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  Reviews by: btjohnston  

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Canon EOS 10D

Review Date: Jan 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid construction, quiet shutter release, nice intuitive layout of controls and features. Feels sturdy and confident in the hand.
The LCD is a little small.

This is my second review of this camera.
I bought this camera brand new in early 2003 as an addition to my film kit, and have used it constantly and consistently ever since.
So after approximately 3 years I feel I now have a depth of experience behind me that allows me to give a true account of this camera in my eyes.
It is true that (when talking about a camera as opposed to photography in general) the lens is everything.
I learned soon enough that this camera with it's 6.3mp resolution showed up the flaws in my consumer lenses. If you can look past this, good. I couldn't so I bought myself some 'L' glass and haven't looked back.
I'm not a professional photographer and this is not a professional camera, but you can certainly use it as one. The results straight from the camera, provided you have exposed correctly are brilliant. Don't believe me? Then read some of the other reviews here and do some searching on the net.

I have mainly used this camera in RAW mode but I have seen the grey cast over JPEG images that some people talk about. If you use Photoshop you can easily remove this with the unsharp mask. I rarely use JPEG so this is not a concern for me.

The camera is a little slow compared to the latest bodies but this is just a steady march forward in technology and not something you can hold against the camera in any objective sense. Most of my photography is landscape work. It's not going anywhere and I'd rather take my time than rush, and I'm also enjoying the outdoors. Camera speed doesn't consern me in the slightest.

Yes the flash is a little under powered, but it's enough to put a catchlight in the eyes of an animal or person. If you need more, get a dedicated flash. I use the 550EX on this body and it's fantastic.

The LCD is a little small compared to the later models, but I have grown used to it. I also use the histogram and NOT the preview to tell me if I nailed the shot and or clipped the highlights.

No weather sealing. But this isn't a professional camera.

Noise is high from iso400 up. However, NoiseNinja takes care of this brilliantly. But if you convert to B&W then a little noise is ok in my comes down to taste.

I can't say how the automated shooting modes handle as I've only ever used AV, TV and mainly M. But in these modes the camera works extremely well. It is not concerned at all if you, the photographer, wish to take control of the creative process.

Highlights do clip quite easily and this is something you should be aware of. I get around this with two exposures to combine later in PS, or I intentionally under expose by half to one stop if it's critical to get the shot first time. Shadow detail is quite good.

The 10D won't handle the new EFS lens range but these came after the camera so fair enough.

I'd have to read the manual to talk about all the custom functions. I've boosted the saturation just a little but left the sharpening to default, I prefer to control this myself later on.
I use only the centre focus zone when in auto-focus and have this permanently set. Because I'm a landscape shooter I use manual focus 99.999999% of the time with hyper-focal distance.

If I had my time over would I buy another 10D. My oath I would!
As a second hand purchase you can't find better. When it breaks (and it will) I will get it repaired.
I am eyeing off the 5D now but I will always have my trusty 10D. Like my Minolta SRT and Canon film bodies, we've been through too much and covered so much ground to part company now.

No this review is not very objective, but these are my experiences with the wonderful camera. Buy one, enjoy it, take photos, make memories.

Lowepro CompuTrekker AW

Review Date: Aug 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: plenty of space for everything, weather resistant, strong, excellent value for money
waist straps aren't removeable.

I have the next one up to this backback, the Photo Trekker AWII.
This is an excellent camera bag and has plenty of space for all my gear including a laptop and it's sundry equipment.

My one negative comment about it is that the side straps aren't removable, which would be fantastic for cabin baggage when flying.

I have found that because there is plenty of room, I'm tempted to put everything in it. On a multi-day hike the bag becomes heavy, but this just teaches me to take what I think I'll need instead of every possible gadget. The tripod holding attachement is useless for me as I have a large manfrotto pod that is simply too big.

The backpack sit's comfortably when loaded and doesn't seem to put strain on my neck or shoulders.

I'd recommend this for anyone needing that little bit of extra room and is planning on hiking all over the country.

Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 Tripod Legs

Review Date: Aug 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid construction, easily adjusted and set up.
A little pricey, but you get what you pay for.

I needed a heavy tripod to dampen vibration for landscape work when hiking. Some have mentioned the weight, but I've hiked for days with this tripod and haven't really noticed it. It balances very nicely on my shoulder and is easy to carry.

The legs also extend to my eye level without having to extend the centre column which I like.

A hook on the bottom to attach a bungee cord for extra vibration suppression would have been nice, but in most cases the weight of the pod is enough on its own.

I use a manfrotto 322RC2 ball head with this tripod and together they are quite formidable. I bought enough quick release pads to cover all my camera bodies and the odd lens that has it's own tripod mount so mounting/remounting is easy.

I have the newer flip-lock design and haven't yet pinched my fingers. I do however, have to adjust the locks to ensure they are still holding the leg positions without slipping, but this is rare and a hex key is provided so it's a snap.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Apr 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp, contrast, colour

I also was hesitant about purchasing this lens after reading the problems with autofocus etc in other reviews here. However, I had no issues with the 17-40L f4 and the 70-200LIS f2.8 so I thought I'd give it a go. My only lens in the midrange was the 50 f1.8 MkII. Well, I must say that I'm not having any issues at all. Every image taken is tack sharp (but then I'm a landscaper so most of the time I'm using manual focus). On a recent trip to tasmania this lens was on the 10D for 90% of the time. The only time is wasn't was when it was being transferred to my EOS 300 for film. I love it, and don't regret buying it for a second. My 50mm has been rarely used since getting this beauty.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jul 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Price, sharpness ...every thing really
lens hood.

This is my second L series lens and after buying the 70-200L 2.8 IS USM I thought it would be hard to match the quality of this lens. I'm loving it, the colour, contrast and dof is excellent. There is distortion at the 17mm end but I can live with that.
Brilliant, just brilliant.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jun 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything! Build quality, image, contrast, colour .. the lot
none really, it is heavy but so is gold.

This is my first L series lens.
I was saving for what seemed like forever but finally it was in my hands. I love everything about this lens and realise now, what everyone else was saying about L glass.
This lens is rarely off my 10D.
I'm about to go overseas and this lens will be coming with me, heavy or not.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Feb 23, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, light and sharp
no DoF scale

sure it's cheap and probably won't last too long, but you get what you pay for. The lens is sharp for what I need it for, which is general purpose shooting. I really wish it had a DoF scale on the lense.

Canon EF 22-55mm f/4-5.6 USM

Review Date: Feb 23, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: cheap and light
image quality is so-so, all plastic, fairly slow.

I've been using this lens mainly on eos film cameras where it performs ok. I find it a little soft on my 10D. This is a good lens if you want a reasonably wide angle at 22. If you need something to take professional shots with, I'd save up for the L lens of similar focal lengths. All in all for what I use it for, it does the job. Would I buy this after having used it? probably not.