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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Dec 23, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Well built and balanced; sharp at 5.6-8; excellent color rendering; very good control of distortion
Cons:
Very soft on the borders up to 5.6; expensive

The lens is well built and easy to handle, perfectly matching in balance the camera body for my hand size.
Focusing is silent , sometimes inaccurate ( as not infrequently happens with any lens with my 5 Mk II).
Yes it shoots 1.4, but images are really sharp in the center only starting at f.4 in the center and 5.6 on the borders, where resolution is really floppy fully open and up to 2.8. Vignetting is acceptable.
Colour is excellent; distortion and CA very good.
Since a 1.4 lens is supposed to be used at full aperture, the 35 f1.4, albeit a good one, was under expectations and IMHO is not worth its price.






 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Nov 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, weight, lack of distortion
Cons:
Doesn't reach the quality of 200 f/2

While the 24-105 is a good choice as an all-in-one walk around lens nor to carry weights or loose shots while changing gear, I really got tired of the floppy/sloppy results it sometimes yields.
That’s why I bought an 85 f 1.8 and I fully agree with everybody already stating that it is worth every (rather little) money it costs.
After having a nice good first impression with some free hand snapshots even fully aperture in low artificial light, I compared it to the zoom by shooting the same subject on a tripod at f/8 in an ideal day light situation.
I’ve been mostly and especially struck by the complete lack of distortion of the 85 mm.
Shifting on the PC screen from one picture to the other gives the feeling of the zoom one dramatically bending and curving , with the center of the scene going away from the observer and the sides approaching.
The 85 mm yields more brilliant colors.
Sharpness is only slightly greater at f/8 in the center, while the difference becomes really remarkable in the corners.
85 mm offers more than satisfactory and uniform results, although I must declare that it has nothing to do with the quality of the 200 f/2, leaving the short tele sector orphan of a true “professional” lens.



 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Jan 23, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

It took me a while after posting the previous review to realize that unsatisfactory image quality was not due to a lack of sharpness nor resolution, but to faulty focusing! Rather strangely, the same defect was present in TWO consecutive samples and I've been unwilling to try to set it in a brand-new camera. The dealer was fair; finally the third sample seems to work fine and, notwithstanding some disappointment for what seems could be avoided by stricter quality control, the camera works well. Besides the previously reported remarks on better features at high ISO and some useful new functions, an appreciable increase in details/resolution is now appreciable as well, as compared to the previous 5D.

 
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

ef200_f2lisu_586x225_1_
Review Date: Jan 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Likely the best image quality I've ever experienced
Cons:
Weight, price, unpratcical hood and cover handling

Besides weight , price and some difficulties in handling hood and lens cover, the major drawback of this lens is that pictures produced by most of others will appear .. junk. I had more than one reason of complaining about Canon, but this lens is a true optical masterpiece, by far the best I ever handled

 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Jan 21, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Low noise at high Iso
Cons:
Resolution under expectations

The direct comparison with 5D is somehow disappointing, images being bigger but (much) less detailed than could be expected from 21 MP. The most striking feature is a relevant noise reduction at high ISO speed, so that at least 1 full stop is gained in terms of real availability in subdued light. This is however accompanied by some detail smoothing and sharpness may need to be increased by the nice and rather easy to use Canon utilities.
Using the camera is intuitive and useful features have been added, like sensor cleaning or peripheral illumination correction specifically dedicated to vignetting of each lens .
Overall, I agree with previous comments stating the camera is not worth its price and does not fully match expectations when compared with its previous.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: May 5, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: easy to use solid, all purpose lens; IS; istortion acceptable
Cons:
Not only vignetting is remarkable, but an overall underexposure is well evident at f 4 especially at extreme lenghts and in subdued light.

I recently bought a 24-105 L for use on a 5D FF and I've been immediately struck by a relevant degree of underexposure at f 4. I can now confirm that , any other conditions being equal, pictures appear darker at f 4, as compared to exactly the same shot got at 5.6 with doubling time exposure. This is not just vignetting, the full picture is affected until down to the center, although the effect is more relevant at the borders and corners. A beige wall at f8 becomes light brown at f 4, where an azure sky becomes blue. This is particularly appreciable at extreme focal lenghts and in subdued light, but still evident in several different light conditions. Such a peculiarity becomes much less evident - if at all -going from 5.6 to 8. Although I was not expecting prime lenses performances from a 4.3x zoom, I think this is the major drawback of a lens with more than honest walk around features, far however from what one could expect from L. I've been wondering whether such features were typical of the lens project and meet production standards, or affected just my own sample. I applied to my country's Canon assistance, having no satisfactory answer on the phone. I then wrote to the customers care office in Italy and at Canon Europe, getting no answer at all! I think that 28-70 is by far too heavy and I will keep the combo until I get tired of it and the way Canon deals with me...

 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Jan 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Focal extension and IF cover most situations on FF and make 2.8 unnecessary; distortion acceptable; ideal for single-lens use, surely better than cheaper kit-lenses
Cons:
Not only vignetting is remarkable, but an overall underexposure is well evident at f 4 (maybe narrower than indicated), especially at extreme lenghts. Rather heavy, although well-balnaced. Rather stiff zoom ring.

Rather obviously, performances of prime lenses cannot be achieved, but thinking of how less material has to be brought aorund or changed and how little shots are lost everywhere anytime, one should remind that strictly optical excellence may become a secondary issue for the result of a nice or irrepeteable picture.