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  Reviews by: OwlsEyes  

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Canon EOS 1D Mark II

1D2
Review Date: Aug 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1D interface, Rugged, Quick AF, 8.5 FPS, 1.3x crop, Sharpens very well
Cons:
Batteries are heavy, Battery charger is very bulky

I took one of these to Tanzania last June and it was my primary body until it fell of the safari vehicle. I replaced it with a 40D that just never seemed to make me quite as pleased with the shooting experience. There is something very nice about the build and interface of the 1-series bodies that can only be understood with long-term use.

I am about to do a display of my Africa work this year and most of the images were interpolated to print at 20-24"... the 1D files are flexible enough that this is not a problem. For an 8mp camera, you can produce very detailed and rich images...

this camera is a bargain in today's used market.


 
Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

120_300_1_
Review Date: Jun 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Unique... only lens like it. Affordable and flexible optic that allows you to substitute a 70-200 & 300 f2.8 lens with one lens. Sharper than expected. More than acceptable results when paired w/ the EX 1.4X converter.
Cons:
Heavy

This is a very underrated optic that is often maligned for the wrong reasons. The lens is not going to be as sharp or fast to focus as the manufacturers 300 f2.8... Let's face it, how could it? The Nikon or Canon 300 f2.8 lenses cost $4000... these lenses should be sharper. With this disclaimer now out of the way, I find this to be the most flexible alternative to a 300 f2.8 lens. My wife and I use this lens and the Canon 300 f2.8 IS for wildlife and compressed landscape photography. Having just returned from a photo safari in Tanzania, I can say that the Sigma lens more than held its own. It performed beautifully and allowed for flexibility that was impossible with our straight 300 f2.8 lens.

Our 120-300 f2.8 has been hauled through US National Parks, Costa Rica, Europe and now Tanzania. It has been subject to droppage and the endless vibrations of a safari. In spite of the abuse,... it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. In the end, I find this lens to be the best bargain for the nature photographer wishing for long & fast glass in a flexible package.

cheers,
bruce
http://www.btleventhal.com


 
Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM

300f2_8EX_lg_1_
Review Date: Dec 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price/Value, Weight, Size, Construction, HSM, Center Sharpness
Cons:
Edge Chromatic Abberation on 1Ds (CA absent on 1.6 & 1.3 crop cameras) Reduced Contrast

I have owned this lens for about a year now. I am a nature generalist and am addicted to 300 2.8 lenses. I have owned the Nikkor AFS, AF, and AiS 300 f2.8's. When I switched to Canon I could not afford their 300 2.8 and opted for a relatively unused Sigma EX 300 f2.8. For the puchase price, this lens has been a super performer. It has very good center sharpness from 2.8 to 8.0 and is well mated to a 1D or 20D. I have found that it does exhibit some edge CA on my 1DS, but it is only visible @ 100%...

While I would love to own the current Canon 300 2.8, I can not justify the expense... until I can, the Sigma will continue to be the first lens out of my bag when I want to isolate a subject!

All of the owl images in my FM gallery were made with this lens... have a look.


 
Nikon D70s

D70
Review Date: Oct 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: In my opinion this is the best digital camera body that is currently available to amateurs wishing to experience digital SLR photography. It is solidly built and full featured. It is a perfect back-up to a D1 or D2 pro camera at a price that will not break the bank. Bravo to Nikon for constructing an into level digital w/ spot meters, 3fps drive, large/fast buffer, and easy interface.
Cons:
Where is the cable release socket? Where is mirror-up? Where is the grip extender? It is clear that Nikon does not want the pro community to be satisfied w/ this camera... as a result, they denied the camera some pro features that would have cost Nikon very little to include.



 
Nikon D2Hs

D2H
Review Date: Sep 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Ergonomics, size & weight, handling, speed
Cons:
Resolution, resolution, resolution

For me, the D2h does not live up to its hype. It is an outstanding camera and suits its actual targetted audience well. For the sport & or news photographer, this is an incredible camera. The D2h is, without a doubt, the nicest handling camera I have had the pleasure to own. However, it you are interested in capturing fine detail in distant objects, the D2h has insufficient resolution. Distant trees, shrubs, bushes, etc... lose their detail... as a result, this is not a good camera for someone who considers themselves to be a general nature photographer.

 
Tamron 180mm f/3.5 Di LD IF Macro Autofocus SP AF

19043180mm_1_
Review Date: Dec 20, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Tack Sharp! This lens is as sharp as the well regarded Tamron 90 f2.8. The AF/MF clutch is simple to use, and requires the user to only change this position when going from AF to MF. Aperture is relatively fast for a long macro.
Cons:
Tripod mount is less rigid than it should be. Autofocus is slow, but who uses AF when doing macro work anyway?

This lens is wonderfully sharp and produces a nice neutral color balance. The optics are as good as any prime that I have used, and I never hesitate to use the lens when I need the best performance I can get.

While I prefer the AFS system of my Nikkors, the AF/MF clutch on the lens barrel is very easy to use. I can move between auto and manual focus without changing any settings on the body.

In my opinion, the lens is as sharp as my 105 micro-nikkor. If you are looking for a bargain in the long tele-macro range, you can not go wrong with the Tamron 180.