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Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S

1961NAS_180
Review Date: Dec 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: + sharp wide open + useful focal range + fast AF + price (used)
Cons:
- heavy - large - some play (movement) on front barrel

spectacular lens! the negatives that i posted do not prevent me from rating the lens 10/10. if you want constant f/2.8 aperture, full frame, fast AF, decent focal length spread- you have to "pay" with weight and size. no getting around it.

right now, with the introduction of the 24-70, you can find the 28-70 for a really good price. sure, the 28-70 has 4mm less on the wide end, compared to its newer brother, but no big deal. it's wide enough, at least for my uses on a d700.

the images this lens produces are excellent (sharp, contrasty) at both the wide and telephoto end. if you don't want to pay through the roof on the 24-70, i suggest you have a look at this lens in the used market.


 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Apr 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: - relatively small form factor - large megapixel sensor (almost 13MP) - beautiful image quality - great high ISO performance - full frame (no stupid crop factor)
Cons:
- mediocre auto-focus - needs an update (sensor cleaning, live view, etc)

this is the best camera in canon's lineup, in my humble opinion. obviously, i'm not saying that from a purely performance standpoint. but rather: the camera is overall, dollar-for-dollar, feature-for-feature, the best canon camera on the market to suit _my_ needs.

i've used (and owned) the 1d III and i can say that it's too big and heavy for my needs. the 1d class of cameras is simply not practical for travel and for casual use (not to mention the excessive price). since i'm not a full-time professional, i don't need sledgehammer cameras to drag around with me everywhere i go. sure, the 1d's have a better AF system, but they're a chore to carry around. most of the time, my 1d stayed at home in favour of my lighter, daintier 5d.

i've also used the 20d and 300d cameras, the crop sensors really peev me off. i don't like them and i hate how, for example, my 35L becomes a 56L- that's just insane. simply put: the L lenses were designed for full-frame, so i'd rather use them on full frame and unlock their true potential.

if this camera only had a better 1d-like AF system, i think it would be the best camera in the world. until that happens- if that happens- this camera will stay in my arsenal and i will buy no other body.


 
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo

mp_e65_28_1_
Review Date: Apr 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: - huge magnification (1:1 -> 5:1 and all points in between) - great focal length (doesn't require huge shutter speed to handhold) - great build - beautiful, sharp images produced
Cons:
- short working distance - cannot use this lens for anything but macro (it's got a 6 or so inch max focus distance) - max aperture changes as you increase magnification (i.e. f/2.8 is only available at 1:1) - no auto-focus

yes, i gave the lens a 10/10, even though i gave it negatives. the thing is: i knew about those negatives before i bought the lens. i duly recognize the -'s as engineering trade-offs in order to get the +'s. they're a packaged deal.

with that said, this lens produces immaculate images. especially when used with the ring lite (14EX). truly spectacular! i can handhold this lens up to about 4:1 magnification, but the DOF becomes insanely thin, even when stopped down to f/13. it's a very challenging lens to use, but REALLY rewarding.

other lenses i've used:
- 60mm f/ 2.8 EF-s macro
- 180mm f/3.5 EF L macro

i didn't really like either of those two lenses. both lenses max out at 1:1 and the 180 is too bulky.

personally, i think that this is the best macro lens ever made. i wholeheartedly recommend getting one, because if you have the patience to learn how to use it, a whole other world opens up for you.


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

85II
Review Date: Apr 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: - large aperture for low, natural light environments - useful focal length (for full frame) - beautiful contrast, bokeh - sharp wide open, even sharper stopped down
Cons:
- electronic manual focus (i.e. camera off = no manual focus) - protruding front element, when focusing - heavy - slow auto-focus

can't give this lens a 10, as much as i'd like to. there are obviuos negatives that i just can't ignore. but the positives are so strong that, in a relative sense, they help me stomach the negatives.

i'd say the biggest weakness of this lens, even with the mark II version, is the slow auto-focus. if you're thinking of catching moving things/ people at a wide open aperture, you'll definitely miss-focus the majority of your shots. even stopped down, you'll still miss shots- depending on how close the subject is to you of course. with the auto-focus being as slow as it is, it's easy for subjects to outpace the DOF envelope.

at the end of the day, you use the right tool for the right job. this tool has its specific purpose, so as long as you use it for those purposes and as long as you learn the limitations of this fantastic lens, you'll be very pleased with the photos that it can help you produce.

cheers,

Simon


 
Canon EOS 1D Mark III

1DmkIII
Review Date: Dec 20, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: LCD is bigger, weather sealing, 2 memory slots (CF, SD), long battery life, live view
Cons:
unpredictable AF, no auto-focus in live view

this camera is good when it feels like it- very schizo behaviour. i still haven't sent it in to get the fix, but canon thusfar has been so responsive (sarcasm), so to be fair i thought i'd write-up a quick review anyway.

i have this sneaking suspicion that even after the fix, things won't be at 100% anyway. regardless, owning this camera, with all the firmware and settings tweaks, felt like a work in progress, not a professionally finished flagship product. i'm very unimpressed and i think i would have been better off with a 1d Mk IIn, 1ds Mk II, 40d, or even some nikon camera. canon missed the mark on this one. i am definitely not one of the people who have a good mark III, if such a thing exists. definitely not worth the money or risk!


 
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Mar 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: focal length (on 1.6X crop), bokeh, low-light capabilities, contrast, sharpness (when stopped-down)
Cons:
none

very amazing lens. won't repeat what's already been said. this lens allows me to paint with light. it's an artist's lens.

when wide-open, it does requires very good technique because of the shallow DOF!