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  Reviews by: mbohunsky  

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Oct 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, fast aperture, quick AF, build quality, inexpensive, nice bokeh, super sharp from f/2.2, sharp wide open. Great portrait lens on a crop body
Cons:
Lots of purple fringing below f/2.8

This has to be my favorite lens to use. I think the value of this lens is unsurpassed in the Canon lineup. The build quality belies the price. As does the amount of glass.

This lens is very usable wide open and at f/2.2 this lens is razor sharp. One aspect that I wish this lens could improve on is CA, especially purple fringing, at large apertures. Shooting cars with chrome is out of the question with apertures larger than f/2.8. Wide open to f/2.2 the purple fringing is very noticeable even at standard viewing sizes. At f/2.8, you have to look very closely and past f/3.5 CA disappears. This is only a problem with very reflective objects and it never really poses a problem with portraits.

Portraits is where this lens shines. This lens produces very creamy bokeh with head shots and large apertures. I find the level of detail striking. This lens might be too sharp for some that may be sensitive to wrinkles and facial hair on female models.

Autofocus performance is on par with the 135 f/2L. Never did I find this lens to have problems with focus speed or hunting in low light.

This lens will stay with me for a long time.


 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Oct 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $370.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, fast aperture, relatively cheap, super sharp from f/2, usable wide open, good bokeh
Cons:
Build quality could be better, ring USM would be nice too.

I love using this lens because it's relatively inconspicuous mounted on a 20D sans grip. It's the ultimate candid lens for a mike night at a café. ISO 1600 and the fast aperture allows you to grab shots without a flash that would be out of the question with any zoom.

The image quality on my copy is very good wide open. Stopped down to f/2, I could not ask this lens to be any sharper. The bokeh this lens produces at close distances is beautiful to behold especially if this is your first fast prime.

The build quality isn't the greatest but it's not something I dwell on. The only wish i have for this lens is the inclusion of a ring-USM. This is a great lens in my opinion especially if you can get a good copy used.


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Oct 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Absolutely stunningly sharp, amazing contrast, very quick to focus with limiter set, well dampened focus ring
Cons:
None

I could not ask for more from a macro lens. This lens is sharper wide open than most other primes stopped down. I honestly do not see any improvement in stopping this lens down other than achieving more depth-of-field. Having owned a number of L lenses in the past, this lens is in the same class minus the price and maybe the build quality. That is not to say that the build quality is not good.

I do not see the need for an image stabilizer on a macro lens. A good flash will give you the ability to shoot at any aperture and a hand-holdable shutter speed.

This lens is a keeper. I can't imagine why I would ever let this go other than if Canon came out with a longer version with the same optics and price. This lens could easily cost twice as much and the price would still be worth it.


 
Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2

st-e2
Review Date: Jan 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lets you make complex Speedlite setups in a breeze. Focuses in zero light. Battery seems to last forever.
Cons:
Expensive, looks dated, doesn't always trip flash.

I bought my ST-E2 from B&H in July. It was very cool to have your flash off-camera, for a while. After some time it lost the appeal and I sold it to a fellow member on this forum.

I would not hessitate at all to recommend the ST-E2 for anyone that takes a lot of multiple camera photos and does not wish to have a strobe on-camera. If you have a strobe on your camera, the ST-E2 becomes pretty useless as you can use the strobe as a master to trip the slaves.

One very cool feature is that you need not use it to trip off your strobes. You can set it in the hot shoe and the IR beam will help you autofocus in zero light. Very neat.

If you frequently use multiple strobes, I would look into Pocket Wizard as its radio is sure to work in places where the ST-E2 does not.

Still a good product but for a little more you can get a used strobe and have just as versitile a setup.


 
Canon i9900 Photo

i9900_586x225_1_
Review Date: Jan 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $420.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The prints are breath-taking. Large format (13x19), small price. Read the review
Cons:
The ink isn't free nor waterproof (but how many prints have you gotten wet?)

The first print that I grabbed from the tray of my i9900 took my breath away. I just could not believe the quailty that this consumer inkjet can produce! The speed at which the 9900 prints out the photos rival their quality; needless to say, it is very fast.

Over the course of the few months that I have owned the printer, it has more than managed to pay for itself. The total of eight ink cartriges can really add up in cost but I have had good luck buying genuine Canon ink through e-*ay.

On one instance, I had to print some shots from the scene of an accident. The unfortunale lady's daughter told me that these prints looked better than her wedding pictures. Ouch.

The prints look way better than the prints that they try to pass off in the one-hour processing labs. They rival my color dark room prints in quality if not the size (I frequently print 16x20).

Some may balk at the price but just show me a printer that will print borderless 13x19's under five minutes at this price range!

Overall, a fast printer that offers exceptionall quality prints.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Jan 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $680.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great construction, good price. Feels great, like a tank. It's an L lens!!
Cons:
None...I can't give it a 6/5 rating!

I have owned the 17-40L since July of 2004 and I could not tell you of any faults with this excellent lens. It was my first true "pro" lens and I cringed at the almost $700 price tag. After I held the lens in my hand and seeing the other offerings in this range (mainly the Canon 16-35L), I quickly forgot the price!

When I make 16x20 enlargements in my school from my 35mm, people ask me what medium format I'm using! This lens is tack sharp at f/8! It's still sharp wide open.

Also, this is my "walk-around" lens for my 10 and 20D. The USM is very fast and nearly silent even in the quietest settings. I can't hear it focusing in normal environments.

The included hood is outrageously big and most of the time I leave it at home. The flare is very well controlled, I rarelly, if ever, see flare in my pictures even when the sun is present in the picture.

No ghosting was ever present when I shot long night exposures with my 35mm. Even with street lamps and car headlights present, there is no ghosting! Exceptionall for a zoom. It does tend to ghost on my 10D in very low light. One example is shooting a birhtday cake in its own light. Most likelly, CMOS is to blame but I don't mind the ghosting anyway (that's why there's Photoshop).

Overall, an excellent lens that will get you great results with every picture you take. If you don't have this lens for your digital SLR yet, run and get a copy!!