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Canon EOS 1D Mark II N

Review Date: Oct 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: large screen (COMPARING WITH "original" 1D mark II), very sturdy. I make friends in foreign country just carrying it around!!! ;-)
still heavy


I have been fortunate enough to have my 1D markII replaced with a "N" version lately. So I have played with the two version; nearly for one year with the markII and a few months with the "N". I am an occasional pro-photographer for gymnastic canada and it is where I really used my markII N. The original markII waas used on official university sports as well as on an internationnal photojournalism assignment with the U.N. .
The big difference for me between the two version is the screen. It makes review easier and doesn't require its user to exercise his-her eye sharpness-decerning abilities. The two screens have the same resolution, the pixels are thus tightly packed in the orginal 2 inch screen.
I had a small issue with the first version which turned out to be a non-issue: at first i wanted to have the slow shooting speed to be a little more than 3 fps (maybe 4 or 5fps) but the original version wouldn't allow it. I quickly adjust myself. And now that I can adjust the new "N" I don't feel the need and actually find more convenient the default setting of 3 fps (this speed matches the 10D speed and I basicly learn pro photography with this camera).
I can't say anything about "picture style". I indeed used it when i was on my gymnastic assignement because i had to shoot jpegs ( so i had to do "post-procesing" in camera). It worked fine but I would have been able to do the same thing with the original markII... At any other time I shoot RAW (even for photojournalism)
This is one beautiful camera, image quality is excellent (as on any canon camera, pro or not) but with these 1D you can actually take this same image quality to another level: the big thing here is autofocus, it's dead on. I can't stress this point to much, makes all the difference.
The only area where I found these markII lacking is when I made my 12X18" sport portfolio! I had to have a perfectly composed image in the first place because there were no cropping possible. This said the 8Mpixels allowed me to do make those very large print. I think I'm pushing it a bit!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Dec 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very high quality lens: optics and build
difficult to get good details in low light. explanation in the review

I have this lens with me for nearly two years now and i'm still as thrilled as i was the day i purchased it. And my photographic skills are much greater now!
I'm a student photojournalist and occasionnal studio photographer. I bought the 70-200 f/4L at the beginning of my paid career because i wanted the best, but as a student cannot afford the 2.8 version. I selected it over the sigma 2.8 without much hesitations.
I don't regret this purchase and definitly love the lens: it has been with me in the U.S. , here in canada where i work and live, in france to get shots of those great parisian monuments and recently on assignement on the african side of the mediteranean sea (Tunisia).

The image quality is superlative and won't let you down.

The only problem is with the maximum aperture and the relative long focal lens. In poorly lit environment it's tough to get great details in the picture. First, no light means slow shutter speed and lack of sharpness due to camera-shake. It also means high iso which have less details than the low iso settings. So if you decide to get this lens be prepared to shoot differently in low light and don't expect the great details this lens is capable of (or use a monopod).
Contrast and bokeh are still there though

To sum up: it is a great lens to learn photography as it is always high quality and never seems to be overwhelmed by the assignement. I'm only sadened by the fact that mine will eventually be sold for the big brother (2.8 IS) as i (hopefully) enter the confirmed pro world.

(sorry for my english, i'm a french speaker)

Have a great day!


Canon EOS 10D

Review Date: Jun 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: very nice file, good handling, and very nice look (with or without the grip). the so quiet shutter, buid quality.
a little slow overall and underpowered. (maybe i'm a little spoiled by the 1D ;-) )

This is my favorite camera. Just a great package. To re-write something i read elsewhere, it's actually well balanced, at least for me. Keep in mind this not a lightning fast camera, in fact it's a little on the slow side. But the operations are so smooth, even the shutter with its mute and soft sound adds to smooth experience.
Beside of that the camera produces a very high quality and nice file, in one word natural. I've always prefered it over the 20D file which i found over-soften by the on-ship 3-stage noise reduction (at high iso). To put it further i actually prefer the less strong anti-aliasing filter on this body rather than the one (very strong) on the 1D markII. But the 1D file clips less the highlights and are larger.
The 10D was my first dslr, i bought one two years ago to start my student photojournalism career. I have gone through the shutter of my copy (died after ~50 000 actuations) but i'm going to have it repaired even though i got a 1D mark II now. A true gem in the canon dslr history.

Did i mention it has been a workhorse?

It's simply a cool and beautiful pionner in the dslr history. And pionner always have that truth to them self and the 10D definitly got it!

Very fine product

(i apologize for the english, i'm a french speaker, i hope you like my review anyway. Have a nice day)

Canon EOS 1D Mark II

Review Date: Jun 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: the real canon deal for quality (and regretably the only). Autofocus at last (comming from a 10D and 20D)
a little to big for my liking. Battery looses power if not use.

It's been two months since my purchase. I'm a student and paid photographer but this purchase was frankly over the top considering strictly my assignement requirements. I bought it to fulfill my quality standards in things. In this aspect i can say that 1D markII delivers. It's greatly built, doesn't present any obvious weak part, either on the photographic side. You know you're olding a serious and state-of-the-art tool, again both on the construction and photographic sides. And it's the first raison that made me justify the price (in canada those things retails for over 6000$). The second raison was autofocus. I always found this point lacking in my previous 10D and even my now sold 20D, with the 1D when one of the 45 point (actually rectangle) blinks your subject IS in focus.
Now i can hear you thinking ("who is that stupid student complaining about autofocus on a 20D?!?") and i'll echo that and say that sadly in this world (specialy in north america) you can choose to genuinely learn something or you can just buy it. I could have learn to tame myself down more to allow more time and make it easier for the camera to do its part, i never could "afford" it. In all fairness i tried to revert to manual focusing but even with perfect eyesight the viewfinders of the smaller models are painfully small and dark (the 20D being even darker but easier to focus in bright light) so manual focusing in very poorly lit music shows with not so still subjects was a "miss or miss" game. With the pro-dslr i don't even look for a high-contrast subject to put an autofocus point on ...actually i couldn't because the 45 autofocus points are not marked on the default groundglass, they just blinks when focus is achieved.
Enough said about focus! It's reliable and does what it should be doing, it's even terrific in some cases.
The file: i found it to be similar to the other canon cameras but with a subjective and welcomed ressemblance with the 10D file. I was never entirely fond of the 20D file, its 3-stage on-ship noise reduction kind of over-softens the image and smears details. To put it briefly the 1D markII is a 10D with bigger imaging aera image quality wise (with a little less noise and i think greater dynamic range, yeah it's actually better!)
The 20D file is impressive for its resolution, but i don't need it really (at least not now) and the wider spreading of the 8 MP in the 1D is to be prefered in my opinion.

Let's come back to the quality issue for the ending, i think it's great and it is the "feature" i enjoy the most overall in this camera. Though it's so sad that it comes in only one package. For instance i would prefer a camera with less rear protusion; that's it, i think that the screen and digital controls protrude too much. I can understand that it's made for a lot of people and specially "tough" pros but i'm personally a little smaller than that and less "viril" but i surely could use the quality of this camera in a equally smaller package (the nikon f6 comes to mind, even if its a film body, i'm just talking about size here).
To go further i have wished for an "eos 3" for a long time but not anymore because of the fact that it would mean build a cheaper camera than the 1D in a corporate mind. I've gone all the way from a film rebel (my first 35mm-reflex) to the really really expensive pro 1D and can clearly recognise that the mid-level and low-end cameras are dumbed-down products from the pro bodies. Quality is just lost at each step toward the lesser cameras.

So i'm happy with my 1D markII, quite a fine product but a little to viril for me. The main thing is that the camera is always ready to take pictures and doesn't come in the way with some "busy" or "please wait the camera can't yet achieve focus on that pole slightly behind your subject" (sorry i couldn't resist) even in fast shooting situations.

Quality, yes, but at a high price and in only one package.

I apologize for my english, i'm a french speaker. I hope you enjoy reading though :-) Have a nice day!


Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Nov 7, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very fast camera much better than the 10d. 8.2 MPixels at 5 fps albeit not for long... (cf cons)
unlike many said there is no bigger buffer over the 10d, if anything it appears smaller (i shoot almost exclusively in raw mode).THE INTERNAL OPERATIONS ARE FASTER, THE BUFFER IS NOT ANY BIGGER (than the 10d)

the 20d is my second dslr after the 10d. I own and use both. I would say that the 20d is not a must as the 10d used to be in its time. Mainly because of it pace of operation in raw mode: with 10d you would have a 9 image buffer going @ 3fps which means that one would rarely hit the buffer limit. With 20d it's now a 6 image buffer @ 5fps. The buffer space is up only after 1.2 second or so compared to nearly 3 second of continous shooting with 10d.
Of course this is only true when shooting raw files.
After a little multiplication i discovered that the 20d buffer can only handle 49.2 MPixels of raw files (8.2 MP X 6) against 56.7 MP (6.3 MP X 9) to the 10d.
Don't make any mistake, i like the high shooting rate of the 20d and the faster processing and writing speed generaly makes up for the lack of buffer space. But coming from the 10d i think the 20d more like an advanced amateur camera where the 10d have been nothing short of a small professionnal camera at the time. In these quick changing days a perfectionnist photojournalist will certainly need a more substantial buffer with a 5fps shooting rate available.

Overall i like the 20d, its a very fine product and I will keep it.

note: it is just an arbitrary opinion, nothing absolutly true. In fact if 20d had been my first serious camera i would certainly have learned another buffer management paradigm and found the 20d as "professionnal" as anything. With my 10d experience i like the 20d, but i see it as a great tool for my eye and photographic ability not as a workhorse. (It's not a eos "3d" yet!)

In the end for the price and an amateur use i have to rate as excellent (5/5)

Have a nice day!