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  Reviews by: ukcolin  

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Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Oct 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great image quality, well made, good controls, black.

The image quality is superb compared with my previous 300D and 35mm film cameras. The only formats I have used which compare are MF and LF 4x5. The build quality inspires confidence excepting the CF card door. The camera is large compared with APS-C size cameras but I quickly got used to that. I like the black colour for its relative unobtrusiveness. The controls are well set out, the top panel gives all the information needed and the display is a good size though is still impossible to see in sunlight. I bought mine with a Canon rebate If using the Canon rebate remember to fulfil all the conditions and send it all by registered mail to ensure it can be tracked. Overall I am delighted with my 5D.

Canon Extender EF 1.4x II

Review Date: Oct 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb performance - loss of quality hardly noticeable
Restricted compatibility with the range of Canon lenses

Canon EOS Rebel (300D)

Review Date: Sep 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: I really enjoyed using my 300D and have now gone to the 5D. The resale value of the 300D was a pleasant surprise. Still a very capable camera with controls that are mostly easy to use. Quite adequate for mos amateur purposes.
6.3 MP is a bit low for larger prints. Slightly dim viewfinder. Champagne colour!

My first digital SLR and I enjoyed using it enormously. I have now gone for the 5D. The whole 300D package works well. I used mine in all sorts of conditons such as rain and snow and it never misbehaved. The controls took a little while for me to get my head round as up till then I had only used manual focus film SLR's. But once I had got into it they became second nature. Comparing with non-SLR alternatives : the big sensor size compared to non-SLR's is an advantage as is the through the lens viewfinder. (Although this is a bit dim compared to the film SLR's I was used to) And oof course there is access to a massive range of lenses from Canon and others. The 18-55mm kit lens often comes in for criticism but my example worked very well. It was sharp and had a good close-focus ability. All-in-all a fne secondhand buy for those wanting to get into digital SLR's.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di Zoom AF

Review Date: Sep 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: I really liked this lens when it firs arrived. It is the perfect size and weight and was astonishingly sharp. Good value too. If you can get a good one you will be well pleased.
My example did not focus correctly so it was sent back.

My example did not focus correctly so was sent back but where it did focus was beautifully sharp at all apertures. The lens balances well on the camera and is a convenient size compared with alternatives. Build quality is acceptable. A fine lens if you can get a good one.

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Sep 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp images, very sharp when stopped down a bit, built like a tank. Good value for money.
Built like a tank. Big filter size, noisy motor.

I tried this as an alternative to my first choice Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. It is not as sharp as the Tamron but had the advantage of focusing where it was supposed to! It is big and heavy with a large filter ring of 82mm and the a/f motor is noisy. But it delivers very good sharpness overall and I find am using it more and more. Recommneded.

Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)

Review Date: Jan 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: I liked the size and weight of the lens. My copy was sharp right through to f/2.8. The build quality was acceptable.
My copy would not focus correctly on my Canon 300D body. Returned to the shop.

If this lens had focused correctly it would have been excellent. My copy though was unusable due to focus problems. If you go for this lens make sure the shop will allow you to return it. This would not be a lens to buy where you have no right of return.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Nov 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superbly sharp. If this is to be your first 'L' lens you should know you are at the top of a slippery slope as you will compare all your lenses to this! Reasonably light and works well with 1.4x Extender
White. If you need to have blurred backgrounds for portraits etc you might want to consider the f2.8 instead to get the narrower depth of field.

What a lens! Great value. It is a bit smaller and lighter than many of the alternatives that offer similar image quality and seems easy to hold even with the 1.4 x extender. The image quality with this combination is very good too. IS would be useful but would put the price up

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Nov 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Good zoom range and reasonable image quality. The IS heps in low light.
I found I was increasingly dissatisfied with the image quality. The build quality is OK but does not inspire confidence.

Stopped down this lens works well. It is also a neat package for the zoom range offered. I found that the sharpness is reasonable at smaller apertures but soft wide open. I eventually sold it. But I would recommend it on the basis that while it is not the sharpest of lenses it might suit as a convenient walk round lens.

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

Review Date: Nov 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: I bought this lens when it first came out to give me an ultra-wide angle lens for my Canon 300D. I was impressed with the sharpness and colour. On full frame the perspective at 12mm was amazing but a little too much of a good thing. On the 300D the equivalent focal length of about 19mm was invaluable at a time when the EF-S ultra-wides had not become available.. The build quality was very good and the a/f worked well.
However I noticed that at full aperture there was a small variation of focus across the frame as reported in some reviews above. This could be masked with Photoshop but was annoying and time consuming to put right. It disappeared when stopped down a little. The physical size of the lens is a problem particularly with the massive protruding front element. Using filters is tricky and I ended up hand holding large square filters most of the time. With the availability of so many good lenses for small-sensor DSLR's I think the market for this lens has shrunk. If you want an ultra wide for a small-sensor DSLR there are several good options, and on fiull frame the 12mm end is not that useful. I sold mine in favour of a Canon 10-22mm

This was a winner when it first appeared as it had no competition and is a fine lens. But time has moved on and now I think there are better options since the apearance of so many good alternatives. It may be a good second hand option though as the optical exellence and build quality will be on its side.