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Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

21mm
Review Date: Nov 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality & image quality.
Cons:
Dangerously addictive images.

I rented a Zeiss Distagon 21mm for a trip to a shrine in Missouri. After I shot the planned panorama, I took some shots from behind the alter. I used the Distagon 21mm along with my 17-40 L and 24 TSE L.

When I viewed the images in photoshop, I was simply amazed the image quality from the Distagon. They were images beyond what I thought I could take. The detail, colors, the pop.

I sent a file to a friend and he felt compelled to print it @ 13 x 19. I showed the print to my wife and she had it framed and hung in the guest room.

I've rented Zeiss glass before and found it interesting, but the 21mm was compelling. I was compelled to buy it. I'm planning trips to Yosemite and Big Sur just to use it again.







 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: Jan 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $345.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IS allows images I couldn't take otherwise. Range is wonderful for all-purpose use. Focus is fast and sure. Image quality continues to amaze me.
Cons:
Hood is extra.

I LOVE THIS LENS.

After taking several blury shots of London's Big Ben in 2004, I decided to get an IS walk around lens. The 28-135 is almost always on a body when I have a camera out. IS works. I just keep on shooting right past sunset.

What has amazed me, however, is when I sort through images and see how many of the GREAT images were shot with this lens. On a recent trip to Brazil and took a lot of head shots with the lens zoomed to the 85mm or so and the lens all the way open (Its about f4.5 at 85 mm) and I was very pleased with the sharpness, color quality and bokah of these portraits. One I took of my daughter may be the best portrait I've ever taken as well as the best portait of her.

The same lens took all the sunset, sunrise and after dark images of the trip as well as monkeys and macaws. (All can be seen at www.adventureho.com/images )

I took four other lenses with me, including three L's, but of the first ten pictures I selected to print, 7 were shot with the 28-135 IS.


 
Lowepro Mini Trekker AW


Review Date: Apr 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $129.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lots of room. Quality construction.
Cons:
Not idiot proof.

My better half hated my 'over the shoulder' bag, and I had to guess what I needed for trip. She likes the look of the backpack, and I can carry two bodies, 4 lenses, two chargers w/extra batteries, 2 camera manuals, a flash with diffuser and a paperback to read on the plane.

After a long search, I bought the bag at Calumet in San Francisco before leaving for Africa in December. I was able to carry my camera gear even when I didn't want to stand out. Only problem was with the child who pulled out of the trunk when it was unzipped...

The bag is very configurable with lots of little velcro dividers. I now have a whole collection spread around the house as I needed far less that provided.

There is a large pouch on the front of the bag which I've used to carry books and other stuff that doesn't need padded protection. I now carry camera manuals so I can figure out what I should have done to get the shot I just mixed.

Great bag. I'd buy it again in an instant.



 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Apr 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,388.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I purchased this lens to photograph lions in southern Africa. First night, as the sun set over Chobe National Park, we found lions from a boat on the river. Low light, bouncing boat, lions out of range even at 560mm. (400 x 1.6 for Rebel XT). I was disheartened.

The lens gave me great pictues of crocs, birds, elephants, zebra, hippos from parked vehicles and boats. For most of the mamals, I took head shots with such detail that you know where their fur is the softest. I a shot of croc that a dentist could use to find cavities. I love my bird shots, until this lens, I never even considered trying to take pictures of them.

All of the good shots where due to this lens, and any bad ones I took were becuase I didn't know my equipment well enough.

On the final day - I got my lions. Big head shots with long wiskers and fluffy fur. Even a couple months later, I find it hard to imagine that I took some of those images.

I posted a couple hundred up on a company server, and our Art Director commented on how sharp they all were and enquired what I had used to take them.

Subsequently, I have taken more birds in the marshes surrounding San Francisco Bay, and I used it to capture candid shots of Girls Scouts for my daughter's troop.

Build is superb. I haven't seen any issue with the push pull, and since one of the early zooms I had for my Pentax bodies 20 years ago what a push pull it seems natural to me. Its heavy but even my 9 year old can hand hold it. I bought a monopod just in case.

Lens was recomended by several photo safari web sites and they were right on. Its the perfect safari lens