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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

ef_35_14_1_
Review Date: Dec 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: solid construction. superior color, contrast and detail will make many of your lens seem lacking. vignetting sometimes gives character.
Cons:
large glass element and red-ring makes this a not-very-subtle lens with a not-so-subtle price tag. vignettes wide open. superior color, contrast and detail will make it hard to use other lens that you might have paid a lot of money for.

i know i'm probably another fanboy just throwing over more praise on the already massive pile over this 35L.

so i'll just say this. if you want a wide-angle low-available-light working lens for candids and hate using a flash or if bokeh makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over, then this lens delivers. in spades.

if you're happy to shoot stopped-down, and have the wife-factor to worry about - or just think it's downright asinine to blow $1100 on a prime, there's plenty of good alternatives out there!


 
Canon EOS 5D

5d_586x225_2_
Review Date: Jun 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: incredible high ISO performance, great dynamic range, full-frame, 12.7 million pixels, easier to carry (than the 1-series), being able to acheive thin DoF easier than 1.6x crop cameras
Cons:
demands high quality glass, 13-16MB RAW files chew up storage quickly, 3fps may be too tame for some, exposes all the ugly flaws in the corners of your lens, steep price of admission, if you come from 1.6x crop, all your lens take on whole new perspective

I bought this camera to replace my aging 10D, even though I could ill-afford it at that time.

Looking through the viewfinder for the first time took my breath away. I instantly knew then that I would most likely sell the 10D instead of keeping it as a backup camera, because there was no way I'd be going back to that little, dim viewfinder.

I never had used a film SLR before, so I didn't have any reference when I first started shooting with the 10D. So the 5D viewfinder certainly was impressive!

The next biggest change I had to get used to was that my entire lens-lineup took on a whole new perspective. The 50mm prime that I bought on sale but rarely used now was being a whole lot more. The 16-35L that was glued on the 10D 90% of the time all of a sudden became "too wide" for many situations.

But the bokeh. Oh yes. My shooting style trends towards candid photography, shooting wide open, and even so, I never could really get the kind of bokeh I wanted with my 10D. Moving to the 5D, it all became so much easier to isolate the subject, especially with the 50mm prime, which no longer was too tight for my liking.

Plenty has been said about the high ISO performance on the 5D, so I wont repeat too much, but suffice to say, it is far better than the 10D ever was in holding down the noise and keeping the detail/colors.

Also comparing the images from the 5D to the 10D, I could clearly see that the 5D images had more dynamic range, richer colors and greater detail. I found myself doing little, or no post-processing on the 5D images, as opposed to the 10D, where I would need to tweak some images rather significantly.

This camera will make your 1GB CF cards seem inadequate. It will require subsantially more storage, and the images are far larger and require more CPU processing power. So if you are already on marginal computer hardware, you will find yourself considering a computer upgrade on top of the $3K you already spent!

Make no illusions about it. This is a expensive camera. But for those who do not like to compromise on image quality but dont quite have the cash to swing a 1Ds Mark II, this will do the job!