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  Reviews by: Matt Kerby  

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Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*

Review Date: Jan 25, 2017 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $625.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: small, sharp, fast AF

Good things come in small packages...This lens is very well made, especially for a small lens everything just feels solid. MF and AF are easy and quick and accurate..It's sharp, like REAL sharp wide open. Bokeh is nice...I love this lens.

Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Feb 23, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal length, build, sharpness, IS
Weight....and... every once in a while, when the AF misses, the AF hunt from near to far and back to the focal point can be frustrating if you don't use the limiter. (So, I usually do)

Love love love this lens. I just got back from Oahu yesterday where I used this lens almost exclusively. I mean, I brought my 16-35 and 50L just in case....and did use them some...But most of the time this lens handled things on it's own...

If you don't like to lug a heavy lens, don't get this...It feels almost as heavy as my old 300/2.8IS...That said, to me, THAT, is the only negative aspect.

The lens is sharp through the range, sorry to the reviewers who's lens isn't sharp at 300mm...(Mine is) The IS is VERY handy with this lens because the aperture is a bit slow. The AF is as fast as any L lens in my bag, and except for the travel during AF mentioned above, is superior in accuracy, speed and feel (and/or sound).

I always wanted this lens, but thought of it more as a luxury...It is, in fact a luxury but the versatility has made it a necessity now. If you have the means, and you don't mind a little weight. grab this lens and set your backpack free!!

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

Review Date: Feb 15, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: HSM is quick, silent and fairly accurate. Zoom range, macro, sharp, OS
MF ring turns when AF'ing, not so great in low light non static shots.

The 3 reviews below mine sum up my thoughts pretty much dead on. It's a great walk-around zoom....The macro is awesome, you can pretty much touch your subject with the front element and achieve focus lock...pretty cool...

I don't use a standard walk-around zoom too often, I prefer primes, but sometimes you just need a zoom.....I feel like I stole this lens at $340, I sold my 17-55 for $900 because I felt bad having a $900 lens that I used 3 times a year...

I knew I was downgrading but was pleasantly surprised at the initial handling of the 17-70. I think the build might be better than the 17-55. When I downloaded the files I knew I made the right choice. Focus is spot on and for the most part it's a great alternative to the more expensive constant 2.8's out there.

What can I say....I decided to keep it....

The only problems I encountered was at a Taekwondo tournament I ran into some problems under the gym lights. Had a few more OOF shots than I expected...I think I was just expecting too much though as in every other situation I've shot in it's been great.

I set it to f4 and shoot though the range at a constant f4. Which....for $340.....seems more than fair Smile

Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Nov 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp contrasty lens with very accurate AF and solid build. New rubberlike coating on barrel of lens.
MF ring isn't dampened very well. Can't fit the cap on the lens unless you take the hood(s) off.

What a great lens...From the moment I mounted it on my 7D until now (about a week later) I've been blown away...first, by the build...It's solid and has a new rubberlike coating that just feels really good.

Next was the AF....I was really amazed at how fast the AF was (after owning multiple 85L's). It's twice as fast as the mkII and maybe more importantly....Just as accurate.

The image quality is a bit of a mix between near as good as the L.... to... better than the L. It seems about as sharp as the L while the CA and fringing is much better controlled than the L. The bokeh is Signature Sigma 9 blade smoothness, like the EX50/1.4..It's very similar to the L. Very nice...Also....handles flare like a champ using the suplied hood.

All in all, a really nice lens

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Review Date: Sep 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $439.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, sharp, accurate AF, build, Bokeh, [email protected]
MF ring isn't great....Wish the MFD was closer

I've owned a few 35L's, they're great lenses, that's for sure...I've also owned and really enjoyed the Canon 28/1.8. But I have to say, this little 30mm has as great IQ, as good as the 35L when shooting wide open, the center is VERY sharp. Stopped down the L wins (mostly because of corner sharpness) But the truth is I shoot this lens from 1.4 to f2 pretty much exclusively so corner sharpness means almost nothing.

This lens is a step up from the EF 28/1.8......With the 1.4 aperture and the extra aperture blade it smokes the 28 when it comes to bokeh and matches or exceeds it in sharpness.

Canon USM is better than Sigma HSM, but if you can just be patient and learn how to use the HSM it's very accurate and sometimes quicker than the Canon.

I also own the Sigma 50mm/1.4.....I consider these two brothers, same creamy bokeh, AF feels the same and they are both sharp at 1.4....

For the price, there is no better standard prime for the 1.6 cropped sensors.

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: Sep 8, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $685.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Accurate silent AF, build, excellent optics, contrast is excellent, very sharp and of course the price (relative to the Canon's)
Zoom ring is opposite zoom... I suppose the AF could be a bit faster

I bought this lens used from Adorama. Don't usually buy used glass from a brick and mortar but wanted a return policy just in case. The ad just said EX 70-200/2.8 HSM IF....Turns out I got the 1st version (that's why it didn't have all the other acronyms Smile ) After reading the reviews I was kind of hoping it was a 1st or 3rd version. Glad I got the one I did.

I have owned all except the newest (mkII) Canon 70-200's. My favorite being the 70-200/2.8IS and the best image quality I think came from my 70-200f4IS....I don't use this focal length much so I decided to off the white glass and take a chance on the Sigma and use the difference to fund some other glass.

The Sigma is every bit as sharp as the 70-200/2.8, 2.8IS and f4. Not as sharp as the f4IS but what zoom is? The contrast and colors are excellent...You really couldn't pick a shot made with the Sigma from one taken with a Canon. I read some folks (and pro reviews) had "soft" copies at 200mm @ 2.8. Mine is anything but soft at 200mm. There seems to be no difference at 70mm to 200mm's...It's good through the range.
Stopped down to 3.5 or f4 and you'll notice it getting even sharper with some very nice contrasty punch.

The bokeh is beautiful, the 9 blade aperture really does a great job of blurring everything to a creamy haze when shooting close subjects at longer focal lengths at 2.8.

The HSM is accurate, silent and pretty snappy...Not as fast as the Canon USM, but fast enough to track fast moving subjects. If I had to guess, I'd say it's about 80% as fast as the Canons.

I guess the only beef I have with the purchase isn't really a beef....I'll just have to get used to zooming in the opposite direction

I might have paid about $100 more for this lens buying it through Adorama (rather than on the forum)....But it is well worth the $685 I paid. Kudos to Adorama for selling me (what looked like a new lens)

Sold my Canon 70-200/2.8 for $1000. So I net $315 and get the same IQ.......Sounds good to me. Smile

Tamron 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF

Review Date: Jul 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: CHEAP....Sharp wide open, small, AF is spot on...Image quality on the whole is as good as any other ultra wide I've 17-40, 16-35. It's an EF mount so you can mount on 1.6>1.3> and Full Frame bodies
AF is slow, build is not so good, but hey, it has a metal mount and if it breaks you just grab another one for $150 and you're still $300-$400 cheaper than a 17-40L

I bought this after owning several 17-40L's and a few 16-35L's. I don't do a lot of landscape so I was a little tired of carying around a $700-$1200 lens that I use once every 2 months.
The image quality is excellent, and that's what I want. I could really care less about build and AF speed for my landscape lens. Although, build isn't horrible and AF speed isn't that slow (I've used slower) It reminds me a lot of the Tamron 28-75.

I noticed some CA wide open....But not as bad as some of my L-primes....Stop it down 1 stop and the CA goes away.
This lens is a STEAL.......if you're like me and you don't use an ultrawide zoom too often...grab one, if you can find one.

Here's some shots wide open at 19mm and 35mm with 100% crops. I think you'll be surprised...As I was Smile

Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX Diagonal Fisheye

Review Date: May 25, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp all the way through the frame, Tack sharp wide open.. contrasty and the colors are great.... AF is SPOT ON.... I like the lens cap much better than the Canon version, it actuallly stays on! Small, light and EX tuff.
None so far.

I owned the Canon version and had a lot of fun with it....But I'd heard the Sigma was better...I was skeptical because the EF version is really good. The reviews are correct, the Sigma is better, I mostly notice it at the edges of the frame, doesn't seem to get soft at all and the center is L prime sharp.....Noticed this after just a couple frames, which was unexpected. As I said, the lens cap actually works which was something that bugged me about the design of the Canon. Also, I paid $425 US for it used. That's $125 less than the Canon goes for used....Usually I stick to the OEM, unless there's a clear winner.....and in this instance there is...SIGMA!

Canon Speedlite 550EX TTL

Review Date: Apr 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Powerful, inexpensive, lots of features
None so far

I use it as a slave and when shooting with 2 bodies at events...So far it's been very consistant, actually have no issues with it not being ETTL II....If you get a good price and need a slave, a second flash or you just want a good reliable flash that's not $400...This is the one.

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

Review Date: Jul 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Nice zoom range, pretty light, good IS.
Not the sharpest glass in my bag

I use this on my 20D for my bike rides, does the job, not gonna win any awards for the sharpest lens but for what it is, it's a good deal

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Jan 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fairly sharp wide open, CA is light compared to other 50's, Build is nice. Af is consistant, bokeh is out of this world
Mine front focuses, but with a microadjustment of +10 on my 5Dmk2 it's perfect so no worries.

So far the best 50mm AF lens for Canon I've found. I find the AF more consistant than the L and the EF 50/1.4.
It is pretty sharp wide open...or sharp enough, about the same as my EF50/1.4 which was pretty good.
The AF isn't super fast but not too slow either, tracks my kids running around just fine.
What I love about it is the color, contrast and bokeh, very nice, very L like. I've had it a little over a week and have left it on my 5D2 where it will be my main walkaround.
If you have microadjust on your body, by all means get this rather than the L or EF 1.4.
I rated this a solid 10, because it's the best 50 I've used so far and 1/3 the price of the L

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Dec 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: High ISO performance, improved AF, 21MP's, new screen (s), weatherproofing, new battery (expensive, but better), easy 1 button access to live view and video
none so far

I have nothing but praise for the new 5Dmk2. I only rated the build as 9 because of course the 1 series bodies are built better, that said, the new 5Dmk2 is built very solid. Been shooting in the snow the last couple days with zero problems.
I'd write more but most the others have covered the good points. I'll close with the fact that I've never had a body with this high of a level of IQ....I've owned most of Canon's digital bodies except the 1Dsmk3

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Review Date: Jul 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, AF, build
None, well, 2" LCD

Everyone else have summed up my positive experiences with this body already. I have owned two, both have been really great bodies. In some respects I like this better than my 1Dmk3. I guess the extra MP's and the FF are a couple reasons I say this. To put it in a nutshell, the 1DsmkII is as solid of performer as you could ask for, it just does what it's supposed to do...Zoom into 100% and blow youself away...perhaps the best body I've shot with.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Dec 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, incredible in low light at high ISO's, improved layout over the mkII's, Live view real time WB and exposer review

I know all about the AI Servo problem. My Blue dot is always spot on and never lets me down. I'm only a couple thousand shots into it but it is much better than my 1DmkII. For some this body has been a problem but the problem has been blown way out of proportion now that the fix is in. The ease of operation is a big step forward. The PP is very easy with this body and it takes cropping very well. Not much more to say...Well...Except, don't believe everything you read about this body, most who are complaining either haven't got it fixed, didn't buy a post fix body or simply don't own it and are mirroring what they read in the forums.
Best tool I've ever had for capturing any type of image...Period

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Oct 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,184.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Most everything
Wish it was as sharp as my 35L wide open

This lens surprised me. i thought it would have the "focus shift" issues, it doesn't, I thought it might BF (both copies I rented did) It doesn't...This is a perfect 50mm lens for me. With fairly close focus and really shallow DOF (my kind of lens) On my 5d it makes a perfect walkaround lens. it isn't as sharp as my 35L wide open but by 1.4 it beats my 35L. Don't get me wrong, it is sharp and very usable at 1.2 just not as sharp. This lens is the low light king, it will literally focus in the dark. AF speed is somewhere between the 35L and the 85LmkII.
Love mine, will NEVER sell it for sure.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Oct 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast 1.4 Aperture, very sharp wide open, beautiful color and contrast

Traded my 17-55 for this very fine lens....I got a great deal, this lens is superb


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