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  Reviews by: MarcyJillGood  

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Aug 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great features, easy to use, exceptional ISO range.
Cons:
Should have more focal points for this sophisticated type of model. Built-in flash would be nice. Wish you could set high/low ISO parameters.

This is a beautiful & impressive camera. No, it's not built like the hugely $$$ pro models, but it also doesn't cost as much. It's heavy, solid, has a great ISO range, is fairly easy to use (once you learn its basic functions), and has the 'extra' feature of doing HD video. I personally am not interested in the video feature, but families with little kids would love it, or anyone who wants/needs video.

FYI - I purchased the kit at the well-known camera store on St. Thomas. They were wonderful, the camera & lens both work great, and it was cheaper than the $3500 B&H lists if for (but it's out of stock & hasn't been available for a long while). Also no sales tax & apparently no duty fee on cameras. Overall, I am thrilled - had been researching the 5D MKII for several months & finally mustered the nerve to look for it while in St. Thomas. So glad I did. BTW, I had actually purchased the 24-105 L lens a few weeks before the trip (from a source on Amazon) & got a defective copy that front-focuses, so I returned it. Was fortunate to get a good copy with the kit, so I am a happy camper.

However, for all the hype over the camera, and with all the other bells & whistles, I do think Canon could have added more focus points and perhaps a little built-in flash. I know it's probably poor form to have a built-in flash on a FF body, but it would be nice. It would also be nice to have the ISO parameter feature (not sure what it's called - the feature that lets you set upper and lower ISO parameters). The added focus points and ISO parameter settings should be basic features on a camera of this type.

The above comments are not bad enough to reduce the ratings. This is a great camera, and I love it. I am sorry for those who have posted comments about getting bad copies; that's disappointing. I'd recommend this to anyone in a heartbeat, and I expect to use it for many years before I look for another body. (FYI - I also have the XSi - love it, but wanted a FF body).


 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Aug 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $409.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good IQ
Cons:
Doesn't retain its value

This is a tough one for me - I am new to dSLRs, and I have learned a few things when purchasing extra lenses.

The copy I got has given me excellent images, so I shouldn't complain. If you get a good copy, and if you're not prone to lusting after L lenses, it's probably a good value. However, once I realized that people buy & sell lenses like crazy (or some do, at least), and once I learned the lens doesn't retain its value the way some others do, I was a bit disappointed that I'd purchased it. I'd recommend it to others, but with those reservations as well as reservations about the slippage I'm mentioning below.

I've read reviews that the lens slips in and out rather sloppily, and I've had the same problem. It hasn't yet affected the IQ or the ability to hold the AF long enough to get a shot, but I wonder if it would create problems after extended usage.

So far, I've only used it on the XSi. Recently became the happy (I hope) owner of a 5D Mkii, so I need to try it out on that body as well.


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp; very fast.
Cons:
Heavy lens

Very sharp lens - I love the IQ. Focuses fast, even in low light. Take beautiful portraits. If you have a cropped body, it's a bit long for walk-around use at an event (I seem to turn to zooms, or to the 50mm 1.4 in those situations). Built solidly & somehow feels heavier when working with it than some of the larger lenses. Perhaps this is because it seems heavy for its size (I have small hands - might be part of the problem). I can't recall what I paid for it, so I haven't listed that info. Also do not feel qualified to rate the build, because I know so many FM members use L lenses as the benchmark. I've never dropped a lens or broken one, so I have no experience in comparing how tough they are when that happens (hope I never have to learn the hard way).

Currently using XSi & recently purchased 5D Mkii, but haven't tried this lens on it yet.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $349.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight, small, fast & sharp.
Cons:
None.

This is probably my favorite lens, or one of them, at least. It's the one I turn to for portraits or candid shots of people. I prefer zooms for walk-around fun, but I absolutely LOVE this lens. It's much faster than the 50mm 1.8 and, IMHO, worth the extra cost. I had the 1.8 as well, but the slow focus and noise bothered me, so I gave it to my young niece.

The build seems very solid & it feels substantial in your hands (compared to the 1.8). I have not rated the build because I hate to compare it to an L lens (the tanks).

I'm new to dSLRs, so I am certain other reviewers have better comparisons to make, but I do love this lens.

FYI - have used it mostly on my beloved XSi; recently bought a 5D Mk ii but not much experience on it yet.