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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Aug 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f/1.2 aperture, weather sealed (mostly), nice focus ring, build quality, bokeh (out of focus areas).... it just takes superb photos.
Cons:
None really... see review.

When I first started taking my photography more serious I decided to buy a 5D Mark II (It just JUST come out in North America) and a 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L, and a 27-70mm f/2.8 L. I was set. Or so I thought.

Eventually about a year ago, I realized I was bored of my big clunky zoom lenses, as nice as they were/are, I was just bored of them. I wanted low light abilities. I wanted crazy bokeh, I wanted quality that great primes can give you.

I sold my zooms and bought a 35L, 135L and a 45mm TS-E. I was happy, very happy. Soon I realized that there was no real middle ground for me, I shoot a lot of fine art portraits, and some weddings in the warmer months (that's Canada for you), I found that too often I was switching camera bodies because of another lens that felt very specialized. The 135L. It is such a nice lens, but it was very long, even on my 5D2.

So back to the 35L, well the 35L is sexy. But it's not really a portrait lens, not really anyway.

In comes the 50L. I borrowed it from a friend, and it blew me away. I didn't want to give it back.

A few weeks later, I bought the lens, I was so amazed at how dreamy and nice the lens was that I Just had to have it in my bag.

If you can nail the focus at f/1.2, it's pretty sharp, which is great. And let's be honest, you buy this sort of lens (like the 35L, 85L or 135L) to shoot a lot of stuff wide open.

I will echo what others have said, I think a lot of the bad press it got from people is what initially threw me off a year ago. I know three people who own this lens, besides myself, and they all have copies made after 2008, (Mine is late 2009), and they do not have any significant focus problems when stopped down from f/1.2, so I don't know what to say.

Yes I believe I've experienced this somewhat, but I also think that when shooting someones face, very close, at f/1.2, f/1.4, or f/1.6, getting focus perfectly on the eye/eye lash, is going to be very difficult no matter what, and possible people just believed it was a problem, or maybe in some cases that was what was happening, and in others... not so much. Who knows. I don't doubt there are/were problems.

I haven't had any real issues, and this is my #1 lens. I adore it.

Some of my favorite images have been shot with it. It sees what I do. The bokeh is killer, and the lens just feels like a very nice piece of gear.

Sorry for the big write up, but I figured my story would help those who might be looking at reviews trying to decide if this is the lens for them. This one is excellent on a Full Frame camera. It can do tight head shot portraits, full body, and still have dreamy bokeh/background blur, it's amazing for wedding/documentary style, and really great for portrait sessions and street stuff. One of Canon's ultimate "people photo" lenses.

Just the other week I shot an entire wedding on it, and was so impressed with the gem of a lens.

Try it out, make sure you're focusing techniques are up to the challenge of the razor thin DOF at f/1.2! This is one of Canon's best. GET IT.


 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Sep 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Resolution, ISO abilities, Video, Micro Adjustments, Image quality associated with Full Frame cameras.
Cons:
Auto Focus is dated.

I bought the camera the first month it was released in Canada, since then I have come to really enjoy working with this camera. I knew going into the purchase that the Auto Focus was dated, and hadn't really been upgraded since the previous version. So that never concerned me.

After all this time, since it first came out, people need to realize (just as they should have then, if they had done some simple research.. ie: use Google for 10 seconds) that the camera has it's limitations in AF. If you shoot something that requires something more from your AF system, then you'd be smart enough to get something else better suited to your needs. Yes it would be really nice to have a camera that has Full Frame, awesome high ISO and great AF, and that does NOT cost a fortune. Maybe 5D3? Wink

Anyways, I use this camera for a lot of portrait work, weddings, and lately a bunch of video stuff as well. It's a true work horse. The quality is absolutely top rate. At the time of writing this, Nikon has the D3s, about the only camera on the market that can beat the 5D2 in pure ISO ability (well the D700 too) and over all image quality. It's remarkable. Simply put, this is one of THE highest quality image files you'll get out of any DSLR to date. The video is fantastic, 1080p/24 is a dream come true!

All in all, by now in it's time line, you should know if this camera is for you or not. The 5D was a classic, and this will be considered one as well. It just produces world class images.


 
Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8

tse90_1_
Review Date: Aug 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: ultra sharp wide open at f/2.8, smooth manual focus, solid build, great control, blur or "bokeh" is very smooth and creamy
Cons:
Not really any negative aspects.... read review...

I shoot a lot of weddings, portraits, on location work out in the city and studio photography. I've been looking forward to owning a TS-E lens for over a year now. I had debated between getting the 45mm and the 90mm, but I've been moving away from standard focal lengths of 45mm to 70mm for portraits and have been enjoying what this lens can do for me at 90mm. The creative control over tilting the lens and sometimes rotating it, is quite incredible.

A lot of modern wedding photographers use tilt shift lenses for some of their work. It definitely gives a very specific feel that you cannot always replicate (or ever) in photoshop. Being able to have certain objects always in focus is something that is impossible to take in one photo through any kind of digital manipulation. And a technique that is very specific to the tilt shift lenses. The other possibilities are endless really. You'll be dreaming up new ways to use this lens on a daily basis.

It's manual focus, all the TS-E lenses are. On my 5D Mark II the lens will give me focus confirmation on all focus points when the lens is fully titled or shifted. Obviously you're not really going to be using this for action photography, but the focusing is very smooth, it's a pleasure to work with.

The lens is SHARP, VERY VERY VERY sharp. Probably one of the sharpest lenses Canon makes. Wide open at f/2.8 it's mind blowing at just how incredibly sharp this lens is. It also has great control over distortion normally, even when not shifted to adjust for this issue. That, the resistance to flare and pretty much no CA, and you've got yourself one nearly flawless lens.

Since incorporating this lens into my line up, my creativity has taken a new step in a great direction. It's just another amazing tool at your disposal.

It's an absolute wonder this isn't an L series lens, it's better than many of them! Buy this, enjoy it, it's awesome.