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  Reviews by: Rhys  

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Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 Tripod Legs

Review Date: Aug 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good and sturdy. Great to be able to open the legs further than those cheaper tripods with cross-braced legs as it adds to stability.
Slightly heavy but on the other hand it'd cost a ton more to use carbon fibre and you'd save only a small amount of weight.

It's priced fairly. I'd recommend starting with this tripod rather than anything cheaper because as the old saying goes, you buy cheap, you spend twice as much. I tried several cheaper tripods and found all to be flimsy. This is steady as a rock. I regret the money I wasted on cheap tripods because it surely equals the cost of this tripod - spent twice the price to get to the 3021!

Tamron 70-300MM F/4-5.6 LD Macro AF

Review Date: Sep 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $109.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp at all focal lengths. Compact. Comes with a lens hood.
Focus ring rotates and is exactly where you want your hand to support the lens! It needs a couple more f-stops extra light. It definitely needs an image stabiliser.

Another secondhand bargain. It's sharp enough given a steady hand or a tripod. Handheld can be problematic and as I said before it does need an image stabiliser. Care must be taken not to hold it by the focus ring, which rotates when the lens focuses.

The macro switch can be tricky to operate. I had a heck of job to get it to switch out of macro and had to take the lens off the camera before I managed it. The focus motor is the loudest I have ever heard and it's certainly slow at focussig. Macro mode is disappointing but then if you want macro you want a macro converter or a proper macro lens anyway.

It's a good lens if you can't afford an f2.8 zoom. If you can afford better then buy it. Otherwise this is a wonderful lens that nobody should be without.

Tamron 17-35MM F/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF)

Review Date: Sep 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $349.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp at all focal lengths and apertures. No noticable spherical or chromatic aberations. Comes with a lens hood.
Bulbous front element and filter size

I bought this secondhand and it passed all of my tests with flying colours. I would have liked to have seen f2.8 at all focal lengths but it's not bad even though it does drop a stop over the whole zoom range.

It's definitely better than anything comparible.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

Review Date: Aug 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: So sharp I almost cut my fingers on the prints. I have never seen a lens quite as sharp as this.
Focussing can be a bit hit or miss at 75mm.

I read reviews of this lens and eventually ordered through my local Ritz shop. I am not disappointed. It's an excellent lens. There is the focussing issue, however.

I did my normal lens test - on a tripod - aimed at a brick wall. This test shows up distortion and focus problems rather well. At 28mm everything was crisp and I saw little if any distortion. At 75mm, the first shot was just not quite sharp. It wasn't badly out but it was on a par with the 18-55 kit lens for sharpness. My second 75mm shot was taken with the focus point moved slightly. That was so sharp I could see the grains of sand in the cement between the bricks. Distance from camera to wall - about 10 feet. My next lens test was aiming at a tree silhouetted against a bright sky. There was a little bleeding on the fringes of the leaves but that's more camera than lens.

I am so happy with this lens that I'm content to recommend it to everybody.

Canon Speedlite 420EX TTL

Review Date: Jun 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: That which it does, it does very well. I found the af assist to be helpful, the flash delivers just the right amount of power without overflashing the subject. The XT flash underflashes but this delivers the right amount when mounted on my XT
The battery door is flimsy, awkward to open and I cannot imagine it'll be very long before it snaps off.

I bought this to replace the built-in XT flash and to use solely for portraits. Thus far it's an excellent performer and I have no regrets. I'm amazed at how fast it will recharge.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Jun 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $90.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: It's light and unobtrusive. It's reasonably sharp and has a nice fast aperture.
Focussing could be better. At f1.8 it's noticable that the centre of the frame is sharper than the edges.

I bought this to go along with my kit lens. I'd say the 18-55 is a bit sharper but not by much. I did a series of shots from f1.8 to f5.6 and found that by f2.8 sharpness had improved dramatically. At f5.6 it was beginning to look a shade soft. I didn't test below f5.6 because it wasn't a proper lens test - just a straw test.

Using a flash, however, shaprness really picked up at f5.6. I took a shot from about 4 feet away of my open wardrobe. I can see the weave of the fabric of my jackets and trousers. I was really quite impressed. Depth of field is very shallow so some of my tests could be flawed because I hand-held the camera.

On the whole - do I like or lump the lens? I'd say I quite like it and think it should do just fine as a portrait lens.