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Canon EOS 40D

Review Date: Dec 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,299.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: THe best non FF camera I've used,and at an awesome price.
The sensor is,I believe,slightly inferior in RAW performance than that of a 20/30D,which is countered by vast superior circuitry and camera processing. 8-9 mp would've been better.

This is a beautiful unit,I love its body,an excellent design.
Its my backup to my 1ds Mark2 and it never feels flimsy in comparison.Love the AF-on button,LOVE the "my menu" option,appreciate the big LCD,which could sharper.
Shutter lag is minimal,the FPS never fails to impress me.
Canon shuffled the top controls compared to the 20D for no apparent reason,this actually pissed me off when I used both cameras together.
Live view is a wonderful toy for anything mounted on a tripod.

The 20D had a sensor designed exclusively for it,it was,to me the best crop sensor ever made.Shoving and slightly "improving" the 10mp rebel XTI sensor is a step backwards by comparison.
However,the 40D GREATLY improves how the camera handles the captured data,and far better color.The jpeg engine is wonderful,I am now much closer to shooting a jpeg that is basically what I wouldve gotten through processing a RAW file.

I think the 20/30D sensor,or at most a 9mp one,with the current chip and processing,would easily make this the best non-FF camera for a long time regarding IQ.

AF is great,its snappier than my 1Ds II,perhaps a smidge less accurate.Tracking is tricky if you use the lone middle AF point,its not easy to keep it on the subject the entire time.

Some idiot in an earlier review complains about the camera not being able to AF with an aperture smaller than 5.6,utterly ridiculous,specially considering its a widely known fact no Canon camera except the 1 series can AF at F8 without tricks,and the manual states this as well.The AF system on this camera is great,faster than my old 20D and just as reliable.I however would remove the diagonally placed AF points from the diamond pattern and place them in a circle around the center point,then tracking would be much easier.

This camera edges ever closer to my perfect tool,if any,I'd like to add these changes to it:

-A button to one-touch tab between single shot and servo.
-I want most buttons to be customizable to do whathever I set them to.
-Center point needs more AF points around it to aid in tracking.
-I believe,at 10mp,we're pushing it with what a 1.6 sensor can do while performing well.I've a 1Ds II for high res,crop sensors should stick to 8.2 mp.

I love this camera.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Apr 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything about this lens is good.
Its too expensive.

I bought it thinking of replacing my 50 1.4 which was out for repair.I ended up taking it back 2 weeks after since i decided i coudnt afford it at the moment.
I was a bit unsure due to all the nonsense ive heard of bad copies.I think people are full of it,the lens was amazing,sharp in every situation i used it.No i did not do any pathetic pixel peeping measurbating tests,i did not "mount it on a tripod and shoot a brick wall wide open and view 100% unprocessed crops",man anybody who does stupid garbage like that needs to get a life.Excellent autofocus(i used it for nightclub events,didnt miss a shot),really nice range(even on my 20D) and incredible build.I LOVE the build of this lens,its truly well pieced together.
Its minimal focus distance is also very nice.Man i wish i could afford this lens now.Ive also used a 24-105 F4 IS,i dont think it can compare to this one.Sure its more "versatile" but this one truly excels at its range.It focuses WAY faster in low light thanks to its 2.8 max aperture and has a much nicer minimum focus distance.
I would never consider the 24-105 over this.I hardly find IS critical for any range under 200 but it is nice to have though.
If you can afford this lens,go get one right now.

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Feb 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The best camera on its range,bar none.
Small RAW buffer,too many menu-driven options for my liking.Wish i could afford full frame.

I love it.Nearly flawless in every aspect.Autofocus is super fast and very accurate(to me,a few reviews here had AF complaints,i find it perfect).
Amazing image quality,super fast operation,great viewfinder,i love the ergonomics and METAL body(love the clickwheel),very nice ISO performance,DIGIC II,5 frames a second! This camera is amazing,I'm never upgrading from it till i can afford full frame.
I give it a 10 since i find it the clear best in its price range(to me this smokes a D70,D100 and any effort in the Olympus lineup,including their very nice E-1),but i do see room for improvement:
-RAW buffer is small at 6 frames,this means you can fill it up in 1.2 seconds if you use continous burt,but its processor does flush frames down real fast.
-MENUS! I HATE menus! I want the next version of it to have external dials for : Mirror lockup,burst mode,single shot AF and timed shot.I'd also rather NOT have a button assigned for 2 functions(WB/AFmode and such).ISO showing on the viewfinder(when im setting it) would be very much welcome.
-People complaing about no spot meter(i coudn't care less),so i guess it would be nice for Canon to add that in.Maybe weather seals(doubt it at this range).

I love this camera,the D200 is basically a 20D with a few upgrades(same base features/speed,bigger buffer and sensor-which is nice- and worse ISO performance),and 2 years late,to me that says it all.
Buy the battery grip,it will never die.
I love this camera.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Jan 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp,fast.I love it.
Doesnt transfer distance info to flash,barrel extends a slight bit,doesnt come with a hood.AF while good,is obviously not as good as on L lenses. Tendency to make your meter overexpose in daylight.

An amazing lens,strapped to my 20D all the time,unless i'm doing somethign specific for my 70-200,which i always want to be using.
As claimed by many,this lens is very sharp,although i doubt it is the sharpest in the EF line as many say.It is however as sharp as a "budget" lens can get you.It matches my 70-200 2.8 .AF is very fast,though not true USM,but you still get full time manual focus which i find invaluable to me in low light with larger apertures.AF is faster than 3rd party lenses, slightly slower than L series lenses,as expected.
Some say this lens isn't good at 1.4,they probably want it to perform like F8 does.I find the 1.4 aperture one of the MAIN reasons to get this lens,you need to be careful and place the very small depth of field on the right spot and you can get some great low light portraits.Of course when you dont have to struggle with low light,this thing is insanely sharp at smaller apertures (2.8 and so on).Bokeh is amazing on this lens,build quality is ok.
Some rather buy the 1.8 version which is very much cheaper,im gonna say i had it and theres a reason why,there is no comparison with that thing and this lens.THe 1.8 is slower,not as sharp and has no FTM.I hate it,its like a sharper kit lens,tho it does have a good price.And yes i did have it.
For some reason,this lens doesnt transfer distance to subject for flash photography,and in daylight your meter tends to overexpose with it if youre not careful,its very light sensitive.
Those 2 are my only issues with it.
Amazing everything/portrait lens.Go buy one.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jan 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 


Probably the first L for most(this or the 70-200F4).Great package for the relatively "low" price(in comparison).Probably the best (Canon)standard zoom you can have on a 1.6 crop.I took back my 17-85 IS for this.If you're a wide angle fan this lens is wonderful,if its all you do you would probably be better off with the 16-35 2.8 since its more versatile.Some people are under the impression this lens is soft and produces blurry images,mine performs great.But it is true that small apertures are its true sweet spot,though F4 and 5.6 are still in the very good range.
Why pay L price for a lens that has similar characteristics to a budget lens?(slightly soft wide open,sharp around F8)? That is up to you.For one,when i say soft i compare it to its sharpest,which is considerably more than cheaper alternatives.Also it amazingly well built,solid,sleek and weather sealed,a very good job on its body.Still,do not drop it.
Colors out of this lens are great,USM is the fastest of all my lenses.Should always use its lens hood.
It also comes with a very close focal distance which lets you shoot some nice closeups at 40mm.Use this lens right and youd be surprised how much detail your landscapes and architecture shots can have.
Like most wides in this range,tHe lens barrel distorts a bit at 17mm,this is bad for most people but to me its like having a slight fisheye mode in my lens.Nice for landscapes,very bad for portraits.This lens does not like faces too much,you can use it for portraits at 40mm but truly this is its weakest spot,but why would you buy this to do portraits?
A great lens for its price IMO.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,490.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The best lens i own,and possibly the best version of a 70-200 you can get(depending how much you rely on IS/VR).
Once in a while,id like it to have IS,but the trade-off isnt only a sharper optic but also about $1,000 less,get a monopod.

My lost loved lens,i got it used for 1,490 Canadian and do not regret it for a second,too bad the original owner kept the carrying case.Like most i always wanted the IS version which is more versatile.But after a few weeks with it i don't miss IS at all,if you have trouble hand holding it a monopod solves it,and saves you lots.
As some mentioned before,this lens measures sharper than the IS version(seems to happen with quite a few comparisons between IS and non-IS lenses,tho the difference is small) and on field tests i find this lens to produce sharper images than my friend's 70-200 2.8 VR nikkor.It is also sharper than the 70-200 F4 i used to have.
USM is super fast like always.Colors and bokeh are awesome.Lens is heavy.Construction is great.Excellent lens for portraits,action,mid range wildlife and even landscapes if you can position yourself far enough.This is the lens i'd pick if i could only keep one.
Cant go wrong with this one,unless you need to have IS.