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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

ef70-200lisiiu_586x225
Review Date: Apr 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness Super IS performance Fast, quiet,and accurate focusing Fantastic color rendering Solid construction
Cons:
Weight and Girth - what do you expect? High price - but you get what you pay for...

I have owned the lens for about a week. Spent some time setting up micro AF with my body. Now the lens is accurate like a rifle. You put that focus point somwhere, you get super fast quiet focusing that is tack sharp!! Even at f/2.8 it is prime level sharp. I did a comparison with my 135L both being set at f/2.8 and the zoom was noticably sharper eventhough the prime had the advantage of being closed one stop! Of course the prime still has the advantge of being lighter and faster but that is an incredible achievement for a zoom! Color rendering was also a notch above the prime.

The IS is top notch and allows handheld shots 200mm shots at 1/30! It spins up quickly and is also very quiet. Construction is top notch but of course that is to be expected. Its big, heavy, and expensive which is also expected. LOL! What I did not expect was this tremendous performance which can quite frankly put some L primes in the shade. It seems crazy to suggest but I feel the lens easily justifies the price and shows what current state-of-the art is in zoom technology.


 
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

1dsmk3
Review Date: Jan 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,999.94 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1. Built like a tank. 2. Great user inferface. 3. Great iso performance for given resolution/pixel size. 4. Weather sealed. 5.Large viewscreen. 6.Very customizable. 7. UDMA support. 8. 5fps. 9. Super fast accurate focusing. 10. Awesome viewfinder. 11. fantastic resolution. 12. AF microadjustment (IMO, the best new feature) 13. too many others to list...
Cons:
1. Stout learning curve from 5D. 2. Cost 3. Raw files about choke my computer. 4. No mirror lock-up button. 5. No quick way to change white balance. 6. Heavy, but does not feel any heavier than a 5D with grip and 2 batteries.

An excellent camera, but one that took me a few days for transition. The interface is excellent (alot like the 5D) but it took me a while to get all settings customized to my shooting and familiarize myself with the camera before I could get the results I was accustomed to with the 5D. The AF is a significant step up from the 5D (duh). I suspect it is on par with what one would expect from a 1-series body (this is my first).
The images are nothing short of breath taking in their detail (even at iso 1600-3200). Though I may need a new computer to efficiently process RAW images. These monsters range from 20-35MB and can take a minute or so to sharpen or convert one on my system. They consume alot of hard drive space as well but I knew all this before buying.
The feature that makes this purchase really exciting is the micro AF adjustment feature. I have gone through most of my lenses now and have found some room for improvement in nearly all of them. Now the images are just that much sharper.
I should mention the UDMA support being significant given the file sizes. If you are considering this camera I would recommend the fastest card you can get you hands on. I bought the Sandisk Bugatti 8GB card. I noticed I can fire 14 RAW images before the buffer fills compared to 12 advertised by Canon. The 5 fps will probably satisfy many action situations but not for the die hard sports photographer.
Iam very pleased with the camera. It should exceed my needs for the forseeable future.


 
Canon Speedlite 580EX II

580exii
Review Date: Oct 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid Build, Weather-proofing, quick recycle, great white balance, accurate exposure, almost silent.
Cons:
No master-slave switch. Poor manual.

Works very well as long as you understand how to operate Canon flashes (and the manual is very little help). Having the master-slave control in the menu is a little harder to manage than the 580EX. Those nits aside, it's an excellent flash gun and a significant improvement over the 580EX.

 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Mar 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,598.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great feel and build. Quick silent focus. Sharp though-out focal range and aperatures. Not too much more $ than the mk1.
Cons:
Expensive filters.



 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Dec 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,443.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp even at low f numbers. Excellent construction. Fast and accurate focus. Awesome bokeh
Cons:
May miss focus at very short range (extensively discussed) Definitely into "diminishing returns" area of cost.

Iam very pleased with this lens. Like others I have compared with my 50f1.4 finding that the 50f1.2 is sharper than the 1.4 in the f range equal to and below 2 which is were I most need it. Above f2 I cant really tell any difference in center sharpness but the 50L still has an advantage in color/contrast imo.
I plan to use the lens for portraits. Since it is a little wider than the 85L, I can get full body shots or family sized groups easier in typical sized locations. Its exactly what I wanted but many will find its cost hard to justify since it is such a niche product.


 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Oct 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,950.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid build, Oustanding image quality and iso performance. Great view screen. Excellent focusing performance. Full frame. Large viewfinder.
Cons:
Not as sturdy as a 1 series. Low frame rate. No weather sealing.

This camera is perfect for me. Iam a hobbyist that shoots portraits and an occasional wedding. I dont need high frame rates. If conditions deteriorate I put the camera away. This model gives me what I want most - image quality, full frame, iso performance, and great focusing.

 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

ef85mmf_12_1_
Review Date: Oct 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Awesome speed and sharpness. Legendary bokeh. Substantial build. Great color/contrast.
Cons:
Slightly slow focus. Hard to manually focus. Heavy. Easy to damage back of lens.

Lens is a pleasure to use. It looks like the Hubble telescope from the front. Greatest portrait lens I have had the opportunity to use or own.

 
Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

rebel_xt
Review Date: Oct 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact size, light weight, surprisingly durable, relitively low cost, good iso performance, good battery life, 1.6X crop makes telephotos longer.
Cons:
Kit lens is bad, menu/button interface awkward, 1.6X crop makes wide angles tough.

I purchased this camera to reintroduce myself to photography after a 20 year hiatus. Once I found I wanted to pursue photography as a hobby again, I wanted a more substantial camera. I currently use this for a backup for my 5D. I frequently use it in situations where Iam using long telephoto/zoom lenses. I also use it in situations where Iam afraid my 5D might become damaged or lost. My wife (who has no hobby interest in photography) uses it for her primary camera for school/children photography.

 
Canon i9900 Photo

i9900_586x225_1_
Review Date: Nov 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautiful output. Fairly fast. Easy interface. Reliable. Can handle volume.
Cons:
Uses moderate amts of ink but you can replace only the tanks that are empty. Likes Canon papers.

Overall an excellent value. The output is quality is awesome. I have used for six months with no problems. I printed a decent sized job (140 4x6s) with no issues. The printer is quiet. It uses a fair amount of inks esp photo cyan and photo magenta but you can replace these individually for about $10 each so operating expense is reasonable imo. For this price point I think this is a very good machine.

 
Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX

MT24EX_1_
Review Date: Nov 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Attaches securely to lens. Provides adjustable, reliable, and even illumination to subject area. ETTL is great. Weight is resonable. Give an outstanding new dimension to macro photography. Well built.
Cons:
Its expensive.

This device is simply an epiphany for macro photography. I use this for all my macro shots that are taken in less than direct sunlight. The flash just is so good at evening out illumination and lowering shadows. It also just makes colors pop. It is very powerful thus allowing higher fs to be used in macro shots. It allows me to use the camera hand-held for quicker shot acquisition and more chances to get a keeper from a frequently moving creature.
It requires an adapter for most lenses including my 180mm Canon macro. It attaches very securely through the adapter. The individual in the review below obviously needs the adapter so I would take that criticism with a grain of salt.
If you are serious about macro photography and dont mind spending the $,dont hesitate on this one. You will see great results immediately!


 
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

ef_180_35_1_
Review Date: Sep 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,239.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp even wide open. Gives great working distance. Very well built and good looking.
Cons:
Slow AF. Moderately heavy. Fairly slow (3.5).

I bought this lens primarily for macro work. In this area the lens is excellent. I can find no fault with its macro ability. Some users may find the f3.5 to be a bit slow. I use a MT-24EX so light is not a problem. Also the DOF is so thin at 3.5 I doubt many would like the results of shooting macro at that f or lower. The AF is really slow but this is not likely to be employed in serious macro shooting. Some (especially those with full frame cameras) may want to let the lens double as a long portrait lens. The AF will work adequately for this mission provided you set the focusing distance switch to 1.5m-infinity. The lens will not do at all for any fast action like sports because of the slow AF and f3.5. I use this lens on a tripod with a focusing rail for macro. If lighting is less than sunlight I throw in a ring light as well. In this area I doubt you can find a better lens for anywhere near the price.

 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Aug 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,390.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great range, Solid construction, Image stabilization, Good sharpness for its range, Nice case and hood, fast focus, great contrast and bokeh.
Cons:
Nothing I did not already know... A tad soft wide open, heavy, relatively slow aperture, will not auto focus with 1.4X TC II.

This lens does exactly what I expected. It is very sharp for a zoom of this range and I feel it lives up to the L designation. It is slightly soft wide open but sharpens up immediately if you close down even a little. If you use the 1.4X TC II you will have to focus manually. The images are noticibly softer with the TC but are usable for the most part. Iam using the lens on a 1.6 crop factor camera so I dont really even need to use the TC much. Thus, this is not a significant negative to me. The focus is fast and accurate as I expected. As long as you have read the expert reviews that are out there before buying I dont think you will be disappointed with the limitations of the lens.

 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Jun 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent focus speed and sharpness. Rock solid construction and asthetically pleasing appearance. Awesome color and contrast.
Cons:
Fear - from reading some of the reviews below, otherwise no problems.

I ordered this in spite of several scathing reviews posted on this site. These reviews made me consider the 17-40 f4 L or the 16-35 f 2.8 L but neither of these offered the great usability of this 24-70 focal length. I really wanted a lens which I could leave on my XT almost all the time (except when I need a stronger telephoto for sports in which case I switch to a 70-200 f4 L +/- the 1.4 X tele). I ordered this lens with great trepidation from a dealer that I had dealt with before. This dealer had accepted a return from me several years ago. Immediately when the lens arrived, I went out and shot about 50 pictures and examined them carefully. With one exception they were outstanding for sharpness and contrast. Many reviews extol the virtues of this lens and Iam now a believer. Is it possible that I just happened to get a good example? Of course it is. However, this level of performance is worth some risk as long as you know the dealer has a fair return policy. After seeing first hand how much better this lens is than the kit 18-55 I would audition and return as many of these babies as it took to get one that functions like the one I received!