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  Reviews by: ManofMustard  

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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Aug 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Autofocus speed, tack sharp, weight, great colors and bokeh, price, well built
no built in lens hood or IS

I am renting this lens for the Seattle Seafair airshow weekend.

I shot over 750 pictures of the airshow practice on Friday. I have fallen in love with this lens. Last year I shot the airshow with a Tamron 200-500 and found I had to pre-focus just to get decent pictures. No more prefocusing baby! My hit rate on the focus was much higher than I was expecting. This lens makes my pictures from last year look like crap. I am truly awe struck on how sharp & contrasty the pictures turned out.

If I didn't need a wide angle lens next I would certainly pick one of these babies up. Anyone want to buy a Tamron 200-500?

Canon EOS Rebel XTi (400D)

Review Date: May 4, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Lightweight, great images, easy to use, great camera to learn (or learn) photography, accessories are cheap
ISO performance 400 & above

I purchased this camera in the summer of 2007 before a big trip to Europe. I have had SLR's of some sort since I was 17 (early 80's), so I knew my way around a camera. I thought I knew much more than I really did & found that this was a great camera to relearn photography on.

Normally I don't post reviews since I generally agree with other reviewers, however, I must feel after reading the review of Wazzo that readers need a different viewpoint. It seems as if he has a chip on his shoulder from his comments.

First off, this is a consumer camera, not the top of the line canon DSLR 1 series, so the technology isn't as good, but it is still damn good!

During my 9 week trip through Europe & the UK, I took over 8700 pictures. I did my best to protect it, however, my camera still got wet from many a downpour. While the camera is not weather sealed, it never missed a beat. I took 2 batteries on the trip and seldom needed to use the 2nd battery (usually when I forgot to charge the first). I found I could go almost a week before having to charge the batteries. Mostly non-flash shots I could get 700+ pictures. Since my trip, say during airshows, I have found I could get over 800 pictures before having to change batteries.

I have found in my nearly 3 years owning the camera that the autofocus is really pretty good. I always set my autofocus point as the centerpoint tho (I focus then recompose). It is the best shooting things (& people of course) with lots of contrast. Shooting hazy landscapes I find I get more accurate focus if I focus manually. I went to the Olympics in Vancouver (Ski Jumping) & found I could get in focus pictures easily with this camera. Shooting at air shows was a different matter, the high speeds made it difficult for the camera to lock on, so I set my lens to manual.

The AF selector button does get used a fair amount when shooting landscapes. People who want to learn how to use the camera will find the button a good asset, not a hinderance.

A few times I have made it to the studio, I have found I can use a sync speed of 1/250 sec (its rated at 1/200 sec). But don't expect this higher speed if you are using any of the program modes, as the camera tends to set the shutter speed at 1/60 no matter what. (I get the higher sync speed using manual, Tv or Av).

His complaints about manual focus are completely idiotic. If you can't tell if it is focus, then adjust the diopter or get your eyes checked. In the good old days, SLR's would have a split screen that allowed manual focus much easier than today (match the two halves & it would be in focus). The beauty of todays cameras is you can take as many pictures are your memory cards allow & if you are unsure if the picture is in focus, recompose & reshoot.

Last summer I took pictures of his local fireworks show & downloaded them onto his mac without the use of the canon software. No problems. Maybe it was because its a mac? (I use windows.....).

I find that when my daughter uses the camera, she sets everything to full auto because she doesn't want to work about all those numbers & flashing lights (see just wants quality pictures).

I find the grip is a good size for me (I do have smaller hands for a guy) & others who have used my camera didn't complain about the grip size.

I do find the ISO performance 400 & above to be lacking. I use ISO 100 85% of the time & ISO 400 about 10% of the time (low light situations). Out of the 21,000 total pictures, maybe a 50 or so above 800. I don't like to compromise between a sharp shot & the use of noise reduction (noise reduction softens the image).

The location of all the buttons & the screen are good for me, although I wish there was more eye relief on the viewfinder. My nose sometimes changes the a few of the perimeters (or maybe I have a big nose).

Given the technology now, this is a great 1st DSLR for people. Plus, the money you have saved by buying used will allow you to buy better lenses. As lenses are what is responsible for great pictures (besides you, of course). Do you really need above 10 meg anyway? Not really. At a class I took recently, the teacher told use that many of the pictures he took for billboards were done on cameras in the 3-6 meg range (he is a working pro w/ 25+ years experience).