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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

ef85mmf_12_1_
Review Date: Mar 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Built quality, resolution, bokeh. Good for hand held photography of large animals from car, portrait and fast indoor sports. The blur of the background gives the pictures a 3 dimensional look. One of Canons best lenses for FF cameras.
Cons:
A little low contrast, heavy, slow AF, price (costs 4 times more than the excellent 85 mm 1,8)

A very popular and highly rated lense. Made for portraits, but is fine for nature & wild animals in low light conditions too. Not really fast enough for indoor sports like ice hockey, but depending on conditions, it works acceptably also for this. Gives excellent perspective for certain landscape work. Like in the mountains. Or from the deck of a cruise ship.

One of Canon's best performing lenses on FF cameras with a generous light gathering capacity. Very sharp corners, particularly from f 2,0 and up with only marginal corner light fall off when mounted on 1Ds/1ds II.

Still; only marginally better than it's little brother; the 85 mm 1,8 which is cheaper, lighter and produces better contrast. The 85 mm 1,2L is only questionably cost effective compared, unless you are dependant on this very unique blured portrait background,- or a FF camera user.


 
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

1dsmarkii
Review Date: Feb 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Awesome resolution on large prints. Beats medium format. Incredible low noice on high ISO. Fast buffer handling of large files. Great flexibility regarding custom tuning of just anything from tonal range, contrast, sharpness, WB and what not. Sturdy; you can kill a man on short distance.
Cons:
Heavy. Probably too flexible regarding custom tuning (what is the ideal tuning of this monster?!) Demanding on your lenses. Lots of CA and light fall out on WA lenses; you have to stop them down. Cumbersome 'mirror up' shooting by custom function. No Canon WA good enough for this camera.

The 1Ds II is an awsome instrument, - at a fair price.

I don't have the same blood dripping relation to my 1Ds II as I had to my 1Ds, - my first camera of this class, knowing that we shall part when a heftier Canon camera is introduced. I finally had my 1Ds ideally tuned regarding tonal range and sharpness etc. when we parted, - I sold it. The same tuning is more difficult - due to more posibilities - to hit with the 1Ds II,- if at all possible. I am still fumbling around trying our different settings having had the camera since april 2005. I miss a book that digs deep into this camera's abilities regarding custom settings and capabilities and systematically presents how they look on screen or paper. Something like Wildi's Hasselblad Manual. There should be a Pulnitzer Price waiting for anyone who dared attack such a momentous task.

I have always regarded myself as a '100ASA man'. Not anymore. The low noice level and surefootedness of the automatic white balance of 1Ds II on high ISO are mind boggling. They will change photography.

Demanding on lenses, but don't loose out of sight that still quite a few comes out very good on a 1Ds II. Like the 35 mm 1,4L, 24-70 mm 2,8L (and indeed 28-70 mm 2,8L), 17-35 mm 4,0L. Sure, 1Ds II compromises quite a few Canon lenses that Canon now must phase out for better ones. You have to work stopped down. Preferably to the aparture that produces the best result (in 100% in PS - the tool that has made us all resolution & optics freaks) Not at all unusual for anyone experienced with dark room work and MF, - or photography a bit above ordinary amateur level.

Far better battery economy than 1Ds, but it is just as inconvenient whenever the battery falls flat. Demands two batteries.

The best viewfinders of the business. As bright and large as it must be for checking if the motive is sharp. A pritty obvious and important thing, really.

Sturdy as a tank. Swinging it above your head by it's strap you could kill a man on short distance, - and keep shooting with it afterwards (like documenting the dead body). But I found the surface treatment on the 1Ds stronger. The 1Ds II gets scratched easier. Not a good thing if you are dependant on a good 2.hand price to finance the next Canon moster (22 million pixels?).

And heavy. You'll end up as a gold mine for a ciropractician.

I find the 'in the box software' a bit slow and cumbersome - but still far faster and better than what came with the 1Ds. I am not sure if I have really picked up the reccommended work flow. Anyway - I hate the PC part of modern digital photography! Which reminds me that both 1Ds and 1Ds II are cameras for those who love to read manuals and flick around with raw files.



 
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

1ef200mmf_28_1_1_
Review Date: Aug 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Reaonably priced for high performance, lightweight and usefull for just anything from portraiture, landscape and wild animals. Just excellent with a 1,4x converter and very good with a 2x converter. Not to say a 25 mm extender ring which makes it a versatile macro tool.
Cons:
None, really, possibly with the exception of the rude and unsofisticated sun shade which can be troublesome to get off and on sometimes.

The only reasonably priced pro (L) tele lense on the EF menue. Beond this the lenses gets exessively expensive, heavy and bulky. Performance far better and a lot cheaper, a lot more compact and lighter than most of the zooms bought by most EOS system users. Possibly one of the best lenses that Canon makes. I reccommend this 200 mm 2,8 L II USM, - together with just any converter and the 25 mm extender and you have virtual photographical toolbox with a wide application range. - Far, far better buy than any zoom lense on the EF menue. One of the few lenes I have that I originally bought new together with my first EOS camera, the EOS3.

Very sharp, beautiful bukeh, fast AF, light and relatively compact to carry around. I use it a lot. Like on birds with a converter on snakes and insects with the extender and the plain lense on moose (from a car). I carry it along on long mountain treks, - it weighs practically nothing, on city tours and vacations to Asia. A 'must have' for any serious EOS shooter.

In comparison, my 300 mm 2,8 L USM hasn't been more than 500 meters from my car.


 
Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_28-70_28s_1_
Review Date: Feb 6, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Stunningly sharp and contrasty for being zoom; - at all ranges, focal lengths and aparture stops. Versatile. A benchmark to be met for competion. Solid like a hand grenade out of WWI. The optimal tourist lense or a serious tool for the travelling photo journalist. A joy to work with manually of with AF. Has been my companion since my EOS3-days, but work just as well on my EOS 1Ds.
Cons:
Heavy. And bulky with that bucket-sized sun shade. Somewhat prone to flare. Does not draw as streight lines at wide angle as the fixed 28 mm focal length lense of Canon.

More than half of all my pictures has been taken with this lense. A useful tool on trips around Europe as well as the Far East. Heavy to carry around on an EOS3 or an EOS 1Ds. Absolutely worth the extra swet. I am still being supprised and joyed about how well this versatile zoom works as a portrait lense as well as a landscape tool, - or at a private party. Some portraits are just stunning.

Stone solid. I have taken it on skiing trips in the Norwegian mountains and on jungle trekking in Malaysia. Or on city-weekends to Vienna and Paris. It works flawlessly on AF or manaually. One of the very best zooms around. A classic lense!



 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM

ef50mmf_10l_1_
Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Large aparture. Just amazingly large application area. Nice bukeh. Fairly sharp when used under normal light conditions. Sturdy design and very solidly built.
Cons:
Out of this world expensive; you pay 2,000 US$ for one aparture stop! Heavy.

Would never have bought this animal new. It just isn't cost effcient to pay 2,000 US$ for one aparture stop. Still, it is a thrill to have and I use it a lot. Not only a collectors item, but a tool with some unique application areas. Like night city scenes. Hand held, mind you. People tend to think that you are only fooling around since it is too dark for normal photography. Then they relax.

Does that one click stop, that magic 1:1,0 mean so much? It does. It makes it possible for you to shoot hand held down to EV 6 (100 ASA) which is light from a 60 W bulb. Or, at this time of the year, you can shoot 24 hours a day, - hand held, through the northern Scandinavian bright summer nights.

Equally, it is ideal for outdoor shooting, - at all, at dull and gray Scandinavian winter days with equally marginal light. Hand held. The only lense around for that kind of conditions.

It is extremely difficult to use to what it was intended to be used for; portraiture. The DOF is only millimetres thick at full opening. But it leaves a beautiful bukeh-background and slides in and out of focus nicely.

Solidly built. Something it shares with all the white tele lenses and the equally designed 85 mm/1,2 L. Far more rigid than anything else on the EOS/EF program. More in line with Carl Zeiss/Hasselblad. Heavy like a hand grenade out of WWI.



 
Canon EOS 1Ds

21Ds
Review Date: May 4, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $12,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The digital SLR with the highest resolution on the market on a full size 135-format CMOS. Wast range of parameter settings from sharpness, tone curves to file sizes. Awsome resolution, although still a bit behind Medium Format in this respect, to my view. The advantage of taking both Raw and Jpg simultaniously. The only digital camera around that produces high resolution digital files from real wide angle lenses. - Except for a Medium Format equipment to three times the price. A rugged and solid body that feels good to handle. So rugged and solid that it can be used as self protection whenever US forces & arab nationalists wants to wipe out a poor press man. Swung by it's strap in a wide circle above your head it can kill a man at close range.
Cons:
A true dust bowl. Troublesome, time consuming and nerve-wreaking to work with in this respect. The consept 'digital SLR' is not the ideal solution to digital photography unless this can be solved. Noicy beond 200 ASA, but, dependant on motive, acceptable bellow 800 ASA. Still facinating to use with a 50 mm/1:1,0 at 1250 ASA in a dull lit restraurant. People think you are just fooling around. High ASA noice is not so predominant on paper copies, though. Produces some file sizes that will leave your old PC/Mac equipment standing on it's pedals. Go for a G5!

The camera consept is a bit rediculous since the body gives you the impression that 'it can take it all' on a jungle trekking or an assignment to Iraq. Due to dust Canon EOS1 Ds is nerve wreaking to use effectively other than in an controlled environment of a studio. Must be a true nightmare to work with for a pro in the field. You have to constantly to check that your CMOS is clear of dust.

In all honesty; my very analog 135-format negatives had a dust and scratch problem far exceeding that of the digital files of my EOS D1s.

When dust hits the CMOS use a rubber blower only. Don't use Swabs etc. You only make matters worse. Whenever dust spots will not leave the CMOS with light air preassure, send it in for cleaning at a Canon service facility. Is it within the camera's waranty time; expect Canon to do it free.