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Canon EOS 60D

canon_60D
Review Date: Mar 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 18.0MP APS-C CMOS Sensor, HD Video Capability, In camera RAW processing, attractive price
Cons:
Slower frame rate and smaller frame bursts compared to EOS 50D, Build quality not as solid as EOS 50D, only partial weather sealing

Advantages

1) 18.0 - megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor - those remote bird shots can now be cropped even more without losing image quality. This is a big advantage compared to the older Canon models 50D (15.1MP), 40D (10.1MP) or 30D (8.2MP).

2) Full 1080p HD video capture with NTSC or PAL frame rates of 24p, 25p or 30p (50p or 60p at 720p HD and SD). This is the first of the Canon top end DSLR's to feature video capturing capability. In combination with a good telephoto lens this can be a key advantage provided the equipment will be mounted on a solid tripod.

3) In camera RAW processing. This new feature is maybe nice to have but most professional photographers will continue to prefer to do the RAW image processing on the computer.

4) Price - 25% cheaper than the Canon EOS 50D.

Disadvantages

1) Partial Weather Sealing - only the Canon 1-series bodies are weather sealed. The 60D has the same level of weather sealing as the 50D but slightly less than the 7D. Better not to get your 60D wet!

2) Slower Frame Rate - the processor can only shoot up to 5.3 fps, in bursts of up to 58 JPEGs - somewhat slower than the Canon 50D, which has 6.3 fps with bursts of up to 90 JPEG's, a definite disadvantage when shooting birds in flight.

3) The 60D does not have the magnesium alloy chassis and does not feel as solid as its predecessor the 50D. This for me is a definite downgrade in the quality of the camera, and I don't understand Canon's reason to sacrifice cost in this way.

Summary:

The Canon EOS 60D 18.0 MP Digital SLR Camera offers some advantages over the Canon EOS 50D but also some disadvantages.

I guess it all depends whether you really want video capability in your DSLR. If not then it may be better to wait for the "70D".

Ken Billington is the owner and webmaster of the website FocusingOnWildlife.com aaccessible on the link http://focusingonwildlife.com


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Dec 14, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Fast focusing, non-extending or rotating, sharp images, excellent optical performance, practical minimum working distance (MWD) of 150mm.
Cons:
Build quality not as solid as L-Series lenses, No image stabilization.

Advantages

1) Fast Focusing - Utilizing the USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon 100mm internally focuses very fast, quietly and very accurately.
2) Non-Extending or Rotating - When focusing at 1x subject distances, the lens does not extend, and the front element does not rotate.
3) Crisp and Sharp Images - the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is sharp wide open. The tiniest details in your tiniest subjects will come to life with this lens.
4) Excellent Optical Performance - Flare is very well controlled. Color and contrast are excellent and distortion is negligible. Although vignetting is apparent at f/2.8, this rapidly disappears when the lens is stopped down.
5) Optimum Minimum Working Distance (MWD) - There are three macro lenses in Canon's range of USM lenses. The 60mm lens has a very short MWD of only 60mm, and insects may tend to scare and fly away prematurely. Conversely the 180mm lens has a MWD of 240mm, and at this distance insects are not really close enough. The EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens, on the other hand, has a MWD of 150mm, which is ideal for butterfly and insect photography.

Disadvantages

1) Medium Build quality - this USM Macro lens has a reasonable build quality although it's not quite as solid as the L-Series lenses.
2) No Image Stabilization - this lens does not feature the image stabilization present with the significantly more expensive Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens.

Summary

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is a very good choice for macro photography of butterflies, insects or flowers. It offers excellent optical performance and middle-of-the-road working distance, size and weight. Check out my butterfly and insect photos on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank/Insects/


 
Canon EOS 50D

50D_1_
Review Date: Dec 14, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Good solid build (magnesium casing), rapid exposure bursts (6.3 fps), good autofocus, 15.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with improved noise reduction, wide range ISO 100-3200 (H1: 6400, H2: 12800)
Cons:
No real negatives found so far.

Advantages

1. 15.1-megapixel CMOS Sensor - those remote bird shots can now be cropped even more without losing image quality. This is a big advantage compared to the older Canon models 40D (10.1MP) or 30D (8.2MP).
2. The Improved Noise Reduction of the sensor also allows the use of higher ISO's without excessive graininess (maximum ISO rating of 12800, a key advantage if you have to shoot in low-light conditions.
3. Fast Frame Rate and Short Shutter Lag - the processor can shoot up to 6.3 fps, in bursts of up to 90 JPEGs - ideal for shooting birds in flight. This is a big advantage compared to the 60D, Rebel T1i & Rebel T2i.
4. Low Grain and Artifacts - the self cleaning sensor unit includes a fluorine coating on the low-pass filter for better dust resistance. Each time your switch the camera on and off, the self-cleaning mode kicks in.
5. Build Quality - the 50D camera body being made of magnesium alloy feels sturdy and solid as opposed to the Rebel T1i or T2i.

Disadvantages

1. Partial Weather Sealing - only the Canon 1-series bodies are weather sealed. Better not to get your 50D wet!
2. Pixel Count - based on sensor size and pixel count the 60D or the older 7D come out on top with 18MP. The 50D with 15.1MP is still far superior to the older Canon models 40D (10.1MP) or 30D (8.2MP).

Summary

The EOS 50D 15.1MP Digital SLR Camera is an excellent choice for the wildlife photographer. It delivers superb image quality from a solid-performing body. Check out my Bird & Wildlife Photos on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank


 
Canon EOS 50D

50D_1_
Review Date: Dec 6, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Good solid build (magnesium casing), rapid exposure bursts (6.3 fps), good autofocus, 15.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with improved noise reduction, wide range ISO 100-3200 (H1: 6400, H2: 12800)
Cons:
No real negatives found so far.

Advantages

1. 15.1-megapixel CMOS Sensor - those remote bird shots can now be cropped even more without losing image quality. This is a big advantage compared to the older Canon models 40D (10.1MP) or 30D (8.2MP).
2. The Improved Noise Reduction of the sensor also allows the use of higher ISO's without excessive graininess (maximum ISO rating of 12800, a key advantage if you have to shoot in low-light conditions.
3. Fast Frame Rate and Short Shutter Lag - the processor can shoot up to 6.3 fps, in bursts of up to 90 JPEGs - ideal for shooting birds in flight. This is a big advantage compared to the 60D, Rebel T1i & Rebel T2i.
4. Low Grain and Artifacts - the self cleaning sensor unit includes a fluorine coating on the low-pass filter for better dust resistance. Each time your switch the camera on and off, the self-cleaning mode kicks in.
5. Build Quality - the 50D camera body being made of magnesium alloy feels sturdy and solid as opposed to the Rebel T1i or T2i.

Disadvantages

1. Partial Weather Sealing - only the Canon 1-series bodies are weather sealed. Better not to get your 50D wet!
2. Pixel Count - based on sensor size and pixel count the 60D or the older 7D come out on top with 18MP. The 50D with 15.1MP is still far superior to the older Canon models 40D (10.1MP) or 30D (8.2MP).

Summary

The EOS 50D 15.1MP Digital SLR Camera is an excellent choice for the wildlife photographer. It delivers superb image quality from a solid-performing body. Check out my Bird & Wildlife Photos on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank.


 
Canon EOS 50D

50D_1_
Review Date: Dec 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good solid build (magnesium casing), rapid exposure bursts (6.3 fps), good autofocus, 15.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with improved noise reduction, wide range ISO 100-3200 (H1: 6400, H2: 12800)
Cons:
No negatives found so far.

After happily using the Canon EOS 30D for 3 years, I traded up to the Canon EOS 50D in 2009. Since then I've never looked back. In conjunction with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM telephoto lens I've taken several thousand wildlife shots.

My preference is to shoot flight shots and have even managed to capture crisp, sharp images of dragonflies in flight.

Check out the flight shots of the Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) on the following link: http://kenbillington.ch/photobank/Insects/


 
Canon EOS 30D

Canon_30D
Review Date: Dec 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good solid build (magnesium casing), great autofocus, good ISO range, high-speed exposure bursts at 5 fps.
Cons:

This was my second DSLR which I purchased new in 2006. In conjunction with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM I took some great wildlife shots including birds in flight. You could say I cut my teeth on this camera body.

The only reason I sold it was to trade up to the Canon EOS 50D, otherwise I would be still using it today.

Check out the flight shots I took with this camera body on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank/Swans/


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Dec 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast focusing, non-extending or rotating, sharp images, excellent optical performance, practical minimum working distance (MWD) of 150mm.
Cons:
Build quality not as solid as L-Series lenses, No image stabilization.

Advantages

Fast Focusing - Utilizing the USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon 100mm internally focuses very fast, quietly and very accurately.

Non-Extending or Rotating - When focusing at 1x subject distances, the lens does not extend, and the front element does not rotate.

Crisp and Sharp Images - the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is sharp wide open. The tiniest details in your tiniest subjects will come to life with this lens.

Excellent Optical Performance - Flare is very well controlled. Color and contrast are excellent and distortion is negligible. Although vignetting is apparent at f/2.8, this rapidly disappears when the lens is stopped down.

Optimum Minimum Working Distance (MWD) - There are three macro lenses in Canon's range of USM lenses. The 60mm lens has a very short MWD of only 60mm, and insects may tend to scare and fly away prematurely. Conversely the 180mm lens has a MWD of 240mm, and at this distance insects are not really close enough. The EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens, on the other hand, has a MWD of 150mm, which is ideal for butterfly and insect photography.

Disadvantages

Medium Build quality - this USM Macro lens has a reasonable build quality although it's not quite as solid as the L-Series lenses.

No Image Stabilization - this lens does not feature the image stabilization present with the significantly more expensive Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens.

Summary

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is a very good choice for macro photography of butterflies, insects or flowers. It offers excellent optical performance and middle-of-the-road working distance, size and weight.

Check out my butterfly and insect photos on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank/Insects/


 
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

ef400mmf_56_1_
Review Date: Dec 4, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light in weight, excellent optical performance, fast focusing, sharp images, good vignetting performance
Cons:
no image stabilisation, not water resistant

Advantages:

1. Light in Weight - the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens is light in weight compared to the other Canon telephoto lenses . This is a huge advantage for bird photography, easy to maneuver when taking flight shots, not too tiring when trekking.
2. Excellent Optical Performance - as a member of the Canon L Lens Series, the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens' overall optical performance is outstanding.
3. Fast focusing - thanks to the Ultrasonic Motor (USM), the 400 f/5.6 L internally focuses very fast and very quietly.
4. Sharp Images - the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens performs superbly in the sharpness department. Even wide open, the 400 f/5.6 produces very sharp images.
5. Good Vignetting Performance - even the corners of full fame shots remain evenly colored without displaying any tendency to vignetting.

Disadvantages:

1. Image Stabilisation - one of the compromises of this budget lens is that it doesn't have image stabilisation (IS). It can still be very successful for "handheld" or so-called "grab-shots" provided that a short exposure time and/or a higher ISO is used. When used together with the high quality EOS DSLR's recently introduced by Canon, this disadvantage can be compensated.
2. Water Resistance - another disadvantage of this lens is that it isn't 100% water resistant like its more expensive cousins.

Conclusion:

The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens is hugely successful for bird and wildlife photography and especially for flight shots. It offers a good level of performance at a relatively low price.

Check out my photos on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank/