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  Reviews by: Krosavcheg  

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Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

21mm
Review Date: Sep 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Great build, high microcontrast, beautiful colour rendition, probably best width/distortion balance
Cons:
Soft corners, distortion, confusing hood mount

Severely disappointed with soft corners and distortion even when stopped down to f5.6 and below.
Hood is rather annoying to mount, since when mounted incorrectly it will obstruct the frame.
Great lens otherwise. Even considering negative aspects of rendition it still outperforms Canon EF 16-35/2.8 L by miles.


 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: Apr 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Robust body, size, shutter sound, shutter speed, color reproduction.
Cons:
None so far. Ideally, I would love the charger to have 2 lights for "charging" and "ready" modes instead of just one orange light, but that is essentially a nitpicking. Perhaps worth to mention that image preview scrolling using joystick is a bit slow...

This is essentially a review based on upgrading from 350D, and might be technically inadequate compared to that of a proffessional photographer. Each person's needs and expectations are relative and should be considered at the time of purchase.

I was lucky to find 20D at a shop in Nakano, Tokyo for 22.000yen, which would roughly equal 200 USD or 160GBP (subject to ever so changing currency rates). Shutter actuation count unknown and box, strap and cables are not included. Not much of a loss, as I have got those for my 350D and it would be silly to pay extra for something I don't need.
And ofcourse, this camera is worth every penny.

The body is obviously heavier than Rebel/Kiss/XXX series and fits great in my hands. Shutter noise is really a music to my ear - it is a little heavier of a "bolt action" type snap rather than plasticky click of a 350D.

Option access is great. Power switch might be a bit confusing in the beginning. ISO, AF modes and Color Temperature
are much easier to set. The wheel at the back is a pleasure to use. On the other hand one must now "Unlearn what one have learned" and try to get on with the joystick - a bit sluggish at scrolling the zoomed in images in preview mode.

I absolutely love the color. Compared to 350D the reproduction and detail are great and photos require very little post-processing. So far I have not seen any issues mentioned here in regard to Red. Focusing is equally great and viewfinder allbeit small for 1D/5D series users is larger than XXXD series bodies, allowing for much more accurate manual focusing.
Something I appreciate very much due to the increased use of MF lenses.

20D also does very well in the lightwise unbalanced environment.
Very rarely I end up with overblown shadows/highlights - which I constantly suffered from on the 350D.

High ISO performace is equally superior to 350D. I have taken series of night shots in Ginza which showed fairly low to acceptable noise levels. Only minimal noise reduction in Photoshop will suffice.

In regard to wide angles on 1.6x sensor, perhaps it is worth to mention that at one point I was considering selling off my 16-35mm F2.8L USM because of its abysmal performance on 350D. However, even with a same 1.6x crop factor sensor, 20D manages to get much more out of this wide angle lens even wide open!

Overall is a great camera. At the moment I don't regret for a moment that I acted on impulse and got it. As for the recommendation, chose it based on what you need and not what others think you do. Maybe for you it is worth to upgrade to 30, 40 or 50D which have recently swamped the 2nd hand market. But considering that this is a 1DS/5D transition camera to me, it feels unnecessary to pay extra $100 or £100 for a spot metering and a slightly larger display.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Jan 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, colors, design, price, weight
Cons:
Would be unbeatable with sharper results at f1.4.

All I got to say is that I am extremely happy with this lens and I do recommend it.
It is exactly how people describe it and when you see the results you just donít want to stop shooting.

Quality lens honestly priced.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: Jan 28, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Build quality, quick focus, minimal focusing distance, superb bokeh!
Cons:
Absolutely horrendous CA, extremely soft even stopped down - not to mention corners blurred beyond recognition, flare, hunting in low light, disgraceful price tag.

Very disappointed with this one.

Bought it through eBay, which allowed me to save couple of pounds. Pouch and cap were included in the price, which was a bonus also.

Initial shots disappointed me beyond belief.
Having heard the good comments about sharpness of the lens I was pretty much gutted.

Due to the lack of lenses in the similar range I had to compare this to my existing Sigma 24-70mm f3.5-5.6 Aspherical HF and my friend's Canon 17-40mm f4L.
The result was a noticeable albeit marginal difference between Sigma and 16-35mm while there was almost no difference at all between 17-40mm f4L and 16-35mm.

Chromatic aberration is completely out of control and ruined just about every picture taken. It is fixable, but it adds inconvenience of spending extra time photoshopping every single photo.

If you wonder if the comments about bad flare of this lens are true? They indeed are. Having said that, it is of course advisable not to point the camera directly at any light source.

Vignetting on a 1.6x body is expected and would be silly to complain about, so yes vignetting does occur, and no it doesn't affect the review.

I don't know how this lens performs on a full frame body, but it is surely useless on a 350D. This is definitely not a lens for landscape. Perhaps a little abstract photography and portraits. That's pretty much it.

Sadly, this is last L-series zoom I will ever touch other than with barge pole.


 
Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Sigma_150_macro
Review Date: Apr 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything
Cons:
Nothing

I am not spoiled by shelves of L-series lenses in my lounge by the open fire, where I drink brandy and rub shoulders with the members of Royal Photographical Society.
Neither does my father own oil fields in Saudi Arabia. For me £350 is not your average everyday expence.

This is a template for a lense in my opinion. And this is how a quality build should be priced. In fact, saying "Good lens for the money" doesn't do it justice.

I am using it not only for macro hotography but also for portraits, wildlife, you name it. It's a truly versatile lens.

Only slow focusing can be experienced when switching between subjects far away and in close, but hey, it's a macro lens.

I would recommend it to anyone anytime.

Here are the examples of the lens in action (my apologies for the volatile hosting, the gallery might be unavailable occasionally, especially due to the upcoming relocation)

Urban: http://www.3byk.org/gallery2/main.php/v/Urban/SnowedIn/

Wildlife: http://www.3byk.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=366

Macro: http://www.3byk.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=260