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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Mar 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: FF, IQ
Cons:
AF, build

this is excellent camera which can deliver spectacular results in static environment - landscape, city, product, studio. IQ is stunning, you would see big difference in compare to 12mpx.

drawback is AF - slow and outdated. what's the point putting such a good sensor behind 10 years old AF?


 
Nikon D700

D700
Review Date: Mar 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: AF, FF, high ISO IQ, build
Cons:

after many years with Canon 5D/5dmk2 I finally switched. Canon 5D is good camera, it just for static and controlled environment - landscape, city, product photo, static studio, but when something moves 5D simply can't focus. My keeper rate was like 5% in little action shots. I shoot wide open, DOF is narrow. Unfortunately for me it took very long time to understand that I need different tool. Number of years ago I have tried Canon 1D mk1 and it was spectacular camera with lightening fast and accurate AF, could not afford mk2, 4mpx and x1.3 sensor was the reason to gave it up.

and now, finally, I have everything what needed - FF, pro standard fast AF which works very well. Now I have more keepers in action shots than I need.



 
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

sigma50-14jpg
Review Date: Nov 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp wide open, quick and spot-on AF, very good build, price, good looking :))
Cons:

absolutely fantastic lens!!! considering price best 50mm. used on 5D with great success.

 
Canon EOS 40D

40d
Review Date: Jun 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: speed, build, handling, high-iso noise
Cons:
monitor not sharp, Canon QA

I'm absolutely happy with 40D. Used in past 350D, 400D, 10D, 5D, 1Dmk1. Impressively good iso1600-3200 noise, I set higher iso quite often to get film like grain. Handles very much alike 5D, just quicker.

Good new technologies like 14bit RAW and highlights priority are welcome, just don't see much difference in real life yet...

On negative side I purchased three copies of 40D (not at the same time) and returned two of them due to quality control problems.


 
Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

113_small
Review Date: Jun 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: center sharpness, contrast, price, build, AF speed, f/1.4
Cons:

I'm absolutely happy with the lens. handling, sharpness and contrast are very close to 50L on FF. priced very well!

minor issues - corner softness, CA.


 
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX SD

atx116
Review Date: Jun 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, contrast, build, price, f/2.8
Cons:
none

absolutely happy with the lens. sharp and contrast wide open. focus quick and accurate. robust build.

* noticeable border distortion at 11mm
* CA wide open (easy fixable)


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

85II
Review Date: Mar 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp and contacty wide open
Cons:
size, wight, price

I'm happy owner of 35L and 50L. Both incredible and very special lenses. Decided to try 85L. Used it about 500 shots. It's all true, it is sharper and contrastier wide open. I'd argue about magic affect compare to 35L and 50L, it seems the same blur , and same 3D effect. On negative side 85L slower, heavier and difficult to use in limited space. Subjectively 85L is difficult to use, even with sharper images AF misses (due to slownesses) ruin everything. IMHO 85L is a lens for controlled shots with enough space. Again subjectively I have very limited use for 85L ... unfortunately. It's a good chance I'll struggle with it for few more months and sell it. Nonetheless 85L is very special and very capable lens, in right hands it's gold!!! I rated all three lenses 10, all of them have some limitations and they are expensive... but they are capable of capturing images magical way, other lenses can't get anywhere close ... try them all to understand yourself.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Nov 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: performance, build
Cons:
price

I've upgraded 17-40L to 16-35L mk2 four months ago, waiting for a miracle. But no miracle this time... Smile It is decent lens with almost flawless optical performance!!! Unfortunately it's not noticeable step-up compare to 17-40L, taking triple price in consideration and only one step difference, my upgrade did not make sense and/or had good justification.

If money not an issue, I'd say this is the best wide angle zoom!!! But I'd spend this money on a prime if I new Smile


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Oct 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: wide open performance, build, f1.2
Cons:
a bit pricey

85mm f1.2L was not an option for me, I've purchased 85mm f1.8 twice and sold both times, simple too narrow for me. I'm already happy owner of 35L (using on 5D and 1D) and was looking for something special on 5D for low light candid. And I found it Smile

99% of time I use 50L wide open. I do not see significant difference in focusing, 50L is a bit slower than other modern L lenses, but the keeper rate is high. I always use ST-E2 as AF assistant for low light and learned that keeper rate with it is very high and stable. Misses are only due to "operator-error" Smile

50L wide open is very similar to 35L and absolutely stunning!!!

1. I do not see any AF issues at any distance. Tested at minimal distance, at 1.5ft, at 2ft, at 3ft. All the same spot-on.
2. I do not see AF drifting/hunting more that any other lens in my arsenal (35L and 16-35L mkII). No hunting at all with ST-E2.
3. Wide open real-life photos show similar level of sharpness and contrast as 35L.
4. I've used 50mm f1.4 in past and remember high level of AF inconsistency wide open and low keeper rate as result (probably due to the AF design). 50mm f1.4 is difficult to use wider than f2 due to AF misses, contrast and sharpness.

IMHO half of the reviews here have done by people who simply don't know what is lens calibration... Smile


 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Jul 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The most artistic lens I've seen! Unmatched wide open performance
Cons:
Cost

Canon 35mm f1/.4 was upgrade for 50mm f/1.4. 50mm was already excellent lens, and price/performance factor is perfect.
I was dreaming about 35mm for quite some time, but hesitated due to the price. Also 50mm needed more space to get better shot, maybe I'm lazy or that's my style, but often did not use it due to that problem. 50mm at f/1.4 and f/2 had very low keeper rate, in my practice 1 out of 5, the lens was calibrated and successfully tested in lab... but in real life focus was often off at wide open aperture. That was some issues and reasons for upgrade...

Now about 35mm... It is perfect!!! Besides it's measurable parameters, like resolution wide open, it gives magical feel and look. This is the lens to use wider than f/2.8, and I think not many other lenses can much the result (have not tried f/1.2 monsters). I have very decent keeper rate of f/1.4 and the results at this aperture are absolutely stunning. It does make photo 3D... nothing like it I've seen from 50 or 85mm... This is the most artistic lens I've seen!!! I use it on 5D, some times on 1D, but 5D gives more `magic` Smile

This is not a simple-to-use lens at wide open aperture. Practice, practice and practice. Test it in lab to make sure AF is precise. At wide open focus-and-recompose technique does not work...

Built is robust and durable like other high-price L lenses.

72mm filter is something to complain about... Smile




 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jul 11, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: perfect lens in all aspects, usable at f/4, priced very well, excellent first professional wide-angle lens
Cons:
none for the price

This is my update after two years use. I was lucky and did not need to calibrate my copy, it was perfect out of the box. Sharpness, contrast, resolution, colors are exceptional. I primary use it for people photography, to be honest I only do photography with people, and in time I understood that my favorite FL is up to 40mm, that's why I used this lens more than others, and that's why I invested in 35mm f/1.4L.... 17-40mm is perfect lens for what it does and especially for the price (1/3 of 16-35mm mk2). If you are looking for your first not-expensive wide-angle lens, that's the one. I think everybody needs to start from it, to grow up and realize that f/4 is the limitation. It is not artistic lens, not a lens to make artistic shallow DOF photos... that's the drawback compensated by the price. Until 16-35mm mkII was introduced I did not think about replacing it, and bought 24-70mm f/2.8 in addition. But unfortunately I do not feel comfortable with 24-70mm, plus it's much stronger on 70mm than 24mm (resolution wise). And I'm thinking about upgrading it to 16-35mm mkII. Here's to sum up: perfect lens in all aspects, usable at f/4, priced very well, excellent first professional wide-angle lens, solid 10.


 
Canon EOS Rebel XTi (400D)

rebel_xti
Review Date: May 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Value, Image Quality, Size, Weight
Cons:
Size, Weight, Canon QA

I'm 1D, 5D user. Bought 400D to try `cutting edge` technology and as a substitute for 5D for my trip to Russia.
I bought it on amazon.co.uk, and first copy had major AF problems, returned it and get second one.
It does have metering problems time-to-time, but nothing serious... up to one stop very easy to fix.

It is small, and it helps a lot to reduce weight and size of your backpack... size and weight just a personal preference.

AF is less accurate and slower than I'm used to, it is very good for the camera price though.

Many beginners cannot understand the brilliant value of 400D, sometimes it's faulty and requires services.
I would definitely test it with few lenses with help of advanced photographer, to identify potential problems
and see if service required. The camera capable of delivering exceptional image quality in many situations and it's up to you understand it and use it.
Get rid of 18-55mm lens... if you can afford only one lens, get 17-55mm f/2.8, ask for help in testing body+lens, and you'll get exceptional value for around 1000.

`most cameras better that most photographers`, if they are not faulty Smile


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

ef135mmf_2l_1_
Review Date: Mar 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $910.00

Pros: Solid build, Contrasty, Good colors
Cons:
Could not make it work :(

I've tried everything to like this lens. Used it few occasions for low light ice skating and many times bright outdoor. I suspected that the AF is not accurate and calibrated it at Canon.... but did not feel any difference after that. Still hit-and-miss at f/2 on 5D and 1D mk1. I don't have any good photo wider that f/2.8. It does provide excellent color, contrast, reasonably sharp at f/2. My copy softer at f/2 and /2.8 compare to 85mm f/1.8, even after calibration.

I compared it to 70-200 f/4L IS, and zoom outperformed 135mm in almost all cases.

In the end I do not think that anything wrong with the lens, maybe my technique of using it wide open not good,
but at the same time I have much-much better success rate with 85mm wide open. I came up with idea
that I better off using 70-200 f/4 IS and 85mm for low light.

I really tried hard to make it work, but unfortunately this lens is not for me. I won't give any rate to it, because I see that the lens is very-very good, it just not `my type`.

There's only one lens in my to-buy-list - 35mm f/1.4L. I hope it will like me, and really hope it will be one of my favorite.



 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Mar 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, contrasty, colorful, excellent build, 4-stop IS
Cons:
a bit pricey (compare to non-IS version)

Used non-IS version for a year, sold it to buy this one (IS version).

Used it for 2 months, and finally ready to say that this is the perfect lens in all aspects. I cannot find any drawbacks or issues with this lens. Tested in lab environment and real-life. It delivers simply 100% of consistent quality. No visual difference between f/4 and f/8 (a bit of vignetting in lab tests). AF is very quick and consistent. IS is really 4-stop, 1/15s at 200mm no problem.

Dramatic improvement over older version, by some reason I was always hesitating to use old 70-200 f/4, did not always get 100% out of it. With new IS version I have no doubts and always prefer it (even over 135mm L-prime, if its not an action shot).


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Feb 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, very good build, priced well
Cons:
high CA at f/1.8 and f/2

PROS
Extremely sharp at f/1.8 and f/2 out of the box. I dont have any problems using it at f/1.8. Much better that 50mm f/1.4 wide open
Quick and consistent AF
I would say underpriced at $350. Retail was $570. It sill would be very good lens at that price. Bottom line it delivers more that you pay for it


CONS
Excessive CA at f/1.8. Need a lot of post processing or conversion to B&W to fix this issue


 
Canon EOS 1D

1D
Review Date: Jan 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, Speed, X-SYNC, Price
Cons:
Battery Life

I needed a body for party shots, something quick, robust and not expensive. 1D is obvious choice. Getting it for under 600GBP is an exceptional value. Mine was in very good condition with 40K actuations and excessive amount of dust on sensor (I actually cannot clean it all after at least 10 tries). Im very happy with the camera, and consider myself lucky this time.

*4MPX*
It does not sound like a lot. But whats the purpose, why I bought this camera (along with 5D and medium format)? Not to get ultimate details. To get an action shot; a moment, which no other camera (except other 1D) can get. Thats the bottom line! And yes, 1D mk2 will do almost the same job; it just costs 3-4 times more.
In the other hand this camera uses 4mpx like no other. You cannot even compare it with 4mpx compacts. Enough details for up to 10x8!!!

*AF*
AF is exceptional! No other body (except 1D, 1Ds) can get anywhere close to speed and accuracy.

*X-SYNC*
This one is phenomenal. No other Canon body has 1/500. It does make a difference. I have much-much more keepers using 1/500 X-SYNC.

*BUILD*
As a tank! Weights the same!!! Smile If you are a lady, dont even think about this camera.

*SPPED*
Not just frame rate. Response is instant, like (somebody said it before) an extention of your brain. Frame rate exceptional. I have not really needed 8fps

*BATTERY LIFE*
Not good. New 1650mAh battery will give you 300-400 shots. Aftermarket 2400mAh will get you more (potential problems with charging it on Canon charger).

*BOTOM LINE*
Exceptional value camera on todays used market, if you luck to get good one.


 

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