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Markins Q-Ball M10

1817
Review Date: Sep 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Engineering, design, strong, silky smooth, everything.
Cons:
Nothing other than the price of course.

Definitely the best ballhead around. I tried the Kirk BH-3 first as most reviews say they are very close in quality and it was almost $100 cheaper. The BH-3 is a great ballhead but I did notice a small amount of slippage/movement due to the weight when I had my 300/4L IS, 1.4tc, and 1D2 on it. Decided to spend the extra dollars (which I should have done in the first place) for the M-10L and am I glad. Wow, what an incredibly designed ballhead. Top notch engineering, very solid and beautifullly finished. Holds my current gear rock solid and I have no doubt it will hold even heavier lenses when/if I should be able to afford them. It's expensive but once you use it you'll realize it is definitely worth it. I also recommend getting the L (left) version as having the controls on the left seems more natural than having them on the right.

Highly recommended.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Aug 22, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $575.00

 
Pros: Price, build quality, sharp contrasty images, weight
Cons:

This was my first L lens. Every time I use it I'm reminded what an incredible piece of engineering it really is. Lightweight, incredible image quality, perfect design and build. I love this lens.

No negatives at all.

The only improvement I can imagine woud be a closer minimum focus distance. Well, that and IS ... but those aren't negatives, just little things that would improve this already incredible lens.


 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

ef70_200_4_1_
Review Date: Dec 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $570.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: What everyone else has said. Build, sharpness, contrast, focus speed etc.
Cons:
None.

This is a fantastic lens as everyone else has said. It's priced great ... but having it will make you want to buy more L lenses. After having this a few months I purchased the 300 F4L IS (wow !!!) and am now eyeing the new 24-105 F4L IS.

The only thing that would make it better would be having the new 3rd generation IS on it.

Very highly recommended.


 
Lowepro Mini Trekker AW


Review Date: Sep 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, quality, capacity, comfort. The perfect size backpack.
Cons:
Tripod mounting is a bit awkward at first, but fine once you are used to it.

I have both the AW and classic bags. I did a lot of research on bags and bought and sold several till I found the right bags. These both are fantastic. Very well built, comfortable, holds just the right amount of gear for a day hike. The slip-lock attachments on the sides let you add on another lens case or any other accessory you might want such as a water bottle.

The AW has a tripod mount on the front of the bag, making it hard to get to the stuff you have stowed in the front compartments w/o removing the tripod. Not a problem for me as I haven't yet needed to get into those compartments w/ the tripod in place. Where else would you put the tripod anyway? On the side would make it unbalanced and underneath would make it too wide. I'm fine w/ the mount the way it is. And I can still get to the main compartment very easily if I need to grab my camera w/o unmounting the tripod. I love the inner compartment, it holds just the right amount of gear and accessories such as an extra battery, memory cards etc.

The Classic is the same size, just lacks the AW cover. It has the same main interior compartment, but 2 nice deep outside pockets. And the tripod straps are at the bottom. I tend to use the AW when I am carrying my tripod on a hike and the Classic when I am not or when I am using my monopod (smaller). The classic also looks a bit more like a regular backpack versus a camera bag so I frequently carry that if I don't want the bag to show everyone it has camera gear in it. I usually carry the Classic to work w/ my work stuff in the outer compartments and my camera inside ... just in case I see something of interest while walking to/from my office.

Both styles of the LowePro Mini Trekker are great and I highly recommend them.