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  Reviews by: Rob Chisholm  

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Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

sigma50-14jpg
Review Date: Dec 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The lens draws very nicely. Color is accurate. Bokeh is soft without harsh outlines.
Cons:
Price compared to other 50 1.4's but it is built better than Canon's.

50 is a love it or hate it focal length. I tend to gravitate to the 50mm over the 85 for some reason. On my original 5D, the Canon 50 1.4 was the stable prime. On my 5D2, I debated whether to purchase a new Canon 50 1.4 (sold the old one), get the 50 1.2, or go with the sigma. I have previously owned a Sigma 30 1.4 on a cropped body and gotten some fantastic results. So, I decided to give the Sigma 50 a try; I like the look that Sigma primes render -- the bokeh tends to be smooth and they stay pretty sharp wide open, at least centrally.

The copy of the sigma I purchased is sharp centrally from 1.6 and up. A touch soft at 1.4 I have not yet tried the micro focus adjust on the cam. Hopefully this might improve the sharpness wide open. However, the images seem to sharpen up very well in post, and the out of focus rendering is wonderfully smooth, so I am very pleased. I like the look of this lens wide open over the Canon 1.2 at 1.4.

Build seems excellent.

Overall, very satisfied and would purchase a sigma 85 1.? prime if such a lens was released and had similar characteristics over purchasing the Canon 1.2. With Sigma, you seem to get a lot of lens for the money.


 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Nov 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Improvements from 5D: Less shutter lag, shutter is less "soft", LCD and menu greatly improved, autofocus is slightly better than original, ISO/low light ability is absolutely amazing -- ISO 6400 looks like ISO 1600 did on the 5D. IQ looks possibly even better than the original. Body is slightly more robust.
Cons:
Well, the build is not that of a 1 series, but did anyone really expect that? I don't know if there are really any cons -- you get a whole lot of cam for $2600.

Well, I have been a Canon user and fan for several years now, having graduated from a Digital Rebel XT to a 5D. I loved and used my 5D for about 2 years, but was seduced by the "cool" aspects of the Nikon D300 when that cam was introduced. I loved the "usability" of the Nikon -- The micro focus adjustment, the better build, the increased functions from the 5D. But, I missed the IQ and elegance of the 5D, so I bought another Canon 5D, rebuilt my lens collection and waited for the 5DII, in hopes that it would be more than just a 5D with a monster sensor...

OK, I will admit that I was prepared for Canon to let me down, what with all the 1DIII nonsense and with a lackluster 50D. Thankfully, I was wrong. The 5D2 is what I hoped for, but was afraid Canon wouldn't provide.

The 5D2 has a better build (check), micro-adjust (check), more responsive shutter with less lag (check), better LCD and menu (check), a host of other customizable options, and ISO capabilities that are, compared to the 5D, simply amazing! Seriously, ISO 6400 looks like 1600 on the 5D. I am thrilled about that.

The files look great. The IQ seems terrific (I have to pixel peep some more) and the RAWs out of the camera seem quite sharp, so I think the AA filter is possibly no stronger than the original.

The autofocus seems slightly better than the original, but I really never had any problem with the original either. I am not a sports shooter.

I have not spent any time with the video yet.

In short, I am very pleased. I am sure some will say the build is not good enough -- in truth, I think the D700 is still built better. However, where the original 5D body felt sort of cheap or fragile, the new one is much more robust thus closer to the tough Nikon bodies. Someone is also sure to complain that the frames per second are too few. Can't please everyone.

In fact, I think the complaints about this cam will be the same as the original 5D -- only the difference between what people want today and what Canon delivered in this camera compared to the original 5D will be much less (with things like build/weathersealing/frames per second/autofocus). And what you do get -- the IQ, the ISO, the 1Ds3 Sensor -- is just outstanding for the price. Oh, and there is video too, right? Which cam at this price point can really compete?

None at this time.