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  Reviews by: MichaD  

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Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

ef300mmf_4_1_
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Fast AF, close min-focus
Cons:
CA stopped down, sharpness not that impressive. Old IS system.N

While the lens is definitely decently sharp I expected better from a L-prime.

 
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

sigma50-14jpg
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open. Smoooooth bokeh. Low vignetting.
Cons:
Not as sharp as other 50s stopped down to f/4 or further. Not great at min-focus. A bit bulky.

Currently the best 50/1.4 if you want to shoot wide open. Less impressive for stopped down work.

 
Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG MACRO

139_small_1_
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp. Great colors. Excellent bokeh. Price.
Cons:
Corners a tad soft on full frame. Focus ring not damped. No HSM motor.

If you are in for a macro lens in that range this is a no-brainer, get it! Build quality is good for the price but I'd have actually preferred to pay more for better build.

 
Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

50macro
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very consistent across the field (except the extreme corners) at all apertures, near or far. Excellent build. 1:2 at f/2 without tubes. Very precise focus ring.
Cons:
A bit of CA wide open. Extreme corners not critically sharp until f/8. A tad high distortion for a "macro" lens. Less than stellar bokeh. No rounded aperture blades. Focus ring quite stiff. Price.

This is a extremely good general purpose lens. While there's quite a list of cons there are no worse than it's peers, except for the bokeh. So for my initial intended use as close-up and macro lens it's falls a bit short. But as a general purpose 50 it's pretty hard to beat. Price is a bit high but you were expecting that when buying a Zeiss.

 
Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

120_300_1_
Review Date: Sep 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,840.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast and it zooms
Cons:
Non-Parafocal! 105mm filters

A 300/2.8 with the ability to zoom out is just too damn useful! This has to be one of the best deals in the Sigma lineup.

It's very sharp and also handles the 1.4x TC very well.
At first I though I wouldn't be able to handhold this baby as well but it balances nicely and after a little getting used to I can now handhold it basically all day. I'm by no means a bear, quite the wimp actually. A monopod isn't the worst thing to use of course.
The zooming action isn't the smoothest around and also has some play when tilting the lens straight up and down while the focusing is buttery smooth and the AF is fast and precise.
I got mine before the DG version came out and had to buy the larger tripod socked, the supplied one was a joke for a lens of this caliber. I hear it's included on the current model now.
The only real gripe I have about this Lens is it being so massively non-parafocal. A slight change in focal length sets the focus way off. It's not a deal breaker but can surely slow you down.
I'd rate the Bokeh pretty high. It's not 200/1.8L smooth, but nothing distracting, doubled or fuzzed up. Very circular highlights, even stopped way down. Things get ugly in the background when using TCs though.
I really like the design of the shade, provides great mechanical protection of the front element and mounts bullet proof. The leather "lens cap" should fit when the lens hood is mounted and not only when it's reversed.



 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: Feb 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast, in nearly every way, high iso performance, E-TTL II
Cons:
still no iso in viewfinder, only 6 raw shots buffer

This is a great improvement over the 10D. I wanted to keep the 10D as backup but the 20D is so much faster in nearly every way. Virtually no startup delay, lots faster image preview, faster AF, faster card writing, lower shutter dalay, higher frame rate.

ISO 1600 is actually usuable now, wow. The new flash metering is much more consistent.

Sure, it has a few more pixels as well but nothing to get all too excited about. Don't get me wrong, it's defenetely an improvement and nice to have, but I couldn't justify the investment soley on the increased pixel count.

Why on earth can't we see the current ISO setting ANYWHERE without first pressing a button? Hello Canon? How hard could it be? You really want us to buy a 1 series camera just for that?!

The 1.6 crop factor is less of a problem now as we finally have some ultrawide options, and more coming up. Of course I'd like to have a full frame finder, but then again I'd also like a MF finder. Wink


 
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

05_105mmEX_1_
Review Date: Dec 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: extemely sharp, smooth mf action, creamy bokeh, price
Cons:
forget about af

I love the images from this baby. I mainly use it for closeup work around 4:1 - 2:1 rather than real 1:1 macro. AF is horrible as noted in like every review here but the MF ring feels so nice and smooth I use the AF close to never (so ok, it's not a sports lens). The hood is kinda overkill with the front glass retreated so far back in the extending construction. I actually have it mounted on my 50/1.4 as this didn't ship with one and really needs the straylight protection from it. Plus the noise the metal on metal threading of the Sigma produces makes me shiver Wink. The contruction seems pretty sturdy to me, better than non-L Canon glass for sure. The carrying bag it ships is not as well built as the ones from the other EX Lenses I own but then again other companies don't even ship a hood in this price segment.

edit: I have to raise it from a 4/5 to 5/5, I'm getting better and better at manual focusing with it and it's a real joy. Used it at the zoo wide open all the time having the focal plane exactly where I wanted it 9 out of 10 times, this thing just snaps into focus.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Dec 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, weight, af, construction
Cons:
massive barrel distortion on the wide end

Very useful walkaround lens for a 1.6x crop camera (get the EW-83DII hood if you got an APS sized sensor). Great sharpness and contrast. AF does it's job great. It's not a f/2.8, no, but you get what you pay for. Haven't found any CA worthy of mentioning on my copy. Flare is amazingly low for such a wide glass. Only real downside is the hefty distortion on the wide end. Software correction becomes a must when having straight lines in the frame.

 
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

05_03_1_
Review Date: Nov 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $620.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, fast, price
Cons:
lack of IS/OS, min. focusing distance

I am stunned by this piece of glass. Very sharp, only slightly softer wide open. Great bokeh, great contrast. And all that for less than half the price of the Canon. AF is nearly instant and spot on, manual focus and zooming is very smooth. Detachable collar is nice although it gets a bit in the way when zooming. Solid build. Light for what it does. Works still near perfect with the 1.4xTC, a bit less with the 2xTC. Nearly impossible to get it to flare bad. IS/OS would've been nice of course but you can't have everything. Minimal focusing distance is also not too thrilling.

 
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

l3a_copy
Review Date: Nov 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $730.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: WIDE WIDE WIDE, lack of distortion
Cons:
only rear mount filters, flare (but what ultra wide doesn't?)

If you need to go wide on a 10D this is basically your only option. I don't mind the slow aperture at these focal lengths. Need to watch out for flare a bit as usual for ultra wides but it's well controlled. AF is decent but sometimes misses the point. Amazing low distortion. Rest of image quality is good although not spectacular. Does it really need to be a zoom? A prime might have been cheaper or better quality.

 
Sigma 24-135mm f/2.8-4.5 Aspherical IF

sigma24_135
Review Date: Nov 29, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $280.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: good range, quite fast for the price
Cons:
contrast/flare, zoom ring stiffnes

Maybe I am expecting too much from a consumer zoom but I got very few decent shots with this one. Bought this for the range. First thing I noticed was the relatively stiff zoom ring, it didn't bother me really but I soon learned why it was that way. After a few months it turned from quite stiff to really loose. Zoom creep is a constant problem now even when just slightly pointing up/down. The far bigger problem is the image quality though. Not that it's really soft (nor really very sharp) but the contrast is just way sub par. Images usually look very washed out to a degree even photoshop won't really help a lot. Also it flares a hell lot even with the included lens hood. Don't let the sun come even close to this. I suspect the contrast issue is due to the massive flare actually cause the only quite good pics I got were product shots with very soft light. AF was actually very fast for a non USM/HSM lens but tends to hunt a bit.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Nov 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $260.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp from f4, great contrast, max aperture
Cons:
soft below f2, no full time manual

Overall this is an excellent piece of glass. I really love the images it makes. Good for indoors without flash due to the max aperture although it gets quite soft wide open. f4 and up are just amazing though. Focusing is silent but no FTM and also not really lightning fast. Manual focusing feels quite flimsy as well. Should ship with a hood, c'mon Canon, who doesn't need one?