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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

ef10028lmisu_586x225
Review Date: Nov 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, color, weight, AF speed, and above all .... the IS rocks!
Cons:
Slight CA.

I've had this lens for only a couple of weeks but I am really enjoying it. I switched from the old Canon 100/2.8 to the Voigtlander APO Lanthar 125 Macro to the new Canon 100L IS. In terms of IQ, the 100L is somewhere between the old 100 and the CV 125. The 100L is as sharp as the old 100 but it has better color and contrast, better AF speed, and the IS is worth the $400 premium IMO. I have shot macro hand-held that I could never possibly get with the old 100, so my keeper rate has gone up significantly. There is a bit of CA but nowhere near as bad as some of my fast lenses like the 85L II. I didn't use my old 100 much, and neither did I use the CV 125 very much either (only because it's MF) but I love this 100L IS lens. It is such a FUN lens to shoot with.

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Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S Nikkor

Screen_Shot_2013-11-14_at_4_17_39_PM
Review Date: Apr 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Close to perfect in terms of sharpness, color and contrast. 4-in-1 prime lens.
Cons:
It's not a Canon lens.

As a Canon shooter, I lose the AF function and ease of use. But it's still better than using a Zeiss, Leica, Zuiko .... or even a Canon prime lens.

 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Jan 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,699.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Close to perfect.
Cons:
Not perfect.



 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

85II
Review Date: Nov 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,589.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ethereal bokeh and OOF blur. Sharp like a macro lens. Good contrast and color. Significantly better AF than version I. Eye candy.
Cons:
Heavy, somewhat pricey, and relatively slow AF.

I had the first version of this lens (3 years ago) and didn't think it was anything special. As a matter of fact, I hated it, sold it, and gave this lens a rating of 6. Well, that was then. Since then, I have seen several stunning images from this lens, and I am more than convinced that Version II has some important changes, especially in the area of AF speed and control of flare and ghosting. Less flare (thanks to the Super Spectra coatings) results in better contrast and color, so IQ has to be better than the previous version. I would go so far as to say that this lens as good as any Leica lens. It has superb resolution, sharpness, contrast and color. It is IMO the best Canon lens.

AF speed is still slow, but not terribly so. It should be adequate for most situations except fast-action sports. I wish the Minimum Focussing Distance is shorter than 3.2ft, but I realize that if the DOF at 3.2ft is ultra-shallow, the DOF at less than 3ft is probably unusable. If I need to reduce the MFD I would use it with extension tube EF 12 and/or EF 25. Because of the super-narrow DOF, a tripod is recommended when you shoot wide open at the minimum distance in available light.

Yes, it is very heavy for an 85mm lens, but unless you go all plastic (horrors) what choice do you have with an f1.2 lens? But although it's heavy it balances well on any Canon body. And yes, it is expensive too, but ultra-fast lenses are not cheap as they are very expensive to make. If you compare this lens to the limited-edition Carl Zeiss Planar 85/1.2 lens, it's really reasonable! The going rate for a mint-condition Zeiss 85/1.2 is well over $6,000 i.e. if you can find one, as this is a rare/collectible lens. FWIW the MFD on the Zeiss lens is 3.5ft.

Does this lens deserve all the accolade and hype from its owners and users? You bet! It is every bit as good as what everyone says, but YMMV. Great sharpness throughout the aperture range, great color and contrast ..... and the bokeh and OOF blur is just magical and cannot be matched by a slower lens. This is the lens that I will take with me to my grave, along with my 5D or its successor! Wink

I have had this lens for only about a week, and have only done some product/book shots. Check it out here:

http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=783872

If you are still undecided or unconvinced, check out the user reviews on the B&H and Amazon web sites. You will be amazed at the number of perfect scores that this lens gets.


 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Nov 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,180.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Full frame, shallower DOF, 12.8 megapixels, 2.5" screen, big/bright viewfinder, size and weight, low high-ISO noise, quiet shutter, spot metering, interchangeable screens, programmable "C" function on dial.
Cons:
Price, limited AF points, no built-in flash, frame rate, vignetting and corner softness. Did I say price?

Most of my photographic experience is with Contax/Zeiss and Velvia film. My first DSLR was the 10D, which I really liked except that it is very slow - compared to the later-generation 20D. I got the 20D when it first came out, and although itís better than the 10D, I never did like the noisy/clanky shutter, and I had some issues with the AF accuracy. The 5D is a dream-come-true for me ... for my present needs anyway. With my SLR background, I have been spoilt with a big, bright viewfinder and I expect all Canon lenses to perform as they were designed i.e. without any crop factor.

Is the 5D a perfect DSLR? No, far from it. But it has the features that most SLR shooters want Ė full frame, big/bright viewfinder (although it falls short of SLR standards), spot metering, shallower DOF, interchangeable focusing screens, etc. Image quality is very good Ė thanks to the FF sensor and 12.8 megapixels. Itís a huge advantage if you need to crop your image and/or make large prints. I LOVE the size/weight and relatively quiet shutter. It is also true that 5D images require less post-processing than 10D/20D images. The lower high-ISO noise is truly amazing and allows you to shoot in very low light without a tripod.

Although itís inexpensive compared to the 1Ds2 and D2X, it is still a very expensive DSLR. The AF mechanism IMO is decent and acceptable - better than the 20D but not as good as the 1 Series Canons. I can live with the other relatively minor issues (thereís got to be some trade off) like the slower frame rate, no weather sealing, limited AF points, no built-in flash, less-than-ideal viewfinder coverage and magnification, LCD brightness, vignetting and corner softness, etc.

You have to look at our shooting style and preferences, as the 5D is certainly not for everyone. If image quality is very important to you, you have good glass (primes and L lenses), and you are not primarily shooting sports and action photos, the 5D will serve you very well. If speed or a rugged body is more important to you, the 20D or 1D2N may be a better choice for you.

I am already looking forward to the 5Dís replacement ... hopefully it will have most of the features currently missing, more megapixels ... for under $3,000!


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

ef85mmf_12_1_
Review Date: Sep 23, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Build quality. f1.2 aperture with nice bokeh.
Cons:
Too expensive, too fat/obese ... and waaaaay too heavy for 85mm

Okay, I've had this lens for only a day, so I am not in a position to comment on the optical quality, but I have no doubts that it is as good as the 85/1.8, and it has a useable f1.2 aperture. Is it better than the 85/1.2? Those who have the lens will probably say yes, but the reports I've read suggest otherwise.

But just based on the physical characteristics i.e. size and weight, it was a turn off for me. I can accept that a 70-200/2.8 must weigh quite a bit but I couldn't come to terms with an 85mm prime lens being so heavy, so, somewhat sadly, I parted company with the lens after owning it for just a day.

If tests and reviews have shown that it is optically DEFINITELY superior to the 85/1.8 I would probably have kept it ... but that is not the case. So the 85/1.2 goes and the 85/1.8 stays.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Aug 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very affordable high-quality lens. Silent and quick auto-focus. Good wide-angle coverage, and as a general-purpose lens.
Cons:
Flares quite a bit. Large filter size. Relatively slow lens.

I use this lens more than any other lens, or about 90% of the time. The sharpness is comparable to Canon prime lenses, IMO.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

ef_50_25c_1_
Review Date: Aug 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $175.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic optically - razor sharp at all apertures. Great color and contrast. Practically distortion-free. Small and light. Inexpensive.
Cons:
Slow focus, noisy AF motor, and feels a little cheap and plasticky.

One of the best Canon lenses and even better and sharper than some L-series Canons. Makes a great standard and general purpose lens, and it nicely fills the gap between the 17-40L and 70-200L. Can be used with the 1.4x TC and extension tubes EF-12 and EF-25 if you don't want to spend on the 1:1 LSC.

 
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

ef15mmf_28_1_
Review Date: Aug 11, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Relatively inexpensive, and it looks cool.
Cons:
Distorts like crazy.

I had this lens for only about a month. I like the angle of view, but I could not deal with the distortion on the sides - yeah, yeah, it's supposed to be a "fisheye". I had the fortunate or unfortunate opportunity to play with a Leitz Super-Elmar 15mm rectilinear lens on my 10D - now THAT is what I call a 15mm lens. Of course, the Leica lens is more than 10 times the price of the Canon fisheye. Sad

 
Gitzo G1128 Mk2 Mountaineer Sport Carbon Fiber

G1128G_1_
Review Date: Feb 14, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, compact, and rigid.
Cons:
None!

I have been using the G1128 (not the geared version) for about 2 years now, and love it dearly. I had a G1228 and Arca Swiss B1 before this, and that was good too, but it was overkill for my needs. The G1128 is significantly smaller and lighter - which is terrific for backpacking and travelling. I am using it with the Acratech Ultimate ballhead, and the combo weighs under 4lbs. I don't have anything longer than a Canon 70-200/4.0 with 1.4x extender on my 10D, but I am pretty sure you won't have any problems with the 70-200/2.8. I don't know about bigger/heavier rigs.

The only downside to this tripod (apart from price, but all Gitzo's are expensive!) is maybe the height. Being only 5' 9" this is not a problem for me - I need to bend down just a little. If I am too lazy to do that, I would not hesitate to extend the center column. This is okay, but you MUST hang your loaded camera on the center hook to give it more mass and stability.

I said that the height (without the center column extended) is perfect for me because I prefer the camera to be below my eye level - so I can see the topside of my camera. Also, I use a bubble spirit level which sits on my hot shoe, and I cannot check it if I cannot look down on my camera. So I really have no complains at all about the height.

The G1128 is the perfect tripod for me. I don't want anything taller or shorter, and I certainly don't want anything bigger and heavier. I would highly recommend it if you like to travel light and still have a very useable/stable tripod.