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Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

l3a_copy
Review Date: Feb 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $630.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazingly low barrel distortion for such a wide angle Excellent color output and contrast Fast and quiet to focus in all but low light Excellent construction and focus ring feel
Cons:
difficult but not impossible to apply filter effects not a F2.8

The first copy of this lens I had to send back as the left side was obviously not calibrated correctly. The second copy has been a gem. Decent from F5.6 but knockout from F8 on up. Typical for me to shoot in the F8-F16 range for outdoor landscape and such to begin with so no issues. The focusing is immediate in all but lower light situations, and the build is about as good as it get's. The least amout of barrel distortion on a wide angle I have yet to see including on a number of big ticket L lenses I've owned, both primes and zooms. I think Sigma has a winner, with the caveat of the usual quality control. Just perservere until you get a good copy and you will be rewarded with a great lens.......

 
Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

100-300if_1_
Review Date: Oct 16, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp as a prime across it's entire focal range 1.4x teleconverter neither limits the speed or sharpness Nice balanced weight and tight as a drum, professional grade construction all the way
Cons:
cost of filters this size

I chose this lens over the 50-500 APO Sigma primarily as I don't require the super long tele, and also this doesn't change it's length like a trombone. The construction is as one would expect from any professional lens....metal and not cheap plastic. The zoom is smooth and nicely damped. The glass is nicely coated. The tripod mount is solid as a rock, which only helps the sharpness result. With a 1.4x teleconverter attached it autofocuses just as fast with NO hit in speed like the Canon's do. The sharpness of the lens is a virtual equal to what one would expect from a prime lens. Either I got a good one or if they are all like this than this particular model accels at accomplishing this result. I like the constant aperture as well. After having owned a 70-200 2.8L IS, which was very sharp indeed, I consider this lens NO less a provider of sharp, contrasty and colorful output. There are more than enough detractors of Sigma lenses out there, and in some cases for good reason. I'm happy to say this one passes the muster. It's about as good as it get's for this focal length, and for this price you can't touch it by another manufacturer..

 
Sigma 180mm f3.5 EX APO Macro IF HSM

180_3_5EX_mdl_1_
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $538.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Top Flight Optics and sharpness, Fast quiet focus motor system, nice heavy but balanced weight, 2 way switch for close in or far away focus limits, Hood well designed and does the job of thwarting flare
Cons:
None

Well, I went and did it, I sold my Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro for this one. Why you ask, well the primary reason was that I required the additional working distance and this was the perfect answer. After having a chance to compare side by side, the Canon L version of the 180mm 3.5 Macro (about 2 1/2 times the price of this Sigma I might add) it was clear that the Sigma was truly the equal in ALL departments. It's focus motor is absolutely silent (like the Canon's USM is) and the focus speed is also immediate when using autofocus. The precision of the manual focus barrel is admirable, and clearly this Sigma lens is aimed at a more professional user. The optics are simply superb and without any fault. The color and crisp image this lens renders will please the most particular photographer there is (and I consider myself at the upper end of that list of fussy). I rely on my macro lens as my "money maker" for product shooting. I can already see the horizons of possibilites this lens will have opened up for me. The price simply is irresistable to begin with, and the quality of it from optics to construction are guaranteed to please. One word describes the build......."BEEFY".........One word describes the optics........."SWEET"........

 
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

ef_28-135_35_1_
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Amazingly versatile, IS a life saver at times, Decent color and contrast, fast to lock focus in decent light
Cons:
Lens creep, Needs some additional curve action in Photoshop to bring out the contrast a tad

Make NO mistake about it, while this is NO 'L" lens, it is THE workhorse of the Canon line. If my sources aren't far off, Canon may well sell more of this lens than any other in their line. Indeed it is perhaps one of the MOST versatile they have ever produced. Whenever I'm in a outdoor situation and am not sure how much reach I'll need this is my "Go To" lens regardless of the fact I have a bunch of "L's" in my bag. It has never let me down. With some minor touching up in Photoshop I can get some superbly sharp and color rich output from it. Focusing in darker situations is challenging if not impossible (no weddings in a chapel with this lens to be sure), but for outdoor use in decent light, you'll do just fine. Again there may have been some bad copies of this lens floating around, but once again, if you get a good copy you're all set. AT F8 this lens is about as sharp as anything out there, so for general all purpose and outdoor shooting it can be wonderful to have IS as your friend, especially if you're not the steadiest of handholders.

 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,325.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Surprisingly sharp lens for it's focal range, Color and contrast befitting a L lens, instant focus lock in all but horrible light, nice tight precision build.
Cons:
plenty of barrel distortion at 16mm

With all the whining I've seen on various forums about this lens, all I can say it it remains the KING of the wide angle zooms in the performance department. It may not be perfect (with more barrel distortion than I like) at 16mm, but it is still a remarkable performer with it's degree of flexibility. Others have also complained about it's "wide open" performance, when in fact the typical use of such a lens will be for outdoor/landscape work, and should be used between F4-F16 at least anyway. When properly used it is one darn sharp lens across from one side to the other. Some have complained of inconsistencies in QC of this lens, and this may well be. While I always recommend one buy from a vendor that allows easy return for replacement, I still feel when one receives a working copy, it will be the best in it's class to be sure.

 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp across it's entire focal range, legendary contrast and color output, superb tight build, instant and silent focus lock
Cons:
N/A

This is by far my most used lens. Mostly as it is my most used focal length, and this lens really delivers. I was very hesitant to give up a wonderful copy of the previous generation 28-70 2.8L, but my fears were eliminated upon my first use of this lens. I can't say enough good things about it, just that everyone should have one in their bag....

 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp even wide open, wonderful focal range, built like a brick (you know what), fast to focus in decent light, push-pull design a "love it or leave it" proposition as I have no issues with it.
Cons:
N/A

Although this lens is much maligned for either it's push-pull design and supposed propensity toward sucking dust, I have not found it to be an issue. I take shots wide open @400mm with this and find the output crisp and delightfully colorful (unlike some of the negative comments I've read). I have even found it very useful with a 1.4xII teleconverter when that extra reach is necessary. In decent light (the only time I use it) the focusing on my 1D is immediate and without fanfare. All in all it's a wonderful lens which I will likely keep in my bag as long as I'm able to remain a photographer........

 
Canon EOS 1D

1D
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Focus Speed, Build Quality, Custom Feature Set, Color Accuracy, Exposure Consistency
Cons:
N/A

A superb professional tool. While NO product is without some foibles, this one seems to be about as ideal as possible. Once one is familiar with it's setup possibilites the capabilities of this camera become evident. The issues I've read that people have had (moire and banding) are sporadic and IMHO NOT a global issue. In all to many cases it's more a case of misuse or not fully understanding how to extract the best of what this camera is capable of. All in all, with current price reductions it remains at the top of it's game in the industry in so many ways. I do not limit my use of the camera, and today still use it for not only wedding and portrait shoots, but outdoor landscape and action shooting. AFAIAC it is equally capable at ALL of these tasks. Some will just argue issues such as resolution and print size capabilites. I have not felt any restrictions in either area. For professional product shoots as well as large portrait shots it works just fine and continues to earn it's keep keeping clients happy.

 

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