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  Reviews by: Keith Broad  

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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

1dsmk3
Review Date: Dec 20, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, accurate AF, durable body, beautiful colours and tones, pleasant noise quality
Cons:
Probably a bit dated now, but very user-friendly nonetheless

I bought this body as a 'new' refurbished camera a few weeks ago. I have had a 1D MkIII since 2007 (early adopter) and loved its speed and accuracy. I bought a 5DMkII in 2008 and that has been the camera I have used for portraits, weddings and travel. The 1D3 I used mainly for active kids and street photography. I saw the 1Ds MkIII for sale on-line at half its normal price (with a new camera Canon warranty), so I though "What the heck?" and impulsively bought it.

It's been a delight. This body has good speed and accuracy, but with the IQ of the 5D2 (slightly different and better in some respects). I now think that I'm now ready to sell my 1D3 and stay with two FF bodies.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Jan 13, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF accuracy, light gathering ability, bokeh, contrast, colour, build
Cons:
Weight, AF speed

I've been procrastinating about buying this lens for 3 years. The number of poor reviews for this lens kept me away. I compromised by getting an f1.4, which I've used for 2 years. I have a wedding to do today. We have heavy rain and dark skies. I decided yesterday that the 50L may help me take shots that have that special quality, despite the weather. So I took the plunge. I shopped around for an hour and knocked $700 off the RRP.

This morning I have tested the lens extensively using my 1DIII and 5D2. I have been focusing close and at middle distance, mostly at f1.2. I have also done some stopped down (f2) focusing at less than 4 feet. In all instances the focus has been accurate without any micro-adjustment or focus shift.

I have also been able to take some of the best portraits of my Boxer dog during his 7 years of life. This lens has me really excited. I feel like it is going to take me on a new voyage of photographic discovery.


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast, very nice contrast, colour and bokeh. Good value for money. The build quality is very good, it could have weather sealing and IS, but there would be a premium attached. So I think it's fine as it is.
Cons:
None so far

I bought this lens a few weeks ago. I bought it mainly for portraits using the 5D2, but found myself using it the 1D3. It's a little longer than I would normally use, but I have the FL to be OK. The IQ from this lens is exceptional and well worth the occasional need to zoom with the feet. I would rate the IQ up there with my 35L which has also been exceptional.

I used this lens recently on a magazine shoot of gardens and it was very useful for detail shots with a narrow DOF. Its ability to isolate subjects also makes it an ideal street lens, especially when I'm need something longer than the 35mm. Overall, I have found it to be a versatile lens that represents very good value for money.


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Feb 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor sharp, fast, responsive AF, very nice contrast, colour and bokeh, value
Cons:
Lens hood is a clamp style - not very secure

I finally bought this lens after considering the 'L' version. The 1.2 was very tempting, but I heard really good stories about the 1.8. The thing that swayed me most was the focus speed. I tried a 1.2 in the shop and found it was pretty slow. The 1.8 is no speed demon, but it is acceptably fast. I have tried the lens on both my 1DIII and 5D2 and it doesn't need to be micro-adjusted.

My first outing with the lens (portraits of my very active grandchildren) produced shots with beautiful bokeh, contrast and outstanding sharpness. This may be my favourite lens for a while.


 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Aug 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Angle of view, bokeh, contrast and colour.
Cons:
Steep learning curve. Difficult (for me) to focus. Hard to live without.

I thought a great deal before buying this focal length. I was torn between a 50mmL or an 85mmL, but after seeing the type of shots this lens can deliver I opted for the 35mm. I figured that if I was desperate for the 85 or 50 F/L, Canon had two non L versions that are highly thought of - ones I could afford. So, I went for the 35, because there is nothing else like it. I have had this lens for a month. At first, I thought I had bought a dud. I couldn't focus it. I fiddled, did some micro-adjustment, practiced with it and, finally, I think I understand it.

It's not an easy lens to use, but it is worth mastering. It's a bit slower than my zooms (to focus) but it likes the dark. It's a 100% sharper at f2, but there is still a limited place for f1.4. It's bokeh is magic, it's contrast rich and it's the nearest I have come across that is close to the human eye. This, alone, makes it a lens worth taking the time to learn and savour. I am now uncomfortable when it's NOT on the camera I'm holding.


 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Jun 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Weight, menus, colour, high ISO, full-frame, LCD
Cons:
Weather-proofing needs to improve

I have a 1D3 and was considering buying another wide-angle lens. I decided on the 5D2 instead, figuring that the full-frame would achieve the same end. It hasn't been a disappointment. The 5D2 is much lighter than the 1D3 and the files are marginally better. Obviously, the 5D2 doesn't focus to the same standard as the 1D3, but I bought it knowing that. I'm really enjoying the colour that comes straight out of the camera and the extra resolution. I'm also enjoying improved bokeh on the 70-200 lens. The 5D2 has allowed me to use this a bit more as a portrait lens. The 17-40 is now a true ultra-wideangle and seems to be I haven't tried the 24mm TS-E yet on it, but I'm looking forward to an opportunity when I can. The 5D2 has an improved menu and I love the quick access shooting information menu. I use this more than any other menu. The LCD is fantastic (much better than the 1D3's).

Together, the 5D2 and the 1D3 are a great match.


 
Canon EOS 1D Mark III

1DmkIII
Review Date: Sep 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, responsiveness, build, IQ, DR, noise, handling.
Cons:
None, so far.

I've had the body for nearly a month now. I've shot a wedding (in very harsh light), kids on the run, macros and portraits; at no time has this camera mis-stepped. The razor-sharp AF is fast and responsive, DR is extraordinary, the lack of noise is exceptional and I am getting 3,000 shots+ to each battery charge. I still find it difficult to resort to ISO 1600+ (old habits die hard), only to realise that I WILL get a clean image. As well, I have hands and fingers that suffer from pain and numbness, nevertheless I find the controls and handling of this camera comfortable and intuitive. I have yet to find any fault with this camera . . . so I won't.