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Zeiss 35mm F/1.4 Distagon T*

35f14
Review Date: Nov 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, contrast, bokeh, character
Cons:
Size, weight, price

Quite possibly the best lens I have ever used, no joke. I have found that a precision focusing screen is indispensable however; with my 5D2 which has the EG-S focus screen installed my keeper rate was high, while with my 5D3 using the AF confirm the results were disappointing.

 
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

sigma50-14jpg
Review Date: Mar 28, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Dreamy bokeh, sharp right from wide open
Cons:
AF issues

Well, it took two tries to get a properly operating one. The first had serious issues; If I micro adjusted for shooting in the portrait range, it was way out at about 30 feet. If I micro adjusted for 30 feet, it was way out in portrait range. Unfortunately I had to send it back, but fortunately after hearing what a properly operating one was capable of, I didn't give up on it. The second one I bought has spot-on AF, and it is a true performer, in a variety of shooting styles including both large-aperture portraits, and stopped-down landscapes. I would recommend this lens, but only if purchasing from an outlet that has a proper return policy. I would go even further and suggest trying to find a used one from a reputable seller instead, that way the performance can be verified before receiving it, rather than getting a sealed 'Sigma Lottery Box'. Smile

 
Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

35mm
Review Date: Mar 28, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, well built, smooth focus ring, signature Zeiss contrast & sharpness
Cons:
Well, no lens is perfect I suppose. I guess I could mention light falloff in the corners wide open, or even the lack of AF, but these 'issues' have ever really affected me.

A great lens wide open or stopped down. It seems to me that it is in my bag more often than not... In fact it is rarely out, so I guess that itself is pretty good testimonial.

 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

70-300mm
Review Date: Mar 28, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Well built, well balanced, great range, effective Image Stabilizer
Cons:
I wish they could have found a way to make the filter threads 77mm instead of 67mm so I didn't have to buy a new B+W circular polarizer!

I had be pondering what to pick up for my helicopter shooting to complement my 24-105/4L IS. The 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS was one option, however the older generation IS didn't keep up with the slow shutter speeds I use, especially towards the long end. Another option was the 70-200/4L IS, which had the newer 4-stop IS, but lacked the range and is a little smaller and so doesn't feel as balanced on my 1D3. I had the 70-200/2.8L IS, but the range was short and again the IS wasn't as effective. The came along the new Canon 70-300/4-5.6L IS... My first thought was "Canon is going to try another 70ish-300?" But after the initial reviews came out, I began to think this might be the lens that would work for me. The slower aperture range didn't effect me as much, as I have to stop down heavily to shoot at slow shutter speeds during the day anyways, and the range worked out very well being a bit wider on the short end than the 100-400L, and a bit longer on the long end than the 70-200L. Well, I decided to pick one up and I am glad I did. I think Canon hit a home run with this one, as it is sharp throughout the focus range, and the IS is very effective. It also feels very balanced on my 1D3 as well. I have managed to try it out at the slow shutter speeds I hope to use it at, at the IS kept up well, in fact I am getting usable panned 1/60th shots at 300mm.
I would recommend this lens to anyone who can live without a super fast max aperture.

Mat


 
Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

Sigma_150_macro
Review Date: Dec 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1:1, Internal focusing, well built
Cons:
Slow auto focus

This is by far the finest Sigma lens that I have tried. Wide open, it challenges and even surpasses the sharpness of many Canon L lenses. The Auto focus is a little on the slow side, but that is normal for a macro lens I suppose.