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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Nov 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: nice build, not L like but good enough; nice focal range, fast USM almost as sharp as 17-40 L IS is handy at 85mm
no hood included some purple fringing if shot against bright background zoom not as smooth as old manual FD or L lenses

i shot w this lens and the venerable 17-40mm L w my 20d and found no discernible differences; if inspected closely and at 100% mag, side by side, the L may edge out slightly. Colors and contrast are as good as the L. Some pics may display purple fringing where the bright background meets the darker foreground but may not show up on prints; the zooming mechanism is not as smooth as the L; again here the build is good but not quite solid as the L .The IS is welcome at longer focal , it gives you that extra EV or 2.
So conclusion: i always wanted a walkaround lens good for most subjects. This lens is the answer. Price is a bit high for a non L but quality is almost L like. Canon could have included a hood at that price :-((
The verdict: My L will have to go since it's been nice but the range is too short for being on cam most of the time, especially at the long end
If you're like me, do a lot of hiking fotography and need to carry light, don't hesitate to check this one out. Its perfect companion would be the 10-22m at wide, and the 75-300mm DO lens at tele. All you need is those 3 lenses. L or not, this lens is good enough for most people.

Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Nov 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast and well laid out AF fast power on nice ettl2 flash continuous jpg shooting great for sports small but solid body nice matte viewfinder screen for manual focusing
some settings require awkward 2 hand change some preset WB could be better Dynamic range could be improved LCD still small and only 118K pixels some awkward ergo still

this review is related to my former 10d in general since most people would like to see how the 20d compares to the 10d and consider whether the differences are worth the upgrade. Let me tell you now. If you have the dough, do upgrade, the 20d is better than the 10d in almost every facet.
The biggest improvement is performance. The 20D is the best performer asides from the EOS1Mark2, period. It starts up faster, has bigger buffer, shoots faster, and focuses faster than the 10d. The AF 9 point layout is great for any kind of fotografy, and the addition of the joystick makes it a joy to choose the AF point or the area of viewing on a zoom review.
With JPG I can almost shoot indefinitely continuously w/o the camera slowing down, a great feature for sports and active wildlife.
the body is smaller and lighter than the 10D, a plus for long hiking trips. For large hands, the 10d may be easier to hold. Build is till rock solid as the 10d
Imagewise, the 20d exhibits a bit more DR than the 10D and the WB is a little more accurate. I'd like to see better preset WB. As it is, only the Auto and sunny and flash are good. The rest could be risky at time!
All ISOs are useable, even 3200. I can safely shoot at very hi ISO w/o worrying about noise. I can't say that with other cameras, 10D included.
AF is fast and works even under low light, nothing to complain there. the 10d tends to struggle in low light situations.
Using the built in flash is a delight. It's accurate and since it sits hi, isn't blocked by the lens. Ditto for any shoe mount flash!
A few lows i should mention here. The LCD is still small and doesnt have enough res.
Changing drive, metering , AF modes is still awkward and require 2 hand operation.
Overall, there's not much not to like about the 20d. For the price, it may well be the best DSLR in the market right now for its class bar none!

Canon EOS 10D

Review Date: Feb 16, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent image quality solid body excellent battery life nice lcd zoom
small viewfinder coverage small lcd awkward af point selection

i've had this camera for almost a year now,upgraded from a d60. I always like this smaller body style with builtin flash as opposed to the heavier, bigger, and sturdier EOS 1D series even though that series offer quite a bit more in terms of features and build qaulity. This is not to say that the 10D is not sturdy, it's the best built camera of its price range imho, full metal body, very nice to the touch.
I like the builtin flash, it's not for all use but it's hily convenient for cases where u need fill flash, and i do that a lot, so another reason for buying this camera vs the pro series.
the image quality from the cam is nothing short of spectacular, even at iso as high as 800 and in long exposures which is the strength of the canon CMOS. This is reason alone to get the 10D vs the competition; Canon has almost worked the CMOS to perfection by now as opposed the CCD from the competition. The images tend to be smooth, film like and full of details. I'd prefer to have a little more dynamic range but u can always use PS highlight/shadow feature to enhance the results.
The LCD 10X zoom factor is a nice feature to have; only then can u really see whether ur pics are sharp or not since the LCD is rather small and don't have enough pixels. I normally set the LCD brightness to 2 levels only as to best represent the final images.
For the price the camera is an excellent buy , perhaps the best buy out there , even today close to a year since its inception but it is NOT a perfect camera in any way.
The AF is clumsy when it comes to selecting AF points, especially the vertical ones; for sports, the AF may be a bit slow for fast moving objects.
While I enjoy the 1.6x crop factor at the tele end , i missed the wide focal at the wide end; my 17-40mm can only be as wide as 28mm; i'd prefer at least 24mm at the wide end and the 16-35mm is a little soft at that end. If you shoot landscapes a lot, then a 1.3x crop may be a better choice.
The WB manual or auto needs some improvements, it's hard to get the right colors w any setting , especially indoors with incandescent lights.
Spot metering is sorely missed but I can get around it by using other metering methods and bracket
A few things on my wish list I'd like to see in the next generation of 10D:
- improved dynamic range
- a brighter 100% coverage viewfinder ( i miss my F-1 bright viewfinder badly)
- a larger LCD w more res for better reviewing accuracy
- an improved faster AF and AF selection (use joystick a la Contax)
- a smaller or lighter body still
- spot metering addition
- better WB
- a 1.3x crop rather than 1.6x for wider focal lengths
Saying that, the 10D has served me well and the key thing here is image quality, and it delivers the best short of the EOS 1Ds ot the new 1DMk2 for now ...until Photokina maybe ;-))

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Dec 23, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: solid L worthy build sharp and contrasty thruout range well sealed hi resale value
a little more expensive than 3rd party lenses huge filter hood too wide interfering with built in flash

a superb lens; built like any L, solid and crash proof, even has water seal at mount.
A little smaller, lighter, and much cheaper than its sibling the 16-35mm but outperforms it , especially at the wide end , 20mm and below; more contrasty and provides more details
Also considered the Tamron 17-35mm DI but after feeling it and holding it , i felt it's not as well built as the canon. Besides, the lens moves in and out when zooming which may attract dust, a feature I don't particularly care for; I prefer constant length zooms. (Can't comment on Tamron performance though, it may be good)
If you use 10D/D60/D30 this is a highly recommended lens for all around and landscapes. You'll lose 1 stop to the 16-35mm but u can shoot at iso 200 or 400 easily without 'gaining' much more noise...I'd buy this over the 16-35mm if 16mm and f2.8 are not in my absolute requirements...This is my permanent lens on the 10D to replace my now retired 16-35mm ;-))

Gitzo G1127G Mk2 Mountaineer Sport Carbon Fiber

Review Date: Sep 12, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $290.00 | Rating: 4 


i had the 1127 which is similar without the lever...i bought it for hiking /travel for it's light and is made out of carbon thus don't stick to your fingers in inclement weather; after a few outings i decided to retire it for it's prone to wind shakes, it's just 2 flimsy to stand up against windy conditions even w my backpack hanging on the hook in the center column...i replaced it w a hakuba carbon and i'm much happier since..

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Review Date: Mar 31, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp inexpensive
not as solid as L build

a wonderful lens for d60 and 10D ...excellent for portraits and low light...relatively cheap for a non L...i sold it in favor of the 50mm f2.5 for i need the macro capability too...they're both sharp but the f1.4 has better usm technology...i do miss the f1.4 and f2.0 sometimes especially in absence of flash...highly recommended to d60/10D users.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,175.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: well built, sharp

i dont have too much experience with this zoom range asides from the canon 20-35mm f3.5-4.5 and the tokina afx 20-35mm f2.8...needless to say this lens produces better pics than the other 2 but i have the feeling it's not the sharpest in the canon arsenal...i know the 50mm f1.4, the 100mm macro and the 70-200mm f4 are sharper than this zoom...but in this range one don't have 2 many choices except perhaps going w primes only...saying so, it is my primary lens on my d60/and now eos 10d for this range is so useful for both landscapes as well as all around...the build is just solid, i dropped the lens from my backpack i carried to the concrete below and it sustained a minor scratch to the meatl on the base near the mount but still performs's heavy as it should and is quite hefty for hiking but is built like a tank!...the filter is huge as expected but overall this is a must have lens for digital dlsr, expecially those w the 1.6 x ...if u shoot wide w 10d or d60 then this is a must have a cost of course ...;-))

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: light, sharp, inexpensive
odd size filter

an excellent all around lens for film as well as sharp and contrasty as the f2.8 w/o the weight penalty...can be handheld, w/o need for a tripod socket...built solid like any L lens...nice bokeh for portraits...a must for landscape /hiking photography which is my main fotografy...but i've shot tennis with good results...only 1 <0 thing to say, the odd size filter requires u buy a new filter and filter adapter ...this is one lens in canon lineup that requires this odd size.