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  Reviews by: mckenzy  

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Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Oct 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sigma glass when done right is very VERY nice...
heavy, abit of a tight squeeze on the mount... focus issues... fix one, break the other...

Had it. Sold it.

I still have the 30/1.4 and that is probably what spoiled me...

Heavy. fits better on a xxD and above series of bodies... on a xxxD body its just to large and imbalanced.
Focus ring is nice
the mount however is pretty tight and needs a little bit more of a twist. i'm nitpicking of course...

aside from the usual BF/FF issues, the focus hunts when lighting goes abit low... i'm not talking about late evening low... just cloudy... overcast skies... end up pre-focussing and using AF at the last part (something like shooting macro photography kind of method)... in essence... not fast enough for the type of shooting i do when i use this lens.. i.e. portraits...

my copy could not focus to infinity after Sigma calibration for front-focus issues... so they solved one aspect but created a a new problem...

colours are nice but a tad poorer that the 30mm... nothing to shout about...

for this price... expectation goes up... and Sigma fails... i wish it didn't...

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Mar 3, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: lightweight. good focal length for crop bodies
not as sharp as EF100mm. colours not as contrasty as EF100mm

After selling off the EF100mm f/2.8 macro which was too heavy to handhold for macro shots, i replaced it with this.

shot this side by side with a Leitz 60mm f/2.8

its light, you can handhold macro shots. okay for portraits but not great. AF is fast enough even though its a macro. bokeh is nice

Colours quite muted.
abit short for a macro unless you just take still life
not sharp wide open unlike the EF100mm

given a choice i would get the EF100mm again if i was just focussing on macro...

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Jun 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp
not that cheap for a 3rd party

Get a good copy and you will be a happy person for life.

On a x1.6 this comes up to about the 50mm. This is a good focal length. Brings me back to the SLR days with the (then) 50mm f/1.8...

It instills good discipline in composition at this focal length and brings you back to your basics (i.e. zoom with your legs not your hands)...

Get it with your local warranty as many users have had to send in to Sigma Service centres for Focus recalibration (front / back focussing).

If you are into primes... this is an easy one to decide upon.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Review Date: Jun 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, even at f/2.8 ; fast AF (compared to other macros) ; silent
although AF is fast, achieving AF in low contrast is difficult.

Bought it 2nd hand. Mint.

Fun to use.

For peace-of-mind i decided on Canon rather than Sigma's 70mm or 105mm. I am not disappointed. Colours mostly come out very nice. With the exception of a shot or two that came out rather bland. I'm not sure why.

I never understood why reviewers used it to focus manually until i started shooting flowers and bugs - unless your subject and you can stay still, AF is hard to achieve. Manual is the way to go but having said that, i must say that manual focus is very smooth and can be done very fast.

This is very good because it forces you to get back to basics and THINK about your composition more carefully than you would have under AF.

Highly recommended

Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X 287 AF PRO SV

Review Date: Dec 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Constant Wide Aperture

First off. I have its predecessor. If the mods find it inappropriate, please remove this review. Mine is actually a different manufacturer, one it would seem, that made much better glass. Size and build-wise, it is about the same... which brings me to say...

... that my wrist hurts. I thought it wouldn't be much of an issue, but the truth is, it is heavy. I ended up adapting to a different grip method. So beware.

I am still confused with the clutch mechanism and have decided to leave it on AF and skip trying to manually focus this paper weight. Think about this: if you have to manually focus a heavy lens (without tripod naturally), that would mean you have to hold up the camera body AND the lens with your right hand. I suupose you could work around it but i think you get my point.

Most importantly: Image quality. Normal. So far i have tried wide open through till f16... Indoors under extreme low light as well as outdoors. It is acceptable. Nothing more.

I find that in this case, the f2.8 helps in AF for low light. The technique i have adjusted-to for indoor shots is this: f2.8, ISO1600 (350d), focus on the brightest spot to get a reading, compensate and fire.

Tokina 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X 840 AF-II

Review Date: May 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: the range for the price
there are many... but for what you are paying, thats not saying much...

First off, if you're even considering this model, you must be desperate for the reach that the 400mm can give you. and just for that, i would say that this lens will deliver.

your expectations however must be realistic. how many of us have actually used any lens at that focal length? the longest i've ever used before i bought this was at 200mm. so, to say that its bad at 400mm blah blah blah... is pure nonsense...

what i would recommend this:

At 400mm, you get f5.6. i know thats wide open and image quality will come out soft. but what lens can deliver pin-sharpness at that focal length at 5.6? maybe one or two pro-grade lenses which you will have to sell your house to buy.

f5.6 is bright. at this length, at the camera shop in a shopping mall, i shot a steady pic, iso1600 at 1/100...

you CAN handhold this indoors and still get the shot. and if that is important to you then this lens delivers. if you're concerned about blowing it up for commercial use, then all i have to say is that you sell your house and get that pro lens that you need so much...

its getting a little hard to find nowadays in the shops (i bought mine new)... its also a little hard to find used, unlike the (i find) overrated 70-200mm f4L... almost everyone is selling theirs away, i wonder why...?

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Review Date: May 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: bokeh

If you're like me, and shoot at f1.8 most of the time... you'll find the first few weeks and possible months of use with this lens frustrating...

it takes alot of practice and gettin-used-to for this piece...

but once you get your focussing act together for this lens, you will never accept anything less. sharpness is really, really good when you focus right... its a little on the weighty side for a rebel/350d... so shooting at 1/60 is the barest minimum(i feel)... anything higher will be fine. as usual... if you love lenses wide open, all you need to do is practice.

thats all i can say for this lens... if you get blurred images and you shoot widest... take a little more time... i've found that its a little more difficult with the 1.6x bodies than fullframe...

Canon EF 28-105 F/3.5-4.5 II USM

Review Date: Apr 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $165.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good Range
Stiff Zoom Ring

It has a very good range for everywhere/everyday use.

A very practical lens, good weight, not too light...

It does have a stiff zoom ring oddly but its trivial.

I use primes most of the time, no L glass though..

the only reason i got this is for a trip coming up in June to australia and i don't want to keep switching lenses... oh i almost forgot, the Kit lens (18-55)... the range isn't good enough for travel...

its something you'll probably use most of the time and its small enough to always be in your bag, ATTACHED to your lens...

forget about L glass (read: 17-40)... this will do the trick...

get it second hand, once you're through with it, just sell it off at the same price you bought it...

Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

Review Date: Apr 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $210.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: wide enough
not very sharp

i bought mine 3rd hand.

focusing ring was loose but bearable... i might get it fixed one day...: ]

good feel to it, not plasticky at all.

for my 350D, its wide enough to get great coverage outdoors and especially for me, with the kids, INDOORS.

its a wide aperture so i shoot wide handheld at about 1/15 and i still get my pics... which is the main reason i narrowed down all the wide primes and zooms to this.

sure theres the 17-40mm L glass... but i need something wide and L or not, it doesn't deliver.

its tremendously useable.

for me, the clincher was: i need to get the shot in every circumstance, and this lens does it.

sure its not exactly versatile, but all primes are like that...

good for projects and events, works well with my 430EX