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  Reviews by: Mike1  

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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: Jun 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great lens, sharp copy, great colors and contrast. Widest zoom for 1.3 crop and full frame camera. Built like a tank. Weather sealing. Lighter than 24-70 f2.8 L.
Cons:
Ridiculously large lens hood. Expensive.

I have used this lens for 7 months now and I love this lens. It stays on my 1D MKII N all the time. So far, it has survived rain, mud, snow, heat and humidity. Had to send it back in for a faulty USM motor. Focusing is very fast. This lens is great on a 1 series body. I got rid of my 17-40 f4 L and 24-70 f2.8 L due to the overlap at this focal length. Ocsasionally Goes on my 20D when the 70-200 f2.8 L IS isn't used. Great walkaround lens. Expensive but well worth it.

 
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N

1d_mkii_n
Review Date: May 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,329.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very responsive, highly customizable, big improvement in AI servo performance from original 1D, multispot metering, longer battery life, huge buffer, ETTL-II, 1.3x crop, 8.5 FPS, weather sealing, ability to name your own files, highly customizable, firewire connection, ability to use both CF & SD cards. CF continues to write even though the door is opened. Voice recording is a plus for captioning.
Cons:
Weight, back killer when carrying 2 1D bodies, still no multiple exposures option, no actuation count, LCD still a bit hard to see without a sun shade, no dedicated MLU button, picture stye is just a gimmick, flash exposure a bit dodgy with 70-200 IS, need to compensate a lot.

After using the original 1D for a few years, I love it. I've held off from getting the 1D MKII and I'm glad that I did. This was its replacement. No gripes here so far, worth every penny spent. I'm just hoping that it will hold up to the harsh conditions (rain, snow, mud, heat, storms, hurricanes, humidity, etc.) as good as my 1D and 1V. As far as image quality, there is not too much difference except that the 1D MKII N has more room to crop. I guess I canít see much of a difference since I always shoot in RAW. Noise is very low compared to the original 1D even though images shot with the original 1D appears to produce sharper images (Must be the CCD vs. CMOS thing). No need to chimp to check focus here, focus is dead on 99% of the time, so I could keep on shooting. The buttons are so well placed that I don't even have to take my eye off from the viewfinder and continue shooting while changes to the AF points are made on the fly. Another plus is when I run out of space on the card, I can open the CF door to replace a new one in, close the door and writing resumes until the buffer is completely flushed. Logical placements of the buttons have gotten me up and running within the 1st 5-10 minutes after exploring the menus and buttons. After coming from the original 1D I felt at home. Everything was kept or improved except for the 1/500 second flash sync and 1/16000 shutter speed. The 1D has a shorter battery life than the MKII N. This is where the MKII N shines for me. Battery life is excellent I could go through the entire day's shoot and still be using the same battery. This may be strange but does anyone experience the flash underexposure problems as I've had with the MKII N and telephoto lens? The LCD is a bit hard to see but that problem is solved with a Delkin stick-on flip up sunshade (the black universal 2.5Ē one). No mirror lockup without going into the custom functions menu, wished they have a dedicated MLU button. This is highly recommended for anyone who does PJ work or anything that involves adventurous activities that goes beyond just shooting indoors or being outside on a clear day.

 
Canon EOS 20D

20d
Review Date: May 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,059.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 1.6 crop is great for 70-200 f2.8 L IS and 2x tele extender. 5 FPS. Lighter than the 1 series. Fast AF speed. Magnesium body. Good build, feels durable. Screen is visible in daylight. Multicontroller very useful for choosing AF points through CF. Very good battery life with external speedlite flash. PC sync terminal and comatability with the RS-80N3
Cons:
Warning: 1 series gripes........ ISO incremecrents in 1/2 stops. Scrolling through the menu with jump button takes a bit to get used to. Best bang for the buck at the time of this review. No spot metering. Small screen. No RGB histogram. No ISO display in viewfinder. No built-in eyepiece cover. Pop-up flash useless with some L Lenses. No weather sealing. Lacks the assist and FEL button. No off switch for wheel controller. Small viewfinder. Image quality is not as good as the original 1D. No SD card slot.

Coming from the 1 series camera, the 20D does feel a bit like a toy. The cons do outweight the pros, but then again I was spoiled by the 3, 1V, 1D, and 1D MKII N. I was mainly looking for a good backup camera that won't slow me down and affect my mobility. Carrying two 1D cameras can be a real pain with L lenses attached. I was thinking about getting the 30D to complement my 1D MKII N but I couldn't justify paying an extra $400 for the same image quality produced by the 20D and the 30D. As a backup camera, it stays in my holster bag 80-90% of the time so I don't really need to rely on the 100,000 shutter life. This camera is to be used for a longer throw for telephoto lens where the 1D's 1.3x crop lacks. The Digital Rebel XT (350D) is lighter, is more or less a toy to me, it's plastic, the build is mediocre, the grip is probably the worst, and does not have the same buffer or framerate as the 20D. The 5D may be full frame but I'm not going to benefit much from a 1x crop for telephoto lens. Both the 30D and the 5D has spot metering but it's not multispot metering like the 1 series. Lack of the FEL button is a bit annoying since I use multispot metering, my index finger would try to look for it when I'm using the 20D. Coming from film and the 1 series, I do not chimp as much except to change settings so the 2.5" screen is just an added bonus. The 20D more or less fits the bill. It's not too light, nor too heavy. It's of a good build, has a nice, firm grip, the body is made of magnesium, good framerate, decent buffer, good battery life. I always shoot in RAW so exposure or white balance is not a real issue for me. Most of the bugs have been ironed out with the latest firmware. The 20D may not be weatherproof but it could still handle a minor splash of water thrown at it. The menu and buttons takes a while to get used to but I can't complain. The 20D doesn't feel like the lens mount is going to fall off when I'm using a 70-200 IS, even without the BG-E2 grip. My only gripes are the small viewfinder, lack of ISO display there and focus hunting on some low light conditions. Another issue I have is the half moon this camera produces when the popup flash is used to fill with the 17-40, 16-35, and 24-70 with the lens hood attached. Using the external flash unit does not have this problem. Overall I'm very satisfied with my purchase. I still regret the fact that I got rid of my original 1D. What I gained from it is less weight, longer throw, more room to crop (4.15 MP vs 8.2 MP), and FAT32 compatibility. I would recommend it to anyone who is upgrading from film, or any DSLR from Digitital Rebel (300D) or 10D and the previous models, to use as the primary camera. I gave it a fair rating as if this is my primary camera so that you're not misled by the cons that are listed.