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Nikon Df DSLR

Review Date: May 24, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Battery life is superb, image quality is excellent, low light performance very good, fast to use, more compact and lighter than standard DSLR's, fun to shoot with. A good balance between large full frame cameras and compact system bodies that lets you use all the lenses you own already - assuming you already have a Nikon.
Not able to shoot video.

In my view the DF is well worth the money. It makes shooting fun, it's the kind of camera that begs to be taken out. It's not ultra compact but it is substantially lighter and less bulky than say D800's.

The resolution is very good, images sharpen very well in LR or Capture One. It's got a great sensor. Dynamic range isn't as amazing as the D800's but is very good. As a rule I tend to start at ISO 200 as DR seems best there and taking it up to ISO 800 is virtually noise free. Mid to high ISO's produce surprisingly noise free images. RAW files are easy to work with and are much smaller than D800's! I find that with the DF I can shoot at a speed of roughly 1 x FL, with the D800 I'm at least double that. Of course it has half the pixels but in most cases 16 mega pixels is plenty but on shoots that require loose framing so that editors can crop or have flexibility for page layout it's possibly on the edge of being the body to take. If I'm shooting important work on a tripod with the D800e I will take the DF as my backup.

Many have complained about the locking controls. There's no issue there in my experience, the direct and easy to use controls make shooting simple. Most of the time I'm in manual and don't bother with any auto modes finding it really fast to drive and set up. Metering is good. AF is good, not stunning but works well. Focus points are a little bunched close to the centre but since my Canon 5D days I've been used to mostly using the centre points. Tracking in continuous AF is very good. I do find the viewfinder to be really good and can easily focus manually with it. Battery life being so good only one spare is needed in the bag if you're doing a long day's shooting.

It's not a perfect camera but no such thing exists. I love my D800e and do much of my work with that but the DF is my 'fun' camera, the one that I choose to take on days out, carry everywhere etc. It deserves very high marks and am amazed that nobody has reviewed it here already. If you get the chance do try the DF, it's a great camera :-)

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Oct 1, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ultra sharp, great IQ, very well constructed, just a superb wide angle lens.
Heavy but that's not really a bad thing.

What's to say that's not been said already? It is heavy and it has a sticky out bulbous front element but this is a class act. I've been wanting one for years and finally I have one and all I can say is that it is impressive.

It's better at the widest end but for me not an issue as I tend to be between 14 and 20mm, the 24-70 covers 24mm for me. It is super sharp and *way* crisper than my old Canon 16-35L.

The overall 'look' is very good indeed. Highly recommended :-)

Nikon 135mm f/2D AF-DC Nikkor

Review Date: Sep 23, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Nice overall image quality.
Stacks of purple fringing, not as sharp as I was expecting (may have had a rogue copy).

I had wanted this lens for a long time so my disappointment was more extreme than it may be for others on finding it wasn't really *that* good.

I was using mine on a D800e so maybe people with less demanding sensors wouldn't notice? As an example, my 14-24 and 24-70 easily beat it in terms of sharpness, AF accuracy and lack of serious purple fringing. I have owned 85L's and am used to using fast primes and know to expect a certain amount but this was truly off the scale.

The shop I got mine from were very helpful and they took my copy and compared to another copy and reported that both were the same. Maybe they wouldn't want to admit I'd got a 'duff' copy but they seemed to think all was fine. Anyway, after further testing I returned it and got the 35 f/1.4 which is superb.

To be fair to the lens it does produce a very nice 'look' but with my copy it finished there, no sharpness and too much fringing. Very sad :-(

Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S NIKKOR

Review Date: Sep 23, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp, lovely 'tones' it produces, silent, fast and consistently accurate focusing (I think so, others seem to disagree) well made, not too heavy. A benchmark lens.
Apart from the price maybe a tad of purple fringing wide open in some situations but nothing to get worried about.

Having switched to Nikon from Canon I really missed my 35L. I was though finding it hard to justify the spend so soon as I was finding my 24-70 zoom to be so good I wondered what little extra I could gain quality wise over that other than the speed and weight, of course.

Anyway, following a huge disappointment with a 135 f/2 purchase the retailer kindly refunded my money and I thought 'what the heck' and got the 35 f/1.4. I wasn't expecting as big a jump in quality as I found and quickly spent time testing it out heavily and was amazed at how much sharper the D800e and 35 f/1.4 combo was over my previous 5DmkII and 35L. I'm in no way knocking the 35L, that's still a super lens but this is very much sharper and more accurate. I used to take lots more photos than I needed with the Canon to be sure of nailing the focus between f/1.4 and f/2.0 but with this I am finding a very high hit rate.

This lens is sharp in the centre from f/1.4. It focuses fast. Some people have complained about it's AF speed but maybe on the D800 it's not as slow? Anyway, the one I have is as fast to focus as the 24-70.

I really like the 'tones' it produces. It seems a little like a cross between the Canon 50L f/1.2 and, and... I'm not exactly sure what but it renders skin tones very nicely and the OOF areas don't get as contrasty and 'busy' as the 35L. I'm finding the lens to be so good I kick myself for not getting it sooner. Don't be put off by some previous mediocre reports, this is a fabulous lens and gets a 10 from me.

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED NIKKOR AF-S

Review Date: Sep 4, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: An absolutely excellent lens with prime 'like' quality. Much better than my previous copies of Canon 24-70L's.
Heavy and long.

I am very, very impressed at this lens. I'm using it on a D800e and it is an excellent combo. Colours are excellent. IQ wide open is lovely and so good I've delayed buying 24mm or 35mm f/1.4 primes something I'd have not imagined. It is substantially sharper than my mkI 24-70L's.

I love the 'look' produced wide open at f/2.8 and then stopping down to f/4 is a serious sharpening of the image, not that f/2.8 is bad, it has a great 'look' but going to f/4 it becomes another lens, a very super sharp lens. This lens has real character and has such a range of 'looks' able to be produced when varying aperture.

The downsides are that this seems much heavier than my previous Canon 24-70L lenses and it is longer. My camera bag that just fitted the 5DmkII and 24-70L is too small now.

To sum up: Awesome lens.

Nikon D800E

Review Date: Sep 4, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fabulous Image Quality. Dual card slots, resolution, noise performance, fast and accurate AF, decent battery life, a solid body that feels like it will stand years of use... Excellent dynamic range. A superb all round camera.
A bit heavy. Live View not as nice as on Canon. Video not as good as Canon.

Coming from Canon I have taken a little while to get used to the D800e and as mentioned by a previous reviewer am only just getting used to putting lenses on correctly.

I have used 1 Series Canon's and 5D mkII etc etc and am super fussy about image quality. The D800e is right up there with super crisp (but natural) images with tons of detail and dynamic range. I'm sure Medium Format is better but for the money it's superb and surely as good as technology can currently deliver?

This is such a step up from my 5DmkII. I can say for sure that when used with good Nikon lenses such as the 24-70 and 14-24 you will be impressed. For me, the colours are very nice. I did prefer the output of Canon but as I've got used to processing the images in Lightroom over the last month.

Live View is a little bit of a disappointment coming from Canon as is the video but I have adapted and these niggles are not significant.

I waited until I'd taken several thousand exposures before reviewing and can simply sum up the performance as 'stunning'. I'm very pleased that I bought the 'e', no serious moire issues, a few occasions I've used the new moire reduction brush in LR and all taken care of.

Well worth the money and changing from Canon though I miss my 85L and 35L etc.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jan 8, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: $899.00

Pros: Very sharp, great contrast, f/2.8, excellent AF
A bit heavy but not *that* heavy

I sold my last copy a year ago and missed it so have recently got a new one. I have to say that it's a wonderful lens, it's AF is fast and spot on, it's sharp and produces almost prime like quality images.

I reckon it's one of Canon's best value lenses.

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

Review Date: Aug 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharper than I expected, super wide on full frame that's great fun to play with. Less distortion than I'd expected.
Flare can be ugly

This was bought as my 16-35L just didn't seem wide enough on the 5DmkII for many shots. Wow! This is an amazing lens that impressed me for the lack of distortion (of course there is some but it's very good) and the lens is useable wide open though it really is best stopped down to f/8 and beyond. I think that f/22 is better than would be expected too.

Getting close up to objects is huge fun and it's brought some renewed wide angle creativity out of me. For the money it's superb. Yes, when I get the cash I probably will sell it and get the 14L mkII but that's a way off.

The things that have to be taken in to account are:

- It's a slow lens. Not really suitable for indoor situations without paying attention to lighting, ie, flash. Environmental indoor portraits are unlikely to be this lens' best features.

- The flare can be horrible. Care needs to be taken. Spot lights etc can be an issue and shooting with the sun anywhere in the frame can case problems.

For the money, it's a ten out of ten. Money aside, it's really a 7 or 8 when compared with some of the great glass out there. Creative abilities push my rating up again and give it an 8.5. Mind you, on that scale, the 85L is a 17+ :-)

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Aug 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent lens with superb sharpness, lightness and almost unobtrusiveness.
None for the money.

I bought a used mark one version with the built in hood. Brilliant! It's even more discrete than the mkII version with big hood.

After several weeks worth of intensive shooting with it I'm sold. Much lighter to lug around than the 70-200's and I much prefer the bokeh to the f/4 70-200's. It's kind of hard to think of any subjective downsides to this lens, as many other owners have said, it's one of the sleepers in the L range. It's also very affordable and almost addictive, it's on my 5DmkII much more than I expected.

I find this a perfect partner to my 85L (mkII). My 85L is sharper (it's sharper than any 135L's I've tried too so I must have a really good one) and the 85L is more 3D but in a different way. The 200 f/2.8 has a natural look, it's warm and a little less contrasty than the 85L but that's not to say it's not contrasty. I think that the mkII version may have more contrast due to the longer hood but in any case, I absolutely adore the quality of images I'm capturing and the ability to walk around all day and not feel exhausted carrying the zoom.

This is a sadly overlooked and brilliant value lens but I suspect it will be discovered by the masses soon and become one of the hot lenses to own, for good reason.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: May 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent compact and versatile zoom for general purpose work that's pretty light, weather sealed (so far so good) and has decent IQ. IS works well. Makes a great video lens on the 5DmkII.
The 24mm end is too distorted. It's not, in my view, as sharp as the 24-70L (but it's a lot lighter etc), it is pretty slow at f/4 but you know that when you buy it!

I both love and hate this lens in equal measure. Actually, hate is too strong a word, maybe 'am annoyed by' is the better phrase!

It's the perfect 'walk around' lens on either the FF 5DmkII and 1DmkIII. It's got pretty decent IQ. I find that images taken with the 25-105 when printed, look superb, better than I'd expect. I can take it out on a damp or wet day mounted on the 1DmkIII. For general outdoor shooting I use this lens a lot.

I hate the distortion at the wide end. It just spoils the lens for me but not enough to get rid of it! I just use the 16-35L for that end. F/4 is a bit slow for my liking and even though the I.S. is good, it means that you're frequently bumping the ISO up pretty high to stop motion.

I can see why people own this and the 24-70L. Both have their advantages. I bought one of these, sold it and then bought it back so I think that shows I must like it!

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

Review Date: Apr 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Excellent build, solid, f//1.4
Less sharp than the 35L

A very nice lens. I found that it's not as sharp wide open as my 35L so I may have a less perfect copy but it's got me magazine covers no other lens could have.

I am finding that I'm moving back to my 16-35L more for wide use as it's a little more flexible and more even in sharpness across the frame but the 24L has a 'look' that no other lens can match.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Apr 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Compactish, light, good zoom range, pretty good optics and very good value
If you own 'L' lenses you won't be quite so pleased with the construction, no MF in AF mode, extends massively, lens hood is extra, it's noisy, IS kicks lots. Feels cheap.

The good bits first: It's able to produce very good images. I compared with my 70-200L IS f/4 + 1.4 TC II to get close in FL at the long end and compared images from both. I was very surprised at the 70-300, it was difficult to tell apart and at 1/3 the cost, it's excellent value.

The bad: It's pretty cheaply made, IS on mine kicks around and the lens barrel rotates during AF. It's a less than perfect lens in this regard but it is an ideal lens for someone who doesn't shoot long that much and needs an occasional longer lens.

I've just sold mine as I can't live with the downsides though to be fair my regular lenses are the 85L and 35L so I'm judging harshly.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super fantastic IQ, 14 bit, amazing video output (I like this but not everyone will), compact, good centre point AF (never out of focus), writes the images to fast CF cards plenty fast enough, nice output and look of images. Lens micro adjustment is great! The live view is great and the image preview is great, at last I can see my image is sharp or not! Battery life is pretty good.
OK, I'm comparing with my 1DmkIII so all may be a tad unfair: Cheap build (for a 2,000 camera I'd like more solid please), slow response of shutter, lacks enough widely spaced AF cross points. The metering is so so. Your computer may feel a little slow now!

I give this camera a 9.9. It's got serious IQ. It's able to kick out very, very good images with heaps of detail and nice tonal range. The quality is devastatingly good and there is serious cropping flexibility.

As much as I love my 1DmkIII, this has far better sharpness out of the box though the 1D still has a nicer overall image quality. This is an excellent compact(ish) DSLR that makes photography fun. Shooting with wide angle lenses is fantastic and the ability to use all of my lenses to shoot video is just amazing - and what amazing video IQ this camera produces!

Just to digress about video: It's not everyone's thing but even for Joe Average, being able to record occasional footage is handy. I used a big 3 chip HD cam and have sold it as this is producing stunning results. My 85L is just mind blowing as is the 16-35L. Top marks to Canon for innovation.

The downsides are few, the shutter response lags the 1D bodies by a margin and the build is less than I have been used to with the pro bodies but my last original 5D lasted 3 years of heavy use and was still going strong so I expect that this will too!

From a practical point of view, being able to tweak each lens using the AF micro adjust is brilliant and a great 35L can become even better. Being able to review the images that have been taken in close detail is very, very useful and the new larger preview image and better screen give a clear idea of what has been taken.

The camera is a well thought out and worthy successor to the 5D. It's not only the 'sensible' choice it's also one of the most creative machines available. Now, can they graft all of this in to a 1D body and a super fast responsive shutter? :-)

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Feb 6, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: This lens is awesome, one of the best there is.

I'm only posting this as the two last reviews seem bogus, both gave it 5, neither said why such a low score or anything really. If they had really used this lens and had any experience of taking pictures they wouldn't have rated it a 5.

Maybe because of the price this lens suffers a bit of envy but I saved up for ages to get mine and it was well, well worth the wait. This lens is better than a 10.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Review Date: Jan 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Simply an awesome lens! Superb clarity, sharpness, smoothness, richness, punchy and so 3D. This lens deserves 11.5, not 10.
After using lenses like this even good zooms just don't get close.

The 85L mkII is worth every single hard earned penny! The colours are super fantastic and it gives the most amazing 3D images. Wide open it's just amazing. I find it's my lens of choice for social events, in low light and in good light. I use it whenever I can.

I have yet to use a better lens.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Dec 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid, robust, accurate, very fast, super fast to focus, brilliant medium to high ISO performance, 'look of the image', superb battery life. Overall, a superb camera.
It shows up average lenses.

I bought the 'blue dot' with some concern after reading some comments posted about AF. I thought I'd take a minimum of 2,000 shots before posting any review so that I could be sure - and in my experience it's bang on. I am getting superb results.

I've used a good range of lenses with it and note that my 85L mk II is a bit faster than my 5D. 24-70L is quite a bit faster. I was a bit concerned after my first two shoots after comparing the images taken by the 5D, then I remembered I'd been using zooms on the 1D and the 35L and 85L on the 5D. After doing tests and follow up shoots with the primes on the 1D I could see just how good that the 1D mk III renders images. I was about to go and buy a 50L but my 50 f/1.4 on the 1D is superb.

AF issues? None here. It's super fast.

I paid not much more than I paid for my 5D (two years ago) and it surely is better value? I will not sell my 5D, it's great, the 1D is for different work. It's a great combination.


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