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  Reviews by: mlavander  

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Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Review Date: Aug 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Power, battery life, wireless communication
Master/Slave switch is gone?

Picked up a 580EXII along with a 430EX to use with my current 580EX. I prefer the master/slave switch on my 580EX over the EXII menu functions to get the wireless rolling. I guess having fewer switches to weatherproof might be a motivator in the design change.

Works great with the other flshes so far. No missed shots.

Tamron 28-300MM F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC AF

Review Date: Mar 7, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Weight, zoom range, macro capabilities
Few sharp photos, horrible indoors.

Buying this lense was a huge mistake. I was looking for a cheap long zoom before getting the $$ for my 70-200 F/2.8L. I wasted a lot of time with this lense. There were only two photos from 1000+ that I shot with this lense that I would consider super sharp keepers. It is horrible indoors for obvious reasons - the max aperture is too small. AF is extremely slow and it cannot keep up with moving subjects in AI Servo. It was always focusing 10 feet behind the subject. Forget it for sports.

The one positive thing - the ability to focus at about 19" at 300mm. Still, the AF was tricky to use and I was usually shooting with a wide open aperture so DOF and manual focusing was difficult to nail at that distance and length.

The extension of the lense when zooming was annoying. It also seemed to be a vacuum for dust.

My two good shots...

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jun 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,139.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great AF in low light, great size and weight, image quality is amazing.

I already reviewed this lense a while back, but I am doing another since I have been using it so much.

The weight of the lense IS NOT AN ISSUE! If it is, start working out. I frequently use this lense with a Canon 2x, 580EX and 20D body with a grip and the entire package is well balanced and not too heavy.

Last year I used my 50mm f/1.8II at the Downriver Cruise. I got some decent shots after dark. This year I used to 70-200. Even shooting at 200mm and 1/100s handheld (non-IS lense), I still got many sharp pics. Tried the 50mm and it took forever to AF, if it managed to. Went back to the 70-200 and kept shooting well after dark. At ISO1600 on the 20D, the shots were pretty good.

This thing is great for portraits. All I use.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Review Date: Oct 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $74.00

Pros: Best Canon lense value for the price, BY FAR. Sharp, awesome huge aperture, light weight. Bokeh.
AF hunts in low light, AF is slow in AI Servo mode tracking moving subjects in lots of light. Prone to ingest dust.

For the price, this is a great lense to keep around...but now that I have my 70-200mm f/2.8L, I'm using the 70mm for portrait shots of my daughter instead of the 50mm.

I tried using it at some mountain bike races, but it wasn't tracking the riders like my 17-40 f/4L can.

It worked absolutely sweet taking shots of a friend doing trials riding after dusk with no flash.

Overall, I highly recommend this lense for messing around with since you will never go wrong with the price!

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Oct 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $679.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Aweome photo quality
Would love the same lense as f/2.8...but then I should have bought the 16-35mm.

I used my year end bonus to buy this lense in 2004. At the time I was using a 300D Rebel. I chose this lense since the 2005 North American International Auto Show was coming in Detroit. It worked AWESOME! The 17mm wide angle letme get right up to the vehicles. Anyone that has shot at the auto show knows what a pain it is to be away from the vehicle - people walk in front of you, even thought they see you are taking a photo.

Now it is working awesome as a close-up mountain bike photography lense. I just purchased the 70-200mm f/2.8L to team up with the 17-40mm for cyclocross racing. They will work great together.

The photo quality with this lense and my 20D are amazing. At 1:1 viewing, I can read CHRIS KING on the headset of a racer's mountain bike headset - and its extremely sharp. The action effects with speeds down to 1/30s are great!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Review Date: Oct 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $74.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The best lense Canon makes considering price!
Slow AF in lower light.

Awesome bokeh, great for portraits or action shots at dusk w/o flash...i.e. mountain biking on the camus of Western MI U. Very light weight, build quality isn't too bad. When the focus hits, it is extremely sharp. For the price, it cannot be beat! A must have lense for every photgrapher...unless you already have the f/1.4.