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Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Dec 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Full frame 35mm sensor. Fantastic image quality.
Crappy LCD screen. Out-dated autofocus system. Limited customisability.

Wow the Canon 5D has been around for years now and it's still going strong. Why?

Simple - pure image quality. Raw image quality out of this camera is still awesome. Sure, there's only 12 megapixels to play with, but when it's this good and off a full-frame sensor, 12 megapixels is plenty.

Yes, other Canons have leapfrogged it in terms of other features such as autofocus, LCD screen, menu usability, custom functions etc etc but if that is not as important to you as image quality, then this camera is a bargain.

Every photo in the following collection was shot with a 5D. The wide shots with a Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 and the telephoto shots with the Canon 70-200 f4 IS USM.

<a href="">Flickr: North India.</a>

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Review Date: Jul 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp even wide-open at f2.8 Image stabilisation very useful Very fast focusing
Lens + hood is a little large Expensive for a non-L series lens A little short at the telephoto end

So I recently made the brave decision to take only this one lens (on my 50D) on a vacation to Peru. I was feeling a little lazy and just didn't feel like lugging multiple lenses around and swapping them in the field.

I was very pleased with my decision and the results.

Yes there were occasions I missed the ultra-wide of my 10-22mm and the background defocusing and telephoto capabilities of my 70-200mm, but the convenience and lighter weight were a worthy trade-off.

The f2.8 aperture allows for a fair bit of defocusing for portrait shots and I got into the habit of shooting multiple exposures for ultra-wide panoramas.

It is very fast to focus, the ergonomics are good and the image stabilisation very useful (if a little less effective than my 70-200mm). All in all, a great one lens package for travel/vacations.

I would not hesistate to recommend this as a one-lens solution for people in situation similar to what I was facing prior to my Peru trip.

Photos here:

Canon EOS 50D

Review Date: Jun 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: - Large detailed files allow for lots of cropping - Great LCD for image review - Easy-to-use menus with good customisation options
- Shadow noise is less than optimal - No Auto ISO implementation as per Nikon DSLRs - ISO 3200 is very average

I just want to focus on a couple of issues regarding the 50D.

Yes there is more shadow noise than one would like, but this is a non-issue when the image is exposed properly.

ISO 3200 is not very useful unless you plan to only print small or are happy to downsize the image. ISO 1,600 is perfectly fine (as long as you don't underexpose too much).

I think the 50D is less "forgiving" when it comes to exposures. Exposing to the right of the histogram a little more will avoid most of these noise issues, if you want to try brightening the shadow area in post-production.

All the other positive comments about AF speed, frame rate, build quality, usability etc, I agree with.

And finally, don't cheap out on the lenses. Marry top-quality lenses with the 50D body and you will produce excellent quality images with loads of detail.

Yes, full frame SLRs like the 5D and 1D series will produce even better, more detailed results, but there's a substantial price and size penalty involved.

Some photos from a recent outing to Taronga zoo, Sydney (50D paired with Canon 70-200mm f4 IS lens)

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Oct 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent sharpness, light-weight, good contrast, very effective image stabilisation.

This is my favourite Canon lens and probably Canon's best overall zoom lens. It remains the reason why switching to Nikon is not a real option for me. The best and most versatile portrait lens out there.

I love it because:

- it is sharp and light
- it is versatile (70-200mm covers a wide composition range on both crop and full-frame DSLRs)
- it focuses very quickly
- the image stabilisation is superb (I get usable shots at 1/50sec at 200mm).

Bokeh is not as smooth and creamy as the f2.8 version (I used to own that as well) but you're also paying nearly double the price and carrying double the weight for the f2.8 version.

The low-light, action-stopping advantage of the f2.8 version shrinks with every new generation of DSLR - images are now usable at ISO 6400, who knows where we'll be in 2 years, ISO 25,600?

My advice - don't worry about the extra f-stop and save yourself some cash and neck strain - get this f4 IS version instead.

Some photos (paired with a 5D by the way):