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Canon EOS 1D Mark II N

Review Date: May 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,695.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb AF, ease of use, fantastic WB etc.

One day I was in my local photo store for some minor things. I saw they had one 1D Mark II N in itīs box on their shelf and said to my regular salesman "Oh, I see you have one of those still left. To bad they are so pricey even with the forthcoming of the Mark IIIīs". To my surprise they said I could now get their last 1D Mark II N on their shelf (in an unopened box) for a bargain price.

In these nothern parts were I live the light isnīt very good for the most part of the year, so my 400 5.6L wasnīt up to itīs task most of the time on my 30D. With it the shots of fast flying birds were a hit and miss kind of thing. When the Af seemed to do did ok the accuracy of it wasnīt there after all. I felt I was in need of a F4 supertele or at least a 300 2.8 + 2x ... but my financial resources or even will to hick up several thousands to get “only” better AF wasnīt there, so I thought I have to get by with what I have. That is = shoot a lot of shots and hope for keepers in regard of AF accuracy. These were my thoughts until…

I have now been a happy owner and used the II N for a few weeks. I do have to say that the AF-speed on the 400 5.6L and the accuracy (!!!) of it has leaped to a totally different and amazing level. The picture quality is also much higher.

To my surprise the AF speed+accuracy is faster with even the 400 + 1.4x combo on the II N than it ever was with even the plain 400 on the 30D! All in all I donīt miss the 1.6x factor one bit. To see in practice is to believe that 1.6x ainīt the true answer! I now feel the 1.6x crop factor is greatly overappreciated as I now get consistently much better results and even close-ups of flying birds than I ever got with the 30D ... and my 24-70 has turned to a decently wide wideangle for my purposes as well! Some feel that the 1D is a heavy beast, but in my hands it feels no heavier than the 30D with itīs battery pack.

My tip is ... roam around in the photo stores around you and get a bargain on a new (or a near-mint used) 1D Mark II N as long as they are available. There are still sufficiently many of them around on the shelfs. You coldnīt be happier after you have succeeded! Lotīs of luck in your searching. The 1D Mark II N is a truly amazing DSLR.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Nov 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $630.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price, good build and quality for the money.
The biggest drawback is the very narrow reach (see more beneath).

I owned this lens for about 6 months. The picture quality wasnīt perfect, but ok all the same. The biggest drawback of this lens was itīs narrow zoom range. On a 30D the crop being 28-64 “mm” was not for me. For my shooting style (wide landscapes and portraits/people photography) this range is outright lousy. So I sold the lens a month ago and got instead a EF-S 10-22 (for landscapes + nature) and a EF 24-105 F4L IS (for nature, portraits, walk around photography etc.). These both lenses are just stunners in both usability and picture quality. They both are much better than the EF 17-40. If you intend to use it on a 1.6x be sure itīs the zoom range you really do both use and want! For wide landscapes itīs too long and for versatile people photography itīs too short, and to that not very flattering when taking close-ups of people. Donīt get it as a compromise: thatīs the road to certain dissatisfaction. If you still want it, get it. Itīs an affordable “good quality for the money” -lens.