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  Reviews by: benjikan  

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Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Jan 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent contrast and sharpness at all focal lengths especially at the two extremes. Well built with excellent finition.
Some distortion at 10 to 12 mm but not excessive as with all extreme wide angle lenses.

I purchased this lens about three months ago and have already used it for an eight page fashion story for LINEA Magazine. I am impressed with how sharp it is at the two extremes i.e. at 10 and 20 mm. I love how wide it goes. It reminds me of the Canon 16-35 full frame lens. It is extremely sharp stopped down 2/3 rds to 1 stop at all apertures. The construction is robust as is the finition. Purchase an excellent filter for this lens and keep it clean. Dust will show up in the photos if stopped down to F22. I use a Hoya Pro1 UV that stays on the lens at all times. Don't hesitate to purchase this lens. It is a keeper. It can be used on the Canon D1 with vignetting at 11 mm and full frame with vignetting at around 12.5 to 13mm. Not bad at all. One more thing. Being of EX quality, I would go as far as to say that it is comparable to "L" glass.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

Review Date: Dec 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast F 2.8. Extremely sharp even wide open. As sharp as my Canon17-40 L lens. Excellent contrast. Quite light given its' use of 14 Groups and 16 Elements.

As a professional Fashion/Beauty and Advertising photographer of over twenty years, my demands for optical excellence are quite stringent. I recently used this lens for a fashion editorial shoot and can say that this lens is wonderful. Fast and accurate auto focus and brutally sharp at 3.2 and above. Very good at 2.8. I use this lens on a Canon 20D BG-E2 Grip and it marries very well with it. I shot some beauty close up images and was amazed by the detail that this little lens resolved. The eye lashes bounced off of the page. I was also very pleased with the color rendition. The contrast of this lens is perhaps the best of all of the lenses I own and have owned in the past. Control of flare is superb. There is very little vignetting especially on the 20D which has a 1.6 ratio. The "Bokeh" on the Tamron is beautifully rendered especially wide open. Be sure to purchase a UV filter for this lens to protect the front element and to avoid color shifting in some clothing dyes. I especially appreciate the close focus capabilities of this lens. Not quite a macro, but very close. I was initially concerned by the fact that this lens is polycarbonate in construction which attributes to its' light weight. After reading several reports regarding the manner in which Tamron utilizes this material, I am confident that they made a good compromise. Tamron has been able to decrease the price of this lens by setting up there manufacturing plant in China. R&D is still done in Japan. The components of this lens are also manufactured in Japan

I also own the Tamron XR Di Macro 90 2.8 lens and must say that these two lenses are the best of the Tamron arsenal.

Final point. Would I recommend this lens to a working professional? Yes, Yes, Yes unequivocally!

You may view some samples of my published work at my photo agent sites and by clicking on my name "Benjamin Kanarek". PARIS LONDON

You may also join my commercial photography group called FashionMode 1 at:

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: Dec 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $780.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very well built. HSM works well on the Canon 20D + BG-E2 Grip. Deadly accurate focusing. Manual focus over-ride. Pleasingly sharp wide open especially after post prod in Photoshop unsharp mask 0.9 pixels at 100 percent. Stopped down to F 3.5 through 16 very sharp. The "Bokeh" is rendered beautifully.
The felt like finish attracts dust and grease. Quite heavy. I will use a monopod when doing pro photo sessions.

I have been a professional Fashion, Beauty and Advertising photographer for over 20 years. I have worked in every format and have been published world wide in everything from Harpers Italy to L'Officiel to "W" etc. I have not shot long lenses for years. I am primarily a wide angle shooter. For some reason, I was attracted to this lens. None the less I bought it. The lens is very tight above 3.5 and quite acceptable wide open at 2.8. When I unsharp in PS images start to really pop when using my standard formula of 0.7 to 1.0 pixels at 100 percent and then to add more punch 50 to 60 pixels at 10 to 15 percent. I will use this lens on my Manfroto mono-pod and quick release head. I will not hand hold it unless in a controlled environment with flash.

I tested this lens under several conditions and found that at 2.8 at 200mm to be quite sharp, if your point of focus is dead on. You must be very discerning in choosing your focus point, as the fall off is quite radical. It can be used for beauty and fashion in a way akin to a tilt shift lens if you are somewhat off axis. The drop off is that extreme, especially at 200 (320) on my Canon. From 70 to 200 at 3.5 and above it is extremely sharp. In fact it has been rated as actual being a better performer than the Canon 70-200 2.8 L in the prestigious "British Photography Journal". Photodo gave it a 3.9 rating which translates as Very Good which was similar to the rating given to the Canon 70-200 2.8 L. I compared this lens to my Tamron Di Macro 90 mm lens and was astonished by how sharp this lens is in direct comparison to this fixed focal length macro. It comes very close to the resolution of the Tamron Di Macro 90, a brutally sharp lens to say the least. The "Bokeh" on this lens is rendered dramatically but with finesse. It blows out the background radically from 2.8 to 5.6 at 200 mm and quite nicely at 70mm between 2.8 and 4.0. My only complaint would be the 1.8 meter minimum focus distance. However this is not a major problem as it does come in well if you increase the focal length. For my Canon 20D, it is a 112 to 320 F2.8 Lens. One more thing. The HSM is fast. In fact using it under my working conditions, I cannot imagine focussing faster than what this lens is able to accomplish. I generally use the one shot setting on my Canon 20D. I appreciate the manual focus over-ride compensation, even when in its' auto focus mode. The quality of workmanship of this lens is plush. It belies its' low price and is exemplary in its' finition and use of materials. The textured metal finish used is very pleasing to the touch. In a word it just smacks of "Class".

Just a couple of points. There seem to be some complaints by some users of this lens when used in conjunction with the Canon 10D. There have been several problems associated with back focus issues and the 10D. I did own a 10D and did have some of the aforementioned problems. I suggest to anyone with this problem, to submit the lens and the camera to Technical Services and ask Canon to fine tune your specific camera with the lenses in your arsenal. They will attempt to find a happy medium. Another issue is the concern that this lens is not sharp wide open. Most large aperture lenses suffer this anomaly. Much can be rectified in post production. However I have found that with a long focal length and extremely fast lens that your focussing must be spot on, or you may misread an out of focus image with that of an incorrectly focussed image. Remember that if you are not perfectly perpendicular to the subject, the fall off will occur very quickly, especially wide open. Get used to your lens before passing judgment about it's sharpness and performance. This lens is comparable to any of the finest lenses on the market. Secondly... Would I recommend this lens? Highly and that includes professionals and hobbyists alike!

PS: Here is the lens rating. Sigma sits quite comfortably within the top of the class:

Canon EF 2.8 70-200 USM L
4.07 (3) = very-good 

Sigma AF 2.8 70-200mm EX (HSM) 
4.02 (5) = very-good 

Canon EF 2.8 70-200mm USM L IS
4.02 (3) = very-good

Nikkor AF-S 2.8 80-200mm IF ED D
3.98 (4) = very-good 

Nikkor AF 2.8 80-200mm IF ED D
3.90 (3) = very-good

Pentax SMC-FA 2.8 80-200mm ED (IF)
3.87 (5) = very-good 

Nikkor AF-S 2.8 70-200mm ED-IF VR D
3.67 (2) = good

Tokina AF 2.8 80-200mm AT-X Pro 
3.36 (4) = good

Tamron AF 2.8 70-210mm LD 
3.35 (4) = good 

You may visit my London and Paris agents sites to view some samples of my work.
Don't forget to click on my name: Benjamin Kanarek

You may also view my work at my Yahoo group FashionMode 1: