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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Mar 23, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optically outstanding, excellent and fast AF, decently built
no IS (but you know that), expensive expensive...

Love at first sight after opening your box and start shooting...

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A1

Review Date: Mar 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very well built, very sharp even at f/1.4 in the central area
some lateral CA, vignetting

This lens is extremely well built with an ideal mix of metal, plastic and rubber. The rubber focus ring is large, a good thing. The barrel gives an impression of solidity, pity there is no rubber joint at the mount.

Sharpness is outstanding, even at f/1.4 on the focus points. This lens is a jewel when coupled with a 5DIII. However my copy had a front focus and I had to correct in camera with the micro-adjustment feature. That done, AF is reliable at close and far distances.

I noticed some greenish lateral chromatic aberration on high contrast edges in out of focus areas at f/1.4. Also some vignetting. All of this can be corrected in LR.

All in all a great lens.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Review Date: Dec 17, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Brilliant autofocus system, nice LCD screen, great build, good for most of situations (events, landscape, macro, portraits), reactive and nervous, good control tools, very good image quality,
still expensive...

With 5D3, Canon answered many customers concerns, no doubt about that. I remember reading all the forum posts asking for no more pixels, but better AF and speed, etc. As many users have noticed, the camera mixes the best of the 5D2 and the 7D.

True, the AF system is spectacular. It is flexible, fast and accurate, either in One Shot or Servo mode. Coming from a 7D, the system is quite familiar, and even better (so not to mention the conservative AF of 5D2). You can easily focus on a target without having to recompose thanks to the outer points and get more keepers. Thanks to its AF reliability, 5D3 has given a new life to some of my lenses, like the EF 50 mm f/1.4.

Sensor dust cleaning is much better than the one of 5D2 (which could drive me nervous). Shutter is quieter than on the 5D2, and even quieter with the silent mode. 6 FPS also makes the camera a nice tool for event photographing. Low light shooting is a défini te plus : pictures are clean or easy to PP up to 6400 and even 12500 (though smoothed by NR process).

I find HDR a very highly useful feature (just as the multi exposure mode).

Handling the camera is a pleasure and reminds of the 7D. I really like the grip which is covered with a special rubber. Everything in the build seems solid. The dual card slot is the least you can expect from a camera of that category and price.

AWB, skin tone work pretty well.

A brillant DSLR.

Cons: DR inferior to 6D, no built-in flash (fill-in or remote flash piloting), awkward illumination of viewfinder during focusing, no viewfinder following track of single AF point in Servo mode, no swivel screen, and no wifi for android/ipad control, slow live view autofocus, optional grip doesn't increase fps, no face detection tracking, lack of trap focus or focus peaking, no spot metering at the focus point, no gps, menu: no quick way of navigating from one category to another, sync speed of maximum 1/200 (please, Sir !),

Update: Made a mistake about navigation through menu : yes, you can easily pass from one category to another by pressing the Q button. There is a learning curve with this camera.

Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

Review Date: Oct 23, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Impressive sharpness, beautiful contrast and colors, solidly built, nice to handle

Really a top glass. On a full frame or on a 7D.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jun 29, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very convenient focal range. Good IS. Sharp enough even at f/4 especially in the centre. Satisfying contact and colors. Fast AF. Well built.
Vignetting at f/4 (24 mm).

Very pleased with this zoom.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Jun 29, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Very convenient focal range. Good IS. Sharp enough even at f/4 especially in the centre. Satisfying contact and colors. Fast AF.
Some vignetting at f/4 24mm.

Use this zoom with my new 5D mark II and am very satisfied. My copy is quite good. It's an excellent walk-around zoom and as sharp as my 17-55 mm f/2.8 on my 7D. A great tool for travel photography.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Review Date: Jun 13, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, fast AF, nice OOF blur, well built, crispy colors. A jewel.
No IS.

An outstanding lens.

Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

Review Date: Dec 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well built. Sharp, sharp. Nice colors and contrast.
Hood can be difficult to put or remove. Heavy. Expensive.

The lens has a nice design. Very elegant despite being built as a a tank. This doesn't mean you shouldn't be cautious with its manipulation : some scratches can easily appear on the black paint of the barrel. The focus ring is soft, pleasant to use and accurate. There is no autofocus, but a green light flashes when target is in focus. Had a problem with the hood as it remained blocked in the thread; fortunately the retailer managed to fix the issue.

Glass is amazing, especially contrast, color and sharpness. Very good for landscape photography. Purple fringe may occur, but not often. You can have flare if sun is at 10h-14h even with the hood on.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: Sep 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Reasonably sharp, nice bokeh, cheap, good for portrait, nice built
requires a tripod for good results

This is a good lens, though not stellar. Not as sharp as I expected at f/1.8. Suitable for portraits, but with tripod.

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Aug 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nicely built, relatively fast AF

The lens is quite well built, nice feeling and easy to handle. Also elegant with its hood. I had some fears about the precision of its AF, but I am lucky to have a good copy. Image quality is not that exceptionnal and I am a little disappointed. There seems to be a lack of contrast, images are not crispy, yet usable. Softness until 2.8, but even at smaller apertures, it's not great. My Canon 17-55 zoom is far better in comparison. Maybe I am not able to work properly without IS, but then, why do I get better results with the prime Canon 60 mm ?

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Review Date: Aug 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, excellent IS, fast and accurate AF, reasonably built
no collar for tripod

I agree with most of the previous posts about the high quality of this lens. This is an excellent lens that enables to shoot macro handheld thanks to its exceptional IS and its reactive AF in AI Servo. Good contrast, very sharp.

A jewel.

Canon EOS 7D

Review Date: Jan 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: very effective autofocus, very well built, good ergonomy and customizable buttons, level, nice viewfinder, exceptional metering system, 8 fps, reactive, good noise control up to 1600, handy menu, HD video, wireless flash control, high quality LCD screen
DOF button in a difficult place to handle, not a dual CF/SDHC slot, no SDHC recognition with a CF adaptor, AWB still could be better in artificial light

I own a 50D, a very good camera that now gets better press or internet reviews than last year (price has dramatically dropped). OK, there were some problems and these got solved with successive firmware releases. Also there were dynamic range deficiencies in which highlights were washed out and output would be quite artificial. But now the Canon EOS 7D really is awesome and exceptional, a mile ahead of its predecesor 50D. I've been using the 7D for about two months, testing in various ways and settings and even doing pixel peeping (shame to me, but it was because of bad AF on some forums).

There is so much to say in favour of the camera that I don't with what feature to begin. Autofocus is great, acurate, very speedy. There are so many features and these can be controlled very handily in the wonderful viewfinder. With the mini-joy stick one can easily shift from one collimator to another, turning the camera from horizontal to vertical can change the AF point according to your programmation. One can follow the AF point travel in the viewfinder when in AI servo mode. By the way this AI servo enables you to take better handheld macro photos ! It's very sensitive and acurate.

Difficult to tell whether the body is fully tropicalized, I wouldn't dare experimenting. Anyhow the body seems to be strong. It's nice to hold it, there is a nice rubber feeling when holding the grip, the thum and the forefinger have their natural place. It's a pleasure using the control buttons, except for the DOF button that remains in it's same awkward position.

Image quality is awesome. The metering system means that you don't have to go through too many DPP RAW manipulations (this was not the case of the 50D that required a lot of DPP work). Noise is better controlled than with 50D and pictures are reasonnably good at 1600 ISO though I sometimes noticed some white points in dark areas (maybe due to excessive sharpening, I really can't explain).

All in all this Canon DSLR is a miracle of technology and quality.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Dec 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: f/1.4, satisfying sharpness if well focused,
has to been stopped down for optimal quality (so the f/1.4 lens is - let us say - a f/2.8 lens)

I sometimes experience some focusing problems with this lens, especially at short distance subjects; this is probably the effect of the small DOF. When well focused and stopped, sharpness is good.

Otherwise built quality is OK, though with a plastic feeling.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Dec 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Impressive sharpness, very good AF, well built

I bought this lens today. Usually I wait one or two months before posting a review about a lens. But this one conquered me very quickly : pictures are dam sharp, so sharp. I must say I just recently got a Canon 7D and have been using it with other lenses such as EFS 17-55 or EF 70-200 IS 2.8. Results are OK with the gear, but I wanted another sharp one. So I read a lens review by "Chasseur d'images" and Canon's 60mm macro was strongly recommended. Now I understand why.

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX SD

Review Date: Jan 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp (especially in the center), strongly built, f/2.8, affordable, delivered with sun hood, very nice to use
systematic chromatic aberration, flare when shooting with lights or sunrays

Canon EOS 50D

Review Date: Dec 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: nice features such as micro AF adjustment, beautiful LCD screen, useful LiveView, good IQ, quiet shutter, DPP is the software to use (especially for NR), reactive and accurate AF
no built-in control for wireless flash system, not totally tropicalised (but that is it exist?); battery autonomy is not as good than with 30D;

So many negative or mitigated reviews have been written on the internet (but not in specialised written magazines) about the 50D that I almost felt guilty after my purchase. It is true that, after one week of camera use, I experienced a kind of Error 99 that compelled me to remove the battery at once and replace it subsequently. I also had the impression that dynamic range was sacrificing IQ in difficult and contrasted light with some highlights being washed out. But that was before the upgrade of the firmware. Now after two months of extensive use I am coming to get another picture of the 50D. Battery : seems to me autonomy is much less than 30D (even not using LiveView).

At first you have the new features. For someone already owning a 30D the improvements are really noticeable. The anti-dust system for the sensor is more than satisfactory. The shutter is quieter, a good point for animal photographing. Sadly enough there is no remote control shutter release (like you have with the 450D).The LCD screen, larger and with many more pixels, is impressive and it is now really possible to check the quality of focus. The HDMI slot enables to connect the device on a HD TV, but you must buy the wire yourself (an extra-investment). You have live view, a nice feature for macro or landscape photo (you can activate it by just pressing the AF-On button), but the system drains your battery. Autocus seems quicker and more precise than with 30D. AI/Servo works well in good lighting conditions (not really possible to follow birds between branches in low light). Menu is much more user friendly than before, and a great feature is the quick control screen which allows you to manage quickly photo parameters with the joystick. Build quality feels about the same than 30D, though I noticed some extra-protection for the battery and CF slot with rubber reinforcement, but maybe this is not enough against rain or sand. Of course it would have been nice to have the body fully tropicalised. Something not very useful was added : a CA mode, a marketing fish-hook for beginners, maybe not that appropriate for a semi-expert camera. Built-in flash : you can fix a 1/60-1/250 speed and pass control for first or second curtain. Unfortunately the flash is not conceived for a wireless flash network. C’est vraiment dommage ! Also interesting : you can use UDMA Compact Flash cards. Files are transferred much quicker to your PC, I noticed that, but you pay the price (once more!).

Now what about IQ. I am no expert in the matter and I can only share my personal and humble view. A big complaint on the forums has been noise at high ISO. Well it is already nice to have ordinary possibilities up to 3200 ISO, and even up to 6400 and 12800, something you would never have dreamt of in the good old times of predigital photography. I would say photographs are really useable up to about 2400, maybe up to 3200. You have chromatic noise, but nothing you cannot fine tune with a software. More than 3200, and certainly 6400, you have heavy noise and even banding). By the way, for RAW processing, I would recommend using DPP above any other software : noise reduction is much better. DXO, recently upgraded for 50D (though not for all lenses), gives good results. With the 30D I only used Elements 5.0 or 6.0. I also feel that Canon 50D is a camera that gives the best results with RAW. What about resolution ? Well, details are so much better with the 50D, a good thing for enlargements or cropping, something bird lovers will appreciate. Some reviewers recommend using only the best quality lenses with the gear. But this has always been the issue with other cameras ! Anyway focusing has its importance, and by the way, the camera has the micro-AF feature which enables fine tuning of your lenses (something that helped me recover use of my Sigma 50-150 which started front focusing after several months). Exposure seems to be OK, not that much different from 30D, there are some problems in high contrast situation and the highlight priority feature doesn’t address the issue in a perfect way (you ‘ll need DPP or DXO or resign).

What with white balance ? The automatic AW control is suitable for most conditions, except for tungsten or fluo, two weak spots you will have to control manually or in DPP or other software. Image style : the best is to program your own settings.

Conclusion : Canon 50D is a gear one must learn to handle and use before appreciating it. I am pleased with the product.


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