparable to this for less. Sure the 180L is amazing, the 85LII is fantastic, the 24LII is brilliant. On a technical level though these just aren't in the same league as this lens, and I truly believe nothing is (at least nothing ive ever used!)

If you can afford it you must, its just the absolute paragon of glass.

I love it can you tell??! lol Wink

Canon EOS 1D X

Review Date: Nov 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Auto focus is blisteringly fast and accurate in good-medium light. High ISO Performance is fantastic. Frame rate is amazing. Shutter Lag/Viewfinder Blackout is Fantastic. Build Quality is brilliant. Menu System much improved. Weather sealing.
Compared to 5D MK III Iv'e found AI Servo in very low light to hunt/fail more. In good light 1DX rules no question. Cost

This is the first camera iv'e used that really feels like a tool rather than a camera.
Prior to this the only 1d experience i had was with the MKIIN.

In all but the lowest of light the AF on this camera is just truly staggeringly good; although it does have issue against low contrast scenes even in good day light. I am sure this issue will be reported more once the new firmware circulates more, hopefully by next revision this slight problem will be eliminated.

The frame rate/Shutter Lag (custom shortened)/ Viewfinder blackout make for an incredibly responsive tool that literally helps you get that split second shot without having to blame the lag of the camera (something i frequently did with the 7D)

The IQ is just incredible, compared to my old 7D i can push up to 3200 and the noise is better than 400-640 on my 7D!

IMO usable iso range stops at 20000 on this camera for me, it takes quite a substantial dive at 25K, but its not absolute garbage to it may still satisfy some.

This is what made me choose a 1DX over a 1DMKIV, I fell in love with the ability to change settings dramatically and instantly with the 7D. On the 1DX its even easier, Just assign Mfn (previously FEL) to function as a c1-c3 toggle! Its just awesome.

I did give up a lot of reach when going full frame, and yes i know its not reach but the point is academic; Ive traded in an 18MP/1.6 crop camera for a 18/1 full frame cam. But the cropping quality isn't as much of a hit as i feared, Mostly because the IQ is just superior that it takes heavier cropping much easier.

Overall i do love the camera, the few niggles aside (most likely firmware) this is a precision tool that basically ensures the camera is never the weak link in the equation, It is about as dependable a camera as i have ever used. I don't find myself now missing shots due to the Usual BS the 7d/40D used to give me, it just does the job.

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

Review Date: Aug 25, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Solid feel, perfect manual focus ring, high contrast,
Quality control

I was in half a mind to even write this, no doubt many if this lens fanboys will just dismiss it out of turn but there we go.

I was in the Market for replacing my distagon, basically wanted to be able to shoot a little quicker at times without needing stop down metering and manual focus.

I bought this because it intrigued me, yes I know it's manual focus but at this point I was curious!
I used to love my 85mm PC Lens for the Nikon so was eager to try this.
Upon trying it I noticed the left hand corners were exceptionally soft wide open, just like you would get with a decentered lens, and this is on my 40d!
And yes if anyone wonders I of course had all lens movements set at 0 and locked lol!

Another thing which is curious is that the filter screw thread wouldn't accept my filters!
I even ordered another 82mm filter to check, I'm wondering if this received a bang in the factory which perhaps caused problem with the element alignment?

The only reason I'm complaining about this is because at this pricing level all the lenses coming out of the factory should be given a human check and see if they meet basic operating criteria (ie not broken).

On a side note I now have the 24mm f1.4 L II and it's performing beautifully.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Aug 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Superb sharpness wide open, non existent CA, great image stabilizer, fast autofocus
Slight softness wide open from about 275-300 (see below)

At 85mm this lens wide open beats my 85f/1.2L MKII in terms of all round image quality.
That is to say, centre and corner sharpness are better (minute amount), CA on my copy is literally non existent.
85L has slightly more saturated colours (again minute differences)
And the bokeh is smother without darkened doughnuts for highlights (again though small differences).

At about 105mm my copy wide open is the second sharpest lens I have ever used, first being 24mm f1.4L II.

The main "trouble" for this lens is at 300mm
Wide open it lacks the brilliance from 70-250 but I would still not hesitate to use wide open!
At f8 at 300mm the image is very very good rivalling my now sold 300mm f4 IS at comparable aperture.

I really really love this lens! It's superb and light years better than my 70-200F2.8 IS MKI.

It does have variable aperture which I know alot of people hate.
But the lens is so good (my copy is) that I only stop down for DOF, something I could never claim to do fully even with my 300mm f2.8 L IS.

I can't compare it to any other zooms as I'm not not normally a zoom user, but i can't help but recommend this great chap.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Review Date: Aug 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp wide open, neutral colour rendition, excellent build quality, exceptional sharpness @4-5.6
AF see review body

Many years ago I bought a 35L for my 20d because I was fed up with soft corners I was getting on the L and consumer zooms.
I loved the 35 but I was finding it just a little long on the 20d.
Reluctantly I sold and purchased a MK1 24L, after a few months I started to realise that there was literally nothin I could do to get critically sharp corners from seemingly any aperture.
Sold it and purchased one of the original 21mm distagons (contax) version.
Needless to say finally sharp corners!
I've een happy with this for several years but i started to miss the use of AF and metering that works properly.

So I have the MKII of the 24L and all I can now say is thankyou distagon you have been amazing but its time for you to try a new home.
I find the sharpness of the 24mm wide open fractionally softer in centre (not extreme corners) than the distagon.
At same aperture the 24mm is unrivalled.

Comparing sharpness to other L lenses I've used I would say from f4-5.6 the 24mm MKII is entirely in it's own category.
The lenses I have had or still have are

24mm MKI
24mm MKII
35mm L
85mm MKI
85mm MKII
180mm L
300mm f4 L IS
300mm f2.8 L IS
400mm f5.6L IS
70-300mm L IS

build quality is v v v good! Not exceptional like the 400mm f5.6 but still excellent.

The colour I find far more neutral and natural than alot of the L's
Kinda like the difference of Fuji provia vs Velvia for those who remember the good old days!

All in all just a perfect lens.

The only problem is the AF
I don't have a 7d (have 40d) so I have no micro AF adjustment.
But to be honest I have to agree with others; this isn't front or back focussing, it's just wildly unpredictable.
The ONLY reason I chose not to let this influence me was because I was here coming from a manual focus zeiss so I'll just use manual when AF starts being naughty.

All in all I recommend this. As a pure optic it's the finest I have ever used from any manufacturer at any focal length.

Can't wait to really start using it!