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Domke F-3X

Review Date: Apr 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: No extra padding, clings to the body well. Rugged. Gripper strap works well.
Fits a lot of gear, just not the gear I'm currently carrying.

I purchased this bag for a completely different kit than I am using now so it doesn't really fit my gear. I bought it to carry a Leica M camera + lenses and my Nikon F4s + 105mm f/2.5 Ai-S. For that kit it worked PERFECTLY.

Now that I have come back to digital SLR's it doesn't really work. That's not necessarily the bag's fault. My 5D + 70-200mm f/2.8 don't really fit in it when attached. I can't really put 2 bodies with 2 lenses attached like I'd like to. One camera with a few lenses and maybe a body with no lens attached would work well, depending on how small the lenses are that you're using and if you have a battery grip attached to your DSLR.

Otherwise I love the bag. I guess I'll need to get an F-2 or something similar or go back to using my Crumpler December Quarter, which is just a monster and one of the reasons I wanted to pare down to a smaller kit in the first place.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Apr 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Comfortable size, even without the grip. Nice files.
Low flash sync speed - 1/160th with non-Canon strobes. No intermediate 1/3 stops between ISO 1600 and 3200. Sensor is a dust-magnet.

Took me a long time to buy this camera. Wish I had tried it sooner. Files are beautiful out of it. I love the size of the body, IMO it doesn't need the grip unless you're attaching a long heavy lens to it (to balance it out) and this is coming from someone who was accustomed to a 1D. I don't really care about video at this point in time so I don't miss it.

Against my better judgment I used this camera to shoot basketball and when set up properly and using only the center focus point it actually performed fairly well. Not in the 1D league by any means but its not supposed to. Had to anticipate peak action because I didn't have 8 fps to bail me out to pick the best out of a sequence.

I would have marked it a 9.5/10 but because that wasn't an option I rounded it up to 10/10. This camera is not perfect but for me it comes pretty close.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Aug 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Big improvement over the 50mm f/1.8 II in almost every way, Focus ring is much better, phenomenal low-light performer
Like most Canon lenses I accidentally flip the AF/MF switch all the time, could be built a little tougher but it's built well for the price and much tougher than the cheaper 50.

I bought this lens to replace my lost 50mm f/1.8 which I misplaced in a move. It's probably still in a box somewhere, but in the meantime I needed to replace it. I thought about replacing it with another f/1.8 but decided to make the plunge and get the f/1.4

Boy am I glad I did. It's a great focal length on both my Rebel XT and 1D at different crops. I usually find it a little long on the Rebel XT and use it much more on the 1D.

The plastic f/1.8 just never felt right on the 1D body, but the 50mm f/1.4 feels great.

I'm able to handhold in very low light, and my copy seems very sharp wide open WHEN I HIT THE FOCUS, which is difficult.

The 50mm f/1.8 is great for the price, but I have no regrets about upgrading to the f/1.4.

Canon Speedlite 380EX

Review Date: May 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Dirt cheap on the used market, capable flash does what it's supposed to do. "It is what it is".
No swivel, relatively low output, battery door could be built better, lack of FEC controls (though most recent bodies can handle this). Will not work as a slave. Need to buy seperate diffuser.

My first night I had this for a paid job I was indoors in a pitch black hall with a Rebel XT and a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 shooting in Program mode and it nailed just about every exposure.

The AF-assist beam works great but like every modern Canon flash you have to remember to have the camera in "one-shot" mode.

I picked this flash up used off for $80 and it has rarely let me down. On my original Digital Rebel body there was no FEC control on either the body or the flash which was a pain, but that could have been remedied by installing the firmware hack on the Rebel.

I have used a 540EX, and this flash doesn't hold a candle to it but for a bargain all-around flash for a modern Canon body this can't be beat.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, super fast AF on a 1-series body, MF is silky smooth, built solid, 77mm is almost a standard on a lot of L glass, makes it easy to share filter between lenses
Size and weight, length with hood attached or at maximum wide-angle

I love this lens, I bought it about a week before I bought my 1D and was using it on the 350D. It was my first L and the AF and sharpness were faster than my other lenses but with the 1.6x crop it just wasn't wide enough for me.

Once I got my 1D, however, everything changed. The AF is lightning fast and with the 1.3x crop it seems much wider. I have a sharp copy, I have not been disappointed with it at any aperture and the colours are great. Instantly I understood why people spend the money on a pro body and L glass, the difference is night and day. I don't know if it'll make me a better photographer, but it certainly makes me a happy photographer.

One sneaky side benefit of this lens is that because it's so long it looks like a telephoto lens. That way when you are trying to shoot candids the people on the edges of the frame tend to assume they are not in the shot and you're able to capture them in a more natural stance.

Canon EOS 1D

Review Date: Jan 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Speed, size and weight, image quality and AF are amazing when paired with L glass, sealing, 1.3x crop factor, impossible to accidentally change settings; if you mess up a setting it's your fault, not the fault of the camera
size and weight, battery life, no zoom on LCD, 4.1 MP is a little small for some people but probably more than most people actually need

I bought this camera used a few weeks ago as a second camera to compliment my 350D. I say compliment because the strengths of each camera cover the other one's weaknesses. The 1D is solid and fast, AF is so fast I don't even need to think about it. The lack of zoom on the LCD is annoying, but I often use that feature to ensure I got the right focus. With the 1D and my 24-70mm L if the camera locks focus I can be pretty sure that it "got it".

At 4.1 MP I am very happy with the image quality. Sure the photos are a little smaller, but so are the file sizes. The 1D RAW files are about the same size as the 350D's Large JPG files.

Even though I bought the 1D to compliment my 350D I have barely touched my consumer body in the last 2 weeks. I think the 1D is a gateway drug to another pro body for me. I'm glad I spent the money on a 1D instead of buying a second 350D or a 20D, which would have been redundant.

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

Review Date: Jun 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: buttery-smooth Bokeh, build quality is very nice. Very sharp, focus is fast and silent. Very warm colours from this lens, almost film-like on my 300D.
Lens cap doesn't stay on, going to replace it. Hood is flimsy and doesn't lock fully (falls off in the bag). A bit heavy but doesn't bother me.

I bought this lens used about a week ago but I am very happy with it already. The bokeh this lens can create is very nice, adds a nice "wow" to portraits when I show people. I shot a wedding with it last week and everybody was very happy with the sharpness of the pics coupled with the buttery bokeh.

I have removed the tripod mount because it gets in the way, but it will be very useful for when I will eventually need it. The build quality of this lens makes my 300D plastic body feel very, very cheap :D

I strugled between buying this lens and the Canon 70-200 f/4 L, but I found this one used at a price I couldn't resist and bought it without hesitation.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: May 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, light and cheap!
You get what you pay for, plastic mount and awful manual focus ring

I can't say anything about this lens that hasn't already been said, but I'll do it anyway!

This lens is on my 300D 85% of the time. It weighs nothing, is sharp as a tack (especially at f/4 and above) and is totally usable at f/1.8, though in low-light I tend to shoot at around f/2.2. This lens has gotten me some good shots at concerts and indoor sports events while my friends who were shooting the same events got nothing usable.

If I was selling Canon SLR's I would recommend that everybody who leaves the store leaves with one of these lenses, amateur or pro (though a pro my go with the 50mm f/1.4).